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Old 07-10-2011, 09:50 PM
LucasB (Lucas)
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Officina Stellare - Hiper APO 130 with DSLR or 115 with CCD

Hi everyone,
I am very interested in (probably will be) stepping up to the Officina Stellare Hiper APOs. I am currently using an ED100, Canon 550D and broadband IDAS LP2 filter. Now what to do? There is the HiperAPO 130mm F6 and the 115mm F7. I would definitely get a reducer/flattener so this would make it F3.8 and F4.4 respectively. The dilemma for me is do I go the 130mm and use the DSLR or do I get the 115mm and with the $3000-3500 saved on 15mm of light gathering buy a CCD, Filter wheel and filters? I am mainly imaging from the city (I'm a new Dad so dark site is a little hard to get to at the moment!) Some of my thoughts are whether the F Ratio of the 130mm will allow me short enough subs to have low noise and overall good SNR from the DSLR. Or just go for a larger 24x36 sensor in a CCD? I could also have a look at an OSC CCD.
Some might say using one of these scopes with a consumer level DSLR is like puting a VW exhaust on a ferrari!
Also, I guess the 130 would be better for visual also if I wanted a "sort of" all rounder (if there is such a thing)
Would appreciate your input!
Thanks in advance,
Lucas

Last edited by LucasB; 07-10-2011 at 11:20 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:27 PM
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What about a Tak TOA 130 and use the change to buy a decent CCD and Filters.

Those Hiper Apo's sure look pretty though.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:42 AM
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Italia vs Nippon...tough contest

You would be deciding between supermodels so can't go wrong either way!



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Old 08-10-2011, 06:19 PM
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Not that tough I suggest. .96 stehl is high but others are better. TEC makes to .99 strehl in green so does AP and I suspect so does Tak TOA130.

There is a question mark in my mind about using carbon fibre for a refractor. Roland Christen the acknowledged master in this game is against it because of tube currents. No doubt that is why they have fans. You've gotta wonder of those fans over time could enter dust onto the back of the lens. Carbon fibre is light and that would make it easier to mount the scope on a smaller mount though. Zero tube expansion is not as important with APO scopes as the lens shift focus anyway with temp and aluminium follow that to some degree. I'd be interested to hear from anyone using a carbon fibre tubed scope about stability of focus with temperature drops.

The lens appears to be a LZOS lens and they definitely do make good high end lenses but certainly not best in world. They are Russian.

The sample images they show on the website are terrible and one shows bad chromatic aberration so not a good ad for their scope.

AUD$11,000 for a LZOS 130mm scope is really poor value for money and I doubt you would ever get that back in resale. You'd probably only be able to get $4500 - 5000 max for a 2nd hand 130mm APO at a guess and for a not so well known brand not even that.

A TOA130 often goes for about US$4500 on Astromart 2nd hand. That would be about AUD$6000 or less in Australia (depends if you are charged GST or not on 2nd hand scopes, about $600 for shipping).

For $11,000 you could get an AP140 with reducer/flattener, a TOA130 with a camera or a TEC140 with flattener and a camera. Plus your resale value would be 10-15% off what you paid for it or the same if you buy well.

I doubt this scope could keep up with a TEC140 let alone an AP140 or an AP130 GT. I also wonder how good the reducer is. Reducers often give coma in the corners on full frame sized chips. A 3.5 inch feathertouch is nice but the TEC scopes all have those for far less. AP's 155TCC and Taks super reducer are the only reducers I am aware of capable of round stars to the corners of a full frame sensor. APM claim they have one but it is new and no examples to show proof.

By the way I find it annoying when scope companies falsely promote fluorite lenses. This is definitely not a fluorite lens - only TEC make those at present. It is Russian OK4 which is the equivalent of OHara FPL53 glass which has a lot of fluorite in it. A fluorite lens is the best in the business and costs a lot and not made by the Russian LZOS company.
it is a single crystal built up of Calcium Fluorite and is not a glass its a crystal.

It is a common scam marketing hype to fool customers as is the term hiper APO - no such word. There is hype APO hehehe. There is a definition for super APO but that is 4 colour crossings at focus at the same time and this scope nor any of the above achieve that. TEC, AP and Tak would come close.

There is no way that scope would match this 2nd hand AP 130 F6 and its half the price. Ask Peter Ward:

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=749922 AP130 $5000

Greg.

Last edited by gregbradley; 08-10-2011 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:54 PM
LucasB (Lucas)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cventer View Post
What about a Tak TOA 130 and use the change to buy a decent CCD and Filters.
Those Hiper Apo's sure look pretty though.
I think that is definitely worth considering! Thanks for the suggestion cventer

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Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
Italia vs Nippon...tough contest

You would be deciding between supermodels so can't go wrong either way!
Mike
Always hard to decide when making a purchase for astro work. Thanks for the input Mike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Not that tough I suggest. .96 stehl is high but others are better. TEC makes to .99 strehl in green so does AP and I suspect so does Tak TOA130.

There is a question mark in my mind about using carbon fibre for a refractor. Roland Christen the acknowledged master in this game is against it because of tube currents. No doubt that is why they have fans. You've gotta wonder of those fans over time could enter dust onto the back of the lens. Carbon fibre is light and that would make it easier to mount the scope on a smaller mount though. Zero tube expansion is not as important with APO scopes as the lens shift focus anyway with temp and aluminium follow that to some degree. I'd be interested to hear from anyone using a carbon fibre tubed scope about stability of focus with temperature drops.

The lens appears to be a LZOS lens and they definitely do make good high end lenses but certainly not best in world. They are Russian.

The sample images they show on the website are terrible and one shows bad chromatic aberration so not a good ad for their scope.

AUD$11,000 for a LZOS 130mm scope is really poor value for money and I doubt you would ever get that back in resale. You'd probably only be able to get $4500 - 5000 max for a 2nd hand 130mm APO at a guess and for a not so well known brand not even that.

A TOA130 often goes for about US$4500 on Astromart 2nd hand. That would be about AUD$6000 or less in Australia (depends if you are charged GST or not on 2nd hand scopes, about $600 for shipping).

For $11,000 you could get an AP140 with reducer/flattener, a TOA130 with a camera or a TEC140 with flattener and a camera. Plus your resale value would be 10-15% off what you paid for it or the same if you buy well.

I doubt this scope could keep up with a TEC140 let alone an AP140 or an AP130 GT. I also wonder how good the reducer is. Reducers often give coma in the corners on full frame sized chips. A 3.5 inch feathertouch is nice but the TEC scopes all have those for far less. AP's 155TCC and Taks super reducer are the only reducers I am aware of capable of round stars to the corners of a full frame sensor. APM claim they have one but it is new and no examples to show proof.

By the way I find it annoying when scope companies falsely promote fluorite lenses. This is definitely not a fluorite lens - only TEC make those at present. It is Russian OK4 which is the equivalent of OHara FPL53 glass which has a lot of fluorite in it. A fluorite lens is the best in the business and costs a lot and not made by the Russian LZOS company.
it is a single crystal built up of Calcium Fluorite and is not a glass its a crystal.

It is a common scam marketing hype to fool customers as is the term hiper APO - no such word. There is hype APO hehehe. There is a definition for super APO but that is 4 colour crossings at focus at the same time and this scope nor any of the above achieve that. TEC, AP and Tak would come close.

There is no way that scope would match this 2nd hand AP 130 F6 and its half the price. Ask Peter Ward:

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=749922 AP130 $5000

Greg.
Firstly let me say thanks for taking the time for this detailed reply, Greg. The information is fantastic. The reason I was leaning towards Officina Stellare is because the information I was given was that they are the only one of two suppliers that does a genuine triplet fluorite on the market, the other being TEC. Taks were also mentioned and it was noted that TEC would be as good as OS and the Tak slightly behind the two. As you have worked out I am looking for a very high end refractor and just want the best setup I can get with the current budget. I would like a TEC or AP but I am a little nervous about the 2nd hand market in that I am worried about the quality of the optics (scratches) and shipping. This is another reason that the OS refractor was appealing considering I could pick it up new from a local dealer BUT if the initial quality is not there then I would prefer something else.
If I could pick up something with a Strehl of 0.99 then I am there! I think after reading your post I am definitely rethinking my options. I would like to get something fast and flat so I will be looking very closely at your suggestions an definitely the reducer/flattener as it would be critical. Next I could search for a really nice CCD. I have read your post regarding the new Kodak sensors which sound great but as usual with this hobby , if it sounds great it costs $$$. My thinking is now starting to head towards a nice 0.99 strehl TEC or AP (if I can find one) and then start investigating CCDs.
Your input has been greatly appreciated and if you have anymore suggestions to add pease do! I would be interested in your experiences with second hand purchases.Thanks again
Regards,
Lucas
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroAussie View Post
I think that is definitely worth considering! Thanks for the suggestion cventer



Always hard to decide when making a purchase for astro work. Thanks for the input Mike.



Firstly let me say thanks for taking the time for this detailed reply, Greg. The information is fantastic. The reason I was leaning towards Officina Stellare is because the information I was given was that they are the only one of two suppliers that does a genuine triplet fluorite on the market, the other being TEC. Taks were also mentioned and it was noted that TEC would be as good as OS and the Tak slightly behind the two. As you have worked out I am looking for a very high end refractor and just want the best setup I can get with the current budget. I would like a TEC or AP but I am a little nervous about the 2nd hand market in that I am worried about the quality of the optics (scratches) and shipping. This is another reason that the OS refractor was appealing considering I could pick it up new from a local dealer BUT if the initial quality is not there then I would prefer something else.
If I could pick up something with a Strehl of 0.99 then I am there! I think after reading your post I am definitely rethinking my options. I would like to get something fast and flat so I will be looking very closely at your suggestions an definitely the reducer/flattener as it would be critical. Next I could search for a really nice CCD. I have read your post regarding the new Kodak sensors which sound great but as usual with this hobby , if it sounds great it costs $$$. My thinking is now starting to head towards a nice 0.99 strehl TEC or AP (if I can find one) and then start investigating CCDs.
Your input has been greatly appreciated and if you have anymore suggestions to add pease do! I would be interested in your experiences with second hand purchases.Thanks again
Regards,
Lucas

You're welcome Lucas.

If the dealer said OS make a fluorite triplet perhaps they do. They specs on the Hiper 130mm says OK4 glass which is LZOS. Not many companies actually make the lenses. Even Tak uses a subcontractor. OK4 is Russian Glass. As far as I know there are only 2 fluorite suppliers - Schott Glass in Germany and OHara glass in Japan. OK4 glass lens is a giveaway that the lens is really a LZOS air spaced triplet. OK4 is exotic glass like FPL53 and it contains mostly fluorite and has been referred to by dishonest marketers - notably William Optics, incorrectly as fluorite which is a different type of lens.

I have yet to hear anyone unhappy with a TEC140 and they are new about US$5500 from Yuri.

I have bought many things from Astromart. I was diddled only once - an SBIG ST10XME that never arrived. I chased the guy and he did repay me about half the money and now with their economy in poor shape he hasn't paid any more for a long time.

So if buying from Astromart I would always ask for a photo of the goods, the sellers phone number and call them. I would only buy off of those with multiple high ratings over a long period. Then I think it is quite safe.
You can have them get the scope professionally packaged if you are concerned about packaging. The bulk of the people in this pursuit are older more responsible middle class type people and I find very trustworthy if you do the above. I did win an auction for an AP160 once for US$17,000. I called the guy and he said he wanted me to send the money to his father in law because he was going through bankruptcy court and he didn't want to disclose the money. I talked to the father in law over the phone and he sounded OK. But there was no mention of any of this in the ad. So I thought I would turn the tables on him on trust and ask him to ship and I would pay on arrival. He was all offended. Perhaps I flushed him out. I told the owner of Astromart about what he told me and he immediately banned the guy from the site and would not allow him to relist it. So that was a dodgy deal but it may still have worked out but US$17K? You want everything to be clear and clean.

TEC140's go for about US$4500 to $5000 2nd hand and I think they are about $5500 new with probably a wait of 6 months or so.

There was an AP140 for sale last week for US$8500.

Tak TOA130 sell often for around US$4500 or less. I think any comment that the TOA series is a bit less than the TEC or AP is untrue. Ask any TOA owner. Apart from the fact that TOA scopes are quite heavy for their aperture (and thus put a strain on the mount) they are amazing instruments. Have a look at Marcus Davies images on this site using a TOA150.

You've got a large budget there Lucas and you should be able to get something spectacular for that much.

AP130 GTs are often for sale on Astromart for about US$6500-7000 and they are fairly new. Usually they post an image of the lens if you are worried about scratches.

William Optics 132mm I suspect also use a LZOS lens and they sell for about US$3000 or less 2nd hand.

Greg.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:48 PM
LucasB (Lucas)
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Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
You're welcome Lucas.

If the dealer said OS make a fluorite triplet perhaps they do. They specs on the Hiper 130mm says OK4 glass which is LZOS. Not many companies actually make the lenses. Even Tak uses a subcontractor. OK4 is Russian Glass. As far as I know there are only 2 fluorite suppliers - Schott Glass in Germany and OHara glass in Japan. OK4 glass lens is a giveaway that the lens is really a LZOS air spaced triplet. OK4 is exotic glass like FPL53 and it contains mostly fluorite and has been referred to by dishonest marketers - notably William Optics, incorrectly as fluorite which is a different type of lens.

I have yet to hear anyone unhappy with a TEC140 and they are new about US$5500 from Yuri.

I have bought many things from Astromart. I was diddled only once - an SBIG ST10XME that never arrived. I chased the guy and he did repay me about half the money and now with their economy in poor shape he hasn't paid any more for a long time.

So if buying from Astromart I would always ask for a photo of the goods, the sellers phone number and call them. I would only buy off of those with multiple high ratings over a long period. Then I think it is quite safe.
You can have them get the scope professionally packaged if you are concerned about packaging. The bulk of the people in this pursuit are older more responsible middle class type people and I find very trustworthy if you do the above. I did win an auction for an AP160 once for US$17,000. I called the guy and he said he wanted me to send the money to his father in law because he was going through bankruptcy court and he didn't want to disclose the money. I talked to the father in law over the phone and he sounded OK. But there was no mention of any of this in the ad. So I thought I would turn the tables on him on trust and ask him to ship and I would pay on arrival. He was all offended. Perhaps I flushed him out. I told the owner of Astromart about what he told me and he immediately banned the guy from the site and would not allow him to relist it. So that was a dodgy deal but it may still have worked out but US$17K? You want everything to be clear and clean.

TEC140's go for about US$4500 to $5000 2nd hand and I think they are about $5500 new with probably a wait of 6 months or so.

There was an AP140 for sale last week for US$8500.

Tak TOA130 sell often for around US$4500 or less. I think any comment that the TOA series is a bit less than the TEC or AP is untrue. Ask any TOA owner. Apart from the fact that TOA scopes are quite heavy for their aperture (and thus put a strain on the mount) they are amazing instruments. Have a look at Marcus Davies images on this site using a TOA150.

You've got a large budget there Lucas and you should be able to get something spectacular for that much.

AP130 GTs are often for sale on Astromart for about US$6500-7000 and they are fairly new. Usually they post an image of the lens if you are worried about scratches.

William Optics 132mm I suspect also use a LZOS lens and they sell for about US$3000 or less 2nd hand.

Greg.
That is very handy information and you are correct, I am after something spectacular! The primary lens in the OS APOs are LZOS OK4 and I have been informed that they are assembled by APM. I think they could be a great telescope but as you have pointed out are very pricey. I would hate to lose half of my hard earned the minute I purchased a telescope. Strehl ratio is a bit of a funny animal considering there is no unique standard adhered to. It's hard to know whether it's calculated or measured by an interferometer, polychromatic or single wavelength and then if it is polychromatic, the weight each wavelength is given to calculate the overall Strehl. I think it gives a pretty good indication of telescope optics but there is reputation to consider. Astrophysics, TEC and Takahashi are all established but Officina Stellare, although they are an offshoot of A&M, are relatively new. Most imporatntly I weight the opinions of people like yourself who have used multiple refractors over years very highly and combined with Strehl and reputation you have a solid basis for decision making (Yes - I found an old thread where you marked 9 refractors you have used over the years).
I would love to get my hands on a AP130GT or AP140 but when I look on Astromart I see a lot of sellers not wanting to ship internationally. I know that sellers do so I guess I will have to keep my eyes open and be patient for the right one to come along. If I was to get a TEC I reckon I'd get one new considering the difference to 2nd hand is minimal.
My thinking is that the answer to my original question would be to buy an exotic refractor at the right price (still have to decide which) and with the savings get myself a reducer/flattener and a CCD.

Regards,
Lucas
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:34 AM
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If it were me Lucas (and I didn't already have an AP152EDF) I would bite the bullet and order a brand new Tak TOA150 with flattener, extender and reducer

Mike
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:18 AM
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I agree with Mike a TOA150B with flattener and reducer and Q extender is hard to beat in the refractor game. See Marcus Davies images on this site. He has shown consistently more detail in his images than I thought a 6 inch APO could show. Expensive though.
AP155EDF is the other one that is about the best there is. Especially with the AP reducer/flattener (155TCC). They come up occasionally usually for about US$9500 although there was one recently that went for a lot less. But it was quite a bit older and had the 2.7 inch focuser - you really want the 4 inch focuser. 2nd hand TOA150's when they do come up (not that often) usually go for around US$9000-9500. They used to be about $9000 new in the US now they are $11,400 at optcorp.com! I guess the Yen has appreciated against the US$ and there nust have been some price increases.

If I were shopping for a 6 inch APO my list would go like this:

AP155 with 4 inch greaseless focuser and feathertouch microfocuser and 155TCC reducer/flattener and 4 inch flattener.
TOA150B with flattener, super reducer and Q extender.
TEC160FL with flattener and new rings (ditch the TEC ones they damage the scope).

And thats it.

What mount are you looking at? For a scope that size the Paramount MX is probably the one to get.

Astromart ads often say CONUS only. If I want something I let them know that it is really no different than shipping to Texas. Also their market is depressed and they may not have US buyers so easily.

There is a TOA130 just listed for US$4800 for example (its only 2.7 inch focuser though and you need the 4 inch).

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=750060

The TOA150 was given a beefier focuser about 2 years ago and they name that the TOA150B. The original TOA150 would be fine for STL11 type cameras but heavier 16803 chipped cameras may test it hence the later model.

Speaking of APM/TMB there was a 175/F8 TMB for sale on Astromart about 5 weeks ago for US$8500 I think. That seemed like a huge bargain. Those scope don't seem to hold their value well. New that would be about $16,000 or more.

Yes with Strehl I am sure there are ways to massage the figures. TEC quote .99 in the green band (they primarily design for visual and green is the bulk of your eyesight). AP probably would be the most honest. I read in posts where Roland goes for .99.
Greg.

Last edited by gregbradley; 10-10-2011 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:50 AM
Hagar (Doug)
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Hi Lucas, My choise would be to look at the Tak 130. At the price it is hard to beat. Roland Christen has even stated that the TOA 130 is the best colour corrected scope on the market. Thats a big statement from him. For what it's worth with any of the triplets mentioned you will undoubtedly need a field flattener and you are better to buy a scope which has one made for it. Tak scopes all come from the factory with a Strell of 98 or better. Just be aware that all these scopes are quite heavy, the TOA 130 is around the 11 to 12 KG mark and can be purchased with either the 2.7" focuser or the big 4" focuser at extra cost.
I looked very hard at the 130 but ended up buying the 120 based on weight concerns and cost. I might add I am very happy with both the 120 and FSQ I own. Tak may be almost mass produced but they are up there with the best.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:20 AM
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TOA are awesome scopes.

Keep in mind 2 things when considering these high end scopes to help differentiate between them. One, the availability of accessories. Tak has a very full range so does AP. TEC makes a dedicated flattener but no reducer. The Tak or AP may work on it but it may not. I have a 4 inch Tak flattener and a 4 inch Tak reducer meant for the FS152 (a doublet) and the flattener works on both my AP140 and my TEC180. But the reducer only partially works on my TEC180 with some star distortions in the corners. The more recent Tak super reducer may work on it but its a US$2200 item.

Also when buying a Tak scope the price includes nothing but the scope. No mounting rings, no finder scope, no mounting brackets for the finder scope, no dovetail plate etc. So add another $800 for all that.

That puts the Tak 150B in the same price league as a TEC160FL.

Hmm there's an interesting shootout. Which is best - TEC160 oiled fluorite triplet with 3.5 inch feathertouch focuser (or now its a proprietary TEC focuser also available with built in electronic focuser unit)??

As a TEC fan I would have to say an oiled fluorite triplet would be hard to beat. Even Tak would agree as they make one - only they want 3X as much as TEC!! But it would be close and perhaps not a lot in it apart from accessories. I would go the TEC myself but that's just me. A custom fluorite oiled triplet will no doubt no longer be made within a few years given the way this industry goes and these scopes will be the AP's of the future in several years. They are already highly prized and the supply of exotic glasses needed for the lenses are already becoming hard for TEC to get. The TEC focuser is excellent as I have a TEC110FL and it is the proprietary TEC focuser and I would rate it as equal to the Feathertouch and perhaps better in some ways. It is better than the Tak competitor focuser.

The 2nd point is these extras are very expensive. A 4 inch flattener is around US$2200 for AP and Tak. A TEC one is US$750 and it works perfectly on a 16803 chip (the current ultimate test).

The Tak extender also works on the TEC as I have used one on my TEC180FL with a Q extender 1.6X and a special custom adapter giving F11.2 and a FLI ML8300.

Tak and AP have more accessories.

The other factor is availability.

AP is only available 2nd hand.
TEC currently have glass for TEC180FL (2 left) and 140ED models. The 160FL not until next year at the earliest. They already stopped prodction of the 200 fluorite, the 200ED and the 160ED due to glass supply problems. So you see my point about these high end scopes.They are destined to be classics.
Tak seems reasonably available although perhaps a wait for a 150B, yu'd have to shop around.

Tricky isn't it?

If you wanted to take a punt (and it would be a punt) Markus Ludes was selling a 150mm APO from China that he claimed was finally as good or better than the top guys. He sells the APM/TMB scopes. He's a bit of a shark but he does sell good gear. I got some custom rings off him for my TEC180. These scopes were US$6995 or so which is cheap for a high end 150mm APO. Leaves money for a nice CCD like a KAF8300 chipped camera or a 11002 chipped camera.

decisions decisions. Not an easy task wading through all this data making a choice of which scope.

The bottomline though is any of those top 3 brands is going to be an awesome scope and the differences are much smaller between the 3 than between high end and lower end.

6 inch APO is the sweet spot for astroimaging. So is about 1200mm focal length. Mike's AP152 is the perfect focal length in my opinion. WIth its flattener I think it was running a little longer focal length and it works out beautifully for many objects. I personally feel F5 is also a sweet spot for imaging if you can get it. So a 6 inch APO, around 1200mm focal length (not that vital, 1000mm would be fine) and F7 with the ability to go to around F5 is what you want. TOA150 is quite versatile in that regard. AP also, TEC can be made to work probably with a bit of research to get to F5.25 (the new APM reducers may do the job for example, they are US$700 + the inevitable adapters $250 +).

My final point, a high quality 6 inch APO with accessories and a good mount with a good camera will last you a lifetime in this hobby. The 6 inch APO is not in danger of being outperformed by some new and exotic design in the future. There will be far less gain upgrading to a larger APO. A 130mm (as good as they are and they are good) may have you wanting a larger scope later and you will lose in the selling/buying process especially if you bought a lighter mount for the 130. Always factor in aperture fever and the costs associated with that. I read recently that the jump from 140 to 160mm is the biggest noticeable jump in APOs visually. Budget rules though at the end of the day.

Good luck with your choice.

Greg.
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:58 PM
LucasB (Lucas)
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Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
I agree with Mike a TOA150B with flattener and reducer and Q extender is hard to beat in the refractor game. See Marcus Davies images on this site. He has shown consistently more detail in his images than I thought a 6 inch APO could show. Expensive though.
AP155EDF is the other one that is about the best there is. Especially with the AP reducer/flattener (155TCC). They come up occasionally usually for about US$9500 although there was one recently that went for a lot less. But it was quite a bit older and had the 2.7 inch focuser - you really want the 4 inch focuser. 2nd hand TOA150's when they do come up (not that often) usually go for around US$9000-9500. They used to be about $9000 new in the US now they are $11,400 at optcorp.com! I guess the Yen has appreciated against the US$ and there nust have been some price increases.

If I were shopping for a 6 inch APO my list would go like this:

AP155 with 4 inch greaseless focuser and feathertouch microfocuser and 155TCC reducer/flattener and 4 inch flattener.
TOA150B with flattener, super reducer and Q extender.
TEC160FL with flattener and new rings (ditch the TEC ones they damage the scope).

And thats it.

What mount are you looking at? For a scope that size the Paramount MX is probably the one to get.
I would love a Paramount MX and all three of these telescopes would be fantastic but unfortunately I only have an EQ6 Pro, which I can autoguide well up to FL 1000mm but the weight of these scopes is probably too much. I am in a position where I don't have an Obsy set up and have to pull things up and down when imaging. I will be moving in the not to distant future and will be able to get an obsy happening which is when the Paramount MX will be the mount of choice and so will the 6 inch APO!

Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
If it were me Lucas (and I didn't already have an AP152EDF) I would bite the bullet and order a brand new Tak TOA150 with flattener, extender and reducer

Mike
It really sounds very appealing and versatile. It would be a great option definitely for the future when I upgrade to the heavier payload mount. You must love that AP152EDF. I know I would!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagar View Post
Hi Lucas, My choise would be to look at the Tak 130. At the price it is hard to beat. Roland Christen has even stated that the TOA 130 is the best colour corrected scope on the market. Thats a big statement from him. For what it's worth with any of the triplets mentioned you will undoubtedly need a field flattener and you are better to buy a scope which has one made for it. Tak scopes all come from the factory with a Strell of 98 or better. Just be aware that all these scopes are quite heavy, the TOA 130 is around the 11 to 12 KG mark and can be purchased with either the 2.7" focuser or the big 4" focuser at extra cost.
I looked very hard at the 130 but ended up buying the 120 based on weight concerns and cost. I might add I am very happy with both the 120 and FSQ I own. Tak may be almost mass produced but they are up there with the best.
Thanks for the input Doug. I think my EQ6 Pro might be a little light on for imaging (I could always have a crack!) but these TOA Taks are definitely in the mix considering all the accessories available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
TOA are awesome scopes.

Keep in mind 2 things when considering these high end scopes to help differentiate between them. One, the availability of accessories. Tak has a very full range so does AP. TEC makes a dedicated flattener but no reducer. The Tak or AP may work on it but it may not. I have a 4 inch Tak flattener and a 4 inch Tak reducer meant for the FS152 (a doublet) and the flattener works on both my AP140 and my TEC180. But the reducer only partially works on my TEC180 with some star distortions in the corners. The more recent Tak super reducer may work on it but its a US$2200 item.

Also when buying a Tak scope the price includes nothing but the scope. No mounting rings, no finder scope, no mounting brackets for the finder scope, no dovetail plate etc. So add another $800 for all that.

That puts the Tak 150B in the same price league as a TEC160FL.

Hmm there's an interesting shootout. Which is best - TEC160 oiled fluorite triplet with 3.5 inch feathertouch focuser (or now its a proprietary TEC focuser also available with built in electronic focuser unit)??

As a TEC fan I would have to say an oiled fluorite triplet would be hard to beat. Even Tak would agree as they make one - only they want 3X as much as TEC!! But it would be close and perhaps not a lot in it apart from accessories. I would go the TEC myself but that's just me. A custom fluorite oiled triplet will no doubt no longer be made within a few years given the way this industry goes and these scopes will be the AP's of the future in several years. They are already highly prized and the supply of exotic glasses needed for the lenses are already becoming hard for TEC to get. The TEC focuser is excellent as I have a TEC110FL and it is the proprietary TEC focuser and I would rate it as equal to the Feathertouch and perhaps better in some ways. It is better than the Tak competitor focuser.

The 2nd point is these extras are very expensive. A 4 inch flattener is around US$2200 for AP and Tak. A TEC one is US$750 and it works perfectly on a 16803 chip (the current ultimate test).

The Tak extender also works on the TEC as I have used one on my TEC180FL with a Q extender 1.6X and a special custom adapter giving F11.2 and a FLI ML8300.

Tak and AP have more accessories.

The other factor is availability.

AP is only available 2nd hand.
TEC currently have glass for TEC180FL (2 left) and 140ED models. The 160FL not until next year at the earliest. They already stopped prodction of the 200 fluorite, the 200ED and the 160ED due to glass supply problems. So you see my point about these high end scopes.They are destined to be classics.
Tak seems reasonably available although perhaps a wait for a 150B, yu'd have to shop around.

Tricky isn't it?

If you wanted to take a punt (and it would be a punt) Markus Ludes was selling a 150mm APO from China that he claimed was finally as good or better than the top guys. He sells the APM/TMB scopes. He's a bit of a shark but he does sell good gear. I got some custom rings off him for my TEC180. These scopes were US$6995 or so which is cheap for a high end 150mm APO. Leaves money for a nice CCD like a KAF8300 chipped camera or a 11002 chipped camera.

decisions decisions. Not an easy task wading through all this data making a choice of which scope.

The bottomline though is any of those top 3 brands is going to be an awesome scope and the differences are much smaller between the 3 than between high end and lower end.

6 inch APO is the sweet spot for astroimaging. So is about 1200mm focal length. Mike's AP152 is the perfect focal length in my opinion. WIth its flattener I think it was running a little longer focal length and it works out beautifully for many objects. I personally feel F5 is also a sweet spot for imaging if you can get it. So a 6 inch APO, around 1200mm focal length (not that vital, 1000mm would be fine) and F7 with the ability to go to around F5 is what you want. TOA150 is quite versatile in that regard. AP also, TEC can be made to work probably with a bit of research to get to F5.25 (the new APM reducers may do the job for example, they are US$700 + the inevitable adapters $250 +).

My final point, a high quality 6 inch APO with accessories and a good mount with a good camera will last you a lifetime in this hobby. The 6 inch APO is not in danger of being outperformed by some new and exotic design in the future. There will be far less gain upgrading to a larger APO. A 130mm (as good as they are and they are good) may have you wanting a larger scope later and you will lose in the selling/buying process especially if you bought a lighter mount for the 130. Always factor in aperture fever and the costs associated with that. I read recently that the jump from 140 to 160mm is the biggest noticeable jump in APOs visually. Budget rules though at the end of the day.

Good luck with your choice.

Greg.
Greg,
You have been extremely helpful in this refractor project and the wealth of information is priceless. I too like the idea of the oil spaced triplet fluorite. The TEC140 would be great as it is a good weight for my EQ6 Pro but being ED glass (which is still nice) I would want the fluorite so I think the TEC160FL would be my first choice there. The TOA Taks are definitely being considered, wonder if I could mount a TOA 130 on the EQ6 Pro? Astrophysics would be fantastic also. At this stage I think I would have to go for a refractor that I could mount on the EQ6 Pro until I could upgrade my mount. As I stated earlier I'm in the pull everything up and down category until I move and build my Obsy.

Decisions, decisions....

I think it's a bit like real estate in a way. When the right scope comes up with the right deal that will be the time to buy. With the strong dollar against the US, Astromart is an attractive proposition. Especially considering I am partial to an AP but just thought they were too hard to get.
Regards,
Lucas
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:14 AM
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Here's one that just appeared in Astromart:

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=750286

I don't know anything about the seller but that's both items for close to your original budget for a 130mm alone.

Shipping to Oz would be around $900 and there would be GST of around $1400. Then there is the buy exchange rate so
you'd lose about 4% on top of whatever the dollar is at the time which at the moment is close to parity.

So all up mount and TOA150 would be about AUD$15,000 for what is about AUD$24,000+ new (depends on what accessories he is including).

It may be worth a little holiday in the US eh?

Greg.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Here's one that just appeared in Astromart:

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=750286

I don't know anything about the seller but that's both items for close to your original budget for a 130mm alone.

Shipping to Oz would be around $900 and there would be GST of around $1400. Then there is the buy exchange rate so
you'd lose about 4% on top of whatever the dollar is at the time which at the moment is close to parity.

So all up mount and TOA150 would be about AUD$15,000 for what is about AUD$24,000+ new (depends on what accessories he is including).

It may be worth a little holiday in the US eh?

Greg.
Yep if the budget can go out to $15K odd, I'd recommend having a close look at this one! The NJP is a killer mount and could carry two TOA's 150's at once Robins Astromart rating speaks volumes too.

Mike
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Old 13-10-2011, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
Yep if the budget can go out to $15K odd, I'd recommend having a close look at this one! The NJP is a killer mount and could carry two TOA's 150's at once Robins Astromart rating speaks volumes too.

Mike
Apparently he had tried to sell scope on 3 other occasions since March 2011 @ $15K (assuming that this one is the same as advertised then with the same bits & bobs) - in 2007 he flew and delivered a scope he sold (a TOA130) to San Antonio in his private jet prop!! Looks like this scope is aro 6yo

(I might be wrong and I stand corrected if that is the case )

HTH
Cheers
Bill
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Old 13-10-2011, 08:22 AM
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Good to know. It means he is more negotiable!

If I were wanting I would offer a lower figure to see how definite that price is. The US economy is still in the doldrums and I think its a lot harder for them to sell high end gear like this. Also not everyone wants a mount with the scope so that would make it even harder.

Greg.
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Old 13-10-2011, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Here's one that just appeared in Astromart:
http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=750286
I don't know anything about the seller but that's both items for close to your original budget for a 130mm alone.
Shipping to Oz would be around $900 and there would be GST of around $1400. Then there is the buy exchange rate so
you'd lose about 4% on top of whatever the dollar is at the time which at the moment is close to parity.
So all up mount and TOA150 would be about AUD$15,000 for what is about AUD$24,000+ new (depends on what accessories he is including).
It may be worth a little holiday in the US eh?
Greg.
That is a super deal. I saw that very set up (new) for $27,000. I don't mind the shipping but that GST is a killer! Do you also have to pay import duty on 2nd hand goods? I'm not sure. Is that why you are suggesting a holiday to the US? How would that work? Can I just bring it back as "extra luggage"? It's not that small so I imagine it could attract a little attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
Yep if the budget can go out to $15K odd, I'd recommend having a close look at this one! The NJP is a killer mount and could carry two TOA's 150's at once Robins Astromart rating speaks volumes too.
Mike
Definitely a great deal Mike! Like you say it's a great mount. Worth an email to Robin to see what it comes with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Visionoz View Post
Apparently he had tried to sell scope on 3 other occasions since March 2011 @ $15K (assuming that this one is the same as advertised then with the same bits & bobs) - in 2007 he flew and delivered a scope he sold (a TOA130) to San Antonio in his private jet prop!! Looks like this scope is aro 6yo

(I might be wrong and I stand corrected if that is the case )

HTH
Cheers
Bill
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Good to know. It means he is more negotiable!

If I were wanting I would offer a lower figure to see how definite that price is. The US economy is still in the doldrums and I think its a lot harder for them to sell high end gear like this. Also not everyone wants a mount with the scope so that would make it even harder.

Greg.
Greg/Bill,
Might be a steal! Might try and get some more details. Had the pleasure of looking thorugh the Officina Stellare Hiper APO 130 last night. It was quite something. It did split Antares (which was a little low) , Jewel box was stunning , M7 pinpoint stars. Used a WO quartz diagonal and Carl Zeiss Jena eyepiece which was a treat. Fantastic visual scope! But once again value for $$$ is the big question. I have seen AP scopes for sale on Astromart and CN classifieds for $5000-$6000. So has SWMBO who has suggested maybe we both go to the US for a holiday and pick up something like this. I saw an AP130 F6 + mount and a whole buch of Televue eyepieces and barlows for $6250 on CN classifieds but not sure it is a really safe place to deal considering all of the warnings the website puts on there regarding scam deals. Then again like you Greg I am very partial to the Fluorite triplet so have not ruled out TEC but their most appropraite for me is the TEC160FL. Guess I could always have crack at the TOA150 and sell the OTA and buy a TEC160FL if I wanted to. I have recently heard nothing but glowing reports regarding the TEC160FL photographically and visually. And to be honest the current IOTW shows how good a TEC140ED is for photo.
Then again, buying the 130-140 gives me more portability and the budget to get the accessories.
Ahhhh it's all fun but I think my head is going to explode
Regards,
Lucas
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Old 14-10-2011, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by AstroAussie View Post

.... But once again value for $$$ is the big question. I have seen AP scopes for sale on Astromart and CN classifieds for $5000-$6000. So has SWMBO who has suggested maybe we both go to the US for a holiday and pick up something like this. ....
Yep, I'd do that if it was me wanting to buy a used one from the USA = plus a holiday to boot!! You're indeed lucky Lucas that your SWMBO is also actively encouraging you along with the decision - good onya!!

I think getting thru customs with used goods like that is 50/50 - at the worst case scenario you pay the GST and you might get lucky and get away with it - a mate here returned from a job posting from the USA earlier this year with a Tak EM200 Temma (GoTo) and an OTA and didn't pay the GST because the officer was in a hurry to finish his shift - he was over the moon since he was prepared to pay the GST anyway!

Cheers
Bill
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Old 14-10-2011, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by AstroAussie View Post
That is a super deal. I saw that very set up (new) for $27,000. I don't mind the shipping but that GST is a killer! Do you also have to pay import duty on 2nd hand goods? I'm not sure. Is that why you are suggesting a holiday to the US? How would that work? Can I just bring it back as "extra luggage"? It's not that small so I imagine it could attract a little attention.

I am not aware of any import duty on scopes. On mounts? I don't think so. The GST got rid of a lot of stuff like that. The guys who got their PMX mounts lately didn't have any import duty.

You still have to pay GST when you bring it back in as luggage but the shipping cost of all that is going to be similar to a return ticket plus perhaps a bit of excess luggage weight charge.

I've sent Yuri an email about the availability of his models and I'll let you know his reply.





Greg/Bill,
Might be a steal! Might try and get some more details. Had the pleasure of looking thorugh the Officina Stellare Hiper APO 130 last night. It was quite something. It did split Antares (which was a little low) , Jewel box was stunning , M7 pinpoint stars. Used a WO quartz diagonal and Carl Zeiss Jena eyepiece which was a treat. Fantastic visual scope! But once again value for $$$ is the big question. I have seen AP scopes for sale on Astromart and CN classifieds for $5000-$6000. So has SWMBO who has suggested maybe we both go to the US for a holiday and pick up something like this. I saw an AP130 F6 + mount and a whole buch of Televue eyepieces and barlows for $6250 on CN classifieds but not sure it is a really safe place to deal considering all of the warnings the website puts on there regarding scam deals. Then again like you Greg I am very partial to the Fluorite triplet so have not ruled out TEC but their most appropraite for me is the TEC160FL. Guess I could always have crack at the TOA150 and sell the OTA and buy a TEC160FL if I wanted to. I have recently heard nothing but glowing reports regarding the TEC160FL photographically and visually. And to be honest the current IOTW shows how good a TEC140ED is for photo.
Then again, buying the 130-140 gives me more portability and the budget to get the accessories.
Ahhhh it's all fun but I think my head is going to explode
Regards,
Lucas
Yes these are the many considerations that you go over and over.

I am sure the Officina 130mm scope is great its just that a new AP130GT is only about US$6750 or something similar so how can someone justify the huge price difference. Perhaps because it is made in Europe and it seems they pay nearly 50% more for astronomy gear. They must have a lot of taxes etc.

My advice is to get the biggest and best upfront otherwise I can tell you are going to want the bigger one later just like I did and it will cost you in the changeover. Its like pulling off a bandaid, rip it off and get it over and done with. A TOA 150 is a heavy scope. I presume its still portable though. The TEC160FL would be lighter I am sure. My TEC180FL is "portable" (its quite long in its case, but it fits in the back of a Toyota Prado) and it will run on an NJP (I did this for several years).
TEC had 2 sets of glass left to make a 180 recently. I can check with Yuri for you if interested. Someone posted he had no glass sets left for TEC160FL and the glass company wasn't doing a melt on that glass for the rest of this year. Again, I can check for you.

TEC140 is a well known and well loved scope. Slightly wide field though but then again not as much as a 130 scope.
Same as AP140. It would depend on what camera you were using with it.

His Yuri's response to the email:

Message Body

Greg,
APO140ED - ~5 mo
APO160/180 - no timing yet since we do not know if Schott will make new melt of one of the glasses... This question be answered in January only.
If your friend is looking for scope for general use - I would recommend him APO140 - our best seller (over 550 sold).
deposit of $1200 is required to place an order.
best regards, Yuri





Greg.

Last edited by gregbradley; 14-10-2011 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 14-10-2011, 11:46 PM
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Or this one, TEC160ED and an AP reducer and bits and pieces:

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=750621

Greg.
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