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Everything posted by Andrew_B

  1. Planewave, Officina Stellare and various others seem to make a lot of scopes aimed at the professional end of the market such as tracking objects in orbit or for defence applications where spending $50k+ each on a few scopes is pocket change. I suspect that's where most of their business comes from because there surely can't be that many wealthy amateurs who can afford to spend that kind of money.
  2. The expensive stuff has generally come down in price. A Tak is about half the cost it was in 1990 in real terms but standards across the board seem to have improved over thus time to give more consistently good optics and mechanicals. Quality control is still expensive though even if automated manufacturing reduces much of the variation so there's still likely to be a place for higher end products that are uniformly that bit better. Visual observers don't drive the market very much these days so it probably doesn't matter whether the differences between mid and high-end scopes are minimal to the human eye. An extra £8K for the Tak is a lot of money but when you add the cost of cameras, filters, mounts, computers, and possibly an observatory, the difference in cost of the total setup might not be that large and it becomes far easier to spend extra on a better version of a component. I've got a few Baader filters and can't imaging paying 10x as much for the likes of Chroma but if I had a really fancy imaging rig, the cost of a filter upgrade wouldn't seem quite so bad when I'd already shelled out a fortune on the rest of the kit and wanted to get the best out of my investment.
  3. While the focus is on optical performance, what's often forgotten is that higher end gear will often have better mechanicals, nicer fit and finish, and be built with a higher standard of quality control (although that doesn't mean the odd lemon never gets produced). The latter, in particular costs a lot more to implement than many people realise and is a major part of where the higher manufacturing cost of premium optics comes from. While high-end telescopes for the amateur market might seem expensive, they're dirt cheap compared to specialist optics for the aerospace and defence sectors and much of their high price tag comes from the stringent testing they have to go through to ensure they work perfectly - I bet if you got L3Harris to build you a telescope it would make the likes of Tak and A-P seem like the bargains of the century! I've got a small refractor which is very much an indulgence with its superb optics and addition of a Feather Touch focuser. The latter seemed like a crazily expensive upgrade but I'e found it to be worth the money to have such an incredibly precise and solid piece of engineering performing the vital task of finding and keeping objects in perfect focus. I ended up with a scope that works exactly as I want so while it's undoubtedly expensive for what it is and I could have got something far bigger and more capable for the money, I should get years of enjoyment from it for less than the price of a cup of coffee per week. The huge Dob that I could have bought instead would actually have been a poor investment since I have nowhere to keep it, don't want that type of telescope and the practicalities of transporting, setting up, and observing with such an instrument mean that even if I did want one it would never get used. Value for money is always an interesting argument. Small to mid-sized refractors are probably the best example due to the huge range of models at every level of price and performance and it can be hard to see the value in buying a top end scope instead of a midrange Chinese apo that would be almost as good for half the money or less. Equally though, does that Chinese apo really offer good value when compared to a cheap achromat? Many people would say no but if you like high magnification views and you're bothered by false colour then you won't be satisfied with the achro even if you do get a lot more scope for the money.
  4. I've noticed the same thing with other brands like TEC, A-P, TeleVue, LZOS and probably a few others but the relative scarcity of their scopes on the used market (especially in the UK), the fact that many of them are not available to buy off the shelf at the best of times (or available at all in the case of A-P), and their much higher cost of entry relative to Tak means there are far fewer people talking about them. People love to eulogise about an expensive purchase they really enjoy, although I've sometimes wondered whether they're trying to convince themselves that spending all that money was a good idea! Then again I've seen a similar tendency in others to heap praise on very cheap telescopes, sometimes accompanied by remarks that anyone buying something more expensive must have more money than sense.
  5. It would be more likely to be the chemically toxic effects of lanthanum that would cause problems. Uranium is similar - the stuff would poison you chemically well before the radiation level was enough to harm you. Prop 65 is one of those idiotic laws that labels pretty much everything because just about every product will contain something that causes or is suspected to cause cancer. There was a similar flap a few years ago in the UK when a bunch of food products like ready meals were removed from sale in the UK with great fanfare because they contained a cancer-causing additive. When you read the details it turned out that the chemical in question had never been shown to cause cancer in humans in any circumstances or when ingested by animals and it was only when lab rats were injected with absurd quantities of the stuff that it was observed to have an effect. A person would die from overeating or from ingesting a lethal amount of salt long before they could get a similar concentration of the chemical in their body but nevertheless it was considered 'dangerous'. Unfortunately, when safety labelling is overused people just tune it out and it makes them much less likely in future to pay attention to genuinely important warnings.
  6. Part of the reason is probably that at least with modest sized scopes, it's not actually that expensive to own the very best so why not have it? A high-end model could be several times the cost of a midrange alternative that would get pretty close in terms of performance but it's still likely to a bargain compared to what a similar optic would have cost 30 years ago (if it was even available), and much less than many people would pay for a car that might get replaced every few years or a new kitchen.
  7. On Svbony's website the 10mm is a bit cheaper still (€47.35 / £40.11) while the 18mm isn't quite so competitive (€77.49/ £65.64).
  8. The 1.25" nosepiece I use with Baader 32mm prism is also smooth and hasn't caused problems so I'd be surprised if it was that. The only time I've been conscious of having to make an effort to undo the clamp is when I've attached a diagonal or eyepiece that's had an undercut or taper and in those cases it was't stuck, it just needed a lot more undoing.
  9. That's an odd problem to have. I normally use the Tak 1.25" twist lock visual back on my FS-60CB/Q, together with the basic 32mm Baader T2 prism in a similar arrangement to yours but I don't recall ever having issues with the diagonal nosepiece getting stuck in the clamp.
  10. It's weird how adapters can get so tightly stuck when you know for sure you didn't fix them that strongly but at least you got it sorted in the end and any damage was only cosmetic. If you ever want an adapter to stay in place no matter what you can use the same trick. Heat the adapter so it expands then screw it onto whatever you're fixing it to and when it cools it will shrink tight onto the thread, a bit like how they attach metal tyres to train wheels.
  11. If you can, try and heat the adaptor by itself and keep the prism as cool as possible
  12. You could try heating it up which should expand the metal and allow you to separate them. Even sitting it on to of a radiator for a bit should get it hot enough.
  13. I'd expect them to be a bit better and when my 10mm eyepieces arrive I'll do a side by side with my 8mm Starguider. The nice thing about having an f/10 SCT is that the long focal ratio and relatively flat field should enable most eyepieces to perform at their best.
  14. Be interesting to know how you get on with them and that's a good price for both. I've pulled the trigger on a pair of 10mm Svbony UFFs for my binoviewer but they're coming from China so it'll be a while before I get to try them out.
  15. Have APM reduced their prices since those early days? I notice that while there are bargains to be had in the shorter focal length eyepieces if you shop around for less well known brands, the APM 24mm and 30mm models are no more expensive than the competition and in some cases are quite a bit cheaper.
  16. No apology necessary. You made a good point about the issue of cloned products or poor quality kit that masquerades as better quality gear. It's not an issue in this case but people should be aware that it can happen and they shouldn't support the practice even if it would mean getting a bargain.
  17. Thanks for the info. I read that APM had the exclusive rights for two years then KunMing United Optics were free to manufacture the same design for other brands. Brands currently offering some or all of the range (10mm, 15mm, 18mm, 24mm, 30mm) are Altair, APM, Celestron, Meade, Orion, Svbony, Sky Rover, and Tecnosky.
  18. If Svbony are copying APM then so are Celestron, Orion, Tecnosky, Altair Astro, and probably a few others. They're not knockoffs or copies because they're coming out of the same factory and are optically identical although external cosmetic appearance may differ. It would be interesting to know whether Marcus bought in a set of off the shelf eyepiece designs to sell as the APM UFF range or whether they were his own design (I'm sure I read that he reverse engineered someone else's design but I may be mistaken) and he didn't sign an exclusivity agreement in order to secure a lower price from the factory. You see this with astro gear all the time with the same product being sold under a variety of names but there's nothing underhand going on or anybody getting ripped off. FLO fo example have their in-house Astro Essentials, StellaMira, and StellaLyra brands which feature products that are the same as those offered by name brands but cost a lot less (Astro Essentials Plössls are the same as Celestron Omni Plössls but at half the price). The only thing buyers need to be careful of is when buying from anywhere overseas they may have less protection than they would under UK consumer law, and even if a vendor is happy to repair, replace, or refund faulty products you can still incur significant costs if you send items back. You may also find that help and support is far less forthcoming than it would be from a UK seller which should be borne in mind when thinking about the potential to save money.
  19. Svbony also sell direct https://www.svbony.com/sv190-ultra-flat-field-18mm-eyepiece/ although there are some Svbony branded items I've seen elsewhere that they don't currently offer on their own website.
  20. That's the one I saw. Normal caveats apply if you're thinking of buying from an overseas supplier. Make sure to check what guarantee is in place and also consider whether it's practical to return an item if there was a problem given the cost of sending it back. On the whole I've found buying from the Far East to be fairly problem-free and the customer service has generally been first rate.
  21. Sorry, should have put a bit more info in there. The 10mm is the one I've seen at that price and the 15mm and 18mm I've seen going for around £65-70. They sell them on places like eBay and Aliexpress - if you're buying from the latter make sure to check delivery times because some of the real bargains are obviously sent over on the slow boat so you could be waiting a while!
  22. The generic versions are quite a bit cheaper at around 45 quid for the 10mm and around 70 quid for the 15mm and 18mm, although I've seen a lot of different prices for the same things so it's worth doing a bit of bargain hunting.
  23. They're also sold under brand names such as Orion, Svbony, and Sky Rover, and are usually labelled as Ultra-Flat or Ultra-Flat Field with a FOV of 60 to 70 degrees depending on model.
  24. If you're using a binoviewer is there any advantage to using a tele extender over a standard Barlow lens or does it not matter?
  25. I wear glasses but take them off when I'm observing and I've adjusted fairly easily to using my 6mm ortho, although it did seem a bit strange at first and I have poked myself in the eye a couple of times! I recently got a cheap binoviewer which should also be ideal for high magnification observing. I've not had a chance to try it out on any celestial targets with the recent weather but I've done a bit of birdwatching and was impressed by how easy and comfortable it was to use.
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