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Achromatics poor re-sale value.


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Hi Everyone

Since picking up a S/H Evostar 120 I found that I enjoy the wide views available to me from it that my reflectors simply don't give. I know pound for pound reflectors offer so much more and Achromatic refractors are some what ruined by there false colour and Halos but I do find my refractor enjoyable to use. On DSO's the false colour is no real issue and on the mood the refractor offers far more sharp contrasted view. I know Apochromatics are becoming more affordable and S/H they do offer a better investment to the refractor lover but why is it that an Evostar 120 OTA can sell new one day for £250 and struggle to sell for £90 the next :):icon_scratch:. (figuratively speaking)

My Evo has nothing wrong with it and everything looks in order but Like with anything purchased second hand there is always the doubt to how well the optics have been looked after and I wonder if buying new would offer any improvement to the image as well as to add piece of mind. Having decided that I do indeed like the idea of owning a refractor for the foreseeable future I did consider buying new as a worth wile investment to the hobby but looking at the S/H market it would not be the wisest financial investment.

I can only assume that besides the obvious CA issue with achromatics that it is the optic element (how well they have been looked after as more regular cleaning is needed) that also puts a high level depreciation on these scopes.

I just wondered what everyone else's consensus was on the used refractor market and is buying new simply not worth the money lost.


Edited by spaceboy
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I would guess that people buy an Achro as a first scope. Then move on to an ED or apo.

A 120 achro is nice and big but optically will show some CA and some SA. A 100 ED may not gather as much light but if you have used a decent ED/apo then an achro isn't going to measure up.

So whoever buys it the next day will have to be another beginner that wants that scope, or someone that understands what they are geting and wants the scope for a specific purpose - travel scope being the obvious, but if they have a smaller ED then that is a better option.

The buyer is a limited market. So to sell the only option is to lower the price. Then as you say the ED's and apo's are getting lower prices so achro's have to get lower still.

Another thing is that the achro options are limited and Skywatcher do not come over as a premium brand.

At 120 and achro it has disadvantages, CA, SA, weight. A good all round scope in the refractor line is an 80mm ED and to an extent that is what you are up against in the used market.

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I'm not sure why refractors (non apo) often go for so little. Overall the build quality of most refractors is as good if not better than the equivalent brands' reflectors, so that can't be it..(I had a Helios F5 8" Newtonian whose optics were very good, but the tube was extremely thin guage metal compared to a Helios refractor I owned).

I think it might have to do with the fact that most new scopes sold are reflectors as most new astronomers want the light bucket effect, and actually, the advice that they are given when asking what kind of scope to get, is most often "get a 6" or 8" Dob)..just check these very forums!

A refractor appeals, IMO, more to the quality of the stellar images..the tight round points, improved contrast, wide fields in the case of short focus fracs etc...these are aspects of the scope that most newbie's wouldn't yet understand.. they just want to see all the celestial lollipops as they appear in images:p - and who could blame them? (even though they might be sorely disappointed with what they see, even in a "light bucket":eek:.

Lastly, I think that too much is often made, to newbies, of the horrors of CA on an achromat. Whereas the reflectors are colour free..but how many times are potential buyers warned about coma, collimation pains, dropping something down the tube etc etc??

So there is more demand for bigger reflectors in the secondhand market. And more demand means higher prices!

Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining...I just bought a fab 6" F8 refractor for a bargain price, so long may the undervaluing of secondhand refractors continue...until I want to sell mine on of course:D:D.

That's my penny ha'penny's worth..


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when i bought my100rs i went for a new one, but mainly due to the lack of second hand available, the evostars can be superb value secondhand, i let my 120 evo go for about £90.

by the way dave, how do you rate the 120 evo over the tal rs now that you have owned both, like me

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I think it's more a marketing and perception issue than real.

Achromatics were successfully used by all the astronomers for almost 300 years - discovering planetary satellites, new double stars by the box full, mapped the moon and Mars long before spaceflight etc etc.

They are excellent scopes for the amateur. IMO there should be a "training" period of at least 12 months with an achromatic before any serious decision is made on another scope. By then you will have had the practise and experience to make a value decision.

Long live the achromatic!!

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Thanks for the links Spaceboy - I'm really after an ED 120 appo but was considering an acro as a stopgap - for under £100 it's gotta be worth a punt while I save up - but then again I really want something fast so I'm quite undecided right now lol :)

Edited by brantuk
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As someone who likes owning and using achromat refractors I think it's great that their used prices are low :p

I've owned three of the 6" F/8's now (2 Synta's and a Meade). All have been good scopes and each cost me less than £150.

They are challenging to mount and you can easily pay a couple of times as much as the scope cost for a suitably sturdy mount.

My guess is that it's the availability of affordable ED and apochromatic refractors that has depressed the used achromat market.

The only reason that I don't own one at the moment is that I found my 6" mak-newtonian performed a little better than the Meade AR6, even when the Chromacor corrector was fitted to the latter. The mak-newt is also easier to mount.

I'm certainly not ruling out another big achro though - I've still got the Chromacor :p

I wonder how those Istar's perform ...... :)

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Thanks for all your comments guys. It's personal preference I think that makes me so dubious to the history of S/H scopes. I can't complain about the Evo I picked up used as it is in VGC and shocked me to how well is performs on M13 but it's always in the back of my mind that you never know at what level the optics now stand and if a new scope would be any better. On this occasion it would appear that the verdict is unanimous to the achro S/H market making purchasing new worthless in any sense. S/H scopes are too cheap too miss the opportunity and selling one offers too much of a loss.

What happened to your 6" Konus & Meade John ?? How was the contrast of the MAK compared to the Chromacor'ed fraks ??

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I love the 127mm Phenix that I have on loan from CAS. The quality of the view is wonderful. Really surprising from a bargain scope. The poor R&P focusser is the only thing that lets it down.

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I've done a brief head to head with my Lomo 6" Maksutov and Evostar 6" F8 frac.

It's not as simple as saying one is better than the other, and also you have to take into account that buying new, (if you could still buy the Lomo new), then the Evo would be around a third of the new price of a Lomo (read Intes Micro type) scope.

That said, they are very different beasts anyway. I'd briefly summarise the benefits as follows:

Evo Pluses

-Light grasp

-razor sharp images

-wide field (compared to the Lomo F14.4)

-impressive to look at !!

-cheap to buy, but can be upgraded (crayford etc) to make a seriously good scope

-2" focuser

-can be stopped down to 4.5" F10 which noticeably reduces the false colour and still performs well resolution wise.

Evo Minuses

-the dreaded "CA" - bothers some more than others. And I don't believe it's as bad as some of our Apo-thought-police-friends:p would have us believe

-it is BIG:D...can also be a plus, to impress the neighbours etc:p...but harder to balance and more prone to vibration from the "fulcrum effect"

-stock focuser is, er, of limited capability! - actually, it works quite smoothly, but it doesn't half shift the image at high powers.

Now for the Lomo:

Lomo Pluses:

-very compact and easy to use

-astro-sital glass mirror, cools down almost as quickly as a refractor

-micro focuser is a dream to use

-built like a tank

-rock solid on a CG-5/EQ-5

-excellent sharp images, almost (but not quite) refractor sharp

-completely apochromatic

-fabulous contrast, which seems to improve with higher powers

-can take stupidly high powers, far more than the Evo. I've had up to x500+ on the Moon

-excellent on Moon and Planets, double stars etc

Lomo Minuses:

-only takes 1.25" eps

-narrow field of view compared to Evo, so not the best for wide clusters and dso's

-won't take standard Synta style finders - but the supplied 40mm finder is pretty darn good:)

-not much else!

I've learned a long time ago that one single scope cannot do everything well. But, if I had to have just the one scope then for me, the one that does a bit of everything well, would be the Evostar, in either the F5 or (for me, preferably) the F8 versions - with a focuser upgrade, just because you can do most things reasonably well with it, and it doesn't cost the earth.

When I was a lad in the 1970's, a good 4" equatorially mounted refractor could cost £500-£700, which was a fortune then (and it would have been a long focus achromat, no such thing as Apochromat's available to the masses then!). When you think that, 40 years on, we can now get a decent performing 6" refractor for around £300-£500 complete with mount, we are SO lucky!

So, let's make the most of this golden era of cheap, good quality , secondhand scopes:hello2:.



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I consider myself lucky to own both achros and apos and still wonder why the achro is not as popular as it should be. This is certainly the case in the UK, the US appears to have a different outlook on achros and they have a big following over the pond.

A good long achro as most achro owners will tell you has excellent CA control and my 4" f15 achro has just as colour free views as my 5" F7.5 apo and beats my 102 ed doublet on planetary but I wouldnt use the achro for imaging.

But as Dave has said size comes into it alot. To get a relatively well behaved achro on CA you have to think big and the current trend for shorter apos makes these more attractive from a mount point of view.

But I wont knock the lower resale value of the achro, I agree with John, its better for the few achro fans as it means theres alot of cheap good quality scopes out there to keep tempting us:)


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Even a humble (oft negated) Startravel F5 / 102 intrigued. If I had the "strength" (and mount), I'd be thinking about a "slower" (bigger!) achromat. The ST102 has "lousy" diffraction patterns, but perhaps no WORSE than my (slightly dodgy-ily collimated!) TS 8"/F4 "Photo-Newt"? But it's (these are) all I can afford... :p

Some scope types get a bad rap. Adages get repeated. It varies

with time too. Astronomy is a "belief" (traditionalist) thing? :D

Edited by Macavity
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I still have a 6 inch F8 like the ones John mentions and think them a ludicrous bargain second hand - which is why I have never bothered selling mine!

I thnk that any scopes which prove unsatisfactory for imaging take huge hits in depreciation because the trend is for people to move on into imaging after a while. So they want to buy apos and sell achromats and ths drives the price difference. Another example would be the big SCTs which, again, many people give up on for imaging and want to replace with... smaller apos! Again, that's why you can sell a ZS66 today for what you paid for it.


Edited by ollypenrice
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I love the 127mm Phenix that I have on loan from CAS. The quality of the view is wonderful. Really surprising from a bargain scope. The poor R&P focusser is the only thing that lets it down.

I too have a Pheenix 150mm refractor- give the optical limitations of of the achromat it's not that bad a scope for visual use. As soon as you put a camera on it though the chromatic abberations become a real issue which is why I bought an 120mm Apo in the end.

Oh - and that 6" dia refractor only cost me £100 on e-bay !!!

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i have it in mind that i will be getting a 6" f8 for when i get a more permanent set up, but its to heavy for EQ5, when that happens i can see me getting rid of a few scopes

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