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Show us your LZOS Scope


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I am not a member of CloudyNights (perhaps I should consider it, as there are a lot of knowledgeable members, though it can get a bit emotional sometimes…) but I do find that threads sometimes appear in Google searches I run.  I recently came across a thread which I am going to borrow as I thought it was a great idea, “Show us your LZOS scope.”

 

For those who do not know, LZOS (Lytkarino Zavod Optychisovo Sticklo – translates as Lytkarino Optical Glass Works is based in Lytkarino in Russia), was founded in the Soviet-era to manufacture high end optics for military and research use, and also operated as a Zeiss subcontractor.  In the late 90’s / early 2000s, a tie-up between TMB in the US and APM in Germany allowed the skill of their opticians to be experienced by the amateur astronomy community.

 

Unlike virtually all other telescope companies, LZOS manufacture the optical glass used in their telescope lenses as well as fabricating the lens cells.  LZOS produce their own extra-low dispersion glass, OK-4, which has very similar optical properties as the well-known O’Hara produced FPL-53, though they are able to produce blanks in far larger sizes which allows LZOS to offer triplet refractors of up to 20” diameter.  I would love to have a go with one of those!

 

The late Thomas M Back (sadly passing away aged only 50 in 2007) had a lifelong passion for amateur astronomy and a particular interest in optics which saw him become a prolific designer of telescope optics and eyepieces.  He started the TMB Optical business selling high-end refractors of his design, sourcing lenses made to his design and specification by LZOS in Russia, optical tubes from APM in Germany and focusers from Starlight Instruments in the US.

 

APM have been in business since 1990 offering a range of reflecting and refracting scopes including large research grade instruments to a variety of observatories around the world.  They became the exclusive world-wide agent for LZOS made TMB designed lenses in 1998.  After Thomas Back suddenly passed away, APM retained the rights to his designs and continued to offer them in APM branded scopes.

 

APM and TMB scopes are not the only brands to have featured LZOS made lenses over the years.  I know that some have appeared in Stellarvue, Officina Stellare, William Optics and possibly more besides.

 

I have also been left wondering about the serial numbers, and the fact there may be more of certain models out in the wild under the stars than the serial numbers might suggest.  When the lenses first rolled out of Russia, the lens cell would often state “Made for T.M.B” or “TMB Design” or similar but I have also seen in older scopes (if I recall correctly), Fluorstar, and more recently, “LZOS Made” “LZOS for APM” and perhaps some other variations as well.  Given some serial numbers I have seen compared to those on my own scopes and comparing year of manufacture, had led to believe that some serial numbers may have “reset” when the inscription on the lens cell changed.  In particular, I am sure I have seen an 180mm LZOS lens with a higher serial number than mine, but produced many years earlier.

 

So, if you are lucky enough to have one (or have had one and still have photos), why not share them here. Just like the Cloudynights thread, include your interferometry certificate if you have it.

 

We could probably start a whole active thread about the usefulness of those certificates, with some suggesting they tell you little and are a bit of marketing.  I take a slightly more pragmatic approach.  While it is true that a mono-chromatic strehl measurement tells you only a little about an optic (an achromat could have a high mono-strehl), my view is that if the strehl is high in the measured wavelength (532nm for LZOS), it means the optical figure is smooth and given the skill and reputation of the LZOS opticians, a decent degree of confidence can be taken that the optic has been manufactured close to its design parameters which means its poly-strehl should be good (within the confines of the original design limitation of course).  For example, the 130mm f/9 triplet Apo, has a design poly-strehl of 0.984, which means that a perfectly executed example, when focused on a central wavelength, would measure a strehl ratio of at least that value across the visible spectrum.

 

Enough with the history lesson.

 

So, to get the ball rolling, here is my APM LZOS 180mm f/7 triplet Apo.  Lens cell number 22.  It has featured in an episode of The Sky at Night.  I am 180cm (5’ 11”) tall for reference.  Certificate below:

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The APM TMB 105 f/6.2.  Purchased in 2012 (but made in 2006, Marcos at APM had it sitting in inventory for a long time so offered me a small discount) so I could start taking scopes abroad (in the aircraft cabin). Lens cell 407.  Thanks to a sliding drawtube, the scope shrinks down to only about 19” long so it is very transportable, if a bit heavy at just over 6kg.

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This one is from the desert in Oman.

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11 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Seriously the biggest Frac ive ever set eyes on. Finderscope looks a bit small.

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Yep, it is a bit tichy. I have since upgraded to an 80mm finder which also helps shift the balance point so the scope sits higher in its cradle and gets me off my knees at the zenith.

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Some interesting reading if you have not already seen them:

APM's contract spec with LZOS for objective lenses (it's in the public domain on APM's website so not confidential):

APMApo-Linsen-Spezifikationen.pdf

Also some notes of thoughts from Thomas Back on his LZOS projects with quite a bit on the 130mm F/9 triplet:

tmbFAQ-2.pdf

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40 minutes ago, John said:

Also some notes of thoughts from Thomas Back on his LZOS projects with quite a bit on the 130mm F/9 triplet:

tmbFAQ-2.pdf

That whole TMB FAQ is an incredibly interesting read.  His passing away at only 50 really was a loss to the astronomical community.

As for the 130mm f/9, some of the comments certainly mean you and I are very fortunate to own such a remarkable scope.  I just need my first light...

“Thanks for the spot diagram. I see there are 4 perfect color crossings and color #5 is extremely close to this crossing, therefore is this lens design a ‘super apochromat’?

Well, the official designation for a four color crossing, highly corrected lens, is a Super-Achromat. Five crossings is called a HyperAchromat. Now it might not sound so great to have achromat in the definition, instead of apochromat, but what matters is the performance, not the words that define it. The only other lens that I know that reached Super-Achromatic performance was the APOMAX, but the fourth crossing was well into the near infrared (passed 1000nm), so it didn't really have any visual impact on the performance.”

….

“I want to add that the TMB 130mm f/9 nearly meets the Baker SuperApochromat criteria. It is better that 1/10 P-V wavefront from 450nm to 706nm, very close to achieving what is considered the Gold standard or ultimate lens design. I believe this will be the highest corrected lens of it aperture ever put into production.”

Speaking of being a lucky chap, I know you have already shared many pics on other threads, but how about a nice photo of your 130mm for this thread?

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Truly superb collection of scopes Matt

There is something about refractors that I love and the view I feel are by far the best offered by any scope design, ALTHOUGH I have to say the pics posted disappoint me somewhat. The 180 looks right on the edge of manageable and certainly demands a mount of substantial load capacity. Then you see the 254 and it game over unless your in the prime of your life. It's just a shame that the one scope design that offers the jewel in the crown for night sky views goes from a practical grab and go Evostar ED120 or TMB 115 to your back ain't got a prayer in only an additional 130mm aperture.

By the time you get to a 16" dob it could be considered quite the handful but a 12" can be managed by most with a little effort. Eyepiece position remains comfortable and in the case of dobs no concerns for expensive mounts to become the make or break.

Sorry if this is going a little off topic. It's just I like me fraks and it's a shame that I can never own one what would in a practical sense equal the resolution / light grasp on my 8" newt. I do agree that a good quality refractor can out perform a larger newt in the quality of view even if it is a slightly less bright in comparison.

 

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  • 2 years later...

This is a Rupert @ Astrograph special APM 130/ F6 scope. Hand delivered. 

LZOS lens with a Strehl of 0.978. The phenolic tube is reduced 4cm from the standard KUO tube to allow more infocus for binoviewer use.  The tube has baffles whereas the APM phenolic tubes no longer do.

Usual Starlight 3.5" FT focuser and tube rings.

Comes as standard with a handle, unlike a certain Japanese manufacture...

In addition no more LZOS lens cells till January 2023, so I don't expect many more posts here for some time.

Not seen first light, however I expect clouds...

I'll post some pictures next to a Vixen SD103S so you can see how much shorter it is.

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Edited by Deadlake
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14 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

In addition no more LZOS lens cells till January 2023, so I don't expect many more posts here for some time.

Here mine 😜 

APM LZOS 105/650 with 0.75x RR reducer, 3.5” FT focuser with motor.

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1 minute ago, tooth_dr said:

Here mine 😜 

APM LZOS 105/650 with 0.75x RR reducer, 3.5” FT focuser with motor.

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Nice! 😃
How new? Mines been waiting for the star light rings and focuser to turn up since March....

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3 hours ago, JeremyS said:

Is the handle only standard for hand delivery? 🤣

Seriously, though, @Deadlake, that looks like a terrific scope and I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

What’s its weight?

It's one I think @johninderby would of approved of, would he buy the scope to get the handle???

Weight, around 11.5 kg, more then I thought...IMG_4774.thumb.jpeg.c2153c8a6f539e1528cbd4834e3350f8.jpeg

Edited by Deadlake
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1 minute ago, Deadlake said:

Nice! 😃
How new? Mines been waiting for the star light rings and focuser to turn up since March....

Cheers. No it’s not new, I bought it used a couple of months ago. It’s a 2015 scope. I hadn’t heard about the new delays. Flip that is 18 months 

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1 minute ago, Deadlake said:

It's one I think @johninderby would of approved of, would he buy the scope to get the handle???

Weight, around 10 kg, but I'll weigh it later

I heard there were delays in dispatching some scopes as a consignment of handles was held up on that boat in the Suez. Possibly why the WDS share price was so volatile: I hope John Handleby was trading on the shorts. 🤣

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3 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

I heard there were delays in dispatching some scopes as a consignment of handles was held up on that boat in the Suez. Possibly why the WDS share price was so volatile: I hope John Handleby was trading on the shorts. 🤣

Baader is blaming the Suez Canal incident for delays, for instance BBHS 2" diagonal are meant to ship November 2021... 🤔 I've benn waiting since last March...

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1 minute ago, Deadlake said:

Baader is blaming the Suez Canal incident for delays, for instance BBHS 2" diagonal are meant to ship November 2021... 🤔 I've benn waiting since last March...

Germany to UK via the Suez Canal?
🤣

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