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Alfian

Altair Starwave ASCENT 102ED F7 Refractor?

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Posted (edited)

Following the "just one scope" thread which made me think of an ED102 F7 doublet, I've come across the new (?) Altair Ascent range of scopes. The ED102 F7 looks good at what seems like a keen price of £549 BUT given that the Starwave 102 ED-R is £899 and has FPL53 glass,  I'm guessing the Ascent's glass is something a little less exotic. Does anybody have any knowledge or have a descent guess as to what the Ascent 102 F7 is about?

https://www.altairastro.com/ASCENT-102ED-F7-Refractor-Telescope-Geared-Focuser.html

https://www.altairastro.com/Starwave-102ED-FPL53-Refractor.html

Edited by Alfian
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Posted (edited)

I spoke to Altair Astro about the Ascent 102 and their response was "On the optics, I’m not actually sure because we use a group of companies to make them and an assembly facility and there are different grades of optics available".

Not sure what to make of that so will have to wait for the reviews. @david_taurus83 just bought one so hopefully we'll get a first light soon.

I'm making a beeline for them at PAS but also have the ED-R in my sights now.

Edited by parallaxerr
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I messaged Nick Smith from AA about the new Ascent 102ED (f7 and f11).. his quote was when I asked, "Don't worry, we only use good glass, you can trust the product", I also asked Ed Harrison and his reply was "The supplier hasn't disclosed what kind of glass", so I would assume it's not FPL-53. Not that that makes it bad or anything, just letting you know what I found out.

Haven't seen any reviews yet for them either. They will be in Kettering, so my advice would be go and check them out. Nick confirmed they'd have the Ascent 102ED there.

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First light tonight! Well, I'm battling between clouds but first target was Sirius! Purple galore! Seriously though, its surprised me how well its controlled even with a 5mm BST. My WO GT71 shows a bit of purple on Sirius and that's an FPL53 triplet. After using the focuser for a bit it has loosened up a bit and is a bit smoother though still notchy. Still waiting for a response from AA as to how to adjust. I may have to tinker and perhaps add a little grease to the rack. So far, the views have impressed though I am still a frac novice! Splitting Rigel is a piece of cake and views of Orion are very pleasing. Its surprisingly light as well. The AZ4 handles it with ease with hardly any vibrations.

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If you were to add the FF/FR and a finder you are perilously close to the price of the Evostar 100ED DS-Pro outfit.

Regarding the Skywatcher, it's FPL-53, great user feedback, comes in a case and an easy sell if you were to move it on. However, the AA refractor looks nicer (imho) and build quality appears better (tuberings/focuser/dew shield).

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6 minutes ago, Prador said:

If you were to add the FF/FR and a finder you are perilously close to the price of the Evostar 100ED DS-Pro outfit.

Regarding the Skywatcher, it's FPL-53, great user feedback, comes in a case and an easy sell if you were to move it on. However, the AA refractor looks nicer (imho) and build quality appears better (tuberings/focuser/dew shield).

Until very recently I had an ED100 and very nice it was and never thought I'd part with it ...but I thought I would do something else ... its strange how things happen sometimes! I'm not in any bustin' hurry to buy another scope but the Altair looks nice and it doesn't hurt to look - at least until you have to pay the price of curiosity.

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Hi All

I bought & received an Ascent 102 f/11 on 22/1/19 and returned it on 13/2/19. It was supposely a direct comparison to a SkyWatcher ED100 ( which I previously owned) & the longer focal ratio which suited me best. Unfortunely my particular sample doesn't favourably compare. The supplier still has the scope & has forwarded it to AA for further testing a week ago. I have still not had the AA response. I had agreed not to discuss the issues until the AA report came back. That's no longer valid as I just started a PayPay Resolution procedure today. I may need/ appreciate some reviews from someone who either owns one or is going to Kettering & interested in buying this paticular scope.

Joe

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11 minutes ago, Joe G said:

Hi All

I bought & received an Ascent 102 f/11 on 22/1/19 and returned it on 13/2/19. It was supposely a direct comparison to a SkyWatcher ED100 ( which I previously owned) & the longer focal ratio which suited me best. Unfortunely my particular sample doesn't favourably compare. The supplier still has the scope & has forwarded it to AA for further testing a week ago. I have still not had the AA response. I had agreed not to discuss the issues until the AA report came back. That's no longer valid as I just started a PayPay Resolution procedure today. I may need/ appreciate some reviews from someone who either owns one or is going to Kettering & interested in buying this paticular scope.

Joe

What were the issues Joe?

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1 hour ago, parallaxerr said:

I spoke to Altair Astro about the Ascent 102 and their response was "On the optics, I’m not actually sure because we use a group of companies to make them and an assembly facility and there are different grades of optics available".

Not sure what to make of that so will have to wait for the reviews. @david_taurus83 just bought one so hopefully we'll get a first light soon.

I'm making a beeline for them at PAS but also have the ED-R in my sights now.

2

Word salad. A whole lot going on but nothing of substance :)

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There are a few irritating issues but the main one is the optics. I believe my scope suffers from severe Spherical Aberration, which in turn, shows too much CA & a lack of any details on targets such as Jupiter. In case someone suggests Jupiter is too low at the moment, I did a " side by side" comparison one morning with a Bresser Messier 102 f/10 refractor on Jupiter. The Bresser showed the 3 moons & more detail than the Ascent. The Bresser was bought by my viewing friend complete with a Mons 2 mount from Lydl about 7 years ago for £200 complete. I would also appreciate any other reasons for the lack of contrast/resolution with my scope from more experienced guys on this forum

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I've had the AA f11 on my wish list since it was announced. Problem is the small sample of actual users. Astrojensen on CN raves about his with very detailed analysis so I'm still on the fence.

I really want the AA price, build and focal length but with the glass of the SW. Can't have it all unless I front the cash ?

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1 hour ago, parallaxerr said:

I spoke to Altair Astro about the Ascent 102 and their response was "On the optics, I’m not actually sure because we use a group of companies to make them and an assembly facility and there are different grades of optics available".

 

So Altair are buying scopes and having them branded for there own make as far as i can tell. Yet they do not know the specifications of what they are buying and then selling themselves.

Some strong smelling excrement here i think.

The more i read in this thread the more i am put off either Altair or TS

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6 minutes ago, omo said:

The more i read in this thread the more i am put off either Altair or TS

Don't be put off either retailer by one thread in one forum. Both sell very high quality scopes at attractive prices. If they were all pups they would have folded long ago. 

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps I'm being a bit naive here and I'm definitely shooting in the dark but I find it hard to credit that Altair do  not know what they are putting their name to. If they are commissioning a product that is produced by different factories I can see that there could be quality control issues. I'm also reminded a little of the question of what glass is used in SW ED72. Its not FPL53 but its good but because there isn't a label on it, it unsettles that sense of wanting some yardstick to use for comparisons. However ambiguous comments from suppliers that say nothing is not helpful and only undermines confidence and isn't conducive to selling scopes. Hopefully with time things will become clearer.

Edited by Alfian
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28 minutes ago, omo said:

So Altair are buying scopes and having them branded for there own make as far as i can tell. Yet they do not know the specifications of what they are buying and then selling themselves.

Some strong smelling excrement here i think.

The more i read in this thread the more i am put off either Altair or TS

FWIW William Optics, TS, AA to name but a few, all use the same OTAs on a variety of scopes. Their all made in China as far as I know. Some have slight differences like focusers etc. WO like to add "bling" to their line.

Screenshot_20190301-214135_Firefox.jpg

Screenshot_20190301-213546_Firefox.jpg

Screenshot_20190301-214438_Firefox.jpg

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2 hours ago, parallaxerr said:

I spoke to Altair Astro about the Ascent 102 and their response was "On the optics, I’m not actually sure because we use a group of companies to make them and an assembly facility and there are different grades of optics available".

Am I reading this correctly? You pay a certain price for a certain level of optics. If they source from varying factories and don't know what they are offering, how can you judge what you are buying?

I do like the look, feel and performance of the TS scopes I must admit.

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Just now, Stu said:

Am I reading this correctly? You pay a certain price for a certain level of optics. If they source from varying factories and don't know what they are offering, how can you judge what you are buying?

I do like the look, feel and performance of the TS scopes I must admit.

That's basically how I read it Stu. At least TS state FPL-51 so there's no ambiguity, not that I'll be buying from them again.

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For the brief 10 minutes I had this evening with this scope I was pleasantly surprised with its performance. Yes there is some colour but I was looking at Sirius and Rigel! I'm definitely not one to give an expert opinion but if the slight bit of colour seen tonight is the worst this scope offers then I'm not too bothered as i expected as much. If it was promised clear later in the morning I might even set an alarm to get an early bird view of Jupiter and the moon. I'm convinced this is exactly the same scope that Jon bought but branded differently. TS advertise it as having FPL51 glass. That's good enough for me. Why AA cant just throw that out there even if they weren't sure, I don't know! Side by side to the TS I bet they perform the same!

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Posted (edited)

 

2 hours ago, parallaxerr said:

I spoke to Altair Astro about the Ascent 102 and their response was "On the optics, I’m not actually sure because we use a group of companies to make them and an assembly facility and there are different grades of optics available".

Jon - was the comment made by a random employee (that should probably know better) or someone of influence? Seems a really careless thing to say given the vast majority of their customers will have, at least, a tenuous grasp of optic quality

Trust me, I'm no AA white knight either.

Edit: That reads all kinds of wrong - sorry. Not bashing AA or any other retailer. I own one and very happy with it. Just the statement on the glass seems odd.

Edited by Prador
Clarification

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Hi All

I totally agree that this thread should noy be used for any manufacturer/supplier bashing. That will only result in some guys not wanting to get involved in the discussion. The main reason for my contribution ( a big gamble for me as it might reflect any resale value) is hoping to get some first hand reviews/advice. My main issue is the optics, which IMO, does not perform to either the specification or the claims AA puts up on suppliers' websites

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, david_taurus83 said:

For the brief 10 minutes I had this evening with this scope I was pleasantly surprised with its performance. Yes there is some colour but I was looking at Sirius and Rigel! I'm definitely not one to give an expert opinion but if the slight bit of colour seen tonight is the worst this scope offers then I'm not too bothered as i expected as much. If it was promised clear later in the morning I might even set an alarm to get an early bird view of Jupiter and the moon. I'm convinced this is exactly the same scope that Jon bought but branded differently. TS advertise it as having FPL51 glass. That's good enough for me. Why AA cant just throw that out there even if they weren't sure, I don't know! Side by side to the TS I bet they perform the same!

Try looking at Vega when its close to the zenith if you get chance, as it will be high enough not to be overly influenced by the atmosphere. Or if in the evening, take a look at Castor, as it isn't so blindingly bright that it will give you a misleading take on the scopes colour correction. Also, the limb of the moon gives a pretty good idea as to how well controlled the scopes CA is. Sirius is a pig at the best of times, even in a Tak, so don't be too disheartened as yet!

Edited by mikeDnight
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Well, I've changed my mind with this. It's going back! I just cant find anything about how to adjust the focuser. It's simply not smooth enough and I cant help but feel its had a similar knock in transit that Jon's TS version has had. The wheel has got a slight wobble and even though it has smoothed out a bit it's still bugging me. Also, I feel this particular model has too much baggage attached now with regards to the glass quality. It may struggle to sell on should I need to. So it's going back within the 14 day return period. What to replace with?? The 102ED-R as mentioned by Jon looks mighty tempting. FPL53 glass in a collimatable cell, so no arguments there. Retractable dew shield. Better focuser, in fact it looks exactly the same as the one on my William Optics so should it ever find a camera shoved into it I can swap over my auto focuser. The focuser is also fully rotatable.

But it's more expensive. What to do, what to do!?

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Posted (edited)

That's a shame David, I hope my experience hasn't biased you too much. I wonder if we're expecting too much of these scopes, though the focuser on my £150 achro runs straight as a die to be fair and the often criticised standard synta R&P feels smoother than the example I had.....so maybe not.

It's made me look long and hard at the other options in the market, only to realise that they're all of the same breed, mechanically at least, including some quite expensive WO scopes as you mention. There appears to be a very busy production line somewhere in China.

I'm almost entirely on the Japanese side of the fence now, though my wallet is protesting it may be the only truly satisfying option.

I'll be having some serious hands on time at PAS next weekend with a few scopes to see if I can find something just right.

Edited by parallaxerr
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It's the focuser on this that's just bugging me. I wasnt happy when I unboxed to find the same indentation on the cardboard that you found Jon. I feel if I don't return it now I'll be stuck with it and at the price paid, we should be happy from the moment we receive it.

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I think these chinese crayford focusers are very sensitive things. When they leave the factory they are well adjusted and work nicely. If you dare to adjust them yourself though, or if they get a bash, they are never quite the same again. Don't know why it is but thats what I've found :dontknow:

 

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