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Upgrade to TS Optics Photoline 115mm APO


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Hello, I have been using a TS Optics Photoline 80mm triplet for over a year now and considering upgrading to a 115mm, specifically this one - does anyone have any thoughts this scope? I am impressed with the build quality and optics of my current TS scope so have similar expectations for the 115mm. It will be used with a QHY 268M and reducer. Hoping to use my current TS Optics 0.79 reducer  if possible

I currently have an HEQ5 Pro with belt mod but will also likely upgrade this as well to an EQ6 or something similar and if anyone has recommendations on that front to I am all ears! Of course stock levels are not good atm but happy to wait.

Given the situation with Brexit it is now a different landscape when buying from the EU, I have seen the scope on Astroshop.eu  for a good price here but not dealt with them before, anyone have any dealings with these folks?

ta!

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I agree, the 115 F/7 triplet has a very good reputation. I have been shopping for a refactor recently as well and my top contenders were the 115 f/7 triplet and the 125 f/7.8 doublet. I took the doubl

Or check with Rupert at Astrograph to see what the availability is. http://astrograph.net/epages/www_astrograph_net.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/www_astrograph_net/Products/AGTEC115-695

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I often buy from Astroshop, but I live just a few km away from them, so take it with a grain of salt :)  Overall they have provided good service, with fast & secure shipping. I recently bought a refractor from their brand Omegon, that had a problem with the focuser (arising after I try to add an EAF). They provided good and fast service to check and repair it. The only thing I don't like is that the descriptions on their websites could be a bit more detailed and helpful... I think Teleskop Services provides better information overall. But if you know what you buy and have the specs somewhere else, it's not an issue.

Just a note, this scope uses FPL51 glass. I'm not sure that's an issue for you, but I know this is important for many people, so just in case you missed this information buried in the specs! Especially if you come from a FPL53 scope.

I would contact TS directly regarding the reducer, they can tell you if it will work fine with this scope! Expect a delayed answer though, like other dealers they receive many requests from customers. You can also look at the recommended accessories below the description, they usually list their compatible reducers/flatteners, and recommend some in the description.

By the way, you might also want to consider this model, which looks identical to me: https://www.altairastro.com/altair-wave-series-115-f7-ed-triplet-apo-453-p.asp

Not sure it's in stock, but being a UK dealer, that might be easier for you! :) 

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Thanks Pierre! The Altair variant of the scope is likely identical, also hugely inflated cost too so a no go, happy to buy from a trusted EU dealer at a better price. I did see the glass was FPL51, but is it really that big of a deal in this price range? Saying this as with many things its subjective and my tolerance for outlying niggles is actually quite high :)

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Presumably if you buy from TS you'll have to pay shipping, duty, VAT and admin fees on top of the purchase price which could inflate the total cost to something closer to Altair's price.  And then if there are any problems that mean shipping it back there's a bundle of fun going through the customs stuff again in both directions.

In the case of Astroshop you may need to confirm the actual price with them.  My understanding was that for purchases of this sort of value the retailer doesn't charge VAT and you have to pay it yourself on delivery, yet their price claims to be inclusive of VAT.  It could be that they're just quoting the EU sale price in sterling and haven't caught up with the post-Brexit changes yet (or don't think it's worth their while to do so).

James

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As far as I know - that triplet has excellent color correction regardless of the fact that it uses FPL-51 glass.

@Thalestris24 has both of mentioned scopes - 80mm F/6 and 115mm F/7 so she can possibly offer further insight into this.

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1 hour ago, vlaiv said:

As far as I know - that triplet has excellent color correction regardless of the fact that it uses FPL-51 glass.

@Thalestris24 has both of mentioned scopes - 80mm F/6 and 115mm F/7 so she can possibly offer further insight into this.

I have the 80mm triplet too and happy with it,  just wondering how much of a difference the glass will actually make for the 115mm, esp to my eyeballs.

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I agree, the 115 F/7 triplet has a very good reputation. I have been shopping for a refactor recently as well and my top contenders were the 115 f/7 triplet and the 125 f/7.8 doublet. I took the doublet as I am mostly observe planets visually.

However I had a long telephone call with TS and a nice discussion with their tech staff, the triplet has very good color correction. Another upside is that TS actually tests (star test presumably) and collimates this triplet before shipping on their optical bench, so that is a nice service to get for free.

Regarding astroshop.eu. I have been doing business with them and their service is equal to TS and the other shops. However when you order the 115 mm from astroshop.eu you will get the Italian branded Tecnosky. It is the same scope, however they will not test and collimate the triplet. As far as I could find out they will order it from the Italian supplier and forward the shipment to you.

Here is the link of the Italian supplier directly: https://www.tecnosky.eu/index.php/prodotti/telescopi-e-ota/apocromatici-ota/rifrattore-apotripletto-115-800-v2.html

Tecnosky did an interferogram test on one of those and the Strehl ratio comes in at 0.978 which is really good for that price point

115tripletreport.jpg.06b6ac011bde247d5e84573d8b4e8b3a.jpg

So double 👍 for that triplet.

 

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5 hours ago, JamesF said:

Presumably if you buy from TS you'll have to pay shipping, duty, VAT and admin fees on top of the purchase price which could inflate the total cost to something closer to Altair's price.  And then if there are any problems that mean shipping it back there's a bundle of fun going through the customs stuff again in both directions.

In the case of Astroshop you may need to confirm the actual price with them.  My understanding was that for purchases of this sort of value the retailer doesn't charge VAT and you have to pay it yourself on delivery, yet their price claims to be inclusive of VAT.  It could be that they're just quoting the EU sale price in sterling and haven't caught up with the post-Brexit changes yet (or don't think it's worth their while to do so).

James

1) You should not have to pay vat at purchase though as the UK are not an EU country and hence you gain exactly what you lose. I am guessing VAT will be removed on checkout when a UK postage is selected. 

2) There is no duty. Only a customs fee and that is not the same thing. 

 

 

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I bought this exact scope (115 triplet FPL51) from TeleskopExpress.de last year and it's my go to visual frac. It's a great scope, snaps to focus, very sharp, nice contrast, and not too big or heavy to mount. I got it pre Brexit so there was no VAT or extra charges. Service was good and dispatch was quick. 

 

Edited by Commanderfish
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Moving up in aperture at a similar f-ratio with the same objective design will naturally result in poorer color correction.  Replacing FPL-53 with FPL-51 at a given aperture will reduce color correction further.  An FPL-51 triplet has similar color correction to an FPL-53 doublet, but with longer acclimation times.  This is all theoretical, though.  Visually, you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference except on the brightest objects at the highest powers.  Photographically, you get more blue/violet halos around bright stars from what I've read.

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Thanks for all the info folks. Great video link Vlaiv!

The scope is 1.5kg heavier than my current TS 80mm. I suspect I will be pushing nearly 9kg total on my HEQ5. Likely need to start looking at a mount upgrade too, any suggestions?

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I have a Skywatcher AZ-EQ 6GT which I mainly use in equatorial mode - its been really good over the years - robust, quiet and tracks well (well, at least for my needs; I'm pretty much visual only). Handles my 125mm f9 achro easily and manages my SW 150mm ED f8 ok too (for visual, certainly). The SW 150 ED is c. 9.5 kg for OTA and rings. This mount should have no problems with a 115mm Triplet. I have no hesitation recommending it.

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10 hours ago, Deeko said:

Thanks for all the info folks. Great video link Vlaiv!

The scope is 1.5kg heavier than my current TS 80mm. I suspect I will be pushing nearly 9kg total on my HEQ5. Likely need to start looking at a mount upgrade too, any suggestions?

Yes mount upgrade will be needed. I've been pushing the limit on my HEQ5 with the APM 115. During a calm night I could still guide at sub 1 arcsec, but the wind would really mess it up. I'll be replacing it with an AZ-EQ6 once the stock are back.

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17 hours ago, Adam J said:

1) You should not have to pay vat at purchase though as the UK are not an EU country and hence you gain exactly what you lose. I am guessing VAT will be removed on checkout when a UK postage is selected. 

2) There is no duty. Only a customs fee and that is not the same thing. 

 

 

All of these Chinese APOs are imports.  I remember I've read it somewhere if an item was manufactured outside EU and then imported into the EU, there would be an import tax. Before Brexit this was an one-off charge and already covered by EU retailers (e.g. TS), so ordering from UK the customer wouldn't need to pay it again. However after Brexit the customer now needs to pay both the UK VAT (the scope costs more than £135, so EU VAT waived off) and import tax upon delivery.

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1 hour ago, KP82 said:

All of these Chinese APOs are imports.  I remember I've read it somewhere if an item was manufactured outside EU and then imported into the EU, there would be an import tax. Before Brexit this was an one-off charge and already covered by EU retailers (e.g. TS), so ordering from UK the customer wouldn't need to pay it again. However after Brexit the customer now needs to pay both the UK VAT (the scope costs more than £135, so EU VAT waived off) and import tax upon delivery.

No your wrong the duty is small in these are they get around the rules by importing scope components as opposed to a complete scope. Hence they are counted as a UK / EU product assembled from imported components for tax. It's the whole reason they sell via people like ALTAIR and TS etc in the first place as opposed to under their own brand. Of you where talking about skywatcher you would be more correct but still wrong. You only pay the vat in the EU or the UK not both so the TS will still be cheaper than the ALTAIR assuming their web page can handle removing the VAT like FLOs page would remove VAT for exports to the EU. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Adam J said:

No your wrong the duty is small in these are they get around the rules by importing scope components as opposed to a complete scope. Hence they are counted as a UK / EU product assembled from imported components for tax. It's the whole reason they sell via people like ALTAIR and TS etc in the first place as opposed to under their own brand. Of you where talking about skywatcher you would be more correct but still wrong. You only pay the vat in the EU or the UK not both so the TS will still be cheaper than the ALTAIR assuming their web page can handle removing the VAT like FLOs page would remove VAT for exports to the EU. 

 

Don't know about UK since it is recent thing - but TS does remove VAT when exporting outside of EU. In fact - I see their prices listed without VAT.

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19 minutes ago, Adam J said:

No your wrong the duty is small in these are they get around the rules by importing scope components as opposed to a complete scope. Hence they are counted as a UK / EU product assembled from imported components for tax. It's the whole reason they sell via people like ALTAIR and TS etc in the first place as opposed to under their own brand. Of you where talking about skywatcher you would be more correct but still wrong. You only pay the vat in the EU or the UK not both so the TS will still be cheaper than the ALTAIR assuming their web page can handle removing the VAT like FLOs page would remove VAT for exports to the EU. 

 

I'm aware that you only need to pay the VAT once. For EU goods less than £135, you pay EU VAT. Otherwise the VAT should be waived off during checkout and then paid at UK rate upon delivery. The prices listed on TS website already exclude EU VAT the last time I checked, so I don't think it would work out to be much cheaper than Altair.

And thanks for explaining about the difference in duty between scopes imported as a whole and assembled from imported parts. This will certainly help in choosing where I can order my future astro gears.

Edited by KP82
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We're starting to see the 25% import tariff in the US on goods labelled as made in China.  It's not clear how diligent customs is being on items like APM UFFs marked as Germany instead of China.  US customs has been applying the 25% tariff very inconsistently even when items are clearly labelled as made in China.  I may be buying more Chinese made goods from the UK/EU since personal imports under $800 are duty free and not checked for the 25% made in China tariff and individual retailers are not collecting the appropriate US state sales taxes because they have no nexus of business in the US.  On net, these tax/duty/tariff savings easily pay for the additional shipping charges.

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26 minutes ago, Louis D said:

We're starting to see the 25% import tariff in the US on goods labelled as made in China.  It's not clear how diligent customs is being on items like APM UFFs marked as Germany instead of China.  US customs has been applying the 25% tariff very inconsistently even when items are clearly labelled as made in China.  I may be buying more Chinese made goods from the UK/EU since personal imports under $800 are duty free and not checked for the 25% made in China tariff and individual retailers are not collecting the appropriate US state sales taxes because they have no nexus of business in the US.  On net, these tax/duty/tariff savings easily pay for the additional shipping charges.

Well eyepiecesetc importing APM got hit by the 25 % tariff rule. Customs googles where the products are made. How long with the $800 allowance last? This has stopped APM making some new telescopes as well, 25% hit on the sticker price.

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40 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

How long with the $800 allowance last?

Indefinitely on that point.  It was raised from $200 in March 2016 under Obama, and Trump left it alone during his four years, and since Biden is basically Obama v2.0, I don't foresee it being changed any time soon.

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1 hour ago, Louis D said:

Indefinitely on that point.  It was raised from $200 in March 2016 under Obama, and Trump left it alone during his four years, and since Biden is basically Obama v2.0, I don't foresee it being changed any time soon.

I don't see the 25% tarrif on china changing, its the new normal. Guess eyepiecesetc.eu is required, no orders above $800. 😀

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21 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

I don't see the 25% tarrif on china changing, its the new normal. Guess eyepiecesetc.eu is required, no orders above $800. 😀

I'm picturing $800+ APOs sent from Europe to the US as tube, lens cell, and focuser all separately on different days to legitimately keep the cost below $800 per individual per day (the letter of the law here).  Some minor assembly required.

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