Jump to content

Banner.jpg.5ed196c1e70861ebc79109e023c96067.jpg

Tal 125 Apo


 Share

Recommended Posts

Well one telescope I've always wanted to try, is the Tal 125 Apo, I guess its unique quirky looks, and the performance I have read from various reviews suggest this telescope is one hell of a performer. Even if it has slight collimation issues. Plus it unusual lens design somehow appeals to me. 

So I recently discovered one of these telescopes for sale. My eyes nearly popped out of my head! In surprise of course. Remembering that every review I've ever read said that these telescopes can suffer from being mis-collimated. I decided to find out how one goes about collimating one of these telescopes. I can tell you that took a lot of research, and reading on astronomy forums from around the world including Russian, Danish, Italian, German, American and of course here. Thankfully I now have the original Tal instructions on how to collimate the Tal 125 Apolar telescope, and know of atleast two people if not three that have collimated these telescopes at home. With that in mind and my mind at rest over collimation. Tonight after repeatedly asking myself if I had lost my senses and wouldn't it be better to get a Skywatcher ED120 or even a Tecnosky ED125 F7.8. I went ahead and purchased the Tal 125 Apolar, let the fun times begin. When it arrives I will of course take photos, and let you know about its performance. Oh yeah did I forget to mention this is my first Apochromat telescope?

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I've slowly been going through a 148 page thread on a Russian forum about the Tal 125 Apolar telescope. Just come across a interferometer test results for a Tal 125 Apo. It's in 532nm green. Looks very good indeed. 

Tal 125 Apolar Report.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the challenges is getting at the lens groups that are contained within the scope tube to adjust them.

The outermost is a 125mm clear aperture singlet retained in a cell with a conventional retaining ring. Easy to get at. The cell for that one appeared to have some lateral lens adjustment through grub screws set in the walls of the cell but I don't recall a tilt adjustment. 

The next group along the tube is a triplet which may well be a cemented group. It's containing cell seemed to be secured within the tube with 3 grub screws around the diameter of the tube. The heads of these were recessed and their cavities filled with white rubber seals. Not sure what provision for tilt adjustment there is with that group. Presumably the 3 grub screws are used to centre it.

The final lens group is a doublet which I think is housed in the top end of the focuser housing unit which is extended for that purpose. No idea on the adjustment provision for that - maybe through tilting the focuser housing ?

While star testing is obviously useful for checking the overall collimation of the optical train and a laser for checking the optical alignment of the focuser (and presumably the doublet group housed within it) the traditional cheshire eyepiece test for objective tilt did not seem to work, presumably because of the 2 lens groups that lie between the cheshire eyepiece and the rear of the large singlet element.

I hear what Mr Spock says regarding the build of TAL's generally but I have to say that the 2 examples of the TAL APOLAR 125 that I have handled were rather shoddily put together I'm afraid. Both were supplied new and direct from TAL in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the Tal instructions for this telescope translated by google. The attachment is of the actual Russian instructions with photo's. The photo's will need to be used or the instruction wont make any sense. 

The front lens can be adjusted for both tilt and lateral movement according to Tal's instructions. As for the rear lens, that is dealt with by adjusting the focuser. The middle element is not really meant to be adjusted, I've only ever read of that needing touching once. That was because I think the lens had tilted in transport from the UK to Denmark. I will be making a folder and saving all the instructions I've found online to peoples solutions, just in case I do have any issues. 

The design of the telescope ensures the safety of the factory alignment during the entire period of operation, subject to the rules of operation.
In the event of accidental clearance, it may be necessary to additionally adjust the telescope.
Clearance in TAL-125-5ARO can be of two types:
- Transverse chromatism (coloring the image of a star in the center of the field of view on one side of the blue on the other side of the red color);
- Coma (an image of a star in the form of a "comet"). All alignment operations are performed when observed in an eyepiece with a focus of not more than 8 mm (without a diagonal mirror).

To begin alignment, remove the blend by loosening the two screws 1, remove the base of the lens hood by unscrewing the screws 2 and, loosening the locking screw 3, rotate the engraved part 8 for a quarter of a turn counter clockwise on the side of the lens.

Transverse chromatism is eliminated by three screws 4 arranged at an angle of 120° to each other, while weakening the lock nuts 7. Slide the lens with these screws towards the red color along the direction of the spectrum.
In the figure, the lens must be moved upwards.

The coma in the image of the star is eliminated by tilting the lens with bolts 5 and nuts 6 (a key with a throat size of 7). Counter nuts 7 should be removed. Deflect the frame of the lens in the direction of the pipe from the side of the "tail" of the coma, or approach the pipe from the side of the "core" of the coma.
In the figure, the top of the lens frame must be deflected from the pipe, or the bottom should be brought closer to the pipe.

After alignment, rotate the engraved part 8 clockwise to a stop, wrap the locking screw 3 and tighten the lock nuts 6 and 7. Check the image quality.
Alignment requires some experience and qualifications.

 

Tal 125 Apolar.doc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave,

I really admire your approach to this scope, and look forward to following your journey with it.

As someone with genuine affection for many Tal products (for example I've owned at least 6 Tal 100's in various incarnations over the years), and an excellent 125R achromat, I know that a well sorted Tal can be a joy to use.

I also know that all of their products have a kind of "old school industrial" engineering feel (and smell!), and that sometimes their QC is "variable".

I remember when the Apolar scope was launched, there was a lot of interest and anticipation, but sadly, several high profile poor experiences (including our highly respected scope and gear reviewer @john above), and a relatively high retail price for a scope with non-exotic glasses and complex design, meant that the model never took off in the UK.

They clearly had and have the potential to shine optically, but those early bad experiences, and the influx since the Apolars' launch, of more mass produced but consistently well built chinese competition such as the ED120 and others, at very competitive prices have since dominated that market.

It seems to me, Dave, that you sound like just the sort of buyer who could make this scope work: you have done your research, identified the potential pitfalls, and seem to have confidence in your ability to address and overcome and such pitfalls you may encounter.

I wish you every success and hope yours proves to be a "good 'un"!👍

Dave

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a owner of a a Tal 100rs and a x2 Barlow I would sell my Meade for a Tal 125 as I know how great the build is. 

I look forward to pictures of the scope and wish you all the best in collimation if needed I'm sure a slow and methodical approach will rectify any problems, so then I can read some fantastic reports of observations. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a Tal apolar on astroboot 3 years ago and I was really, really close to buying it, but a SW ed120 popped up at the time for an excellent price, so missed my oportunity in owning such a legendary scope. Sometimes I still wonder if I made the right choice,  peace of mind VS pride in owning a very special piece of equipment...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi @Dave1 must admit I have a big soft spot for all things Tal and wish you all the best with your Tal 125 adventures.
Bought a Tal 1 in the mid 90’s and from what I remember it was a solid lump well put together that gave remarkably good views for a 4” reflector. 
Twenty years later bought a second hand 100RS unfortunately it was damaged in transit due to clumsy couriers. Spent far to much time fiddling and faffing around with it but I’ve still got it and last time I used it the views were pretty good.
One thing I did notice the engineering quality of the 100RS wasn’t as good as the Tal-1 but that familiar Tal smell that Dave @F15Rules alluded to is in mine as well! 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Alan White yes I do quirky or tend toward old school in most area's of my life really. 

@wookie1965 I've always read how good the Tal100RS is, not had my hands on one. Might do one day. Yes I Always take a slow approach. 

@R26 oldtimer There was more than one on Astroboot back then. There was atleast two. Two of them ended up in Denmark. One of which needed quite a lot of work to bring the lens into alignment. I most of the folks that own Tal 125 Apolar tend to hang onto them. So they must be good performers. Depending on who you listen to, some say there is no chromatic aberration, some say little, some say these are equal to chinese ED doublets, others say the Tal 125 Apolar is just behind Lzos.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, John said:

I wonder how many folks have actually seen, handled and used TAL Apolar 125's "in the flesh" :icon_scratch:

 

More than you would think, if you think outside of the UK. Just didn't really seem to catch on in the UK or USA. The thing to bear in mind is the Apolar was more or less the same price as the Skywatcher ED120 on launch £1499. In the likes of Russia the Skywatcher ED120 was nearly twice the price of the Tal 125 Apolar in the beginning. The 148 page thread, which is still on going, on the Russian forum, has quite a few people that does/has owned a Tal 125 Apolar. Although there is quite a lot of bickering on it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Dave1 said:

.... Depending on who you listen to, some say there is no chromatic aberration, some say little, some say these are equal to chinese ED doublets, others say the Tal 125 Apolar is just behind Lzos.

 

The one that I tested (the 2nd one, that was delivered with the optics actually intact) did have colour correction that was as good as a chinese ED doublet, maybe even a touch better. Not quite up to LZOS standards though, IMHO although I have only owned one LZOS refractor.

Colour correction is one aspect of performance though and it was in the overall star test quality, particularly the form of the intra and extra focal diffraction rings and the at focus airy disk where I found some issues as I described in my report. This might have been addressed through collimation of the optics but it was not my scope (a loan organized by First Light Optics) and the manual at that time proposed a return to the manufacturer for such adjustments, so I decided not to tamper.

An owner with some experience of refractor optical testing and adjustment, who likes to tinker and is not over-concerned with fit and finish quality, could well have a lot of enjoyment from a TAL Apolar 125 I'm sure.

If I had invested £1,000+ in the scope I would have been pretty disappointed I have to say.

My best TAL was a 1999 TAL 100RT which was great for £250 delivered direct from TAL in Siberia. I've owned one since that which was OK and another which was rather poor so I view TAL as scopes that can be great if purchased for a low cost and with suitable expectations.

All that said, I really hope your TAL Apolar 125 proves to be an enjoyable experience for you and I look forward to hearing about your experiences with it :smiley:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by John
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, John said:

so I view TAL as scopes that can be great if purchased for a low cost and with suitable expectations.

I think that's the key point, John..

In 1999, I bought my first Tal, a 100R with the "purple coatings", from Warehouse Express. It came complete with a decent eq mount, really excellent wooden tripod, excellent 6x30 finder, two plossl eyepieces, an ok 6.3mm and a really excellent 25mm. Oh, and a very good 1.25" mirror diagonal as well.,,

All of the above came to the UK, overland in a Siberian wood "coffin" packing crate - a two man lift, and cost £249 delivered. At that cost I couldn't resist, and the scope was with me for several years and gave me some lovely views.

It met and exceeded my expectations by some margin, and by any measure it was low cost.

Most of my later Tal 100 F10 otas bought in the years between c 2006 and 2012, and these (ota and rings, finder, 2 eyepieces and diagonal but no mount or tripod) all cost me new between c  £170-£220 shipped.

I think that shipping was a really weak link in the Tal supply chain..it's about a 3,600 mile journey by land from Novosibirsk to London, and I'm sure that the tortuous journey over multiple types of terrain must have accounted for the vast majority of the scopes that arrived here damaged: the "coffin" I referred to above was very solid indeed, and the scope arrives intact, but it had clearly had some significantly rough handling en route!

Dave

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think its worth bearing in mind that every manufacture turns out lemon's every now and again, just that some manufacturers turn out less lemons than others. I once bought a brand new Skywatcher Skymax 180 Pro brand new, I put it on the mount and the finder had this weird issue where it appear if viewing the star that there was constant vibration, so I returned it to the merchant I bought it from. That merchant tested the finder and found the same issue I had reported and had no quibble in giving me a full refund, he also said he had never encountered such a weird issue before. 

The Tal 125 Apolar I've bought comes in its original wooden coffin, with Tal diagonal, and finderscope. I'm hoping by now that if there was any issue(s) then it would of been sorted, since it's been quite awhile since they were made. I'm not to worried as the place I've bought it from is an optics shop, that does offer returns.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, F15Rules said:

I think that shipping was a really weak link in the Tal supply chain..it's about a 3,600 mile journey by land from Novosibirsk to London, and I'm sure that the tortuous journey over multiple types of terrain must have accounted for the vast majority of the scopes that arrived here damaged: the "coffin" I referred to above was very solid indeed, and the scope arrives intact, but it had clearly had some significantly rough handling en route!

 

 

True Dave, but I honestly believe that many left the factory in a poor state as well. One of the TAL Apolar 125's that I received had a welded tube that had the profile of an egg rather than being even roughly round (not squashed in transit - badly formed and welded that way) The 2nd welded seam between the level and tapered sections was rusting and covered up by a black elastic band. The objective cell had scratches all over it as well. The central triplet element had come loose and had smashed which was probably a transit issue but the rest of the scope was not pretty at all.

The 2nd scope that I received was in better shape but still had plenty of rough edges including some mis-collimation and even though the focuser had a 2 inch format drawtube, when a 2 inch diagonal was fitted, no 2 inch eyepieces would come to focus due to lack of inwards focuser travel.

At the time I was testing the TAL Apolar 125 I had an Intes 150mm maksutov-newtonian and there was simply no comparison between these Russian products - the Intes was superior every way, fit, finish, design and performance and yet the list price in the UK at that time was roughly the same.

I understand that dealers in the UK became very wary of handling TAL orders because they knew that the chances of customer issues with them would be high unless they spent a significant amount time checking and prepping scopes prior to dispatch. Most were content to move away from supplying them to customers.

Good luck with yours though, @Dave1 :smiley:

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by John
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes most of the details you've raised in this thread were detailed in your review and on other threads. Like I said John, I have read your review and every review going. The first example you received is the only one in the world to have been reported as being oval in shape, its also the only one to have been received with a broken lens, I doubt that it left the factory like that, as hard as that is to believe. I do think you where very unlucky in that regard, but it is not representative of Tal products in general. The reason Tal product disappeared from this shore is because the Chinese upped there quality of there optics and QC, that is a remark I was given directly from a retailer when I was thinking of buying one of the last brand new Tal 100 RS in stock in this country, that and the Chinese were doing it at a price Tal could not compete with if all of Tal designs are taken into consideration. Tal like all other Russian manufacturers were asked by the Russian military to make optics under contract, like Intes- Micro. Although Tal and Intes Micro always did make optics for the military, the amateur astronomy aspect of the business was only secondary.

Edited by Dave1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.