Author Topic: $20K+ refractors?  (Read 387 times)

aththrilnalo

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$20K+ refractors?
« on: December 24, 2017, 02:24:32 AM »
I was over in the refractor forum, reading about different instruments that sell for upwards of $20K and a few that are being redeemed for perhaps more than $30K.  I am aware that Astro Physics along with a handful of other telescope manufacturers produce some awesome instruments, and a few have larger motive apertures, but I'm puzzled.  I have done some recent screening through the others' refractors--a TMB-designed Astro-Tech, a TMB-brand refractor, a few Takahashis, and one gorgeous A-P 6" refractor--sorry that I can not remember the model.  To my eye the gaps between the aforementioned telescopes along with the A-P were almost negligible, apart from the advantages of aperture.   All were apochromats, all were quality-built, and all were below $10K, some way under.

My question: Why are20K+ refractors so desirable?  I guess I know the answer, and it's likely like why an individual drives a Bentley, or Maybach instead of a BMW or even M-B, or perhaps a Toyota or Ford.  My take: The advantages of paying 3-4x the price of great refractors, like TMBs or Takahashis likely have less to do with the opinion and function compared to using the mystique, the pride, the devotion, and possibly the bragging rights.  Some people have cash to burn, and I applaud them for their affluence, however in my Midwestern method of thinking, there are practical limitations to extravagance.  I'd love to get a TMBl or Tak, but might not pay the 'cargo' for an A-P.

Can I close on this?  Or am I off-base?  Are20K telescopes so much better?  I'm sure there are diverse opinions.

(I chose not to post this at the refractor forum, since it is obviously a newbie question.)



Christopher Hess

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 06:57:07 PM »
To my eye the differences between the aforementioned telescopes and the A-P were almost negligible, apart from the benefits of aperture. All were apochromats, all were quality-built, and all were under $10K, some way under.You've answered your own question. Yes these expensive refractors do some things much better than others, but you have to be experienced in the differences to discern a difference.

So my advice?  Go with what others suggest and you won't be disappointed.

lehroldwebbdep

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 09:42:26 PM »
You won't know until you own one. Besides, they're an investment as they will only go up in value so you have nothing to loose. Its like everything else in life that's expensive. Ferrari, Rolex, Cartier etc. Mystic, quality, bragging and self satisfaction are all part of it. We now pay over a million dollars for 1965 Cobra 289 that sold new for $6995.

I paid $5K for my AP130GT and its worth every penny & then some. Personally I can appreciate them all, from my old 12.5" Cave, 14.5" Zambuto, 10" Mak-Cass, FS152 and dozens of other scopes down to my 70mm C70 fluorite. You can't always judge based on cost vs performance.

freddormasa

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 10:16:49 AM »
At these levels, prices double for a possible 1% performance improvement. And its mostly about the name.....people pay crazy dollar for a Rolex that keeps less accurate time than a $10 digital watch. And some of these scopes do look beautiful. But its not really about the practical astronomy.

Refractor people are frequently perfectionists with only a tenuous grip on the real world and they seem to huddle round in circles proclaiming about their mutual qualities and occasionally **** about Newtonians (I too have been on the forum) while we quietly get on with taking superior images and getting superior views. Theres little reality that I can see in these discussions.

hiswacoka

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 03:59:07 PM »
Quote
I'd love to have a TMBl or Tak, but would never pay the 'freight' for an A-P.
When new, AP refractors don't cost more than other top end refractors; usually less (as in the case with the 130GTX, which is the only AP model that is likely to be produced again). If you manage to wait and eventually buy one of those, it will cost less than a new TOA-130. It is in the secondary market that AP prices are inflated, as Tak and other premium models have been produced in far greater quantity and are also available new. This limits their value on the secondary market to their intrinsic value rather than "collector" inflation. If you don't want to paya premium for a "can't get it" rarity you don't have to. Just select one of the excellent alternatives or wait for a new AP and save even more.

rotenoter

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 07:36:14 AM »
Yep, I'm gonna comment on this one, though my inner self sez "run away... run away!"

In my opinion, if the difference between a $2000 scope and a $20,000 scope is so subtle, you have to be an experienced expert in observing to detect said difference, then the difference is TOO small to justify ME spending that much. Bragging rights just ain't worth $20,000 to ME. $2000 (and probably less) will likely get me a quality scope that will do what it is supposed to do...

Of course, to each his own, YMMV, etc...

CB

cardcudeflee

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 02:10:58 AM »
Quote
You won't know until you own one. Besides, they're an investment as they will only go up in value so you have nothing to loose. Its like everything else in life that's expensive. Ferrari, Rolex, Cartier etc. Mystic, quality, bragging and self satisfaction are all part of it. We now pay over a million dollars for 1965 Cobra 289 that sold new for $6995.

I paid $5K for my AP130GT and its worth every penny & then some. Personally I can appreciate them all, from my old 12.5" Cave, 14.5" Zambuto, 10" Mak-Cass, FS152 and dozens of other scopes down to my 70mm C70 fluorite. You can't always judge based on cost vs performance.


I've noticed that most Astro Physics instruments resell for more than they cost. Obviously they aren't a bad investment, considering the continued interest from astronomers. Personally I'll stick with my portfolio and buy quality telescopes based solely upon performance and price. Each to his own.

FWIW: I owned a 1965 289 Cobra--paid a shade over $5K new, and stupidly sold it 10 years later. Most fun I've ever had behind the wheel of an automobile. It won't handle with, say, a Porsche Cayman or a Lotus Elise, but there was just something about it. Perhaps that's what A-P owners feel about their telescopes.

redoroto

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 03:51:11 AM »
Quote
Yep, I'm gonna comment on this one, though my inner self sez "run away... run away!"

In my opinion, if the difference between a $2000 scope and a $20,000 scope is so subtle, you have to be an experienced expert in observing to detect said difference, then the difference is TOO small to justify ME spending that much. Bragging rights just ain't worth $20,000 to ME. $2000 (and probably less) will likely get me a quality scope that will do what it is supposed to do...

Of course, to each his own, YMMV, etc...

CB


As I stated above, CB, I'm with you on this, but I also understand the points made by rolo, Phil, and John. And I freely admit that being relatively new to astronomy, my experience level isn't at the point where I can discern differences that someone can who has been doing this a while, or longer. My profession was in vision and optics, so I'm hardly green when it comes to such issues, but I must defer to the experts here. Which is why I started this discussion. I just love a good discussion, especially where intelligent, dispassionate heads prevail.

Scott Etrheim

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 06:55:55 AM »
I remember being at a star party, almost 3 decades ago where I met a guy who said he had a NICE refractor, but he was afraid of using it because it cost so much, so it just sat in the living room.
 There are few times when the top refractors and top reflectors and everything 'under' them are all gathered with a perfect night for seeing, so there can be good comparisons made?
 What do you want to see? What are you comfortable spending? I think the 'law of diminishing returns' applies; differently for different people, different situations, but it is still there.
 I recently observed 65 Ursa Majoris for Sissy Haas's uneven doubles project. I had seen the 'C' star with 80mm, 4" and 5" refractors but had failed with a short 60mm during admittedly less than Perfect nights. Getting some experience with different scopes and powers, I saw that I could see the C star with just under 60x. Then, a moonless, clear, stable night came along and I brought out a 60mm f/16.7 Carton scope. It took a bit, and then, I realized that I could see the C star, and then it became not easy but certain.  It was a Real thrill !! There is no doubt there is 'aperture fever', but it is hard to describe the feeling of believing you are almost There, seeing the strange sun good enough that you wonder what kind of world you are witnessing, and what kind of planets might be there.  That it was an achromat, and only 60mm was not what was occupying my mind, but the Quality of the scope Was certainly involved in bringing this experience about. So everyone should sell their 20K scopes and get a 60mm. Ya !! Right !! I know better than that. The point I would hope to make is that I think Quality is VERY important, but just as much, it is also realizing that probably more important is the gray matter behind the scope. That allows for a 'little' variation of experience !! and That isn't always predictable or logical.

ceplinglittfi

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 12:17:57 AM »
We keep seeing the $20,000 figure and the $2000 figure. That span is far too large to refl;ect reality. There is not a case where there is a choice between $20,000 apochromat and a $2000 apochromat in the same aperture class. At $20,000 you'd be looking at 7"-8" models. and ALL of those are going to be in the $20,000+ class. There isn't a Chinese 7"-8" apo, and there probably never will be. If there ever is, it won't be $2000. The 6" Chinese refractors are over $6000. The appropriate comparison is between those and the $10,000-$15,000 premium 6" models. Or the $3000 5" Chinese models and the $6,000-$10,000 premium 5: models. Or the $2500 4" Chinese models and the $4000-$7000 premium 4" models. Premium quality costs more, but it doesn't cost 10X as much. Maybe double.

James Merrill

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 12:46:13 AM »
Quote
Quote

Yep, I'm gonna comment on this one, though my inner self sez "run away... run away!"

In my opinion, if the difference between a $2000 scope and a $20,000 scope is so subtle, you have to be an experienced expert in observing to detect said difference, then the difference is TOO small to justify ME spending that much. Bragging rights just ain't worth $20,000 to ME. $2000 (and probably less) will likely get me a quality scope that will do what it is supposed to do...

Of course, to each his own, YMMV, etc...

CB


As I stated above, CB, I'm with you on this, but I also understand the points made by rolo, Phil, and John. And I freely admit that being relatively new to astronomy, my experience level isn't at the point where I can discern differences that someone can who has been doing this a while, or longer. My profession was in vision and optics, so I'm hardly green when it comes to such issues, but I must defer to the experts here. Which is why I started this discussion. I just love a good discussion, especially where intelligent, dispassionate heads prevail.

I guess I understand their points, but I come from a very unprivileged background and so I have spent most of my life analyzing "bang for buck" scenarios... sure, a Lotus will get me to work and in mighty fine style, but my Chevy will get me there too and for far less money. It just doesn't turn any heads on the way there...

And I am not really knocking anyone that wants to spend ungodly sums on nice scopes... but I am pretty sure if I was affluent to that degree, my pragmatism would kick in and prevent the purchase.

I love a good discussion as well, which is why I offered my comments. We all come from different backgrounds and this will naturally influence our perspectives...

Best regards!

CB

Duane Berhane

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 07:00:18 AM »
A Timex will tell you the time as well as a Rolex;the Rolex is mostly for impressing other people.

For those who can afford to pay that extra $15,000 for a barely discernable improvement over a "mass-produced" $5,000 apochromat I must conclude it is the same. But it is their choice.Money spent on expensive durable gear is not morally "wasted" as it provides the livelihood of those making the gear ,and they in turn spend the money on what they need.

A point to consider is how few amateur astronomers live(or have an observatory) where the seeing permits utilizing the full optical capabilities of even the common under $2,000 scopes.

Jeremiah Greer

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 10:15:27 AM »
I would also like to say I am Not a double star freak. Normally I like to see the planets, and I do have a 10" dob, have had a 16", but just seem to enjoy the planets the most. Not just different scopes, but different viewing sometimes can lead to rewarding experiences. I am wondering if maybe what I need to do is not just build some different scopes but widen my variety of observing habits.

Marcus Kucrud

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 04:21:35 AM »
Quote
We keep seeing the $20,000 figure and the $2000 figure. That span is far too large to refl;ect reality. There is not a case where there is a choice between $20,000 apochromat and a $2000 apochromat in the same aperture class. At $20,000 you'd be looking at 7"-8" models. and ALL of those are going to be in the $20,000+ class. There isn't a Chinese 7"-8" apo, and there probably never will be. If there ever is, it won't be $2000. The 6" Chinese refractors are over $6000. The appropriate comparison is between those and the $10,000-$15,000 premium 6" models. Or the $3000 5" Chinese models and the $6,000-$10,000 premium 5: models. Or the $2500 4" Chinese models and the $4000-$7000 premium 4" models. Premium quality costs more, but it doesn't cost 10X as much. Maybe double.


Of course, you are correct. I got carried away in the comparison and exaggerated to make a point. But at even twice the cost, apples to apples, I personally could never justify that expenditure... even if I COULD afford it...

Best regards!

CB

whoopsirode

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Re: $20K+ refractors?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 03:57:24 AM »
Quote
at even twice the cost, apples to apples, I personally could never justify that expenditure... even if I COULD afford it...

For visual use, you are unlikely to notice (or even be able to detect) a difference. The top flight refractors attract imagers, whose cameras probably CAN see the difference. Mine could, when I was shooting through top end refractors.