AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide

15 years 6 months ago #5719 by dmcdona
AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide was created by dmcdona
OK lads - I have till November 24th to decide whether or not to spend $9400/€7300 on an AP1200GTO (I just got notification that my name has come up on their waiting list).

I've had a quick scoot around Cloudy Nights but couldn't find any reviews - ideally I'm looking for anything that reviews the 1200GTO - even better if its reviewed against a competing model (Paramount, NJP orm Temma II etc).

I'm going to have a further look around tomorrow but time is limited - I have to make a spam complaint... :wink: so I'd appreciate any web sites or bulletin board reviews that are pertinent.

Of course, if anyone has an AP1200, I'd be delighted to hear your story...

Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately judging by the prices, my name hasn't come up for the Starfire 155 edfs... So any advice on how I can shoehorn a celestron c8 onto the mount would be most welcome (yes, I know its like putting a 1.1 punto engine into a DB9, but one must cut one's cloth.... at least in the short term).

Cheers

Dave

ps - thought I'd try the poll option for this life-changing decision

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15 years 6 months ago #5720 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
Mabey I'll try the obvious question first.
What, in your opinion, will this mount provide that no other mount can?
From an optical viewpoint, what are you aiming for longterm?

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15 years 6 months ago #5721 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
Hi Dave,
Go for the best mount and scope you can afford.
Dont get one while saying to yourself, I'll upgrade it in 2 year, thats how you waste money, thats my philosophy anyway.

As for the AP1200GTO, I cant talks from experiance as I've never seen one, let alone know someone who owns one, although there are a few Paramounts around.

Thats a serious mount, I imagine you're going to put a much more beefier scope then an 8 inch on it, otherwise its overkill, it can take a 16" SCT
I presume you'll be doing photography, this mount is geared up for that.

Happy hunting.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 6 months ago #5732 by ayiomamitis
Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
Dave,

If your objective is astrophotography and, more specifically, long exposure astrophotography, the AP1200GTO is one of the best mounts around with its sub-second tracking and peak-to-peak error of less than 2 arc-secs! Unfortunately, the price on this mount just keeps going up and up each year - last year it was selling for around $8600 and I suspect AP increased the price to $9600 in the footsteps of PAramount who raised theirs from $10,000 to $12,500.

As for the AP 155 EDF you have been waiting for, I got called last week for the first batch of this year's run. I have been waiting since Aug 31/99 ... just to give you an idea. Furthermore, the AP 155 is no more, for it has been replaced by the AP 160 and which represents 160 mm of aperture and 1200 mm in focal length (f/ratio of 7.5). It comes ONLY with the 4" focuser now and costs $7950.

I am very tempted to suggest that you grab the AP1200GTO right now and offer to take it off your hands in you decide to sell it. However, I have no idea what the import taxes would be or otherwise I would be in a better position to make you this offer (or not).

Either way, this is one expensive hobby!

Anthony.

Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
www.perseus.gr

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15 years 6 months ago #5733 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
As ever - and this is what is so good about this site, lots of great feedback.

Michael - I've been looking to get into serious astrophotograhpy for over a year now and having done the research have decided that the only way to do it is to do it properly. The AP900 and 1200 mounts come out, along with the top end Tak and Software Bisque mounts as the best for the job withoug going down the road of buying a truly professional mount. So, if I can get my hands on ANY of these mounts, I'd be sorted. It just so happens that the 1200 has become available to me.

Dave - bang on the money. I have a 155 EDFS on order too so the idea was to match the pair. However, the AP waiting lists are mutually exclusive - your position on one list (mounts) does not match your position on another list (scopes) - hence no notfication of the scope yet. And it seems I'll be waiting a few more years for that! So, in the meantime, the plan might be to get the 1200 now and slap on the 8" SCt whilst I get my my hands on a, say, a TOA 130 or similar then come the day the AP scope arrives swap over.

It's certainly clear to me that the most critical item for astrophotography is the mount - period. And the 1200 is up amongst the best on offer currently. The 900 comes out similarly well - just that the 1200 is beefier and handle more weight.

Now here's another conundrum - I'm also on the list for a 900 but haven't received a notification yet... Should I leave the 1200 and wait for the 900? Would the 155 edfs work on the 900? The jury is out on this at the moment...

Finally - Anthony. I think you're right about the increase - the Paramount just went up to $12500 in the summer. But I think the AP price increase also relates to upgrades they have made to the mount which will be included in the current planned production run. I think the likes of AP and the other top-end manufacturers always add value when they increase the prices - they don't just increase prices for the hell of it. And certainly the AP increase is less than the Paramount increase. And the outlay for the AP mount is a few grand less than the Paramount - which is marginally more easy on the pocket.

I saw the recent info on the 155 being discontinued and the 160 replacing it. All those (including me) on the list for a 155 will be given the opportunity of the upgrade. I suspect then that the 1200 is definately the way ot go for the new scope, as opposed to the 900, but I'd better do some more research to check.

You raise an interesting proposition which certainly I'd be open to thinking about. If I took the mount, only for it to sit waiting as much as 3 years for the 160 scope, that would probably be a terrible waste. But then when the 160 comes, it would be terrible not to have the mount! I guess some serious though and research is required. As far as taxes go, I'm not sure either. So the $9400 I have to pay is to Astrophysics - I know telescope import duty to Ireland is about 4.5%, but I don't know about mounts. then there's 21% VAT to pay. I'm going to look into the various options and see what the most economically viable method of importation is.

Anyway, once again thanks everyone for all your constructive feedback. I'd appreciate any more feedback - its not often you get the choice to purchase something like this but there's no easier way to watch your bank balance head for the buffers!

Cheers

Dave

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15 years 6 months ago #5734 by ayiomamitis
Replied by ayiomamitis on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
Dave,

If the only issue is having a really good mount for the AP160, then the AP900 is fine. Robert Gendler, for example, has his RC12.5" on an AP900. Furthermore, Roland Christen at AP is testing to see if the AP600E will also handle the AP160 adequately for both visual and astrophotographical work. As a result, the AP1200GTO is an overkill if your only concern is the AP160.

If you are on the list for the AP900 as well, it MAY be a good idea to grab the AP1200 anyway and resell it for a nice premium when you get the call for the AP900 and/or AP160 (whichever comes first).

As for taxes, this is also the stinker with me. Once all of the taxes have been factored in, we have a net tax of about 35% here in Greece. Suffice it to say that there will be some "creative" work done around the AP160 coming my way next month to minimize the tax burden.

Anthony.

Anthony Ayiomamitis
Athens, Greece
www.perseus.gr

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15 years 6 months ago #5743 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
Dave,

You've clearly put alot of though into this and have your heart set on it. If you get the 1200 and later decide you don't want it, it's gonna be very easy to sell it later. So, IMHO, go for it. When your name comes up for the 900, try it out for a a year and then sell whichever you don't want. You'll also make a few euro on whatever you sell so you can't lose.

As for scopes, I'm sure the AP160 would be very nice and if you can afford it, then go for it.

Clear skies,

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15 years 6 months ago #5746 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
Dave,
I think Michael put it perfectly, thats exactly what I'd do if I could afford it.

As for taxes, I thought there was no importation tax if the goods are coming from a fellow EU country, its all about this common market, except the cursed VRT on Cars, if I buy something in from England, there is no extra tax on it, at least there wasn't when I got my scope a number of years ago.

btw, long live the Euro !!

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 6 months ago #5747 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: AP1200 GTO Mount - help me decide
A lot of thought *has* gone into this but its still a tremendous leap spending the price of a good secondhand car on what is "only" a mount. I still have to get a pier/tripod, telescope, camera, focuser, counterweights, filter wheel, filters, focal reducer, observatory, PhD :shock:

Bang on about the 900 - Anthony (in a previous post) reckons the 900 is fine - possibly even the 600E. I can get the 1200 and when the 900 comes in I can try it out and flog the 1200 if it does the job. That said, I will have forked (no pun) out for two top class mounts to the tune of $16k - and that's without the other stuff above! Then there's taxes!!! But certainly the AP stuff holds its value incredibly well - a second hand brand new 1200 (if that makes sense) will cost you more than the list price - the deal being that your paying for instant gratification rather than waiting two years. So, an older second hand mount (say 12 months) should sell for pretty much close to what you buy it for. And don't forget, when you spend that kind of money, the item is treated with the kind of love reserved for Liz Hurley...!

As for taxes Dave, it will be imported directly from AP in the US - so, excise duty is payable - its the equivalent of VRT. VAT is also payable if the purchase is made outside the EU. I think it'll amount to something like 25%. At todays €/$ rate, I reckon I'll be out of pocket to the tune of €10k.

And by the way - its the same rates for second-hand gear! We get taxed at all turns, multiple times!

I've yet to make my mind up but the voting is pretty clear - 100% in favour of me selling my soul!

Thanks again for all your posts - it really is great to throw these things out to likeminded people and get some truly useful feedback.

Cheers

Dave

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