Obsidian Optics Customer Comments
SN0349 15" f/4.4 (Pyrex)
Every time I get a chance to look through other scopes, I realize just how good this mirror is. Very few other mirrors can even come close.

July, 2007

Kevin H., Washington

SN015Q 12.5" f/4.96 (Fused Silica)
...this past weekend, I was out observing with two experienced amateur friends. One was using a StarMaster equipped with a 14.5" Zambuto mirror, the other with a 12.5" f/4.5 Royce mirror. My scope was keeping up with the 14.5" Zambuto quite nicely, and in some cases producing better images than the Royce mirror next to me. My fused silica mirror has almost no cooldown time, so it was producing sharper images than the Royce or Zambuto mirrors for about 45 minutes to an hour. This was not my opinion alone -- people were coming to my scope to see Jupiter after sunset, even with the 14.5" Zambuto set up next to me!

I used to own and use a Royce 12.5" mirror; the Obsidian is surely its equal, and in some cases of detail on very dim objects, its superior. My friend with the Royce agrees, both of us having examined M42 carefully, and with the same eyepieces at nearly the same magnifications, for nearly an hour. The level of detail in the wisps of dark nebulae, and the almost unbelievably tiny, pinpoint foreground stars, were breathtakingly clear using the Obsidian quartz mirror.

August 2006

Gregory S., California

SN0R11 16.25" f/4.8 (Fused Silica refigure)
M15 was like fireworks, all the stars were pinpoints.

Really anxious to see Saturn.

A beautiful mirror!

July, 2005

Update: Shootout on Mauna Kea with a 22" f/3.75 and a 24" Obsession

...the bigger mirrors had a barely discernable advantage on galaxies, under great seeing conditions.

I was using 500x on Saturn, and at 700x on the moon, incredible views cranked way up!

August, 2007

Craig C., Hawaii

SN014Q 14.6" f/4.53 (Fused Silica)
Outstanding! Completely spectacular views of Saturn at first light with 4mm and 10mm Radians... I'm extremely pleased with the optics! The Orion nebulae showed dust lanes and color with street lights around!

Tried to push the limts (a bit) and put it on the moon - a 3x barlow and 4mm Radian was showing tiny craters at 1250x!!!

Can't wait to get it out under dark skies...

Chris T., Oregon

SN0322 16" f/4.5 (Pyrex)
A few extracts from the original review (2006):

The polish on the mirror was the best I've ever seen-- a green laser shining through the uncoated parabola produced no side scatter! This seemed like impressionistic support for Obsidian's claim to be doing "state of the art" Zambuto-style micropolish. I was also impressed by the absence of any turned down edge on the mirror (OK, so the Foucault tests do show a measly 6 Angstroms of TDE...), which impelled me in the direction of a "no mirror clip" design so as not to marr this superb figure.

I haven't yet had the weather needed to do a extended run of high magnification tests of the scope... but at 600X, planetary and stellar images look pinpoint. That's pretty good performance in my book-- nearly twice what Frankenscope rendered on comparable nights.

Later, he wrote this update on performance of the "Natasha" scope:

Conclusion:  Natasha's Performance

On 12 September 2005 we had a night of exceptionally good seeing, and for the first time I was able to see a clear optical difference between Frankenscope (good Meade mirror with good aftermarket secondary) and Natasha (premium grade primary with secondary to match).  I saw an image of Mars at 400X through Natasha that was astonishingly bright and clear-- like looking at a web cam stacked digital image.  It was still very sharp at 600X -- the highest I could go without digging out a Barlow. Frankenscope, meanwhile, was still stuck at the mid-300X power level, and its' image wasn't as bright nor did the focus "snap" into place the way that Natasha's did, even though both scopes were well collimated. 

The following night had "good" but not fantastic seeing, but nonetheless I was able to work at 500X with Natasha.  While I didn't have Frankenscope up and running that time, based on innumerable observing sessions with it I am relatively confident the seeing conditions would have capped it again at the low 300X magnification level. 

Finally, empirical evidence "at the eyepiece" that made all the expense and time of 'going upscale' on Natasha  worthwhile! 

19 Nov. '05 UPDATE:   In my contemplation of purchasing an even larger scope --ideally a 24"-- for use under dark mountain skies, I had the chance to evaluate a Starmaster 24" f/4.3 equipped with a Zambuto mirror.  (For many this particular combination is the "gold standard" of amateur astronomy-- there are only 14 such scopes in existence...)  I brought Natasha along, even though the Starmaster's owner pooh-poohed the idea and said doing the comparison would leave me hating my scope.  After looking through it once we'd used the Starmaster for a couple of hours, however, he was impressed and likened the views and ease of use to his Starmaster 14.5", which he said was his favorite one (he'd owned every model from the 11" to the 24").  He opined that the 14.5" was Zambuto's best mirror size, too, so my Obsidian 16" glass seems to be in good company <g>.  Sounds like pretty decent validation/vindication of the Natasha project to me!

More recently (2007) Jim compares it to his new 24" f/4. (note - link may be offline)...

Jim R., Virginia

SN0314 14" f/4.7 (Pyrex)
TScopes User Group, Re: Deluxe TScope

I own a 14" TScope with the Peerless Optical Package. The performance is excellent. I've received lots of unsolicited comments from veteran observers along the lines of "wow, that's a great mirror" or "who made the mirror on this scope?" A friend owns a Ronchi grating eyepiece, and we were both amazed by the excellent figure of my mirror.

If you get the Obsidian Optics Peerless Optical Package mirror, you won't have to worry about the optics and I think you'll be delighted by the excellent views. Whether the price is worth it you'll have to decide for yourself. I personally don't regret a single penny of the extra cost.

February, 2005

Paul W.

Talking Telescopes:

RBT wrote: I wouldn't buy into the wavelength accuracy thing. It's pretty much meaningless. A "1/10-th wave" mirror from one maker may be better than a "1/20-th wave" mirror from another. The only really meaningful number you're likely to encounter is Strehl ratio, but that requires interferometry testing, which not all mirror makers do, even good ones.

I agree. If you look at the published specs for the Obsidian Optics mirrors on their website, they have very impressive Strehl ratios. My own experience with the Obsidian mirror in my scope says the ratios are for real.

Clear skies,

Paul W.

TScopes User Group:

I personally consider the Peerless Optical Package money well spent. I've gotten lots of unsolicited remarks from others about the fine optics of my Tscope. IMO, it's a dead heat between the POP from Obsidian and the Zambuto mirror on a Starmaster.

Paul W.

SN0R10 12.5" f/5.86 (Pyrex refigure)
Cloudy Nights, 04-09-05: Re: ULTIMATE SHOOTOUT:

I should also mention that Obsidian Optics is producing 10" mirrors down to 0.8" thick. Ed G. purchased an old 12.5" mirror that was not as good as he wanted on the used market (Not from Obsidian Optics), so he sent it to a surprisingly well known company to be refigured for $500 and it actually came back worse. I will not mention the name in order to save them the grief, but what I will tell you is that Ed decided to send it to Obsidian Optics after and claims that the mirror is fantastic.

The point is, is that they are selling these thin mirrors and they do great work according to Ed. That's a huge plus, BUT proper flotation will be very important at this point. I am planning to design a 10" F-6 with all the trimmings, using a thin mirror with special flotation.

April, 2005

Daniel M.

TScopes Obsidian Lite (Standard OEM) Comments
...I have one of the first TScopes Ed made, also with an Obsidian Lite primary. At that time, Ed promised "only" 1/8th wave optics so that may be what I have, although I suspect its better than that.

The mirror is outstanding. More important than the wave accuracy, in my opinion, is how smooth the figure is and it is smoooth. You do great work and while I know Ed uses other mirror makers (hey, he needs to sell telescopes and good mirror makers can't exactly crank out mirrors) I can't see the point in paying a lot more for a different mirror. Not only is the plate glass not a problem (as some think when compared to Pyrex) but being thinner and lighter makes transport and setup easier and I think hastens cool down.

Bernie F.

TScopes User Group, 07-29-05 & 10-04-05: First Light Report & The Obsidian Lite Mirror

...First light with my Tscope 14" with Obsidian Lite was outstanding. We all know the great scopes Ed builds. I like many questioned the plate glass mirror. After extensive research that's the way I went and I'm not sorry. Bottom line, Obsidian optics performance is OUTSTANDING!

First light was a clear night with 6 mag. sky. Our club put on a star party at a state park for their campers. With little time for observing due to closing of the park I turned the Tscope on M13 at 50X. People were amazed at what the saw. Next, cranked M13 to 150X and when I looked at it I didn't want to share the eyepiece. What a wonderful mirror you produce. Resolution and clarity was outstanding. When people looked at M13 I saw several jaws drop! Many comments like "what a wonderful view and OMG" were expressed.

I'll stack your Obsidian Lite up to any other mirror of equal size anytime. I've looked through several other scopes in the 14" range with other mirrors and you have them beat! Great job and you and Ed keep it up.

Larry L.

TScopes User Group, 03-15-05:

...I have finished making my mods. to my Tscope and went out last Friday, at our Star Party, My Scope was a hit to say the least!

It is so easy to put up, to collimate, and to find those Deep Space objects, I can't believe how well the Star clusters just gleam with clarity and the scope focuses so well!

We had a 24" Truss scope set up also, but the people just kept coming to see mine! They said that the views were as good if not better, and for sure much safer, they didn't have to climb a ladder!

...The scope is a 14" f4.7 - I have the Obsidian Lite mirror...

All The Messier items I have been looking at, look like brand new visions, The different color stars show up well, Even the comet up around Polaris looks as bright as it did when It was around the 7 sisters...

A very satisfied customer!!

March, 2005

Oscar S., Florida

TScopes User Group: Scope for sale:

It has the 14" f/4.7, with exceptional 1/10 wave Obsidian Lite primary. See the web site for more info.

I have to say that the optics in this scope are some of the best I have ever owned. Been observing for 30+ years with scopes from 60 mm to 18" Tectron Dob made by Tom Clark a few years back.

October, 2004

Ben H.

Big Dobs, 02-19-04:

I'll second Curtis' suggestion to consider a 14" TScope. I have one and it is a custom built quality scope. The Obsidian lite mirror I have is outstanding and Ed is really about building you a quality instrument.

February, 2004

Mike L.

SN0203 8" f/5.8 (Pyrex)
It's working great! Was out till 3:30am Sunday morning using it. At 300X, it gave wonderful views of Saturn! I could make out the Cassini Division all the way around, when the air was still of course! I pushed it to 500X, but had some loss of clarity, but that could have been atmosphere and other factors. Even at the 500X level I could make out the Cassini Division at the edges and three of the inner moons..

Perry was there and now he can't wait for his 10" mirror...

On Oct. 12,2002 my club, NEFAS, held a public stargazing at the beach, conditions weren't the greatest. Two of the guests there, who had not looked through large aperture scopes before, compared my 8" f/5.8 to a pair of manufactured 12.5" f/4's and said mine delivered better views than either of them on both the Moon & M57 (Ring Nebula). How's that for a testimonial!

It gives great views on anything I've looked at.

I can't wait to get you started on the 15" f/6.5's!


Rick C., Florida

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