While out in Oklahoma this summer for work I walked into Astronomics one weekend to see Mike and the boys and pick up a TV .8 reducer. After shooting the breeze for awhile I asked Mike if he had any of the TV's in stock. He said he did but wanted to know if I wanted to test a new FR/FF that AT was developing. I said sure and walked out the door.
I was pretty confident that based on the quality of the equipment that AT produces this should be a nice addition to the line but was a bit hesitant to put it up against the venerable 2008 from TV. After 4 months with this little piece 'O glass I can tell you that it is every bit as good as the TV unit from every angle except cost. Final retail has not been set but from what Mike was talking your looking at under $160.
As this was a prototype the final product from a finish standpoint will be light eyars ahead of what you see here but this gives you a pretty good idea. This was a bare non anodized piece and as such I needed to blackout the interior. I have since added a piece of protostar flocking paper to the inside which killed any and all reflections. The coatings were flawless gave off that mulit hued look that tells you this is a nice piece. Even with no scuffs, blemish's or thin spots. The machining is first class and I would LOVE to see them keep it the natural finish with a blacked out interior but that's just me.
With the 40D I have it set at right around 53mm of spacing and based on the included images that looks right. The following image is an un-cropped shot with a modded 40D and a ED80Pro. The 200% crops are of all 4 corners and labeled accordingly. As you can see, stars are real tight to the corners and no signs of false color or image artifacts are present. A testament to the optics of both the reducer and the ED80Pro. The field is also very flat.
I took over 100 subs with both the TV and the AT units and could see no difference between the 2. This looks to be a great option for those who are looking for a reducer/flattener for an under 600m scope. The funny thing is I tried this on the AT111 and it performed just as well at almost 800m Fl as it did on the ED80.
I know there are TV purists who will say it cannot be as good. To them I say, try one first, than decide.
You can start looking for these to show up sometime in January hopefully along with a final price set.
The following image is the un-cropped full frame sub.
You can give Mike B. At WWW.Astronomics.Com a call and tell him you saw my post on it.