AG Optical iDK Scope Review

Carlos David of catchingphotons.wordpress.com

Carlos David of catchingphotons.wordpress.com

Back in December I decided it was time to part with my old 10 inch LX200.  It had served me well over the years, but with my increasing interest in astrophotography over the years the short comings of this scope for astro-imaging became more and more apparent.  I was in the market for an astrograph but most were out of the budget in terms of price range.  The known players that make the various RC models were tempting but the price just too steep.

So as it happens, I was perusing the cloudy nights posts one night and ran across a thread discussing AG Optical Systems imaging Dall-Kirkheims.  They were starting to produce a 10 inch model that was much more accessible in terms of price point. The more I looked into this company, their scopes and owner Dave Tandy, the more intrigued I became.

I set out on a plan- First Sell the LX-200 and various other odds and ends to get some of the cash needed.  Then a letter to Santa and She whom must be obeyed 

I spoke with Dave Tandy and discussed my interest in a 10 inch scope.  I was hoping for a truss design and after a few minutes on the phone, Dave agreed that he could make a version as such.  The time line was for a February-March Delivery time frame…I put down the deposit and thus began the wait.  Dave kept me well informed on the progress and was very helpful as I set out to plan the odds and end needed to configure the scope when it arrived.  There were some delays and finally the scope arrived in the middle of May.

The scope came packed in a crate that Dave Tandy makes for his scopes.  The scope was well protected in bubble wrap and a few pieces of cardboard were placed to help keep it in place.  The packing was utilitarian…it did the job, but things could have been snugger.  The scope clearly rolled a bit to each side but no harm appears done.  I would suggest to Dave that a Custom piece of Foam in the crate would be preferable.  Further, there was significant dust in the crate which did get on the scope as well.  Given the high end nature of this scope and its optics….I would further suggest sealing it in a plastic bag prior to placing in the crate.

In any event, unpacking the scope and lifting out of the box was a cinch.  The scope is quite light and easily managed.  It comes with two dove tail plates and was easily slid into the versa plate on my MYT mount.  I was able to do this by myself without any issues (a far cry from the grunts and exertion of mounting the LX200 on a wedge).

The scopes finish is gorgeous, with a deep red contrasting with the carbon fiber black.  There are three built in fans with a controller knob on the back of the scope and primary and secondary dew heaters were pre-wired into place.  The scope comes with an Optec TCF-3Si focuser but no adapter for 2 inch eyepiece or camera holder.

For now I have mounted it indoors- at least until the pollen season ends.  I used a Kendrik power hub velcro’d to the side plate from which to feed power to my dew-controller box that I placed on the upper dove tail plate that in turn will power the dew strips and the fans The focuser will by controlled by the Sky X and powered through the versa plate.  I am awaiting a 3 inch to 2 inch adapter from Optec which will allow me to connect my camera.  Stay tuned for first light in the weeks to come……