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William Optics Zenithstar 70 Ferrari 60th Anniversary APO

Posted by Peter Pulles   08/31/2007 12:00AM

Hello all,

Thought it would be good to post my impressions on the newest William Optics scope here.

Earlier this week I received the new William Optics Zenithstar 70 Ferrari 60th Anniversary scope. Being not only an amateur astronomer but also a big fan of Ferrari (especially the sports cars, not as much the F1) since high school time, I was anticipating the coming of this scope for months, ever since the moment WO announced teaming up with Ferrari and . For me it was the culmination of my both hobbies and “I just had to have one” of those special occasion scopes. So I ordered one of the 500 pieces as soon as possible. The guys at WO kept me informed about the order being processed so I could follow “my scope” travelling around the world almost until the exact moment it was being delivered at my doorstep J

So last week it came in here; expectations were high! And I was not disappointed. I already have had ‘first light’ with this scope and oh boy, what a joy! As to be expected: perfection is optics, mechanics and crafting and finish. To me the overall quality even exceeds the already very high grade of the ‘standard’ WO-instruments. No wonder maybe, if you know how “ossessionato” on quality ‘La Scuderia’ is.

Let’s however start at the beginning.

The scope is very well packed, not only for shipping, but also for use. Opening it is an experience on its own, giving a kind of Russian Matroesjka effect: a box in a box in a box… -First there is the shipping box.
-As soon as the foam and bubble-foil are migrated to the dustbin, there is a promising black box coming out. Just this outer box itself is already very chique: black, with a fine red stripe at the bottom, a the Ferrari horse logo an the text “Ferrari Zenithstar Anniversary Ed. Telescope”.

On the left side of the box one sees a picture of the scope, the same text and the special 60th Anniversary logo. On the other side there is the web address of William Optics Racing, as well as labels stating that this is a trademarked official licensed Ferrari product, accompanied by a holographic mark of originality.

-Inside the outer box, you will find a very nice soft fabric bag with a cord strap . On it there is just the WO-swan logo in white.

-Inside this bag, there is a really magnificent shiny, glossy, Ferrari-red hard case rucksack coming out! WOW!!! This was quite thrilling, it gave me really the feeling of having a real Ferrari in my hands…. A beautiful crafted item, black textile fabric back with straps etc, with on top embroidered ‘William Optics’. On top of the red polyester lid, there is an inlay of grey carbon fibre on which a prominent embossed silver Ferrari horse logo….. so beautiful!

-Opening this case with the zipper (which is also very high end made and has the Ferrari letters on it) is giving you the next pleasant surprise: IT SMELLS LIKE A BRAND NEW CAR! Really!!!!!

No wonder if you consider that this case was made out of the same material and paint that is used to make the famous sports cars. But okay, if you have recovered from this feeling, you will find yet another case enclosed. Before opening that one, you will notice that the red hard case lid is prevented to fall back by two Velcro straps at the bottom left and right hand side. Well thought of!

Now, let’s proceed to the content: this time it is the well known soft carrying case that is used for the ZS66SD and Megrez scopes, but this time with the name Ferrari embroidered in red. The soft case is protected to fall out by a Velcro strap; again safety first.

-In this stage, your anticipation and expectations are pushed to the limit…. Finally, you will get to the treasure: the scope itself. And after opening the zipper of the soft case, there it is: nicely embedded in a luxury coated velvet cushion, the 70m / f430mm apochromatic telescope. Included are a SCT-1,25”adapter, a 22.5 – 7.5mm WO-Ferrari zoom eyepiece and a credit card with the serial number. A erecting prism with nice red detail is inserted in the scope already.

Underneath the scope there is a L-bracket with threaded holes. Set up on a photo tripod, it can be admired from all sides. As said, the looks of the scope are very attractive. The WO-ZS70-Ferrari is without argue one big eye catcher. The carbon fibre tube and dew cap give it a classy style. The red accents and the sophisticated embossed logo with “Il Cavallo Rampante” (the staggering horse) are catching the eye and make you keep on looking at it all the time (at least is does this with me) so yeah, this scope is not only good to look through, but also very nice to look AT.

The rotatable focusser is a joy to operate. To me it is even better and smoother then those of my ZS66SD Blue Spirit, ZS80DF Red Devil and FLT110 White Beauty. The same is for the focuser itself, including the micro touch. Mechanics and finishing are high end. The scale on the rotatable part is very fine detailed with numbered degrees.

On the drawtube there is also a scale in both metric and inches.

The logo’s are beautiful, however here are just some small remarkable issues that surprised me: the logo on the left side of the dew cap and the right side, doe not match with the red stripe on the tube. If you align the letters Ferrari and the red stripe underneath with the red stripe on the tube, then on the other side the anniversary logo is situated very low; and vice versa. Second point is that the letters on the Ferrari name on the dew cap are not perfectly aligned. Maybe I am too critical on this an I must admit that it is just esthetical and in no way compromising the quality or performance.

Then the views: on landmark objects, the scope delivers very sharp crisp contrasty images with the original eyepiece. Even at 7.5mm the images is very clear and sharp. Small details like an antenna-top at about 3 km distance is shown with intricate details and no false colour at all. At a chimney at about the same distance, I can see the leafs of little plants growing there, and the eye color of birds sitting on the top. I could also read the number at the house of my father in law without difficulty, from 2,4 km distance.

Okay, then the real test: luckily I had clear skies that night, together with good seeing (sometimes you are lucky!) so as soon as it was dark enough, I pointed the WOZS70Ferrari
At bright Vega. This first magnitude white blazing star showed as a tack sharp diamond like brilliant pinpoint of light. No false colour, right as it should be. Intra and extra focal I could see very clear diffraction discs with completely symmetrical dark and light rings. Just magnificent. Intra- and extra focal there is the typical difference in visibility as on one side you are magnifying more of the air-cell turbulence in the atmosphere. The image on one side is showing the typical purple glare that is so characteristic for small apochromatic optics; I have seen it it many other apo scopes from all kind of brands. Finally, the optics are well collimated. Star test with a artificial star at red, green and blue and white, showed that for all three basic colours, the focus is on almost exact the same spot, even at high magnification I could not discern any colour deviation.
Only with a 3mm SLP eyepiece, there was some orange and blue glare at the side of Vega, but obviously the limits of the theoretical useful maximum magnification are well exceeded then.

The accompanying zoom eyepiece is performing very well, even until the edges of the field the stars remain sharp points, even at 7.7mm. This eyepiece is even better then the normal WO-zoom eyepiece I posses.

Globular cluster M13 and M3 are wonderful little sparkling balls of stars. It was possible to see very much stars resolved, almost way up to the centre with M13. M81 and 82 were undeniable clear and present as small smudges of light. The moon, later that night, was showing intricate details along the terminator, without any false colour. Compared with the 80mm f500 achromatic refractor that I mounted parallel with the ZS70, it showed clearly how much more a high end apo can show.

Thus high performance all together. The original erecting prisms, by the way, is showing the typical black “thread” running through the image, so this is not suited for astronomy. That is why I used my WO 1,25” dielectric diagonal for the star test. For terrestrial observations, the erecting prism is doing an outstanding job however. Keep in mind that this scope is intended for use at races etc. not primarily for night time observing.

To me it is proved that even without my personal fondness for both William |optics and Ferrari, here we have a very fine, magnificent high end quality instrument at hand. It combines outstanding optics to equally mechanics ands looks. The William Optics Zenithstar Ferrari 60th Anniversary will be a very fine addition to the real connoisseur and makes a high desirable and valuable collectors item. I am very glad and grateful that I can own one of the just 15 that are available for Holland.

That leaves me with just one problem… the scope is so beautiful and precious that I almost do not dare to use in… especially not the dark of the night….. ;-)

Finally: you can see a photo presentation here:

best regards,

Peter Pulles

The Netherlands