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Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
#11
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
@polymath257
@HappySkeptic

So I went a different direction with this. I just ordered a used Explore Scientific ED102-FCD100 Series Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor OTA, and I am trying to decide on a mount. Eventually, this thing will probably end up with a guide scope, microfocuser, filter wheel, and camera so the weight is going to go up considerably. Since I plan to use it for astrophotography I think I should rule out the 30 lb rated mounts. I am looking at either a Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 or a Celestron CGX. The CGX is a little more expensive, but with a 55 lb load rating it should be a lot steadier than the 40 lb rated AZ-EQ6.

Any suggestions?
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#12
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
There's a slightly used scope available in PR, a bit of a fixer-upper but quite a bargain.
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#13
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(December 30, 2020 at 10:59 pm)popeyespappy Wrote: @polymath257
@HappySkeptic

So I went a different direction with this. I just ordered a used Explore Scientific ED102-FCD100 Series Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor OTA, and I am trying to decide on a mount. Eventually, this thing will probably end up with a guide scope, microfocuser, filter wheel, and camera so the weight is going to go up considerably. Since I plan to use it for astrophotography I think I should rule out the 30 lb rated mounts. I am looking at either a Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 or a Celestron CGX. The CGX is a little more expensive, but with a 55 lb load rating it should be a lot steadier than the 40 lb rated AZ-EQ6.

Any suggestions?

You've gone up in price!  Yes, this is a better scope for astrophotography.  Hopefully there is a focal-reducer/field-flattener available for it.

Both mounts you mention are very nice.  The Sky-Watcher also works as an ALT-AZ mount, which is nice for visual and quick setup (no polar alignment, and the eyepiece stays in a good position for sitting).  I have considered getting it myself for my 127 mm refractor, but I went another route.

Yes, the CGX is probably a bit more stable.  Again, check Cloudy Nights forums. For photography, the mount needs to be rated at least twice the weight of your tube (more if the tube is especially long). This tube is only 10 lbs. Add another 5 or more for the camera and accessories (and small guide scope).

Some people love astrophotography.  Myself, I love the idea of it, but the not the reality of the setup using a portable rig.  I think astrophotography is better done in a backyard observatory, and visual is best done with something that is easy to setup and take down, somewhere away from city lights.

The reviews of the ED102 seem decent.  It is a fairly big scope as your first astrophotography scope, though.  It will require good polar alignment and a sturdy mount.

Photos of each object will take between 1.5 and 4 hours for RGB or RGB+L work (less on a color camera, but then it won't be as good).  They will take 4 to 15 hours if you do narrow-band photography (which can be done in more light-polluted skies like a back yard).  The time depends on the pixel-size of the camera, and what f-ratio you run when you get a focal-reducer.  That amount of time means you either travel to a dark site and stay up most of the night, or you do it from your backyard.

If you do filtered photography, you will be spending $1000+ on just the filters, plus on ton on the filter wheel and camera.  If you are just using a DSLR, of course the cost is much less (if you have the DSLR), though if it isn't a special one with enhanced red sensitivity for astronomy use, you won't get pictures of emission nebula very easily.

You need hours on the camera.  If you won't put in those hours, you should think more about visual use.  The committed amateurs have backyard observatories that they can run (after initial setup) from their house.  They can watch Netflix while the camera takes pictures.  Of course, that requires expensive mounts that can be remotely controlled, and don't need babysitting.

I don't want to put you off.  I just want you to realize that astrophotography is a completely different thing than visual.  For myself, it is the thrill of seeing detail in a globular cluster or galaxy that connects me to the universe, so I focus on that.  The types of views that give me that experience determines what equipment I own.


P.S. I own an Explore Scientific ED80CF . I bought it for an eclipse, and it did an okay job. It is a good objective, but two things bother me about it. First, the focuser has too much slop in it (it does have a lock, but is everything still square? and there is slop on in/out). That could be bad for astrophotography. Second, the short focal length means that the field curvature for visual use was extreme. I love wide-field eyepieces, and they were a blur half-way from the center of the field. Nothing wrong with the telescope itself -- just the short focal length (without field flattening). This scope is really meant to be used for photography with a field-flattener. In fact, a used one of those could be a good photography scope for you, provided the focuser didn't pose a problem. For visual use, I wouldn't recommend it (plus it is on the small side for visual -- you can't see enough). I will sell it sometime, as my TeleVue NP127is is my dream scope (along with my 16" Dob).
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#14
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(January 1, 2021 at 3:23 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote:
(December 30, 2020 at 10:59 pm)popeyespappy Wrote: @polymath257
@HappySkeptic

So I went a different direction with this. I just ordered a used Explore Scientific ED102-FCD100 Series Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor OTA, and I am trying to decide on a mount. Eventually, this thing will probably end up with a guide scope, microfocuser, filter wheel, and camera so the weight is going to go up considerably. Since I plan to use it for astrophotography I think I should rule out the 30 lb rated mounts. I am looking at either a Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 or a Celestron CGX. The CGX is a little more expensive, but with a 55 lb load rating it should be a lot steadier than the 40 lb rated AZ-EQ6.

Any suggestions?

You've gone up in price!  Yes, this is a better scope for astrophotography.  Hopefully there is a focal-reducer/field-flattener available for it.

Both mounts you mention are very nice.  The Sky-Watcher also works as an ALT-AZ mount, which is nice for visual and quick setup (no polar alignment, and the eyepiece stays in a good position for sitting).  I have considered getting it myself for my 127 mm refractor, but I went another route.

Yes, the CGX is probably a bit more stable.  Again, check Cloudy Nights forums.  For photography, the mount needs to be rated at least twice the weight of your tube (more if the tube is especially long).  This tube is only 10 lbs.  Add another 5 or more for the camera and accessories (and small guide scope).

Some people love astrophotography.  Myself, I love the idea of it, but the not the reality of the setup using a portable rig.  I think astrophotography is better done in a backyard observatory, and visual is best done with something that is easy to setup and take down, somewhere away from city lights.

The reviews of the ED102 seem decent.  It is a fairly big scope as your first astrophotography scope, though.  It will require good polar alignment and a sturdy mount.

Photos of each object will take between 1.5 and 4 hours for RGB or RGB+L work (less on a color camera, but then it won't be as good).  They will take 4 to 15 hours if you do narrow-band photography (which can be done in more light-polluted skies like a back yard).  The time depends on the pixel-size of the camera, and what f-ratio you run when you get a focal-reducer.  That amount of time means you either travel to a dark site and stay up most of the night, or you do it from your backyard.

If you do filtered photography, you will be spending $1000+ on just the filters, plus on ton on the filter wheel and camera.  If you are just using a DSLR, of course the cost is much less (if you have the DSLR), though if it isn't a special one with enhanced red sensitivity for astronomy use, you won't get pictures of emission nebula very easily.

You need hours on the camera.  If you won't put in those hours, you should think more about visual use.  The committed amateurs have backyard observatories that they can run (after initial setup) from their house.  They can watch Netflix while the camera takes pictures.  Of course, that requires expensive mounts that can be remotely controlled, and don't need babysitting.

I don't want to put you off.  I just want you to realize that astrophotography is a completely different thing than visual.  For myself, it is the thrill of seeing detail in a globular cluster or galaxy that connects me to the universe, so I focus on that.  The types of views that give me that experience determines what equipment I own.


P.S.  I own an Explore Scientific ED80CF .  I bought it for an eclipse, and it did an okay job.  It is a good objective, but two things bother me about it.  First, the focuser has too much slop in it (it does have a lock, but is everything still square?  and there is slop on in/out).  That could be bad for astrophotography.  Second, the short focal length means that the field curvature for visual use was extreme.  I love wide-field eyepieces, and they were a blur half-way from the center of the field.  Nothing wrong with the telescope itself -- just the short focal length (without field flattening).  This scope is really meant to be used for photography with a field-flattener.  In fact, a used one of those could be a good photography scope for you, provided the focuser didn't pose a problem.  For visual use, I wouldn't recommend it (plus it is on the small side for visual -- you can't see enough).  I will sell it sometime, as my TeleVue NP127is is my dream scope (along with my 16" Dob).

I found a used Celestron AVX and went ahead and bought it. It won't work as well for astrophotography, but it should be a lot easier to move around for viewing. One big plus is it is already in a pelican case.

Yes, they do make a field flattener for the ED102. I plan on slowly working into the photography and had hoped to not have to buy a second mount but may have just fucked that plan up. The AVX should work for viewing and to start the photography on though, and it cost about a fourth what I was looking at for a new CGX.
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#15
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(January 1, 2021 at 11:17 pm)popeyespappy Wrote: I found a used Celestron AVX and went ahead and bought it. It won't work as well for astrophotography, but it should be a lot easier to move around for viewing. One big plus is it is already in a pelican case.

Yes, they do make a field flattener for the ED102. I plan on slowly working into the photography and had hoped to not have to buy a second mount but may have just fucked that plan up. The AVX should work for viewing and to start the photography on though, and it cost about a fourth what I was looking at for a new CGX.

Unfortunately, it looks like all the Explore Scientific telescopes went up in price recently (by 30%), so you aren't getting a good a deal as you would've a month or two ago (unless you ordered before the price increase).  That might make other scopes competitive.

The AVX is a cute little mount.  You will likely find it acceptable for visual.  It probably isn't good enough for the best photography results, but you can at least try something out. 

There is something to be said for portability!  I have a heavy mount (tripod and mount each over 20 lbs) for my refractor, but I really like a perfectly steady view.  However, I might get an alternate lighter mount for grabbing the scope for backyard views.
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#16
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(January 1, 2021 at 11:30 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote:
(January 1, 2021 at 11:17 pm)popeyespappy Wrote: I found a used Celestron AVX and went ahead and bought it. It won't work as well for astrophotography, but it should be a lot easier to move around for viewing. One big plus is it is already in a pelican case.

Yes, they do make a field flattener for the ED102. I plan on slowly working into the photography and had hoped to not have to buy a second mount but may have just fucked that plan up. The AVX should work for viewing and to start the photography on though, and it cost about a fourth what I was looking at for a new CGX.

Unfortunately, it looks like all the Explore Scientific telescopes went up in price recently (by 30%), so you aren't getting a good a deal as you would've a month or two ago (unless you ordered before the price increase).  That might make other scopes competitive.

The AVX is a cute little mount.  You will likely find it acceptable for visual.  It probably isn't good enough for the best photography results, but you can at least try something out. 

There is something to be said for portability!  I have a heavy mount (tripod and mount each over 20 lbs) for my refractor, but I really like a perfectly steady view.  However, I might get an alternate lighter mount for grabbing the scope for backyard views.

The idea was easier to use = more use, but we'll see...

Right now I'm into this used equipment a couple of hundred more than I would have been if I had bought a new LX65 or 8SE. But that just includes the refractor, mount, and a single 14mm 82 degree eyepiece. What I'm trying to figure out right now is if I need a finder and/or polar scope for alignment or if I can get away with just an illuminated reticle eyepiece to perform a polar alignment.
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#17
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(January 2, 2021 at 12:21 am)popeyespappy Wrote: The idea was easier to use = more use, but we'll see...

Right now I'm into this used equipment a couple of hundred more than I would have been if I had bought a new LX65 or 8SE. But that just includes the refractor, mount, and a single 14mm 82 degree eyepiece. What I'm trying to figure out right now is if I need a finder and/or polar scope for alignment or if I can get away with just an illuminated reticle eyepiece to perform a polar alignment.

You will want more eyepieces eventually.  The 14 is a medium-high power in that scope (2 mm exit pupil, which is regarded as the perfect value for getting maximum detail while still rendering the stars still as points, or at least very small circles).  It is a very good choice as your only eyepiece, but is a bit too low power for planets (not that planets are really up or good right now.  You can see Mars, but it is getting smaller).  You will probably want a low power eyepiece before finding the perfect planetary one.

Polar alignment is a bit of an art.  A polar alignment scope is tricky to learn to use correctly (you need an app that tells you what angle Polaris is, and you need to get the reticle aligned (easy by rotating the scope and making sure the center doesn't move on the sky)).  But the polar scope will get you set up quickest when you know how to use it. 

You can get partially aligned just by using an eyepiece, and then use a drift method for determining which way to knudge the scope (you can google that).  You don't need perfect alignment for visual anyway -- it just means you use the manual controls more to adjust for it.

Refractors are great!  But, that 8" was a bigger scope.  That's why I have two scopes Smile
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#18
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(January 1, 2021 at 11:17 pm)popeyespappy Wrote:
(January 1, 2021 at 3:23 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: You've gone up in price!  Yes, this is a better scope for astrophotography.  Hopefully there is a focal-reducer/field-flattener available for it.

Both mounts you mention are very nice.  The Sky-Watcher also works as an ALT-AZ mount, which is nice for visual and quick setup (no polar alignment, and the eyepiece stays in a good position for sitting).  I have considered getting it myself for my 127 mm refractor, but I went another route.

Yes, the CGX is probably a bit more stable.  Again, check Cloudy Nights forums.  For photography, the mount needs to be rated at least twice the weight of your tube (more if the tube is especially long).  This tube is only 10 lbs.  Add another 5 or more for the camera and accessories (and small guide scope).

Some people love astrophotography.  Myself, I love the idea of it, but the not the reality of the setup using a portable rig.  I think astrophotography is better done in a backyard observatory, and visual is best done with something that is easy to setup and take down, somewhere away from city lights.

The reviews of the ED102 seem decent.  It is a fairly big scope as your first astrophotography scope, though.  It will require good polar alignment and a sturdy mount.

Photos of each object will take between 1.5 and 4 hours for RGB or RGB+L work (less on a color camera, but then it won't be as good).  They will take 4 to 15 hours if you do narrow-band photography (which can be done in more light-polluted skies like a back yard).  The time depends on the pixel-size of the camera, and what f-ratio you run when you get a focal-reducer.  That amount of time means you either travel to a dark site and stay up most of the night, or you do it from your backyard.

If you do filtered photography, you will be spending $1000+ on just the filters, plus on ton on the filter wheel and camera.  If you are just using a DSLR, of course the cost is much less (if you have the DSLR), though if it isn't a special one with enhanced red sensitivity for astronomy use, you won't get pictures of emission nebula very easily.

You need hours on the camera.  If you won't put in those hours, you should think more about visual use.  The committed amateurs have backyard observatories that they can run (after initial setup) from their house.  They can watch Netflix while the camera takes pictures.  Of course, that requires expensive mounts that can be remotely controlled, and don't need babysitting.

I don't want to put you off.  I just want you to realize that astrophotography is a completely different thing than visual.  For myself, it is the thrill of seeing detail in a globular cluster or galaxy that connects me to the universe, so I focus on that.  The types of views that give me that experience determines what equipment I own.


P.S.  I own an Explore Scientific ED80CF .  I bought it for an eclipse, and it did an okay job.  It is a good objective, but two things bother me about it.  First, the focuser has too much slop in it (it does have a lock, but is everything still square?  and there is slop on in/out).  That could be bad for astrophotography.  Second, the short focal length means that the field curvature for visual use was extreme.  I love wide-field eyepieces, and they were a blur half-way from the center of the field.  Nothing wrong with the telescope itself -- just the short focal length (without field flattening).  This scope is really meant to be used for photography with a field-flattener.  In fact, a used one of those could be a good photography scope for you, provided the focuser didn't pose a problem.  For visual use, I wouldn't recommend it (plus it is on the small side for visual -- you can't see enough).  I will sell it sometime, as my TeleVue NP127is is my dream scope (along with my 16" Dob).

I found a used Celestron AVX and went ahead and bought it. It won't work as well for astrophotography, but it should be a lot easier to move around for viewing. One big plus is it is already in a pelican case.

Yes, they do make a field flattener for the ED102. I plan on slowly working into the photography and had hoped to not have to buy a second mount but may have just fucked that plan up. The AVX should work for viewing and to start the photography on though, and it cost about a fourth what I was looking at for a new CGX.

I'm currently thinking about buying the Celestron EdgeHD 800 AVX as for maximum future compatibility with any direction I might want to take. Showing the kids some nice stuff, and how to operate a scope, plus future astrophotography use. I'm torn though whether to save a few bucks and go with sth even more portable.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
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#19
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
(January 3, 2021 at 9:26 pm)Alex K Wrote: I'm currently thinking about buying the Celestron EdgeHD 800 AVX as for maximum future compatibility with any direction I might want to take. Showing the kids some nice stuff, and how to operate a scope, plus future astrophotography use. I'm torn though whether to save a few bucks and go with sth even more portable.

I think that's a great choice -- the EdgeHD and the AVX.  Fairly portable, and has a good aperture.

There are 3 types of scope styles:

1) The refractor.  This can be a big one on a heavy mount, or a small grab-and-go setup.  Easy to use, and great contrast images.  Planets are pleasing.  Good for photography if on a sturdy mount.
2) The catadioptric or cassegrain.  The Celetron/Meade.  You can go small, medium or large with these, but the 8" is a really versatile size, and fairly cheap.  More aperture means deeper views.  Good all-round but not a master in anything.
3) The dobsonian. 6 to 12" for a starter scope, but 20"+ when you get aperture fever.  These are for deep-sky.  If you love globular clusters and galaxies, these are the way to go in as big as you can handle (though long focal-ratio 8" or 10" can work well for planets). Not for photography (except in rare setups)

Grab-and-go is a particular style of viewing.  It is the "hey, it's clear tonight.  Let's see if I can put my telescope outside in at most 2 trips (1 if it is light and already setup) and get it cooled down quickly for use".  This would be a 6" Maksutov or Meade Schmidt-Cat, or a 3 or 3.5" refractor on a light mount.  Many people who have been in the hobby a long time have one grab-and-go scope, but it likely isn't their main scope.

If you don't need grab-and-go, and are willing to lug a few pieces around and do 10 minutes of setup, then go with something like an 8", and a mount that is light enough you won't curse moving it, but heavy enough that it gives a good steady view.  I'm not sure you will like something lighter than an AVX mount with an EdgeHD 8"
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#20
RE: Meade lx65 8" (ACF) vs Celestron 8se
The AVX mount was delivered yesterday. Now if Explore Scientific would just ship the damn telescope.

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Question about filters. What light pollution filter for viewing, and where does it go?
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