Jump to content


Photo

The Unsung Hero

  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 Charlie Hein

Charlie Hein

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 12308
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2003
  • Loc: 26.06.08N, +80.23.08W

Posted 22 September 2012 - 08:57 AM

The Unsung Hero

By Malcolm Bird

#2 Nathan Spitzer

Nathan Spitzer

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 105
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Charles Town, WV

Posted 22 September 2012 - 09:33 AM

Totally agree that this type of scope can be awesome for what you get. One thing to watch for on Ebay-Craigslist is for vintage Japanese scopes of this type.

I have a 4 1/2 inch Towa dating to sometime in the 70's that I paid $25 for plus the so-so mount. It has a very nicely ground parabolic mirror and throws up great images of the moon and planets. I plan on remounting its clamshell on my MIZAR mount from a vintage Meade 6600. Combined it should be a great combo.

#3 BoriSpider

BoriSpider

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2148
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2004
  • Loc: S.W.FLA

Posted 22 September 2012 - 10:43 AM

I was hoping to see pics up in here.
I have a Meade 114NT that they sold on their
outlet website for like $50. One day it will
be a mini-dob.

#4 johnthomas

johnthomas

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 151
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Oklahoma City

Posted 23 September 2012 - 06:48 AM

Enjoyed the read too. Although I have others (bigger & smaller), my 4.5 has become my "favorite" scope. Not the best, not the MOST portable, but still my favorite.

I have mine on a alt/az pipe mount (on top of a portable wood "pier") with a tiny digital level & an azimuth circle. Love it.

#5 cheapersleeper

cheapersleeper

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3342
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Sachse TX

Posted 23 September 2012 - 06:29 PM

I have one of those tubes on a tall dob mount for my son. When he is not around, I sneak it outside. Around that aperture, things start to be interesting...

Brad

#6 soupaman

soupaman

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 208
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Not sure

Posted 23 September 2012 - 09:20 PM

I have the Meade 'electronic' version. Electronic meaning, the mount. Well, that went into the trash. The scope itself is quite good though. I mounted it on a cg4 in alt az mode. The scopes weekness is definitely the plastic focuser. It doesn't care for heavy eyepieces, or light ones for that matter :) There's a lot of slop between the ep and the focuser drawtube. Putting some teflon tape inside the drawtube helped a lot with this. Now I don't even need to tighten the set screws. The plastic housing around the secondary isn't the greatest either as it seems to have a hard time holding collimation. But visually, this seems to not have a large affect on views.

#7 RAK on Tour

RAK on Tour

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 91
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Sedalia, Missouri

Posted 23 September 2012 - 10:55 PM

I have to agree with the article, as well. I just came in from a one-day-past-first-quarter moon observing seesion, and I have to say the moon was just spectacular! I also use a C4-R Celestron refractor, and the performance of my 114mm f/8 reflector has me thinking of selling the refractor - the reflector is that good. I will need to do more side-by-side testing before I make a decision, but what little comparison I have done to date shows very little difference between the two in performance. I have been shocked at how good the reflector performs. Fortunately, I don't have to decide anytime soon...

#8 ukcanuck

ukcanuck

    Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 1411
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2006
  • Loc: London, UK

Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:28 AM

My first scope. :)

The Bushnell is still up in the loft...I'll set it up again someday.

The eyepieces were truly awful. ;) ...when trying to find M51, it simply wasn't visible with the supplied eyepieces...I then inserted a borrowed Meade 26mm super Plossl, and the galaxy became visible.

I ditched the eyepieces and never looked back. :rainbow:

#9 themos

themos

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 40
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2008

Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:20 AM

And they are not too bad for astrophotography either.

M13

Sunspot

Saturn

Jupiter

Mars

#10 johnthomas

johnthomas

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 151
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Oklahoma City

Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:49 AM

impressive photos for 114mm I'd say. Nice Job!

#11 BoriSpider

BoriSpider

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2148
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2004
  • Loc: S.W.FLA

Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:45 AM

RAK on Tour: So you like your 114 better than your C4-R?
Wow, I can't wait to see them side by side myself.

#12 Ed Holland

Ed Holland

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2271
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2010
  • Loc: San Jose, CA and Oxford, UK

Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:34 PM

My wife bought me one of these from a local Goodwill store three years ago. It really helped transform my budding interest in astronomy. The EQ mount proved fun to learn and the optics are more than capable. It's also ripe for tinkering projects if you are the DIY type (I built a crayford focuser and a better finder).

I still have and use this good little telescope - thanks for writing such a constructive article.

Ed

#13 Bob Brockway

Bob Brockway

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2012

Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:55 AM

Great read. This was my second scope, the first being a typical department store 60mm refractor. Was I impressed at the upgrade. I then went to an 8" dob. Great views but I started longing for portability. Went to a 4" refractor and honestly, I should have just gone back to my 114. I'll have to dust it off and set it up again.

#14 djeber2

djeber2

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1375
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2004
  • Loc: Cloudy Midwest

Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:51 PM

Nice article. I have one of these, but haven't viewed thru it in at least a couple years. I need to get it out and test it side by side with my 80ED scope.

#15 Mogster

Mogster

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 503
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2004
  • Loc: Manchester, England

Posted 29 September 2012 - 11:26 AM

The supplied eyepieces, barlows and mounts are usually the weak link.

Quite often they are almost unuseable. You could get bargain bucket plossls to make the views decent but how many people are going to do that at this price point.

#16 Jaimo!

Jaimo!

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1346
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Exit 135 / 40° North

Posted 29 September 2012 - 12:31 PM

Great article, my first scope was a Meade 4500...

Jaimo!

#17 Perigny270

Perigny270

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 198
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Temiscaming, Quebec

Posted 29 September 2012 - 06:05 PM

My brother-in-law got a Bushnell version. Once collimated and all the bolts on the mount tightened up it is pretty good. The 0.965" EPs are OK but the FOV is narrow. The Barlow is awful. Putting regular 1.25" Celestron EPs and Barlow is a significant improvement. The scope brings our good oohs and ahs for the moon, planets and double stars.
this was fun - he enjoys the scope and the sky much more now.
You said it all well in your article. Thanks!

#18 Nathan Spitzer

Nathan Spitzer

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 105
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Charles Town, WV

Posted 29 September 2012 - 06:43 PM

In the ATM section of the November Sky and Telescope they have an article about an improvement to the old-style pipe-mount bearing system that would be perfect for this type of scope. I may just dig out my old copy of "All about Telescopes" and finally try to build one.

#19 stevew

stevew

    Now I've done it

  • -----
  • Posts: 4369
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2006
  • Loc: British Columbia Canada

Posted 03 October 2012 - 10:30 PM

In the early 1980's I used to drool over scopes like this.
My imagination ran on overtime with curiosity of what could be seen through a telescope that big.
Of course once I had one, and I realized that trying to look through the pea shooter finder when it was pointed at the zenith was a neck breaker,
and trying to see anything but the brightest stars and the Moon through it was an exercise in frustration.
The mount would wobble at the slightest breeze, and the Huygens and Ramsden .965 eyepieces did not show Saturn at 600X quite like it was pictured on the box.
But I loved it anyway, as it was my first "serious" telescope :lol:
Nicely written article.

Steve

#20 ed_turco

ed_turco

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1389
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Lincoln, RI

Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:26 PM

As an ATM, I ran across a couple of these and on a lark refigured the optics to a solid 1/10 wave.

You haven't seen anything until you've looked through one of these that have been refurbished!

Of course, getting some good 1.25" Plossls and a Barlow adds icing to the cake.

#21 Steven817

Steven817

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Vineland, NJ

Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:14 PM

New to CN, and coincidentally I was just considering a couple Meade 114EQ scopes, a 114ED-D and the other a 114EQ-AS. I really want an Orion skyview 8", but since this will be my 1st scope (other than my 7X50 binocs) am hesitant to spend that kind of money on yet another new endeavor. Based on what these sell for new, I am guessing that used should be around 80 to 100 bucks?

Based on the comments above (focuser, EPs quality), can the focuser be replaced with a crayford (?), and is that a simple 'bolt-on' job? Would the total cost be worthwile as opposed to buying a new scope in the $250 range?

Thanks

#22 paul130v

paul130v

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 128
  • Joined: 13 Feb 2009

Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:15 PM

The Meade scopes you refer to are severely under-mounted, very difficult to use, shaky and frustrating at best. There's no free lunch. Only new, retail available 4.5" f8 that's really usable that I know of it the Orion XT 4.5, a dob, not EQ mounted. If you luck out and find a Celestron/Vixen C4.5 EQ on your local CraigsList, jump on it! Though, it's a bit risky buying used if you don't have enough experience to evaluate the condition, completeness, etc.

gotta run now, hope there will be more responses for you, soon. I'll check again later, offer more comments and suggestions, if it seems appropriate.

#23 Steven817

Steven817

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Vineland, NJ

Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:37 PM

Thanks Paul, that was what I was afraid of. I

#24 Steven817

Steven817

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Vineland, NJ

Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:39 PM

Thanks Paul, that was what I was afraid of. I Want to avoid spending $ needlessly just to get started, and have time to squirrel away more funds for a better scope.

#25 Ree-fract

Ree-fract

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Mecosta county Michigan

Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:27 PM

Just want to say I'm a big fan of this article. IMO it renders a great service. Yes, given the challenges of astronomy, "the best is none too good", and I understand wanting the finest there is. Meantime, there's optimal performance to shoot for, rather than maximum, and it too is a legitimate aim. Further, for those of us on a budget, it's very nice to know that surprisingly good-performing scopes can be had at surprisingly affordable prices. I'm fortunate enough to own a Questar with advanced coatings that cost me plus-two grand. This telescope will actually run 246-power per inch of aperture. Dim but amazingly crisp images. If I didn't experience it I'd never believe it, and if you don't believe me I don't wonder why. What a gas having a great scope is. I love it! I also have a 70mm Meade refractor for which I believe I paid $23. The Meade doesn't work as well as the Questar, surprise, surprise. Another surprise is how well it DOES work, and I love IT.

if I may, I have the same feeling about eyepieces. There are eyepieces that cost as much as an entire telescope, and I don't doubt they're worth every penny. There are also considerably more affordable eyepieces that deliver marvelous performance per dollar. A little blurry at the edge of the field, maybe? Don't look there then, as you enjoy the surprisingly fine performance you bought for, say, 70 bucks instead of several hundred bucks. Puts me in mind of a couple of 50-year-old Criterion "acromatic Ramdsens" I have. Rather narrow field? Yup. But startlingly crisp images and no sign of mold, etc. I am grateful to them for what they've brought into my life, and so it is with these low-price scopes you discuss. You've done a fine service with this article.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics