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What's different between a NexStar SLT and GT?

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#1 Starhawk

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 11:14 AM

I ran across a pile of Nexstar 102 GT mounts with telescopes at Costco, and they are selling for (sit down), $199. So, I took a look at the one on display to see if the mount was somehow crippled. But it appears it does the Skyalign trick, has the quick-release Vixen dovetail clamp, and the new NexStar+ hand controller.

So, given this is selling for $100 less than a Nexstar SLT mount AND includes a 4" f/10 achromat thrown in, I have to ask, "What gives?"

A lot of people at work have been asking about these as a kid-scope. I have had some experience with these little mounts before, and though they are a little power hungry, they seem to work well enough for their intended purpose.

Does anyone know of some catch I haven't been able to find?

-Rich

#2 RTLR 12

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 04:34 PM

It's a different refractor (102 f9.8 v 102 f6.47)and better firmware than the SLT. Looks like it's a Costco exclusive scope.

Stan

#3 Starhawk

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:47 PM

That's basically what I've come up with. It seems quite the remarkable bargain.

I was thinking the biggie had to be in the mount, somehow.

-Rich

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:10 AM

That's basically what I've come up with. It seems quite the remarkable bargain.

I was thinking the biggie had to be in the mount, somehow.

-Rich


The older GTs used clamshells to mount the OTA whereas the SLTs used a Vixen Style Dovetail, making the mount more versatile.

I don't know about the COSTCO GT mount...

Jon

#5 RTLR 12

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:13 AM

It uses a Vixen style dovetail...


Stan

#6 tnakazon

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:47 PM

I ran across a pile of Nexstar 102 GT mounts with telescopes at Costco, and they are selling for (sit down), $199. So, I took a look at the one on display to see if the mount was somehow crippled. But it appears it does the Skyalign trick, has the quick-release Vixen dovetail clamp, and the new NexStar+ hand controller.

So, given this is selling for $100 less than a Nexstar SLT mount AND includes a 4" f/10 achromat thrown in, I have to ask, "What gives?"

A lot of people at work have been asking about these as a kid-scope. I have had some experience with these little mounts before, and though they are a little power hungry, they seem to work well enough for their intended purpose.

Does anyone know of some catch I haven't been able to find?

-Rich


Here's the catch:


1) The 5 eyepieces that come with it (yes there are 5!) are all of the 2-element type (4 Huygens, 1 Ramsden), giving very small fields of view.

2) A 45 degree terrestrial prism diagonal.

3) The GOTO mount cannot be used manually - it can be moved up/down, but not left/right by hand.

4) The scope will shake a bit on the mount on a windy day - a weight on the mount might help.


However, here are the positives:


1) Being a 1000mm F/9.8 achromat, false color is minimal. So it'll be a fine scope for planetary and double star observing. Good for smaller deep sky objects as well.

2) Scope has a 2" focuser. Comes with a 1.25" adapter as well.

3) Metal knobs on the focuser.

4) NexStar GOTO mount has 40,000 objects in the database.

5) The mount has a Vixen-type dovetail saddle, so it can be used with smaller scopes as well.


Using a 12.5mm Plossl (80X), the GOTO was able to slew the scope so that three small 11th magnitude galaxies I chose were within the eyepiece FOV not too far from dead center. The Trapezium stars showed nice clean Airy disks at 133X (after collimation).


In short, with the Bushnell Ares 5 no longer available, the NexStar 102GT (the "Costco Scope") is probably the best telescope deal in the country today.

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#7 core

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 12:03 AM

tnakazon, thanks for the write-up - looks like I'm gonna try and pick one up just to try out!

#8 maltydog

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:55 AM

there is a 4 page thread on the 102 GT in the beginners forum you may want to read through. I also had one of these but took it back.

i thought the scope was pretty good but the mount was just too shaky. i mounted the scope on my heavy duty unistar and used a good diagonal from my ES127 and my good eyepieces. i thought the views were very good for an inexpensive scope (using my equip). but returned the scope
because of the mount. but overall, not a bad deal for $199 if you can get past the shaky mount. the goto worked well.

#9 tnakazon

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:06 AM

tnakazon, thanks for the write-up - looks like I'm gonna try and pick one up just to try out!

You're welcome - please do (pick one up)! A friend of mine alerted me to these scopes he saw at Costco a couple of weeks ago and the next day I went to the closest one, bought a membership card ($55) and snapped one up for myself. There were boxes and boxes of 'em piled up high just waiting to be picked up.

Never used a GOTO before, but now that I've tried it, difficult to go back to star-hopping with an alt-azimuth mount again. You spend less time searching and tracking and more time observing and sketching.

#10 core

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 01:43 PM

Thanks for the pointers on the scope; I'm actually planning to get the scope it for the mount :) - I have a couple of OTA's that will fit it just nicely, as for the 4" OTA, it'll be something to try out on my Voyager mount.

#11 Starhawk

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 02:39 PM

That's kind of what I have been thinking- it would be a really good price for just the mount. The OTA really is a bit large for it- and a bit large to turn the whole thing over to little kids.

The accessories are definitely off the menu for use with an AP130 EDFGT. But for this? I'm surprised at what they added.

I'll have to see if our illustrious sponsors bring something a 7 year old girl would like as her telescope to the ASAE next month.

-Rich

#12 Zamboni

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 03:22 PM

Looks like it has the same optics as the Omni 102. Nice! For 200 bucks, this qualifies as bargain of the century.

For those who bought it, I have a question: does the GOTO have the sun programmed in? If not, can you user-program objects into it? I may want to use it as a mount for my PST and set the 4" OTA aside for later mounting on an EQ and using with a herschel wedge.

#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 04:49 PM

If that is teh standard SLT mount it has a menu command to enable the sun as a go to object. The defaukt setting from he factory is no sun for the obvious reasons.






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