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Old ETX 90..the best of the saga?

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#1 curiosidad


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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

I wanted to ask if anyone has been able to compare the images provided for a ETX 90 of the old models with the current models.
There is a difference in quality, or contrast or maybe brightness of the image, in the visual mode?
I remember watching a very early model ETX and your image quality was fantastic .. I would say, sharpnessssss!!
I do not know if it was have improved or ... no!
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#2 REC


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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

I have one of the older ones from 1997 and still works fine. I have taken some really nice images of the 1998 Eclipse. I use it now mainly as a quick grab n go for the Moon, Planets and Solar. Not sure what they have done with the current models?

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#3 mayidunk


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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:53 PM

I have an original ETX Astro, and it definitely gives a good image! However, I have never compared it to the current versions from Meade, so I can't comment on that.

From at least one review (by Ed Ting) comparing the ETX to a Celestron C-90 and a Questar of the same aperture, the ETX's optics were close in image quality to the Questar, but the mechanics of the ETX's RA drive left much to be desired when compared to the Questar's mount!

Now, along with that, the original ETX had issues with the secondary light baffle having the annoying tendency to slip out of position due to the adhesive not being as good as it could have been. For years, Meade fixed this under warranty, and also provided a replacement adhesive ring for those whose scopes were out of warranty and wanted to DIY. From what I gather, Meade fixed this fairly early on, and so it hasn't been an issue for many years, as far as I know. Unfortunately Meade stopped providing support for the original ETX years ago, but the fix is easy enough to DIY, and Dr. Clay Sherrod will fix it (for an additional fee) if you send it in to him for his supercharge service.

So, in the beginning Meade had attempted to provide people with a scope that appeared to be fairly close in image quality to the Questar, while providing acceptable functionality at a much lower price point. They got close, except for the mount whose RA drive just never compared to the Questar's. That being said, my ETX is still going strong despite the secondary baffle taking a walk on me several years ago when I had stored it for close to a year with the OTA horizontal. I took a chance at letting it fix itself by flipping the OTA so it was still stored horizontally, but opposite from where it was. My hope was that gravity would pull the baffle back into place if I gave it enough time to do so, and since I wasn't using it at the time I was able to leave it for another year. Lo, and behold, my gamble paid off! The baffle not only moved back into position, but it was exactly centered on the secondary spot, and did not leave any adhesive residue on the center spot, nor on the meniscus! I've since been using it as a "grab 'n go" and it looks, and works just as good as the day I bought it many, many years ago! And though the RA drive may not be as good as it could have been, I have learned how to work with it, and so it's not a problem for me. Of course, YMMV... :D

#4 jgraham


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Posted 05 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

I don't think that I've ever looked through a bad Mak. Even the little 90mm tabletop Mak that Orion sells is a solid performer (and one of the cutest little scopes that I've ever owned).

#5 justfred


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:58 PM


I have one of the original Astro models and its images are still contrasty and sharp. I had the chance to compare it to one of the newer (then) ETX90 Premier Editions with the UHTC coatings and the images on the newer one were as sharp and contrasty as my older (and much used)one. There was a definite brightness advantage with the UHTC when viewing M81/M82. "They" say its 18% brighter and I would have to say it was "noticeably" brighter and that if I were buying a new one I would spend the extra money for the UHTC. Again they were both very sharp with good contrast. BTW, I have a Questar 3.5 (sans broadband coating) and the ETX 90 is very good but you can tell the difference in the image between the two. The ETX is 90 to 95% of the Q and anything that compares that favorably to the Q is impressive. My ETX still gets out under the stars from time to time. It may be a little too "plasticky" for some and you may have to wait for it to stop wobbling when you touch it but it is still an incredible scope for the price and, I think, the best of the ETX line. I'd like to see Meade sell the simple model again. The setting circles are really very good and it tracks more than adequately for visual use. Incredible views at an incredible price. Still to be found on the used market.


#6 mayidunk


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Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

I agree with the idea of Meade reissuing the original ETX Astro! If they could do that, improving the quality of the tracking hardware at the same time, then they might actually have a cash cow as IMHO the audience for this instrument has always been those who have always wanted a Questar but have never been able to afford one. These are people who are caught up in the romance of the Q, and for the most part really don't care much about it having GOTO capability. If they want GOTO, there are many other choices available to them. They want a Q, or at least a good approximation of a Q, at a reduced price point.

#7 ukcanuck


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:45 PM

It's interesting to see the ETX come back...and kinda nice. :rainbow:

A broken ETX90 was my first telescope. I replaced the cracked fork arm and it was fine...I used it for years. Eventually I sold it, regretted it, bought an RA which is now my son's...and I searched for about 6 months to find a very late model ETX 125 so I had the benefit of the metal fork arms...this one has stayed. :smirk: It didn't have the finder, so I found an old military RA finder that fit perfectly! **see below** :cool:

When Meade spun the ETX into the PE, I always thought a completely different 'deluxe' option would have been cool. Rather than piling on more software, go backwards and make a really beautiful ETXRA with little plastic. Perhaps one day I'll pick up an unloved 90 and do it myself... :question:

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#8 rmollise



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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:21 AM

Oh, the ETX is back, but it is not the same. Cheaper. Simpler. More akin to Meade's semi-department store lines of yore like the DS series than the MIGHTY ETX. :bawling:

#9 meade4ever


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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:23 AM

this is what I did with my ETX125 on an all metal LX10 mount.
You can move the mount by hands while still keeping the Digital Readout System activated.
With the LX200 tripod, this setup is very stable.

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#10 meade4ever


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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

follow the link :

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#11 moynihan



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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:36 AM

Rather than piling on more software, go backwards and make a really beautiful ETXRA with little plastic.

that would be nice.
I have one of those metal Wegat modified Terrabeam 125's. Originally put it on a C8 fork, worked great. Still have the OTA, use it on an AT Voyager mount.

If anyone would ever offer the opportunity for me to send in my ETX 90 & 105 OTA's to have the backs changed to metal ones (with Crayford focusers :) ) and return it collimated, i would probably jump at it.

On my 125 mentioned above, with its larger focusing Knob and a dielectric modern diagonal, is extremely rewarding on the moon and planets. I am planning to get a pair of custom rings for it this winter (Crawmach) and add my old 11x80 Univwesity Optics finder.

The only ETX i got with the mount was an RA. Soon just used the OTA.

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