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Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF

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#1 dan_uk

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 06:53 PM

Hi There!

Firstly I just wanted to say what a great community I have found on these forums! Very polite and a lot of good advice unforunately this has led me to belive I have made a mistake with my purchase!

This is my first big purchase i've made into this hobby and I made the decision to go for something that would last me many years, I am sure I will get a few comments on such a big purchase for someone with a lot less experience then most of the posters here!

I have just got to grips with my LX90 and have throughly enjoyed a lot of the features especially the go-to. I have had it for less than 7 days.

After reading a good deal of posts on here it seems the 12" LX90 is not well favoured here due to stability issues. Have I made a mistake with my choice? I understand this becomes more of an issue when I develop an interest into astro-photography which I am certainly planning on doing.

Should I be looking to return my LX90 12" for an LX200 12"? My main reasons for selecting the LX90 was due to the weight being a lot more manageable. Unfortunatley I live in the UK (London) so I definetly need to be mobile to really get the most out of my investment.

I purchased the telescope at telescope house which is quite a reputable company here, have any of the UK posters here had experience with returning products here?

#2 nitegeezer

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 07:36 PM

Dan, welcome to CN, this is a great forum.

I have an LX200, and I think it is fantastic, but it is funny that others suggest that it is not the way to go either. I know that a number of the OTAs have been removed from their forks and moved to an equatorial mount. My point is that there is always something better, it just depends on where you want to draw the line. I have never used an LX90, but I suspect that if you take the time to learn it's tricks that it would probably work fine for you, and you may want to consider it just a starting point. If you are going to get serious about astrophotography, you probably need to operate in polar mode rather than Alt/Az. In addition to the cost difference between the 90 and the 200, you would also need one of the heavy duty wedges. If this is you first scope, it may be a good idea to stay with the lower cost 90 and learn from it what you really enjoy and want to do, and then if needed either sell it and upgrade or defork it and get an equatorial. As far as I know, the OTA is identical on the 90 and the 200. I know I have changed directions a couple of times since I got my 200, but I have learned a lot and will continue to do so.

Good Luck

#3 dan_uk

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 07:49 PM

Thanks for the quick reply! I think as you said there is always something better out there! I was aware that I would probably need a wedge to get some decent exposure time but this was something I could just upgrade to in the future on either model.

Can I ask how portable you find your LX200? What would put my mind to rest would be knowing I could possibly upgrade the mount in the future.

Is this a standard thing to do? I have not seen many mounts sold seperately apart from an LX850 Equatorial mount but would this even been compatible with my OTA?

Would I be able to purchase an LX200 Fork easily if I wanted to in the future?

#4 tommax

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 08:01 PM

Dan,

Welcome to the forums. nitegeezer has offered you some good advise, I will add to it, but I am not expert but can offer something.

I know from reading many posts that visual observers love the LX90, I personally have never owned one but do know the OTA is the same as an LX200, weights you could compare at Meade's website. You do have an excellent OTA so you might want to learn what you can with that LX90 and one you feel you have maxed out look at other systems and or mounts, I highly doubt if you want to do imaging you will want LX200 forks for a 12", it would not be cheap for 1 and 2 you would probably want to get a GEM if you were mount hunting for something to drop that OTA on and I would be 90% of the guys on here would agree with that statement, in fact most would probably tell you if it's an option to take that back and look at GEM mounts and whatever scope you want if you want to seriously get into Astro-imaging.

The main thing to remember is tracking is everything and LX90 and LX200 mounts have their own issue's for this (I know I am struggling with those issue's with an LX200).

Personally I have decided to keep my LX200 and save up for a GEM and a small refractor, you circumstances might be different.

I don't now where in the UK you are but there is an excellent website (astronomyshed.uk) and a fellow there Dion I think who offers tons of great advise on youtube and members there would probably be familiar with UK retailers and even possibly give you some in person advise...

Best thing to always keep in mind is you can always spend more with this hobby, someone will always have something better so focus on just having fun.

Tom

#5 nitegeezer

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 08:16 PM

I don't think swapping fork systems is a common thing, if the OTA is removed from it's forks I think it ends up on a equatorial, and I believe most use a CGEM but I am not sure.

The wedges vary significantly and you would want the heavier one for that scope. I believe my wedge by itself weighs around 35 pounds so I don't want to drop it on my toe!!

I believe the 200 is a better mount than the 90, but it is also heavy. When I bought my scope, it was a retirement gift to myself and I bought the 200 because I wanted the "best". I was originally planning on getting a 12" but a friend who had one talked me down to the 8" and I am glad he did. The 12" 200 is a beast, he can only set up when he has help, and I am in the country where help is not always available. Even with my 8" there are nights that I consider getting out and then don't. It does not matter how nice a scope is, if it is too heavy and stays in the case it is worthless. I don't know how an 8" 200 compares to a 12" 90 but weight is a big concern as we get older, and mine is all I can handle. At the time I purchased I was set on a 200 and never even looked at a 90, now I am wondering (only for a moment) if a lighter fork with a bigger scope would have a better choice for me also, but I don't look back and second guess myself. This is a great hobby and you have to start somewhere!!

#6 nitegeezer

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:16 PM

I just did some looking at prices here in the states.

The additional cost of adding a wedge and bumping up to an LX200 is about $1800, and the 200 weighs 16 lbs more than the 90.

The cost of a CGEM is about $1500, and then you would need to defork the OTA and add a dovetail. The CGEM is rated for 40 lbs and your OTA without forks weighs 36 lbs so you would not have much room for accessories. The CGEM DX will handle 50 lbs and is $2000.

I think I would keep what you have knowing the options in the future, but that is just my opinion.

#7 tommax

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:44 PM

I once again agree with ng... you will not want to "defork" that OTA from an LX90 just to put it on an LX200 fork, to get a 12" LX200 fork mount especially if you want GPS is going to cost you way to much if you can even find one... then you need a heavy wedge... not very portable in the end I am afraid, especially with a 12" monster...

I actually want to change my advise, and again this is just my advise as someone who has had several LX200's...

If you plan to mainly image and can still take that LX90 back... I would take it back and look at GEM systems only, put simply it is hard to argue for forks unless you plan to split the time between visual and photo, but really if I could I would go to a GEM because they are better for Photo and you can swap OTA's whenever you want to, so you could keep a couple OTA's if you chose to, the main thing is to get the mount you can afford as once you learn it, you got that down and you can swap out OTA's with out learning all over.

I rarely other than looking for a minute or 2 ever use visual so that's just my opinion... it's hard to beat the light gathering of that 12" but it does you no good if you struggle with the mount type and an LX200 can be a bear to get used to and they are supposed to be hands down better than an LX90 mount for imaging...

By all means ask around but that is the most honest advise I could give someone.

#8 sgorton99

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:03 PM

Dan, I love my 8" LX90, but even that I consider "heavy" on some nights. I think getting out the 12" must be a feat!

#9 RogueGazer

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:16 AM

It all depends on what kind of AP you are wanting to do. If it is planetary AP the LX 90 is not a bad choice. With an inexpensive webcam you can capture some really impressive pictures. The mount you have is plenty good for this. If you are wanting to do some DSO AP there are many people who think most SCT's are a poor choice due to higher tracking errors(fork mounted) and their narrow field of view though focal reducers are available that help. Light pollution is also a factor.If you live in an area with bad light pollution which I hear London has then planetary may be all you can do with any success. Yes you could go to a darksite but will you do it often enough to make it worth it?

#10 ldesign1

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 05:59 AM

I don't understand why so many people suggest that doing astrophotograhy on a fork mount is difficult or a bad ideal. I've owned both the 10" LX200 Classic and currently the 10" LX200GPS (9 years for each). 90% of my images were taken using my SCT as the imaging scope with a guide scope mounted on top or using the SCT to guide my 80mm refractor for imaging. Take a look at my images on my link. I've had great success both ways. As long as you take the time for proper polar alignment, PHD Guiding, an 80mm guide scope, and a good guide camera will make it easy. In fact, my next scope will be the LX600, another fork mount. I do own an Atlas EQ-G, and I use it as a quick portable mount, but I dislike GEMs because of the counter weight bar sticking out, the meridian flips, the various angles your eyepiece will rotate with the mount, cable wraps, and a few other annoyances. The only thing I like about a GEM is the ability to switch out different scopes, as long as you stay within the mounts weight capacity.

As for the complaints about the 12" fork mount stability, it stems from Meade using the same fork from the 10" and adding a spaced so that the 12" scope will fit. I think for that reason, most people buy the 8", 10", and 14" scopes. This is true with the LX200 series. I'm not sure if Meade did the same with the LX90s.

In any case, enjoy your scope and grow with the hobby. You still have lots to learn and there's plenty of time to figure out which direction you want to go.

#11 dan_uk

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:54 AM

Thank you all for the sage advice!

I think it all was pretty much spot on. I tend to over think things a lot and this just turned out to be the case again.

I actually was not even aware that I could demount the OTA and acquire a GEM in the future, it's good to know that if I grow into AP I will have the ability to choose a different mount.

I will probably be focusing on visual as I learn more and move into AP later on, it just concerned me that AP was going to be difficult later on which is was a slight concern after spending this much money.

Just wanted to mention for anyone else wondering about the LX90 12" , I find it just about manageable alone but I would certainly check you're ok with this sort of weight before purchasing one. I've also just bought a Peli 1780 case which has huge comfortable handles and wheels.

I think I will go ahead and enjoy my new scope and think a little less!

Thanks again everyone!

#12 nitegeezer

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 10:41 AM

I think you will be happy with your choice, now just don't look back again!!!

I really like an Alt/Az mount for outreach programs. It is a much cleaner setup to operate when there are young people viewing. Sharing the hobby also encourages me to get the scope out more, some of the comments from kids make an evening very memorable. I also use a small manual equatorial mount and scope for classes, it is good for students to learn setting circles and how they can find objects. My opinion is that the larger goto equatorials are great when photography is the primary use, but I like my Alt/Az for the versatility.

#13 tommax

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:36 AM

ldesign1,

I think so many people suggest that because many people purchase a fork mount expecting to be able to take images with it in alt/az which unless your doing planets really does not work well, so they have to add a rather heavy wedge to the mix, many grab a meade wedge to find it's not big enough or maybe they grab a super wedge which many, many users do not like and have to spend more to tune up, or like you (looked at your gallery - GREAT images b.t.w - Good Work!) they purchase a Mitty or Milburn wedge... I went this route and bought a Mitty EVO wedge, that was like $700 or $800.... great wedge but it made my LX200 for me at least non-portable due to extra weight. I personally would not hesitate to advise someone to get an LX200 to image with if they had a permanent place to set it up or at least a smooth driveway and some wheely bars, but they need to keep in mind they will need some expensive stuff like focal reducers, wedge, most likely counter weight system, guide scope system or OAG... so I can only give advise based on my experience, when I bought the Mitty I would much have rather just bought an Atlas and OTA, in the longrun it would have been cheaper and more flexible at least for me and many, many others also will back that up that if you want to do photo then GEM is the way to go, if like nitegeezer though you want to do much visual and occasional photo on a mobile setup and are willing to deal with all the weight and extra stuff you need to buy then an LX200/90 are the way to go for ease of use... setting up an LX200 in Alt/Az for a nite of observing and planets could not be easier... but setting everything up for a night of imaging, especially if you are in a cold climate... can be more a challenge than fun for sure.

Again I want to commend you on some great images!

#14 nitegeezer

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:51 AM

Idesign1,

The ground here has turned white again so I decided to spend more time on CN. I just looked at your images, and I would have to agree with tommax, wow those are great. I hope someday to get images that good but I have a lot of learning before then. I am amazed that you did that well in Alt/Az, you must really have you process fine tuned.

#15 Gargoyle

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:18 PM

IDesign1,

It can be a tough decision. I struggled for a long time with my LX200 10" on a wedge until I got to the point where I felt I could not commit any more time to consistantly poor results.

I deforked and was very pleased with my decision. And for clarity, there are two take aways with my situation. the first being that many people do obtain excellent astrophotography results with Alt-Az and a wedge (I however did not - indicating operator error). Second, the decision to defork was tough because I did not wholly understand the process. Once I became comfortable with it via reading and research, it took about 10 minutes to defork the LX200. Wish I had done it sooner, would have saved a lot of money.

GEM's are a different animal indeed, but most of my observation is camera driven so it works well for me.

YMMV, but I would not fear the GEM.

Jerry

#16 Gargoyle

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:21 PM

Sorry, ment to addres post to Dan.....

Ooops..... (operator error!)

Jerry

#17 tommax

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:35 PM

geezer... most of his images show that he used a mitty wedge... like your super wedge on steroids, but great image none the less.

#18 nitegeezer

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:13 PM

I guess I had misunderstood, but it is still very encouraging that his setup is something that I am heading toward. I am hoping to get some decent photos someday, but if I ever get one as good as his I will be jumping for joy!!

#19 ldesign1

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

Yes, my image were taken on a wedge. There's no other way to do 5-10 minutes exposures with a fork mount.

One other thing, I have thousands of dollars invested in my equipment, but I did not buy them in one huge purchase. This hobby grew on me over the course of 19 years and I expanded my arsenal over that time. Things that became obsolete over time, I sold and reinvested into new or used equipment. I have absolutely no regrets with my purchase of a fork mount.

Also, I would agree that my setup is less portable because of the Mitty Evolution Wedge, EON 80ED imaging/guide scope, and all the other accessories I've collected over the years. That's why I also invested in an Explora-Dome backyard observatory and a separate setup for moving around.

Don't get overwhelmed by looking all all it takes to produce decent images. Take your time with both learning and buying equipment.

Thank you Guys for looking at my gallery and commenting on my images. But I owe my successes to everyone here on CN for the years of both positive and negative insite. It helped me make the choices I made and I am very satisfied with them.

#20 cavefrog

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:37 PM

Sorry, ment to addres post to Dan.....

Ooops..... (operator error!)

Jerry



:funny:

#21 dan_uk

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:41 AM

So despite my previous posts I've still been looking into the possibility of swapping out my LX90 for an LX200 with the same size aperture, I believe the shop I purchased this from will be willing to do the swap as it has been less than 7 days.

I did a good deal of reading around to find out just how much heavier the LX200 would be, the Meade website was not so clear on this.
The OTA and Fork are 13lbs heavier which does not seem that much worse to me, with the case I purchased mobility wouldnt be a huge issue.
The tripod however was 30 lbs heavier but then I would be carrying this separately anyway.

For added stability and a few more features I am seriously considering swapping these around. Does anyone here move their LX200 around a whole lot?

#22 sdc

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:34 AM

The 12"LX200GPS is considerably heavier then the 12" - especially when it comes to setting up single handed. If you can permanently mount it, fine, but unless you have easy access to your garden (or can park close enough to your observing site), it's a big jump in terms of manageability i.e you really wouldn't want to carry it far.. both good very scopes though

#23 sgorton99

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:11 AM

I just have a "little" 8" LX90, so certainly not an expert. I know you would give up some light gathering, but any thoughts about going to a 10" LX200?

#24 RogueGazer

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:18 AM

Before I fabricated my scope cart I would set up and break down every time I used that scope. It is only a 10" and I would not want any bigger if I had to set it all up every time I observed. I am not a small guy at 5'11" 230 pounds and 38 years old but It still gets old doing it that way. I knew I would choose my dob over the SCT because it is just so much more convienient . Now the LX200 lives in a shed out back and I just roll it out for action. I still want to build an observatory though. :jump:

#25 nitegeezer

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:25 AM

So despite my previous posts I've still been looking into the possibility of swapping out my LX90 for an LX200 with the same size aperture, I believe the shop I purchased this from will be willing to do the swap as it has been less than 7 days.


I have been in your position, and now I think it is to the point that neither answer will be correct. If you stay with the 90, you will always wonder how much better the 200 would have been, and if you go with the 200 you will kick yourself every time you think about viewing but don't because it is too much to set up. Sometimes you just need to make a decision and don't look back.

I am not saying this to be mean. Like I said earlier, when I was going to buy I was looking at the 200 12 because that is what a friend had. There were many nights where I regretted my decision to get the 8 because the view through his scope was that much better. It took years to come to terms with that decision. I would have never been able to give up the 12 if I had gone that route, but it would have ended up living in the case as I know I could no longer handle it by myself. My friend with the 12 is a pretty stout guy and now his 12 sits in the case and he has gone all the way down to a 5" refractor.

I really do wish you luck.






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