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Meade 10" LX600-ACF vs. Celestron 11" CGEM DX HD

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#1 dpippel

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:29 PM

For a combination visual/AP platform, which would you choose and why?

#2 rmollise

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:32 PM

It is too early to say. Wait till somebody actually uses the LX600 and reports on it.

#3 dpippel

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

I suppose I *am* jumping the gun a little, but would welcome some speculation based on published specs.

#4 jrcrilly

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:11 PM

I suppose I *am* jumping the gun a little, but would welcome some speculation based on published specs.


OK. I've seen all the above but haven't used them under the stars.

C11HD - flatter field

M10 - much better focuser, beefier mount, faster

It'd be easier and cheaper to add a flattener to the Meade than to beef up the other mount, improve the focuser, and speed the C11 up. I also like the idea of just not having coma rather than tacking on internal refractive optics to reduce coma.

#5 dpippel

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:55 PM

Thanks John. Good input. Do you think that using the mirror lock and adding an aftermarket focuser would be something to think about with the C11HD for visual observing?

As in so many things there are trade offs and you have to make a decision on which issues you're willing to live with... :)

#6 rmollise

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 04:11 PM

I like the Meades fine...but "better focuser"? We'll see. ;)

#7 rmollise

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 04:12 PM

I suppose I *am* jumping the gun a little, but would welcome some speculation based on published specs.


Based on specs, the LX80 was going to be a huge hit for Meade. ;)

#8 dpippel

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 04:15 PM

:roflmao:

Point taken.

#9 WesC

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 04:22 PM

Thanks John. Good input. Do you think that using the mirror lock and adding an aftermarket focuser would be something to think about with the C11HD for visual observing?

As in so many things there are trade offs and you have to make a decision on which issues you're willing to live with... :)


FWIW, the first two things I am adding to my 11 Edge this weekend are the FeatherTouch 10:1 microfocuser and the DSP TEMPest cooling fans. I'm very picky about focusers, so its money well spent in any case.

#10 MikeBOKC

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:03 PM

The Feathertouch focuser was the single best upgrade I made to my CPC1100. Well worth the expense, and easy to install.

#11 EFT

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:47 AM

I like the Meades fine...but "better focuser"? We'll see. ;)


A number of people have reported delayed shipping of their new OTA due to adjustment issues with the focuser if that tells you anything.

#12 EFT

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:50 AM

The Feathertouch focuser was the single best upgrade I made to my CPC1100. Well worth the expense, and easy to install.


The stock focuser on these mounts is generally fine, particularly for visual use. I personally like dual-speed focusers. Starlight is the only company that makes them for the primary mirror focuser, but they are top notch and well worth the investment. Other options exist for rear-cell crayford focusers.

#13 EFT

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:56 AM

To answer the original question, I would not choose either system for AP particularly. The alt/az LX600 is not a good imaging platform unless you want to use a wedge which is a pain for both installation and use. The CGEM DX is maxed with the C11HD in my opinion and not the best choice for a scope this large. It is however, useable for AP.

For visual, to me the difference would be in the ease of transport and setup. The CGEM DX and C11HD are the clear winner in that case. My first big scope was a 10" LX200GPS. Great scope, but a total beast to handle. In addition, you are limited to that one OTA.

Finally, the last difference is new, untested mount/scope vs. well established mount and scope. I'm not sure if we even truly know when the LX600 will be available at this point.

#14 DrOxygen

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:36 AM

Ed,

I was reading this thread as I'm considering the LX600 on a wedge for AP and some visual. In my research I see most folks use a GEM for AP although some have used a wedge with success. Is using a wedge that much harder to polar align? Interested in your opinion on why a wedge is a pain.

Thanks!

#15 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:53 AM

Ed (and everyone else),

I guess I am confused. I have used a wedge (a "SuperWedge" in fact) and never found it a pain to install and use. Maybe for the weak and infirmed, but gosh I have used one for 21+ years without a problem. My kids have no problem with it. The X-Wedge looks like a great kit. Other bonus with the LX600 - the fork mount now splits for easy assembly and dis-assembly. This makes for ease of set-up and transportation. I have an 10" LX200, very solid scope. I would not call it a beast though.

Other benefit with the LX600 - you have Starlock and a complete turnkey Visual and AP solution.

Yes you are limited to that one OTA, but for many who cares? I have been fine for many years.

LX600 also has a f/8 optics and an internal 2-speed, crayford focuser. Saying it does not have one is mis-information.

I don't know about a number of people. Many are getting the LX850 now and have reported the OTA is wonderful. Mine comes in next Monday, so no delay for me - if anything I got mine way earlier than planned. LX600's are now trickling out, but likely you won't see mass quantities for another 30 days, however this is speculation and conjecture, just like all the other comments regarding shipping.

Yes, it is new, however Meade seems to be turning two excellent new products. Reports on the LX850 are outstanding (an option if you REALLY need to swap OTAs). When mine comes in I can provide more insight on Starlock, the focuser, and the OTA.

#16 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:00 PM

Dr. Oxygen,

The wedge is not a pain. If it is, someone needs to tell my friends and I we are having difficulties and just confused.

Many have used a wedge with success.

I can say a wedge is VERY easy to polar align. I am aligned with my older scope in 10 minutes or less. Once set-up (I leave my scope out for 3-7 days in New Mexico), it stays perfectly aligned. I can only imagine how much easier the alignment process is via Starlock!

Here is where you can find the user manual for the LX600 - http://www.meade.com...uals/lx-series#

Mind you the GEM vs. Fork debate falls under one of those "religious discussions" - people are highly emotional over it. They will fight to their grave over it. Yet, folks take great photos with a wedge/fork combo.

#17 WesC

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:30 PM

FWIW you're going to have a wait for anything you buy that is new and popular. I just had to wait a very long month for my C11 HD to ship. ;)

I'm not the expert around here, but in my opinion I still think you'd have an easier time setting up and moving around with a GEM, than that fork/wedge combo.

Optically, I chose the Edge 11 because of the flat field and because its been out long enough that I could see what others were thinking of it, look at the photos people were taking with it, there's a pretty nice aftermarket for it... and so forth. Its a proven platform that has the features I want and the quality as well. Plus I can take it pretty far if I want to.

I'm just not one to jump on new tech as soon as it comes out, that's just me. Plus ACF still leaves you with some SA at the edge of your FOV, which to me is a step behind Celestron. The Meade is a bit faster, but the Edge has more aperture and it looks like a slightly smaller obstruction.

I also like that the Edge will work on pretty much any other GEM allowing me to upgrade as funds become available. I'm aware that the CGEM is pushing it with an 11". I'm going to be just visual for a while until I get solid with this thing, then I'll move into AP.

If you really want a good AP base to start from get the Edge 11 OTA and pick up either a G11/Gemini or if you can find a used AP900... its only money, right? :)

This is all just how I thought about it. There's no right or wrong answer. You've just gotta choose for yourself what the one setup is that hits all the points you have on your list.

Good luck!

#18 dpippel

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:51 PM

Thanks everyone for the opinions and input. At this point I'm leaning towards the EdgeHD/CGEM as it seems to be the more flexible of the two systems if I decide to modify/upgrade in the future. The Meade does offer some very compelling features, but with the X-Wedge it's also $600 more expensive than the Celestron. I will most certainly be using the scope primarily for visual observing, so I'm not sure if the included AP features of the LX600 are going to be a deciding factor or not.

#19 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:10 PM

dpippel -

Don't forget the LX600 does include an autoguiding system in the price, which the Edge does not. So though the edge might be cheaper, if you go into AP, you will in the end need an autoguider. And with all that, you will be at the limit of the CGEM (maybe past it). You may have to consider a bigger mount.

And note, the Starlock not only helps with guiding/AP, but also alignment. Specifically, Starlock does automatic drift alignment. Ever tried to do that manually?

Typically for great AP the GEM is heavier than similar use/configured fork/wedge. The advantage of the GEM is the ability to break it down in smaller "chunks". If you go lighter weight on the GEM, it really defeats the purpose for AP.

The larger CO for the faster optics is a necessary trade, but images produced with the Meade OTA have been stunning. Have you seen them?

Lastly, if your primary use is visual, GEM is typically NOT the way to go.

Starizona has a great write up comparing the GEM vs. Fork Mount.

http://starizona.com...mounts_gem.aspx

http://starizona.com...ounts_fork.aspx

#20 jrcrilly

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:31 PM

Yes you are limited to that one OTA, but for many who cares?


I had various wedged forkmounts in the observatory for years. I went back to a German EQ mount only because I wanted to use something other than an SCT. I still miss horizon-to-horizon imaging!

#21 rmollise

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:09 PM

Ed (and everyone else),

I guess I am confused. I have used a wedge (a "SuperWedge" in fact) and never found it a pain to install and use. Maybe for the weak and infirmed, but gosh I have used one for 21+ years without a problem. My kids have no problem with it. The X-Wedge looks like a great kit. Other bonus with the LX600 - the fork mount now splits for easy assembly and dis-assembly. This makes for ease of set-up and transportation. I have an 10" LX200, very solid scope. I would not call it a beast though.

Other benefit with the LX600 - you have Starlock and a complete turnkey Visual and AP solution.

Yes you are limited to that one OTA, but for many who cares? I have been fine for many years.

LX600 also has a f/8 optics and an internal 2-speed, crayford focuser. Saying it does not have one is mis-information.

I don't know about a number of people. Many are getting the LX850 now and have reported the OTA is wonderful. Mine comes in next Monday, so no delay for me - if anything I got mine way earlier than planned. LX600's are now trickling out, but likely you won't see mass quantities for another 30 days, however this is speculation and conjecture, just like all the other comments regarding shipping.

Yes, it is new, however Meade seems to be turning two excellent new products. Reports on the LX850 are outstanding (an option if you REALLY need to swap OTAs). When mine comes in I can provide more insight on Starlock, the focuser, and the OTA.


The reports on the LX850 are _now_ good from what we have heard thus far, but they sure weren't good in the scope's original incarnation. The folks who bought the 800 have waited nearly a year for a working mount. ;)

The Starlock and other features are only benefits if they work. One would think Meade would get them working before shipping the 600, but I thought they'd have everything working before shipping the 800. And there is also that unhappy matter of the LX80. :dabomb:

The major disadvantage of a wedge is that it will almost always be less stable then a GEM. All you have to do is look at a fork on a wedge. It's off center and hanging out in space. That's a recipe for the shakes. Still thousands of good images have been taken with wedge-mounted telescopes.

There's a place in this world for early adopters, but I wouldn't want to be one in this case. That said, I like the idea of the LX600 (though I wish they would do an 8-inch) and my fingers and toes are crossed that they got it right and that it is good out the gate. We shall see.

Meade has made more than a few excellent, classic scopes. I want more of that from them.

#22 dpippel

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:14 PM

dpippel -

Don't forget the LX600 does include an autoguiding system in the price, which the Edge does not. So though the edge might be cheaper, if you go into AP, you will in the end need an autoguider. And with all that, you will be at the limit of the CGEM (maybe past it). You may have to consider a bigger mount.

And note, the Starlock not only helps with guiding/AP, but also alignment. Specifically, Starlock does automatic drift alignment. Ever tried to do that manually?

Typically for great AP the GEM is heavier than similar use/configured fork/wedge. The advantage of the GEM is the ability to break it down in smaller "chunks". If you go lighter weight on the GEM, it really defeats the purpose for AP.

The larger CO for the faster optics is a necessary trade, but images produced with the Meade OTA have been stunning. Have you seen them?

Lastly, if your primary use is visual, GEM is typically NOT the way to go.

Starizona has a great write up comparing the GEM vs. Fork Mount.

http://starizona.com...mounts_gem.aspx

http://starizona.com...ounts_fork.aspx


Good info and yes, I'm aware of the differences between fork and GEM mounts. I'm also aware of the Starlock system and what it's supposed to do. IMO that's Meade's trump card in this comparison. $5K is outside of my price range though, so if I did decide on the LX600 I'd have to add the X-Wedge at a later date if doing so was justifiable.

Since I seem drawn to the EdgeHD optics of the Celestron I could also consider the CPC Deluxe 1100 HD for less money and add a wedge later. At this point I just don't know how deeply I'm going to get into AP. I have a feeling that my involvement may be restricted by budget constraints.

#23 EFT

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:20 PM

Ed,

I was reading this thread as I'm considering the LX600 on a wedge for AP and some visual. In my research I see most folks use a GEM for AP although some have used a wedge with success. Is using a wedge that much harder to polar align? Interested in your opinion on why a wedge is a pain.

Thanks!


Personally, I found that getting my 10 LX200GPS up on the wedge by myself a real chore. Two people is not a problem. I also found polar alignment to be confusing and difficult. That is part of why I switched to GEMs. Not everyone finds this to be the case, but many do. In addition, a fork mount is great for visual use, putting the eyepiece in a generally comfortable position. Wedge mounted the fork eliminates this benefit and going back and forth is not my cup of tea. Being 6'1" I am by no means small or infirm but I would rather lift a C14 up onto a GEM any day over putting a 10+ inch form mount on a wedge. Your results may vary.

#24 rmollise

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:22 PM


Personally, I found that getting my 10 LX200GPS up on the wedge by myself a real chore. Two people is not a problem. I also found polar alignment to be confusing and difficult. That is part of why I switched to GEMs. Not everyone finds this to be the case, but many do. In addition, a fork mount is great for visual use, putting the eyepiece in a generally comfortable position. Wedge mounted the fork eliminates this benefit and going back and forth is not my cup of tea. Being 6'1" I am by no means small or infirm but I would rather lift a C14 up onto a GEM any day over putting a 10+ inch form mount on a wedge. Your results may vary.


My experience as well. I love fork SCTs for visual use or for short exposure Mallincam imaging...but lift one onto a wedge? I am over that. :lol:

#25 EFT

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:35 PM

Maybe for the weak and infirmed



This has nothing to do with it. The fact is that a fork mounted SCT is large, heavy and awkward. Weak and infirm I am not.

The X-Wedge looks like a great kit.



Hopefully it will be, but some of the past ones were suppose to be as well but they were often replaced by the Milburn and others.

Other bonus with the LX600 - the fork mount now splits for easy assembly and dis-assembly. This makes for ease of set-up and transportation.



Looks good, but it is as-yet unproven technology. Fork alignment is critical. Hopefully this has been done right (LX80/LX800 anyone?).

Other benefit with the LX600 - you have Starlock and a complete turnkey Visual and AP solution.



Hopefully the LX600 will not have the problems with this that the LX800 had.

Yes you are limited to that one OTA, but for many who cares?



To each his own. I like to have multiple scopes but I wouldn't mind if I still had by LX200.

LX600 also has a f/8 optics and an internal 2-speed, crayford focuser. Saying it does not have one is mis-information.



I don't recall anyone saying it did not have a dual speed focuser. Maybe I missed that.

Many are getting the LX850 now and have reported the OTA is wonderful.



"Many" would seem to be an overstatement and not all reports are "wonderful" or public.

Remember that an opinion was asked for on a product that is currently unavailable. They are opinions and can be taken by the OP for what they are worth. I can say that there was a very pretty LX600 at NEAF, and it didn't move once. :question:






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