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QUESTARs 50th Anniversary commemorating the hype

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#1 azure1961p

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:55 PM

Back in the day a whole heck of a lot of Questars ended up for sale soon after the owners realized the folly of marketing hype versus the actual viewing experience. One look at there marketing of the $7500 Q3.5 and nothing's changed :

This significant difference in total system accuracy is one reason why a 3.5” Questar can often outresolve an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain on globular clusters, binary stars, and lunar and planetary details – with the Questar invariably exceeding Dawes’ limit for the best resolution available from an optical system of its aperture.

A second reason is the turbulent Earth atmosphere all telescopes must look through. In essence, when observing, you are usually looking through bubbles of disturbed air – microcells typically 4” in diameter in the layer of the atmosphere nearest the surface of the Earth. The image-blurring effect of these microcells is largely invisible as long as the column of light entering the telescope is smaller than the 4” diameter of the cells.

It was for just this reason that an aperture of 3.5” was originally chosen for the Questar. In average to mediocre seeing conditions, a 3.5” Questar will see through individual 4” microcells undisturbed, showing more detail than a larger scope that has to put up with the blurring of multiple turbulent cells.

Pete

#2 Mike E.

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 12:05 AM

First time I looked through a Questar I thought... "Someday".
Twenty seven years later, someday came. :)

#3 EddWen

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 03:51 AM

Are you having a bad day?

#4 JJK

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:44 AM

Pete,

What's your point? The Questar 3.5 is a wonderful, compete observing package. It's well designed, well built, and a unique portable system. In my experience, it performs as well as it should, given its aperture (e.g., better than my William Optics 80 mm f/6 LOMO apo, slightly less well than an AP 92 mm f/4.9 apo). It certainly does not outperform an AP 105 f/5.9 Traveler.

Whether the Questar is worth it's retail price is a subjective matter. Personally, I wouldn't pay $7.5K for a Q50 edition 3.5" scope. However, I wouldn't think ill of anyone who did. A few extra thousand dollars averaged over a lifetime isn't worth worrying about.

Clear Skies,
JJK

#5 mayidunk

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:52 AM

Are you saying that Questars aren't good telescopes? What was it about those telescopes "way back in the day" that caused so many people to put them up for sale?

This is the first time I've ever heard anyone say anything bad about Questar, and I'm curious about why you posted this. Please elaborate?

#6 rmollise

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:11 AM

Are you saying that Questars aren't good telescopes? What was it about those telescopes "way back in the day" that caused so many people to put them up for sale?

This is the first time I've ever heard anyone say anything bad about Questar, and I'm curious about why you posted this. Please elaborate?


Back in the Day, Questar's wonderful advertisements did lead some of us sprouts to believe that this little telescope would FAR EXCEED the powers of the lowly 3-inch Edmund Space Conqueror. It wouldn't. The laws of physics were in force even back when I was a youngun. :lol:

It is a wonderfully made telescope that a person who loves fine things will appreciate. It can even be a useful telescope for someone who wants a portable scope with a decent (not perfect) drive and doesn't mind/wants the long focal length. ;)

#7 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:31 AM

I have to agree that the Questar's outlandish claims are annoying and untrue, but hopefully the folks who buy them are smart enough to know that.

I have always wanted one, but can never justify the cost. The problem is that being a mechanical engineer by trade, I know what it costs to make and assemble precise machinery. Unfortunately, that is what prevents me from buying one. There is no way Questars should cost so much except that you are paying double for the reputation.

A C90 can be had for $140 which is the OTA. Now I'm not saying that a C90 is equal to a Questar OTA but with some additional precise machining and optical work it could be the equal. How much would you have to spend, maybe $500. The eyepieces retail are $235 each and to make the mount with the same quality about $1000. So if someone wanted to manufacture a 90mm. Mak-Cas with similar quality as a Questar it would cost about $2160. And that's why I can't justify in my mind purchasing one.

#8 Hilmi

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:49 AM

The original post was clearly targeted at the suspect marketing speak in the marketing materials. There was no criticism aimed at the instrument itself. I dont understand why folks got so defensive.

I think the marketing material is clearly targeted at people who have money to burn and don't know much about telescopes. The sort of people who have quarter of a million as their modest entertainment budget for the year are the perfect customers for this sort of marketing material.

#9 mayidunk

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 12:10 PM

Are you saying that Questars aren't good telescopes? What was it about those telescopes "way back in the day" that caused so many people to put them up for sale?

This is the first time I've ever heard anyone say anything bad about Questar, and I'm curious about why you posted this. Please elaborate?


Back in the Day, Questar's wonderful advertisements did lead some of us sprouts to believe that this little telescope would FAR EXCEED the powers of the lowly 3-inch Edmund Space Conqueror. It wouldn't. The laws of physics were in force even back when I was a youngun. :lol:

It is a wonderfully made telescope that a person who loves fine things will appreciate. It can even be a useful telescope for someone who wants a portable scope with a decent (not perfect) drive and doesn't mind/wants the long focal length. ;)

Thanks for filling in the blanks, Rod.

I'm aware of their claims that their scopes have continually exceeded the laws of physics for their size. While it's unfortunate that they would ever see a need to stoop to such needless hyperbole, nevertheless they have put a lot of effort into the design, and construction, of these scopes, as well as in maintaining their high quality. Considering how the basic design hasn't really changed over the years (aside from the innovations they've made in their implementation), one might consider that, if they were trying to leverage hype with the more moneyed, then why wouldn't they be continually changing that design, "innovating" in an attempt to appear to be staying on the cutting edge of the state of the art? Instead, they seem to be content to just plod along with the same old basic design, year after year. For those with more money than brains, that strategy might appear to be boring, and not worthy of their excess cash. Especially considering their reasons for owning one may have more to do with bragging rights, than anything else. And for the younger generation with money to burn, the idea of having a classic doesn't always translate into "mine's better than yours'!" For many of them, bling is king!

Oh well, I don't own a Questar, and I probably never will. I was just curious about the OP's posting. In the end, since Questar continues to sell these scopes, they must be doing something right. Especially considering the drubbing they'd likely take from this community if it ever became obvious that they weren't delivering the goods! There must be a reason why Questar scopes have managed to keep their mystique after all these years.

#10 Billydee

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:13 PM

Post deleted by Starman27

#11 mayidunk

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:25 PM

Hmmm...

#12 TG

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:31 PM

I have to agree that the Questar's outlandish claims are annoying and untrue, but hopefully the folks who buy them are smart enough to know that.


One can only imagine what kind of outlandish claims they made for this one :grin:

Yes, that's a 35mm SLR camera attached probably to their mirror-zoom lens riding piggyback.

Posted Image


Tanveer.

EDIT: fixed link

#13 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:44 PM

I read Pete's post purely in the vein of the marketing hype. Even back in the late 70s, when I was just a wet-behind-the-ears greenhorn on the astro scene (not knowing anything about optics, really), I found something suspect about Questsr's hyperbole in their ads. Later on it dawned on me why. I can't recall details nowadays--I stopped looking at anything Q-related in about '83--but the impression remains.

Certainly a fine, well made instrument, but one which is too easily bypassed by me in the search for a satisfying performance to cost ratio. But I don't begrudge their owners.

#14 greedyshark

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:09 PM

To each, his (or her) own. Personally, the investment made towards my used Questar, providing a combination of convenience and optical excellence, was most certainly worth it to me. It is, by far, my most frequently used instrument.

Charles

#15 rmollise

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:20 PM



Oh well, I don't own a Questar, and I probably never will. I was just curious about the OP's posting. In the end, since Questar continues to sell these scopes, they must be doing something right. Especially considering the drubbing they'd likely take from this community if it ever became obvious that they weren't delivering the goods! There must be a reason why Questar scopes have managed to keep their mystique after all these years.


Your post is pretty much right on the money. I will say this, however: Even now I occasionally daydream myself onto a far-away tropical beach where I await a total eclipse, umbrella drink and Q3.5 close at hand... :lol:

#16 Geo31

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:28 PM

When I was in my teens we had an astronomy Explorer Group. The advisor owned a Questar and was understandably proud of it. But a little too much so. At one of our start parties (our advisor never went, but we had a close knit group who would meet regularly) someone was commenting about how great the optics were, etc. I commented on the fact that the scope was still subject to Dawes limit and that a less expensive 8" scope with decent optics would still out perform it. I think that comment got back to the advisor because after that I was shunned by the advisor. :)

#17 Binojunky

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

Its like buying a fine watch, its going to be mechanical movement yet it won,t keep time as good as a Timex or Casio quartz which cost a fraction of the price,however when I strap my Omega Constelation onto my wrist It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that comes with owning a fine time piece, I would think that also comes with owning a Questar,I have looked at one and they are a thing of beauty with superb engineering and mechanics,however my C90 is a fine performer for a fraction of the price,DA. :grin:

#18 rmollise

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:45 PM

Its like buying a fine watch, its going to be mechanical movement yet it won,t keep time as good as a Timex or Casio quartz which cost a fraction of the price,however when I strap my Omega Constelation onto my wrist It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that comes with owning a fine time piece, I would think that also comes with owning a Questar,I have looked at one and they are a thing of beauty with superb engineering and mechanics,however my C90 is a fine performer for a fraction of the price,DA. :grin:


Right on. But...I don't have an Omega Speedmaster, either. Though, as with the Q, sometimes I wistfully wish I did... :lol:

It ain't all gravy even at the high price points, either. An Omega may not keep time as well as a Casio, and some of the 3.5s I've used looked mechanically superb, but had more backlash in their slow motion than the average Celestron or Meade. ;)

#19 EddWen

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:51 PM

Would someone point out a link to some of these outlandish claims?

Thx,

#20 mayidunk

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:54 PM




Oh well, I don't own a Questar, and I probably never will. I was just curious about the OP's posting. In the end, since Questar continues to sell these scopes, they must be doing something right. Especially considering the drubbing they'd likely take from this community if it ever became obvious that they weren't delivering the goods! There must be a reason why Questar scopes have managed to keep their mystique after all these years.


Your post is pretty much right on the money. I will say this, however: Even now I occasionally daydream myself onto a far-away tropical beach where I await a total eclipse, umbrella drink and Q3.5 close at hand... :lol:

Dare to dream, my friend... dare to dream! :fingerscrossed:

Thanks.

#21 mayidunk

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:54 PM




Oh well, I don't own a Questar, and I probably never will. I was just curious about the OP's posting. In the end, since Questar continues to sell these scopes, they must be doing something right. Especially considering the drubbing they'd likely take from this community if it ever became obvious that they weren't delivering the goods! There must be a reason why Questar scopes have managed to keep their mystique after all these years.


Your post is pretty much right on the money. I will say this, however: Even now I occasionally daydream myself onto a far-away tropical beach where I await a total eclipse, umbrella drink and Q3.5 close at hand... :lol:

Dare to dream, my friend... dare to dream! :fingerscrossed:

Thanks.

#22 Jay_Bird

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 03:24 PM

My high school was blessed by space race construction and long after I attended became a sought-after 'magnet' school. It had a planetarium used by students in the region. The planetarium director was a heck of a nice guy who is one of the handful of teachers and coach who made a lifelong impression.

I studied Jupiter Saturn and the Moon through his basic 3.5 Questar along with a few other school or club scopes up to 6" GEM Newtonians, all from the deck on the planetarium roof. The GRS and other expected 3-4 inch scope details on planetary disk and rings and on Luna were vivid in the Questar thru eastern USA haze that often seemed to help steady seeing. The flip finder and built in Barlow were handy and the screw in eyepieces felt like quality construction.

It was about as nice a scope for it's size as you'll ever see.

An anti-commodity.

The views thru that Questar stayed with me and I was reminded when living in the Midwest and a new location's club member shared views thru his alt-az 5 or 6 inch A-P refractor. The view was the object (cluster and doubles that night) with nothing else: just pinpoint stars and star colors, no glare, no diffraction spikes, no false color, etc. Both reminded me of looking into a still pool in a remote stream where each pebble in the bed can be clearly seen many feet below.

"folly" "hype" etc. are a little strong. Yes, you can get more absolute performance for less money but that's not the intended niche for Questar's product or other products that are above a common denominator.

#23 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 03:53 PM

Sure:

http://www.astro-physics.com/

Oh. You wanted the Questar link. :shrug:

#24 rmollise

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 04:02 PM

Would someone point out a link to some of these outlandish claims?

Thx,


You'll need the (blessed) Sky and Telescope DVDs or a buddy with a passel of issues. Go back to the 1960s issues and begin reading their inside front cover ads. Questar rarely pushed all the way up to the line, but they did push close to it more'n once. The impression me and my buddies certainly got was "Better than your dadgum pitiful home-made 6-inch Newtonian, sonny boy!" And we believed it. Did we ever! All that money, and so pretty. Had to be! :lol:

#25 benpup

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:54 PM

I am compelled to comment having been a "reader" for a long time. I just want to add some perspective largely from a long term (58 years +) observer having owned several scopes ( AP 10" Mak, AP 155EDFS, AP 130GT, Traveler, Meade 12", 2 Celestron 11 EDGE HDs, 3" Newtonian as first scope, '95 Questar 3.5 Standard ) and have a Questar 50th Anniversary on order. I only have the 130GT for now.

My perspective is one of growing old (67) in this hobby and like all of you, always wanting something more but am now reaching a point that it is really dictated by what time I have to observe and what my body allows. I am the proud owner of a Stent residing in one of my coronary arteries that now rules everything.

Why would I spend $8500 on a 3.5 inch Questar 50th Anniversary and Tristand having owned so many fine instruments? Because it allows me to observe the heavens within the time and physical restrictions that I now have. I pick it up with one hand, set it up in 2 minutes, observe for 20 minutes, and get it all back inside in 2 minutes. The '95Q I had taught me just how easy and convenient this is with the Q. Cost? The 130GT on a Mach 1 and Eagle Pier is more than $16,000 plus you have to get it all out and put it all away. The answer is complicated. For me it is an easy choice because I have always appreciated the Questar, its uniqueness of design, quality of build and optical excellence. I have always wanted one and it fits my older lifestyle and capabilities. It is not for everyone and for them there is much to choose from. Bottom line for me is that it is the scope that will be used with great pleasure. Sorry for the long post but it was a long time coming.






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