Question and Advice
Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:55 AM
I hope that I don't get killed for this post. The last Time I asked a question about Questars on the Classic Forum, I created a firestorm. What is it about these scopes that cause quite a stir?
I have heard so many good things about Questars and am excited that I might be able to buy one. I have been in astronomy for about one year and own an Orion 8XT Dobsonian. I have a good assortement of eyepieces. I enjoy using it but sometimes I just don't feel like lugging it out of my garage. I am looking at buying an older Questar (3.5) and was thinking about using it as a grab n go telescope. Would this scope make a good "garb n go? I have only seen pictures of them so I don't know what to expect.
I heard that the optics are good. What about eyepieces? Can you use any type or do you need to buy special ones? Any help, advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:30 PM
Plus, it tracks (at both sidereal and lunar rates if equipped with Powerglide II), so you won't have to constantly nudge it along to keep object in the eyepiece.
Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:33 PM
As far as eyepieces: the newer Questars accept both threaded Brandons and standard 1-1/4" eyepieces. To use 1-1/4" eyepieces in an older model, you will need an adapter such as the one TeleVue sells. I don't know what year Questar made the change, but someone will know. My Questar is an '06 model and accepts both types of eyepieces.
Posted 19 November 2013 - 04:47 PM
Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:09 PM
Wonderfully crisp views. Only 3.5 in, yes, but I can count on one hand the number of times seeing provided me with optimal 8 in views with my C8.
Of course the C8 beats it on clusters and galaxies but once again my city skies are so light polluted that lunar, planetary, and double star viewing is what I do anyway. Q rocks here.
I must say I have never yet taken the little Q to a really, really dark site. I'm curious how it performs there.
Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:47 PM
The Q's have tremendous versatility. One day last summer - with my duplex - (1) imaged damselflies landing on cattails in the pond at 25' distance and able to resolve the critter's compound eye structure (2) later inspected the coaxial cable attachment to my ham radio antenna @ 50' on a tower while sitting on the deck (3) Put it on the tristand to check out the "night's best".
Posted 19 November 2013 - 08:51 PM
The 1994 model was the last year that the Diopter Adapter would only work with the Brandon EPs. In 1995 they started to produce the Diopter Adapter that will accept all EPs (a copy of the TV adapter). Questar can supply their adapter to pre-1995 Qs (I think they are about $85) and you just screw out the old one and replace it with the new one.
Posted 20 November 2013 - 08:00 AM
I heard good things about the company and their customer service, and the fact the they are located in the United States and has been in business for awhile is a big plus. Glad to hear that you can buy an adapter so that you can use other EPs. I have been looking on the internet and the Brandon EPs are expensive.
Thanks again for your input. It is greatly appreciated!
Posted 22 November 2013 - 08:47 AM
Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:44 PM
Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:47 PM
Posted 24 November 2013 - 03:01 AM
I recently purchased an older 3 1/2" Standard which came with the earlier eyepieces that have a built in focuser. They uses a smaller 1 3/16" adapter tube as seen in the left of the photo.
A Tele Vue 1 1/4" adapter was also included, but like the adapter for the early version of the Questar eyepieces, has no provision for focusing an eyepiece for finder use (photo center).
I contacted Jim Reichert at Questar for a current focuser diopter adapter. It fit perfectly, (right of photo) and enables the use of threaded Questar Brandons, non threaded Brandons, and other 1 1/4" eyepieces. The price was $85 plus shipping, well worth it in my opinion.
Note that not all eyepieces will come to focus with the Questar "finder". There is a list of those that do, but I don't recall where at the moment; perhaps someone will chime in with a link. Hope this is helpfull.
Posted 24 November 2013 - 08:16 AM
I will probably have a few more questions once I get it and start to use it. You are all a great group of people and from reading the posts very knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing!
Have a great day.
Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:55 AM
Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:06 PM
What is the serial mumber on your Q? It may be one made in the first year. Early ones are wonders.
Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:57 PM
You have a very very early one. It was 55th Questar to come off the production line (I understand the first production Q has the serial number 50). The R stands for modified or reworked, remanufactured, replaced or revised at a later date (Questar could probably tell you what was done). The 8 is the last digit of the year it probably was reworked.
You are a lucky man, Bill
Posted 06 December 2013 - 12:14 AM
I did not know that you could tell so much about the scope based on its serial number. I do feel very lucky and fortunate about getting it. I have heard so many great things about Questar telescopes. Though I am not sure that I totally understand about how lucky I am. Is there much difference between the older and newer scopes? I figured that the older scopes would not be as good in optical quality due to all of the advancements in astronomical equipment over the years.
Posted 06 December 2013 - 03:46 PM
There have been small modifications over the years but all of the Qs have the same general outside look. I think that the first 100 to 200 were the same but minor internal changes were made after that (different mirror maker, prisim and base plate). That makes yours a collectors type scope (much fewer in number than later designs). The mirror in your scope was made by one of the best in the business and I think another mirror maker came after the first 100 to 200 so the optics in yours are probably better than later ones. I think yours is probably worth $500 to $1000 more than a Q made after the first 100 (to a true Q collector).
That does not mean you should not use your Q. That is what they are for and you need to really enjoy it. These ladies enjoy being taken on a date.
Posted 06 December 2013 - 04:10 PM
I never would have thought that about the mirror and optics being better. I do plan on using it and can't wait. It seems like a good compliment to my 8-inch Dob. It probably could use a cleaning so I will contact Questar ansd send it to them in January. Usually I don't get a chance to do much viewing in January (I live in New Hampshire) due to the cold. Though those clear cold nights are very tempting as long as I dress appropriately. There are also no bugs
Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:07 PM
The early scopes have been discussed extensively over the years. It is generally thought that the optics for very roughly the first 900-1000 were made by Cave. Since then the optics have been made by Cumberland Optics. It is further generally thought that modern optics are better than earlier Q's, and that is true of modern Q's verses, say, 1960s Q's.
You should be aware that if you send it in for a full cleaning that Questar will replace any parts, including cosmetic parts, that they deem necessary. For example, the Logo disks, especially the one at the center of the RA drum, may be replaced as a general rule since removing them may damage them. Those logo disks have changed over the years, and old disks are very distinctive.
Did you get the old English Leather case? That case is very distinctive, the hinge of the front door being integral to the leather. Original units with good working hinges are rare, just due to the ravages of time and the tendency of leather to crack.
People that buy very old Q's, like yours, often will not have them "routinely serviced" because it starts you down a path of modernization that conflicts with the idea of keeping it truly "unmolested" and true to the era PURELY for collectable reasons. From a functional point of view, the factory will restore the unit to modern performance standards, and that is their objective if you don't specifically talk to them about preserving things.
You may not care at all about collectability, but others may, and that scope has collectable value. It has always seemed to me that it does not make a lot of sense to buy a very early Q purely for functional use, for the reasons I am struggling to explain here
If you were to effectively "swap" it, in some way, with a more modern scope it may cost less in the long run (depending on what happens on the next service of either scope) and you don't have to struggle through the collectable issue.
I am NOT suggesting you sell it and do what I just suggested. I am trying to give you a feel for the choices that seem to be inevitably made when a service is done, and what might make the most sense purely from a functional point of view.
And, no, I don't have the spare bagels to buy your Q, although if I did I would. And never service it unless absolutely necessary, and after careful consultation with the factory as to exactly what they plan to do with it.
The early Q's, the collectable aspects, and "renovation issues" have been discussed extensively over the years in the yahoo group list. You might start there with a search for "Cave" or other search terms. ANd, of course, start here, but I know some interesting stuff has been posted over the years on the Yahoo group.
Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:16 PM
It is my understanding that if the serial number was changed, then the base plate was replaced, and it would have been replaced with a metal bottom plate. The earliest Q's had a synthane base, and yours probably did too.
The Yahoo group archives includes a spreadsheet file listing a number of differences between units of various eras, according to data and serial numbers provided by members. It is a very good resource in order to start to understand the changes made over the years. For example, which units had that synthane base (and synthane tube too).
Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:33 AM
Thank you for the information and PM. I will need to do some additonal checking on this Q. I had been looking for a Q for about 6 months to use as a "grab n go." I really liked the portability aspect and the great ruputation and optics.
I saw an ad and contacted the seller immediately. I was probably very lucky because I was local and they did not want to ship it. Being a novice to Q, I didn't think or know to ask about the serial number. The original owner of the scope was Cyrus Fernald of Wilton, Maine. I think that I will need to do some more research on this Q. This is really fascinating and I think finding out more about this Q is going to be great learning experience. I will also check out the other location that you mentioned.