In the mean time, I am suddenly becoming like a lot of folks here on CN - a collector of astronomical equipment, lol! Though I am putting it all to use. No really, I am! (No winking!) The LX850 - it is an amazing mount, works as advertised, and fantastic optics too. It truly helps with the Astrophotography process. I still have a lot to learn in the post processing department, filters to use and everything, but it is coming together nicely.
I also purchased the LXD75 for quick "grab and go" purposes, visual use, video astronomy and simpler images on the go - planets, Moon, Sun and bright nebula. It works very well. Meade should have kept building and enhancing it. I personally feel Meade made a big mistake discontinuing it. Oh well!
I am also looking for a high end but portable travel mount for AP and other functions in remote locations. LX850 is wonderful, but I do not want to drag it all over creation. So I am looking at the Asto-Physics and 10 Micron GM1000 HPS stuff. I may just get the Mach1GTO.
But I have been very curious about the LX80. I see the potential with it, the "vision", so to speak. Basically a mount with loads of features and cool functions for a cheap price. For me, I have no expectations it will compete with the LX850, CGEPro on up. The fit and finish will not be the same, the raw PE not the same, and everything else. Sorry, you don't get all that for $1,000. But I do expect it to function as advertised. As advertised I see it going beyond the LXD75 - Multi-mode/multi-OTA out of the box, heavier loads, very good gotos, tracking, and light duty AP. Yeah, I hear that AP can be done on lesser mounts than the expensive ones, and folks do have success, but don't kid yourselves. There is a difference between the cheaper mounts and the LX850, Mach1GTO, 10Micron on up. Still, it is fun nabbing that cool image on a $3k or less mount. A sense of success. For me, the LX850 is indeed my primary imaging mount. But I use all the tools in my tool box, from my ETX125 on up.
Back to the LX80...
A very interesting mount, BUT, there were all the early dramas and chatter on CN. It definitely looks like it was released too early. The tone has quieted, and Meade did sell a lot of them, and folks do use them. Also I have learned, there are people on CN who have an LX80 and enjoy them, but are afraid to say anything because, well, they will get attacked. And they do, which is sad. I have also heard this really is a fun mount from several people.
I do have a use for this mount - education outreach and star parties with easy setup, carrying a heavier load than the LXD75, and some testing with other equipment I have. But, I was back and forth, back and forth on getting it. I saw one recently and the mount seemed fine to me. The LX80 of today and the positive vibes I was getting was not meshing with what I was hearing from recent non-owners on CN. Well after sitting on the fence on this mount, and with there being no wait list, and after another attack session by the folks here on CN, I said "THATS IT! I AM GOING TO BUY ME AN LX80!" At least I can speak from experience vs. theory.
And I did buy it and it came in yesterday, during a brief sunny window between storms right before Sunset - and just as I was turning in a proposal to NASA (a good present at the end of the day when work is done)!
I will do my very best to speak from the heart, my REAL experiences, how it works out AND answer your questions, and lessons I have learned. I am NOT going into battles chatting about the LX80. If you feel this was a dumb purchase, fine, but no need to get abusive. Best we learn and comment about the whole thing. Also, I am FULLY aware of the chats on the LX80 from the past and all the issues. Lets see if they are resolved or crop up. Lets see how the LX80 of today compares to 2012. And yes, I also know there will be a replacement mount coming out soon. Will it be similar or vastly different than the LX80? Who knows, but for this thread I do not care for the time being.
So time to begin the dialogue during this most cloudy, cold stretch. I truly cannot wait to get home to New Mexico! I am also sure we can all make this a hot topic.
So let me begin. Like I said, I have been MASSIVELY working to get out several proposals to NASA. I knew this mount was coming in, but I was going to try and not focus on it until work was done. But I was wondering about it and a little anxious. Just as I was uploading the last proposal around 4:41 PM EST (before the 5:00 PM deadline, YIKES!), the doorbell rang - the UPS man was here!!!! I raced to the door and told him to go ahead and drop it off while I wrap up things. When I came back, there were 3 boxes waiting for me on the snow covered porch…