Jump to content


Photo

Meade ETX insight please

  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 5RNS

5RNS

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 24
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:36 PM

Lately I have been surfing online auctions that sell donated items. There seem to be quite a few of the ETX scopes on there. Mostly 60 & 90mm, usually in their case and most have been goto equipped. I have been somewhat shocked by the the amount these are selling for. 60's in the $130 range 90's near $200 and a decent looking 125mm went for $530. Add $20+/- for shipping.

I have ZERO experience with these scopes but am wondering if it may be worth it to pick up a 60 or 90 in that price range? I would be willing to gamble (maybe) on one if it's that big of bargain. No way am I willing to go any higher on a scope I can't inspect, but evidently there are many that will.

I was thinking a small scope like this would be great for hands on for my youngsters. Any opinions are appreciated.



#2 Brian Carter

Brian Carter

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3436
  • Joined: 24 Nov 2004
  • Loc: Atlanta, GA

Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:48 PM

I had an etx70, still do actually. It was a Christmas present from my dad and my first scope. It took my about three months to outgrow it. Goto worked though and I had a nice time. There were a lot of things I hated about it though. The mount was shakeu, and the tiny focuser was positioned like a SCT and in reachable in the tiny fork mount. I modified it with some plastic tubing and it was ok. Anyway, not a bad little toy.

The 60 and 70mm are refractors. The larger ones are maks. I would actually like one of the Parker maks at some point. I am eventually going to mount the 70 on my SCT as a wide field/finder.

#3 Ken Sturrock

Ken Sturrock

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:05 PM

Remember that the 90mm and larger telescopes are Maksutov and the smaller ones are refractors. Based on my experience with an old clock-drive ETX-90 and a goto ETX-70, I'd say that the Maksutovs might be worth investigating if the price was right. In my opinion, the optics on the Maksutovs were pretty nice (Remember, that they are relatively small aperture but have a long focal length - great on the moon and planets, less so for other things). The clock-drive mount on my original ETX-90 was garbage. I believe that the goto mounts are better made and certainly won't have that awful motor engagement clutch with a 20 second lag.

 

The little ETX-90 on it's wedge and tripod was, however, a very handsome looking telescope. More show than go though.

 

As for the ETX-70, well, I know that others have had good memories of the ETX refractors but my ETX-70 was nothing but frustration. Inaccurate gotos, random software crashes, tremendous chromatic aberation, a painfully slow focuser, plastic parts that broke off in my hand (clutch knobs, tripod levers). To be fair, they were originally very cheap telescopes...and it showed.


Edited by Ken Sturrock, 21 August 2014 - 10:07 PM.


#4 jgraham

jgraham

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13694
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Society

Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:10 PM

I am the proud owner of at least one example of each of the ETX scopes. The ETX-60, 70, and 80 are compact refractors that give wide binocular-like views. The ETX-90, 105, and 125 are fantastic Maksutovs that pack a lot of scope into a small package. The Maks are the most attractive as high quality scopes while the refractors serve well as small, lightweight, wide field scopes. All if them make great travel scopes.

 

Fun stuff.


Edited by jgraham, 21 August 2014 - 10:10 PM.


#5 5RNS

5RNS

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 24
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:17 PM

I didn't realize only the larger ones were Maksutovs. That may explain all the "spotting scope" cracks I have seen. 



#6 Geo.

Geo.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2804
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 22 August 2014 - 10:40 AM

The 90Mak gotos go for about $200-250, the non-gotos $100-175. OTAs $100 up. Look for those with UHTC coatings. The optics are generally excellent, but mechanics less so. The mounts have several weak design/material points that fail with some regularity. The electronics are pretty reliable.

 

Also worth a look are the Nexstar 4GTs (also sold as the Tasco Starguide 4). This is a 4" Mak on a goto mount. They sell at some really low prices. Yet they are on the whole much a better design mechanically than the ETX and the mounts are much more reliable. The optics are also quite good and have Starbright coatings, which are similar to Meade's UHTC. Orion sells a similar 102mm Mak for $300 without a mount.



#7 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2764
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 22 August 2014 - 11:43 AM

The ETX Maks have great optics, or at least the earlier models did, the plastic mounts were poor to say the least,DA.



#8 orion61

orion61

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4534
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk

Posted 22 August 2014 - 01:30 PM

I still have one of the first ETX 90's from 96' I wouldn't sell it for the world!

It is my main grab and go scope, perfect for White Light Solar,

Surprisingly good for Lunar and Planetary. 

If I only could have one scope, it would be a tough choice between my C8 and the ETX.

I can guarantee the ETX has seen much more sky!



#9 DocFinance

DocFinance

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 682
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2014
  • Loc: Clear Lake, Texas

Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:56 PM

I love my ETX 90 (manual), but I've used it off of the drive base as much as on.  And I've always thought it was too fragile to be a travel scope.  The optics are robust, I think, I've just always worried about the junk on the back (flip mirror, etc).  Oh, and I bought a focus cable extension immediately; hard to use without one on the drive base.


Edited by DocFinance, 22 August 2014 - 08:29 PM.


#10 5RNS

5RNS

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 24
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:56 PM

Funny thing was that I never considered this type of scope until I saw those auctions. Now gear fever is setting in and I am wanting to learn more about the Maks. I have been looking into refractors to supplement my C8, but feel now that i may missing the boat on these Maks

Thanks for the info on the 60-70s. I will be steering clear of these, no offense to those that like them. I see several OTA is the classifieds here that I would be way more confident that I'm buying a quality scope,and also helping someone else's scope fund :waytogo: 

 



#11 jgraham

jgraham

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13694
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Society

Posted 23 August 2014 - 07:08 AM

The ETX-60, 70, and 80 are just a different cup o'tea compared to the ETX-90, 105, and 125. One very nice thing about the smaller scopes is that their short focal lengths and wide fields make them very forgiving and capable of wide field imaging. It takes a lot of patience and a little luck, but I had a great time imaging with my little ETX-60.



#12 Eddgie

Eddgie

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12546
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 23 August 2014 - 07:32 AM

Maybe mine is the exception, but I have an ETX 90 that has much less than excellent optics.

 

It lacks contrast, and has a tiny well illuminated field.

 

I used it at night a few times, but found it pretty disappointing Vs an 80mm ED refractor.  I know these cost more, but the performace of the 90 was so disappointing to me that it seemed like wasted money by comparision.

 

I used it at the range, but I had trouble resolving my hits at very long ranges.

 

I was ready to sell it but the assistant astronomer thinks it is cute.    Has been in her closet for two years now.

 

Not a fan of the ETX 90.   Just can't come close to matching a good 80ED.   Totally inferrior. Dim and lacking in contrast.

 

For someone wanting a small scope, I recommend the C5.  Mine side by side with the ETX was far more enjoyable to use.   Oh, I sold it because I was not using it anymore, but of the two, it was far better.



#13 Traveler

Traveler

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1258
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2007
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 23 August 2014 - 07:39 AM

I still have one of the first ETX 90's from 96' I wouldn't sell it for the world!

It is my main grab and go scope, perfect for White Light Solar,

Surprisingly good for Lunar and Planetary. 

If I only could have one scope, it would be a tough choice between my C8 and the ETX.

I can guarantee the ETX has seen much more sky!

 

 

Do you use your ETX in daylight (birding etc) as well? If so, what are your findings?



#14 mclewis1

mclewis1

    Thread Killer

  • *****
  • Posts: 10808
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: New Brunswick, Canada

Posted 23 August 2014 - 09:13 AM

http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html

 

There's also a ton of info in the CN Meade forum.



#15 elwaine

elwaine

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1143
  • Joined: 18 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Jupiter

Posted 23 August 2014 - 01:53 PM

I had an ETX 90. As Ed reported, it has a very narrow f.o.v.; but mine provided very sharp, high contrast views of the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. I didn't use it for much else. I now have an ETX-125 PE and enjoy using it as a grab 'n' go instrument. It's a pleasure to use and performs quite well... exactly what one would expect from a 5" scope with very good optics.

 

One problem to note about the early ETX 90s is that the secondary mirror baffle was attached to the back surface of the corrector with an adhesive that tended to fail over time. That led to the baffle sliding a bit and covering part of the secondary mirror. I had that unfortunate experience with my ETX 90. The adhesive problem was corrected, and later versions of the ETX 90 did not have the problem. Before I bought an older ETX 90 sight unseen, I'd want to see a picture of it face-on to make sure that the secondary mirror baffle is in place, where it was meant to be.

 

If you monitor the classified ads here on CN, and also on Astromart, you will see ETX scopes of various sizes (both refractors and Maks). They are in the price range you noted in your post. I have never had a bad experience purchasing  used equipment from either of those sources. Other than CN and A-Mart, I shy away from buying used equipment on-line.



#16 Nicolai

Nicolai

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2014

Posted 23 August 2014 - 01:58 PM

An ETX 125 was my first scope, and I still have it. I'm no sophisticated observer, but I've enjoyed the 5" Mak for what it is. Great for solar/lunar/planetary of course with the 1900mm FL and tracking. 5in aperture is enough for some DSOs and doubles, and the tracking allows leisurely observation.

Optics are great to my eyes, but as others have stated you may have issues with the mount and mechanicals. I had to repair the alt axis--the clutch mechanisms seem to be a weak point. A focus cable was installed and when I got it. It is nice, but there is some backlash in the mechanism and fine focusing requires some concentration.

Edit to add a few things...

I haven't used the goto since the first couple years of ownership. Maybe I was doing it wrong, or whatever, but these days I just set it up for tracking.

A red dot finder or the like is a must--the standard finder (I know it was changed at some point) is junk.

I don't see myself selling it. I'll use it till the fork mount gives up the ghost, then I'll probably defork it and get some other mount.

Edited by Nicolai, 23 August 2014 - 02:10 PM.


#17 mattyfatz

mattyfatz

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2568
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Boise Idaho

Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:39 AM

My ETX 90 is a great scope. I only use the OTA now though. I donated the drive and hand controller a while back.

the UHTC coated optics are what to look for.



#18 labmand

labmand

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 440
  • Joined: 08 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Michigan USA

Posted 25 August 2014 - 11:49 AM

First light last night etx90, well I've wanted 1 of these a long time, but after listening

To the nay sayers I went thru a bunch of other scopes, yes including a 80ed, 6se, several

Long tube refractors etc. Don't get me wrong I like alot of them, but wow this little etx90

Just blew me away, maybe it was the seeing and it was short because the clouds moved in

But doubles izar and the double double never looked so good. I think sometimes advise is good

But this time I'm thinking why, why did I wait so long to snag one of these when many where

Saying how great the optics were? Yes the mount may not be the best, but I'm thinking deforking after playing with it as is for a while.  Fnder and adding a flex cable to the focuser is a must. But wow the optics, can't wait to see

How far I can push it. But just know IT IS NOT A WIDE FIELD SCOPE, I like doubles so, not everyone

Wants a fast WIDE FIELD SCOPE.


  • mattyfatz likes this

#19 Glen A W

Glen A W

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 785
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2008
  • Loc: USA

Posted 27 August 2014 - 09:42 AM

My old ETX-90RA was made in the USA and is of really high quality.  It's a little dim, though, and the ergonomics of the fork mount are funky.  But it is a fine telescope with optics that are A+.

 

I have an ETX-80 which is China trash.  It only looks kind of like the 90, otherwise it is not even close to the same category.  At a recent star party, despite awesome skies, it was low contrast all the time.  And chromatics like crazy.....  And, it is barely usable without the electronics to move it. Not to mention, it came without a finder.

 

Best bet for youngsters is a small Dob.

 

Glen



#20 Glen A W

Glen A W

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 785
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2008
  • Loc: USA

Posted 27 August 2014 - 09:46 AM

By the way, my ETX-90 USA-made scope cost almost $700 when I bought it, almost 20 years ago!  Glen


Edited by Glen A W, 27 August 2014 - 09:46 AM.


#21 mattyfatz

mattyfatz

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2568
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Boise Idaho

Posted 27 August 2014 - 10:49 AM

I think people fall into the same old trap when critiquing a scope.. the aperture trap.

90mm is only 90mm.. And no matter the optical arrangement or type of glass in the instrument, there is only 3-1/2 inches of light coming through.

that being said, my ETX 90 is a fine example of a 90mm Maksutov. It does well on many objects from a nice dark site. Jupiter and Saturn are wonderful. Double stars are a fun target, brighter Messiers, and the crescent moons are fun with this scope.

The big advantage for me is its uber portability. It can go anywhere!

6527276-image.jpg
6361213-image.jpg


#22 Don Taylor

Don Taylor

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 589
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2009
  • Loc: South Kansas

Posted 27 August 2014 - 12:47 PM

Yes I agree it is only a 3 1/2" scope but mine, like yours is a very fine performer. I too have deforked the scope and the original single axis non go-todrive base sits collecting dust. I use mine on either the Porta or when I want tracking on a GP2. Like having a nice long focus APO refractor in a compact package.

I bought mine after the go-toversions came out - the non go-to versions were sold off for $200 or with the Meade tripod and case for '$300 if I recall correctly.

Edited by Don Taylor, 27 August 2014 - 04:06 PM.


#23 Glen A W

Glen A W

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 785
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2008
  • Loc: USA

Posted 27 August 2014 - 12:54 PM

The ETX-90 RA fork is fine if you use it as an alt-az.  I mounted mine on the light tripod from the ETX-80 - the mounting holes were in the same spots - and this is a great, lightweight setup which is easy to take outside in one piece.

 

Glen


Edited by Glen A W, 27 August 2014 - 12:56 PM.


#24 Stew57

Stew57

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2526
  • Joined: 03 May 2009
  • Loc: Silsbee Texas

Posted 27 August 2014 - 09:33 PM


My ETX80 saga:

http://www.cloudynig...-an-etx80-r2716

http://m.youtube.com...h?v=C_iv2EF7DkA
  • Glen A W likes this

#25 labmand

labmand

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 440
  • Joined: 08 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Michigan USA

Posted 31 August 2014 - 12:34 PM

Mark, wow that etx80 is something, I've had my etx80 posted for a mo.

On Cl, not one call, lowered the price to 100 but maybe I need to reconsider

As my previous post stated, I'm so dang happy with my newly aquired etx90

Now deforked, mounted on my se mount with new finder that I'm thinking

Would going to a etx102, 125, apex 127 or nexstar 127 be a good move, or

Would replacing a verified excellant mak with a little bigger good mak make

sence. Guess I should be happy with this amazing lil gem, but you know that

Dang grass always looks better, more so when I'm clouded in looking at the

Classifieds.








Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics