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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF
      #5801397 - 04/15/13 07:53 PM

Hi There!

Firstly I just wanted to say what a great community I have found on these forums! Very polite and a lot of good advice unforunately this has led me to belive I have made a mistake with my purchase!

This is my first big purchase i've made into this hobby and I made the decision to go for something that would last me many years, I am sure I will get a few comments on such a big purchase for someone with a lot less experience then most of the posters here!

I have just got to grips with my LX90 and have throughly enjoyed a lot of the features especially the go-to. I have had it for less than 7 days.

After reading a good deal of posts on here it seems the 12" LX90 is not well favoured here due to stability issues. Have I made a mistake with my choice? I understand this becomes more of an issue when I develop an interest into astro-photography which I am certainly planning on doing.

Should I be looking to return my LX90 12" for an LX200 12"? My main reasons for selecting the LX90 was due to the weight being a lot more manageable. Unfortunatley I live in the UK (London) so I definetly need to be mobile to really get the most out of my investment.

I purchased the telescope at telescope house which is quite a reputable company here, have any of the UK posters here had experience with returning products here?


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5801460 - 04/15/13 08:36 PM

Dan, welcome to CN, this is a great forum.

I have an LX200, and I think it is fantastic, but it is funny that others suggest that it is not the way to go either. I know that a number of the OTAs have been removed from their forks and moved to an equatorial mount. My point is that there is always something better, it just depends on where you want to draw the line. I have never used an LX90, but I suspect that if you take the time to learn it's tricks that it would probably work fine for you, and you may want to consider it just a starting point. If you are going to get serious about astrophotography, you probably need to operate in polar mode rather than Alt/Az. In addition to the cost difference between the 90 and the 200, you would also need one of the heavy duty wedges. If this is you first scope, it may be a good idea to stay with the lower cost 90 and learn from it what you really enjoy and want to do, and then if needed either sell it and upgrade or defork it and get an equatorial. As far as I know, the OTA is identical on the 90 and the 200. I know I have changed directions a couple of times since I got my 200, but I have learned a lot and will continue to do so.

Good Luck


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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5801482 - 04/15/13 08:49 PM

Thanks for the quick reply! I think as you said there is always something better out there! I was aware that I would probably need a wedge to get some decent exposure time but this was something I could just upgrade to in the future on either model.

Can I ask how portable you find your LX200? What would put my mind to rest would be knowing I could possibly upgrade the mount in the future.

Is this a standard thing to do? I have not seen many mounts sold seperately apart from an LX850 Equatorial mount but would this even been compatible with my OTA?

Would I be able to purchase an LX200 Fork easily if I wanted to in the future?


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tommax
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5801509 - 04/15/13 09:01 PM

Dan,

Welcome to the forums. nitegeezer has offered you some good advise, I will add to it, but I am not expert but can offer something.

I know from reading many posts that visual observers love the LX90, I personally have never owned one but do know the OTA is the same as an LX200, weights you could compare at Meade's website. You do have an excellent OTA so you might want to learn what you can with that LX90 and one you feel you have maxed out look at other systems and or mounts, I highly doubt if you want to do imaging you will want LX200 forks for a 12", it would not be cheap for 1 and 2 you would probably want to get a GEM if you were mount hunting for something to drop that OTA on and I would be 90% of the guys on here would agree with that statement, in fact most would probably tell you if it's an option to take that back and look at GEM mounts and whatever scope you want if you want to seriously get into Astro-imaging.

The main thing to remember is tracking is everything and LX90 and LX200 mounts have their own issue's for this (I know I am struggling with those issue's with an LX200).

Personally I have decided to keep my LX200 and save up for a GEM and a small refractor, you circumstances might be different.

I don't now where in the UK you are but there is an excellent website (astronomyshed.uk) and a fellow there Dion I think who offers tons of great advise on youtube and members there would probably be familiar with UK retailers and even possibly give you some in person advise...

Best thing to always keep in mind is you can always spend more with this hobby, someone will always have something better so focus on just having fun.

Tom


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5801539 - 04/15/13 09:16 PM

I don't think swapping fork systems is a common thing, if the OTA is removed from it's forks I think it ends up on a equatorial, and I believe most use a CGEM but I am not sure.

The wedges vary significantly and you would want the heavier one for that scope. I believe my wedge by itself weighs around 35 pounds so I don't want to drop it on my toe!!

I believe the 200 is a better mount than the 90, but it is also heavy. When I bought my scope, it was a retirement gift to myself and I bought the 200 because I wanted the "best". I was originally planning on getting a 12" but a friend who had one talked me down to the 8" and I am glad he did. The 12" 200 is a beast, he can only set up when he has help, and I am in the country where help is not always available. Even with my 8" there are nights that I consider getting out and then don't. It does not matter how nice a scope is, if it is too heavy and stays in the case it is worthless. I don't know how an 8" 200 compares to a 12" 90 but weight is a big concern as we get older, and mine is all I can handle. At the time I purchased I was set on a 200 and never even looked at a 90, now I am wondering (only for a moment) if a lighter fork with a bigger scope would have a better choice for me also, but I don't look back and second guess myself. This is a great hobby and you have to start somewhere!!


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5801641 - 04/15/13 10:16 PM

I just did some looking at prices here in the states.

The additional cost of adding a wedge and bumping up to an LX200 is about $1800, and the 200 weighs 16 lbs more than the 90.

The cost of a CGEM is about $1500, and then you would need to defork the OTA and add a dovetail. The CGEM is rated for 40 lbs and your OTA without forks weighs 36 lbs so you would not have much room for accessories. The CGEM DX will handle 50 lbs and is $2000.

I think I would keep what you have knowing the options in the future, but that is just my opinion.

Edited by nitegeezer (04/16/13 12:06 AM)


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tommax
super member
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5801692 - 04/15/13 10:44 PM

I once again agree with ng... you will not want to "defork" that OTA from an LX90 just to put it on an LX200 fork, to get a 12" LX200 fork mount especially if you want GPS is going to cost you way to much if you can even find one... then you need a heavy wedge... not very portable in the end I am afraid, especially with a 12" monster...

I actually want to change my advise, and again this is just my advise as someone who has had several LX200's...

If you plan to mainly image and can still take that LX90 back... I would take it back and look at GEM systems only, put simply it is hard to argue for forks unless you plan to split the time between visual and photo, but really if I could I would go to a GEM because they are better for Photo and you can swap OTA's whenever you want to, so you could keep a couple OTA's if you chose to, the main thing is to get the mount you can afford as once you learn it, you got that down and you can swap out OTA's with out learning all over.

I rarely other than looking for a minute or 2 ever use visual so that's just my opinion... it's hard to beat the light gathering of that 12" but it does you no good if you struggle with the mount type and an LX200 can be a bear to get used to and they are supposed to be hands down better than an LX90 mount for imaging...

By all means ask around but that is the most honest advise I could give someone.

Edited by tommax (04/15/13 11:03 PM)


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sgorton99
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/30/08

Loc: Wisconsin, Madison
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: tommax]
      #5801731 - 04/15/13 11:03 PM

Dan, I love my 8" LX90, but even that I consider "heavy" on some nights. I think getting out the 12" must be a feat!

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RogueGazer
super member


Reged: 06/10/12

Loc: Central Point Oregon
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5801949 - 04/16/13 03:16 AM

It all depends on what kind of AP you are wanting to do. If it is planetary AP the LX 90 is not a bad choice. With an inexpensive webcam you can capture some really impressive pictures. The mount you have is plenty good for this. If you are wanting to do some DSO AP there are many people who think most SCT's are a poor choice due to higher tracking errors(fork mounted) and their narrow field of view though focal reducers are available that help. Light pollution is also a factor.If you live in an area with bad light pollution which I hear London has then planetary may be all you can do with any success. Yes you could go to a darksite but will you do it often enough to make it worth it?

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ldesign1
professor emeritus
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Reged: 09/17/09

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: RogueGazer]
      #5802049 - 04/16/13 06:59 AM

I don't understand why so many people suggest that doing astrophotograhy on a fork mount is difficult or a bad ideal. I've owned both the 10" LX200 Classic and currently the 10" LX200GPS (9 years for each). 90% of my images were taken using my SCT as the imaging scope with a guide scope mounted on top or using the SCT to guide my 80mm refractor for imaging. Take a look at my images on my link. I've had great success both ways. As long as you take the time for proper polar alignment, PHD Guiding, an 80mm guide scope, and a good guide camera will make it easy. In fact, my next scope will be the LX600, another fork mount. I do own an Atlas EQ-G, and I use it as a quick portable mount, but I dislike GEMs because of the counter weight bar sticking out, the meridian flips, the various angles your eyepiece will rotate with the mount, cable wraps, and a few other annoyances. The only thing I like about a GEM is the ability to switch out different scopes, as long as you stay within the mounts weight capacity.

As for the complaints about the 12" fork mount stability, it stems from Meade using the same fork from the 10" and adding a spaced so that the 12" scope will fit. I think for that reason, most people buy the 8", 10", and 14" scopes. This is true with the LX200 series. I'm not sure if Meade did the same with the LX90s.

In any case, enjoy your scope and grow with the hobby. You still have lots to learn and there's plenty of time to figure out which direction you want to go.


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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5802148 - 04/16/13 08:54 AM

Thank you all for the sage advice!

I think it all was pretty much spot on. I tend to over think things a lot and this just turned out to be the case again.

I actually was not even aware that I could demount the OTA and acquire a GEM in the future, it's good to know that if I grow into AP I will have the ability to choose a different mount.

I will probably be focusing on visual as I learn more and move into AP later on, it just concerned me that AP was going to be difficult later on which is was a slight concern after spending this much money.

Just wanted to mention for anyone else wondering about the LX90 12" , I find it just about manageable alone but I would certainly check you're ok with this sort of weight before purchasing one. I've also just bought a Peli 1780 case which has huge comfortable handles and wheels.

I think I will go ahead and enjoy my new scope and think a little less!

Thanks again everyone!


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5802393 - 04/16/13 11:41 AM

I think you will be happy with your choice, now just don't look back again!!!

I really like an Alt/Az mount for outreach programs. It is a much cleaner setup to operate when there are young people viewing. Sharing the hobby also encourages me to get the scope out more, some of the comments from kids make an evening very memorable. I also use a small manual equatorial mount and scope for classes, it is good for students to learn setting circles and how they can find objects. My opinion is that the larger goto equatorials are great when photography is the primary use, but I like my Alt/Az for the versatility.


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tommax
super member
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5802512 - 04/16/13 12:36 PM

ldesign1,

I think so many people suggest that because many people purchase a fork mount expecting to be able to take images with it in alt/az which unless your doing planets really does not work well, so they have to add a rather heavy wedge to the mix, many grab a meade wedge to find it's not big enough or maybe they grab a super wedge which many, many users do not like and have to spend more to tune up, or like you (looked at your gallery - GREAT images b.t.w - Good Work!) they purchase a Mitty or Milburn wedge... I went this route and bought a Mitty EVO wedge, that was like $700 or $800.... great wedge but it made my LX200 for me at least non-portable due to extra weight. I personally would not hesitate to advise someone to get an LX200 to image with if they had a permanent place to set it up or at least a smooth driveway and some wheely bars, but they need to keep in mind they will need some expensive stuff like focal reducers, wedge, most likely counter weight system, guide scope system or OAG... so I can only give advise based on my experience, when I bought the Mitty I would much have rather just bought an Atlas and OTA, in the longrun it would have been cheaper and more flexible at least for me and many, many others also will back that up that if you want to do photo then GEM is the way to go, if like nitegeezer though you want to do much visual and occasional photo on a mobile setup and are willing to deal with all the weight and extra stuff you need to buy then an LX200/90 are the way to go for ease of use... setting up an LX200 in Alt/Az for a nite of observing and planets could not be easier... but setting everything up for a night of imaging, especially if you are in a cold climate... can be more a challenge than fun for sure.

Again I want to commend you on some great images!


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: tommax]
      #5802567 - 04/16/13 12:51 PM

Idesign1,

The ground here has turned white again so I decided to spend more time on CN. I just looked at your images, and I would have to agree with tommax, wow those are great. I hope someday to get images that good but I have a lot of learning before then. I am amazed that you did that well in Alt/Az, you must really have you process fine tuned.


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Gargoyle
sage
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Reged: 03/13/08

Loc: Long Island, New York
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5802658 - 04/16/13 01:18 PM

IDesign1,

It can be a tough decision. I struggled for a long time with my LX200 10" on a wedge until I got to the point where I felt I could not commit any more time to consistantly poor results.

I deforked and was very pleased with my decision. And for clarity, there are two take aways with my situation. the first being that many people do obtain excellent astrophotography results with Alt-Az and a wedge (I however did not - indicating operator error). Second, the decision to defork was tough because I did not wholly understand the process. Once I became comfortable with it via reading and research, it took about 10 minutes to defork the LX200. Wish I had done it sooner, would have saved a lot of money.

GEM's are a different animal indeed, but most of my observation is camera driven so it works well for me.

YMMV, but I would not fear the GEM.

Jerry


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Gargoyle
sage
*****

Reged: 03/13/08

Loc: Long Island, New York
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Gargoyle]
      #5802669 - 04/16/13 01:21 PM

Sorry, ment to addres post to Dan.....

Ooops..... (operator error!)

Jerry


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tommax
super member
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Reged: 02/15/13

Loc: WI
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5802708 - 04/16/13 01:35 PM

geezer... most of his images show that he used a mitty wedge... like your super wedge on steroids, but great image none the less.

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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: tommax]
      #5802917 - 04/16/13 03:13 PM

I guess I had misunderstood, but it is still very encouraging that his setup is something that I am heading toward. I am hoping to get some decent photos someday, but if I ever get one as good as his I will be jumping for joy!!

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ldesign1
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 09/17/09

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: tommax]
      #5802967 - 04/16/13 03:45 PM

Yes, my image were taken on a wedge. There's no other way to do 5-10 minutes exposures with a fork mount.

One other thing, I have thousands of dollars invested in my equipment, but I did not buy them in one huge purchase. This hobby grew on me over the course of 19 years and I expanded my arsenal over that time. Things that became obsolete over time, I sold and reinvested into new or used equipment. I have absolutely no regrets with my purchase of a fork mount.

Also, I would agree that my setup is less portable because of the Mitty Evolution Wedge, EON 80ED imaging/guide scope, and all the other accessories I've collected over the years. That's why I also invested in an Explora-Dome backyard observatory and a separate setup for moving around.

Don't get overwhelmed by looking all all it takes to produce decent images. Take your time with both learning and buying equipment.

Thank you Guys for looking at my gallery and commenting on my images. But I owe my successes to everyone here on CN for the years of both positive and negative insite. It helped me make the choices I made and I am very satisfied with them.


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cavefrog
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/11/08

Loc: loozyanna
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Gargoyle]
      #5803042 - 04/16/13 04:37 PM

Quote:

Sorry, ment to addres post to Dan.....

Ooops..... (operator error!)

Jerry







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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: cavefrog]
      #5803963 - 04/17/13 05:41 AM

So despite my previous posts I've still been looking into the possibility of swapping out my LX90 for an LX200 with the same size aperture, I believe the shop I purchased this from will be willing to do the swap as it has been less than 7 days.

I did a good deal of reading around to find out just how much heavier the LX200 would be, the Meade website was not so clear on this.
The OTA and Fork are 13lbs heavier which does not seem that much worse to me, with the case I purchased mobility wouldnt be a huge issue.
The tripod however was 30 lbs heavier but then I would be carrying this separately anyway.

For added stability and a few more features I am seriously considering swapping these around. Does anyone here move their LX200 around a whole lot?


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sdc
member


Reged: 11/30/06

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5803991 - 04/17/13 06:34 AM

The 12"LX200GPS is considerably heavier then the 12" - especially when it comes to setting up single handed. If you can permanently mount it, fine, but unless you have easy access to your garden (or can park close enough to your observing site), it's a big jump in terms of manageability i.e you really wouldn't want to carry it far.. both good very scopes though

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sgorton99
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/30/08

Loc: Wisconsin, Madison
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: sdc]
      #5804016 - 04/17/13 07:11 AM

I just have a "little" 8" LX90, so certainly not an expert. I know you would give up some light gathering, but any thoughts about going to a 10" LX200?

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RogueGazer
super member


Reged: 06/10/12

Loc: Central Point Oregon
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: sgorton99]
      #5804023 - 04/17/13 07:18 AM

Before I fabricated my scope cart I would set up and break down every time I used that scope. It is only a 10" and I would not want any bigger if I had to set it all up every time I observed. I am not a small guy at 5'11" 230 pounds and 38 years old but It still gets old doing it that way. I knew I would choose my dob over the SCT because it is just so much more convienient . Now the LX200 lives in a shed out back and I just roll it out for action. I still want to build an observatory though.

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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5804374 - 04/17/13 11:25 AM

Quote:

So despite my previous posts I've still been looking into the possibility of swapping out my LX90 for an LX200 with the same size aperture, I believe the shop I purchased this from will be willing to do the swap as it has been less than 7 days.




I have been in your position, and now I think it is to the point that neither answer will be correct. If you stay with the 90, you will always wonder how much better the 200 would have been, and if you go with the 200 you will kick yourself every time you think about viewing but don't because it is too much to set up. Sometimes you just need to make a decision and don't look back.

I am not saying this to be mean. Like I said earlier, when I was going to buy I was looking at the 200 12 because that is what a friend had. There were many nights where I regretted my decision to get the 8 because the view through his scope was that much better. It took years to come to terms with that decision. I would have never been able to give up the 12 if I had gone that route, but it would have ended up living in the case as I know I could no longer handle it by myself. My friend with the 12 is a pretty stout guy and now his 12 sits in the case and he has gone all the way down to a 5" refractor.

I really do wish you luck.


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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5804525 - 04/17/13 01:01 PM

Thank you for the reply NG, I don't think you're being mean at all actually and you're quite right that i've turned this into a situation where I could feel disappointed in my choice either way just for being so obsessive about making the right choice!

I spoke to a few different stores here today and have finally made a decision that I will stick to!

It is actually due to a comment you made on the previous page about possibly upgrading to a CGEM /DX in the future.

I am quite happy with my OTA and I think the CGEM DX is a far better mount then the LX200 if I do delve into photography.
Doing the math on this it makes sense as the LX200 will potentially cost me 2059 including the wedge where as the CGEM DX is 1789 and it can be purchased whenever I am ready rather than rushing to return my LX90.
Both of the guys I spoke to in the stores say that the Celestron Nexstar software is quite nice to use as well.

I do have a couple of questions, I don't plan on converting to a GEM so soon but it would be good to be re-assured that my plan is feasible.

1. I have been told several times that my OTA is the same as the one that is on the LX200 however I believe it is missing the primary mirror lock. What exactly is this for? I assume for safety during transport? I read that "Mirror Flop" may be a possibility when moving the OTA to a GEM.
2. Has anyone got any experience with handling a CGEM DX? I understand that parts are heavy and there are counter weights but it does split up quite nicely.
3. My OTA is rated at 36.6lbs and the regular CGEM is rated to 40lbs, with the stock finder + eye piece and a camera would this be an option?
4. Are there any comparably priced GEMs that anyone would recommend for my OTA?


Thanks again to everyone who posted!


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5804544 - 04/17/13 01:21 PM

I thought the OTAs were identical, if you don't have the mirror lock, that makes it interesting. For visual I never use the mirror lock. For photography I also have the electric focuser so I use the knob to get course focus and then lock the mirror. Without the lock I think you can still work but you always want to finish focus in the same direction and I believe that is CCW, as this helps reduce any mirror issues.

As for the GEMs, I know they are available but that is about the extent of my knowledge.


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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5804597 - 04/17/13 01:54 PM

Think that might have thrown me off again! Just did some reading around and it seems like "mirror flop" while using an focuser may become more apparent with the 12" as the mirror is heavier.

Adding in a mirror lock seems like it could be dangerous and would obviously void my warranty.

Think i'm back to the torment of indecision again!


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5804654 - 04/17/13 02:23 PM

Dan,

I think you are WAYYYY over thinking and being thrown in many directions.

So lets keep this simple:
* The LX90 is a wonderful telescope for visual astronomy and taking some picts of the Sun (with FILTERS), Moon and planets. You can also take some great piggy back pictures with a DSLR mounted on the LX90.

* LX200 is an excellent next step up telescope. I have used mine for 21+ years with Superwedge with no problems what so ever. I take fine unguided pictures with it. Add a guide system and pictures will be even more drool worthy.

* You want to go pro level? Don't want to worry about image shift and mirror flop? One option is the LX600. This is now shipping, but my guess is you won't see one until late summer due to the heavy backorder.

* You want a GEM and REALLY go all out - and an excellent turnkey solution? LX850.

-- Other points: Mirror flop will happen on a GEM or Fork. Depends on the OTA setup.
-- I would NOT overload the CGEM. An LX200 will beat an overloaded CGEM any day.
-- Are you are thinking of going GEM now? Fork is an excellent compromise and my bet will cover 95% of what you want to do. Issues with GEM - meridian flip, and to do proper AP it will be a heavier unit than a fork. BUT - it breaks down into smaller pieces. For a 12" OTA and doing AP right, you will be spending the BIG money for a GEM. Hence the Fork becomes an excellent option.
-- No matter what anyone tells AP does get expensive. Tough to do it on the cheap. You get what you pay for. Again, the LX200 is a great all around telescope.
-- NextStar is nice, but I also love my Meade control software. The protocols for the LX200 are very common (a lot were built!) and extensible. It was very easy for me to hook up an iPad, iPhone and Macintosh to wirelessly control my LX200 at the touch of a finger.

You have a good scope with the LX90. If you want to do the step up, then go with the LX200. If you think you want to take top notch AP, and feel the LX200 does not suffice, then you will be spending the big money. Otherwise you will need to go to a smaller OTA for the CGEM.


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ldesign1
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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5805195 - 04/17/13 06:35 PM

In my opinion, you should consider the LX200GPS or the newer LX600 in the 10" version. This will be a lot more manageable at in your later years. And you would still have the best in electronics and mechanics. Also, if you go GEM later on, you won't overload your mount as much when you add a guide scope a camera.

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nitegeezer
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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5805340 - 04/17/13 07:47 PM

I want to add a little more to my comments about the mirror lock, I had to run earlier and missed a couple of things.

First off, I did think the OTAs were identical so if I lead you astray I apologize.

Most of the use my scope gets is visual although that will be changing to more like 50-50. I never use the mirror lock during visual nights. I do use the mirror lock when I am taking photos, but this creates another problem. I have been told that if the mirror is locked, the focus mechanism can be damaged if the knob is turned. I have a small bungee that I wrap around the focus knob and mirror lock to remind me to unlock first. I found myself going for that focus knob a number of times, and stopped, but I could see it was only a matter of time. I have been told that if the focus knob is finished in the push mode rather than pull, the mirror is real solid. Since I have the lock I have not experimented with this, but I have seen pictures from the older OTAs before the focus lock was available and I only hope to get that good someday.


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dan_uk
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Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5805369 - 04/17/13 08:04 PM

If I consider what I would like from what I'm considering to be my only telescope purchase for a good few years here is what I'm trying to achieve:

Good Visual - this is something I will be doing straight away

AP - this is something I would like to do later without making a purchase of more then 2000 with the ability to take prolonged exposures.

Portability - I have found that I am able to cope with my LX90 12" fine by myself. Speaking to Meade directly I have found that the LX200 is 6.8kg heavier in 12" which seems reasonable to me especially with the case I purchased.
Most of the weight seems to be in the tripod which has more then doubled in weight to 20kg.

I had it in mind that I could defork the LX90 in the future for a CGEM DX which would have been able to handle the 36.6lb OTA, this seemed like the ideal to me as I had the option to upgrade later and enjoy the lighter package whilst getting to grips with Visual.

I feel like the LX90 OTA is no longer an option, the guy I spoke to at Meade said that mirror flop would be an issue in the future if I mounted this on a GEM.

So I feel like the LX90 has been completely ruled out and I am now deciding between pre-ordering an LX600 or just grabbing the LX200.
As far as I am aware both of these should fulfil my criteria although I would say the LX200 pushes the boundaries on portability and one man setup.

NG, no worries about the idential OTA bit, the guy who sold me this said the same thing.

I apologise for the flip flopping around on the forum with my decision, I really do appreciate all the advice I have had so far. I hope you can understand me being so indecisive as this really is a huge one off purchase for me and I just want to ensure I make it the right one!

*edit
One other option i've considered is buying an LX200 OTA and a CGEM DX which actually works out to be almost the same price as a full LX200

Edited by dan_uk (04/17/13 08:10 PM)


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5805397 - 04/17/13 08:24 PM

Dan,

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

First the LX200 OTA w/CGEM - I am still very mixed on this. If you are doing visual AND AP, I think it is just better to go with the LX200 complete kit vs. GEM. Better options (alt-az AND polar, proven setup, long history). Understand the fork vs. GEM is a huge debate on its own! Again I have had a LOOOONG successful history with the LX200 and very pleased with this telescope.

Now LX200 vs. LX600. Technically the LX600 creams the LX200 on all fronts - F/8 OTA, crayford focuser, more portable due to the split fork and of course Starlock, a turnkey guiding, alignment solution all nicely packaged - you don't even need a computer!

Problem with the LX600 - you will likely have to wait until June/July. They are now shipping, but Meade is filling a huge backorder. Now, if your dealer has a LX600 - GET IT!

If you don't want to wait until June/July/August then get the LX200 with a Zero Image-Shift microfocuser and superwedge.


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dan_uk
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Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5805420 - 04/17/13 08:35 PM

Could I just ask for a few of the basic downsides to using the GEM? The only plus it has for me is that overall will weigh less and the heaviest single item would be the tripod!

LX600 certainly looks really attractive but there's always the possiblity of bugs and stuff with new things and I cannot find a review on it anywhere yet. Of course waiting until June/July would probably be optimistic for a UK purchase! I would be willing to pay the extra though seems well worth it to me.

Also how would the LX600 OTA compare to the LX200? I understand its would be outstanding for AP , would this be good for visual also?

Edited by dan_uk (04/17/13 08:42 PM)


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nitegeezer
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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5805472 - 04/17/13 09:03 PM

I don't know about the 600 but I want to add more to the confusion.

I don't think that you are going to find one scope that fills all of your needs. I will never part with my 200, but it does limit the field of view. At some point I will probably get a good refractor as there are times that the CO becomes a real pain. Rather than looking for a one for all, you might want to look at what set of scopes would be best, and pick one of those. That one I am still thinking on.

Regarding the downsides to a GEM, the first thing that comes to mind is the shaft and counter weight sticking out one side. In the dark that can snag things until you get used to it. The need one is not too bad with an SCT as it is easy to rotate the diagonal, but with a Newtonian the scope may need to be rotated in the rings to get the eyepiece out where it is usable. This can vary significantly between objects. The biggest thing I do not like is the scope moving so much. When I do star parties for the school or scouts, with forks everything is pretty much in the same place all the time. With a GEM, sometimes the scope is on one side of the tripod, sometimes on the other and there is the counter weight hanging out on the opposite side, watching out for all this with the kids and the dark is a challenge.


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5805582 - 04/17/13 09:44 PM

Dan,

The simple pro-con
Fork Pro:
-- Overall cost is lower. Trust me for the right mount for a given OTA it is cheaper than a GEM. Yeah, you can max out a cheap GEM, but be careful!
-- Easy to set-up
-- Versitile. Alt-az or polar!
-- You can track the meridian uninterrupted.

Fork-Con:
-- Key components are heavy, though the LX600 seems to address this issue.
-- GEM can be more stable than a fork FOR THE CORRECT OTA size.
-- Cannot swap out OTA.

GEM Pro:
-- Excellent for long exposure AP.
-- Less possibility of flexure
-- its components break down to lighter elements.
-- Interchange instruments

GEM Con:
-- More expensive (matching the correct mount with the correct OTA).
-- Set-up longer, more steps than a fork (way more steps!).
-- No alt-azimuth mode
-- Cannot track through the Meridian.

Lots of debate on this (almost to religious levels!), but these are the bullet points in a nutshell. FYI, for a simple comparison the 14" LX850 (GEM) weighs in around 275 lbs! 14" LX600 (Fork) - I want to say around 180 lbs with wedge.

Yes, you can put a 12" OTA on a smaller GEM, but, um, it kind of defeats the purpose for ap. Just sayin'!


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nitegeezer
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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5805832 - 04/17/13 11:12 PM

This is turning into one of my favorite threads. I have taught kids how to find objects with a manual GEM using setting circles, and reading Andrews comparison it is now obvious, but I had never realized it could not track through the meridian. We would jump between objects to show the fun it creates, but that was always early in the evening, and when it got dark we would move to my LX200 for viewing. Since the best viewing is directly overhead, that con is a big one. Thank you much for pointing that out, I will add that to my class notes.

I always start out my presentation with something like "if something I say conflicts with your science teacher, believe your teacher", this is a great example of that.

This really does puzzle me about the popularity of a GEM. I have been told that a GEM is much better for ap. Since that seems to be the popular opinion I have always just accepted it and figured I would deal with it the best I could with my forks. But, since the best viewing and therefore ap is straight up, why is the GEM considered so much better? That would lead me to believe that forks on a wedge was by far the best. If both are properly aligned, both only need one motor to track which would tend to make them equal until the meridian is added in. Why is there the opinion that a GEM will track better, is it because they force you to be better balanced? The more I learn the more confused I get!!


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5805915 - 04/17/13 11:55 PM

nitegeezer,

First off, like I said before, the GEM vs. Fork thing strikes me as a "religious" issue. People are passionate about it.

For me the only choice was Fork. Very easy to set up, align and easy to use. For most astrophotography, especially the ones for us mere mortals, the fork mount is fine.

Where the GEM is better for AP is in that for 14" Fork you have this huge beast further off the cg, making it slightly less stable than a GEM. Also, there is the issue of flexure in a fork especially for the larger tubes. So for a 12" or 14" the GEM has an advantage over the fork for long exposure AP. But then again there is that meridian flip issue!

For visual though the Fork is the way to go. And you noted this by experience.

The other popular point is for the bigger scopes the fork assembly can be very heavy - 110 lbs! This can be a deterrent for use. Now the GEM is heavier over all, but has smaller, lighter components. Note - for the 12" Meade OTA you WILL need a substantial GEM. Interestingly enough, the LX600 seems to have corrected this problem.

BTW, for video astronomy I see no advantage with the GEM.

The GEM has its place, but I can't figure out why the boom in it for everything.

Having said this, I did go with the GEM LX850 over the Fork LX600. Initially I picked the LX800...then came the LX600 and that fit the bill for me.

But as I looked more at the LX850 (when it was announced) I realized the 14" is so big I needed more manageable chunks (though assembled it will be much heavier than the LX600). Also Meade was throwing in a couple of extra goodies like zero image-shift microfocuser, 2" diagonal and vibration pads. Lastly I was thinking in the future I might add a Series 6000 APO Refractor - I needed versatility. So, I bounced back from the LX600 to the LX850. Let me say though, if Meade had announced the new fork mount LX600 at the same time as the LX850 and was available at the same time I would have likely moved back to the LX600 (I sound confused like all of you - decisions, decisions!). However as my compromise I will be keeping my 10" LX200. Heck, it works great and is a fantastic telescope! The LX850 for the observatory and a few select events, and the LX200 for the local astro club events.

I guess the point is we all have different needs. However the fork is a better all around system vs the GEM for all the reasons stated. And you can take same great photos with the Fork OTA.


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ldesign1
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Reged: 09/17/09

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5805920 - 04/17/13 11:57 PM

I have absolutely no problems tracking at the full focal length of 2500mm of my 10" LX200GPS up to 10 minute exposures. I have a permanent setup on a wedge, pier, and observatory. I use an EON 80ED as my guide scope. I've eliminated all flexure from my setup and I've taken the time to polar align to within arc-seconds error according to PemPro polar alignment routine. I've only had to throw out frames due to airplanes, satellites, and the occasional wind gust that enters through my observatory slit. I sometimes shoot at 5000mm for 5 minute exposures with no problems. See image below.



Maybe I'm doing something wrong with my Atlas EQ-G, but I get more tracking errors from the GEM than my LX200GPS.

Orion was shot through my EON 80ED refractor mounted on top and used the LX200GPS as the guider.



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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5805932 - 04/18/13 12:07 AM

Ralph,

You hit it spot on! Great photos too!

And when I say long duration photos some people thing 1 hour. But with autoguiding, short exposures with stacking and all the wonders of software, the fork can work just as well as the GEM (I know - I will get flamed for this!).

But we have our preferences. The fork is a fine mount!

I love those picts!


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5806002 - 04/18/13 01:40 AM

I am getting very excited to see what I can do this summer. I have dabbled in ap enough to get my feet wet but not enough to get anything I am really proud of. I have been helping a friend rebuild his scope this winter and my new camera just arrived a week ago. We are both planning on a major push to see what images we can capture. He has an SN-10 on a GEM and I will be using my 8" LX200 on a super wedge. I was thinking that between the GEM and aperture he was going to blow my doors off, but I am beginning to think it is going to be pretty close. Neither one of us is guiding yet, I want to address that later, but I enjoy learning what is possible step by step.

I would like an observatory someday, but that is quite a ways off if it does happen. The next two things I think I should address are guiding and a permanent pier. Which one of those is most important, or is there something else I should address next??

This is the most excited I have been heading into summer since I bought my scope nine years ago. This thread has given me some great information and I thank you much.


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ldesign1
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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5806046 - 04/18/13 03:14 AM

If you plan to bring your scope in and out, I don't see a huge advantage to having a "permanent" pier. I will only serve to help repeat your set-up if you left a wedge mounted and polar aligned. Otherwise, it's just like a permanent tripod. IMO

Guiding will be useful if you are moving your scope around from place to place. Even if you are not perfectly polar aligned, guiding will help correct some of the tracking errors for AP. Without guiding, you will need to have everything perfectly aligned for error free AP.

If you plan to make a concrete pier, that would be the cheapest way to go. If you plan to buy a steel pier, be prepared to spend some $$$ for something that is suitable for a 12" scope and mount. Plus you will still need to pour some concrete to attach the pier.


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nitegeezer
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/27/07

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: ldesign1]
      #5806474 - 04/18/13 11:49 AM

Your points are all spot on. The reason for a concrete pier is exactly what you mention, I could leave the wedge on it and bring the scope inside. I may get faster in the future, but it takes me one night just to get happy with the alignment of my wedge on my tripod. This summer I plan to leave my scope mounted on the wedge for a few days at a time as I don't think I can take it off without slightly moving my tripod and losing the alignment I struggled for. This works great for a couple of days if I can just stay home, but the nearest small town is 30 minutes away and major shopping for supplies is an hour away. I have never had any troubles here, but I still have a hard time leaving my scope out if I need to leave.

Dan: Sorry for the slight hijack of your thread here, but if you stay in the hobby and want to do ap, these comments will probably be useful, and may help you decide on what to get!!


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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: nitegeezer]
      #5809247 - 04/19/13 06:35 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I ended up sticking with my LX90 12" and i'm quite pleased with my decision.

I will enjoy visuals for at least a year before I'll consider mounting options and when I am ready for AP I am sure i'll figure something out when the time comes!

I got myself some nice eye pieces today to increase the quality of my visual experience, from my understanding I should have covered the focal lengths I require:

13MM
17MM
41MM

Would this cover all my visual needs? I was told anything below a 12MM could not be used in the UK so easily with my 12".
Unfortunately they did not have a 2" adapter in stock so I can't try them out yet!


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nitegeezer
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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5809399 - 04/19/13 07:43 PM

I think you will be happy that you stayed with the LX90 as long as you stay portable. The first few nights the adrenaline will keep you going. The setup is not where I have my problems, when I get going I try to make the most of every evening. I frequently start breaking down because it is just too cold to enjoy viewing anymore. That is when I really feel the weight as I have some previous adventures that cause joints fits when they get cold!! With a 12" I think you will be happy with the 90.

I think you got a good selection of EPs, but one thing you might want to consider is a good 2X Barlow. That would really extend the range you have.

I am puzzled by your comment of a 12mm limit as this is only 250X. The scope is capable of going much farther, is the limit due to air quality or light pollution? Granted you don't need to go higher magnification to have great views, my favorite EP is my 30mm, but once in a while it is fun to crank it up a bit and with my 8" I don't hesitate to push 300X.


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Bill Barlow
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Reged: 12/03/07

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Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5809461 - 04/19/13 08:11 PM

I might add a 24mm TV Panoptic or 24mm ES 68 degree eyepiece to the three you already have. I have the TV 24 Panoptic and it is one of the nicest eyepieces I own. Have fun with your Meade 12. I also own this telescope and it puts up some excellent visual views at the eyepiece.

Bill


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dan_uk
member


Reged: 04/15/13

Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: Bill Barlow]
      #5814057 - 04/21/13 09:05 PM

Thanks for the tip bill I grabbed a 27mm panoptic which I'm quite pleased with!

I now have 41 + 27 Panoptic, 17 and 13 Ethos and 10 Delos.

I noticed today when viewing the moon I could easily use the 10mm without issue despite the atmospheric conditions. I assume this was mainly because the Moon is far closer then anything else I would look at.

What's the limit with the moon? I was considering one of the Nagler zoom eyepieces, would the 3-6MM be usable on anything but the moon?

is 381x mag usuable on anything else? i'm considering an 8mm.


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thesubwaypusher
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Reged: 07/08/04

Loc: New York City
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5814091 - 04/21/13 09:24 PM

Sorry if this has been said, but I tend to not read all posts...

The 10" LX200 is said to be the perfect scope in terms of maximum (safe) weight someone can carry, and the difference between the 12 and 10 is really not much. The 12" LX200 is more stable and accurate, but very unsafe (I have one) to move around because of possible injury. I think you inferred that your dealer will take the LX90 back and switch it for you, in which case I would go that route. Because even though it is lighter, it's still bulky and can result in unnecessary injury. And the 10" LX200 is MUCH more stable than that teetering tube you have now. If you try A/P with it, (your LX90) you are going to get very frustrated.

Good luck, Chris


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Bill Barlow
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Loc: Overland Park KS
Re: Recently purchased LX90 12" ACF new [Re: dan_uk]
      #5815594 - 04/22/13 04:00 PM

400x with the Meade 12" is not out of the question. I would get a wide field 8mm or 7mm eyepiece for these occasions you want high power lunar views.

Bill


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