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Mogdriver
member


Reged: 10/16/08

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Halo27]
      #3627083 - 02/15/10 08:33 PM

Lenny:

The Questar 50th Anniversary Edition Telescope by Gary Seronik

November 2002 edition of Sky and Telscope


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Fomalhaut
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/16/08

Loc: Switzerland
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: JupiterJon's]
      #3627521 - 02/16/10 04:00 AM

I had tested my Q3.5 directly against an ETX90 by day as well as under the skies.
Well, I admit the Q was the BroadBand-coated-version, and I do not know how the Standard-version would have compared, but anyway, mine was so clearly superior to the ETX in brightness and even more so in contrast, that nobody better tries to tell me an ETX is sort of equal optically. (I would severely suspect him to be a concealed Meade distributor or even the manufacturer himself...)

Chris

Edited by Fomalhaut (02/16/10 04:03 AM)


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Halo27
member


Reged: 07/29/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Fomalhaut]
      #3627925 - 02/16/10 10:46 AM

Thanks

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John Zimmerman
super member


Reged: 10/05/09

Loc: Lake County, CA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Halo27]
      #3628087 - 02/16/10 12:20 PM

I like to think of the Questar as a "Retro-Scope". Sort of an astronomical time machine that takes us back to an era before the birth of the global economy when extreme cost cutting measures were not taken, and quality control was not sacrificed to the extent that it is today.

And as much as I love GOTO scopes, over time they do tend to cause your object finding abilities to atrophy, much as excessive use of a calculator can affect our math abilities.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: superglue new [Re: astro_que]
      #3695754 - 03/21/10 02:09 PM

I don't know about the Meade 7" Mak, but the ETX series Maks had a glued-on conical baffle centered about the secondary on the rear surface of their correctors. Those baffles did indeed have a tendency to migrate out of position from time to time, I presume because the adhesive deteriorated over time or was softened by heat.

The biggest complaint about the Meade 7" was that, because it employed the same tube and mount geometry as the Meade 8" Schmidt-Cass telescopes, it required a substantial internal counterweight to balance the heavier corrector of the Mak. Owing to that increased mass, it apparently was extremely reluctant to reach ambient temperature.


Chalk such shortcomings up to the difference between styling and engineering, and the manufacturering expedience of doing things on the cheap.


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Mark Rosengarten
member


Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3737996 - 04/11/10 08:59 AM

In the 1950's, things were built to last. That's why they are considered classics today. You bought something and spent enough dosh on it, you weren't expecting to run out and replace it anytime soon. We have turned into a consumer culture, where the things we buy are designed to be disposable (environmental issues notwithstanding) after a short time. Things are built to fail...usually a day or two after the warrantee expires. The Questar is built to last more or less forever. No cheap rolled aluminum tubes with adhesives and plastics here. Metal, glass, precision tolerances...still as much today as at any time in the past. There are very few companies that manufacture anything anymore that can claim that. The cost comes from extreme quality control and low volume. I have only looked through and handled a Q briefly (until my 1991 standard arrives this week), but I understood almost immediately why they cost what they do. I paid $500 for a 27" color television in the early 1990's that still runs perfectly well today. My refrigerator is the one that was in my childhood home...it's 30 years old. Still works just fine. Most of my furniture is generations old (or cheap particle board). I have a pocket computer from 1993 (HP 200LX) that still works like a dream. Things today just don't last as long. They are prettier, maybe, but that's about it. Looking at laptop computers lately, it is shocking to see the decrease in build quality and the increased use of cheap plastics in their construction. I owned an ETX 90RA, and it was such an exercise in frustration that I ditched it before too long. I have a Celestron C6 OTA, and though it throws up fair images, it is cheaply built. My old C5+ was built a LOT better. There are still some companies that focus as much on build quality and longevity as optical quality, like Televue, Takahashi and Questar, but you're going to pay a premium for it. A premium that I feel is well worth it. I have a Televue 76 that I will never part with, and the Questar will remain with me until the end of my days.

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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: superglue new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3738028 - 04/11/10 09:21 AM

To add to what Mark just said, I think we'd be hard pressed to find a company as devoted to keeping all their children in running order. Not just running order but to the spec they were originally built to (and in many cases updated to modern specs where the specs have improved).

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akman1955
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/07/09

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3739941 - 04/12/10 09:13 AM

I totally agree with mark and neil...love the craftsmanship of older stuff be it cars or scopes..timeless. john

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Mark Rosengarten
member


Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: akman1955]
      #3741011 - 04/12/10 05:43 PM

Think about how radios used to be built...crafted from wood and designed to last decades. Now look how cheaply that stuff is made today. Televisions were also works of art. Not anymore.

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akman1955
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/07/09

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3741115 - 04/12/10 06:36 PM

Your right mark..they dont build them like they use too..but technology on electronics is much better today they are just cheap..john

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Mark Rosengarten
member


Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: akman1955]
      #3741331 - 04/12/10 08:35 PM

That is very true. I have played with goto in the past, and it was an exercise in frustration. I have new DSC on my Microstar and I find them frustratingly inaccurate. Give me manual controls. I love slow-motion controls. The Questar will be heaven.

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JimK
Skygazer
*****

Reged: 09/18/05

Loc: Albuquerque, NM USA
Re: superglue new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3741605 - 04/12/10 11:13 PM

How is the Questar standard optical tube attached to the control box? Press-fit, perhaps with glue, if I recall correctly?

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davidmcgo
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/09/04

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: superglue new [Re: JimK]
      #3741693 - 04/13/10 12:13 AM

OK, so none of the old radios and TVs we had when I was young worked. A small cheap transistor pocket radio outstripped a many vacuum tube desktop. The TVs were impossible to fix. And don't start with cars, back in the 1960s or 1970s getting to 70mph was a pretty squirrly ride and I remember breakdowns and flats all the time. Not anymore, nowadays most cars are trouble free for 100K miles at least. So progress isn't all bad. However none of my scopes are go-to and a Q does appeal to me, just not yet while I can still handle bigger telescopes and want more aperture and resolution than a 3.5" would give me.

Dave


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Mark Rosengarten
member


Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3741914 - 04/13/10 04:32 AM

That's fair enough. I'm not all that old, so perhaps my memory isn't one to go on.

I've had bigger scopes. Where I live, it's not worth it to have a light bucket, because there's not much to see. My lovely neighbors keep floodlights splashing on their house all night. I'd hate to have their electrical bills!


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Les
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 04/22/06

Loc: Maryland
Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3742633 - 04/13/10 01:22 PM

Quote:

However none of my scopes are go-to and a Q does appeal to me, just not yet while I can still handle bigger telescopes and want more aperture and resolution than a 3.5" would give me.




Dave,

That's what the Q7 is for


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3745002 - 04/14/10 03:44 PM

Quote:

OK, so none of the old radios and TVs we had when I was young worked. A small cheap transistor pocket radio outstripped a many vacuum tube desktop. The TVs were impossible to fix. And don't start with cars, back in the 1960s or 1970s getting to 70mph was a pretty squirrly ride and I remember breakdowns and flats all the time. Not anymore, nowadays most cars are trouble free for 100K miles at least. So progress isn't all bad. However none of my scopes are go-to and a Q does appeal to me, just not yet while I can still handle bigger telescopes and want more aperture and resolution than a 3.5" would give me.

Dave




Whoa!!! Can't let this one go...

While it's true that there have been a lot of improvements to a lot of things, this characterization of 50's, 60's and 70's products is just plain ridiculous.

Practically any American car of the era would top 90mph and while they weren't built for hard cornering, "squirrly" is certainly not the word. We did have flats but frequent breakdowns - sorry David. Sure cars needed to be tuned up frequently due to the vagaries of carburetors and Kettering ignitions. Lots of improvement in those areas but a decently cared for engine would easily hit 100k miles with no problems.

As for TVs and Radios, vacuum tubes weren't known for long lives but they were easily (and cheaply) replaced. TVs were MUCH easier to fix back then. They were not made to be throw away products as they are today.

Just for the heck of it, if you can find an audiophile with one, compare a Scott or Fischer or Marantz, or DynaKit - or a Macintosh (really high end) amplifier to the so called "high fidelity" equipment available today. With these amps you could hook up a set of speakers and unplug all the inputs, crank the volume wide open and not a sound would come out of the speakers. No pops, no hiss, nothing. These guys were all vacuum tube rigs and no modern solid state amp can hold a candle to them for true reproduction.

We've made a lot of progress - BUT we've also lost a lot. The picture isn't nearly as simplistic as you suggest.


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astro_que
sage
*****

Reged: 11/11/09

Re: superglue new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3745075 - 04/14/10 04:18 PM

I am that audiophile, and I can tell you that the Dynakit stuff did not measure up to today's equipment. David Hafler, chief engineer of Dynaco, did not have the opportunity to build the equipment he really wanted to build until he started Hafler in Pennsauken. His DH-110 pre is 20 dB quieter than the quietest Dynaco pre.

I cannot account for all the fads in audio, but the good stuff these days is much better than the good stuff back then. And I've had it all.

As far as televisions and the rest, there are two sides to this. Televisions today perform much better than televisions back then. Bill Cosby's joke about the "TV pliers" that one inevitably used when the tuning knob fell off is all too true. The electronic components: wax encased paper capacitors, even the circuit boards themselves, did not have long lifetimes. In the industrial arena, there was some equipment that equates to Questar: Tektronix oscilloscopes, B&K instruments. But there were as many items that didn't. HP scopes, favorites for short contracts, because they got crushed at the end of the contract, had phenolic circuit boards, which carbonized from the heat of the tubes, causing major degradation after two years, with leakage paths that could not be compensate for.

Gadgets and appliances have generally changed in the following way: they are longer lived, and more durable, but more expensive to repair, frequently to the degree that repair is uneconomic. This is a consequence of the destandardization of parts. Parts are custom now, driven by the desire to take advantage of the integrated circuit to the fullest. Diagnostic events can no longer be seen on conventional oscilloscopes; special factory equipment is required.

Telescopes are a special case, a corner of technology that belongs to the small area of precision mechanical devices. As technology, they are living history, and this is part of the fun. But we should not attempt to understand the other fruits of modern life in the same way. Technology IS change.


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davidmcgo
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/09/04

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: superglue new [Re: astro_que]
      #3745673 - 04/14/10 10:36 PM

I tell it like I lived it. My 71 Valiant and 76 Volare were absolute junk even though well maintained. My dad's National SW receiver 12 tube couldn't pull in much at all compared to a Sony ICF2010 hooked to same antenna.

Amplifiers might have been nice but I never cared for the crackle and hiss of vinyl played more than once.

I agree a lot of stuff today is throwaway but mostly I rant about hand tools, furniture,mowers, and go-to telescopes when I want to dis new stuff....

Dave


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John Zimmerman
super member


Reged: 10/05/09

Loc: Lake County, CA
Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3750574 - 04/17/10 02:08 PM

It occurs to me that telescope manufacturers that market high tech GOTO instruments may try to keep the costs low (with associated compromises in quality) because the technology is evolving. No one wants to spend a lot of money on an instrument that may have obsolete technology in a few years. In the past 15 years Meade's GOTO technology has evolved dramatically, to use one example.

If Questar issued new models every few years with features that made earlier ones obsolete, people would be less inclined to spend $4000+ on new ones.


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jouster
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/27/05

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Frank2]
      #3750881 - 04/17/10 06:22 PM

Price is a more important distinction than age. Meade et al could sell scopes of the same quality as Qs if they could get people to pay as much. It's hardly surprising that McIntosh amps perform well, but it isn't because they come from an era where quality mattered more. It's because they cost tens of thousands of dollars. Pick up a magazine from the fifties or sixties if you want to find those decades' cheap junk. You will not have far to look.

Note that his is not a criticism of Questar. I spent today at NEAF and admired the Q7 for some time. It is beautiful.


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