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Mark Rosengarten
member


Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: jouster]
      #3750920 - 04/17/10 06:48 PM

I also spent at NEAF...bought a Stellarvue 70 ED refractor and a Herschel wedge with filters and a Dwarfstar mount from Larry at UA. I was at the Solar Star Party booth, despondent due to lack of sun.

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astro_que
sage
*****

Reged: 11/11/09

Re: superglue new [Re: JimK]
      #3751478 - 04/18/10 01:11 AM

Quote:

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




JimK, I consulted Questar sources to get the answer to your question. The backplate screws into the barrel. The control box bolts to the backplate, but you know that, as you previously posted instructions for removal.

In older scopes, the front cell is a press fit. However, bear in mind that the barrel itself is machined full length, so the interference is very tight. The same technique is used to install valve guides in modern engines, where they normally remain stable with extreme temperature changes.

In newer Questars, the front cell is no longer a separate piece. As the entire barrel is machined anyway, the process was changed to simply machine in the front cell as part of the process.


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3752541 - 04/18/10 04:19 PM

I've seen a variety of comparisons on this thread but if I had to draw a comparison it would have to be to Harley Davidson.

When Harley was repurchased from AMF in the early 80s, it was decided that, the best way to sell motorcycles would be to package them with lifestyle and the Harley riding bad-boy image was born.

Harley has often led its ads off with the admonition "Ride The Legend".

The Harley community buys Harleys simply because they ARE Harleys. Harley makes a good motorcycle. Not the best, but a good, respectable motorcycle. Yet, if you talk to the average Harley rider you'll come away with the impression that quality has absolutely nothing to do with it. You'll be told "If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand" and they're probably right. There's a mystique about Harleys - a certain cachet that no other motorcycle has and Harley nurtures that cachet carefully.

Questar owner are much the same. They don't just want a 3.5" telescope - they want a Questar. If they have to explain it, you wouldn't understand. Yet I DO understand - at least to a degree. There's something to be said for tradition, uncompromising adherence to standards of quality and excellence and an unwillingness to bend to the standards of the day. Of course, the Questar Corporation can afford to do this. They are not dependent on their consumer telescope line for survival. Today, outfits like Televue and TEC are much the same. They craft optically superb instruments that are mechanically and conceptually excellent.

I once owned a Rolex watch. I got it new in 1977 - before the "quartz" revolution. Over the years, I became aware that far cheaper watches were keeping far better time than my Rolex and I sold it. I've never regretted doing so. Why? Well, simply because I wear a watch for its primary function - timekeeping. I got to the point where I could no longer justify spending $200-$300 every 5 or so years, to keep the Rolex maintained when I could buy an excellent quartz watch which required practically no maintenance (other than a battery every few years) never had to be set and if lost or stolen, was no great loss. YMMV.

A Questar is unquestionably not only a superb telescope optically but mechanically and conceptually as well. IMO, Questar and its owners should feel complemented that Meade chose the Questar design as the basis for its ETX line. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. For my part, I'm content to spend my telescope money on functionality rather than cachet. I'll continue to appreciate the Questar from afar. And I DO appreciate it.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752571 - 04/18/10 04:34 PM

Quote:

For my part, I'm content to spend my telescope money on functionality rather than cachet.




That I'll disagree with . The Questar is all about functionality. It is an old school style of functionality, not a new school GOTO style, but it is mostly about functionality. I didn't buy my Q for it's looks (and by extension, it's "cachet". The engineering behind the good looks does keep it going decade after decade.

I understand the Rolex thing, to the extent that even though a Q will last forever, you could replace an ETX for the price of a full Q service. But the ETX would not function like the Q during any of it's lifetime. If old school mechanics is your style of functionality.


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: NeilR]
      #3752705 - 04/18/10 05:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For my part, I'm content to spend my telescope money on functionality rather than cachet.




That I'll disagree with . The Questar is all about functionality. It is an old school style of functionality, not a new school GOTO style, but it is mostly about functionality. I didn't buy my Q for it's looks (and by extension, it's "cachet". The engineering behind the good looks does keep it going decade after decade.

I understand the Rolex thing, to the extent that even though a Q will last forever, you could replace an ETX for the price of a full Q service. But the ETX would not function like the Q during any of it's lifetime. If old school mechanics is your style of functionality.




It may be that Questar is "all about functionality" but it's EXPENSIVE functionality. Functionality to me means the ability to view celestial objects (or perhaps terrestrial objects) through a high quality (both optically and mechanically) telescope with as few bells and whistles as possible. I'll grant you the quality of Questar's optics. I'll also grant you the quality of its materials and engineering. Speaking of engineering, however, I might point out that the engineering costs of the Questar have been paid off for over 1/2 century yet are still being charged for in the price of a new Questar.

If I had a TV85 or a smaller TEC or Takahashi scope, I would have superb optics, quality materials and faultless mechanical execution. I would be able to realize superb views of whatever I chose to look at, just like a Questar. Unlike the Questar, however, I would have the flexibility to use the scope with the mount of my choice to suit my viewing requirements. This is what I refer to as "functionality".

I've tried to use my ETX 90 as a tabletop scope and frankly I wouldn't give a plugged nickle for tabletop "functionality". The Questar is touted to be a "portable observatory" with everthing fitting into the supplied carrying case. That is only true if used in the table top mode and personally, I don't consider a tabletop scope to be functional for astronomy no matter what its quality.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752787 - 04/18/10 06:20 PM

Quote:

Speaking of engineering, however, I might point out that the engineering costs of the Questar have been paid off for over 1/2 century yet are still being charged for in the price of a new Questar.

The Questar is touted to be a "portable observatory" with everthing fitting into the supplied carrying case. That is only true if used in the table top mode and personally, I don't consider a tabletop scope to be functional for astronomy no matter what its quality.




We've discussed many times previously that the cost of Q in today's inflation adjusted dollars is considerably less than the original asking price, which was increased substantially in just a couple of years.

Regarding the table top thing... have you ever tried a Questar?


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: NeilR]
      #3752881 - 04/18/10 07:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Speaking of engineering, however, I might point out that the engineering costs of the Questar have been paid off for over 1/2 century yet are still being charged for in the price of a new Questar.

The Questar is touted to be a "portable observatory" with everthing fitting into the supplied carrying case. That is only true if used in the table top mode and personally, I don't consider a tabletop scope to be functional for astronomy no matter what its quality.




We've discussed many times previously that the cost of Q in today's inflation adjusted dollars is considerably less than the original asking price, which was increased substantially in just a couple of years.

Regarding the table top thing... have you ever tried a Questar?




Putting all other things (inflation adjusted pricing, the unquestionable high quality and longevity of a Questar) aside, you're left with one inescapable fact:

The basic Questar is a 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope.

Granted, it's a superb 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope and its superb optics and excellent mechanical design and execution will probably get the best possible image using the available photons...

But, it's still a 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope.

No, I have never looked through a Questar. I don't see how its quality level would alter in any way my opinion of viewing by setting the scope on a tabletop. The Questar isn't going to make the tabletop any more steady or easy to move around.

I'm sure that Questars provide a wonderful viewing experience. There is just too much anecdotal data to believe otherwise. It's just that if I'm going to spend a couple of thousand dollars, or more, on a smallish telescope, it's going to be on a quality apo refractor with an unobstructed aperture. A high quality apochromatic refractor of about 102mm can be had new or used for prices similar to a (new or used) Questar and will, I think, yield superior images on a wider range of astronomical objects.

IMO, a Questar is very much a niche telescope, albeit a superb one.


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Mark Rosengarten
member


Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752901 - 04/18/10 07:30 PM

I can bring my Questar into the classroom, pop it out of its case, set it up on the counter pointing out of the window at the sun and give a lesson on solar activity. My kids can do daily solar observations. The Earth Science teachers can do a daily sunspot tracking with their kids. All from the tabletop-mounted Questar. I can do my daily solar sketches during my lunch break from a windowsill instead of setting up the scope outside in the parking lot. In the winter, when I get into work before dawn, I can set my scope up on the hood of my car and have a quick look. Yeah, it's expensive. No doubt. But don't dismiss its utility as an outstanding grab-and-go scope. My personal preference is for small things...whether it be gadgets or scopes. I just bought a Stellarvue 70ED this weekend at NEAF with a Herschel wedge. I can't wait to put it up head to head against my Questar once I get the full-aperture solar filter back from recoating in a couple of weeks. I put the Nagler 3-6 zoom into the SV. Not convinced it's the best eyepiece for the job, I might want to get a 5mm plossl to get the job done. Portability is king for me. I had and sold an XT8. Gave good images but was a pain to lug around. For observing sessions at night I use a Televue 76 on a Bogen tripod with a UA Microstar mount. I will put a small round table on my deck and use the Questar out there instead this summer...once I get the deck stained.

Oh, and it's an 89mm aperture.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752907 - 04/18/10 07:33 PM

Yes, it's unfortunate that the quality of outdoor furniture (or tastes) has not kept up with the Q . I actually had an outdoor table built for my two Q's, but mainly for the 7. However, I have always had a Q tri-stand, which is something I can pick up, with the Q mounted, and carry in and outdoors. Can't do that with am APO if you want decent equatorial mounting. Back in the day people used heavy picnic tables and I would presume the astro types took the time to shim the legs to keep them steady. Fortunately heavy picnic tables are still common in a lot of parks where there are reasonably dark skies to be had. I've done that often.

And, yes, it is a niche product but I just took issue with the specifics of some of your statements.


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akman1955
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/07/09

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752990 - 04/18/10 08:12 PM

K frank..my 71 nova ss is still here..can you say that about a modern car lets say in 40/50 years? i dont think so. New stuff is nice but not built to last and be worked on as old stuff. Thats the key to survival. Plus it hold's value if not make money in future. so each his own. john

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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: superglue new [Re: akman1955]
      #3753122 - 04/18/10 09:14 PM

Quote:

K frank..my 71 nova ss is still here..can you say that about a modern car lets say in 40/50 years? i dont think so. New stuff is nice but not built to last and be worked on as old stuff. Thats the key to survival. Plus it hold's value if not make money in future. so each his own. john




An anvil will last virtually forever!

The '71 Nova was a classic muscle car of its time. Built to go like the dickens - in a straight line. BUT, they handled poorly, the interior was an ergonomic disaster and the chassis and suspension was ill equipped to handle the power crammed under the hood. For instance, you'll see many of these old musclers with Traction Masters on them to help overcome the deficiencies of the rear suspension. Just one example.

Longevity is often just as much a function of the care a product is given as it is of the initial quality of the item. The 60s and 70s American cars still around today are far more a testament to the care lavished on them (or perhaps to the skill of a restorer) than to the initial quality of the cars. Back in that era, American cars were NOT built to last. I know, I drove 'em and worked on 'em.

Anyway, cars are not a good parallel to the Questar. The Questar has always been, and new ones today remain, a quality product, built to last. I'd venture to say that there will be a LOT of Televue 85s around 50 years from now and they will be in good condition if properly taken care of.

Part of the cachet surrounding the Questar is the perception, often encouraged by Questar itself and its owners, that the Questar somehow transcends telescope technology.

It is a wonderful telescope - portable, convenient, optically and mechanically superb and built to last. BUT, it is still subject to the laws of physics as they apply to the science of optics. Let's not pretend that it's more than it is.

OH yes, IMO, you certainly don't do the Questar any favors by comparing it in any way to a Chevy Nova.


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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: Kfrank]
      #3753424 - 04/19/10 12:14 AM

Quote:

But, it's still a 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope.

No, I have never looked through a Questar. I don't see how its quality level would alter in any way my opinion of viewing by setting the scope on a tabletop. The Questar isn't going to make the tabletop any more steady or easy to move around.





Ken, for me it became a matter of to observe or not to observe. One day I woke up and discovered a 20 year old living in an old guy's body, with aches, pains, etc. So tabletop observing makes it very easy on me. I have a tripod I can mount my Questar on, but it's much more comfortable sitting at a table, resting my heavy head in my hands.

As for the Questar being only 90mm, true. But where does that end? 100mm? 150mm? 200mm? Aperture rules in astronomy, and at some point the observer has to compromise between size and portability. In my case, the size kept getting smaller

I did do an exhaustive search of everything on the market before buying my Questar. I had to reject every scope that was mounted on a GEM because of the extra weight of the counterweight. With those eliminated, all that were left were GOTO scopes on alt-azimuth mounts, and for a change, I wanted something simpler than GOTO. And so while there was certainly the Questar "Urban Legend" factor in my purchase decision, it really came down to a case of where this was the only scope I would be able to use as the ravages of old age increased. And in that context price was no object.

Gee - maybe a new Questar marketing campaign: "Questar - the right instrument for the aging baby boomer"!


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akman1955
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/07/09

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: superglue new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3753994 - 04/19/10 10:39 AM

who collects anvil's..questars and other things (novas, antiuqes, art,old scope's, exc..) are collectable in there own right with a proven history built up over time. plus questars are a thing of beauty too the owner. if the owner has fun using them and brings enjoyment ..please don't bash them for that.if you don't like them, then don't buy them. john

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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: John Zimmerman]
      #3754254 - 04/19/10 12:41 PM

I know all about the aging body syndrome and it indeed has affected me. In fact, I just last night had 1st light on a new 6" SCT OTA which I mounted on a UA MicroStar mount. It will replace my 8" dob, which I now plan to sell. I don't want to mess with the size and weight any more and I don't use goto on any of my scopes. I enjoy the challenge of finding things and the satisfaction that comes with knowing where things are in the heavens.

I use tripod mounted scopes exclusively as I must occasionally move around my yard to get different exposures. I always observe sitting down. I have the tripod legs shortened up (which makes for a more stable mount) and I sit on a pneumatically adjustable mechanics stool that I got at Sears for $30.

Using my ETX90 on a tabletop (that is stable enough) works OK but I found it too limiting. My SV80ED and its wooden tripod weigh about 12-15 lbs. My C6 on its JMI Megapod weighs in at 25 lbs. I can manage both of these fine and can easily relocate my viewing position anywhere in the yard in a couple of minutes.

Granted that a table gives a resting surface but it better be a solid one to minimize jitter and it certainly limits (or eliminates) mobility.

As to collectability, I am not a collector (although given the financial resources I could easily become one). The comment on the anvil was directed at the older American car example. I'm sure there are folks who collect anvils, incidentally :>) I grew up in the '40s and '50s and was a big part of the car culture. However I now believe that American cars of that era, while they evoke a lot of nostalgia, were fundamentally junk. They handled poorly, rusted out easily, needed frequent repairs and tune-ups, and broke down frequently. At least they were easier to work on. None of that however, impacts their collectability, nor should it.

Collecting tends not to be a rational, but rather an emotion driven, irrational thing. I get that urge myself and I tend to have a soft spot for '55 Chevys (my father had one).

I do indeed appreciate the quality that a Questar represents and I believe they are a good, functional telescope within the limits of their size and design. I could see myself owning one - just not now. To me one of the much touted advantages of the Q (tabletop observing) is a non starter. I'd rather have a tripod mounted scope and can deal with one just fine.

In a different financial reality, I'd probably own a Questar but in this reality, I can't justify the cost when compared to other quality astronomical equipment that is out there.

Enjoy your Questars - you're lucky to have them and I hope they serve you well.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3754298 - 04/19/10 01:00 PM

Quote:

IMO, a Questar is very much a niche telescope...




Questar isn't unique in that regard; every telescope appeals to a niche market.

This much is certain: Anyone who has purchased a new or used Questar obviously could have opted, at the same price point, for a different brand/model of telescope that offered considerably more aperture. For whatever reason, and those reasons are legion, they made a conscious decision not to.


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akman1955
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/07/09

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3754311 - 04/19/10 01:07 PM

frank and hank have very valid points. thanks, now too go wax my classic car and scope. then sit back with a cold beer and enjoy. john

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Steve C.
sage


Reged: 01/24/08

Loc: Sugar Land, TX
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: akman1955]
      #3756870 - 04/20/10 02:27 PM

As much as we may deem ourselves as guided by logic and rationality, we are primarily driven by emotions. The ownership and use of a Questar is emotionally satisfying, and that is why the owners of those fine instruments treasure them.

The same thing applies to the hobby of astronomy as well. Amateur astronomers pursue it because it satisfies the soul.


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
*****

Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Steve C.]
      #3763297 - 04/23/10 10:46 AM

I had a Questar for several months and at the beginning it did feel like a Rolex, why use such an expensive finely detailed scope. Our club wanted it for sale and it was my job to sell it. So I buffed it up and took pictures, but while making sure everything worked I decided what the hell, let me try it out. The images are refractor like, they are clear and sharp, the scopes works very well, extremely smooth. I used for a couple of weeks until the scope sold. I really got to appreciate the scope, the built barlow, sun filter and finder. Just awesome how the scope works.

Recently I picked up an 80MM APO and honestly the APO works as well as the Questar. The views were comparable and I can get a much wider field. The new APOs have smooth focuser and the EON (the APO I purchased) is built very very well.

Do I still want a Questar, I don't know anymore, I am waffling. For $4000 I can get an 120MM EON on a CGEM and have enough left over for a guide camera and more accessories. Its like owning an Omega (which I own) I paid a lot for it, but I don't think I would do it again, a Seiko is cheaper tells better time and costs less to maintain. But the Omega has more value than a Seiko and I can sell it for a slight lose after owning it for 10+ years.


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10000rpm
super member


Reged: 07/18/09

Loc: Equatorial Singapore
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Mike E.]
      #3766407 - 04/24/10 11:46 PM

Quote:

Hi Frank,

The mid 20th Century was a time of Quality. We now live in a time of quantity




Hi Frank,

I just realized how so true that is! Spot on!


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Michael Edelman
newbie


Reged: 12/04/06

Loc: Detroit area
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: 10000rpm]
      #3796897 - 05/10/10 09:25 AM

I've had four Questar 3.5s- two standards (one of which I still own), a duplex, and a field model. Every so often I'd think I needed more aperture, sell the Q, and buy a big scope- a 7" refractor on a big Losmondy mount, a 10" GEM newt, and even a 17" Coulter. And every time I'd get tired of hauling all that iron and glass around, and the long setup time. I'd sell it all and get another Q. There's nothing else that gives you a super high quality observatory in a tiny, portable package. (BTW, I once bought an early ETX as a less expensive scope for travel, but it was so mechanically and optically inferior to the Q that I dumped it soon after.)

I do have a second scope- but it's even smaller: A 67mm Pronto I use for travel. I'm thinking of replacing it with a TV60 ;-)


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