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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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rmollise
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: jmiele]
      #4816754 - 09/19/11 05:55 PM

Quote:



I'm sure these LX800's also will have the ability to connect to The SkyX as well. Not sure what protocols they are using.


Joe




The same protocols the other Meades use, which means you can connect to TheSky with the built in driver or ASCOM.


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skybsd
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: jmiele]
      #4816763 - 09/19/11 05:58 PM

Quote:

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/agree... An AP mount doesn't have 1 arc minute pointing "unless" you are 100% orthogonal and spend some time polar aligning (considerable time) IME. Sorry AP fans, until the modeling software is available the pointing just isn't all that. I own them also. GREAT tracking, mediocre pointing. Permanently mounted - great. Setup nightly, not so much.




To be fair, Joe - if it is that you personally have challenges using your equipment (like the relatively straight forward procedures of polar alignment and orthogonality), then that's one case, to somehow extrapolate that into a statement of fact is just wackadoo, man

If I (the definitive "must do as it says on the tin" proponent) can repeatably set up a C14 on an AP mount and get all-sky pointing accuracy with centered objects in a N17T4, its can't be that difficult

Regards,

skybsd




While I do have physical limitations, I do see the AP software as theirs. Their great hardware is held back a bit (just a bit) do to the lack of modeling. Now to be fair, my Paramounts (for remote use - my limitations won't hinder them) are giant bricks without a computer. The very same computer that can be added to an AP mount to supply it with modeling. So, I really wasn't comparing the AP's to the Bisque mounts. Just stating that the mass production mounts do point well (within a given range) and get you on objects fairly quickly.

I'm sure these LX800's also will have the ability to connect to The SkyX as well. Not sure what protocols they are using.

Folks should know Sky and I do banter in jest for fun.

Joe




Top Man!

Stay well..,

Regards,

skybsd


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Micheal
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Reged: 02/28/10

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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: Calypte]
      #4816769 - 09/19/11 06:00 PM

Take a Celestron CGE-Pro at $4999.00 and add the GPS at $160.00, the 80mm f/5 refractor at $120.00, the two cameras (which I have to guess at DSI-II price of $300.00 each), the dovetail bar that allows mounting of the guide camers adjacent to the main OTA at about $50.00 (another guess), and you have a total at $5930.00 (rounded up). Maybe someone could play along and try to figure out what it would cost to buy a comparable pair of cameras.

Anyways, the LX800 mount sells for $5999.00 retail. So if you were to compare it to a retail CGE-Pro at 4999.00 you have tp spend about a grand more on accessories to bring it up to a direct apples to apples comparison.

Now you need to talk about the differences in software. CGE-Pro doesn't come with the starlock software. The CGE-Pro has 40,000 object database while the LX800 has I think I recall 144,000.

So now we have to compare build quality. Meade sent their manufacturing to Mexico and the quality took a dive. Lots of complaints in the forums over the last few years with regards to Meades QC, their attitude, their failures with warranty work. From what I have heard recently they have decided to stand back and take a hard look at what they are doing, where they want to go as a company and what they need to do to fix these issues. With this model roll-out they are saying that they are working very hard on the quality. Is this true? I have no personal experience with Meade so I can not speak to that point.

Celestron was bought by Synta(hope I spelled that right) and now makes all their stuff in China. Which shouldn't mean that it is bad quality but I would say that any warranty work, extra parts or quality control could very well be going through the growing pains that Meade went through when they moved to Mexico. I was one of the first to take delivery of the CGE-PRo with the 14" EdgeHD. While I have no complaints about the OTA, the mount has been giving me problems since I got it. It has been back to Celestron twice now. Each time I got it back it was worse. I finally just fixed it myself. I have also been hearing a lot of similar stories posted here on Cloudy Nights about other Celestron products and problems with warranty repairs, getting through to someone on the phone willing to help. My mount is still under warranty and I call them and they say to submit a request on their web page. They can't even do it on the phone. When I submit it online I don't hear back. I have to keep calling until I get someone to help me.

I guess what I am really saying is that if you are not going to spend the money on a hand built ultra high quality mount and you still need the load capacity offered by the LX800 and the CGE-Pro, you are going to have to play the game of give and take. You could always buy your choice and have it hypertuned with better bearings, motors, gears etc and spend another $1000.00. I think with all the extras you'd still be under the cost of one of the better mounts.

I've always liked Meade. I hope they have reinvented themselves and they start offering 3 year warranties on everything they sell and develop a much much better attitude about honoring those warranties. I hope they get their quality control up to the level we can all agree it needs to be. I guess we'll wait and see.


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jmiele
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Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: rmollise]
      #4816892 - 09/19/11 07:23 PM

Quote:

Quote:



I'm sure these LX800's also will have the ability to connect to The SkyX as well. Not sure what protocols they are using.


Joe




The same protocols the other Meades use, which means you can connect to TheSky with the built in driver or ASCOM.




That's a good thing. Especially for astrophotographers looking to get pointing as accurate a possible or do some remote work. Joe


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WadeH237
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: skybsd]
      #4817334 - 09/20/11 12:17 AM

Quote:

That's quite a lot to say and opinions to have - about a product (LX800) that hasn't even been released for sale as yet

Regards,

skybsd




I concede the point.

But I am musing less about the specifics of the LX800 and more about Meade and Celestron moving into a price range that is bringing them closer to premium mount manufacturers with very solid reputations. I was also making the point that it appears that they are doing this (and in the case of the CGE Pro are certainly doing this) by offering higher capacities than most imagers would ever need.

And I am very willing to admit that my opinion is biased by the CGE Pro, which is a very different mount than the LX800. But this is largely because the LX800 has a bunch of gizmos that, as an intermediate imager, I don't need. I've already achieved my desired pointing and tracking performance by using components that meet my specific needs best.

I have nothing against either Celestron or Meade (In the case of Celestron, I am a satisfied owner of over $10,000 worth of their stuff) and wish them both success.

-Wade


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tim53
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Reged: 12/17/04

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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: Calypte]
      #4817344 - 09/20/11 12:35 AM

Quote:

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...to find out what Cave was using for tubes (since he knew Parks wasn't selling him any and he wasn't going to sell him any fiberlites).



This is an interesting comment. In 1978 I visited Meade in Costa Mesa to buy a finderscope. I was greeted by a tall older guy who also happened to be pictured in some of Meade's contemporary advertising. This guy told me explicitly that Cave was using Meade Fiberlite tubes.




Sounds like you talked to Brian Holdcroft. It may be that Diebel sold some tubes to Cave for a while, but he definitely wasn't when I got there.

Quote:

I have two Caves: a 12.5-inch f/5 from 1978 and an 8-inch f/6 from 1973. I'm the original owner of the 8-inch. The 12.5 was a consignment item at OPT in 1993. Aside from light-gathering, the 8-inch is much the better scope optically, and I've heard numerous stories of so-so optics from late-70s Cave scopes. But the only one I've ever looked through is mine. The 1978 12.5 has what appears to me to be a Meade Fiberlite tube which, alas, has become badly scarred and is not interchangeable with current Parks tubes (different OD).




I have two Caves as well - a 1974 8" lightweight deluxe with excellent optics, and a 1965 10" DK OTA with mirrors that must have come from Tinsley. It's good, too, though it's got quite a large CO.

Quote:

WRT the rest of Tim's comments, during one memorable evening in 1985 at the SDAA remote site, my Cave 8-inch decisively out-performed several 8-inch SCTs of both brands. I wrote a letter to Meade, gloating about my experience, and I got a personal invitation from John Diebel to tour the Meade factory, which I did in 1986. I met people there who had worked for Cave. Perhaps Tim was one of them.




I only worked for Meade in 1978-1979, about 14 months or so, and then again from fall 1981 to spring 1982. I never worked for Cave, but it is true that a handful of Meade people from Cave were still there well into the 80s, IIRC.

Quote:

Perhaps he was my escort through the factory A close friend of mine worked for Meade in the early '80s, but he has had his own optics businesses for many years since his Meade days. Diebel told me the SCTs were outselling the newts by about 10 to 1. He claimed the mushy optical performance I saw with the SCTs were probably a result of faulty collimation.




I've had a few good SCTs, but all but one 8" Newt I've had (a Meade 826!) easily outperformed the SCTs. I bet my SCTs could do well enough to take awesome images if I could actively cool them, though. And there's no disputing the quality of Damien Peach's images through a C-14. I'd sure like to see him try a 14" Newt someday, though!

-Tim.


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WadeH237
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: rmollise]
      #4817350 - 09/20/11 12:38 AM

Quote:

Mediocre to whom? When it is below the seeing limit most of the time, anyway?





Plus or minus one arc second is pretty poor guiding unless you are shooting wide field.

The thing about seeing is that it tends to be random. For exposures longer than a few seconds, your stars may be larger, but they will be round.

Let's say that you have seeing of three arc seconds. If you are taking 5 second guide exposures, your guide exposures will be round and your guider will be able to easily compute the centroid to a fraction of an arc second.

Let's say that you have three arc seconds of seeing. If your guiding is perfect, your long exposure have round stars with about three arc second FWHM. When you add in two arc seconds peak-to-peak of guiding errors, you'll have noticeably oval stars.

I frequently image a a scale of one arc second per pixel and I can easily tell the difference in my images with sub arc second guiding and one or more arc second guiding. And as I said, if I am seeing plus or minus one arc second errors in the guide reports, I am going to be looking for the problem.

YMMV.


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tim53
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: tim53]
      #4817377 - 09/20/11 12:57 AM

Just realized that there were a couple other tallish older guys there besides Brian. Might have been Diebel's dad, who worked for him for a while. Or another guy, who'd been a fighter pilot in WWII. He was cool. But I can't remember his name now.

-Tim.


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: jmiele]
      #4817400 - 09/20/11 01:15 AM

Yeah, there is the AP software with all the charm of a milling machine. It does flat-out work. I have to say though, the reliance on mechanical alignment makes it act a lot like a big observatory mount.

-Rich


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skybsd
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: WadeH237]
      #4817458 - 09/20/11 03:10 AM

Hello Wade,

Quote:

Quote:

That's quite a lot to say and opinions to have - about a product (LX800) that hasn't even been released for sale as yet

Regards,

skybsd




I concede the point.

But I am musing less about the specifics of the LX800 and more about Meade and Celestron moving into a price range that is bringing them closer to premium mount manufacturers with very solid reputations. I was also making the point that it appears that they are doing this (and in the case of the CGE Pro are certainly doing this) by offering higher capacities than most imagers would ever need.




Well.., I disagree that increased payload is the single metric driving these developments - but even so, what exactly is wrong with others also offering higher capacity mounts at effectively lower cost to the market?

Take a look at the current offerings at the 90lb benchmark - who else comes in at the price mark of the LX800? In addition, Meade appears to be bringing a lot more to the party than just payload with the new LX series. Subject to field reports (of course), that can't be a bad thing - and if it works, it certainly gives everyone else (premium or otherwise) something to think about in terms of the value propositions of their own respective line ups.


Quote:

And I am very willing to admit that my opinion is biased by the CGE Pro, which is a very different mount than the LX800. But this is largely because the LX800 has a bunch of gizmos that, as an intermediate imager, I don't need. I've already achieved my desired pointing and tracking performance by using components that meet my specific needs best.




Well.., I'm no photographer, so I really don't get what "intermediate imager" means. For starters, what is the measuring stick used to assess where you are? Is it what you photograph? The equipment you use? Your location? Number of sessions per month? ...

Like I said - I haven't got a clue, but I can tell you one thing I've observed - "Better®" (anything) when it comes to photography always appears to work out being heavier in the end. If pressed, I'd have to say that it wouldn't surprise me if 90lbs were the sweet spot for most out there - Of course, its possible that I'm wrong

But to use as a comparison, from various comments posted by users, it seems to be that the single most common popular feature of the new Celestron mount software is the All-Star system - who'd have thought? And what are the objectives of the included "gizmos" (your word) in the new Meade LX Series? Better polar alignment? Native auto guiding? Native, onboard drift alignment? Seems to me that's not stuff most would turn down at a reasonable cost..,

Quote:

I have nothing against either Celestron or Meade (In the case of Celestron, I am a satisfied owner of over $10,000 worth of their stuff) and wish them both success.




That's a nice place to be, for sure! To give you my perspective, I've done Celestron mounts, and Losmandy, and SB and AP. Take it from a humble visual-only observer (who by the way is NOT a Meade fan).., What Meade is proposing to bring to the party will only liven up the place - Its just up to them to make sure they can dance

Best, Wade!

Regards,

skybsd


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: tim53]
      #4817467 - 09/20/11 03:41 AM

Quote:

I only worked for Meade in 1978-1979, about 14 months or so, and then again from fall 1981 to spring 1982. I never worked for Cave, but it is true that a handful of Meade people from Cave were still there well into the 80s, IIRC.



I think my friend worked there around that time. I'll ask him if he remembers you. When I visited Meade in 1986, one of the former Cave employees told me he thought Cave actually lost money making amateur telescopes, but he stayed in business through contract government work.

Quote:

I've had a few good SCTs, but all but one 8" Newt I've had (a Meade 826!) easily outperformed the SCTs. I bet my SCTs could do well enough to take awesome images if I could actively cool them, though. And there's no disputing the quality of Damien Peach's images through a C-14. I'd sure like to see him try a 14" Newt someday, though!



The only SCT I've ever owned is a 2001 Meade 10-inch. Visually the optics are actually very good. I bought it for imaging, but the few times I tried it, I wasn't very happy with the results. Diebel told me their SCTs were almost as good as their equivalent-aperture newts.


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Calypte
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Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: tim53]
      #4817480 - 09/20/11 04:02 AM

Quote:

Just realized that there were a couple other tallish older guys there besides Brian. Might have been Diebel's dad, who worked for him for a while. Or another guy, who'd been a fighter pilot in WWII. He was cool. But I can't remember his name now.

-Tim.



When I've mentioned this to people in the past, they've usually suggested it was John Diebel's dad. The guy was kind of lanky and had thick-rimmed glasses. I'd say he was "tall," but I'm 5-6, so everybody is "tall" to me . One of the Meade ads from the late '70s showed him wearing a lab coat and holding a Fiberlite tube. There may also have been one with him standing by one of the Research Series newts.


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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: WadeH237]
      #4817601 - 09/20/11 07:43 AM

Quote:

Plus or minus one arc second is pretty poor guiding unless you are shooting wide field.






Not really, but yeah, YMMV.

Edited by rmollise (09/20/11 07:43 AM)


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tim53
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Reged: 12/17/04

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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: Calypte]
      #4817606 - 09/20/11 07:50 AM

That was Brian Holdcroft in those ads showing the Research Grade scopes.

-Tim.


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tim53
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: Alph]
      #4817660 - 09/20/11 08:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

The MX is a much, much, much beefier and larger mount. There's no comparison.



What are you talking about?!
The Paramount MX actually looked small in comparison to the LX800. My advice to others is to ignore this thread when deciding whether to buy the LX800.




I looked at their websites, and I still think the MX is the better mount. The Meade tripod is more massive than the tripod under the MX (which reminded me of the old Celestron tripods, which were nice and stiff), though.

The MX looks to be comparable to or maybe capable of carrying a bit more load than my NJP. And the NJP is more massive than the LX800. I've had my 12.5" Cassegrain on the NJP. I've never weighed the 5 ft OTA, but it's probably about 50 pounds or so. And it's too much for the NJP, possibly due to the long moment arm and the weight combined. I suppose it's possible the Meade does well with short SCT OTAs. Longer tubes would likely need to be lighter weight in order to be stable, especially for astrophotography.

I also have a Tak EM-500 (bought used at far below retail) that loves that 12.5" Cass. But it's a lot bigger than either the MX and the LX800.

People can certainly buy whatever they want. They can even ignore threads about their favorite mounts and spend their money from a less-informed perspective if they want. But why would they want to?

As I said before, I hope Meade does well with their new lineup. If I were in the market, though, I'd wait to see that all the bugs are worked out before plunking my folding greens down, though, based on experience with Meade over the years.

-Tim.


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: tim53]
      #4817687 - 09/20/11 09:06 AM

Now that would be a good point to end this thread. Not to say we will...

-Rich


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WadeH237
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: skybsd]
      #4818004 - 09/20/11 12:12 PM

Quote:

Well.., I disagree that increased payload is the single metric driving these developments - but even so, what exactly is wrong with others also offering higher capacity mounts at effectively lower cost to the market?





There's nothing wrong with it. I just don't understand it.

What are you going to put on the mount that requires a 90lb payload? Even if I wanted to image with my C14 and all the trimmings, it would come in far under that weight. The thing is, the focal length on the C14 is so long, that it's a problem to find nights with sufficient seeing to make use of the focal length.

If it helps, take a look at what people are doing today with high capacity mounts that are already on the market. Most of the people I know who are running AP900s, AP1200s or Paramounts are imaging with refractors and large chip cameras. There are also lots of people using RCs and such. Certainly, there are people loading to capacity, but in my experience, there are aren't that many of them. Interestingly, when I talk to users of these mounts, capacity doesn't seem to come up. What they seem to care about is having the mount "get out of the way," which roughly translates to impeccable tracking and guiding, and high reliability and repeatability.

When I look at what's available today, it seems to me that the big opportunity is to offer a mount that can carry a 40lb to 50lb payload and offer the "get out of the way" experience. To me, this is pretty much what Astro-Physics is doing with the Mach 1.

Of course, there are lots of comparisons in this thread between the LX800 and the Mach 1. So maybe that's what Meade is trying to do and these two mounts are really close to each other in capacity. AP has a reputation of being conservative when stating capacity. Meade and Celestron have both been known to go the other way (SN10 on an LXD-75, C11 on a CG5, or even a C14 on a CGEM DX are all pretty optimistic on the mount capabilities.)

I find your comments about being a visual only observer to be interesting, especially since you also say that you've been a user of Software Bisque and Astro-Physics mounts. In particular, the Sofware Bisque mounts require an external computer to run them, so I'm a bit surprised by that.

Maybe there is a market out there for visual observers to run with big telescopes that I am not considering. Certainly to me, the main reason that I would think about a CGE Pro would be to carry a C14 for visual use. But I think that it's unfortunate that they discontinued the CGE, which could do this job for thousands less.

Quote:

Well.., I'm no photographer, so I really don't get what "intermediate imager" means. For starters, what is the measuring stick used to assess where you are? Is it what you photograph? The equipment you use? Your location? Number of sessions per month? ...




It's a completely arbitrary term that I made up. It's my way of saying that I am not a newbie to imaging. I have lots of experience with different techniques, different imaging scales and different equipment. Since I live in a place with more than 300 overcast days a year, most of my dark sky time is spent at star parties. I've achieved enough reliability that I can walk away from my site and I spend a fair amount of time helping less experienced imagers to work through problems that they are having. I don't consider myself advanced because there are lots of people out there who are much better than I am at all aspects of imaging.

Quote:

But to use as a comparison, from various comments posted by users, it seems to be that the single most common popular feature of the new Celestron mount software is the All-Star system - who'd have thought? And what are the objectives of the included "gizmos" (your word) in the new Meade LX Series? Better polar alignment? Native auto guiding? Native, onboard drift alignment? Seems to me that's not stuff most would turn down at a reasonable cost..,




The All-Star polar alignment routine is brilliant. I love it. Much of the brilliance is its simplicity. It's a software thing that takes better advantage of the existing hardware. I use it on all of my mounts, including the CGE that I bought many years before All-Star was even developed.

Plate solve assisted pointing and software assisted drift alignment are also great ideas. The thing is, I don't need - or even want - those systems to be integrated into the mount. As an imager, I already have a camera and optics that I'm imaging through. It makes no sense to me to duplicate that hardware. I'm also using a laptop and as it turns out, I already have software that does everything that we're talking about and more - at less cost and I can use it on any of my mount that I already own, or may get in the future.

Guiding is a bit different in that there is a much steeper learning curve in order to do it well and reliably. I believe that there would be a huge market for a plug-and-play system that guides reliably. I will be interested in seeing the experience from LX800 users, but I'm a bit skeptical that Meade's solution for this will be more problem free than other guiding solutions. I will be happy to hear that my skepticism is unwarranted if user reports are positive.

At the end of the day, my reason for participating in this thread is that I am trying to understand why Meade thinks that this is the right combination of features and price for their offering. To me, they are mainly looking to solve problems for people that are getting started in astrophotography. This is a great thing, but how many people are really looking to spend $6000 on a mount who are just getting started? If they were to offer these features on a lower capacity mount that's price competitive with the CGEM and Atlas, and I'd think that they'd have a game changer. Oh, and for the record, if the LX80 delivers on its promises at its price point, I think that it will be a game changer.

Clear skies to you,
-Wade


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skybsd
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: WadeH237]
      #4818205 - 09/20/11 01:34 PM

Hi Wade,
Good to hear from you..,

Quote:

Quote:

Well.., I disagree that increased payload is the single metric driving these developments - but even so, what exactly is wrong with others also offering higher capacity mounts at effectively lower cost to the market?





There's nothing wrong with it. I just don't understand it.

What are you going to put on the mount that requires a 90lb payload? Even if I wanted to image with my C14 and all the trimmings, it would come in far under that weight. The thing is, the focal length on the C14 is so long, that it's a problem to find nights with sufficient seeing to make use of the focal length.




I agree that folks with 90lbs of payload is not a majority use case - it happens, but a minority. Yet, over-mounting (especially where photography is concerned) is pretty much what folks tend to do nowadays, not so? How many times have we seen posts to the Cats and Casses forum like "Hello everyone, I'm new to the hobby and I want|plan to|am getting an SCT, what else do I need to start taking pictures?" I'd also wager that the majority of these posts over the past year have been about EdgeHD-11 scopes too. The problem is - with that sort of FL (note there aren't any FRs as yet for the EdgeHD Series yet) and any payload that approaches 45lbs of equipment (and unspecified moment arm), what's a photographer to do as far as a mount is concerned? Before Meade's announcement of the LX Series, the choices were very few, and not cheap (okay, economical)


Quote:

If it helps, take a look at what people are doing today with high capacity mounts that are already on the market. Most of the people I know who are running AP900s, AP1200s or Paramounts are imaging with refractors and large chip cameras. There are also lots of people using RCs and such. Certainly, there are people loading to capacity, but in my experience, there are aren't that many of them.




Yep - pretty much no-one I know is running their PME or AP mounts to their stated capacity for photography. However, on the visual observing side, I see more folks that will get close

Quote:

Interestingly, when I talk to users of these mounts, capacity doesn't seem to come up. What they seem to care about is having the mount "get out of the way," which roughly translates to impeccable tracking and guiding, and high reliability and repeatability.




Yes - but at the payload they use, its soooo not a problem -it just isn't worth bringing up. Most of the photographers I know are most concerned about PE, Function (doing what its supposed to do, every time) and Form (doing what its supposed to do very well), so that they can spend (waste ) their time at the computer all night without having to worry about what the mount is doing.

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When I look at what's available today, it seems to me that the big opportunity is to offer a mount that can carry a 40lb to 50lb payload and offer the "get out of the way" experience. To me, this is pretty much what Astro-Physics is doing with the Mach 1.

Of course, there are lots of comparisons in this thread between the LX800 and the Mach 1. So maybe that's what Meade is trying to do and these two mounts are really close to each other in capacity. AP has a reputation of being conservative when stating capacity. Meade and Celestron have both been known to go the other way (SN10 on an LXD-75, C11 on a CG5, or even a C14 on a CGEM DX are all pretty optimistic on the mount capabilities.)




Actually, I think you'll find that even Roland will advise you that if you've got 50lbs of photographic payload you should be looking at the AP900 at a minimum, not the Mach-1 GTO. I'm not saying that the latter isn't able to carry that load, I'm merely pointing out that this is bread 'n butter AP900 territory. In fact, depending on the moment arm, the recommendation may well be that an AP1200 is the better option.

At this point though, there's nothing to suggest that the LX800 will not do the same for its corresponding users.

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I find your comments about being a visual only observer to be interesting, especially since you also say that you've been a user of Software Bisque and Astro-Physics mounts. In particular, the Sofware Bisque mounts require an external computer to run them, so I'm a bit surprised by that.




Yeah - I spent about 8 months assessing options for my forever mount after I decided to ditch the G11. The Paramount ME headed my list (a hair ahead of AP) and I actually had a buddy of mine's PME for a few weeks to kick the tires with. I didn't like the external computer dependency one bit, and when I went to pull my deposit, I got wind of the PMX being due in a few months, so I held off deciding until I got more information. At first when I spoke to the SB brothers it was still not decided whether or not the computer dependency would apply to the new, field portable PMX so I held on right up until it was clear that a hand controller was not on the cards.

I went with AP.

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Maybe there is a market out there for visual observers to run with big telescopes that I am not considering.





Yes - me!

My AP900-GTO is carrying a C14 + piggybacked AP130EDFS-F6 when mounted at home - no dew shield on the C14. When away from home, its just the C14 + dew shield.

With work, life and the UK weather, I'm hard pressed to maximize each opportunity I have to get out at night. With the AP, I have a solution that handles the payloads, and works exactly as I expect it to every_single_time I go out. I power on, and start observing - No gotchas, no floopies, and no wackadoo behaviour. When away from home, I spend maybe 15 - 20 mins on mount initialization (polar alignment / calibration) and I'm set.

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Certainly to me, the main reason that I would think about a CGE Pro would be to carry a C14 for visual use. But I think that it's unfortunate that they discontinued the CGE, which could do this job for thousands less.

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Well.., I'm no photographer, so I really don't get what "intermediate imager" means. For starters, what is the measuring stick used to assess where you are? Is it what you photograph? The equipment you use? Your location? Number of sessions per month? ...




It's a completely arbitrary term that I made up. It's my way of saying that I am not a newbie to imaging. I have lots of experience with different techniques, different imaging scales and different equipment. Since I live in a place with more than 300 overcast days a year, most of my dark sky time is spent at star parties. I've achieved enough reliability that I can walk away from my site and I spend a fair amount of time helping less experienced imagers to work through problems that they are having. I don't consider myself advanced because there are lots of people out there who are much better than I am at all aspects of imaging.

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But to use as a comparison, from various comments posted by users, it seems to be that the single most common popular feature of the new Celestron mount software is the All-Star system - who'd have thought? And what are the objectives of the included "gizmos" (your word) in the new Meade LX Series? Better polar alignment? Native auto guiding? Native, onboard drift alignment? Seems to me that's not stuff most would turn down at a reasonable cost..,




The All-Star polar alignment routine is brilliant. I love it. Much of the brilliance is its simplicity. It's a software thing that takes better advantage of the existing hardware. I use it on all of my mounts, including the CGE that I bought many years before All-Star was even developed.

Plate solve assisted pointing and software assisted drift alignment are also great ideas. The thing is, I don't need - or even want - those systems to be integrated into the mount. As an imager, I already have a camera and optics that I'm imaging through. It makes no sense to me to duplicate that hardware. I'm also using a laptop and as it turns out, I already have software that does everything that we're talking about and more - at less cost and I can use it on any of my mount that I already own, or may get in the future.

Guiding is a bit different in that there is a much steeper learning curve in order to do it well and reliably. I believe that there would be a huge market for a plug-and-play system that guides reliably. I will be interested in seeing the experience from LX800 users, but I'm a bit skeptical that Meade's solution for this will be more problem free than other guiding solutions. I will be happy to hear that my skepticism is unwarranted if user reports are positive.

At the end of the day, my reason for participating in this thread is that I am trying to understand why Meade thinks that this is the right combination of features and price for their offering. To me, they are mainly looking to solve problems for people that are getting started in astrophotography. This is a great thing, but how many people are really looking to spend $6000 on a mount who are just getting started? If they were to offer these features on a lower capacity mount that's price competitive with the CGEM and Atlas, and I'd think that they'd have a game changer. Oh, and for the record, if the LX80 delivers on its promises at its price point, I think that it will be a game changer.

Clear skies to you,
-Wade




I think we'd agree that its best to wait and see how the mounts fair when they ship. Although I'm no fan of Meade myself, I do hope they crack the reliability and support challenges so that the mounts can speak for themselves. If the gizmos do work as designed, then I can see where the target users will have at least a great option to leverage whichever onboard features that may simplify their operations and increase the efficiency of their workflows.

I know that if the field reports come back positive, I'd be looking to get one of them.., for visual purposes, or course

Best, Wade.,

Regards,

skybsd


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Brian L
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: skybsd]
      #4818423 - 09/20/11 03:20 PM

I would like to see a spec for the tracking accuracy unguided... does anyone know whether or not the mount can be operated without the use of the StarLock feature? Is there an ST-4 port provided that can override the StarLock? Differential flexure might be a concern. In any case, I would be less interested if I couldn't use my self-guiding camera...

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skybsd
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Re: Meade's new LX800... new [Re: Brian L]
      #4818528 - 09/20/11 04:06 PM

As always, probably best to simply send an email with questions to the manufacturer..,

Regards,

skybsd


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