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A. Viegas
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 03/05/12

Loc: New York City/ CT
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5641455 - 01/24/13 08:50 PM

Quote:

This is a problem in that society has already been dummied down so severely that they need now a nanny scope to walk them through ?
Shouldn't we want to have at least a little bit of intellect to operate something anymore ? Everything designed for the dummy all the time just creates laziness which is already an over rewarded trait and contributes to a continual decline of human society unfortunately predominant in the North American continent . Disgraceful if you ask me




Agree with your supposition (namely that people should be educated and curious enough to care about knowledge in general), but I disagree with your conclusion. Reality is that most hobbies or professions have a degree of expertise that is just not very easy to acquire unless there is countless hours of practice and learning. The issue is how can you entice and motivate enough new entrants into Astronomy that it can grow to become a more significant consumer industry and indirectly support a number of larger successful companies and serve a larger community. In this regard it requires a hook and a connection with society at large.

My suggestion was to try and merge more technology with the existing mechanical elements of the telescope. Actually I think most of my technology suggestions would cost less than the $100 i suggested. Would you get a super duper resolution CCD? Nope. Would the mount track flawlessly for anything more than maybe a few seconds of exposure? probably not. The wifi and lcd screens, those are ubiquitous and cheap. So, yeah I think it could be done and package it in a nice stainless steel looking enclosure (ok, fancy plastic that looks nice) The goal here is how can you build a product that sells not a hundred units or maybe 1 or 2 thousand... you want to sell a million or more. Am I dreaming here? No I dont think so... this year in fact we are all going to be astounded with two brilliant comets. If that can't capture the public imagination, then maybe we should just forget about science education in the USA and just import our PhD candidates from China and India... so I think there is an opportunity here to capture the public interest. A $400-500 scope combination (about the same price as an Ipad) could become a huge seller. Will it happen? no. but hey we can dream...

Al


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Glen A W
sage


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5641467 - 01/24/13 08:55 PM

Oen nice thing about astronomy is that it is something people find because they are meant for it. I am sure about that. It is not for the masses and I actually hope it stays that way. People can ruin anything. Especially, modern Americans. So, companies that try to expand it out much are probably not going to make it. I believe it was Diebel's dream to make a scope that was basically the model T of astronomy. The ETX line was as close as they got to that.

As for importing our science PhD candidates from China and India - we are already doing that, especially in computer science and physics. GW

Edited by Glen A W (01/24/13 08:55 PM)


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turtle86
Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else
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Reged: 10/09/06

Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5641474 - 01/24/13 08:58 PM

Quote:



And yet, most amateurs don't need and can't afford AP gear. There is a place for middle of the road Fords and Chevys in addition to BMWs and Mercedes. Meade has sold a lot of EXCELLENT telescopes including the LX200 Classic and much more at prices that me and Joe Spit the Ragman can afford. Most of us don't expect watch-like precision, but are both happy with and producive with what we've got from them when they are on top of their game.

Meade doesn't need to become the next AP or Tak, they just need to slow down and get a robust QA force to work.




I bought a used LX200 Classic over 10 years ago for $1000 (I'm the third owner) and it has to be one of my best ever astronomy buys. Excellent optics, and dead-on go-to's (even more accurate than my Starmaster's). With a wedge, I can even do passable CCD imaging with it. It gets constant use and has never let me down.

Meade seems to have lost its way in recent years, but certainly had proven it is capable of excellent gear at an affordable price. Maybe if Meade could be a little more like Orion...


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: turtle86]
      #5641503 - 01/24/13 09:11 PM

With the proliferation of tiny CCD sensors today, I would think a cheap small pixel pitch CCD with a c.a. 100mm focal length lens (!) in a package that can talk to an iPad or Android device, would be a killer.

sure it would not be useful for visual, it would be a pure mallincam-like device, but I think that's what the iPod generation wants and expects...


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5641520 - 01/24/13 09:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

This is a problem in that society has already been dummied down so severely that they need now a nanny scope to walk them through ?
Shouldn't we want to have at least a little bit of intellect to operate something anymore ? Everything designed for the dummy all the time just creates laziness which is already an over rewarded trait and contributes to a continual decline of human society unfortunately predominant in the North American continent . Disgraceful if you ask me




Agree with your supposition (namely that people should be educated and curious enough to care about knowledge in general), but I disagree with your conclusion. Reality is that most hobbies or professions have a degree of expertise that is just not very easy to acquire unless there is countless hours of practice and learning. The issue is how can you entice and motivate enough new entrants into Astronomy that it can grow to become a more significant consumer industry and indirectly support a number of larger successful companies and serve a larger community. In this regard it requires a hook and a connection with society at large.

My suggestion was to try and merge more technology with the existing mechanical elements of the telescope. Actually I think most of my technology suggestions would cost less than the $100 i suggested. Would you get a super duper resolution CCD? Nope. Would the mount track flawlessly for anything more than maybe a few seconds of exposure? probably not. The wifi and lcd screens, those are ubiquitous and cheap. So, yeah I think it could be done and package it in a nice stainless steel looking enclosure (ok, fancy plastic that looks nice) The goal here is how can you build a product that sells not a hundred units or maybe 1 or 2 thousand... you want to sell a million or more. Am I dreaming here? No I dont think so... this year in fact we are all going to be astounded with two brilliant comets. If that can't capture the public imagination, then maybe we should just forget about science education in the USA and just import our PhD candidates from China and India... so I think there is an opportunity here to capture the public interest. A $400-500 scope combination (about the same price as an Ipad) could become a huge seller. Will it happen? no. but hey we can dream...

Al





I'm not saying the tech thing be ignored . Say as I have two go to mounts . I started locating DSOs with setting circles on a GEM mount . It was a little time consuming , but with some advanced prep , was able to knock out 16 DSOs in an all nighter , first time out as a green horn . Not bad for a beginner IMHO .
The go to is great and unlike some of the older timers said and it would keep me from learning the night sky , I actually used it as a tool to learn the night sky .
That aside , polar alignment and learning how to get that close as well as doing an acurrate three star alignment to initialize the system still takes some dexterity on the operators part , at least exercising the brain cells somewhat .
Even with the basic tech involved , these are still a grand or better to get into without including oculars , filters or any other accessories at all . This already puts the package beyond what most entry level hobbiests would be willing to spend . In my case , the optical portion of what I have are pretty decent , but by all means are far from superior or premium . So by adding all the frilly little tech stuff , the price bracket either increases or the optical quality suffers drastically . Both scenarios not being a positive for the targeted bread and butter consumer sect . Thus is Meades misguided approach the way I see it .


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telescopeguy238
member


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: ThreeD]
      #5641756 - 01/24/13 11:55 PM

LOL

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5642019 - 01/25/13 07:14 AM

Quote:

My suggestion was to try and merge more technology with the existing mechanical elements of the telescope. Actually I think most of my technology suggestions would cost less than the $100 i suggested. Would you get a super duper resolution CCD? Nope. Would the mount track flawlessly for anything more than maybe a few seconds of exposure? probably not. The wifi and lcd screens, those are ubiquitous and cheap. So, yeah I think it could be done and package it in a nice stainless steel looking enclosure (ok, fancy plastic that looks nice) The goal here is how can you build a product that sells not a hundred units or maybe 1 or 2 thousand... you want to sell a million or more.




A good telescope starts with the optics and the mount. Gizmos and gadgets are only useful if the telescope and the mount itself is sound.

This is a small hobby and always will be a small hobby. It's not the equipment that keeps people inside at night.

Jon Isaacs


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5642102 - 01/25/13 08:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

This last point is maybe the most contentious with the old timers here, but i firmly believe as i said before on this thread, that Amateur Astronomy is like Classical Music, it is a past time that is fading away purely from a lack of connection to the times of today. A modern telescope should come fully equipped with wifi compatibility and out of the box image capture that is uber easy and totally idiot proof. You take the scope out of the box. You push a button, it aligns itself and on your wireless device be it an iphone or laptop or just on the little 4" lcd connected to the scope, it gives you all kinds of options of what to look at, or you tell it what you want to see. It makes it easy to share the image on instagram or facebook or email it wherever... simple. All this techno capability maybe adds $100 to the scope. It would fundamentally transform MEADE and give it a chance to become relevant.




All this for a $100.

From what I see, this is what Meade has been trying to do, to many gizmos and not enough real product.

A good telescope always starts with reasonable optics and a solid, stable, reliable mount. Meade needs to begin here. Gizmos and gadgets are on top of this. When there is only $300 to buy a scope, better to keep things simple.

Is Classical music disappearing? I don't know that much about financial statements but a Google search brought up the financials at Steinway Musicial Instruments Inc. It indicates an annual sales of between $300,000,000 and $400,000,000/year and they are the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in the United States and have been in the business for more than 150 years.

I have two friends who are young professionals, both work for Qualcomm in R&D... Both are interested in amateur astronomy and both have Dobs...

Jon Isaacs




God help us if Celestron comes out with an upgraded 102GT. It's already got GoTo (appears pretty accurate too), and all the rest you described is really just software and some cheap hardware. Wow, Could there be a Costo department store complete 102GT/AP Setup for < $300 in our future????


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Mark Costello
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/08/05

Loc: Matthews, NC, USA
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5642198 - 01/25/13 09:39 AM

Quote:

Quote:

My suggestion was to try and merge more technology with the existing mechanical elements of the telescope. Actually I think most of my technology suggestions would cost less than the $100 i suggested. Would you get a super duper resolution CCD? Nope. Would the mount track flawlessly for anything more than maybe a few seconds of exposure? probably not. The wifi and lcd screens, those are ubiquitous and cheap. So, yeah I think it could be done and package it in a nice stainless steel looking enclosure (ok, fancy plastic that looks nice) The goal here is how can you build a product that sells not a hundred units or maybe 1 or 2 thousand... you want to sell a million or more.




A good telescope starts with the optics and the mount. Gizmos and gadgets are only useful if the telescope and the mount itself is sound.

This is a small hobby and always will be a small hobby. It's not the equipment that keeps people inside at night.

Jon Isaacs






This is an interesting discussion on the topic of electronic controls and displays, especially, those that Meade has built into their newer rigs. FWIW, I find myself more in line with what Jon is writing, and also FWIW would add that thing about some of the Meade rigs that does not appeal to me is that they build too much electronic display into their rigs. There're just too many modes of failure for which the owner may not be able to have easily or quickly fixed. For example, I'll take a mechanical focuser over an electronic one (like that built into the RCX line) any day. Also, I'll take an 8" LT over an 8" LS and if I want to find out more about what I'm observing, I'll read an encyclopedia entry, one of my astronomy books, or an article on the internet.

IMHO goto has a definite place. So does the lack of goto. It depends on the optical tube assembly (OTA). If I had an SCT 8" or bigger, I would want a goto mount for it. It's one thing I don't need for my 5" refractor that with a focal length at 825mm can be used as its own finder.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: EJN]
      #5642211 - 01/25/13 09:44 AM

Quote:

Quote:

A modern telescope should come fully equipped with wifi compatibility and out of the box image capture that is uber easy and totally idiot proof. You take the scope out of the box. You push a button, it aligns itself and on your wireless device be it an iphone or laptop or just on the little 4" lcd connected to the scope, it gives you all kinds of options of what to look at, or you tell it what you want to see.




You left out a few things. It should also include a 500W surround sound system &
large screen HDTV. It should walk the dog, clean the dishes, slice & dice
vegetables, vacuum the floor, and do the laundry.




I can do all that, but I charge by the hour.....


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aezoss
member


Reged: 03/27/11

Loc: The Great White North
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5643775 - 01/26/13 03:50 AM

I agree Apple's product line is streamlined and their advertising is slick but keep in mind their consumer electronics model is based on disposable hardware with a lifetime of 6-12 months. They have had the opportunity to refine the iPhone at least once a year since 2007 and get those refinements into their users hands. Many of the platform's issues can be addressed in software. Software that Apple has a massive budget to maintain. Telescope manufacturers don't have this luxury and just simplifying the lineup won't make a substantive difference if the products aren't decent to begin with.

Being a pioneer doesn't pay the bills. The worst thing for a company with no money is to be stuck in development hell and dump a bad product on their customer base. They need a reasonably diverse line of quality workhorses to bring in the cash so they can go off to the lab and invent crazy stuff. Crazy stuff a customer is more likely to buy if her 8" dob or 4" Achro and the mount it came on has worked trouble free since the day she got it.

Intelligent marketing and better distribution would help. With the exception of one camera store with minimal inventory, no brick and mortar shops in my area carry Meade. Support has been cited as one of the reasons vendors don't stock Meade's products. Sad.

Meade also needs to fire their advertising department. I'm looking at the LX850 ad on the back of the March issue of Astronomy and shaking my head. The Meade image is good, but it's reduced to merely okay (soft, washed out, bloated stars) next to the Hubble image. I don't get it. It's a terrible comparison and makes the LX850 look bad. It would have made more sense to show a competitor that the LX850 compares favourably against. Trying to leverage the argument that the scope is not $2.5B therefore okay is actually awesome is ridiculous. I have yet to see a Bugatti in a Kia ad claiming the Rio would own if the Veyron wasn't so good.

Well, here's hoping someone shakes some sense into these guys...

Lee


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: aezoss]
      #5643838 - 01/26/13 06:09 AM

Firesale the LX80 out of the door to get rid and turn it into cash. It may not be perfect but if you were selling tham at a wacky price you'd get some buyers. Use the cash to fix problems with existing hardware that has a base - ETX-125 for a starter. Get the bigger tubes onto Losmandy dovetails and just sell the optic which are already tried and tested.

You have two big comets inbound soon so pitch at the casual buyers who will but to see a comet. DONT offer stuff to Walmart on crazy Sale or Return but look to get the reliable stuff which people buy working better and into a dealer chain that will offer some service and spares.

I dont do imaging, dont have mega expensive scopes and to be honest hardly know anyone who does. So spending big to play in a completely upmarket arena seems nuts to me. Wheres the selling proposition ? I scarecley know anyone who has a 6 grand mount. I do though know shedloads of people with relatively low cost APOs, Achros and Newts on 1-2 grand mounts so thats really where the market is. Yes you cant compete with SYnta on price - dont even try - lever the brand and push quality. Questar dont compete on price and still sell - no reason an ETX-125 with some metal compoenents replacing the plastic ones couldnt do well. Sell it in a nicy ally case and you'll pick up the punters who like a technoi toy that looks nice - I bit of polished alluminium and away you go.

High end in astro seems to me to be a mom and pop outfit because the volumes just cant be existing out there. Tell me I am wrong and that the big ticket suppliers ( and I would be hard pressed to name that many ) are in fact mega corporations turning out telescopes like sausages.

A local dealer to me has had a Meade 10" SCT in his showroom window for a very long time - its almost a local landmark ( yes go down the high street - turn left at the big blue telescope in the window ) meanwhile he is hosing out a shedload of Synta/Celestron kit in the 8" Newt on EQ5 area. That must tell you something about what the market wants to buy. It doesnt appear to want to buy expensive telscopes.

By the way I had a Meade 5000 102mm on approval from another dealer and boy did I hate it.....one of the most dreadfully engineered bits of kit I think I have ever had. Took me back to how telescopes were in the 1970s. OPtically it was ok but mechanical fit and finish was atrocious. In case you think that was Meade bashing - far from it - I wanted with all my heart to buy that scope but one nights use was enough to convince me not to buy so there is clearly a massive quality issue here as well.

As for ads brng back the men in white coats


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5643937 - 01/26/13 08:21 AM

Quote:

A modern telescope should come fully equipped with wifi compatibility and out of the box image capture that is uber easy and totally idiot proof. You take the scope out of the box. You push a button, it aligns itself and on your wireless device be it an iphone or laptop or just on the little 4" lcd connected to the scope, it gives you all kinds of options of what to look at, or you tell it what you want to see.




Some uber succesful telescope company, that has the resources to properly develop it, might sell a few of those in a 'Sharper Image' catalog or 'Wired' magazine. I suspect that most real enthusiasts want less 'bells and whistles' and fewer things that can fail.


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: aezoss]
      #5643946 - 01/26/13 08:28 AM

Quote:

< snip >

Well, here's hoping someone shakes some sense into these guys...

Lee




It seems the marketplace is well into that!


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5643960 - 01/26/13 08:41 AM

Quote:

Firesale the LX80 out of the door to get rid and turn it into cash. It may not be perfect but if you were selling tham at a wacky price you'd get some buyers. Use the cash to fix problems with existing hardware that has a base - ETX-125 for a starter.




The ETX 125 is gone and I doubt it is coming back--I doubt they could bring it back if they wanted to at this stage of the game.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: mich_al]
      #5643966 - 01/26/13 08:43 AM

Quote:

Quote:

A modern telescope should come fully equipped with wifi compatibility and out of the box image capture that is uber easy and totally idiot proof. You take the scope out of the box. You push a button, it aligns itself and on your wireless device be it an iphone or laptop or just on the little 4" lcd connected to the scope, it gives you all kinds of options of what to look at, or you tell it what you want to see.




Some uber succesful telescope company, that has the resources to properly develop it, might sell a few of those in a 'Sharper Image' catalog or 'Wired' magazine. I suspect that most real enthusiasts want less 'bells and whistles' and fewer things that can fail.




The problem with the built-in camera idea is that what do you do when next year's improved cameras come out? For example, the little camera Meade slapped on the Light Swtich was downscale when it came out, but several years later is just plain pitiful.


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jgraham
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5644115 - 01/26/13 10:28 AM

That is certainly true for an imaging camera, but the camera on the Light Switch is little more than a sensor to detect the alignment stars. If it continues to perform that function then it is fine. The problem is that I believe Meade also suggested that you could image with it which was a stretch even when it was new.

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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5644165 - 01/26/13 10:57 AM

Bingo, the claim was that you could make nice portraits of the constellations...which was...well...a little optimistic. But my point is, why buy a telescope with a built in ST-4 when before long there will be an ST-2000?

Edited by rmollise (01/26/13 10:58 AM)


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RealSorin
super member


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5644837 - 01/26/13 06:09 PM

Quote:

The problem with the built-in camera idea is that what do you do when next year's improved cameras come out? For example, the little camera Meade slapped on the Light Swtich was downscale when it came out, but several years later is just plain pitiful.




Actually I think this is a massive opportunity to integrate all those iPhones. Just bundle a simple bracket so people can mount their iPhone to the eye piece, and maybe sell a very simple astrophoto app in the app store.

Astrophotography today is only as hard as you want to make it. Despite what some people want to believe, it's a capability within the grasp of anyone with a smartphone or point and shoot camera. If you get more people sharing photos of the moon, Jupiter, orion, whatever, you are almost certain to spark more interest. Frankly, it doesn't matter if it's a $500 telescope or a $99 walmart special. I don't think there's any downside to sparking people's imagination and interest in the cosmos. This is an opportunity I really hope Meade, Celestron, and every other manufacturer takes advantage of.


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: RealSorin]
      #5645127 - 01/26/13 09:04 PM

A go to mount with an iphone in the place of the eyepiece. You select the object and the mount roughly slews to the objects location and the image pops up on the screen, hires and color at that, maybe a zoom in option. Just don't tell anyone the images are stored in the app. Finally a scope/mount that can actually display the images shown on the box and has perfect tracking for ap!

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