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drksky
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: PhotonJohn]
      #5632690 - 01/20/13 07:15 AM

Someone my club bought an SMII 90DS and while it is a fine scope, there are a few things that bug me about it.
- I hate the helical focuser. It's stiff and difficult to get a precise focus with.

- The extension tubes are sloppy.

-Terrible "sweet-spotting". Unless proms are almost directly in the center of the FOV, they're either very dim or gone completely, and this is through the BF15.

I just received an LS80 single stack, but haven't had a chance to use it, yet. I'm curious to see the comparison.


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bill1234
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/21/11

Loc: NJ, USA
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: drksky]
      #5633607 - 01/20/13 05:26 PM

Well Tony,...looking forward to your review

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PhotonJohn
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/11/07

Loc: Rockledge Fl
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: bill1234]
      #5633820 - 01/20/13 07:33 PM

Looks like I'm leanin' toward a Lunt.

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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: PhotonJohn]
      #5634243 - 01/21/13 12:53 AM

I did get about an hour or so of clear skies this morning to try out my new LS80THa PT (single stack), with a B1800. My initial impressions are very positive with regards to build quality, with probably the stock Crayford focuser being the weakest part. It took quite a bit of tightening to get it so it would support itself and the Lunt zoom eyepiece. But once adjusted, it performed fairly well and I think was easier to operate that the SMII's helical.

At 560mm, the solar disk takes up about 1/2 or so of the field of view with the eyepiece on the longest FL setting. The full disk almost fits on the chip of my e2v Flea 3 (1/1.8"). There's plenty of room horizontally, but just not quite enough vertically, so at natvie focal length, I'll need to do a 2-panel mosaic for a full disk.

Details were good all around the disk with the surface detail not as defined as with the SMII, but not unexpected with a SS vs. DS. There does seem to be what I would term as "backscatter", but I honestly can't remember whether the SMII exhibited the same thing. No reflections or kidney beaning with viewing on axis, but you could see the etalon's center spot when you moved your eye off axis. Again, not unexpected and I've seen similar issues with the SMII.

The tuning of the LS80 is more subtle than with the SMII. Where with the SMII's internal etalon, you can make fairly large moves with both the internal and external etalons, the pressure tuner takes more turning to affect the on-band tuning. I haven't decided if this is a good or a bad thing, or just a different thing.

I'm looking forward to spending more time with the scope and still debating about the purchase of the DSII double stack module. I've been reading mixed reviews of performance of the stacked PT modules vs an external etalon.

Also, just a small kudos to the Mini-Tower mount that I borrowed from my club. I'm continually impressed by the simplicity and yet accuracy of this mount. Not wanting to deal with the cold and wind today, I set up in the hours next to an open window. Even without a positive GPS lock (just used the previous sessions's settings) and not quite exact leveling, the mount managed to place the sun almost dead center in the FOV and keep it there. For grab and go goto, this thing can't be beat.

Edited by drksky (01/21/13 08:06 PM)


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PhotonJohn
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/11/07

Loc: Rockledge Fl
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: drksky]
      #5634254 - 01/21/13 01:05 AM

Is the visual image in the Lunt orange/red?

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drksky
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: PhotonJohn]
      #5634261 - 01/21/13 01:14 AM

Orangish. But, I don't see any discernible difference in the color between the two scopes.

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PhotonJohn
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/11/07

Loc: Rockledge Fl
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: drksky]
      #5635086 - 01/21/13 02:25 PM

Thanks Doc.

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frolinmod
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Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: PhotonJohn]
      #5635316 - 01/21/13 04:42 PM

Funny how color perception works. The Sun looks quite red in both my LS80 and my LS100. The DSII for the LS80 is very much worth purchasing so long as you don't mind a little "enhanced sky glow" in the background.

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la200o
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Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: drksky]
      #5635458 - 01/21/13 06:02 PM

Quote:

Someone my club bought an SMII 90DS and while it is a fine scope, there are a few things that bug me about it.
- I hate the helical focuser. It's stiff and difficult to get a precise focus with.

- The extension tubes are sloppy.

-Terrible "sweet-spotting". Unless proms are almost directly in the center of the FOV, they're either very dim or gone completely, and this is through the BF15.

I just received an LS80 single stack, but haven't had a chance to use it, yet. I'm curious to see the comparison.




I'll be curious to hear your comparison. My pre-SMII SM90 is a very satisfactory instrument: Yes, a sweet spot, but not as bad as you describe by far, and the image is certainly not dim. (Mine is not DS, tho', so I guess that's the difference). The helical focuser is not so bad. My biggest objection to the scope itself is its humungus size and weight (beautiful to look at, however). The Lunt appeals to me because of the smaller size and because people seem so much happier with the way Lunt treats customers.

Clear skies,
Bill


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PhotonJohn
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/11/07

Loc: Rockledge Fl
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5635459 - 01/21/13 06:03 PM

Thanks Fro.

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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5635614 - 01/21/13 07:47 PM

I guess is all depends on your description of "orange" or "red". I call orange, well the color of an orange and red the color of a fire truck (except for those freaky lime green ones). I put the color at the eyepiece of both scopes somewhere in the middle of those two, but again, not a discernible difference between the two.

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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

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Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: la200o]
      #5635641 - 01/21/13 08:11 PM

I did post some comparison notes a few posts up.

I agree with you about the weight of the SMII. It is pretty to look at, but man is it a beast compared to the LS80.

I can't say much about Lunt's CS as I haven't had to deal with it. I did send them a request asking what the lead time on the LS80 was and never received a response. I just happened to get lucky an caught when OPT had one in stock.

I'll give the guy at OPT a tip 'o the hat. Since I ordered on the web, he saw that I had placed mt order before a local had called wanting to buy it. He called me so that we could complete the sale before it got jerked out from under me.

Guess I should also apologize to whomever in California wanted to buy the scope and didn't get it. Sorry.


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bunyon
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Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: drksky]
      #5635770 - 01/21/13 09:35 PM

I think focuser debates are interesting. Some people really get passionate about them. Others don't really seem to notice or care about the focuser (as long as it works a little bit). I confess to being in the latter group. Why someone would pay an extra few hundred bucks for a focuser change is beyond me.

But, if you're a focuser guy, you need to learn that you are and scratch the itch. Basically, know what is important to you and what isn't. Spend accordingly.


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George9
sage


Reged: 12/11/04

Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: bunyon]
      #5635847 - 01/21/13 10:27 PM

On focusers, it depends a lot on what you are putting in them. If a single Plossl eyepiece, then save your money. If a heavy binoviewer with two heavy eyepieces pointed to a sun high in the sky, then you probably want something that works relatively smoothly and then holds still.

That doesn't mean that any of the stock focusers is not good enough. But a heavy payload is where you would think about it.

George


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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

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Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm [Re: George9]
      #5636298 - 01/22/13 06:44 AM

I have to admit that I love LOVE the Feather Touch on my TMB130, but couldn't justify the expense on the solar scope. I'll be doing mostly photography with a 38 gram camera, so the stock crayford should be fine. It took some adjustment so that it would support itself, but it's just find now. It's not the best crayford I've used, but it's not the worst, either.

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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: drksky]
      #5636585 - 01/22/13 10:25 AM

I don't image, but the much despised helical focuser doesn't slip with heavy Ethos ep's.

Bill


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geminijk
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/03/08

Loc: TN
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: la200o]
      #5636946 - 01/22/13 01:45 PM

I recently picked up a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm and find it great. Do I regret it? Not at all, it will hold me over until I get a 80 or 90mm Ha for the next cycle. Do I wish I bought a Lunt? Not really, because I needed to put funds towards a monochrome camera, if I had the wiggle room in my budge I would have sprung for the Lunt PT 60bf12. Even on Stephens website for reviews, there is pretty much a toss up between the Lunt and the SolarMax if your talking the standard tilt-tuner.

The Helical focuser isn't bad at all, takes a bit to get use to, works fine in practice.

John


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SDTopensied
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Reged: 04/25/11

Loc: Atlanta
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: geminijk]
      #5660832 - 02/03/13 10:25 PM

I have no issues with the focuser on the SMII. It's not bad, just different than a Crayford style focuser...and that may be the source of the focuser debate.

The scope had no quality issues out of the box and I was pleased with it. With the DS on, there is definitely a sweet spot. I didn't find that to be the case without the DS.

Interestingly enough, the views through my Meade Series 5000 HD 60 eyepieces are better than the "Contrast Enhanced" Coronado eyepieces.
The views through the 12mm were especially pleasing to my eye.

-Steve


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mikertx
sage
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Reged: 09/29/05

Loc: Austin, TX
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: SDTopensied]
      #5662118 - 02/04/13 04:56 PM

I like my SMII-60 but didn't care for the focuser. I also wanted to be able to remotely control the focus. Ron at Moonlite fixed me up,
http://www.mikesastro.com/equipment/solarmax_moonlite/

Mike


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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Thinking of buying Coronado SolarMax II 60mm new [Re: mikertx]
      #5662391 - 02/04/13 07:59 PM

I think it is likely that you will wish to have a zoom lens.

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