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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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Copernicus1473
super member


Reged: 07/06/12

Questar Opinion
      #5683783 - 02/16/13 03:58 PM

Any comments on the vintage 1963 Questar Standard 3.5 Telescope posted on e-bay? I have never looked through one but I have been told the optics are superb.

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Ducky62
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/31/10

Loc: The ATL
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #5683882 - 02/16/13 05:00 PM

Quote:

No quarantee of working condition This is an auction therefore all sales are final.




I've never looked through one either but if I was going to ever buy a Questar I wouldn't choose a corroded, broken one that spent the last 30 years of its life in a "Florida attic".


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greedyshark
professor emeritus
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Reged: 10/31/05

Loc: 3rd Rock
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #5683917 - 02/16/13 05:25 PM

Looks to be in rough condition. Additionally, it is not a standard...it is a quartz as indicated by the "QTZ" in the serial number. I own a '64 quartz...it is superb.

Charles


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terraclarke
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: greedyshark]
      #5684014 - 02/16/13 06:25 PM

I've looked through my brother's Questar many times. I've looked through his Unitron 4 inch photo-equatorial twice. His Questar is his weapon of choice, many times over the 4 inch Uni, not because its better innately, however if you use this equation, you will find that given these terms, it is many times better:

Q = (O x I)/(W x S)
Where:
Q = overall quality of observing experience
O = optical quality
I = image appearance (brightness, contrast, and sharpness)
W = weight
S = Setup time

BTW, that's my equation, I invented it.

In other words, the Questar is an amazing piece of optical and mechanical engineering, its focal length is similar to a 4 inch Unitron, however it's aperture is a little less and it does have a central obstruction. It also fits in a case not much bigger than a shoe box, about like a microscope case, you can carry it in one hand, take it as an easy carry-on on an airplane, set it up on a good photo tripod, and be observing in less than five minutes, and seeing images that are not equal but are comparable to the contender in the afore mentioned comparison; however, in my eyes, and for reasons that are probably obvious to those who know me, the contender would still be my choice if I were spending that kind of money. (My brother bought the Questar for exactly the same amount of money he paid for the Unitron- exactly 2000 dollars.)

So would I rather have a 4 inch Unitron on an equatorial mount or a Questar? I'll take the Unitron hands down.
Would I rather get my lazy a@& up off the couch and out to observe if I have to go out and set up the Unitron photo-equatorial or the Questar? I'll choose the Questar over the Uni 19 nights out of 20. And that I would imagine is why my brother, who has over a dozen fine telescopes, hasn't taken anything out but the Questar in the past several years.

Finally, if you are going to get a Questar, get a good one and not one that looks like it was salvaged from a shipwreck.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #5684067 - 02/16/13 06:58 PM

Quote:

Any comments on the vintage 1963 Questar Standard 3.5 Telescope posted on e-bay? I have never looked through one but I have been told the optics are superb.




Condition aside, a Questar is a long focal length 3.5-inch telescope. It will present sharp views of the planets and Moon with detail similar to any other 90mm telescope. Deep sky objects? The brighter Messier will look good, though hardly detailed/resolved. If you just want to see a lot of stuff, a C5 will show much more. If you just want a Questar?...well, some people do...


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terraclarke
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: rmollise]
      #5684101 - 02/16/13 07:23 PM

I've seen M42 through both a Questar and a C5. The Questar won hands down. It was a good C5 and an average view of M42. The Questar presented what I could only characterize as superb. The contrast, definition, resolution of the trapezium, was handsdown, head and shoulders above the C5 view. Sure, you might see a few more faint fuzzys with a somewhat a larger aperture but you won't be seeing them through a Questar. Of course you won't be spending as much money either.

Terra


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bremms
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/31/12

Loc: SC
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5684130 - 02/16/13 07:40 PM

Questar is probably the finest telescope made. Truly superb. VERY good optics, mechanical marvel and very compact. Listen to Terra on this one. Even Taks are a bit industrial by comparison.
You will NOT be disappointed by the Questar. They are great people there too. If you have a problem, they can actually fix the scope. Old school American company like Vernonscope and D&G.
C5's can be OK sometimes.... they do collect more light that's about it.


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actionhac
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Reged: 08/09/08

Loc: Seattle
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: rmollise]
      #5684132 - 02/16/13 07:41 PM

I got to finally look at and through one that was for sale the other day.
I was excited to say the least. I was so excited I think the seller was worried I might drop it.
It was a "Field model" and had a sliding purple dew shield. The optical tube will slip right out of the dew shield so BE CAREFUL.
We met at a shopping mall. I brought my own tripod.
I think its a fine instrument. I like the built-in barlow you can flip in or out of the optical path. And the built-in diagonal with rotating rear cell.
This one was pyrex with broadband coatings. 24mm eyepiece.
I unscrewed the eyepiece and looked though the telescope and I noticed all was not well, some unsymetricalness to the optics. I thought it fine for day time terrestrial but was afraid it would not be fine for celestial so I did not buy the scope. The owner is a birder and had never used it for astronomy.
I also felt it was way to complex for me to go in and tinker with. I'm fine with my C90 but the Questar as beautifully made as it is has a lot going on inside that were for the factory only.

Robert


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bremms
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/31/12

Loc: SC
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: bremms]
      #5684149 - 02/16/13 07:55 PM

Problem for me is, a good one is 2.5k+ That's SERIOUS telescope time for me. I like vintage C5's too. but they are $3-600 depending on condition.
$2000 buys a Zambuto 12.5.. Just sayin'
Cumberland Optical in MD makes Questar optics.
For $1000 they sell a 6" Mak optics set. Roll your own 6" Q
That is on my long term list. They will up spec the optics or a little extra. OOHH I'm gettiing excited


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #5684211 - 02/16/13 08:49 PM

They are a classic telescope. My first view, of the moon, was through one.

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starman876
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: bremms]
      #5684218 - 02/16/13 08:51 PM

Like Terra stated. It is that scope you can pick up im one hand and use. You can use anywhere and have superb optics that are hard to match by any scope out there pound for pound. If I had my choice between a Questar and a high end 4" refractor I would take the refractor. Lucky I have both and as usual aperture does win as long as the optics are superb. There are only a couple of 90mm refactors I would choose over the questar and they are all triplets and cost close to $2000 or more and you still need to byuy the mount and tripod to use it. Unless you have looked throuhg one for extended periods and have made serious observations with the comparison scope I would suggest you do not make any comments

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Paul Hyndman
sage


Reged: 07/13/04

Loc: Connecticut Shoreline USA
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #5684288 - 02/16/13 09:31 PM

Fine craftsmanship and quite collectible to be sure but, personal legends aside, optical magic always bows to the laws of physics.

Paul


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starman876
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: VA
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Paul Hyndman]
      #5684318 - 02/16/13 09:50 PM

Quote:

Fine craftsmanship and quite collectible to be sure but, personal legends aside, optical magic always bows to the laws of physics.

Paul




That they do so well. Well, any scope with superb optics I have found break the 50X per inch rule. I think that rule was made for run of the mill optics.


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Ducky62
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/31/10

Loc: The ATL
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Copernicus1473]
      #5684323 - 02/16/13 09:51 PM

The Questar at auction the OP is referring to

I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole.
It is in bad cosmetic shape.
The seller "doesn't know anything about telescopes" and is offering it "as is, all sales final" and specifically saying it is not guaranteed to work.
The seller describes it as having been stored in a "Florida attic" for 30+ years, corroding the metal and destroying the case.

This may be fine for someone who is salvaging parts or really likes to gamble. I wouldn't hit the buy it now on this one at the current bid

I've seen nice looking Questars offered on Astromart for under $2k and ones sell on Ebay for around that much.
The former are well described by knowlegeable sellers and many of the latter are well-photographed, described AND in some cases returnable.

JMHO


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actionhac
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/09/08

Loc: Seattle
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Ducky62]
      #5684334 - 02/16/13 10:02 PM

Here is the one I looked at. And it is still active. About 2hrs north of Seattle and me.
I'm no expert but it may need to go back to the factory for collimation. It spent its life in the field bird watching and may have been knocked around although it is very sharp terrestrially. The sun has faded the black anodizing but the really neat purple is OK.
I had it in my hands!
http://skagit.craigslist.org/for/3553144382.html

Robert


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Scott in NCAdministrator
80mm Refractor Fanatic
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Reged: 03/05/05

Loc: NC
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Ducky62]
      #5684343 - 02/16/13 10:12 PM

If I ever decided that I wanted a Questar, it would be because I wanted a fine, collectable, vintage scope, not a "beater". Now I'm not opposed to buying a scope with a few wear marks here and there as long as the optics are pristine, esp. if I got a really great deal on the scope. But IMHO, the current bid price of $610 is too much for a scope that's obviously been abused, and for which the seller won't offer any guarantee that it actually works. Too bad the scope couldn't be examined in person, though. I'd love to hear that some CN member was able to examine the scope, determined it to be optically perfect, and picked up an optical gem of a scope for under $700!

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Datapanic
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Reged: 10/17/09

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Scott in NC]
      #5684452 - 02/16/13 11:44 PM

No Questar thread is complete without the Apo Refractor vs Questar Telescope Video!

"My telescope is more expensive than your telescope can ever hope to be"

"My telescope is a Questar. The primary is made from a zero expansion substrate that can only be exported from the Oort Cloud"


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bremms
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/31/12

Loc: SC
Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: Datapanic]
      #5684724 - 02/17/13 07:56 AM

That one is very funny. Been floating around on some of the other forums here .. Yes, I go to other forums.

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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: starman876]
      #5684781 - 02/17/13 09:01 AM

Quote:

Unless you have looked throuhg one for extended periods and have made serious observations with the comparison scope I would suggest you do not make any comments




I have, and I stand by my comments, and will make more. It's a good 3.5-inch telescope, but not the best, and hardly perfect. Mechanically, it's usually outstanding, but not always. More than one Questar I've used exhibits a surprising amount of backlash in its slow motions. The undertube integrated finder is cool but not very practical. And it dews up in a real quick hurry. Historically the telescopes' J.R. Cumberland optics are usually top notch, but, again, not always. A Questar 3.5 is for someone who wants one, just like a Rolex is a watch for someon who wants one. There are watches that cost less, keep time as good as or better than the Rolex, and are more practical and full-featured. Same goes for the Questar. If you want one because you love the Questars, get one. If you want a very functional grab and go, there are better choices.

Hell, if you just like the 90mm MCT paradigm, and don't have to have the build quality, a dadgum ETX 90 will present images virtualy indistinguishable from the Questar. Heck so will a 200 buck C90.

Edited by rmollise (02/17/13 09:04 AM)


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Questar Opinion new [Re: terraclarke]
      #5684802 - 02/17/13 09:12 AM

Quote:

I've seen M42 through both a Questar and a C5. The Questar won hands down. It was a good C5 and an average view of M42. The Questar presented what I could only characterize as superb. The contrast, definition, resolution of the trapezium, was handsdown, head and shoulders above the C5 view. Sure, you might see a few more faint fuzzys with a somewhat a larger aperture but you won't be seeing them through a Questar. Of course you won't be spending as much money either.

Terra




Well, more than a little; try about twice as much light. Many more DSOs are visible in the C5 and brighter ones are considerably more detailed. That doesn't mean the Q3.5 is a bad telescope, it's just a small, long focal length, expensive telescope.


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