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I saw the ETX-LS!

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#1 Starlighter

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 11:08 AM

Yesterday, I happened to be at a local scope store that had one brought in for a look by a Meade rep. All I can say is this is one impressive looking scope! The older ETX looks like a toy next to it. It's quite heavy. I'd say over 30 lbs for the mount and the OTA. If anything, it's overbuilt. If it turns out to be relatively bug free, this will be one great scope.

#2 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 01:34 PM

Waiting for afirst light report from someone??? anytime now.

#3 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:11 PM

Hi Starlighter.

Was that a working unit?
Did the Meade Rep give a demo with it, or was the scope just for display and a look thru?? :question:

#4 Starlighter

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:39 PM

It's a working unit. I just missed the demo when I walked in. I was told by the store people that it worked perfectly. Just as advertised.

This is one serious looking piece of gear. Just lifting it gave my suffering back a workout! And it wasn't on its tripod. The tripod is beefier than the one that comes with the ETX125. But it doesn't come with a built-in wedge. If it did and someone tried to use it, the scope would easily tip over. The Meade rep told me they will make a proper accessory wedge available at some point in the near future for those who wish to do accurate astrophotography utilizing lengthy exposure times. So far, no factory hard case will be available. The store was looking at which case they sell would fit the scope. It turns out they had to use one of the largest! And even then, the diagonal had to be removed with the scope on its mount laid in at an angle.

This scope is way overbuilt. It all made in Mexico at Meade's facility. The OTA looks solid. The blue color is quite attractive. The focuser is buttery smooth.

The scope uses all metal gearing. In fact, I was told it's the same mechanism that's used in their larger LX200 series.

This looks like a winner for Meade! If I hadn't plunked down a small fortune on a brand new TV-85, I would seriously consider buying one.

#5 rmollise

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 05:49 PM

It's a working unit. I just missed the demo when I walked in. I was told by the store people that it worked perfectly. Just as advertised.


On the sky? Or did they jus' play around with it inside?

I like the basic idea of the scope...but I reckon I'd never be able to part with my trusty 125PE, Charity Hope Valentine. And I'd prob'ly miss those MCT optics if I did. ;)

#6 Starlighter

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:03 PM

It's my understand they set it up during daytime so it slewed towards objects. But being bright daylight, they were impossible to see.

You have to see it in person to appreciate it. The older ETX might have excellent optics, but this one simply blows it out the door when it comes to the build quality. Sit it next to an older ETX and the older version comes off as a toy.

Now as far as the quality of this new scope's optics go, I have no idea how it will compare. It has more aperture than the 125ETXPE. It's a coma-free design. But it does require collimation, providing it's knocked out of alignment. That said, I can say from my own experience that collimating an SCT is quite easy. Adding Bob's Knobs made it a no-hassle quick procedure.

#7 rmollise

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 09:19 AM

I can say from my own experience that collimating an SCT is quite easy.


That's what I hear... ;)

#8 Arthur Dent

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 09:43 AM

Well, that all depends on how precise you want to carry out the collimation.

Rough & ready collimation is easy on an SCT, as is a more precise form - providing you have something like Bob's Knobs and a short scope tube like an SCT - because you can view the effect of turning one of the 3 collimation screws through the eyepiece.

The final part of collimation - getting the scope to REALLY perform, isn't easy - but then you have to turn the correct collimation screw about 1/15 to 1/12 of a turn for that final tweak!

We are talking a difference of about 1/6 to 1/10 lambda here.

An excellent site is: SCTScopes.net and many, many sites refer to: Thierry Legault's Site on SCT Collimation - this guy knows what he is talking about!

Art

#9 Starlighter

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 10:39 AM

I collimate until I see a perfect circle on an unfocused bright star.

#10 Arthur Dent

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 12:14 PM

Hi Starlighter,

I tried to do that last night but the oof star was "flaring" - I obviously hadn't let the scope cool down enough and tube currents were playing havoc.

Beat a hasty retreat indoors when I started coughing as I am trying to shift a heavy cold that I've had now for 4 weeks :(

Art

#11 Starlighter

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 02:41 PM

Watch it. Don't end up with pneumonia.

#12 rmollise

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 03:09 PM

Well, that all depends on how precise you want to carry out the collimation.


What I mean is that I've collimated one or two over the last 35 years. :lol:

#13 Mike Cook

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 05:11 PM

I'm glad to read that the ETX-LS appears to be a solidly built telescope. Time will tell though once it is in the field and in use. Supposed to be available in my part of the world around April. Does the central obstruction look as large in real life as it appears in videos and photos?
Michael C

#14 Paula E

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 06:08 PM

This seems like a really exciting product. Is it still small and light enough, in your opinion, to be "grab-n-go?"

If it is as fool-proof as advertised, and they can market it correctly, this sounds like an amazingly good starter scope.

I've thought about lending my brother-in-law my old 8" lx-200. It's not a difficult scope to setup, but you have to know the sky at least a little bit in order for the goto to really work well. I'd like to share with him, but the learning curve for starting this hobby makes it tough.

The $1300 price (which isn't bad at all in my opinion) might put some off though. $1300 seems like a lot of money to spend on a new hobby - although if the ETX-LS lives up to it's promise, it seems like it would last a person a long time.

Anyway, thanks for the report. This is sounding better and better to me! :)

#15 teskridg

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 06:39 PM

Obviously the competition for this would be a Celestron 6SE at $999 list. Given the lightswitch technology, the ACF optics and the beefier looking mount, I believe Meade has priced the LS strategically well. Especially if the gears are metal and not as chintzy or noisy as those on the ETX models.

#16 Starlighter

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 07:11 PM

I'm glad to read that the ETX-LS appears to be a solidly built telescope. Time will tell though once it is in the field and in use. Supposed to be available in my part of the world around April. Does the central obstruction look as large in real life as it appears in videos and photos?
Michael C


That's the one thing that bothered me. Yes, the CO is large. Larger than the one on my 6SE. I guess it has to do with the design to remove coma. But I also suspect it will reduce contrast.

#17 Starlighter

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 07:17 PM

This seems like a really exciting product. Is it still small and light enough, in your opinion, to be "grab-n-go?"


At over 30 lbs for the single-arm mount and the OTA, it's not exactly lightweight. You have to add another ten to fifteen pounds for the beefed up tripod. My entire 6SE weighs around 30 LBs.

The $1300 price (which isn't bad at all in my opinion) might put some off though. $1300 seems like a lot of money to spend on a new hobby - although if the ETX-LS lives up to it's promise, it seems like it would last a person a long time.


I believe the suggested list price is quite fair. This is one well built scope.

#18 jgraham

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 09:40 PM

I suspect the larger CO is to make full advantage of the ACF optics; what good is a nice flat field of you clip it with vignetting by using an under-sized secondary? Most visual scopes are designed around a 70% fully illuminatd field (about 0.7 inches across at the focal plane). It would be interesting to compare the size of the CO of a pre-ACF SC8 with the new ACF SC8s.

#19 StarWars

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:37 AM

Hi Starlighter.

Was that a working unit?
Did the Meade Rep give a demo with it, or was the scope just for display and a look thru?? :question:



As it stands the ETX-LS is just a prototype model. It remains to be seen if Meade will produce this scope with the current preorders... :o



:imawake:

#20 supercoolone

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:48 AM

OPT's salesforce has a review of the ETX-LS and they gave positive comments on actual test. It sounded good.

#21 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:52 AM

I'll stay on the sidelines for a few YEARS after the scopes hit the streets before I write a check for one. IF and only IF I see a major advantage of using one...

Bob G.

#22 Starlighter

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:01 AM

Hi Starlighter.

Was that a working unit?
Did the Meade Rep give a demo with it, or was the scope just for display and a look thru?? :question:



As it stands the ETX-LS is just a prototype model. It remains to be seen if Meade will produce this scope with the current preorders... :o



:imawake:


That's not what I was told. Meade is building them and they will hit dealers by late April.

#23 Boom

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 12:20 AM

Hmmmm...

It appears as if there will be two versions of the LS. A SCT version for $1299 and the ACF version for $1499.

Doh...

#24 Starlighter

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 12:47 AM

I saw that. I wonder what's up. I also wonder if the SCT version has a smaller central obstruction. The one on the ACF version is larger than the one on my Nexstar 6SE SCT.

#25 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 07:44 AM

That is kind of interesting....My initial guy feeling is that the Marketing department wanted to put a dollar value on the AFC scopes advantage over the Normal SCT design... Thus making any ACF worth at least 200 bucks more then their competitors regular designs...????

Time will tell... but my gut also tells me that the novice buyer will fork over the extra money for the AFC because the optics must be better...

Not a bad move by Meade...especially if they ship the majority of the LSs' out the door with AFC

Bob G.


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