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Meade ETX 80AT-TC vs. Celestron Nexstar 4SE

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#1 schwimmair

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 09:43 AM

Hi, am looking at getting either a Meade ETX 80AT-TC or a Celestron Nexstar 4SE this afternoon. Trying to figure out which one would be a better overall choice.

The Meade ETX 80AT-TC is brand new ($249, backpack version). It comes with a 1 year warranty and if I pay with my credit card I can get an additional year of warranty through my bank. I have used the Meade ETX 80AT-TC before and am familiar with the AutoStar alignment process.

The Celestron Nexstar 4SE is on about 2 years old ($250 on craigslist) and besides doing some basic research, not really sure about the alignment process or if it will be any more detail in the eyepiece.

I have learned that aperture is king, but am guessing that a refractor that is 3" (3.14 to be exact) compared to Maksutov-Cassegrain that is 4" is about the same and maybe even slightly better in the refractor.

Overall I would like to look at as much as possible, but I am realistic with the limitations of such a small aperature. I am in a suburb of Atlana, and the light pollution is moderate.

Sooo the $250 question is which one would you buy, and why?

Thanks,

Schwimm

#2 sailor70623

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 09:56 AM

New is nice, BUT, the smaller the aperture, the more diffe an inch makes.
The Go-To system on the Celestron is much better than the ETX scopes, I have had both.
You may find you get some other extras with the Used scope, that you may need or want to buy with the new scope.

The Celestron's tri pod is much more stable.

The ETX 80 will have a wider FOV, but will also have Ca, that the Se (Celestron) doesn't.

Both these small scopes have a Go-To that will go to many targets that you can't see in a scope that small. So don't worry about which scope has more targets in it's memory.

Meade's back pack scopes are nice to carry, but the pack isn't anywhere near the protection a box or case is.

Let the seller of the Celestron know what you are choosing against, he may cut the price a bit.
The Celestron is a better scope, and at $250, a good price.
If you don't keep either scope, you will get $250 for a used 4"Se, but may only get $100-150 for the 80mm ETX. Buying used keeps losses down when you move on to other scopes.
If the 4"Se comes with a case, dew shield and an eyepiece or 2, GRAB THE CELESTRON. Even if it was $300.

#3 RickShelton

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 11:32 AM

I agree with Greg, get the Nexstar, better mount, easier to align, built in wedge and you will be getting a $500 scope for half price. Having used the ETX, you may take a little while to get used to the Nexstar HC but after you do it will be easier to use...
Hope this helps,
Rick

#4 caheaton

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:40 PM

Just wanted to add that even though aperture is king, the 4SE will likely have a light gathering ability on par with the ETX-80 due to the secondary obstruction.

I own the ETX-80. It's a fine travel scope, but the goto mechanism is a bit fragile (mine started giving me problems after about 7 or 8 months of very heavy use). It's now dedicated as a travel scope and fill that bill nicely. It's light, compact and the wide FOV makes it a joy to use for DSO's. I recently had it on a camping trip it offered up views of the milky way that took in 3.5 degree chunks of sky that were jaw dropping to say the least.

An advantage of the 4SE that is also worth mentioning is the mount. Should the goto mount give you problems, it is very easy to remove the scope and place it on another mount. The ETX, with it's fork mount, is quite a bit more troublesome to move.

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 01:05 PM

An advantage of the 4SE that is also worth mentioning is the mount. Should the goto mount give you problems, it is very easy to remove the scope and place it on another mount. The ETX, with it's fork mount, is quite a bit more troublesome to move.



The other side of the coin is that the SE mount can be used with multiple scopes, with the ETX, you are stuck with the 80mm F/5. So, if you find that you want those widefield views rather than the high magnification views of the MAK, just find a used ST-80, around $100 usually and you will be set.

The SE mount is a step up from the Celestron SLT and the ETX 80 mounts, if it is in good condition, it is probably worth $250 by itself.

Jon

#6 schwimmair

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:42 PM

I wanted to thank everybody for their insightful replies!

I went and looked at the 4SE and decided not to buy it. It had some scratches on the OTA and some other blemishes that didn't give me a good warm and fuzzy feeling about how well it was kept.

I think for now I am going to hold off on the Meade ETX 80AT-TC and look for a good used Celestron.

Thanks again,

Schwimm

#7 jgraham

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 04:19 PM

I own both the ETX-60 and -80 backpack scopes and they're very nice. Their only real limitation is they are short focal length refractors. This makes them well suited for wide field use and low-power observing of the moon and planets, but they struggle a bit at high magnification. The little ETX-60 has even proven to be very effective as an imaging platform when matched with the right camera (a DSI Pro III, see my posts in the ETX forum). However, as a general-purpose scope I'd take a hard look at a small MCT like the ETX-90 (or similar from other manufacturers). The MCT design lends itself very nicely to sharp high contrast images with moderate to high magnifications. I own two Meades MCTs (a DSX-90 and an ETX-125PE) and they're very nice. For simplicity and a tight budget the Orion tabletop 90mm MCT is also a great little scope. I bought one to use a guide scope, but for now it's one of my favorite grab'n go scopes.

Have fun!

#8 *skyguy*

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 09:11 PM


Sooo the $250 question is which one would you buy, and why?


I'd forget both of the scopes and buy an Orion Classic 6" Dob ($280). Everything will look much better with this scope.

#9 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 01:00 PM



Sooo the $250 question is which one would you buy, and why?


I'd forget both of the scopes and buy an Orion Classic 6" Dob ($280). Everything will look much better with this scope.


I agree BUT ONLY IF the OP can find his targets...

Seriously completely different animals with different uses...

I'd personally take the SE BUT it would see most of its action on 3 targets (all easy to find ...Moon, Jupiter and Saturn so there goes the need for GoTo... lol

Bob G.

#10 Kfrank

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 02:26 PM



Sooo the $250 question is which one would you buy, and why?


I'd forget both of the scopes and buy an Orion Classic 6" Dob ($280). Everything will look much better with this scope.


Get a dob!!!!!

This universal answer to nearly every "which scope" question just HAD to appear in this thread sooner or later.

#11 MikeM6

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 02:41 PM

I have the ETX80AT-TC and all I can say is thank goodness it was a gift. I still have it in the basement, with my other scopes, but I'll take my Orion XT8 any day.

#12 tjay

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 05:35 PM

I have a ETX 80 back pack, and Nexstar 8 GPS. The Celestron software is way easier to use, IMHO, so I'd go with the Nexstar 4SE.

#13 sailor70623

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 11:51 PM

http://www.walmart.c...escope/11080459
This would be another 80mm option. Easier to use hand controll, good scope, under $250. The tripod is it's weakness, so plan on stiffening that up some.

#14 schwimmair

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 12:04 AM

Thanks everybody for the advice! I actually bought a 6SE yesterday (impulse buy, lol) and am loving it! I have got a lot of useful tips in the Nexstar SE section of the forum (as well as this thread). I am planning a on making a first light thread tomorrow. Thanks CN for a great site!

Schwimm

#15 sailor70623

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 01:23 AM

Aperture fever already! 6" is an supper first scope. Large enough to see some detail in many DSOs. That scope should last quite a while. Very good scope. Do make, or buy a dew shield. It will not only let you observe a bit longer before the dew messes up your night, but will also block a lot of ambient light, improving your contrast. Find a chair to use while you observe too. You can see a lot more when you are comfortable. Dress warm, it's colder than you think when you are just sitting, looking through the scope. We'll be waiting on that first light report.

#16 jgraham

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 06:40 AM

Cool! That is a very nice scope and I am sure that you will enjoy it.

Have fun!

#17 MikeM6

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 08:54 AM

I've been looking at the 6SE scope myself, so I am anxious to read that first light thread. Be prepared for the new scope "curse" of cloudy skies when you get your scope set up.

#18 JT5

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 12:42 PM

Congratulation on the scope. I'm sure you will love it.

John

#19 *skyguy*

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 01:32 PM

Hey Schwimm,

Fantastic choice. The Celestron 6SE is probably one of the very best scopes for a beginner ... somewhat expensive to start out with, but very, very good. You could spend a lifetime and not outgrow its capabilities.

#20 tjay

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 04:39 PM

Congrats. I'm sure you'll love the 6SE. It's a great scope.

#21 schwimmair

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 12:51 PM

Hey for the wanted to read my first light report on my 6SE here is the link.

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/2

Thanks again for all the tips!

Schwimm


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