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QUESTARs 50th Anniversary commemorating the hype

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#26 wormstar

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 06:07 PM

There are always going to be high end cars,fine watches, insanely priced shoes. What something is worth is a personal thing. It's not always about money. Some people just like nice stuff!

#27 bunyon

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:11 PM

As a medium-term amateur (first S&T in 1983), I can attest to the outlandishness of the ads.

I don't think anyone is quibbling with the quality. I've never heard anyone, no matter how silly they thought the hype for a 3.5" scope, say anything negative about the actual instrument (aside from size).

But the ads. Oh, the ads.

However, if I won the powerball, I'd have one on order. No one says your grab'n'go can't be a luxury item.

#28 JJK

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:15 PM

I have to agree that the Questar's outlandish claims are annoying and untrue, but hopefully the folks who buy them are smart enough to know that.

I have always wanted one, but can never justify the cost. The problem is that being a mechanical engineer by trade, I know what it costs to make and assemble precise machinery. Unfortunately, that is what prevents me from buying one. There is no way Questars should cost so much except that you are paying double for the reputation.

A C90 can be had for $140 which is the OTA. Now I'm not saying that a C90 is equal to a Questar OTA but with some additional precise machining and optical work it could be the equal. How much would you have to spend, maybe $500. The eyepieces retail are $235 each and to make the mount with the same quality about $1000. So if someone wanted to manufacture a 90mm. Mak-Cas with similar quality as a Questar it would cost about $2160. And that's why I can't justify in my mind purchasing one.


I've had both a Meade 90 Mak and previously owned Questar 3.5. There was no comparison in build qualities of the OTAs and mounts (IMO, the Questar was far better and well worth the price I paid for the instrument).

I gave the Meade (plus mount and tripod) away to someone who couldn't afford any telescope and don't miss it at all. If I ever sell the Questar (I have overlap of scopes of that size and don't really need such a portable instrument anymore), I would definitely question whether I made the right decision.

It's hard to compare these things in a meaningful way. The Questar is such an elegant design and executed extremely well. The built-in finder, reasonable quality mount, the RA and DEC setting circles (good enough to aid finding things w/in the scope's reach), table-top legs, and compact case put the instrument in a class of its own.

#29 JJK

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:21 PM

Sure:

http://www.astro-physics.com/

Oh. You wanted the Questar link. :shrug:


Are you suggesting AP hypes their products beyond its capabilities?

#30 GeneT

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:23 PM

when I strap my Omega Constelation onto my wrist It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that comes with owning a fine time piece,


Same for my Rolex Submariner. :grin:

#31 GeneT

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:36 PM

My first telescopic view was through a 3.5 inch Questar. We visited a doctor living in Ruth, Nevada, about 7 miles west of Ely. It was a cold February, but clear sky evening. He dialed in the half moon, and I was hooked--about 57 years ago. I drooled over the Questar ads in the Sky and Telescope magazines in the Ely library. I believe they cost about $1K back then, but I am not sure. I knew that I probably could never afford a Questar, but I dreamed of owning one some day. (I could barely afford the $79.95 for a four inch Dynascope.) Over the years, when I could afford a Questar, my desire for one went away, and I moved into other telescope ventures. However, it was a 3.5 inch Questar that lit my fire.

#32 Geo31

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:59 PM

I have to admit, despite the hype, I've seen some on eBay and thought, Hmmmm......

As for the comment on the unchanging design, I personally think the design is timeless.

#33 azure1961p

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:35 PM

I read Pete's post purely in the vein of the marketing hype.


Exactly Glenn. Why it got twisted into scope bashing is beyond me. Its the hype. Its pure tripe a lot of times. Take this excerpt from the same source:

For example, at a distance of one mile, optical theory prescribes a resolution of 1/3rd of an inch for the 3.5” aperture Questar – but a 3.5” Questar like this 50th Anniversary Edition, under good seeing conditions, can routinely resolve much thinner bicycle spokes at one mile, and leaf stems at two miles! And theory says that a Questar should not be able to resolve lunar craterlets and rilles under 1.3 arc seconds across – yet there are countless Questar owners and Questar photos that prove optical theory wrong.

Folks this is nonsense. The bicycle spokes being visible through a 3.5" aperture at that distance is merely linear resolution. Questar wants you to believe they've bypassed physics with optical excellence like some secret back door to higher resolution when its all actually pretty academic. Seeing craterlets below the resolution of the scope is something any mediocre scope will do. It doesn't mean angular resolution has been breeched - the fact is the crater is seen as an unresolved spot. A 60mm entry level refractor will show the same phenomenon

The part that irks me about their approach in any number of examples is they stoop to misinformation and exaggeration in order to push a first rate product. The instrument is on one level, their marketing is on another plane entirely and at this late date its even embaressing to see it persist.

Back in the early 70s, late 60s amateurs weren't as informed as they are today on optical theory. Some were obviously but suffice it to say today's astronomers, many of which have read Suiters book are in a different league which makes the hype that much more inappropriate. When the marketing hype reverts to outlandish claims against an 8" aperture scopes like they did back in the day, well its objectionable.

I'm a little taken aback how much my OP was questioned on points I never raised with original context glossed over or not read at all.

Pete

#34 azure1961p

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:52 PM

I have to agree that the Questar's outlandish claims are annoying and untrue, but hopefully the folks who buy them are smart enough to know that.

I have always wanted one, but can never justify the cost. The problem is that being a mechanical engineer by trade, I know what it costs to make and assemble precise machinery. Unfortunately, that is what prevents me from buying one. There is no way Questars should cost so much except that you are paying double for the reputation.

A C90 can be had for $140 which is the OTA. Now I'm not saying that a C90 is equal to a Questar OTA but with some additional precise machining and optical work it could be the equal. How much would you have to spend, maybe $500. The eyepieces retail are $235 each and to make the mount with the same quality about $1000. So if someone wanted to manufacture a 90mm. Mak-Cas with similar quality as a Questar it would cost about $2160. And that's why I can't justify in my mind purchasing one.


I've had both a Meade 90 Mak and previously owned Questar 3.5. There was no comparison in build qualities of the OTAs and mounts (IMO, the Questar was far better and well worth the price I paid for the instrument).

I gave the Meade (plus mount and tripod) away to someone who couldn't afford any telescope and don't miss it at all. If I ever sell the Questar (I have overlap of scopes of that size and don't really need such a portable instrument anymore), I would definitely question whether I made the right decision.

It's hard to compare these things in a meaningful way. The Questar is such an elegant design and executed extremely well. The built-in finder, reasonable quality mount, the RA and DEC setting circles (good enough to aid finding things w/in the scope's reach), table-top legs, and compact case put the instrument in a class of its own.


There's no disputing the design and execution of any Q. That was never the intent. I've been a lifelong fan of the 3.5 and enjoyed the views and the controls. If its not in the Smithsonian, it oughta be. My objection is how they push the product.

Its just a 3.5" aperture and that's just fine. And in a compound system the best in the world. Its these rubbery claims stretched into nonsense like they are trying to sell an Edsel that don't measure up. Unless Ive missed something Ive never seen Nagler or Christen stoop to these levels. They know they don't have to and their products are solid on their own merit .


The scope is in one place - how its sold is another. Its not all bad either. They did a lot of excellent promo too. But when they revert to the nonsense- its like: really do you need to do that?

Pete

#35 Gil V

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:58 PM

I had a chance to use a Questar back in the day - Bob Little lent me his for a couple of nights when I was at Criterion.

It was a good little scope. Nice airy disk - which is not that hard to achieve in a small scope.

But, it was a 3-1/2" scope. Jupiter in a 3-1/2" diffraction-limited scope is not that impressive. In telescopes, aperture is everything. When there are so many great scopes to choose from, almost all of them with larger aperture and smaller price, what is the point?

#36 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:41 AM

Pete,

Your point wasn't exactly clear initially, but it is now. Your question is good, but the only folks who can answer it accurately are those who designed the ads.


Clear Skies,
jjk

#37 Hilmi

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:57 AM

JJK, I beg to defer, Pete was very clear and I had no trouble understanding his point. I think people just had a knee jerk reaction and started posting responses before properly reading his post.

#38 Asbytec

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:46 AM

Questar is probably within the rules claiming it can best the Dawes limit due to that limit being determined by an unobstructed aperture. The Questar is obstructed and, in average to good seeing, can slightly exceed Dawes.

That it can best an 8" SCT, though, means understanding how seeing affects aperture. To my understanding, with the Fried parameter near 4", an 8" aperture will still dominate. This is especially so with short exposure. For the Q3.5 to best an 8", if it can be done at all, would require terrible seeing under the jet stream. However, under those conditions, the Q will loose its diffraction limited performance, anyway.

There is a certain magic with the MCT design, though. I cannot nail it down, but can simply say the design has inspired me in much the same way Questars inspire those who love them.

#39 johnnyha

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:49 AM

Well the whole "4 inch microcells" schpiel is pure mumbo jumbo. Who came up with that one? Even if such things existed, they expect anybody to believe that a 3.5" tracking scope will always be looking exactly through the center of one? :roflmao:

#40 coz

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:57 AM

I have one and love it. It gets the most use due to convenience and it's allowed me to share great views with a lot of people who would normally not be interested. I also like supporting a local business and don't mind paying a premium for quality. Buy a used one and try it!

#41 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:46 AM

JJK, I beg to defer, Pete was very clear and I had no trouble understanding his point. I think people just had a knee jerk reaction and started posting responses before properly reading his post.


It isn't often that people are perfectly clear in their posts. I wasn't sure if Pete's OP had more than one meaning, and that's why I had first asked him what his point was. Besides, Pete posed no question, so were the proper responses "yeah, I believed the hype and was swindled out of a lot of cash", "I never believed the hype", etc.?

If that marketing hype was actually published, and was believed to be true by unsuspecting buyers, so be it. There's nothing one can do about it now. I recall reading Q ads long ago. If the offending text was in them, I apparently ignored it, because I don't recall seeing anything like what Pete mentioned.

Frankly, I don't know anyone who would believe the first claim (but I could believe that a Q 3.5 would outperform a poorly made larger aperture scope). The second claim has shades of truth. In my experience, there are nights with turbulence so bad that an AP 175 f/8 apo performs no better than an AP 105 f/5.9 Traveler (in resolving lunar features).

I also don't see any problem with others' responses to the OP. I don't view them as knee-jerk reactions or calls to have Pete burned at the stake (my exaggeration here). IMO, it's interesting to see what others think about the Questar 3.5 and its competition. I bought a used Q Duplex a few years ago for its compactness, quality of workmanship, and optical quality. I tested a Q50 (excellent scope) and the Duplex I eventually bought and compared them to other scopes I had in that price range. Neither Q defied optical theories, and I didn't expect them to. The Q that I bought does precisely what I expected of it and to me was well worth its price ($2.5K). There really is no other instrument like it.

BTW, I think you meant to say you beg to differ.

#42 Atl

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:21 AM

I just know that when I go in the scope shop in Tucson there are more second hand Questars for sale than any other single brand.

#43 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:39 AM

I just know that when I go in the scope shop in Tucson there are more second hand Questars for sale than any other single brand.


I don't know whether your experience is common. FWIW, used Questars are not often for sale at Hands on Optics or Company Seven (stores in MD).

I might eventually sell my Q 3.5 if its purpose (extreme portability w/o sacrificing optical or mechanical quality) no longer exists for me. If I had a child, I'd want to pass the Q onto her or him. I think it's a great instrument and it performs as I expected.

I regrettably sold an AP 180 f/9 EDT a year ago (and other high quality scopes and mounts over the years). That doesn't mean it was bad or overhyped. In fact, it is a phenomenal instrument.

#44 jrbarnett

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:44 AM

Questar? P'shah! They lack "Majesty Factor", and they aren't even triple tested by Vic Maris. How good could they really be?

:grin:

- Jim

#45 amicus sidera

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:01 AM

Any firm that uses such hyperbole in their advertisements is not so much selling a product as they are forming a religion, in my estimation. The derivation of the following quote is unclear, but I feel that it describes this approach well: "Don't tell people what to do; instead, tell them who they are, and soon you will have them eating out of your hand."

The world consists, on a sliding scale, of generally two types of individual: those who are inner-directed (a minority), and those who are outer-directed. The former has little to no use for external reinforcement of their inner life, while such reinforcement can be the virtual life's blood of the latter. The heavily outer-directed may require near-constant stroking of their egos to remain in balance, and will often suspend critical thought if it interferes with their pursuit of gratification.

There are no magic telescopes, save for those that are created in the minds of those that truly need them.

That said, the Questar 3.5 is indeed a beautiful, exceptionally well-executed instrument with superb optics; one which can perform double duty as an ostentatious display of wealth, if desired, and functions quite nicely in that regard. :grin:

#46 Cotts

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:24 AM

I found this Questar brochure in about 10 seconds via Google search.

A fascinating read. But no claims of exceeding the laws of physics. Lots of claims of 'perfection', though.

Dave

#47 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:35 AM

As Johnny alludes to, the concept of the 4" seeing cell is strange. Over the length of many kilometres, how can it be possible that the atmosphere could present to a ground-based observer a situation where a 'seeing cell' of any defined width could exist? Balderdash, I say!

I see the seething atmosphere as more a fractal than a simplistic A/B division between sub- and supra-aperture scale turbulence. The notion that there is some fixed, discrete division in the scale of 'seeing cells' is utterly ludicrous. Even if such were to exist, the very fact of the great optical path length through the atmosphere, with its concomitant averaging, renders the concept invalid.

In terms of seeing, a 4" is better than a 6", a 3.5" is better than a 4", a 3" is better than a 3.5", a 2.4" is better than a 3", a 2" is better than a 2.4", and so on, and so on. Carrying this logic to completion, the ultimate telescope might well be the 1X7 eye!

#48 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:39 AM

Any firm that uses such hyperbole in their advertisements is not so much selling a product as they are forming a religion, in my estimation. The derivation of the following quote is unclear, but I feel that it describes this approach well: "Don't tell people what to do; instead, tell them who they are, and soon you will have them eating out of your hand."

The world consists, on a sliding scale, of generally two types of individual: those who are inner-directed (a minority), and those who are outer-directed. The former has little to no use for external reinforcement of their inner life, while such reinforcement can be the virtual life's blood of the latter. The heavily outer-directed may require near-constant stroking of their egos to remain in balance, and will often suspend critical thought if it interferes with their pursuit of gratification.

There are no magic telescopes, save for those that are created in the minds of those that truly need them.

All that said, the Questar 3.5 is a beautiful, exceptionally well-executed instrument with superb optics that can perform double duty as an ostentatious display of wealth, if desired, and functions quite nicely in that regard. :grin:


Your opinion about Q and religion is interesting, but is it testable? I also have no idea what fractions of the population fit your two hypothetical categories.

I don't know anyone who purchased their Qs as a display of wealth. I bought my used Q 3.5 for its demonstrated optical quality, useful design, and workmanship (it's a pleasure to use). There is still nothing like it on the market.

Personally, I couldn't see spending about 8 large for a new Q50, but I wouldn't think ill of anyone who did. It's their money.

#49 amicus sidera

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:51 AM


Your opinion about Q and religion is interesting, but is it testable? I also have no idea what fractions of the population fit your two hypothetical categories.


Not everything that is interesting is testable, thankfully. :grin: As for the percentages, your guess is as good as mine.

I don't know anyone who purchased their Qs as a display of wealth. I bought my used Q 3.5 for its demonstrated optical quality, useful design, and workmanship (it's a pleasure to use). There is still nothing like it on the market.


Over the years I've met several individuals whose seeming sole motivation for obtaining the instrument was to display their wealth; none of them could point out Polaris on a clear night, I assure you. Most seemed to have joined an astronomy club to show off their little gem and impress others. Of course, not everyone who purchases a 3.5 does it for that reason, but some certainly do.

Personally, I couldn't see spending about 8 large for a new Q50, but I wouldn't think ill of anyone who did. It's their money.


My feelings exactly.

Fred

#50 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:53 AM

As Johnny alludes to, the concept of the 4" seeing cell is strange. Over the length of many kilometres, how can it be possible that the atmosphere could present to a ground-based observer a situation where a 'seeing cell' of any defined width could exist? Balderdash, I say!

I see the seething atmosphere as more a fractal than a simplistic A/B division between sub- and supra-aperture scale turbulence. The notion that there is some fixed, discrete division in the scale of 'seeing cells' is utterly ludicrous. Even if such were to exist, the very fact of the great optical path length through the atmosphere, with its concomitant averaging, renders the concept invalid.

In terms of seeing, a 4" is better than a 6", a 3.5" is better than a 4", a 3" is better than a 3.5", a 2.4" is better than a 3", a 2" is better than a 2.4", and so on, and so on. Carrying this logic to completion, the ultimate telescope might well be the 1X7 eye!


But, there are nights during which large scopes show no more detail than smaller instruments, and the effect isn't due to OTA thermal equilibration kinetics.


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