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QUESTARs 50th Anniversary commemorating the hype

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#51 SandyHouTex

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:01 AM

No. However the people who buy them sometimes do for sure.

Back on topic. Even though I don't like the hype, I would like to own a used one for about $2000 just to see how they perform. And conversly in my previous post, that's about what I think a new one should sell for.

#52 Bob Abraham

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:02 AM

Hi Glenn,

I own (and enjoy) a Questar and I agree their (historical) advertising was very misleading. Certainly the idea of well-defined "cells" of a certain size is a huge oversimplification. However, the idea of a well-defined characteristic length scale for the seeing is not, and in the standard Kolmogorov model it's just the Fried length. Here's a good link:

http://www.ing.iac.e...ied's parameter

Figure 1 in the following link shows the distribution of Fried lengths at a really good site:

http://www.ing.iac.e...t/hap/dimm.html

The peak in the Fried length (r0) distribution is indeed around 4" for this particular (rather awesome) site, and my guess is that in most places the peak in the r0 distribution over time is fairly close to this length (perhaps a factor of 2-3 smaller would be my guess... leading to a long-exposure FWHM with perfect tracking of 2-3" or so). The main thing that makes La Palma such an awesome site is the asymmetry in the distribution (the tail to larger values of the Fried parameter... there are some nights with r0 of 40cm so that looking at Jupiter on that night with a 16" telescope it'd almost be like you're in space... sadly large r0 values like that never happen where I live).

Translating typical r0 values into a sensible aperture to take maximum advantage of a site's seeing for visual observation of planets is non-trivial and subjective of course... it depends on things like aesthetic choices about stability vs. peak detail in tiny moments of good seeing. But in my experience going for an aperture that's a few times the Fried length on a particular night gets me in the right ballpark, and I'd guess something like 5x the Fried length is fairly optimal.

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#53 coz

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:28 AM

I'm not going to fault them from ads from the '60s from previous owners. I think they are mainly commercial now and this is probably a small part of their biz. You think they should sell for 2k now. I doubt that is possible in the USA if they want to survive.

#54 jrbarnett

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:40 AM

"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!"

As a general proposition I think this is a fair criticism. However, there are many night when a 3" refractor with near-perfect optics will show Sirius B when a premium 12" to 16" Dob cannot. Does that support the proposition that a 3" is categorically better than a 16"? Of course not. However does it support the proposition that a 3" is better than a 16" for seeing Sirius B on some nights? Indeed it does.

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#55 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

No. However the people who buy them sometimes do for sure.

Back on topic. Even though I don't like the hype, I would like to own a used one for about $2000 just to see how they perform. And conversly in my previous post, that's about what I think a new one should sell for.


Heck, I'd like a new one for $1K, but that isn't going to happen either.

I paid $2.5K for a previously owned Duplex 3.5", and feel it was well worth that price. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one like it at that price or even higher to a friend who needed a high quality, highly portable instrument.

I used to travel about 20x per year by plane for work. Schlepping a Traveler, AP QMD 400 & tripod plus other stuff eventually got tiresome for my aging bones (especially when I used public transport). I also transported an AP f/4.9 StowAway, but never found an elegant mount solution for it (not even a Half-Hitch, Tak Teegul/Lapides or Tak Sky Patrol II GEM plus Gitzo CF tripods). There is still nothing like a Q 3.5.

#56 SandyHouTex

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:57 AM

Well except that a Celestron 4se which is an inch bigger and comes with a go-to mount is currently $450. Allowing for the things I mentioned in my previous post, I think it would be do able here in America for around $2000. $5000 for a regular Questar and $7500 for a 50th anniversary edition is way off base in my humble opinion.

But getting back to the topic. I can still remember looking longingly at the full page ads in Sky and Telescope in my teens and wondering, how can a 3.5 in. telescope do all that?

#57 frebie

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:59 AM

Per the federal government’s CPI inflation calculator at http://data.bls.gov/...bin/cpicalc.pl:

$995 (about the selling price of a 3.5" Questar) in 1960 has the same buying power as $7,816.50 in 2013. A basic Q3 today, configured about the same as the 1960 version, retails for $4625.

Don’t think of it as spending $4625, think of it as saving $3191.50!

#58 JJK

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:06 AM

Well except that a Celestron 4se which is an inch bigger and comes with a go-to mount is currently $450. Allowing for the things I mentioned in my previous post, I think it would be do able here in America for around $2000. $5000 for a regular Questar and $7500 for a 50th anniversary edition is way off base in my humble opinion.

But getting back to the topic. I can still remember looking longingly at the full page ads in Sky and Telescope in my teens and wondering, how can a 3.5 in. telescope do all that?


If you can make an instrument as good as a Q 3.5 new for $2K in the US (with all of its features), I'll buy one. Show us a cost analysis and business model plan first though.

#59 Asbytec

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:09 AM

This thread should be moved to the Questar forum. After all, they did get their own forum. Thats what hype can do for ya.

Questar, in my view, masterfully exploited optical and seeing thoery. Hype, probably. But its not entirely fiction.

#60 azure1961p

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:49 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.


Exactly and its been that way since the early 70s with for sale ads outnumbering other scopes.

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#61 azure1961p

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:57 AM

This thread should be moved to the Questar forum. After all, they did get their own forum. Thats what hype can do for ya.

Questar, in my view, masterfully exploited optical and seeing thoery. Hype, probably. But its not entirely fiction.


I thought about that but non Questar users or fans would offer better balance to the discussion where as the subject would've been seen as unduly inflammatory in their forum.

A more generalized crowd I thought would weigh in with less reflex and more thought. Lol I was partially correct .


Pete

#62 ColoHank

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:02 PM

OK guys and gals, when was the last time anyone saw a Questar ad claiming anything?

Questar doesn't spend a penny on advertising, and yet, after almost six decades, the company remains in business, building superb scopes one-by-one in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the heavily-marketed, mass-produced orange and blue companies have fled to China, where they continue to build their scopes down to a price rather than up to a standard of quality.

Like it or not, Questar's been doing something right for a very long time, and that "something" clearly hasn't involved peddling only hype.

#63 bobhen

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:26 PM

Is the $4,625 Quester 3.5 really all that expensive?

Let’s pick a comparable telescope like the TV 85 and compare. The TV 85 OTA package goes for $2,470. To that package you will have to add another eyepiece (the TV Package comes with one but the Q comes with 2). That’s another $130. Then you will need to add a barlow. That’s another $100. The Q comes with a high quality solar filter. Let’s add an 11/4-inch solar wedge to the TV 85. That’s another $250. The Q comes with an optical finder. Let’s add a nice 8x50mm finder and bracket to the TV 85. That’s another $200. The Q comes with a motor drive. So let’s add a nice GEM to the TV 85. Not the most expensive but something well machined like the standard GM8. That’s another $1,300 (for the head only NOT including the tripod)

Grand total to get a TV 85 accessorized close to a standard Q… $4,450.

Of course you could find cheaper accessories for the TV85 but that’s not in keeping with what the Quester is offering. Sure you can quibble with this or that selection but I think the point is that getting a TV 85 up to the level of what the Q offers out of the box will not be cheap. Try using Takahashi accessories!

Bob

#64 rmollise

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:46 PM


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.


People say that, but it has never, ever been my experience. Even on poor nights the seeing usually settles down occasionally, and if you keep looking an 8-inch will, by the end of the evening have shown far more than a 3.5-inch. ;)

#65 rmollise

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:54 PM

Is the $4,625 Quester 3.5 really all that expensive?

Let’s pick a comparable telescope like the TV 85 and compare. The TV 85 OTA package goes for $2,470. To that package you will have to add another eyepiece (the TV Package comes with one but the Q comes with 2). That’s another $130. Then you will need to add a barlow. That’s another $100. The Q comes with a high quality solar filter. Let’s add an 11/4-inch solar wedge to the TV 85. That’s another $250. The Q comes with an optical finder. Let’s add a nice 8x50mm finder and bracket to the TV 85. That’s another $200. The Q comes with a motor drive. So let’s add a nice GEM to the TV 85. Not the most expensive but something well machined like the standard GM8. That’s another $1,300 (for the head only NOT including the tripod)

Grand total to get a TV 85 accessorized close to a standard Q… $4,450.

Of course you could find cheaper accessories for the TV85 but that’s not in keeping with what the Quester is offering. Sure you can quibble with this or that selection but I think the point is that getting a TV 85 up to the level of what the Q offers out of the box will not be cheap. Try using Takahashi accessories!

Bob


True but (there is always that consarned "but"). The finder on the Questar is one of the worst I have ever used. A cheapo 50mm will run rings around it. The Questar mount in no way compares to a GM8--not even close. And the solar filter shipped with a Questar is just a Solar filter, not a Herschel Wedge. And, the pachyderm in the front parlor, the refractor is a just a more versatile, useful instrument.

Again, the Questar is beautiful. That's its stock in trade, not useability (if you live at lower latitudes the design of the fork/base will see to that), and comparing it to telescopes where function, not form is the idea really don't make it... ;)

#66 rmollise

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:57 PM

Like it or not, Questar's been doing something right for a very long time, and that "something" clearly hasn't involved peddling only hype.


Maybe not now. In the past? Not so much. For whatever reason, Questar either got to the point where they couldn't afford those full page ads, or decided they didn't need to spend for them, or, probably, both. ;)

The bottom line? The Questar is a beautiful little telescope. It is finely made. Quite a few people love them for those reasons and others of their own. It has also survived for over 60 years, and you can't argue with success, whatever the reasons for that success. And I shall just leave it at that. :lol:

#67 coz

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:05 PM

Uncle Rod They're probably 80/20 skewed towards commercial so I think this is like a side hobby for Questar now.

#68 Asbytec

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:06 PM

Like so many others, I drooled over the Questar. Sky and Telescope was the first publication I read whosse pages stuck together.

So, how does Questar perform its optical magic? Smooth surfaces, probaly balanced SAwith defo us, or asphere? It seeems, as mentioned above, 1/6th wave is readily attainable. Are they better, or need to be? Yet folks rave over them, is there something magical about the design that allows them to boast (rightfully, IMO.)

Why do the orange and blue scopes advertise their functionality while Questar boasts besting Dawes (which they can do under excellent seeing)? Are they marketed to the discriminating buyer? Its a retirical question.

#69 Patrick

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:07 PM

Is the $4,625 Quester 3.5 really all that expensive?



Uhhh....heck yes. A 6" f/8 Dobsonian will outperform it any day of the week. :smirk:

Comparing the TV85 to the 3.5" Questar is a non-starter.

A 3.5" Mak Cass has a large central obstruction so contrast will be reduced. It has an extremely long focal length (1300mm), so it's pretty much a one trick pony. The TV85 on the other hand is very versatile. It can be easily used as a grab and go scope, an excellent imaging scope, a piggyback scope, a planetary scope, and a wide field DSO scope. It has no central obstruction, so the optics will yield a nice contrasty view. I'd take a TV85 any day over a Questar.

That's 2 cents from this non-wannabe, Questar non-fanboy. :lol:

Patrick

#70 coz

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:14 PM

Hey if you're happy with consumer grade equipment that's great and you'll save some dough too. Some people want more.

#71 TG

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:19 PM

Some folks are happier looking at scopes than looking through them. Whatever makes you happy.

Tanveer.

#72 jgraham

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:22 PM

I'll never forget the first time I looked through a 3.5" Questar. It was back in the day when the closest you ever got to a MCT of any kind was inside the front cover of S&T. Beautiful scope, wonderful image quality. Flash-forward 35 years and the optical quality of my ETX-90 is a fair match, but the scope isn't nearly as cool to look at. The Questar 3.5 is a work of art, and that is what you are paying for. I'd never consider buying one (okay, I would if I won the Powerball, but then I'd probably de-fork it and use it as a guidescope on my 40" Alvan Clark) but that doesn't mean that I won't keep my eyes open at garage sales... just in case. :)

#73 Paul G

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:24 PM

OK guys and gals, when was the last time anyone saw a Questar ad claiming anything?

Questar doesn't spend a penny on advertising, and yet, after almost six decades, the company remains in business, building superb scopes one-by-one in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the heavily-marketed, mass-produced orange and blue companies have fled to China, where they continue to build their scopes down to a price rather than up to a standard of quality.

Like it or not, Questar's been doing something right for a very long time, and that "something" clearly hasn't involved peddling only hype.


For someone who wants a scope and mount that are beautifully made and will fit in a small carry on case it's a unique scope. People sometimes confuse price with value.

They are built well. Questar 7's in desert camo are air dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan to use as spotters. I've seen these come back from the desert so badly worn you couldn't even see an image through the sandblasted optics, and after a refurb they look and perform beautifully and are sent back to continue to do their job.

It's a niche product for sure, but I can't think of another scope/mount that fills that same exact niche. Advertising hype? Companies like Meade lead the way in that department, sometimes advertising products that don't even exist in prototype form.

#74 BGeoghegan

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:33 PM

Well except that a Celestron 4se which is an inch bigger and comes with a go-to mount is currently $450. Allowing for the things I mentioned in my previous post, I think it would be do able here in America for around $2000. $5000 for a regular Questar and $7500 for a 50th anniversary edition is way off base in my humble opinion.

But getting back to the topic. I can still remember looking longingly at the full page ads in Sky and Telescope in my teens and wondering, how can a 3.5 in. telescope do all that?


If you can make an instrument as good as a Q 3.5 new for $2K in the US (with all of its features), I'll buy one. Show us a cost analysis and business model plan first though.


It was tried without success by Optical Techniques during the Carter and early Reagan years. I paid $770 for a Quantum 4 during their intro period. By some accounts their business "plan" stuck them with a $200 loss per scope.
Bob G

#75 rmollise

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:38 PM

Uncle Rod They're probably 80/20 skewed towards commercial so I think this is like a side hobby for Questar now.


Well, yeah, I'd guess so. And military too, I reckon. I know they used to do quite a bit of that. And good on them and long may they wave. ;)


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