Celestron C65: Make me laugh.
Celestron C90: Low tech coatings. Washed out during the day. Not a good spotter. C5 was better. 5/10
Meade ETX 90: Topped out at 90x. More magnification never yeilded any new detai. 3/10
Celestron C5: Turned edge but still decent. 6/10
C5: Excellent 9/10
Orion 127. Blacker sky background than the C5. I thought it was "Better" until I found out a couple of years ago that the apertuer was only 120mm. The reason the sky was blacker was not because the scope was better than the C5. It was because the scope was smaller. Better than the first C5 by a tick, but not as good as the second C5 by a tick. 7/10
Intes MN56: Excellent performance. On par with best 4" Apos I have owend (Televue and Orion 100 f/9) Aftermarket focuser so can['t rate it past optics, but one of the best optics I have ever owned. 10/10 optically.
Intes MN61. Another scope I though was "Bettter" because the sky was blacker. In retrospect, probably did not have very good transmission. 6/10 mechanically (Two tubes were pinned together and were failing at the seam. "Tanks" don't use tiny pins to hold them together. 9/10 optically. Figure was perfect, but the view was dim.
In the case of the MN61 and the Orion 127, people often attribute the "Blacker" sky to "Better Contrast" and later I learned the truth. Overall sky brightness is little affected by optical quality in general. A severe turned edge can cause the field to wash out a tiny bit, but only if it is pretty bad. Now, when I read a review where someone says the sky is blacker, I attribute it to transmission more than the quality of the telescope optics. After readings Suiters book, I came to realize that optical quality and central obstruction has almost no bearing on how black the sky will appear. In both cases, the light that is thrown from the Airy Disk falls very close to the star, and a field that is not populated well with stars that looks blacker in one scope than in another scope being used with the same exit pupil most likely has poorer transmission, and to see it easily, it much be meaninguflly lower. All of the MCT "Sky is blacker" reviews, and the recent discovery that many of these scopes are working at reduced aperture seems to well support my on conclusion, but maybe it is just that I am being to logical, eh?
Same with eyepeices. I read a review of the Meade 8.8 UWA a while back were someone praised it for excellent contrast because the sky was blacker. In mine, I thought it was more to do with simply having low transmission. An eyepeice test of a S4000 Meade UWA (4.8mm I think) showed it having one of the lowest eyepiece transmissions ever tested. That sealed my belief that a "Blacker Sky" is means something is actually wrong with the scope or eyepeice, which is counter to what many reviewers say.
C8. Excellent. 9/10
C8. Excellent 9/10
EdgeHD 8" Best optics of any SCT I have ever owned. Star test was textbook. Heck, Optically, one of the best telescopes of any type that I have ever owned. 10/10 (optical only. Mirror shift kept it from being perfect and the corrector fogged internally after about 18 months).
C9.25. Not the scope Ed Ting said it was for me anyway. Not really noticably better than an excellent C8 on planets. Mine had some SA. OK but no magic for me. 6/10 based on the hype this scope had when I bought it. 7/10 based on real world. I had just read this amazing review, but when I looked though it the first time, it just did not seem to be all that much better than the C8. Just like the math would suggest, it was closer in performance to the C8 than to the C11. I thought the MN61 did a better job on planets.
NexStar 11. Not the best optically but better than the C9.25. Comfortable to use and I did a huge amount of observing with it. Not the smoothest optics and a little SA. Still a solid performer. Got some great views of Jupiter with it, and the first scope that would regularly show me small ovals on Jupiter in good seeing. At a star party for the close approach of Mars, it beat every refractor in the field. Not by a little bit either. I always had a line at the eyepeice and I could here people leaving telling people arriving not to waste their time in the other lines.... 8/10. To be fair, I did not see a refractor bigger than 5", but it was no contest at all. Mars was bright and colorfull in the NexStar 11, there was considerable detail and it was easy to see. My best view ever of Mars but only because it was so big.
C14. Very good optics, but not as good as the C8s. Very good SA correction, very smooth optics, but a zone about half way out. Not bad at all, but not quite as good as the C8s and the EdgeHD 8. 9/10. Some of my best planetary views were with this scope. Yeah, I know.. No point in buying a big scope because of seeing. But I thought that night to night, regardless of what I put next to it, I almost always got the best view of Jupiter or Saturn in the C14 for one reason even if I could not see smaller features than in nearby scopes. Color. Lots of color. Jupiter and Saturn love a big aperture because the are beautifully colored planets and the color brings them alive. My opinion and I am sticking to it. C11 was great this way too. Juptiter and Saturn are amazing at apertures larger than 10" even in less than great seeing because the colors are still so rich.
There may have been some others. These are just the ones that come to mind. You know how it is. Scopes come and scopes go.
Edited by Eddgie, 13 April 2015 - 09:03 AM.