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C14 with good optics?

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#26 Cotts

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 03:27 PM

Ok.  The mount is permanently outside and you attach the scope for each observing session... Many folks do this and it works for them.   And, apparently, you don't mind 'throwing around' a telescope of the bulk and mass of a C14.   Clearly, you don't want a Newtonian of any sort nor a Mak Cass or Mak Newt.  The only type of scope left is a refractor.....   And you have a $5k expense limit - which limits you to about a 4"-5" APO......

 

For $5k and 14" aperture your choices with respect to the above are very limited.  Even more limited if you want to regularly use 500x or more....  As you correctly surmise, the odds finding a C14, used or new, that will impress you are vanishingly slim...

 

Time to think outside the box...

 

Wild idea:  Put a 12.5" Zambuto mirror in the Newt OTA that you already have ($2200) and build a roll-off roof observatory around your mount with the remaining $2800.  You can leave the scope on the mount in air-conditioned comfort thus eliminating the 'throwing around' of a bulky Newt OTA as well as cool-down issues...

 

Wild idea #2:  I still think an email to Damian wouldn't go amiss.  Clearly he has a 'special' C14.  Considering his reputation it is not unlikely that he 'ordered' a high end C14 - the very best that they can make.  Thus, good advertising for Celestron (he always credits his C14 in all of his published pictures) and great resolution and contrast transfer for him..   Maybe you can 'order' a custom C14, too.

 

Dave


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#27 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 03:31 PM

A C14 is only around 50lbs, a 12.5" Newt is about double the weight and bulk.  I was thinking even a D&G 8" f/15, but already have a 8" F/8.5 Cave that would do just as good.

 

A good C14 or Meade 16" is the way to go with super optics.



#28 Jared

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 03:35 PM

The mount will stay outside in my back yard.  I never plan to take it anywhere.  Just plop on the OTA and view planets when they are in prime time.  Jupiter being the main target 2 months a year. I know all about Zambuto and Newts, having owned over 220 scopes and many Zambuto scopes and no mattter how ya cut it a 12.5" f6 OTA is gonna be heavy and bulky.  I have a 12.5" F/6 OTA just sitting that i will never lift onto the mount.

 

I'm not sure you're going to be able to get what you are looking for.  I suspect that getting a 14" SCT from Celestron with > 80% Strehl is not only common, I suspect it is typical.  Anecdotal evidence suggest that the Edge scopes in particular seem to have very consistent quality, though I suspect it's mostly a matter of the Edge scopes cooling more easily than traditional SCT's due to their vents and the flat, coma free field improving the wide field views rather than better on-axis performance.

 

The problem is that even the top 0.01% of Celestron's scopes probably doesn't meet your objective of achieving equivalent or nearly equivalent optical quality to a well figured Newt of similar aperture.  The optics simply aren't smooth enough.  Getting good quality out of a Celestron SCT is the rule nowadays, but getting something truly exceptional, something that would stand up with the best scopes out there under perfect seeing conditions at 600x or higher seems extremely unlikely or even impossible.

 

Frankly, I suspect, but certainly can't prove, that there is little difference between an average Celestron SCT these days and a 90th percentile scope.  There simply aren't many dogs being made any more.  I also suspect that the visual difference between a 90th percentile scope (1 in 10) and a 99th percentile scope (1 in 100) is almost nonexistent.  Again, the polishing simply isn't fine enough to get that RMS error really, really low.  There's always going to be a little surface roughness.

 

I suppose one thing you could consider is whether there is an optician out there who could take your 85% Strehl, average SCT (or whatever value is average), and improve it to the levels you are looking for?  Then get the mirror re-coated?  It wouldn't help any with roughness in the corrector plate, plus you'd lose whatever "magic" is performed by Celestron to match the primary to the secondary, but you might still get a better overall result.  Hard to know for certain; it would be a fairly expensive experiment.

 

I suppose you could pay Company 7 for an interferometric test on a random set of scopes from their stock and then pick the best one.  Only problem is that you might blow a significant part of your $5,000 budget on optical tests only to find that every scope they have in stock is between 80% and 85% Strehl.  Then where would you be?  Nothing wrong with an 85% Strehl scope for most of us under most skies, but it doesn't sound like that's what you are looking for.


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#29 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 03:41 PM

I guess i am gonna play the C14 used lotto. Buy from a top seller i can trust



#30 Jared

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 03:45 PM

If you can find a used one in your area that you can try out that might be best.  You won't get that 1 in 10,000 scope, but it will let you know whether the difference between a (typical) C14 and what you are used to with your equivalent size Newtonians is going to bother you or not.  You'd only need a seller who keeps his/her scope in good collimation and is willing to demonstrate it and a night of good seeing.  That's almost certainly the best place to start.  



#31 Reid W

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 03:56 PM

A pal here has a standard C14 in the new tube with the vents.

 

It is a superb instrument.  

 

I'm sorry I did not get to use my binoviewers on it...

 

 

I know this is just one data point, but......



#32 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 04:08 PM

If you can find a used one in your area that you can try out that might be best.  You won't get that 1 in 10,000 scope, but it will let you know whether the difference between a (typical) C14 and what you are used to with your equivalent size Newtonians is going to bother you or not.  You'd only need a seller who keeps his/her scope in good collimation and is willing to demonstrate it and a night of good seeing.  That's almost certainly the best place to start.  

I don't think there is a C14 within 200 miles of me. FL and scopes don't go together very well. Seems Cali gets all the action.



#33 Jared

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 04:46 PM

 

If you can find a used one in your area that you can try out that might be best.  You won't get that 1 in 10,000 scope, but it will let you know whether the difference between a (typical) C14 and what you are used to with your equivalent size Newtonians is going to bother you or not.  You'd only need a seller who keeps his/her scope in good collimation and is willing to demonstrate it and a night of good seeing.  That's almost certainly the best place to start.  

I don't think there is a C14 within 200 miles of me. FL and scopes don't go together very well. Seems Cali gets all the action.

 

 

Darn.  That's too bad.  I would have thought they would be fairly popular because of the good seeing (despite the poor transparency).  I guess I'm spoiled around here in NorCal.  The seeing is only mediocre, but there are LOTS of active clubs, owners, events, imagers, and even professional astronomers.



#34 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:11 PM

 

 

If you can find a used one in your area that you can try out that might be best.  You won't get that 1 in 10,000 scope, but it will let you know whether the difference between a (typical) C14 and what you are used to with your equivalent size Newtonians is going to bother you or not.  You'd only need a seller who keeps his/her scope in good collimation and is willing to demonstrate it and a night of good seeing.  That's almost certainly the best place to start.  

I don't think there is a C14 within 200 miles of me. FL and scopes don't go together very well. Seems Cali gets all the action.

 

 

Darn.  That's too bad.  I would have thought they would be fairly popular because of the good seeing (despite the poor transparency).  I guess I'm spoiled around here in NorCal.  The seeing is only mediocre, but there are LOTS of active clubs, owners, events, imagers, and even professional astronomers.

 

FL is dead when it comes to classic scopes and such.


Edited by CHASLX200, 01 September 2016 - 05:11 PM.


#35 Lola Bruce

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:50 PM

I would say contact Lockwood or Zambuto about re-figuring one for you. Or just buy a Mewlon 300 (big bucks but great)

Bruce



#36 mdowns

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 06:02 PM

Chaslx200,

 Do you know Hank M? He is in your area and I believe he's had a half dozen c14s.I dont know if he currently has any. There is a guy south of you a hundred miles (in my neck of the woods) or so who has an Intes 10" mak/newt that provides insane planetary images. When I last spoke with him last year it was for sale. Just a thought......



#37 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 06:13 PM

Chaslx200,

 Do you know Hank M? He is in your area and I believe he's had a half dozen c14s.I dont know if he currently has any. There is a guy south of you a hundred miles (in my neck of the woods) or so who has an Intes 10" mak/newt that provides insane planetary images. When I last spoke with him last year it was for sale. Just a thought......

Known him since 1977. We do many deals.



#38 TG

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 06:41 PM

@CHASLX200: if you want to pay pedestrian prices, you can only get pedestrian quality. If you raise your price limit, you could, e.g., get a CFF Cassegrain (50lbs with a truss design and guaranteed optics). With your Florida location you wouldn't even have to get the optional ClearCeram mirror.

 

The only alternative is to keep buying and selling C14s till you find one you like.

 

Tanveer.



#39 jgraham

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 08:05 PM

Hmmmm, if C7 can just call Meade or Celestron and have them cherry pick a scope for them why don't other resellers offer the same service? They make it sound pretty easy. I wonder if anyone can do that? I'd love to have someone from Meade or Celestron explain how this works. 

 

Just wunder'n.


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#40 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 11:56 PM

Give Damian Peach a call.  He uses a C14 for unsurpassed planetary imaging.

 

http://www.damianpeach.com/best.htm

 

Maybe he will share where he bought his C14.....

 

Dave

 

He just went into a store and bought it.  Nothing special. He tried switching to a premium ten inch Mak, by the way, and found it unsatisfactory.

 

GN


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#41 CHASLX200

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 05:03 AM

 

Give Damian Peach a call.  He uses a C14 for unsurpassed planetary imaging.

 

http://www.damianpeach.com/best.htm

 

Maybe he will share where he bought his C14.....

 

Dave

 

He just went into a store and bought it.  Nothing special. He tried switching to a premium ten inch Mak, by the way, and found it unsatisfactory.

 

GN

 

Some people luck out.  I will run a wanted ad for a older used C14 and try to get lucky.



#42 rmollise

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 09:04 AM

What are the chances to find a good used C14 with super optics? Now when when i say good i mean one in 10,000.  I am very picky and have world class seeing that allows me powers from 500x to 1100x in bigger scopes on the planets.  90% of my viewing is powers above 450x on the planets, almost no deep sky.

 

I want a C14 that can come close to what all of my Zambuto mirrors have done. I had a orange C14 i bought in 1996 that was very bad.  I sure don't want a repeat. My body is not up to throwing around big Newts like i have the last 40 years and the weight and size of a C14 would be perfect on my 2.5" shaft Cave mount.

 

 

It is impossible to say, since "good" is rather unquantifiable. In general terms, don't buy one made before 1995. To be more specific, don't buy one period. If your optical standards are such that you cannot enjoy anything other than perfection, you won't like it anyway. Get yourself a nice Tak Mewlon and forget mass produced telescopes. A Celestron or Meade 14 is not the telescope for you.


Edited by rmollise, 02 September 2016 - 09:05 AM.

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#43 Cpk133

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 09:16 AM

 

Give Damian Peach a call.  He uses a C14 for unsurpassed planetary imaging.

 

http://www.damianpeach.com/best.htm

 

Maybe he will share where he bought his C14.....

 

Dave

 

He just went into a store and bought it.  Nothing special. He tried switching to a premium ten inch Mak, by the way, and found it unsatisfactory.

 

GN

 

 

I stumbled on a job posting for an Optical Engineer position for Celestron once.  One of the responsibilities that was listed was "Provide Custom Hand Selection of optical telescopes for Special Astrophotography customers (i.e. Such as NASA, Colleges, institutions, among others, at the request of sales and marketing departments"...  I don't think Peach happend on a peach.  With that said, I agree with those that said the current average Celestron sct is very good.  Where I live in MI, I don't think the average C14 will ever be the limiting factor.


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#44 gnowellsct

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 11:16 AM

 

 

Give Damian Peach a call.  He uses a C14 for unsurpassed planetary imaging.

 

http://www.damianpeach.com/best.htm

 

Maybe he will share where he bought his C14.....

 

Dave

 

He just went into a store and bought it.  Nothing special. He tried switching to a premium ten inch Mak, by the way, and found it unsatisfactory.

 

GN

 

 

I stumbled on a job posting for an Optical Engineer position for Celestron once.  One of the responsibilities that was listed was "Provide Custom Hand Selection of optical telescopes for Special Astrophotography customers (i.e. Such as NASA, Colleges, institutions, among others, at the request of sales and marketing departments"...  I don't think Peach happend on a peach.  With that said, I agree with those that said the current average Celestron sct is very good.  Where I live in MI, I don't think the average C14 will ever be the limiting factor.

 

 

Well if you're saying he lied to me, OK.  But I don't know why he would.  GN 



#45 rolo

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 11:41 AM

 

Give Damian Peach a call.  He uses a C14 for unsurpassed planetary imaging.

 

http://www.damianpeach.com/best.htm

 

Maybe he will share where he bought his C14.....

 

Dave

 

He just went into a store and bought it.  Nothing special. He tried switching to a premium ten inch Mak, by the way, and found it unsatisfactory.

 

GN

 

That's incorrect information. His C14 is my old C14, the second of seven that I've owned. I traded it for his 10" f/12.5 APM Mak Cass. The Mak Cass had fantastic 1/9 th wave Intes optics of amazing smoothness. When it comes to planetary imaging aperture wins. BTW that C14 had good optics for sure. The issue with the 10" Mak was the cooling. I had no problem with it here in GA. Unless he's gotten a different C14 then it's my old one. I have seen videos and pics of Damian with C14 Edge so he may have recently acquired a newer one.


Edited by rolo, 02 September 2016 - 06:37 PM.

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#46 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 02:37 PM

How many C14s have been made over the years?

 

I wouldn't be surprised to find that the number is a good bit less than 10,000.



#47 jgraham

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 03:32 PM

I'm sure that the quality of the optics is variable, but I have lost count the number of SCTs that I have 'fixed' by careful collimation and generous treatment with a Lymax cat-cooler. :) Large SCTs have quite a chunk o'glass buried inside that can take a while to tame. That's why I like to keep my large scopes outside in a vertical garden shed, under an awning, and out of direct sunlight. This helps to keep the big glass near the ambient temperature and they settle down quicker.

 

Just a thought.


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#48 TCW

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 04:09 PM

If excellent C14's were only 1/10,000 then I doubt Celestron would sell many at all as most would not be worth owning. I doubt Damian Peach has a 1/10,000 scope although I wonder if his reputation allows him to buy hand picked scopes.



#49 TCW

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 04:17 PM

Chas - If this has been suggested before then ignore this advice.  

 

Since you already have excellent scopes that you trust, make then usable by building an observatory which will eliminate all of the handling issues that trouble you.



#50 nevy

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 04:35 PM

Peach probly does what all the other AP people do & that's heavily proces their photos.

i doubt excellent optical quality is worried about. 




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