Please read the title, read it again and take a few deep breaths. This is not a rehash of the Meade vs. Celestron flame wars, nor an opportunity for you to point out all the nifty things you know about flat fields, coma and photographic image circles. If you began salivating on notice of my thread title, Jonesing to enlighten the astigmatic masses on these matters, zip it. This is not your thread. Turn around and walk away.
1. I wish to purchase an 8” (or smaller, see question 7) catadioptric telescope.
2. I have already decided (see above) that both the ACF and the Edge/HD have some degree of advantage over less corrected SCT’s. I want one of these OTA’s, but either will suffice for me.
3. I wish to purchase, simultaneously, an alt-az mount, because I ACTUALLY PREFER ALT/AZ for viewing ergonomics and they are more than sufficient for lunar/planetary, which is the most I plan to image with this scope. The main contenders are the LX-90 and the Evolution. Wedge and GEM enthusiasts, please go outside and join the optical purists. Feel free to make small talk with them and/or coach them on their breathing.
4. I am pier mounting—I don’t much care about the tripod.
Out of bounds:
Any further discussion regarding the optical performance, real or imagined, of these instruments.
A. I know my way around the sky, but easy alignment is still a plus, I think. More important, IMO, is storable alignment, since I will rarely if ever be moving the scope. Power up and go.
B. I had hoped to do this for about $1500, but the used market hasn’t been cooperating lately. I’ll probably have to face a fact or two. Nevertheless, I remain skeptical of packages that are just a foot in the door earning me the opportunity to spend $500+ in add-ons.
C. I have been AP only for about 5 years. I honestly haven’t looked through an eyepiece in at least 4, but I sort of miss it, and I have 6-7 good EP’s to put back into use, ranging from a 27 Pan to a 5 Nag.
D. I sold a CGEM/C11 to finance this. That combo was an insufferable space hog in my two pier, 9 x 13 observatory, and rarely reached thermal equilibrium in Minnesota conditions.
Questions for those remaining:
1. Those of you who prefer/use the Evolution mount, how often do you direct the mount via a phone or tablet vs HC? What effect does this have on your dark adaptation and/or the zen of observing for you?
2. I have had a few Celestron mounts—one from circa 1995, and another from 2010. They had the same hand controller, which ought to give us enough pause, but the Evo hand controller appears to be the same as well. I thought it was a bit retro in 1995. For those who have used both, is Meade’s HC any better?
3. Regarding focusers, the stock Celestron is fine for low powers, but sketchy IMO for high, and worthless for planetary imaging focal lengths. I would need to replace it. I have seen some discussion to the effect that Meade’s stock focuser on the ACF LX-90 series flops less and possibly works differently/better. Is this true? If so is it sufficiently better to make a difference—in other words—would it still need to be adapted ($, e.g. JMI moto) due to shakiness or replaced ($$$, FT or similar) due to flop/anguish to image the moon and planets at f24-30?
4. I’ve been picking on Celestron because I have owned several, but fess up Meade folk: Are you kicking yourself that you didn’t get a vented OTA? If you image, do you find yourself needing to re-Lymax multiple times per night?
5. Feel free to tell me about actual, personal quality misadventures you have had with NEW purchases from either company, but do not (do not, do not) make sweeping statements about how one company does a better job with QA than the other, unless the sheer numbers of your purchases, split evenly between the platforms, is so vast that they are starting to have statistical validity.
6. It’s OK to talk about Starsense as long as you don’t make this about Starsense.
7. Does anyone want to throw a total curveball into the mix, advocating for another ALT/AZ mount (e.g. Ioptron ALT/AZ pro), a smaller tube (the grab and go goodness of a 6” SCT), or that sultry Russian Mak/Cass that, for you, was the one that got away?
I hope that I have framed the discussion sufficiently well to limit rehash and fangirl/boyism without turning away those with something to contribute on the questions asked. Two deep breaths please (10 for me)...and...go!