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Any little Mak fans here?

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#1 treadmarks

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:08 AM

If there's an unloved middle child of the telescope world, it's the little Mak. A reflector trying to compete in a refractor's world, any time its name is mentioned, someone will remind it that it will never outperform a refractor of the same aperture.

 

It's true, but that doesn't stop the little Mak from pushing on. Because what the refractorites don't realize is the Mak is playing a different game. Aperture diameter describes only 2 dimensions, completely forgetting the third. Refractors may be the champion in the league of performance per aperture diameter, but when performance per length is the metric then catadioptrics have the advantage.

 

So why care about length when aperture tells more about optical performance? Because a practical amateur lives in a three-dimensional world which has physical limits. The little Mak has much to offer such a person. There are obvious benefits like the fact that a 4" Mak can be shorter than the meatball sub you had for lunch, or the not-obvious benefit of eyepiece travel.

 

Even if you don't care about any practical considerations at all, and only care about performance, there is still an argument for the little Mak. Every telescope is only as good as the seeing allows it to be. On a night of average or worse seeing, bringing out a little Mak is just as good as bringing out a much larger, heavier and more expensive refractor. The little Mak will perform up to the seeing on most nights.

 

So who all agrees with me? I love my little Mak as a zero friction, no excuses, grab-and-go scope for solar system and double star observation. It's a great fit for casual at-home urban astronomy of those objects, when most deep sky objects are getting swamped by light pollution.


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#2 petert913

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:15 AM

I love little Maks.  Don't know why I ever sold my C90.  I kick myself regularly and keep an eye open

for a good deal on a replacement.  Maybe a 102 this time :)


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#3 ArizonaScott

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:22 AM

I've always been happy with my ETX90 OTA, I wasn't wild about the original Autostar feature so I deforked the OTA and use it on a parallelogram mount or photo tripod when I want a quick grab 'n go. 


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#4 Boom

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:54 AM

You didn't specify what qualifies as a little Mak. To me a little Mak is 90mm or less.

I want to love little Maks, but with the exception of perhaps the 90mm Maks, an equal aperture refractor performs noticeably better.

Edited by Boom, 16 August 2019 - 11:55 AM.

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#5 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 11:59 AM

I have 127mm, 102mm and 90mm Mak's. 

 

gallery_249298_5348_70494.jpg

 

The 90mm Orion probably gets the most use as it is so grab and go.

 

gallery_249298_5348_3896.jpg

 

I've seen a rising and setting Mercury more than once with this scope.

 

gallery_249298_5348_26708.jpg

 

It holds its own for lunar/planetary against a similar sized refractor.

 

gallery_249298_5348_16619.jpg


Edited by Shorty Barlow, 16 August 2019 - 12:07 PM.

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#6 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:11 PM

Maks of all sizes are wonderful instruments, which is why I have more than one. flowerred.gif


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#7 wrnchhead

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:14 PM

My brother lives in a fairly small apartment typical of New York so the gifts I get him I try to make nice but with consideration for space. A Questar is probably a little out of my gifting budget so I have been looking at small maks which he could probably sit on an end table.

I am glad to see the 90 mm has its proponents. I’m not too fond of the maroon color but beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. He could check out planets and other bright things in that legendary light pollution without investing a huge amount of space or operational knowledge.
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#8 aneeg

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:18 PM

I have a 102 and it supersharp and fun to view Venus, Mercury and the Sun with.

 

Arne


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#9 jaraxx

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:23 PM

Why all this fighting between refractors and Maks?

 

I have a 127mm Mak that lives on a dual mount with an ST80. The ST80 is equipped with rings so the two scopes can share the FOV and the refractor can act as a finder. The ST80 provides great low power wide field views and finder capabilities. The 127 Mak contributes decent magnification without any color.

 

Together they weigh about 11 lbs but they are both short, they fit in a single plastic storage bin (20 x 30) with everything ( mount, eyepieces, etc) except the tripod, which rides strapped across the top. Both are durable, so tossing the plastic bin in the back of the truck and hauling it down a jeep trail to a dark sky is feasible and leaves very little requirement for cool down time.

 

At some point I might go for a bigger Mak - maybe the 180mm would still be OK to travel - but for now this is serving pretty well.

 

Maybe competition is the key to success, but I find a lot to be said for cooperation. 


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#10 nicoledoula

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:24 PM

Had to do an internet search to find this https://www.cloudyni...-celestron-c90/


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#11 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 02:59 PM

Why all this fighting between refractors and Maks?

 

I'm not sure that there is. I find my ED refractors more flexible than my Mak's. 

 

gallery_249298_5348_12201.jpg

 

This is primarily as Mak's are fairly slow by comparison. I tend to use small refractors more often than my small Mak's these days. For high magnification and definition combined with portability a Mak is difficult to beat. They aren't practical for rich field work though. 'Horses for courses' as we say in my country.


Edited by Shorty Barlow, 16 August 2019 - 02:59 PM.

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#12 photoracer18

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 03:09 PM

I love my little LOMO Astele 95 Mak. I wanted one during the entire time I worked for Hands On Optics, but alas a bunch of local LR competition shooters came by and bought all we had left when they found it could easily see bullet holes in paper at 1000 yards. I ended up buying one from a customer off CL. Many of the things that annoyed me about the Meade/Celestron 90mm Maks were not there. A real micrometer focuser, a real SCT port on the back not a stupid plastic imitation of a Questar, a Rumak F12.6 design. A few things it has like it weighs like everything else from Russia (heavy), the rare dewshield is also all metal, and it does not balance rear heavy like all the rest so it needs a longer dovetail to balance.


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#13 fcathell

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 03:27 PM

I'm addicted to Maks. Prefer my SkyWatcher 102 or Orion 127. Just got an Orion 150 and am still evaluating it.  Looks pretty good so far but my 127 may have a slight contrast edge.  We shall see.  I also have had several ETX-90s and Synta made 90 Maks.  All were great, with some having a slight edge over others optically.  I like the 102mm Mak because of the noticeable increase in brightness due to aperture without significant additional weight over the 90mm. The 127 is definite weight increase over the 102 and the 150 is an even bigger increase. If I keep the 150 it will DEFINITELY get a handle like I put on my 127. I dropped a C-6 many years ago and cracked the corrector plate. Cost $300 just to get a replacement.  Believe me, it also got a handle!

 

"The amount of observing you do is inversely proportional to the size of the aperture."

 

Frank

Tucson


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#14 sneeds

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 04:06 PM

Frank:  How do you find the 102 on your GT?  How old is your GT mount?

 

Jeff



#15 treadmarks

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 04:18 PM

My little Mak's finest moment. August 21, 2017, on the side of a road in Madras, Oregon. Wearing a solar filter, it's pointed at a solar eclipse less than an hour before totality:

P1010979_cut.jpg

 

Because it and the tripod it's sitting on travels so well, it got the honors of flying with me to Oregon.


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#16 fcathell

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 04:36 PM

Jeff - both the 102 and the 127 do fine in the old GT goto mount.  The accuracy is little better when the lighter 102 is used, however, I've been completely satisfied with the mount's ability to handle the 127. I got the GT from that Wing and Sons outfit on Ebay.  I was able to get it for $75 shipped over a year ago.  I also bought another one for a local friend and his works fine too.  I think I had to go to $98 for his.

 

Frank


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#17 sneeds

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 05:14 PM

Awesome, thanks Frank. (I just got a Nexstar bracket to mount the 127 on a GT so that's great to know).

Sorry for the sidetrack...

Jeff

#18 grif 678

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 05:23 PM

I have a 90 ETX OTA on the small unitron 114 altaz mount, and it is the easiest and lightest set up I have ever had. And it is not a so-so set up either. The 90 ETX ( earlier model ) will hold its own with a refractor and no false color. The unitron mount is smooth and solid. I can take the whole thing out with one hand, and do some serious planetary viewing. I read that if you get one of these 90 ETX's that had exceptional optics, that you can not tell the difference between it and the questar, I never owned a questar, but a reputable observer told me this.


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#19 Boom

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:31 PM

Here are a few truly "little" Maks.  From L to R:

 

30mm, 40mm, 60mm Lomo Gregorian Maks, 50mm, 65mm Celestron spotting Maks, and a 70mm Lomo Astele Mak.

 

I thought about filling the gaps with the Pico 6 and 8, but their reviews weren't favorable.  I would like to have an Ad Astra, though.

 

Maks.jpg


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#20 pdxmoon

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 10:25 PM

Great topic.

 

I've always been a refractor user, classics and modern. I like 4" and under, Alt AZ mounts like the Vixen Porta II.

 

I've always been afraid of anything one has to collimate. Then, recently, in a fit of madness, I bought a Celestron 127 MAK SLT with the GOTO Mount.

 

And I love it. I love everything about it. Including the Nexstar mount.

 

And now I keep wondering about getting a 90 MAK. I'm trying to justify it as a lunar observer. If I bought the Celestron SLT package, it would certainly get me a second mount, which I would love to have, so I could have two scopes tracking the moon at once. My small refractors also fit on that mount (Lunar observer, here.)

 

So, I've been interested in this thread, especially those of you with more than one MAK.

 

One criticism of these scopes: the dove bar on the bottom. Part of the appeal of these scopes for me is the short tube--works well on a Porta II. The Celestron SLT line has two MAKS (90-127) with a dove on the right; the Orions sold with a GOTO (102, 127, 150) also have the dove on the right. The ala carte OTA MAKS fro both companies have the dove on the bottom. It would be nice to be able to order the OTA only-- with either configuration.



#21 jgraham

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 12:21 AM

I do luvs my little Maks...

 

Astro C90 (5-8-2019)-2.jpg

 

C90 (9-15-2016)-1.jpg

 

 


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#22 jgraham

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 12:24 AM

A little mix of old and new...

 

Celestron C90 (2-6-2016)-1.jpg

 

ETX-90m (5-18-2019)-2.jpg

 

Great little scopes!

 

Enjoy!

 

:)

 


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#23 pdxmoon

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:57 AM

I have a 90 ETX OTA on the small unitron 114 altaz mount, and it is the easiest and lightest set up I have ever had. And it is not a so-so set up either. The 90 ETX ( earlier model ) will hold its own with a refractor and no false color. The unitron mount is smooth and solid. I can take the whole thing out with one hand, and do some serious planetary viewing. I read that if you get one of these 90 ETX's that had exceptional optics, that you can not tell the difference between it and the questar, I never owned a questar, but a reputable observer told me this.

I would love to see a picture of how you mounted the OTA!



#24 fcathell

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 02:35 PM

Billy - I have compared 2 ETX90s (old USA made versions) and one Celestron 90 Mak to a Questar and there was no difference for the most part with these particular scopes. They all had excellent optics and textbook star tests. The Q may have had a trace more contrast (??), but we came to conclusion that it may have been due to the fact that the Q's inner baffle tube had zero oblique reflection glare. The ETXs and the C90 (Synta) Mak did show some baffle internal reflection glare on bright objects. 

 

Frank


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#25 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 03:22 PM

 

One criticism of these scopes: the dove bar on the bottom. Part of the appeal of these scopes for me is the short tube--works well on a Porta II. The Celestron SLT line has two MAKS (90-127) with a dove on the right; the Orions sold with a GOTO (102, 127, 150) also have the dove on the right. The ala carte OTA MAKS fro both companies have the dove on the bottom. It would be nice to be able to order the OTA only-- with either configuration.

My 102mm SkyMax was originally supplied with an EQ2.

 

gallery_249298_5348_69094.jpg

 

I added a Rigel but discovered that I could also mount an RACI.

 

gallery_249298_5348_55159.jpg


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