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What's the pecking order for quality

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33 replies to this topic

#26 Hesiod

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 04:24 AM

Hey guys,

I promise my posts will slow down soon...I'm just kind of motivated right now :)

I just got a Nexstar 4se and I love it. I'm really impressed with the quality of the image. Yet I'm already thinking about upgrading at some point due to the capability of my mount.

That got me to thinking: What are the better Cats & Casses, (brands/models) quality-wise? Is there a "best to worst" list?

FWIW, my question has nothing to do with the mount or tracking systems...only optical quality.

TIA,

Steve

The only model I would put on your mount is the c5, which is a fine telescope.
Among currently available models, Intes Micro Mak-Cass are probably your best bet for a CAT: optics can be truly excellent (when placing the order can decide how much), and mechanics are good enough to avoid to waste their potential (even if a bit overengineered and somewhat "nostalgic").
However take note that the much maligned Celestron SCTs are actually a very good deal.

#27 luxo II

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 06:44 AM

This has been discussed many times before.

 

1. There are only two SCT manufacturers currently in the market - Meade and Celestron (Synta). Take your pick, they are like Fords vs Chevs. Both are mass-manufactured, low price is clearly the priority over optical quality. 

 

Celestron has a few variants - the bog standard SCT, Edge HD, and the Hyperstar or RASA for imaging types.

Meade ACF are the alternative. But note they do not guarantee the optical quality, no mention of "diffraction limited" let alone a guarantee that the scope passes ¼ wave (never mind 1/8 waver PV)  so you take your chances. If you receive a dud, so be it.

 

2. Cassegrains - classical, Dall Kirkham and RC from GSO and others.

 

3. Takahashi Mewlons - I've only seen three 250mm ones - optical quality seems to range from good to very good, but they have a secondary supported by a 4-vane spider, so expect diffraction artifacts.

 

4. Vixen sub-aperture maksutov cassgrains - IMHO deserve 4 out of 10 - poor optical quality, fat 4-vane spider...

 

5. New mass-manufactured maksutovs at budget prices - Skywatcher/Celestron (ie Synta), Orion UK, Explore Scientific, Bosma, Saxon. The Skywatcher ones are consistently very good optically, 9 out of 10.

 

Orion UK have a very poor reputation.

 

6. There are a few sources of premium quality large maksutovs larger than 180mm - Astrophysics, and Ottiche Zen in Venice. APM (Germany) may have one or two left. Real artisan craftsmanship, optically excellent but this comes at a price.

 

7. Then there is Questar, a special case in terms of quality and price. They are works of art.

 

8. Secondhand - Good quality Maksutovs from Intes appear up reasonably often here at CN Classifieds, or on "that other website", and at Teleskop-Express in Germany,

 

9. The "unicorns" - rare, legendary premium maksutovs with exquisite optics known to exist, a few have actually seen one, and a very lucky few actually own one. These are rare, and you have to some work to find one let alone acquire one in good condition.

 

Examples include the big maksutovs from TEC, Santel, Astrophysics, Ceravolo, APM/Matthias Wirth, Intes and the Questar 7" and 12". These are the Ferraris and treasured accordingly. The point is that Intes, Santel and APM guaranteed optical quality. For Questar, AP and TEC .. don't bother to ask, it is THAT good. But this kind of quality comes at a cost.


Edited by luxo II, 10 October 2019 - 07:02 AM.

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#28 Edd Weninger

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 01:24 AM

"The "unicorns" - rare, legendary premium maksutovs with exquisite optics known to exist, a few have actually seen one, and a very lucky few actually own one. These are rare, and you have to some work to find one let alone acquire one in good condition."

 

Yes, they do exist, and yes, I'm lucky to have one.

 

IMG_5699 crop.jpg

 

 

 

 


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#29 Astro-Master

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 11:10 PM

I got lucky also, I bought a used Intes 180mm Mak-Cass f/10 with the premium Astro-Sitall  1/9 wave optical system, with the original baffled dew shield and padded travel case for $1,400 on CN.



#30 Tyson M

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 07:03 PM

This has been discussed many times before.

1. There are only two SCT manufacturers currently in the market - Meade and Celestron (Synta). Take your pick, they are like Fords vs Chevs. Both are mass-manufactured, low price is clearly the priority over optical quality.

Celestron has a few variants - the bog standard SCT, Edge HD, and the Hyperstar or RASA for imaging types.
Meade ACF are the alternative. But note they do not guarantee the optical quality, no mention of "diffraction limited" let alone a guarantee that the scope passes ¼ wave (never mind 1/8 waver PV) so you take your chances. If you receive a dud, so be it.

2. Cassegrains - classical, Dall Kirkham and RC from GSO and others.

3. Takahashi Mewlons - I've only seen three 250mm ones - optical quality seems to range from good to very good, but they have a secondary supported by a 4-vane spider, so expect diffraction artifacts.

4. Vixen sub-aperture maksutov cassgrains - IMHO deserve 4 out of 10 - poor optical quality, fat 4-vane spider...

5. New mass-manufactured maksutovs at budget prices - Skywatcher/Celestron (ie Synta), Orion UK, Explore Scientific, Bosma, Saxon. The Skywatcher ones are consistently very good optically, 9 out of 10.

Orion UK have a very poor reputation.

6. There are a few sources of premium quality large maksutovs larger than 180mm - Astrophysics, and Ottiche Zen in Venice. APM (Germany) may have one or two left. Real artisan craftsmanship, optically excellent but this comes at a price.

7. Then there is Questar, a special case in terms of quality and price. They are works of art.

8. Secondhand - Good quality Maksutovs from Intes appear up reasonably often here at CN Classifieds, or on "that other website", and at Teleskop-Express in Germany,

9. The "unicorns" - rare, legendary premium maksutovs with exquisite optics known to exist, a few have actually seen one, and a very lucky few actually own one. These are rare, and you have to some work to find one let alone acquire one in good condition.

Examples include the big maksutovs from TEC, Santel, Astrophysics, Ceravolo, APM/Matthias Wirth, Intes and the Questar 7" and 12". These are the Ferraris and treasured accordingly. The point is that Intes, Santel and APM guaranteed optical quality. For Questar, AP and TEC .. don't bother to ask, it is THAT good. But this kind of quality comes at a cost.

Agreed with above. My Orion Optics UK OMC200 (with test report)is from 2008, in their good days. Anything pre 2013 is a good buy. I believe they started outsourcing their optics to China after that for a few years. Not sure about current status but many have bad stories so most ppl would not fork over that cash to take that risk with them.

Edited by Tyson M, 13 October 2019 - 07:04 PM.


#31 Steve C.

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 01:14 PM

Marty is an interesting character but he knows his optics and won’t steer you wrong.  Bought my first scope from them years ago.  The website is at least 20 years old:-).  Best to call them directly.  If you are local, a trip to the store is very much worth the time.  Part show room, part museum.  It is the only place I know of that you can actually look through a televue or AP scope before you buy one.  

 

Jmd 

Yep, I used that website to find my AP 130 EDT that was on consignment, and that was back in 1996.


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#32 JOEinCO

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 05:17 AM

OP here.....my interest is that I think I can move up from my Nexstar 4SE to at least a 5-inch, and maybe a 6-inch and still keep under the weight I'm trying to stay under.....

Steve.... Keep in mind the 4SE and 5SE Nexstar mount is different from the 6SE and 8SE Nexstar mount. You can put the C5 on your mount, but not the C6.


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#33 Bataleon

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 07:00 AM

I got lucky also, I bought a used Intes 180mm Mak-Cass f/10 with the premium Astro-Sitall 1/9 wave optical system, with the original baffled dew shield and padded travel case for $1,400 on CN.

That sounds like a nice setup. I rather like the idea of a faster than usual Mak. Probably a heck of a planetary astrograph eh?

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk

#34 photoracer18

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Posted Today, 02:49 PM

FWIW, last month at our astronomy club meeting I met the owner of Company Seven in informal conversations after the meeting.  He was visiting our area.  It didn't take long to realize he knew his stuff and that they do a lot of work for NASA and the government.  He talked candidly about various brands saying that for the most part they are all good.  If I were to buy new I would seriously consider them because they have high end testing equipment and they test every scope before sending it out.  He said Celestron hand picks scopes to send to him because he is so picky and will send back poor performers.  

What he says is correct. Long before I worked for Gary Hand I used to show up at times at Company 7 and help him check out new scopes and mounts. He sent an entire shipment of Meade equipment back to the factory and stopped carrying Meade for close to 2 decades. When I was helping out it was mostly the quality control of the mounts. The telescope end of Marty's business is a small part of what he does.


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