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Thoughts on the LX85 R5 (Meade)?

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#1 Nessark

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:16 PM

What are your opinions on the LX85 R5 (Achromatic) telescope with the GoTo German Equatorial Mount?  Right now it is on Meades website for $1099.

 

Is that a good price? Is it worth it?

 

I am looking to get a GoTo mounted telescope and this one seems like it has a good mount fit even for AP.

 

It seems to equate to the price of a Nexstar 8SE, but are the optics as good?

 

Is Meade a good brand to go look after?



#2 Yogurthawk

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:42 PM

Don't know about the scope. 

 

I bought the LX85 with the 6" Reflector on it and it might just be my system but I found the mount to be really inconsistent. In the beginning everything was pretty spot on, with goto's lacking a little bit but not so much that I couldn't look around and find my target in a minute or so. At one point everything kind of fell apart with this mount and now the goto's are pretty awful even with precise alignment. I usually have to star hop a significant distance to the target but once I get there everything is fine. The tracking is OK but nothing exceptional and if you want any sort of long exposures you'll definitely need a good guiding system. The mount construction is cheap and several little pieces (such as the homing markers for the RA/DEC) will fall off after a couple of months. I had to send the hand controller in after handling it a bit too rough because the daughter-board inside is held on by two weak solder joints. I'm fairly confident that the LX85 uses plastic gears (although I have not opened it up to check) and meade's plastic gears are famously prone to breaking/slipping a lot. 

 

Meade just filed for bankruptcy so you might get a sweet deal in a couple of months if you still want it.


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#3 sunnyday

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:56 PM

for the guarantee I would wonder if it's worth it
since they went bankrupt


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#4 BFaucett

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:57 PM

Also, note that while Meade labels it as a 5" telescope, it's actually 4.7" (120 mm). They do disclose that on their website but I think it's a bit misleading. 

 

Cheers!  Bob F. smile.gif

 

 


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#5 Dave_L

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 12:35 AM

I don't have personal experience with the LX85, but it looks like a really nice scope. I do have experience with a Celestron 8SE and it is a sweetheart of a telescope. Really good optics, a proven mount, and the 8SE hits a sweet spot on portability vs mirror size. I couldn't find much in the way of user reviews for the LX85.


Edited by Dave_L, 09 December 2019 - 12:38 AM.

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#6 Astro-Master

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 12:53 AM

The Meade LX85 R5 is not a good setup for AP.  The mount is substandard to say the least,  The scope with its fast F ratio will have CA {Chromatic Aberration}, and is not well suited for AP.  I would not buy this scope and mount.  I would look at Celestron, Sky Watcher, Orion, or others.  

 

If you're new to the hobby I would get some experience using telescopes visually for a while before tacking AP.


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 05:59 AM

It seems to equate to the price of a Nexstar 8SE, but are the optics as good?

 

Nessark:

 

First let me say Hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights.  

 

To answer your question:  The Nexstar 8SE has very different optics. 

 

The Meade is a 120mm F/5.8 achromat with a 2 inch rack and pinion focuser.  This is a telescope designed for low power and medium power viewing of deep space objects and not a scope one would choose if viewing the planets and observing double stars was a priority.  It is also not a telescope one would normally choose for astrophotography.

 

The primary optical issue with the scope is that it is fast focal ratio achromat.  The issue with refractors is chromatic aberration, they do not focus all colors to the same point.  If the green is in focus, then the red and blue are out of focus.  At higher magnifications this can create purple halos around stars and degrade the image of the planets.

 

The amount of chromatic aberration present depends on a number of factors, the aperture, the focal ratio as well as the glass types chosen for the design.  Very expensive refractors use very expensive glasses and provide essentially perfect color correction.

 

This Meade 120mm x 700mm (F/5.8) is a relatively large, relative fast achromat.  Chromatic aberration in greater with larger apertures and faster focal ratios. The achromat is a combination of two relatively inexpensive glasses, crown and flint, and a good deal of chromatic aberration is to be expected. 

 

At low powers, chromatic aberration is not much of a problem but at the higher magnifications used for viewing the planets and the like, it smears the image, resulting a loss of detail, rather seriously with a scope like this.  One could see the basics but for this the Nexstar 8SE would be a much better choice.

 

That's the Meade 120mm.  The Nexstar 8SE is a Schmidt Cassegrain. It uses mirrors and a thin corrector plane, chromatic aberration is not an issue.  With it's 8 inch aperture, it collects about 2.5 times the light of the 120mm and offers about 70% greater resolution.  It has it's own issues with the central obstruction but overally, this is a much better scope at higher magnifications.

 

It's 2000mm focal length limits the field of view in comparison to the Meade 120mm.  With the right 2 inch eyepieces and diagonal, the Meade would provide a 3.76 degree field of view, the Nexstar 8SE, a 1.31 field of view.  With 1.25 inch eyepieces, the Meade would provide a 2.2 degree TFoV, the Nexstar, about 0.77 degrees.  

 

Most objects are small so this is not a major limitation for the SCT but if you want to see the Pleiades as a whole, it won't happen in the Nexstar 8. 

 

I see the Meade LX-85 R5 as a relatively inexpensive scope, mostly you are paying for the mount.  With the Nexstar 8SE, the scope is better but themount is probably not as robust. 

 

Jon


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#8 Nessark

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 07:44 AM

Thanks everyone for all their replies!


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#9 SeattleScott

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 01:17 AM

I had a couple similar, earlier model Meade mounts. First one served me pretty well for eight years. Had to take a hammer and screw driver to it after I foolishly tried to operate it at max speed, but overall no complaints. Second one I got used, and really didn’t care for. Gearing was too loose, leading to annoying backlash. Technically it functioned fine, consistently placing objects somewhere in the field of view, often well off center due to backlash. But it worked. However by that time I had become spoiled by a Vixen mount and the backlash kind of drove me a little crazy so I sold it. Didn’t need two medium duty mounts anyway.

As for Meade going bankrupt, they filed chapter 11 not 7, so they aren’t going anywhere. Not yet, anyway. But it would make me a little nervous about support long term.

Scott

#10 havasman

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 05:54 PM

I might have a higher opinion of it if it didn't say Meade anywhere on it.


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#11 WyattDavis

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 06:14 PM

I recently succumbed to the temptation to buy an Orion ST120 f/5 achromatic refractor. For a 4.7” refractor, it is relatively short and light so it easy to field from a form factor perspective, but it really is limited to lower power use if you find sharp stars/images to be important. Even on star clusters, it suffers in comparison to a 80mm APO refractor in terms of image sharpness above something like 80x magnification. (Filtering does help some, but it can’t restore the sharpness you can see in a 80mm APO.) For low power use, it’s nice enough but is a very limited scope overall. BTW, the Orion version for the OTA only is $270 new. I does look like you would be paying mostly for the mount on the Meade package. 



#12 StarManMichigan

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Posted 12 May 2020 - 12:57 PM

I have seen this mount listed for $700 new. If one of the best GoTo mounts at this value? I looking for start my first astrophotography setup and for the money I'm considering this one to go with a Red Cat / Space Cat telescope. Any thoughts or opinion from those that have used or tried this product? I would like any feedback good or bad. Thanks!



#13 SeattleScott

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Posted 12 May 2020 - 02:39 PM

I have seen this mount listed for $700 new. If one of the best GoTo mounts at this value? I looking for start my first astrophotography setup and for the money I'm considering this one to go with a Red Cat / Space Cat telescope. Any thoughts or opinion from those that have used or tried this product? I would like any feedback good or bad. Thanks!

If you are looking for the mount as an imaging mount, you should start a new thread and inquire in the imaging forum where the imagers hang out.

In general the imaging mounts are more expensive, but it would be possible to do some more basic work with a mount like this. But you would want to post in that forum to get some specifics about the limitations of using a cheaper mount for imaging.

#14 psychwolf

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 11:40 PM

There are a lot of people who haven't yet used this newer Meade LX85 since it's considered intermediate level. So by the time they released it most people were using trackers that worked well for them and were locked in to iOptron, Sky Watcher, Celestron, etc. There's also a natural assumption that it's probably like all of the other go to mounts in bundles that aren't really meant for imaging. Not true, so take opinions here with a grain of salt. This particular mount came out later, in what seems like Meade's quality push to grab back that market a little - so it's AP capable and was designed for this purpose with more rated weight than the intermediate level offering from Orion or Celestron. It's a bit loud though, and Meade as a company is going through things, but it's a tradeoff.

 

Personally I like the LX85 as a first buy in to imaging that skips over the usual star trackers which require a heavy tripod, and it gives you 33lb rated weight for growth with a goto to help save time finding small DSO, while being a pretty hefty tripod that is still portable and doesn't weigh a ton. Look up the weight of the often recommended Sky Watcher EQ6 for comparison. I live in the city, and I travel to my sites every night. The mount makes so much of a difference.

 

Here's what I'd do: Skip the bundled package, they're usually always in favor of the dealer. Take advantage of the LX85 mount sales going on now to get that mount on its own. Money saved - good, put that toward an autoguider (guidescope + mini ccd camera) to start off autoguiding immediately since you'll want to do it anyway and it makes this mount just fine for tracking going forward.

 

Now, go for a scope. Barebones but good reflectors are one way to go, but they can be tricky to master and it's a lot of focal length. I'd instead go for a doublet APO from some of the stronger mid-tier companies out there in the 70-80mm range - everyone here will have recommendations (william optics redcat, zenithstar, T-S, orion carbon triplet, Explore Scientific, a good used Vixen ED80-101 f7.7 model, etc.). Meade also has a 6000 series quad which looks okay. Later when you get better, that becomes your secondary mounted scope on the same mount, and you move up in focal range. 


Edited by psychwolf, 13 May 2020 - 11:54 PM.


#15 bthrel

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 06:25 AM

FWIW, I have the LX85 with the 8" SCT, The scope is awesome as far as my eye can tell, the mount has a steep learning curve as any German equatorial would I assume .. So far its performing goto; s well for me, but Im still experimenting with and practicing alignments. No gear slop on DEC but a few mm on RA which I understand not to be a issue. The audio star takes some learning too as a controller, still have not figured out how to search for anything on it and scrolling can take a while to get to a object.



#16 psychwolf

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 10:40 AM

FWIW, I have the LX85 with the 8" SCT, The scope is awesome as far as my eye can tell, the mount has a steep learning curve as any German equatorial would I assume .. So far its performing goto; s well for me, but Im still experimenting with and practicing alignments. No gear slop on DEC but a few mm on RA which I understand not to be a issue. The audio star takes some learning too as a controller, still have not figured out how to search for anything on it and scrolling can take a while to get to a object.

Awesome, good to hear another LX85 user out there.. I feel like there's a bit of a prejudice out there about this mount due to perception. To me the tracking, ability to move it to a dark sky (i'm in the city) and weight capacity was a major benefit to this, as long as it tracked well enough so that I could correct any minor stuff with autoguiding. Agree about "audiostar" - it does seem like they just reused the same platform here, which was already a bit dated, but Celestron does the same and to me it is the least important part of the mount as long as it goes to the point I told it to. I can just hook up a laptop and bypass it whenever I want as well. It's been performing with no issues for me as well, as long as you can align it well and do all optional and mandatory things to get the go to trained, it's fine!

 

Note, this whole thread should probably get moved over to the Meade Automated Telescope sub. It seems like it's more of a topic Meade users would be able to chime in on best.


Edited by psychwolf, 14 May 2020 - 10:43 AM.

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#17 bthrel

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 11:34 AM

Also, the gears are brass, I took a peak under the DEC box to see if I could tell where the backlash was coming from, its the encoder shaft (large gear) , looks like a prime candidate for a mod like a teflon spacer or something ...

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Edited by bthrel, 14 May 2020 - 11:35 AM.


#18 psychwolf

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 12:32 PM

 

looks like a prime candidate for a mod like a teflon spacer or something ...

 

Since the manual is limited in terms of listing out the parts inside this, is there a typical German Equatorial mount modification involving a teflon spacer that refers to? Or is that something for a shop, that'd have to be custom to match this specific 2.91 inch "Precision Worm Drive"?

 

To my ears, not trained in machining, it sounds like you're saying the gears are a little too tight and bounce on first slew, but they're at least brass vs something cheaper so it could be worthwhile to add a spacer to soften the backlash? Or was I reading too much in to that? 


Edited by psychwolf, 14 May 2020 - 12:35 PM.


#19 bthrel

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 12:42 PM

Picture worth a thousand words.. this time with annotations ...

 

 

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#20 Blackbelt76

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 01:06 PM

What are your opinions on the LX85 R5 (Achromatic) telescope with the GoTo German Equatorial Mount?  Right now it is on Meades website for $1099.

 

Is that a good price? Is it worth it?

 

I am looking to get a GoTo mounted telescope and this one seems like it has a good mount fit even for AP.

 

It seems to equate to the price of a Nexstar 8SE, but are the optics as good?

 

Is Meade a good brand to go look after?

Hope you caught the other response concerning Meade's financial woes.

I for one will cast a vote against the company in general. Why?

 

I purchased a 8" SCT alt/az goto from Meade. Nothing but problems and the customer service was worse.

Happy to report I did get the vendor to refund me.

Learned a basic life lesson that I knew but ignored, (You get what you pay for) 



#21 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 01:33 PM

Keep in mind the LX85 Mount weighs 23.2 pounds. So with a weight rating of 33lbs, either Meade is bending the laws of physics, including the counterweight in the payload rating, or they have the highest precision engineered mount on the market, or they are exaggerating the payload capacity (maybe even more than usual). For visual I wouldn’t mount a scope on a mount if the scope weighed more than the mount. Even my more precision engineered Japanese mount is pushing it at 1:1 weight/payload rating. For AP you typically cut the weight rating in half. So if a REALISTIC weight rating for visual is 25lbs, then for AP you are maybe looking at 12-13lbs.

I’m not saying it is a bad mount. I’m just saying Meade has a tendency to exaggerate, like with their 100 AFOV eyepieces that we all now know are really 88-92 AFOV.

For reference the Celestron AVX weighs 35lbs and is rated for 30. Is Meade that much better than Celestron?

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 14 May 2020 - 01:34 PM.


#22 psychwolf

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 02:06 PM

Keep in mind the LX85 Mount weighs 23.2 pounds. So with a weight rating of 33lbs, either Meade is bending the laws of physics, including the counterweight in the payload rating, or they have the highest precision engineered mount on the market, or they are exaggerating the payload capacity (maybe even more than usual). For visual I wouldn’t mount a scope on a mount if the scope weighed more than the mount. Even my more precision engineered Japanese mount is pushing it at 1:1 weight/payload rating. For AP you typically cut the weight rating in half. So if a REALISTIC weight rating for visual is 25lbs, then for AP you are maybe looking at 12-13lbs.

I’m not saying it is a bad mount. I’m just saying Meade has a tendency to exaggerate, like with their 100 AFOV eyepieces that we all now know are really 88-92 AFOV.

For reference the Celestron AVX weighs 35lbs and is rated for 30. Is Meade that much better than Celestron?

Scott

I really hope they're not exaggerating that much for the sake of accuracy in labeling, and that there was a reason why they rated higher than the other typical midrange mounts from Orion or Celestron. I assume they've done enough QA to make a claim, or at least I have no proof to doubt them - has anyone tried pushing the limits on this? Ironically one of the contributors to bankruptcy seems to be Meade challenging Orion, claiming price fixing and anti-competitive actions and settling at $20 mil, so that sounds like a problem in the industry as a whole.

 

In any event, look for an update from me once I'm primarily using my Vixen ED81S mounted on a larger focal length APO in the future... which could just be when I win the lottery. So far I'm okay with that 80mm + dslr (9lbs) and another dslr (6lbs) zoom, spotting scope (1lb?), etc., but I'm new to this hobby and I could be near that true maximum and not know it yet. The portability is great until I get a house with a garage, so I'm going to be in this range for awhile making it work.

 

If I look at their "ideal" scope to go with this they do call out the 17lb 6000 series triplet, which they note this mount can handle, or their 8inch LX85 refractor in this same line shown in brochures which is 18lbs, so I think you'd have to up that 12-13lb estimate as low, my set up is over that even. 


Edited by psychwolf, 14 May 2020 - 02:14 PM.


#23 SeattleScott

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 05:27 PM

The 17lb triplet or 8” newt would be just fine for visual. I just don’t know that I would be imaging with those scopes on that mount. Consider that neither of these suggested scopes weigh anywhere close to 33lbs.

I have had three similar mounts. The Meade LXD55, which preceded the LXD75. The Meade LXD75, which preceded the LXD85. And a Celestron CG5 which preceded the AVX. The Meade mounts weighed about 25lbs and were rated for 30lbs. Nobody has any business putting a 30lb scope on either of those mounts. A realistic rating would be 20 for the 55 and 25 for the 75. The Celestron was 29lbs and rated for 35 lbs, but again 25lbs would be more realistic. All of these mounts were about the same price as the LXD85, maybe with an inflation adjustment.

So has Meade really made a breakthrough with the LXD85 mounts? They sure look an awful lot like the LXD75 ones. Different paint job, different counterweights. Are the internals really that much better? Is the engineering that much more precise? I suppose anything is possible, but I wouldn’t count on it. Maybe it could do more than 12-13lb for imaging. Wouldn’t surprise me. That is admittedly a conservative estimate. But I wouldn’t push it too far.

Consider this. Meade sold a lot of 8” and 10” Schmidt Newts back in the day on LXD75 mounts. These were advertised as photo-visual setups by Meade. There is currently a thread going in Cats and Casses about Schmidt Newts, and if you read the thread, you will see many pictures of these Meade Schmidt Newts that are still used for imaging. But you will also notice they are consistently pictured on upgraded mounts. So there is what Meade advertises in order to sell more scopes, and there is reality.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 14 May 2020 - 05:41 PM.


#24 Clint McQueen

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 07:42 AM

I recently purchased an LX85 here on Cloudynights.  I plan to use if for wide field imagining with the Astro-Tech 72mm.  I've only had a chance to use it very briefly once.  I just recently  had to rig a counterweight system since it just came with an 11lb counterweight.  No way was that going to work.  My thoughts are, and when I purchased this mount, for light duty wide field imaging it "should" function well.  I will report after I get some time with it.  

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#25 MalVeauX

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 08:55 AM

Heya,

 

That mount would be an excellent start into things, both for visual and future endevours with AP if you go there. But that scope (the 4.7" achromatic doublet refractor) is not a great way to start. While it's a good scope for a specific purpose (wide field DSO sweeping), it's not good for solar system or high power use due to the chromatic abberation. It would be fine for imaging in narrowband but not in full RGB color with an OSC color sensor camera. If you're on a budget, the better scope design would be a mirror based telescope like a newtonian reflector as it will lack CA. The longer the focal-ratio the better when starting out (F5, F6, etc).

 

Very best,




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