Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Thoughts on the LX85 R5 (Meade)?

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Nessark


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2019

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


    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 23
  • Joined: 05 Jun 2019
  • Loc: Gilbert, AZ

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.

  • Nessark likes this

#3 sunnyday



  • *****
  • Posts: 3,711
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Ottawa,Canada

Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:56 PM

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

#4 BFaucett



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,349
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Houston, Texas 29.779 -95.603 (approx)

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




  • Nessark likes this

#5 Dave_L


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 88
  • Joined: 19 Jun 2019
  • Loc: Joshua Tree, CA

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.

  • Nessark likes this

#6 Astro-Master


    Viking 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 692
  • Joined: 09 May 2016
  • Loc: San Diego County,Ca.

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.

  • Jon Isaacs, markb, wrvond and 1 other like this

#7 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs


  • *****
  • Posts: 80,922
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 09 December 2019 - 05:59 AM

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




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. 



  • SteveG, Astro-Master, Dave_L and 1 other like this

#8 Nessark


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2019

Posted 09 December 2019 - 07:44 AM

Thanks everyone for all their replies!

#9 SeattleScott


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,527
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011

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.


#10 havasman


    Voyager 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 10,189
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Dallas, Texas

Posted 10 December 2019 - 05:54 PM

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

#11 WyattDavis



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,134
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Rye, NH

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. 

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics