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Celestron Edge 8 HD/AVX Design Faux Pax

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#1 dhferguson

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 06:56 PM

Cheers,

 

Celestron, and Meade for that matter, make SCT telescopes with amazing value given the prices. These are mature product ecosystems, meaning that both companies have had about fifty years to "get it right" with both telescopes and myriad accessories. However, there are a few issues I've experienced with my Celestron  combo, and I write this in the hope someone at Synta/Celestron is reading this. For reference, I am a very experienced visual observer and a newbie AP'er.

 

(1) the finder: Celestron currently supplies a straight-through 9 x 50mm finder with it's Edge 8. Use of this requites contortionist skills or a double-jointed neck when the telescope is pointed anywhere near zenith. Further, this finder does not have an illuminated reticle. Celestron makes a perfectly fine 9 x 50mm RACI finder that DOES have an illuminated reticle. Why not supply this instead?

 

(2) the finder bracket is awful: Celestron uses a proprietary bracket. In place of the usual three adjustment screws, the front ring contains a rubber O-ring that fits over the finder snugly into the ring. On the back ring, only two of the three "screws" are adjustable. This works but is a kluge--what's wrong with the traditional 3-screws on both rings design? Did some fool in times past loosen all the adjustment screws, get poked in the eye, and then sue you, Celestron--your parent company Synta makes perfectly good standard finder mounts? Further, the rings are quite narrow in diameter, so that a standard-tube 50mm finder/guidescope will not fit--one must use Celestron's. C'mon Celestron, how can you be that proprietary ... and that chintzy? Use a dovetail mount and two-ring, six adjustment screw finder bracket like everyone else, please,

 

(3) the finder bracket/camera bracket clearance: Celestron makes a fine camera bracket that attaches to the OTA tube. However, with certain cameras, there is not enough clearance for the camera body so mounted and the nearby finder. Yeah, one can remove the finder but ... why not make a bracket that provides (or can be adjusted to provide)  enough clearance?

 

(4) 2" visual back: Celeston does not supply a 2" visual back or 2" diagonal with the 8" model. Many of us, including myself, have 2" eyepieces we want to use. One current solution that works great: a Baader Clicklock 2" adapter that screws onto the SCT threads with an aftermarket 2" diagonal. I understand the drive to save money but, really, why limit the scope?

 

(5) 40mm Plossl: Celestron supplies a modest-quality 40mm Plossl eyepiece with the 8" HD. I'm guessing they do so to emphasize the wide field of the OTA optics. However, this particular Plossl has an AFOV of, I believe, about 43 deg. It is like looking through a soda straw. Why not at least supply something like a 26mm or so Erfle-oid (about the biggest field lens that will fit in a 1.25" holder) that provides greater magnification and roughly the same FOV?

 

(6) short dovetail: Celestron installs an aluminum Vixen-style dovetail bar on the bottom of the OTA for mounting. For reasons known only to them (perhaps to keep the OTA from sliding off the mount if both mounting bolts are somehow incomprehensibly loosened?), Celestron mounts two knurled-head short bolts, one near each end of the dovetail bar. With the additional weight of either camera equipment or 2" eyepieces, the OTA must be slid forward in the mount all the way to the end of the dovetail bar. Sooo, get rid of the knurled bolt on the mirror end and use the vast sums saved to extend the dovetail another 3/4" or so toward the bottom end: the clearances permit this and it will help in balancing the scope,

 

(7) Phillips head adjustment screws: I am at a complete loss why Celeston did this: they are difficult to adjust and having a pointy Phillips head screwdriver anywhere near the corrector makes me nervous. I personally like Bob's Knobs because I can feel for them in the dark while collimating on a star w/o fear of scratching the corrector. Others prefer hex-head cap screws because leverage of the Allen wrench handle allows for fine adjustment. Whichever but ... ditch the Phillips head screws, please,

 

(8) RJ connectors: Celestron uses RJ=style connectors (like landline telephones and ethernet cables use) to attach the hand controller and the Dec cable to the mount connections. These are plastic and flimsy. Please replace them with something like RCA connectors or other robust connectors,

 

(9) Power supply: Celestron supplies a DC power cord with a male cigarette lighter plug. Most of us do not drive our car to the backyard to plug into the car's cigarette lighter (a bad idea when remote observing lest you car fail to start, BTW, this happened to a friend). Instead, many of us, of course, have a short female plug-and-battery clip cable that allows connection to 12V or many other batteries. Many of us also have AC power at home, for which Celestron sells a rather expensive AC/DC adapter power cable. Either way, I believe the package should be usable out of the box and not require something else,

 

(10) Weights: Celestron supplies a single 12lb counterweight, which is barely enough for the out-of-the-box configuration. You'll need two counterweights if you use 2" eyepieces or try AP. BTW, some of the usual vendors provide free shipping, which is important for a 12lb object, and some don't,

 

(11) Mount level: There is no bubble level on the mount. C'mon Celestron! Anyway, you can purchase an aftermarket bubble level for the AVX inexpensively from Starizona,

 

(12) OAG/Edge 8 compatibility: This is another oversight that simply makes no sense. Celestron makes a wonderful off-axis guider. It is robust, easily adjustable, and has a big prism, the better to find guide stars. It also comes with a number of adapters but ... NOT the one you will need if you want to do AP with your 8" Edge and the x0.7 Celestron reducer. The trouble: the visual back-to-OAG adapter that Celestron supplies is WAY to long to provide the necessary 105mm back focus. The solution: ditch the Celestron adapter and order Part T-01 ("Blue Fireball", call to make sure you get the right one) from Agena. This is thin and provides 105.5mm back focus. BTW, this is a 42mm adapter, meaning it will work with an APS-C size sensor but will vignette a full-frame DSLR. Maybe there is also a 48mm adapter on the same site? But Celestron, why did you manufacture a great OAG but not supply the adapter needed to work with the popular 8" Edge?

 

(13) Protruding AVX polar alignment knobs: Celestron supplies bolts to adjust altitude and especially azimuth on the AVX. The knobs are unnecessarily long, meaning that when one attempts to carry the mount, they stick into one's midriff, and no, I am not at all obese. This is an easy fix, Celestron,

 

(14) Polar alignment scope: Celestron's scope is competitively priced and works. It screws into the AVX polar axis and can be adjusted for proper alignment. However, one must loosen the polar scope in it's threads to properly rotate the reticle to the polar constellations, and this badly mess up the alignment due to looseness. What I do is keep it threaded tight and just extrapolate my rotation. Greatness is possible, Celestron, just provide for rotation of the reticle/eyepiece. BTW, a right-angle polar scope would be a whole lot easier on the neck (I observe from 37 deg N latitude).

 

(15) AVX Dec bearings: please replace the sleeve bearings with ball bearings. Your mounts will have lower RMS tracking errors for AP, you won't need to use that awful thick grease anymore, and you will sell more mounts, and

 

(16) OTA dust cap: difficult to get on. Yeah, after awhile I discovered those matching bumps: one on the OTA and the other on the cover. Consider painting them white for nighttime visibility.

 

OK, enough beating up Celestron. Here are some of the things I really like about the combo:

 

--focuser: OK, f/10 is pretty tolerant but the focuser is smooth and with adequate pitch control. Feathertouch it ain't but ... it works very well,

 

--hand controller: aside from the connectors, this is a wonderful unit and I love using it. BTW, could you please allow substitution for all those weird Arabic-derivative star names--many of which are obscure--and use Bayer designations (e.g. Dubhe = alpha UMa, etc.) so that we might know which constellations our prospective alignment and calibration stars are in?

 

--goto precision: after even a cursory polar alignment with the polar alignment scope, "2 star alignment," followed with two calibration stars, the object of my lust is centered within a 10mm eyepiece, always. Nice!

 

--optical quality: mine are adequate but not great, about lambda/5.5 end-to-end wavefront P-V at 0.5um by careful star test, mostly due to an intermediate zone. Still, given the complexity of the optics train and the price, I am really impressed!

 

--build quality and quality control: so far, everything worked out of the box and continues to work. Great!

 

--OTA handle: a stroke of genius from Celestron here--the handle on the mirror end makes carrying the OTA super easy!

 

--OTA light weight and compactness, given the 8: SCT. Isn't this a big reason we buy SCTs and buy Celestron?

 

--AVX mount head lightness. Very stable for it's low weight. Maybe I got lucky but I have been using it and the 8" Edge OTA successfully for AP with < 2 min exposures, which is all my light-polluted skies will allow anyway. 'Easy to carry out of the garage to the backyard, even with the tripod attached (I am a healthy adult male), and

 

--the Edge 8" carrying case: well-made and quite wonderful. Holds the OTA safely & securely,  and comes with an internal zippered pouch for accessories.

 

So, Celestron, you've got the really important factors right: solid and stable goto mount, great portability for the size,  and decent optics. A bit of work with your accessories and you will have a truly astonishing product!

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don


Edited by dhferguson, 02 June 2020 - 07:27 PM.

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#2 Berny

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 07:14 PM

OMG, that's quite the list.



#3 wrnchhead

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 07:17 PM

The base issue with most of these, the price.

The finder, I agree.
2” furniture, this is a flawed idea from the get go because generally to reach focus with the added focal length, the 2 inch stuff vignettes the aperture and starts to screw with the flattening.
Polar scope, I do feel that it is silly to not include one but you don’t align the constellations by unscrewing it, you rotate the RA axis.

#4 dhferguson

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 07:31 PM

Cheers,

 

#3, you are right on rotating the polar axis.

 

2" vignetting will depend on the eyepiece focal length. I believe vignetting occurs at about a field diameter of 1.2 deg or so for the Edge 8 and 1.25" spacings, so it will be a bit (but not much) smaller with the back focus farther back using 2" eyepieces. I believe you'd notice nothing with a FOV of even 1.0 deg or smaller (for scale, the Moon is ~0.5 deg). As for flattening, I haven't noticed any problem with 2" eyepieces.

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don


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#5 RTLR 12

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 07:58 PM

Celestron Edge 8 HD/AVX Design Faux Pax

or

Why my Kia isn’t a Lexus
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#6 WadeH237

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 09:12 AM

Wow, that's quite the laundry list of "problems".  Here are my thoughts:

 

Regarding the finder comments, "what's a finder"?  I haven't used a finder on any of my scopes for at least 15 years.  I use Telrads, even on my Dob, with which I star hop.  For imaging scopes (including my EdgeHD 8), I don't even use a Telrad anymore.  Plate solving has matured to the point that I just set up the system and use a plate solve to sync the scope to the sky and then I am off to the races.  Certainly, I can understand that some people like to use finders for visual use.  But why would it be a good thing for Celestron to increase the price for something that many of us either discard or put on the shelf to collect dust?  If you want a nice finder, then buy one.  If you want a better finder mount, then those are available as well.

 

Regarding the visual back, I can see where a 2" would benefit visual users.  On my imaging scope, I replace everything from the back of the scope, to the camera.  For my visual scopes, I do use Click-Locks, but including them with the scope would add quite a bit to the price.

 

Regarding the stock eyepiece, as a visual user, I have my own eyepieces already.  Please don't make me pay for one that's just going to be tossed or sit on the shelf.

 

Regarding the dovetail, just remove the knurled bolts.  Problem solved.

 

Regarding the Phillips head screws, I am mostly with you here.  I prefer hex cap screws for the reasons that you mentioned.  Getting replacement screws is less than $1 and takes a few minutes to swap out and recollimate.  But year, Celestron shouldn't use Phillips screws for this.

 

Regarding power supply, lots of people use jump-start type batteries (which I would not recommend, but it is what it is).  The cigarette lighter plug works directly with these.  For my imaging setup, I use Anderson PowerPoles for all power connections.  But I don't think that Celestron should switch to PowerPoles, since it's mostly serious imagers that use them - and we can cut off the cigarette lighter plug and crimp on a PowerPole in about 2 minutes.

 

Regarding the level, who cares?  The mount is not that sensitive to being level.  It the mount looks level to the eye, it'll work great (and even that is only necessary for the All-Star Polar Alignment; if you use any other polar alignment technique, being level matters not at all).  It would be another unneeded cost.  While we're on the topic, I am happy that Celestron doesn't include a polar scope, since it would be more junk for my shelf.  ASPA is good enough for most use, and is probably better than a polar alignment scope would get you.  If you need a really accurate polar alignment, there are ways to get it really accurate that cost nothing.  With free software like PHD2, you can do an assisted drift alignment in just a few minutes.

 

Regarding the declination bearing, the sleeve bearing that they use works.  This is a favorite topic for people to complain about, but I honestly don't think that this is the mount's weak point.  The backlash and tracking accuracy are more dominant (by far) than the declination bearing.  If replacing the sleeve bearing with a ball bearing would significantly improve the mount, Celestron would have done that when they discontinued the CG-5 in favor of the AVX.  Lots of people have tried to modify these mounts to improve them, but I don't know of any effort in the threads on this topic that have actually improved the mount's imaging performance.  I guess that it makes an easy thing for people to point at and complain.

 

I'm completely with you on the EdgeHD 8 back focus.  About the time that Celestron introduced the EdgeHD line, I spoke with the Celestron folks at the Advanced Imaging Conference about this specifically and they said that they are not going to change it.  I'm guessing that this would require a redesign that would put the cost outside of their target market.

 

Oh, and if I look at your comments collectively, it seems like you are expecting the EdgeHD 8 with an AVX to be a viable imaging platform.  It's not.  The AVX is about the lowest end mount you can get for imaging.  In my opinion, it will work well for up to an 80mm refractor. And F/6 scope in this size is pretty ideal.  It could do an F/7.5, 80mm scope, but that's about as far as I would ever push one.  If you want to image with your EdgeHD 8, you would be better served by getting a better mount.  I consider an EQ6/CGEM class mount to be the minimum.

 

If you want to buy an OTA and mount that ticks all of your check boxes, you certainly can - but you will need a much bigger budget.



#7 dhferguson

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 10:18 AM

Cheers,

 

Poster #6, you make some good comments.

 

For me, I mainly use the finder to find the "alignment" and "calibration" stars. Afterward I use "goto." But still, it's nice to have the wide field of a finder from time to time. There is little cost difference between the RACI finder Celestron sells and the straight-thru finder that comes stock.

 

Yeah, the Clicklock is expensive but replacing the 1.25" visual back with a 2" substitute would be effectively no cost difference, excepting of course the redesign.

 

Many of us do AP with the Celestron 8 Edge. You will find the dovetail bar is barely/not quite long enough to balance properly, depending upon your camera/accessories load on the back end. The end of the dovetail bar is very near the back of the telescope, so a small extension--like 3/4"--would make a big difference at, once again, effectively zero cost except for the changeover.

 

You care about the bubble level if you are doing DSO AP. You begin polar alignment with your previous session's polar axis altitude setting. Now if you fully collapse the tripod legs and always locate the telescope just where it was in the previous session, the altitude setting will only need minor adjustment. If either of these conditions are not true, then the bubble level will help. The Starizona level retails for $14.95.

 

I am satisfied with the PHD2-derived RMS pointing error of my AVX. However, with ball bearings instead of sleeve bearings, it wouldn't be necessary to use the stiff grease, and balancing would be more precise. This will almost certainly improve pointing performance. I don't know why I got a good-performing mount: was it luck, was it never abusing the mount? I do know others have not had such good luck: AVX pointing is hit or miss depending upon the mount. The HEQ5 mount, which retails for ~$100  more and does have Dec ball bearings, seems to be more consistent and many recommend it for AP as a substitute for the AVX. So for $100 more, you do get a more AP-capable mount, although most samples of it too would likely have guiding issues at C8/AP weight levels.

 

Yep, many recommend that an 80 mm-ish refractor be used for AP on the AVX. I have one, use it, and like the setup. However, my nighttime skies are a crummy Bortle 7, and sky background limits my exposures to ~2 min (I haven't been using narrowband filters) even at iso=200.  Happily, I obtain round stars even with my much heavier (and larger moment-of-inertia) C8 setup. I've run PHD2 RMS error tests for longer times--up to ten minutes--and these values (both axes) stay constant. Again, I am probably lucky with my mount. What I do notice is that every once in awhile--maybe every three or four minutes--there is a glitch in the Dec RMS error. I do not use PEC correction (which is RA-only anyway) but probably should. Such an occasional poorly-guided subexposure can be easily dropped, of course. On balance, based on others' experiences, AVX mount pointing performance evidently results in way too many bad subexposures for many at C8 AP setup weights. Alas, you may be right. Most will want the next step up for C8/AP an EQ6 (~$1350 on sale) or a somewhat more expensive but lighter iOptron.

 

Many of the improvements I suggest would cost nothing additional in parts and labor to manufacture. They could be part of the design rework, which Celestron does anyway every few years. Overall then, a "much bigger budget" would not be necessary to have a somewhat more AP-capable and ergonomic 8" Edge/AVX combo, maybe $120 more, $160 with the extra counterweight and RACI finder.

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don



#8 mclewis1

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 10:26 AM

Don,

 

So I tend to agree with the benefits of everything you listed and individually most of them are pretty trivial cost items but the idea that it won't make much difference price wise to an already in production scope isn't true (most would however make little difference to a scope that's going into product in the future).

 

Think about the disruption to supply chain, changes to the manufacturing line (processes, training, stocking, etc.), in stock management (across a world wide distribution network, and the similar impact on the distributors and dealers), documentation changes, support training, impact on support services (calls about new stuff), marketing material changes, etc. etc.

 

All of that adds up to much more money than the simple product cost differences (penny here, dollar there). Then those product costs will obviously translate into a bump in the selling/list price, and that means less volume sold, and that translates into less manufactured volume which further increases selling/list prices. While most/all of your suggested changes make good sense do you think any or all of them would ever increase the number of scope's sold (would any of them sway a sale towards Celestron vs. the impact of the selling price differences?). One popular example is the AVX DEC "bearing", would Celestron sell more AVX's if they had a ball bearing in the DEC axis but a new list price of perhaps over $1000 USD? Or to put it another way which is more important to an entry level mount - lower price point or better DEC tracking accuracy?

 

So while the changes might make sense to you or I do you think it makes sense for Celestron to have to increase the price of an AVX/Edge8 package from $2150 to say $2500 or more and sell less of them?

 

We all created this situation. Our demand for the best price and continued interest in buying online from the lowest price sources has created the situation where Celestron (or any current manufacturer) has paired back many many nice to have features on their scopes in order to maintain sales volumes. 


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#9 dhferguson

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 10:38 AM

Cheers,

 

Here are excerpts from the advertising blurb on today's Celestron webpage. They most certainly are advertising the C8 Edge/AVX combo as an AP setup, to wit:

 

"... This setup offers the astroimager maximum versatility – allowing up to 3 different f-stop configurations. Users can attach a camera to the rear of the telescope and shoot at f/10 or attach our 8” EdgeHD focal reducer to shoot at f/7... ,"

 

and then "If you’re an experienced imager, you’ll love taking this portable mount to a dark sky site and enjoying all the conveniences of a larger observatory mount."

 

Don



#10 dhferguson

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 10:54 AM

Cheers,

 

Mark, you are completely correct about changeover costs. That is why I suggest incorporating the changes at the next design rework.

 

You make an interesting point about price. First, here in the US anyway, "fair trade" was pronounced "legal" by the Supreme Court. This means the manufacturer sets the minimum retail price, within a very narrow range, for all its distributors. This is true not only of Celestron but most of the other major vendors as well. The distributors must compete on service, and they do. I believe the service we receive from essentially all the distributors is very good-to-excellent. But the manufacturer sets the price, and its profit is determined by the balance between price and volume.

 

We have essentially a duopoly of manufacturers supplying the niche market for 8" AP-capable OTAs and inexpensive but accurate goto mounts: Synta (Celestron and Sky-Watcher) and Meade. These two have obviously been competing in various forms for decades to the benefit of us all. The volume is low enough that neither company can implement manufacturing changes often but one does so when the other company starts to pull ahead. More "nice features," please.

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don


Edited by dhferguson, 03 June 2020 - 11:20 AM.


#11 Steve C.

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 11:42 AM

Actually, I believe that the price that Celestron sets is the minimum advertised price. The retailer who stocks the Celestrons has purchased them from Celestron and can resell at whatever price they like. They just can't advertise the lower price. (Note: this might not apply to retailers who basically drop-ship from the supplier).

 

The dealer markup on telescopes is fairly small. Accessories are where dealers makes money. The adequate (but not really great) stuff on the scopes is a gift to the retailer who sells accessories. (I wouldn't be surprised if Celestron explicitly tells a dealer that.)


Edited by Steve C., 03 June 2020 - 11:43 AM.

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#12 rajilina

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 12:28 PM

That's a laundry list alright. 

 

I think it needs to be remembered that these sort of scope and mount combos are often purchased by people who are new to astronomy but don't want Walmart crap. The AVX is a very good visual mount and for a lot of people, this is the upper end of what they want to spend while still getting something decent, but that might be just enough to let them try imaging at some point. Someone new to the hobby wants it to work right out of the box without any other immediate outlay, and they don't want to have to figure out which of 1000 add-on options they need just to go out and look at a planet in the backyard, which is why a basic 1.25 eyepiece, 1.25 diagonal, and a finderscope are included. 

 

That said, I empathize with a few of these items...

 

The most head-scratching ones for me are the bubble level (yes, I spent money at Starizona), and the finderscope. A goto mount should be leveled, even for visual observing. As for the finder, good grief, that shoe! I ended up getting an Apertura RACI finder. I would have gladly paid a little extra or so on the scope/mount combo to get a bubble level and a better, right-angle finder out of the box, or at least a straight-through one with a more universal shoe, and not have to bother with these upgrades.

 

The polar finder scope.... whew... glad this was a freebie with purchase, because I hate it. I got tired of trying to make it work, or even see though it (contorting isn't comfortable), and learned other better ways to align and especially ways that don't require Polaris, which I can't see from my backyard anyway. (Yes, I would have rather gotten a bubble level and a better finder scope for free instead of the polar scope.)

 

Things that don't bother me:

 

The dust cap is fine. I didn't have any trouble figuring out the notching system and I soon learned to feel for the little bumps in the dark. Mine is a little loose, however, and tends to fall off now and then when I'm carrying the scope...although my Celestron-brand solar filter, which basically looks identical to the dust cap but with a big hole cut out for the filter material, is very tight, so go figure. I might have got an odd one.

 

I don't mind the focuser so much, mine is pretty decent for what it is and I can generally get nice sharp stars, but after having a dual speed focuser on my WO refractor I decided to pony up for a Starlight. I haven't installed it yet so here's hoping it's worth the $300 it cost. I also got a Baader click lock 2" visual back with the 2 to 1.25, attachment, but I don't often use 2" eyepieces so while nice to have, the stock configuration is something I could definitely have lived with. 

 

Eyepiece and diagonal...just the thing for outreach events, because I wouldn't cry if somebody damaged them. So for me, this is a neutral. Actually the finder would be good for this, too... but again, that shoe! If it fit a normal shoe, like the one I use for my RACI, then I'd be taking this to outreach as well.

 

Things I absolutely don't care about:

 

I didn't buy any of the Celestron cases, because I thought they were really expensive. I used the original packing foam in storage cases I sourced elsewhere, for less cost and possibly much better protection. 

 

Imaging concerns? I'm mostly visual but am interested in this. I've done a lot of reading up and don't want to bother with the Hyperstar route at this point. I got a 80mm refractor and will be purchasing an upgraded mount later this year. I am playing with the AVX and my 80mm in the meantime. Any frustrations with the AVX will be temporary, and may in fact help teach me what I really need to have for AP in the next mount I buy :)

 

Pros:

 

Yes, the Edge is a wonderful scope for the mostly visual observing that I do, and overall the mount has been a great performer for me since I got it. Goto works well and once aligned, it stays very accurate and is very easy to adjust if necessary. I agree about the handset, it's good, but I went to an ASIair and iPad/SkySafari combo just because I like having all the information on the iPad right there, and the ability to log, create observing lists and the like, which the handset doesn't do. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the handset and I used it just that way for quite a while before I got my ASIair.

 

I'm old and not strong, but I can carry the entire mount and tripod, with counterweight attached, from the shed to the observing spot without assistance. 

 

I purchased this particular set mainly because of weight considerations, budget (yes I admit, I've since fallen down the rabbit hole), and the fact that I'm mostly visual observer and wanted some aperture, in a package that I knew I could lug around by myself. I haven't regretted the purchase at all. I think for the price, and for what I need it for, it's been a VERY good buy for me. 



#13 dhferguson

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 01:02 PM

Cheers,

 

Well said, #12! I agree, the 8" Edge/AVX is an excellent buy at the price for visual use. Others have had guiding problems imaging DSOs but I haven't. That said, Celestron advertises it as an AP combo.

 

This is not really quite an entry-level scope in my opinion, though. First, it is beyond affordability for many entry level users: think Christmas presents, birthdays, the very occasional looks at the moon and planets, etc. Second the GEM AVX/alignment/goto all take a bit of getting used to and may be a bit much for many beginners. Third, Celestron advertises this as an AP combo. Beginners have a tough learning curve indeed should they immediately dive into AP without getting comfortable with use of a scope visually first. Finally, Celestron offers other, less expensive variants that should appeal to beginners. For example, the HD optics are nice but not completely necessary for most beginners, particularly younger beginners whose eyes still accommodate focus well. Unless determined to attempt AP, a simple altazimuth goto mount may be more user-friendly for a beginner. An 8" Dob would certainly be less expensive and give, if anything, slightly sharper views at the expense of no "goto."

 

'Couldn't comment on the Celestron solar filter. I use a different scope for that. Funny, my dust cover is pretty tight and requires close alignment to pop into place. I too feel for the "bumps" but still must fiddle with it in the dark to get it to pop in.

 

Different subject re: computer pointing. I use and like Starry Nights, which runs on my laptop running Windows. The Celestron wifi device does not support Starry Nights, only Sky Safari. Instead, I bought the SkyFi3 unit and, sigh, yet another cable to connect it to the hand controller ("HC"). I absolutely love the setup! I type in the object of my desire into Starry Nights, then the telescope slews right to it. Not only that, I make up an observing list beforehand for efficient visual observing. But for beginning, non-remote AP, you'll appreciate the HC to center objects on the camera sensor. Also, I align the scope with the HC, it's just easier, or if I'm just interested in one or two particular objects visually, I use the HC.

 

Yes, the Celeston OTA case is indeed expensive, somewhat more so than a piece of luggage of equivalent quality. Good move on saving the foam! I did the same thing with the AVX mount head foam: I use a Harbor Freight Apache 4800 case for which I trimmed the foam to fit.

 

I hear you on the weight. I too lug my mount+counterweights from the garage to my backyard and back. I chose the 8" over larger sizes because I wanted something capable but light for my eventual dotage.

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don



#14 rajilina

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 01:58 PM

This is not really quite an entry-level scope in my opinion, though. First, it is beyond affordability for many entry level users: think Christmas presents, birthdays, the very occasional looks at the moon and planets, etc. Second the GEM AVX/alignment/goto all take a bit of getting used to and may be a bit much for many beginners. Third, Celestron advertises this as an AP combo. Beginners have a tough learning curve indeed should they immediately dive into AP without getting comfortable with use of a scope visually first. Finally, Celestron offers other, less expensive variants that should appeal to beginners. For example, the HD optics are nice but not completely necessary for most beginners, particularly younger beginners whose eyes still accommodate focus well. Unless determined to attempt AP, a simple altazimuth goto mount may be more user-friendly for a beginner. An 8" Dob would certainly be less expensive and give, if anything, slightly sharper views at the expense of no "goto."

I agree with this to a point, but there are beginners, and then there are BEGINNERS. And there are those that would argue that the AVX mount is very entry level... for people who want to do imaging. 

 

One type of beginner may be someone who is a little bit interested because maybe they saw Saturn at an outreach event, but doesn't know if they will really eventually stick with astronomy or not. Or they have a kid with a whim, so they want to sink as little as possible into it. Or they may not be handy at figuring things out... so things like alignment and goto are a mystery even after reading the manual. They've done no research, and they need a lot of handholding. These are the sort of people that are probably going to buy something from Amazon or Walmart that is very simple and very inexpensive, and they're going to be OK with what they have because they don't know better, or frustrated because it doesn't work well.

 

For others, they may be lifelong fans of astronomy but only now have gotten to the point of buying a scope. They've saved up for it and are willing to put some money into to get better quality, but aren't necessarily experts on all the choices and everything that is available out there. They may be very handy with learning new things, are willing to do research and reading, and are willing to put in the time to familiarize themselves with their equipment. They may have taken some advice from a few people from a forum, an acquaintance, or a customer service rep at an optics store and gotten recommendations on a particular package. But they certainly aren't far enough along to know the finer details of  what they want... the type of learning that comes from experience and use.

 

(^^   I work in marketing/advertising, we deal a lot with personas and customer types... can you tell? grin.gif ) 

 

I think the second group is the "beginner" group to which I was referring to, that may be buying this type of package. It certainly fits me when I started... and I can tell you, as a beginner of any ability, trying to pick a good eyepiece out of the endless choices out there would have been intimidating with a first scope, and you want to have at least something to use immediately. They also want their equipment to still be useful AFTER they have more experience, thus spending more for something that will last. And for those that at least know they want goto, you have to spend some dough to get that. 



#15 DSOGabe

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 05:28 PM

I have an AVX mount and a C9.25. 

I completely agree with the rants about the finder scope. But this seems to the standard with both Celestron and Meade SCT scopes. Not sure why they both obsess about the straight thru finders. Just make the RACI the standard.

I completely agree about the mounting  bracket. It is a piece of junk. After a single attempt to use it I gave up and bought a completely different bracket.shoe combo.

I will give Celestron 2 thumbs up on the OTA cover, however, to a point. I have 2 Meade scopes where with one where it becomes a  pro wrestling match just to pry the cover off of one; and on the other one, the cap falls off by itself. The twist lock cap is a great innovation, but I do prefer the metal covers on the Meade scopes.

I also agree on the issue with the lack of a level on the AVX mount. I use one in set up, but it would be nice to have a built in one for the day where I go out to a dark location and discover I forget to bring along the level. 

Finally, also agree about the included power supply. I do most of my viewing from home so a 120V supply is needed and my battery pack allows for 120V, so that covers me when I do leave the house. Another thing that should be a standard supplied accessory. 


Edited by DSOGabe, 03 June 2020 - 05:32 PM.


#16 Jethro7

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 06:15 PM

Wow what a list.

I had that package. The AVX was already at its payload  limit. I traded the mount for a Baader Zeiss prism Diagonal. Put a TV Starbeam starfinder on my C8 Edge HD and mounted it on a Losmandy G11G. The AVX would be fine with a C5 or C6 or 100mm  refracter but not on C8 edge HD. As for some of your other issues alot of companies try to hold cost down on their telescopes, only supplying you with cheap parts that most of us are going to replace anyway.

I have pretty much upgraded nearly everything about this scope and greatly improved its functionality. The SCT system is quite versatile and there is many ways to set it up to do this or do that. You just have to figure out what that is and do it. 

 

That is a long list of gripes. I dont know really how to address them. My AVX mount worked fine I just ran out of room on it.that all.

There are many gifted people here on CN that extensively modify their mounts. I have a friend that bought a iOptron CM60 and totally gutted the mount replacing all the electronics, motors, thrust bearings, installing Rasberry pi computers and 3D printed parts  and now it functions like a premium mount. Because he is a busy body and he thought he could do better than iOptrons set up.

But considering the cost of a AVX it is what it is. I have a few gripes about my Losmandy G11G but I have learned to deal with those and they are not that important.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro 


Edited by Jethro7, 03 June 2020 - 06:16 PM.


#17 Don W

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 11:10 AM

Boy! You sure told them!!




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