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Meade LX200 10 inch classic

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#1 kdolghier

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 01:53 AM

Hey everyone!
I just getting into astronomy and I am getting a telescope to use to get some photos of some planets and some deep sky with my dslr. There’s a few classic Meade LX200 10 inch telescopes on offerup for a decent price and they seem like they work. Obviously the older telescopes are not comma free but it seems like a great deal based off of the specs that they have. I also could get a smaller 8 in telescope new for the same price but I’m not which would be better for me.
I’m trying to take some awesome photos and I want to have a telescope that will zoom me in as much as possible with good visual quality. I’m not spending more than 2K and I don’t care about weight.

#2 bignerdguy

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 12:43 PM

If you can get a 10" vs and 8" i would go with the 10" as larger mirror means more light gathering and better images.  Yes the older LX-200 isn't coma free, but you can use a Field Flattener/Focal Reducer which will resolve that issue anyway.  If the scope is GoTo and not one of the other manual ones you can also do guiding and such once you get into this more.  For planetary images i HIGHLY recommend a dedicated planetary camera as DSLR's are very good at any except the sun and moon, it has to do with image blurriness due to atmospheric distortion.  usually you have to take a LOT of fast images and stack them to get good planetary images, which a DSLR isnt as good at.  If you have a video function on your DSLR you might be able to use that if you can convert the video to .AVI format most astro-stacking programs use.  I have an 8" LX-90 OTA and here is an example of images you might be able to take with a DSLR on a 10" (note you would get WAY better light gathering than i did for this combined shot):

 

 

Eagle-Nebula.jpg

 

The Eagle Nebula

 



#3 kdolghier

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 01:38 PM

Awesome picture!
I have a cannon eos 5d mark 4. It can take video and fast photos. The telescope I am looking at was upgraded to the auto star system so I think it can automatically do some guiding.
Is there anything else I should look out for in a classic telescope? Any big red flags or which adapter I need for my camera?

#4 nitegeezer

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 02:52 PM

If you want to take long exposures, then you will want to get a wedge. This leads to the desire to guide which again requires more hardware. Just think of this as a good starting point that you will add to as you can. Watch the Classifieds and that makes costs a little more reasonable.

#5 idclimber

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 03:39 PM

I have had a 12" LX200 for several years now. With a stock mount you can do EAA or visual very easily. If you plan on doing more, then you will need either a wedge or as I have done recently a new equatorial mount. 

 

I tried numerous times to do planetary imaging and could never keep the image centered for more than a fleeting moment with the stock mount. The 12" was hard enough for me to safely place flat on the tripod by myself. I was not interested in trying with a wedge given my 45 deg latitude. The 10" scope is not that much lighter so consider that if you have back issues or have other physical limitations. The 8" scope is pretty easy to move by comparison and all are lighter if they are removed from the fork like I have done. 

 

You will also need a focal reducer/flattener. I am using the Meade f/6.3. It works well once you get the correct back focus distance set correctly. There are other more expensive alternatives. 

 

If you are really set on a SCT for imaging I would suggest smaller and suggest getting one on a German Equatorial mount instead of the Alt/Az mount. I would also look at Celestron instead of Meade. An 8" or 9.5" Edge would be my choice.

 

An even better suggestion is to consider your first scope as a 80mm refractor instead of an SCT. I just went through this myself and there are countless threads here on this subject. This path will be a lot cheaper and will result in better images a lot sooner. 

 

You mention both interests in planetary and deep sky. These are diametrical opposites. In the DSLR world this is like having one fixed focal length lens that will work well for both super-telephoto and wide angle. My 12" SCT has a focal length of 3048mm. An 80mm scope would be about 500mm. Many popular targets are done with lenses shorter than that. 

 

Alternatively if you could use your current DSLR with a tracking mount. Many use an older manual focus lens for this and they can be purchased super cheap on eBay. Autofocus is actually not helpful at all. 



#6 bignerdguy

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 05:02 PM

I have had a 12" LX200 for several years now. With a stock mount you can do EAA or visual very easily. If you plan on doing more, then you will need either a wedge or as I have done recently a new equatorial mount. 

 

I tried numerous times to do planetary imaging and could never keep the image centered for more than a fleeting moment with the stock mount. The 12" was hard enough for me to safely place flat on the tripod by myself. I was not interested in trying with a wedge given my 45 deg latitude. The 10" scope is not that much lighter so consider that if you have back issues or have other physical limitations. The 8" scope is pretty easy to move by comparison and all are lighter if they are removed from the fork like I have done. 

 

You will also need a focal reducer/flattener. I am using the Meade f/6.3. It works well once you get the correct back focus distance set correctly. There are other more expensive alternatives. 

 

If you are really set on a SCT for imaging I would suggest smaller and suggest getting one on a German Equatorial mount instead of the Alt/Az mount. I would also look at Celestron instead of Meade. An 8" or 9.5" Edge would be my choice.

 

An even better suggestion is to consider your first scope as a 80mm refractor instead of an SCT. I just went through this myself and there are countless threads here on this subject. This path will be a lot cheaper and will result in better images a lot sooner. 

 

You mention both interests in planetary and deep sky. These are diametrical opposites. In the DSLR world this is like having one fixed focal length lens that will work well for both super-telephoto and wide angle. My 12" SCT has a focal length of 3048mm. An 80mm scope would be about 500mm. Many popular targets are done with lenses shorter than that. 

 

Alternatively if you could use your current DSLR with a tracking mount. Many use an older manual focus lens for this and they can be purchased super cheap on eBay. Autofocus is actually not helpful at all. 

I agree with some of this. Doing imaging on the fork mounted scope was rather difficult when i added the wedge since it took quite a while to properly polar align the scope and the wedge got in the way of some targets.  By comparison having it in ALT/AZ mode it was far easier but then you have to deal with image rotation.  Either the Wedge or a field De-rotator device can be used to fix that last, with the de-rotator being easier but about as expensive as the wedge.  If you can, get a EQ Goto mount and de-fork the OTA then mount it to the EQ tripod and never look back.  Trust me you'll be glad you did. 

 

Using a Wedge can also prevent you from viewing some things with a lot of equipment on the back of the scope when you want to point closer to Polaris.  Reason being is the fork tends to limit the space you have between it and the scope back when it is pointing at the pole.  So some object you may not be able to image if for example you want to use a DSLR to image M81 for example. 

 

If you plan to go to a refractor, keep in mind that you will still need a field flattener, but not a focal reducer, as that is optional for Refractors, SCT's need it to allow you to see most DSO's since it essentially lowers the magnification below when the scope by itself does without one, giving wider fields of view.  Also be sure to get one that is not a cheap shorty scope as a lot of those have poor optics and dont use 2" visual backs so some vignetting is possible.  An Apochromatic (APO) Refractors are usually the way to go since they take care of the violet fringing issue most Achromatic refractors experience (EG: colors not all focusing at the same point on the CCD).  Refractors also wont reach as high a power magnification due the shorter focal lengths than a SCT will.  Conversely the SCT wont be able to get as wide a field of view as a Refractor will.

 

What you need to do is figure out two things: Budget and what objects are you primarily going to photograph?  If wide area DSO's are your thing then a Refractor would be better.  If you want to do planetary and smaller DSO's then the SCT would better.  Refractors can sometimes be a cheaoer option whereas SCT's and all that goes with them are a lotg more costly.  Either way you can still put together something that will do what you want.

 

For comparison i have below an image of a planet taken with my SCT and one taken with a shorty 70mm Orion Refractor.

 

Mars_2_11-1-2005.jpg

 

Mars 2003 with LX-90

 

IC434_Final.jpg

 

Horsehead and Flame Nebula with Orion 70mm (cropped)

 

For reference the Mars image was taken with a Meade LPI (original) and the Horsehead/Flame with a Canon 60D (Modded to 60 Da quality)


Edited by bignerdguy, 09 July 2020 - 05:04 PM.


#7 nimitz69

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 05:39 PM

Not to discourage you but just so you are aware ...

Trying to learn AP using a long FL scope on a fork mount will be somewhat like deciding to climb Mt Everest for your first mountain after deciding to get into mountain climbing ...

It’s possible but so it alien visitation next week .... smile.gif

Edited by nimitz69, 09 July 2020 - 05:42 PM.


#8 nitegeezer

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 06:49 PM

I guess that means I am a pretty good mountain climbers. With the SCT I just had to think about what I was doing rather that just throwing equipment together.
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#9 kdolghier

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 08:34 PM

To answer some of the questions here,
I’m more looking for something for planetary photography, not as much deep sky. This is why I am looking for a 10-12 in mak-cass telescope. I’m not really worried about the big learning curve that I have here, I’ll deal with that when I have all lf my equipment.

On a side note, how portable would a Meade Lx90 GPS 12” telescope be? I just found one which is the same price as a Meade LX200 EMC 10” classic telescope. I am a young adult and I have no problem lifting 80+lb above my head.

#10 nitegeezer

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 08:57 PM

Just a comment on the weight issue. I find 80 lbs of iron to be a whole lot lighter than 80 lbs of precision ground glass. I think being very fragile doubles the weight.

#11 idclimber

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 10:29 PM

It is not really the weight of the 12" as it is the bulk. I upgraded the handles to the Peterson Engineering and got one of the plastic JMI cases to help move it around. Both of these helped make the scope more portable. 

 

With the stock foam case I had to either use my enclosed trailer or a full size SUV like a Suburban. The tripod is also pretty heavy and bulky. 

 

Although I am in my late 50's now, I am not a small guy (6' @ 220lbs) and have carried heavy loads in backpacks all over the world including Everest. Mountain climbing was one of my past endeavors. I can still lift and carry packs today younger guys struggle to get off the ground. I strongly encourage you, if you can, to actually pick one of these 12" scopes up before buying.

 

I only wish I would have de-forked this scope sooner. 



#12 WebFoot

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 11:00 PM

My first imaging scope was my 10" LX200, in 2001.  Yes, the original LX200.

 

It's not an easy way to start, since (i) long focal-length imaging is difficult even with an excellent mount, and (ii) the LX200 mount, while fine for visual work, leaves much to be desired for imaging.

 

I began with using a .33 reducer, which, with the spacing I had, resulted in a focal ratio of 4.6.  That made imaging quite possible, but it also introduced even more coma.  That wasn't a big issue for me, since (i) I was just starting, and thrilled to get any results, and (ii) in those days, cameras had such tiny chips (my camera--SBIG ST-7E had a KAF0401 chip, 8.4mm x 5.5mm).  Here are some images I managed with that setup:
http://www.de-regt.c...tronomy/M51.htm

http://de-regt.com/Astronomy/M82.htm

http://de-regt.com/A...nomy/Bubble.htm

 

Then I added an SBIG AO-7, which cured all the shortcomings of the Meade fork mount.  Here are some images I took with that (ST-7E and ST-8E cameras):

http://de-regt.com/A...nomy/NGC891.htm

http://de-regt.com/A...omy/M27.new.htm

 

Yes, it is possible to take credible images with that scope, but it can be a challenge.  It's much easier to start with a short focal-length instrument.  Especially if your camera is a DSLR.

 

And, yes, it is possible to take somewhat decent images of planets with a DSLR, but not really.  You'll want to get a camera that takes a lot of fps for that.

 

Mark


Edited by WebFoot, 10 July 2020 - 06:07 PM.

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