Hi, Came here because I just picked up a scope like this one (red Carson 90 mm f/11) off the street last week, being thrown out/given away.and I wanted to see what someone else thinks about them. Disclaimer, I haven't looked through the scope and don't intend to for reasons to be stated. And I don't know how old this one is, but it looks almost unused. I'm fairly picky about my astronomical telescopes and I'll be brutally honest. Just looking at it, optically the telescope is probably junk. The objective lens looks totally uncoated (they claim "coated" in their on-line documentation but it doesn't look like it to me) and the lens cell looks glued in -- not removable. Plus the optical tube is excessively baffled (stopped down). I didn't get any eyepieces with it, but the 1 1/4" diagonal which was in it is complete junk -- all plastic, cheap mirror inside and has a stop down ring on the eyepiece side. The non-erecting finder is fairly junky, too but is probably serviceable -- plastic tube, single element 30 mm objective (not achromatic) and cheapie eyepiece; but the image through the finder looks "OK" out my window in the daylight here.
So that is all the bad news. Here is the good news/strange news. Mechanically, the telescope seems very good. The optical tube itself is metal and nicely finished, sturdy but not heavy. It is held to the mount in a metal clamshell which grips firmly but loosens to allow longitudinal movement and rotations. The clamshell has both a 1/4 20 mounting thread (standard photo tripod) and a dovetail mounting tab. The mount it came with uses the dovetail. The 1 1/4 inch focuser is plastic but seems to be work OK with a nice feel and not a bunch of looseness or slop.
The mount which the telescope came with is a thing of beauty! It is a really nice small German Equatorial, metal where it needs to be but not heavy. The motions on all axes are smooth and lockable. It has well working slow motion controls on both declination and right ascension. It has attractive and usable (manual) setting circles on both axes. It has a nice, sturdy, screw adjustable and locking, altitude adjustment for latitude. The mount head is removable from the tripod. The tripod itself is a decent aluminum unit with adjustable legs and has a spreader/eyepiece holder. I haven't used German Equatorials in a long time, but this one seems like a real pleasure to use under the stars and I can't think of anything else I'd want in a small equatorial mount without electronics or motors.
So, all in all, an interesting package. Mechanically very nice, optically probably terrible (though I'm not going to spend time to confirm that). I don't know why Carson would spend the money on the really nice mount and cheap out on the optics so badly. The mount itself is probably worth what these scopes should bring on the used market.
Personally, I have a Meade 102 optical tube (4" f/6 refractor) which will make a nice package with this mount -- this mount was a real "find" for me!. I'll probably keep the tube as a project for use if I find an objective to put in it. (The diagonal is going to the trash).
Edited by thrich, 21 November 2020 - 06:51 PM.