I'm not sure how many of you still remember the limited 12" Schmidt Camera that Meade built and sold back in the 1990's. I remember seeing a picture of one that David Levy had in his home observatory. This camera was quite the "animal". The tube was quite long with a 12" corrector plate in the front. About half way down the tube was then attached to a larger diameter tube in order to accomodate the 16" primary mirror located at the bottom of the tube. The idea being that the 12" corrector plate was designed in such a way to not only correct the primary's spherical abberation but also bend the incoming light to increase the diameter of the light cone to 16-inches, the primary then reflects the light back up the tube to a spider assembly which accomodates a film holder for specially sized pieces of the old style "silver hallide" film which then needed to be developed in a "dark room". Very, very old school. When you see a picture of one of these beasts you can actually see the specially designed "hatch" that can be open and closed in order at attach the film holder onto the spider assembly, presumably held on by a magnet.
Last I heard, David was contemplating replacing the film holder with a CCD camera. I'm not sure if he was successful or not. I would love to hear from anyone still has one of these unique instruments.
I followed this thread hoping someone with actual first hand experience would chime in about these scopes as I've always been interested in them as well, since I first saw them in the late 90's Meade catalog (Their glory days). Company 7 has a cool repository of old Meade catalog PDFs http://www.company7....eade/notes.html including the sections for the Schmidt camera.
Interestingly the comet Hale-Bopp image in the ad is credited to Steve Padilla, who I volunteer with at the Mt. Wilson Observatory. He's been a long time solar observer at the observatory, and it appears he got to have a go using the 12" Schmidt on Mt. Wilson. I'll ask around and see what happened to the scope, though as far as I know it's no longer at Mt. Wilson.
David Levy does have one (named Obadiah), and there are a couple pictures of it to be found on the web. I remember a brief article in S&T over a decade ago I think, of him having it converted to a CCD at the focal plane (and a field flattening lens I would think). I'm rummaging through my old S&Ts trying to find it to share.
I could be wrong (hopefully someone with experience responds to your thread), but I believe David Levy has the one example, likely the prototype they took up to Mt. Wilson at one point, and then let astrophotography maven's like Jason Ware use to highlight it's abilities. I'm under the impression these did not go into full production as it came out right at the time film astrophotography was starting to die.
Edited by Justin Fuller, 26 November 2020 - 04:38 PM.