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Meade LX90 or Celestron CPC?

equipment Meade observing planet SCT cassegrain Celestron
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#1 ravenhawk82



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 03:48 PM

Years back when I still lived in an apartment I sold my 10" dob because it was just too much to lug up and down three flights of stairs. Not that I have a house I'm regretting selling that thing and fondly remember the wonderful views it had to offer. Now that I'm in a better financial position I'm looking at a nice goto SCT on a fork mount. My primary goal with such a scope is visual astronomy, with a secondary goal of planetary astrophotography. I've got a couple smaller scopes and an Orion Atlas mount for guided DSO astrophotography which is why I'm looking at the fork mount. Plopping the unit on a tripod sounds so much easier than spending the time to align and balance an EQ mount if I just want to look at things with my eyes. 

I've narrowed my choices down to a Celestron CPC 1100 GPS or a Meade LX90-ACF 12". The prices and weights are comparable ($2999 for the Celestron, $2899 for the Meade), and they're both what I'm looking for. My main question is this: Is there any good reason to pay $100 for an inch less of aperture with the Celestron? Is the mount really that much better, or does the added cost just boil down to the GPS alignment? I'd love to hear from people that have or have used either/both of these. Thanks in advance!

#2 junomike



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 03:54 PM

I prefer the Celestron software but that's a personal thing.

The CPC1100 is more stable but for an extra inch and ACF optics you might find the LX90 fine and thus a better deal.


You probably have lots of time to decide as these are on back-order and will be for some time.

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#3 ravenhawk82



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 04:02 PM

Thanks for the input! I'm curious, does anyone know when these will next be shipping? My goal is ideally to have something for visual astronomy by summer time but I don't know how realistic that is at this point :p

#4 Supernova74



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 04:18 PM

For visual purposes I most probably go for the Meade 12”LX90 ACF as offers sharper optics and ACF (Advanced coma free) it’s not vital for visuel however I’ve found the optics are improved over the standard Celestron XLT line up of scopes unless you considered also the 9.25 which in my opinion is the best of the bunch for image clarity,contrast etc and is a great performer for planetary observing.yes I agree from above statement that as out of the box package the celestron offers a more stable platform regarding the tripod however Meade manufacturers a giant field tripod with 3” tripod legs exspensive but do come up quite often on the preowned market place for around $200-300 then the tables have turned in the Meade being the more superior platform for your scope.


I prefer the general build quality and attention to detail finish with the celestrons line up of scopes down to the castings and plastic casing around the fork arms etc.and the CPC 1100 is a better platform in introducing imaging of some kind which the LX90 really cannot do as it’s mainly a visual performer.either Meade or celestron alignment procedure are very easy to do 

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#5 bignerdguy


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Posted 24 January 2021 - 06:19 PM

One side note:  both fork mounted scopes will be Heavy!  I once had to put together a 12" LX-200 for a customer at a store I worked at and the 12" was very heavy.  In fact it is at the limit of what they recommend for a 1 person install.  It can also be hard to see around the fork/OTA when moving it, I was near a guy once who had one and tried to walk a short few steps with it.  The problem was he did not see his case nearby and nearly tripping on it, did the funky chicken dance to avoid dropping the scope or falling (he didn't Thank God).  So if you DO decide to get a fork mount scope that big just be prepared to lift a lot of awkward weight from the ground to the mount.  Also putting it on that tripod with only 1 bolt sticking up isn't as easy as it looks, you have to hunt around sometimes to get it seated just right.  I have an LX-90 8" that I used to have on a fork and even that one took practice in getting it seated just right, mean time you are holding the thing up by the handles moving it around trying to find the bolt. 


However don't let what I have said totally discourage you, you may find it easier than I did to do this with such a scope, I admit I am not as well coordinated as some might be so my experience might be unique, however that aside they ARE heavy.  Personally I prefer the EQ mount I have now for the OTA, I took off the OTA from the fork and put it on a HEQ5 mount from Orion.  That's a lot easier to do since it isn't quite as heavy or as awkward to mount on the tripod.  Of course I am also now into doing AP so there is that too...

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#6 ravenhawk82



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 08:30 PM

Good to know! The specs I found listed the scope/mount assemblies as 65lbs for the Celestron and 60lbs for the Meade, not including the tripod legs. I'm 28 and in pretty good shape so I should be able to manage that, especially with the handles on the forks where they are. 60ish pounds is about the most I want to lift for any one component though. I spent last weekend moving 80lb concrete bags around and that was right at my limit! Honestly though, I'd prefer a 60lb chunk that I can start using immediately over a 40lb mount with two 11lb counterweights and a 20lb OTA that all have to be adjusted and balanced each time I take them out. I'm very happy to have collected this gear over the years and love the photos it gives me, but when I want to go look at pretty stuff in the sky I miss having a big light bucket I can start observing with relatively quickly.

#7 jerr



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Posted 25 January 2021 - 03:31 PM

By accident I have both, CPC and LX90, however they are 8". 


First thing I like about these scopes is Meade's blue color over black of CPC smile.gif

On a serious note these are very comparable scopes. Optically they are on par and differences are almost none. 


For CPC: Celestron has fantastic 3 star alignment that is a good example of Astronomy for Dummies. It's easy to use and doesn't require any knowledge of the sky. Just level your tripod, point the scope into 3 bright objects and voila - you are good to go!

Celestron's customer service is best in class and there is an easy access to replacement parts in case of a need.


For Meade: It's blue smile.gif   Meade's electronics seem to be more endure in a longer run. This will only matter if you plan to keep the scope for several years. Meade is lighter. This may make a difference if you need to move your setup. LX90 8"  has alternative power option from C-type batteries that are installed inside the mount.


Things to consider: CPC is noticeably heavier but it may not be the case comparing 11" scope vs. 12".  Alignment of LX90 can be a challenge and it took me a few sessions to master it.


Performance under the sky is same. In both cases accuracy of the GoTo depends on quality of alignment however LX90 is more volatile to any deviations and requires greater precision.


What I share above is just my experience and surely other may think different.

Fact is that I should have sold one of these scopes moths ago but still struggle to decide which should stay and which should go...

Edited by jerr, 25 January 2021 - 03:35 PM.

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