They were a big hit.
People were using long focus Newtonians on GEMs for observing (a bulky, unwieldy system) and the compact SCT was so much more convenient that (like today) if image quality was a notch below no one cared. The SCT was also much more convenient for photography – film photography back then.
The SCT helped to kill-off the GE mounted Newtonian. The Newtonian only came back after John Dobson popularized using alt/az mounts with Newtonians and ditching the GEM altogether.
The compact, larger aperture of the SCT also helped kill-off the long focus achromatic refractor, like Unitron. People could get a lot more aperture while having the scope be a lot more compact.
It was “mainly” after the introduction of the lower cost apo refractor, introduced mainly by Astro-Physics, in the 80s that more people got to compare the high definition, high quality image excellence of the apos compared to the SCT.
The compact SCT still has advantages but compared to when the SCT was first introduced, the Dobsonian Newtonian’s aperture and the apo refractor’s image quality have mitigated some of those advantages.
Back then I was also seduced by the compact, “large” 8” aperture SCT. After a trip to Edmund Scientific, I passed on a 4” F15 Edmund achromatic refractor and purchased an 8” SCT. Looking back, I think I would have been better off with the 4” F15 Edmund refractor.
Edited by bobhen, 03 May 2021 - 07:06 AM.