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What is the Questar lure?

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#1 micromaxcomputer

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:21 PM

I would like to ask with all due respect, what makes a Questar, a 90mm non-goto telescope worth thousands of dollars?

Of course I understand about specs and quality, but it seems there must be nostalgia or collectability that makes them

demand such a high price.

I had a Meade EXT 90 for a few years and it was a wonderful scope but it only retailed for about $600.

Thanks for your time here.

 


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#2 hyiger

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:28 PM

I would like to ask with all due respect, what makes a Questar, a 90mm non-goto telescope worth thousands of dollars?

Of course I understand about specs and quality, but it seems there must be nostalgia or collectability that makes them

demand such a high price.

I had a Meade EXT 90 for a few years and it was a wonderful scope but it only retailed for about $600.

Thanks for your time here.

I don't know. What makes a Hermes Berkin bag worth $50K? I think you nailed it with regard to nostalgia and collectability. It's not a mass produced or marketed item. I considered buying one, not for practical use, but when I was 12 my father's friend had one and he let me use it from time to time whenever we came over to visit. So there is a bit of nostalgia attached to it for me but it's not something I would use regularly. 


Edited by hyiger, 27 January 2024 - 01:30 PM.

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#3 Kasmos

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:34 PM

Besides it's other qualities like quality optics, well designed, not plastic, and being jewel like, it's also made in USA.


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#4 Astrojensen

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:38 PM

You will know, once you've used one. Optically, the Meade ETX 90 is very good, and close to the Questar. I know, I've used both. Mechanically, they're barely on the same scale...! The Questar is a super smooth mechanical marvel, where everything just oozes quality. It's incredibly well made. That is what makes it expensive. The mechanics of the ETX let the optics down, but the mechanics on the Questar raise the already superb optics to an even higher level, because you can actually get everything available out of them, because the scope is smooth, solid and steady.

 

You can still order one today, so it's not really the collector's value, it's the connoisseur's value here.  

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#5 TxStars

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:39 PM

Many do have good optical quality, with images almost equal to a good 76mm apo..


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#6 starman876

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:48 PM

The quality optics and outstanding mechanical and finish of the scope is just a few reasons.  Then you have the fact when you call them for questions or parts there is a human that answers the phone with an extremely deep database on the product.    The beautiful leather carrying case.  the wonderful eyepieces  that most likely are brandon but they are good.   The list just goes on.   You can only go on like this about a first class scope.  Therefore, the high cost and the desire to own one.  The legend goes on. Oh by the way, the only people that downplay  a questar are the ones that have never owned one. 


Edited by starman876, 27 January 2024 - 01:50 PM.

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#7 micromaxcomputer

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:55 PM

The quality optics and outstanding mechanical and finish of the scope is just a few reasons.  Then you have the fact when you call them for questions or parts there is a human that answers the phone with an extremely deep database on the product.    The beautiful leather carrying case.  the wonderful eyepieces  that most likely are brandon but they are good.   The list just goes on.   You can only go on like this about a first class scope.  Therefore, the high cost and the desire to own one.  The legend goes on. Oh by the way, the only people that downplay  a questar are the ones that have never owned one. 

Oh I would never downplay it, just there seams to be a disparage between performance and price. I would imagine something so well made and pricey would be have more computerized features as well.



#8 micromaxcomputer

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:58 PM

I don't know. What makes a Hermes Berkin bag worth $50K? I think you nailed it with regard to nostalgia and collectability. It's not a mass produced or marketed item. I considered buying one, not for practical use, but when I was 12 my father's friend had one and he let me use it from time to time whenever we came over to visit. So there is a bit of nostalgia attached to it for me but it's not something I would use regularly. You really make a good point,

You really make a good point!



#9 Bomber Bob

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 01:58 PM

How many complex instruments continue to work flawlessly after 66 years??

 

Questar - Meade 884 Tripod S02.jpg


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#10 micromaxcomputer

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:00 PM

How many complex instruments continue to work flawlessly after 66 years??

 

attachicon.gif Questar - Meade 884 Tripod S02.jpg

Great point, its like having a Rolex vs. Timex. 



#11 starman876

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:00 PM

How many complex instruments continue to work flawlessly after 66 years??

 

attachicon.gif Questar - Meade 884 Tripod S02.jpg

how many complex instruments can you carry in one hand?


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#12 hyiger

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:02 PM

How many complex instruments continue to work flawlessly after 66 years??

Well, me... mostly.


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#13 gstrumol

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:06 PM

You should probable post this topic in the Questar forum, where you'll receive a TON of responses! popcorn.gif

 

But while we're here, here is my penny.gif penny.gif worth.

 

I think the main reason is the purported quality of every aspect of a Questar: the 1/10 wave mirror, the mechanical cleverness of the built-in Barlow and sun finder toggle switches, the sheer beauty of the scope with its gorgeous dials and dew shield, and even the old-school, leather case. Even if I wasn't interested in astronomy (visual or imaging), as a piece of art placing a Questar on a table is just as attractive as a good painting on the wall. It screams "look at me" as well as anything else in a house.

 

But the cheapest (new) 3.5" Questar is around $5500 I believe. Is that better than a $300 90mm Mak? shrug.gif

 

I have an Orion Apex 90mm Mak. It gives me great images over a wide range of targets:

 

Apex 90.jpg

 

Are images with the Questar 20X better than these? Different people will have different opinions; for me, the answer is a definitive NO.

 

But dang, it is a beautiful scope! wink.gif


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#14 starman876

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:06 PM

Well, me... mostly.

thats what I thought at 66.   Then it started. Flawless became flawed


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#15 starman876

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:08 PM

You should probable post this topic in the Questar forum, where you'll receive a TON of responses! popcorn.gif

 

But while we're here, here is my penny.gif penny.gif worth.

 

I think the main reason is the purported quality of every aspect of a Questar: the 1/10 wave mirror, the mechanical cleverness of the built-in Barlow and sun finder toggle switches, the sheer beauty of the scope with its gorgeous dials and dew shield, and even the old-school, leather case. Even if I wasn't interested in astronomy (visual or imaging), as a piece of art placing a Questar on a table is just as attractive as a good painting on the wall. It screams "look at me" as well as anything else in a house.

 

But the cheapest (new) 3.5" Questar is around $5500 I believe. Is that better than a $300 90mm Mak? shrug.gif

 

I have an Orion Apex 90mm Mak. It gives me great images over a wide range of targets:

 

attachicon.gif Apex 90.jpg

 

Are images with the Questar 20X better than these? Different people will have different opinions; for me, the answer is a definitive NO.

 

But dang, it is a beautiful scope! wink.gif

do you have any clear pictures with Apex????lol.gif



#16 kgb

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:09 PM

Looks good next to a mahogany desk, leather bound books, and a snifter of Louis XIII. You can't say that about a Takahashi (at least not with a serious face).

Edited by kgb, 27 January 2024 - 02:10 PM.

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#17 starman876

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:09 PM

Looks good next to a mahogany desk, leather bound books, and a snifter of Louis XIII. You can't say that about a Takahashi (at least not with a serious face).

Oh I agree



#18 havasman

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:29 PM

Wealthy club member who was on the BoD when I was and enjoyed outreach bought one mostly on reputation and quickly became disillusioned with the images he got. The physics of optics intrudes and aperture is aperture. While they are like fine jewelry, something with which he and his wife were very familiar with, in their precision they are still just small telescopes. Pretty soon they had an Edge HD, 11 or 14 I don't recall. Again not my cuppa but they were proud of it.

 

Another member showed up at an event at the Boy Scouts headquarters with a complex mounting system carrying both a large and regular Questar. We were busy and I didn't get a chance to observe with it but it was an impressive package that could mount up to 4 Q's.

 

Like antique Audemars Piguet watches, Porsche 356A's and the like, Q's are beloved by their fans and also not for everyone.



#19 Rick-T137

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:33 PM

I've had both an ETX-90/EC and a Questar 3.5 Standard at the same time. I think I've said this before but... the Questar is like a work of art, and the ETX is like a toy from Hasbro. However, despite that, if I were buying one today, I'd buy the ETX (or one of the new crop of 90mm Maks). The Q's performance doesn't justify the price for me.

 

However, the Rolex vs Timex comparison is perfect. They both tell time. They both strap to your wrist. If you just want to have a watch to tell the time, the Timex is perfect. But if you want a Rolex, you likely DO NOT want a Timex.

 

Same with the scopes - both will show roughly the same things. Both take up roughly the same space and need similar mounts. If using it as a telescope is what you want, then the ETX will do fine. But if you want a Questar, you likely DO NOT want an ETX.

 

Same goes for a Rolls Royce vs a Kia. Fender vs Squier. Yeti vs Supercycle. Ad nauseam.

 

Clear skies!

 

Rick


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#20 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:43 PM

The cost of manufacturer justifies the price to anyone who wants one. The joy in the scope is not only in the view from the eyepiece, but also in the feel and perfection of the mechanicals, and in owning something that is truly, unquestionably made to the highest standards.

Add computerized components? Never! The joy in the thing is the response of its mechanical, manual controls, the fusion of astronomer and machine, and knowing that — in the scale of human lifetimes — it will last reliably, forever.

Under my seeing conditions, a $200, 4" Mak might throw just as fine an image, and it's way more in my budget, but it's not a Questar!

Edited by Joe Cepleur, 27 January 2024 - 02:44 PM.

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#21 mikeDnight

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 02:49 PM

Back in the day Questar were something very special. Their engineering was a great indicator of personal pride by the company and those who worked there. And Maksutov's had an almost mythical appeal. Imagine having a refractor of almost 3.5" aperture that could be carried, mount and all, in a small tidy case. These were not mass produced in the way that scopes are today, and as such each can be considered a Labour of love. They were incredibly expensive, but so were the much revered Unitron refractors, and a 4" Unitron complete with pier mounted, clock driven equatorial could approach the price of a house back in the 1950's. So all in all, the Questar 3.5" was a very appealing option. 

 Today, although Questars can still be bought, the influx of excellent Maksutov Cassegrains from around the world have given many the Questar optical experience at a fraction of the price. Yet owning a vintage Quester is for many akin to owning a Clarke or a Cooke, or perhaps a classic Unitron refractor. I think its wonderful that the appeal of classic instruments is still as much a part of our hobby as they've ever been, and that collectors and visual observers alike still suffer palpitations at the mention of them.


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#22 CHASLX200

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 03:07 PM

Looks only in my book but cost keeps me away. I know about built like a fine watch and all that junk but i never wanted a 3.5 bad enough to jump all these years. A 90 ETX can do about the same optics wise on a EQ mount.


Edited by CHASLX200, 27 January 2024 - 03:08 PM.

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#23 TOMDEY

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 03:31 PM

There are certain very few brands that one buys, knowing it will be superlative. Questar is on that pedestal of earned reputation. I came across a Meade EXT 90 in our Town Dump... and just continued looking for scrap rebar. Had I come across a Questar, I would have grabbed it --- but that's never gonna happen to anyone, anywhere.    Tom


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#24 starman876

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 03:40 PM

The lure begins when you have one and you see how beautifully it is made.  


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#25 gstrumol

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Posted 27 January 2024 - 04:28 PM

do you have any clear pictures with Apex????lol.gif

Need your eyes checked? hmm.gif lol.gif  How about this:

 

MoonStitch.jpg

 

It's funny, I hear a lot about the quality of the build, and beauty of the scope itself, but I rarely see an image generated from one of them that can't be easily beaten by a scope 1/10 of the price. Have you?

 

Just curious ... wink.gif




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