New Meade 80mm ED APO
Posted 01 April 2007 - 12:15 PM
First, this scope is a real looker! The photos you see of it in the mags & online do not do it justice. It's bright white with contrasting Meade blue trim with a bit of bright sliver makes for a handsom scope indeed. I also have the matching diagonal & when it's all put together and a nice fat 2 inch eyepiece is installed the thing looks like eye candy! Yup, pure nerd nervana.... if you know what I mean. The build quality is tops, this scope shows quality of material and build workmanship from every angle!
Of course pretty is as pretty does, so on to the mechanics. The only other 80mm scope I've ever had my hands on is the Orion 80ED, the WO scope I own is a 66mm version. With this as my point of referrence I can say that in every way, stem to stern, the Meade scope is far far above the Orion scope in build and quality, so much so that I feel they are hard to compare. I even think the Meade scope edges the WO scope I own in this regard, but they are very much more comparable in quality and build. But, since there are a lot of Orion 80ED owners out there like me who are probably looking at the Meade scope and wondering about the upgrade, I'll try to use the Orion scope as a frame of refference more so than the William Optics scope.
First, at the front of the scope there is a screw on machined metal dust cap rather than a push on plastic one. Mine is anodized black, I think I would have liked it better in Meade blue, but I think I'll like it more after a trip to the local trophy shop for some engraving, I'll have my observatory's name put on it (Antique Photons Observatory) and the date the scope was put into service. Next, the dew shield is a sliding type (yippee!!) in bright white with the Meade blue sliding coupler at it's base. The sliding action is smooth and firm with no hint of any wiggle at all. As small as the scope is when the dew shield is slid all the way down I think this scope will make a perfect travel companion, easily fitting in overhead compartments on airplanes and such.
Much to-do has been made about the Orion 80ED's doublet objective by those who are into astrophotography including myself. Meade one-ups the Orion scope by installing a triplet in the Series 5000 80ED APO which purportedly will offer a high class of color correction. As most are aware the Orion doublet suffers from residule CA, this new triplet design should all but eliminate this. The Meade scope also one-ups the Orion scope in field of view at 480mm as opposed to 600mm, the extra will be nice to have when imaging larger nebula as I do often. For purely visual use I would expect to see better color correction across the field and especially on brighter objects. Colorful double stars at high power should be awesome using this scope! Time will tell, I hope the weather holds!!
One area where higher quality will effect all concerned is in the focuser. Many many Orion 80ED owners, including myself, have spent extra money upgrading the focuser on the Orion scope. No doubt this is the one area where that particular scope fails to meet expectations. Not so with the Meade 80ED APO. First, the focus knobs do not have those silly rubber grip rings around them, you know, the ones that dry rot in the first season of use then crack & fall off leaving behind what feels like a tire rim to the touch. I've gone through 3 sets of them & finally just wrapped the darned things with electrical tape, yikes! The Meade knobs are solid machined metal, as they should be. Other than the knobs there are 4 things I look for in a focuser, as a user I must be able to adjust critical collimation of the focuser to the objective in some way be it via adjustment screws, shims, or whatever, it must not wiggle at any point in it's travel, it must offer smooth operation under load, and it absolutely positively must hold it's critical focus postion under the load of a heavy camera or eyepiece. To the extent that these four things can be tested in daylight I can report that the Meade focuser meets or exceeds all of these expectations, in my opinion Meade has even outdone themselves as this focuser is even better than the one that was installed on the Meade 102ED that I owned a while back.
Questions that remain unanswered at this point include those of triplet collimation, focuser to objective collimation, field curvature edge to edge of the objective, and to what extent the new triplet corrects CA. These of course will have to be answered via star testing at night. Now I'm off to the observatory to mount this new beauty on the pier mounted MI-250 & get it ballanced & ready for what looks like a good night here in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain almost constantly. As testing progresses I'll add more to this thread and welcome the thoughts & observations of other owners of this scope.
127mm ED APO - Just a note here. I've read on Yahoo Groups that this scope has been delayed for various reasons. I want one so bad I can't stand it, just like the rest of you nervana seeking nerds, but to be honest I want it to be right when I get it so if it takes a little longer to come to market because Meade is demanding high quality performance then I say so be it. I'd rather wait for a really good scope than get something that was rushed to market and does not meet the high level of quality performance I've come to expect. OK, off the soap box & on to the observatory!!
Posted 02 April 2007 - 07:05 PM
Having mounted & balanced the new scope on the MI-250 I prepared for a night of testing under zero wind conditions with clear sky. I wanted to test both visual and photographic ability, seeing was about 2.5 out of 5 which is typical for this time of year and the moon lit up the area almost as if it were day time.
First for visual. I used a 35mm Panoptic, 17mm Nagler, 9mm Meade, and 6.4mm Meade eyepieces. Since the moon was super bright I went to it first. Regardless of the eyepiece I saw a faint yellow halo on the edge of the moon. I tried to reach critical focus to see if it would fade away, it didn't ... or I didn't, but it did become so faint that one would have to really look for it to notice it at all. I spent about an hour on the moon, running the focuser in and out slightly chasing seeing and also used the 6.4mm eyepiece to see what could be resolved. Inner ringlets of craters are easily resolved, but seeing had them fading in and out so I didn't bother with smaller details than this. I'm very happy with what I saw through the scope and can only imagine how well it will perform under better conditions!
At this point my clear sky was being eaten up by a cloud bank rolling in from the West so I hurried to install the DSI Pro II & slewed over to NGC4565 which was not far from the moon. I shot & stacked 20 exposures of the galaxy at 30 seconds per exposure. I was not actually trying to image the galaxy but was more interested in the surrounding star field. I had round stars all the way to the edge of the test photo, and dust spots..... no time to clean the camera with the clouds rolling in. Flats will be required, the center of the photo is brighter than the edges as I expected but man what an awesome field of view! Perfect for large nebulas in HA and open clusters! I can't wait to get back out there and give some 10 minute HA exposures a try!
So far so good, nothing I didn't expect other than the clarity and resolving power of this little scope on the moon. I'll be doing some further star testing in the near future and will post photos taken with it as time permits. In my opinion this scope is a keeper! Good quality inside and out and one would be very hard pressed to find another like it for the same money. It makes me want the 127mm even more!
Posted 09 April 2007 - 11:22 AM
In fact...well let's just see how the summer finances go, but in the meantime a question for you:
How does the new 80mm APO connect with the DSI PRO II? Can you thread the Pro II into the 80mm APO?
Any advice on this would be helpful since I would be using this scope for at home imaging with the Pro II and film imaging when I can get out to dark skies.
Thanks in advance for your great review and any advice!
Posted 11 April 2007 - 07:39 PM
The 80 mm APO is a very nice scope.
The dsi can connect to it via the 1.25 barrel and 2 inch to 1.25 reducer or you can pick up a 2 inch to T thread adapter.
Ive captured many images with the DSI -80 mm APO combo.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 12 April 2007 - 01:10 PM
Thanks for your advice. I've checked out your photos through the 80 APO and they are just amazing!!
It looks like a great scope and I think I'm going to be putting it on my list of things to get.
Posted 12 April 2007 - 06:32 PM
You wont be dissapointed.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:00 AM
Weather has not been good here for awhile now. Lot's of rain this time of year but I hope to get back out with the new scope and do some imaging soon.
Posted 16 April 2007 - 02:40 PM
Leo Trio: http://www.pbase.com.../image/77288057
I'll get the color for these next time.
Posted 16 April 2007 - 09:02 PM
Those photos are amazing! Wow, I really can't believe that is your first light with the 80 APO and the Pro II!
Man oh man, too many good things out there right now...the 80 APO is on my list
Awesome first light Matt!
Posted 10 September 2007 - 12:39 PM
Posted 16 October 2007 - 12:31 PM
I seem to have some trouble with the focusser. When I tighten it up enough to keep control of the foccusser tube, the fine adjustment seems to go away and it becomes 'jumpy' and hard to turn. Is there something wrong with how I have adjusted it? If I back it off enough to make it smooth, it won't move the focusser tube.
Second thing, it seems Meade has cancelled the 127mm version of the scope_is this true?
Posted 16 October 2007 - 06:12 PM
It should loosen up with use.
And due to quality control issues Meade has decided to cancel the 127 apo.
They couldnt get the quality from the builders they wanted.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 20 December 2007 - 10:43 PM
However, with the design of the Meade 80ED Triplet, I cannot use the same setup because of the mounting bracket.
I know that one option is to remove the mounting bracket and use the rings but would like to know what dovetail and brackets other folks are using that support the mounting bracket on the scope.
Thanks - Dennis
Posted 21 December 2007 - 06:54 AM
I removed the Mounting block Via the 1 screw and have mine mounted to the LX200R with the losmandy ring and rail system.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:43 PM
I look forward to your reply.
Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:06 AM
If I remember correctly it was a single screw.
It had a hax head so you can use an allen wrench to remove it.
Im not sure on the sixe right now.
Fife Lake, Mi.
Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:22 PM
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users