ETX-125EC USER FEEDBACK - OCTOBER 1999
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-125EC. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the original ETX model, ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC are posted on other pages as appropriate. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Meade Site Sent: Saturday, October 30, 1999 18:15:40 From: GrumpaBob@aol.com Meade has finally added the ETX-125EC to their product information list on their site, www.meade.com Bob Fandrich firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: ETX-125 central obstruction question, yet again Sent: Saturday, October 30, 1999 17:16:43 From: email@example.com (JK Saggese) Regarding the significance of the ETX-125's central obstruction, and the ongoing debate surrounding it, I can't help noticing that Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Kretsch seem to disagree on a point of fact in a few of their posts. "...[A]s the Maksutov corrector 'flares' the incoming light outward, the oversized mirror only prevents a ~10% loss of light missing the edge of the primary mirror, if it was the same diameter as the corrector aperture." (Mr. Kretsch). "The corrector lens of the ETX-125 is a *very* weak meniscus element, which diverges light by a slight amount. This divergence is nowhere near the angle displayed by the conical secondary baffle tube.... The secondary baffle of the ETX-125 does indeed increase the scope's true obstruction. This blockage is nearly 2" in size, of which the spot secondary mirror contributes the stated (by Meade) 1.55 [inches]" (Mr. Gibbons). These both sound quite logical but contradictory to each other. Does the Maksutov corrector lens significantly alter the incoming light path or doesn't it? It's quite possible I'm misreading one or both of the above quotes or not understanding them in context, but they seem to me to disagree on a point of fact. As such I would think it could be objectively resolved pretty easily, though I have no idea where or how, short of performing a little experiment in wave physics, which I'm not equipped to do. I should point out that I'm not trying to criticize either of these gentlemen, both of whom are regular posters to this forum who I will credit with knowing a whole bunch more about optics than I do. I'm just curious about some of the physical properties of the Mak design we all like so much. Thanks, JK Saggese
Subject: ETX/Nexstar Spec Page & some other things Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 19:46:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Ramsey) Like you, I think accuracy in the spec listing is important. The listing of specs is growing and this makes for a more informed consumer. There are, however, some things contained in the listing that are not specs or are in the subjective realm. I know you state in your header that these things are there, but I hope they could be addressed. In my opinion these would be: 1: The added section on the Focuser. Both the ETX and NexStar sides contain subjective information better contained in a comparison review. 2: "Positioned to hit your nose when observing through main optics" I have had my ETX out a couple of times where the public has had a chance to look through the scope and have not seen anyone hit their nose on the finder yet. I haven't had the problem my self. This appears to be a matter of fit for the individual and not a spec or necessarily a fact. 3: "Cheap insubstantial feel. Too Flexible" Again, not a spec but based on a subjective opinion. Again, reviews are the place for comments like this. 4: " Deep Space: not recommended by manufacture" should be amended to say "Deep Space: not recommended by manufacture due to lack of special electronic and optical guiding devices not available for this telescope" as the manual states. I would think that Meade will some day offer these for the 125 or some after market shop will do it for them. 5: IMO the line "Deep Sky Photography: no" and the corresponding line on the NexStar side should be deleted as superseded by the #4 above on both sides of the list. OK, spoke my piece on that....time to move on. I have just received a new top plate for my Megapod that will allow the 125 to be polar aligned properly. The original plate did not allow the correct orientation of the scope. I will now begin working on an article for your page about this tripod. So far, I am impressed. It looks like a good buy. Mine is a repaired/rebuilt unit from the first batch and I have no complaints about the job Meade did. The only concern I had was the length of time it took. Knowing now what was done to correct the problems, I can understand the delay. I won't get all gushy and emotional about the scope. It should be enough to say that I have basically put it through the same paces that S&T did and can find no fault in the unit. I am learning how to properly align the scope and am finding the Autostar capable of putting objects in the FOV about 90% of the time with the standard 26mm eyepiece. I think I can increase this by being more careful in alignment and leveling. I am waiting to see if this improves in polar mode. Keep up the good work Mike. I have enjoyed your page for some time now. You do a valuable service to the astronomical community. Don't let the "noise" generated by a few rob you of the enjoyment you get helping the rest of us. Bill
Subject: ETX-125 central obstruction Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 04:44:13 From: email@example.com (Kevin P. Kretsch) Re: Philippe Subra's ETX-125 secondary baffle question. (25th October, 1999) The contrast performance is limited not by the light rays at the mirror but by the light rays at the corrector. The Maksutov corrector affects rays strongly at the edges (to correct for spherical abberation of the primary mirror) and very little towards the centre. For the ETX-125, the central obstruction IS very close to 40% as the deviation of the rays near the secondary mirror and baffle is practically zero. The baffle will 'get in the way'. In practice this affects the contrast performance of the telescope, and as the S&T review points out, the system is similar in contrast performance to an optically perfect, unobstructed 3" scope. This is however only a rough approximation. For small details approaching the diffraction limit, and for large extended objects, the ETX-125 (and Nexstar) will perform similar to a 5" refractor and win a comparison with a 3". Planetary details, often in the middle of the range, are affected somewhat in contrast. Visually, the brain will tend to average all this out. Compared to 5" refractor, no Schmidt- or Maksutov-Cassegrain scope will win! A discussion of contrast ratios and modulation transfer functions (which determines the telescope's contrast performance) can be found at perso.club-internet.fr/legault/obstruction.html with thanks to Wayne Gatschet for this link (21st September, ETX-125 archive). Also, as the Maksutov corrector 'flares' the incoming light outward, the oversized mirror only prevents a ~10% loss of light missing the edge of the primary mirror, if it was the same diameter as the corrector aperture. The ETX-125 and NexStar should be very similar in performance, as they have the same clear aperture and same central obstruction. By all accounts, they are indeed similar, though both Mike and Jordan Blessing give the ETX the edge for planetary viewing. Will Meade change the central baffle? They probably don't have to, and I'm sure they had good reason to make it the way it is. Best regards, and clear skies, Kev. - - - - - Kevin P. Kretsch Photonic Materials Group, Department of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND. Tel: +353 1 608 1324 Fax: +353 1 671 1759 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Some day I'll write a short scentence.
Subject: ETX 125 #2 Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 22:07:19 From: email@example.com (tony costanzo) Haven't emailed you in a while, I had received one of the first 125etx's but sent it back for collimation and focus shift problems. Meade finally sent a scope back about a week ago. Here is an updated report. Out of the box, I immediately noticed a rattling in the forkmount right arm, (the arm that contains the dec motor). It sounds like a screw or another foreign object .The scope was received with extra packing, two pieces of stiff foam that were difficult to remove. Here is the bad news, the focus binds on the half turn and the collimation is still off. An out of focus test shows that the central obstruction is positioned slightly toward 2:00. However, this unit seems to have other optical problems as well. Diffraction rings are only visable from 5:00 to 11:00. Ronchi test reveal that at least one of the optical componets has a slight turned down edge, probably the primary. I called Meade and was told to send the unit back for repair. I told the customer service rep not to send me the same telescope or one with problems and he assured me he would personally qc the unit before it was sent back to me, lets see what happens next. The unit that I received was not the original one that I sent in, my first unit did not have any optical flaws, just bad collimation and image shift . Anyway, I am hoping that what I recieved was a fluke, I have read many positive reviews of the new updated units. Have you received any other negative comments or reports?? Tony C firstname.lastname@example.org ATOMB.
Subject: 125 Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 20:15:29 From: email@example.com (jefferson vangundy) Is there an operating tempture for the ETX 125 and if there is what is it. Thanks for the great site.Mike here: Not that I've seen documented. I've used the ETX-90RA on days above 90 degrees and I've seen reports of it being used in cold weather.
Subject: Responses from Meade Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 17:27:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Odom) I really appreciate Meade making comments and clarifications on your site. That is both gutsy and classy... having said that I would add that Meade should stick to giving facts about their own product and not take potshots at Celestron. It makes you wonder why they are being so defensive. You have in my mind completely redeemed yourself (if you needed to) by your honest candor about the comparisons and posting everything, including the cuts at you personally. Both scopes are really pretty amazing, one may be better in one area the other better in another. I selected first the 125, then with problems occuring traded it in for a N5. I am pleased with the N5, but then, I probably would have been pleased with the 125 if it didn't have the problems mine had. Hopefully you will make this a small scope site. It almost is anyway. Your site is far and away the best telescope site on the Net. It would be really neat for us N5ers, and the lucky Questar people, and other small scope people to have the kind of resource you provide for the ETXs. Imagine the discussions that we could all have, and the help we could give each other in our hobby. Maybe then Celestron would feel welcome to add comments and respond to questions from users (spell that paying customers) as well. Perhaps we could organize a small scope star party one of these days to attach faces with the names we see sending in e-mails and do all those side by side comparisons everyone keeps saying they would like to do. (Or maybe a plan for a small scope (5" and under) set up area at the Texas Star Party. Thanks again for your site. DanO
Subject: Re. advice to Philippe Subra (ETX-125/EC) Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 12:12:57 From: email@example.com.McMaster.CA (Clive Gibbons) A few points re. your response to Mr. Subra's questions about the ETX-125 central obstruction. The corrector lens of the ETX-125 is a *very* weak meniscus element, which diverges light by a slight amount. This divergence is nowhere near the angle displayed by the conical secondary baffle tube. The ETX's oversized primary mirror is such to allow full on-axis illumination and to improve off-axis illumination. A 5" Mak of the ETX's design needs only a small amount of primary mirror "oversize" to deliver full illumination on-axis. The secondary baffle of the ETX-125 does indeed increase the scope's true obstruction. This blockage is nearly 2" in size, of which the spot secondary mirror contributes the stated (by Meade) 1.55". Further to Mr. Subra's comments; the ETX-90 secondary baffle does increase the scope's obstruction beyond what the secondary mirror measures, but not by much. It adds approx. 0.1", which is proportionally smaller than what's found in the ETX-125 and 7" Maks. This is largely due to the 90's more truncated secondary baffle cone. Sincerely, Clive Gibbons Technician, McMaster University, School of Geography and Geology.
Subject: ETX-125 Questions and Problems Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 11:21:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Stevenson) I just received my ETX-125EC yesterday (my first telescope) and ran into these problems/questions out of the box. If anyone has guidance/answers to these problems, I could use any help I can get. 1. When I mounted the telescope to the Deluxe Field Tripod using the mounting plate provided with the scope, I found that after tightening the attachment knobs as much as seemed prudent there was still daylight between the tripod mounting plate and the mounting plate that fits onto the scope base. The scope will rock laterally with slight pressure. This doesn't seem correct. Did I do something wrong in assembly? 2. I found a small set screw wedged in one of the catches of the battery compartment cover. I noted that there was a set screw missing from the focus knob and attempted to put the recovered screw into the hole in the knob but was met with apparently damaged threads so I stopped messing with it. It seems to be the right size. However, this may not matter, because... 3. The focus knob and shaft are rattling loosely in the hole where the shaft goes into the scope and turning the knob has zero effect on focusing. The knob/shaft assembly is obviously unattached inside the scope. The instruction manual only says to use the focusing knob. Is there an unpublished trick to get the focusing mechanism to work, or do I have a defective unit? 4. When using the hand controller to slew the scope around in azimuth the scope will (intermittently) turn a few (10-15) degrees and stop til I release the button and repress it. It did this continuously last night, but seemed to work somewhat better this morning as I was able to rotate it all the way to the auto-stop with only one momentary interruption in power to the motor. I admit that I haven't done extensive experimentation with this problem, but it is a bit disconcerting when several other apparent problems exist out of the box. Also, is the Meade manual correct when it says under "Quick Tips" on page 6 "The horizontal limit stop prevents the telescope from rotating more than 630 degrees to avoid damage to the internal wiring."? Thanks for being a resource. John Stevenson email@example.comMike here: First off, I would return the unit to the dealer. The lose focus knob probably occurred in shipping and needs to be corrected. For the tripod bolts, you can call Meade and ask for replacements for the ETX-125EC or you can use a couple of washers. I also noted the RA pause when slewing long distances with the standard controller on an ETX-90EC. And to avoid cord wrapping around the rotational axis, there is a limit to the number of turns the scope will make before hitting the hard stop. If you hit one, just rotate the scope in the other direction until you reach the object desired.
Subject: Keep up the good work ! Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 09:42:48 From: GallJJ@cdm.com (Gall, John) The additions in the specs are interesting. Some border on reviews, which should be deleted, or moved, IMHO. Otherwise, we are dealing with a synopsis of reviews interspersed with specs. I don't mind synopsis reviews, but they ain't specs. And do we know if the people submitting have had acess to one of the "new" 125 etx's ? I know that clive had access to a couple of the early ones. Or, come to think of it, a Nexstar ? I'm not interested in "reflected" opinions. Two minor quibbles: I'll check tonight, but the the zenith problem with the etx is probably in the alt/az mode. Not sure why anyone would be doing astrophotography in this mode anyway. And, of course, the dec problem is only in the polar mode. Which means, of course, I have the 125. JohnMike here: I agree that some of the submitted additions bordered on "reviews" but I elected to keep them in in the interest of airing all views. If such things get out of hand, I'll reconsider this position.
Subject: ETX-125EC Sent: Sunday, October 24, 1999 20:01:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (PHILIPPE SUBRA) Perhaps have I not read all was written about the etx125, after it was modificated for Meade. But, what about the obstruction of 40% of the diameter for the baffle. Did Meade modify it? on the photos you present with your test, the baffle seems enormous. It's true that if the etx125 keeps that, it will probably not have more contrast than the Nextstar, and, will not make the difference that the maksutov design should permit. The etx90 baffle is really proportionnally smaller, and does not add more obstruction to the one of the secondary mirror. Perhaps Meade has a technic difficulty for maintening such an obstruction: easier to assembly? general lack of baffling of the whole scope? or , simply have they neglected this important detail? Well, all that are questions and suppositions, beacuse I of course had not the opportunity to look neither through an etx125, nor a nextar. But if you have some informations about that, me and probably some of the fidel readers of your site would be happy, and even happier if meade resolve this problem. OK, I'll stop now, hoping you had not too many difficulties to understand my rudimentary english. I love my old etx scope (without EC), particulary yesterday night. Very best regards, Philippe Subra.Mike here: Keep in mind that the ETX-125EC primary mirror is larger than the corrector plate and the baffle edge parallels (I think) the light path from the corrector to the mirror. Therefore it does not block any light.
Subject: ETX 125 EC Available at Natural Wonders Sent: Sunday, October 24, 1999 18:40:21 From: email@example.com (Michael Okubo) I wrote to you a few months ago in regards to the ETX 125EC. We currently have a few in stock(10/24/99) and they are ready to ship. If you would like to let your readers know, they can contact me at Natural Wonders (516) 248-0642. I am located in Garden City, New York (long Island). ETX 125EC $895.00 Autostar $149.00 Tripod $179.00 Full line of accessories available Best regards Michael
Subject: More fun Sent: Friday, October 22, 1999 23:54:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Romine) I have to admit that I have really enjoyed your site lately! Quite the lively discussion. I know that after the Meade post, it is only going to get more fun. Although I really don't want to join either the meade or celestron bandwagons, as an engineer, I can't resist responding to the Meade engineer's technical points: > The plastic gears are class 3 gears which have precision tooth > profiles and run very smooth with minimal wear. If the class 3 is the AGMA rating, then they are not even precision. Gears don't start to be considered precise until you reach AGMA class 8. At the last company I worked for, we molded AGMA class 12 gears for our precision systems (in high volume). AGMA class 3 were only used where precision was not an issue. > The worm gear approach is superior to the spur gear approach used in > the NexStar (this is easily demonstrated by comparing the backlash > seen in the DEC axis to an ETX). The only advantage worm gears have is they allow an extremely high gear reduction in a very small space. Otherwise they are very inefficient relative to spur gears. A typical worm gear with a lead angle of 5 degrees will have an efficiency of 62%. But any spur gear will have an efficiency of 98%. The reason this is important is that the lower the efficiency, the more the system will wear. Hence, you may start off with less backlash with a worm, but after a year or 2 of use, I bet the worm will have much more backlash that a spur with similar use. What is really funny here is that the plastic gears mentioned above ARE SPUR GEARS! Hence if spurs are bad, then why are you using them? By the way, from what I can see of the Celeston scope in the pictures at scopetronics, they are using a Pitman motor with a planetary gear head and an HP encoder (I just designed a product with a similar setup using a maxon motor). That is an extremely robust setup, and will probably never wear out. > Perhaps someone should disassemble the units to see exactly how > rigid are the structures. This is strange. Why would anyone need to disassemble a device to see how rigid it is? Wouldn't normal use demonstrate its rigidity (or lack there of) more effectively? Now having said all this, you must wonder what is my beef with meade. The truth is I have none-I think Meade makes great products. But a few years ago, when I worked for HP, I made a post similar that of the Meade engineer's on a printer related news group about how a printer I helped design was better than the competition. Man, was that a mistake! I turned the entire NG against HP! I got lambasted not only by the NG posters, but by my co-workers. So since I never sought therapy for the experience, I am doomed to respond in a like way to similar posts that I come across--ever perpetuating the cycle of abuse. So don't be mad at me, feel sorry for me, I need help... AND DON'T FORGET TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR! MikeMike here: Meade used to participate directly in the online MAPUG but apparently stopped because no matter what they said, somebody would either take it the wrong way or write a dissertation dissecting every word of a three line response, adding a lot of between-the-lines interpretations. Sometimes, no matter what good intentions there are, somebody always looks for the negative side. But silence on the part of companies does not work either because there are those who always wonder what the companies (or the webmaster...) are hiding. "Damned if you do; damned if you don't." As ETX users, readers of this site should be grateful that Meade does respond here. If this site does expand to become a "small telescope" site, we should hope that Celestron, Questar, and other companies, including the accessory makers, will be as open with us as Meade.
I totally agree that their responding is a good thing. But as I learned the hard way, if they respond as a representative of their company by making negative claims about their competition (as was the case in this last post), they are doomed for a backlash of people dissecting their response. The trick is to post only factoids about their own product if they are identifying themselves as Meade. If they want to make comparisons to the competition, they should make anonymous posts like I am sure all the Celestron employees who make up the "anti meade camp" do ;) BTW: I still think the ETX is a good scope. And thanks for all your hard work on this site! And like I said, I hope you are not taking the scope flame war too seriously-it is all in fun!
Subject: EXT 125 vs. N5 controversy Sent: Friday, October 22, 1999 13:28:43 From: JamesK@frontier.wa.com (James Keithly) I've really enjoyed your website and have been very entertained by the controversy you caused with your review of the 125 vs N5. By posting all of the comments and flames you've received concerning the review, you've done an excellent job of acquitting yourself of any possible bias. It is pretty amazing how defensive/angry people will get regarding $1,200 purchase. After you've gone through all the effort to justify/rationalize your purchase, it is hard to step back. Anyway, I did just put a deposit down for a N5. There were mainly because the performance should be similar to the 125 (the optics are the same as Celestron's venerable C-5) and the Nexstar will work well as a spotting scope for checking out wildlife, etc. My understanding is that the 125 needs a correcting prism (?) to be used as a spotting scope. Being able to collimate the scope also seems pretty important. You website is an amazing resource for a small telescope owner. Thanks for all the hard work! Regards, James Keithly
Subject: Some comments from Meade Instruments (ETX-125EC, NexStar5) Posted: Thursday, October 21, 1999 From: Meade Instruments Corrections to the ETX-125 OTA were primarily stiffening including the collimation plate, primary baffle, primary slider and the main tube. The inner structures of the tube are now very substantial. Once a telescope is in the hands of a customer (even one of the first ones shipped), they are not very likely to receive the kind of stress found in shipping and therefore will operate as expected. Meade has a hardcase for the ETX-125 and it is not the same type case as the 90. It is much bigger. I am sure your readers would be pleased with it. Remember that using the foam insert between the OTA and base (included in the modified packaging) is important if it is checked as freight or otherwise handled roughly. Because a manufacturer claims they can do long exposure photography does not make it so. Meade has a high standard of performance we require of a telescope to make this claim. My personal opinion is that long exposure photography will work equally as well on either telescope in the polar mode which is what Celestron endorses. But let someone try it first before it is a fact. The ETX-125 would not weigh 18.5 pounds if it were all plastic. There is substantial metal throughout including the entire RA axis and reinforcing in the fork arms. Yes, we have a set of plastic gears in the reducer, but the last two gears are metal, namely the worm and worm gear. The plastic gears are class 3 gears which have precision tooth profiles and run very smooth with minimal wear. The worm gear approach is superior to the spur gear approach used in the NexStar (this is easily demonstrated by comparing the backlash seen in the DEC axis to an ETX).Perhaps someone should disassemble the units to see exactly how rigid are the structures. (the Jordan Blessing photos show how much metal is in the base of the 125). The 2" threads are nice on the NexStar but you can buy an LAR that attaches to the back of the ETX's to supply a 2" set of threads. Note also that while the threads are 2" the optical opening is nowhere near that. In fact the optical opening of the ETX is 10% larger than the NexStar (1.1" Vs 1.0"). Regarding the NexStar you used on 1 October; It was right out of the box. It had not been disassembled or had any tampering. Our optics shop tested the optics (in place) and even collimated them.Mike here: Thanks to Meade for supplying the above details and clarifications.
Subject: Controversy and well-poisoners Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 1999 14:26:21 From: email@example.com (John Stevenson) I'm a totally green novice at this astronomy stuff. Never owned a telescope before, but, based on the info I've gleaned from your site have on order an ETX125EC and some goodies to enhance the experience. I was at first shocked and somewhat dismayed at the venom directed at you re: the Celestron/ETX125 comparison. However, as I reflected on the situation, I remembered that every time I've tried to do something in my life that put me (whether I desired it or not) in the spotlight, there was a small minority of snipers and well-poisoners who always took shots at me. I've learned, as you apparently have (or are) that "He who puts his head above the crowd always gets the tomatoes." I just had to send you a word of support and hope that you learn to like the taste of tomatoes because you are providing a valuable service for those of us out here who have not the expertise, time, inclination, etc, etc to do what you are doing. Bravo! and thanks for your steadfast devotion to the users of your site - the majority who appreciate your efforts. Damn the torpedoes... John Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Meade ETX Deluxe Field Tripod Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 1999 13:37:02 From: email@example.com (JTarter) First, I fully support your site and appreciate the time and effort you have and are putting into it. I'm a beginner amateur astronomer and your site has been an invaluable resource for information. I recently purchased the Meade ETX-125EC telescope and the ETX Deluxe Field Tripod. When I tried to connect the telescope to the tripod with the supplied 1 1/4" attachment knobs and adapter plate, quess what? It doesn't work... the 1 1/4" attachment knobs are to short! However, all is not lost, I called customer support at Meade and they are shipping the correct attachment knobs ( 1 1/2" ) within the next couple of days. Now this is what I called customer support! It is my understanding that not all the Deluxe Field Tripods are shipped with the short attachment knobs so maybe you won't run into this problem. Again, keep up the great job you are doing! Jerry
Subject: A brief question re: etx125 Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 1999 10:45:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (resident) First, I'm a big fan of your page. It's significantly improved my enjoyment of my ETX 90. Mama told me never to discuss politics and religion -two subjects which stir up too much controvery. I would like to add "telescopes" to those taboo topics after reading the many maligning posts you have received after your review! Honestly, folks get too excited about this topic. We're only talking telescopes here afterall! Some sure like to sweat the small stuff. But enough said. I've really enjoyed my ETX 90 with autostar. Naturally, as many do, I've been thinking of some more aperture with an eye toward the etx 125 ( just a Meade man I guess; althought the Nextar looks equally appealing ). My question is not whether I should go etx or nextar; but whether the incremental viewing pleasure going from 90mm to 125mm is really significant enough to warrant the investment? Or should I be focusing ( no pun intended ) on instruments of 8" aperture or greater to ideally compliment my little ETX which I intend on keeping. Since you've experienced both ETX's , and probably have had an opportunity to view through larger scopes as well, are you able to offer any insights? Dollars are not the primary concern and portability remains a major requirement. Thanks, GeoffMike here: The answer to your question is easy. But your decision may not be. Go for the largest aperture you can and will use. The difference in viewing with the ETX-125EC vs the ETX-90EC was dramatic. Of course, the same can be said as you further increase the aperture. The down side as you increase aperture is that you also tend to increase size and weight. This can and does result in actually using the larger scope less than a more portable one. Some observers like the larger (8 or 10") Dobs; they provide the large aperture in a large scope but lack a lot of things that make the telescope and mount heavy.
Subject: Jordan Blessings Review Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 07:26:26 From: email@example.com (Robert Lonn) As noted in this review he shows the new drive motors! I have mentioned this in several of my emails for this posting but everyone thinks I was making it up! The main reason for this posting is that it is critical that you upgrade to the latest 1.3 Autostar software. It will track better with the new motor drive. Also, when you are doing a two star auto align, move the star down to the lower right of the FOV. Then using only the left and up keys, slew the star to the center. That removes any gear play. I think now you will see why I claim 95% FOV with GO-TO capability. Last night I would say 100% even when I pumped the tripod, I guess it held fast. One last comment about the "WHO SUPPLIED THE COMPARISON CHART" Mike posted. What difference does it make if the fact are TRUE!!! Back to listening to my Ham Radio (20 meters), my other hobby!!
Mike here: As you will see below, my ETX-125EC and NexStar5 postings have generated a lot of email. This is good; I welcome both the pros and cons. However, there is an undercurrent here that we all need to be aware of. I've been asked many times over the three years this site has been online to do an "editorial page"; the controversy that is brewing has prompted me to finally do just that. Keep in mind that the EDITORIAL PAGE is just that. It is MY area to say whatever is on MY mind. Comments are welcome of course. I have no idea how frequently I will write something nor what the topics might be. But recent events have provided me with material for the first one. Visit the EDITORIAL PAGE if you want.
Mike here again: Be certain to read Jordan Blessing's side-by-side comparison of the NexStar5 and ETX-125EC (home.att.net/~celestron/125n5.htm). Scopetronix (which is Jordan) is a Celestron dealer (which he points out in the write-up). He is also a developer of some great ETX products and his site contains a lot of valuable ETX information.
Subject: 125 and viewfinder Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 11:27:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) Boy, I've done a lot of posting today! I tried my spanking new 125 on fri night - good clear night - and after i aligned the 90 degree viewfinder, i soon came to learn it was somewhat useless to me! I had a scopetronix lightsite on my 90, and when i replace the double stick tape I'll remount it to the 125 - I found the red dot finder to be indespensble - just keep both eyes open, and the target image kind of lines up in both eyes and you know you're there - even the 90's finder had a similar ability with both eyes open - in contrast, i found the 90 degree site to be virtually useless when i was manually panning the sky for saturn or jupiter - both very bright and visible in the naked eye. I'm glad I never paid for the 90 degree conversion like i intended (it was actually out of stock when i tried to order around june). I can see where the 90 degree finder would have benefits - looking near the zenith, and now, for magnification once I'm in the general area. After viewing for a bit, i noticed i couldn't see anything out of the finder - i realized looking through the eyepiece, i had breathed onto the finder (my breath isn't THAT bad!) - i fogged it up. So, the finder does have it's uses, but i think a dot finder will be indispensible on this scope even more so than on a scope with a straight finder. As a further plug for scopetronix (it's VERY rare that i find a company i like) - i had previosly followed jordan's advise for converting a daisy red dot finder - after spending roughly $20 in parts, i had a finder i don't like nearly as much as the scopetronix unit - which has BIG knobs for sighting adjustments. The daisy conversion did, however have unlimited variable light adjustment ala variable resistor, however the scopetronix unit felt more robuts with it's bight/dim setting (dim was too bright for some fainter objects) - I could do the tip i learned from this site (that i think you mentioned mike) and aim the finder so the dot is always to, say, right and above the target - which would eliminate that problem...or if i could get the scope to goto.... Gary
Subject: ETX 125 bag Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 10:48:51 From: email@example.com (Gary) I was busy with my 125 this weekend (still don't have good goto!) - at K-mart I found some duffel bags for around $30, and found a sort of weekend back that went for $50 (i'll look at the name tonight) - the bag was fairly long - about 45 inches or so, included 6 side/external pockets, had WHEELS, and a hidden handle (like airport luggage on wheels) - The 125 fit easily inside (too easily). Right now, for padding, I'm using a thermos insulated bag that the 125 sits in and is crammed into the bag - I'm trying to find foam that would be appropriate - perhaps I'll contact Pelican who makes cases similar to the seal tight and try to buy replacment foam for one of their bigger bags. I've thought about Home Depot or similar store for insulation (wrapped) or perhaps plumbing foam, etc. - any suggestions would be appreciated - i don't want to just lie the scope in my back seat. Thanks for any thoughts, Gary
Subject: reviews Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 23:36:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mel Martin) Mike.. as an owner of both Meade and Celstron gear, and a long time reader and supporter of your site I'm really disappointed. You are dodging some fundamental questions people are asking of you. 1) Who supplied the comparison chart? A simple answer will do. You have dodged it in every response. 2) You tend to think everyone is honest and above board. Do you think with all the dollars resting on impressions of a product in the marketplace Meade would just give you an off the shelf unit? Is this same reputation for honesty any explanation of why all mention of the ETX125 was taken off the Meade site with no word to potential customers about why? Reviews, even when done quickly, demand full disclosure. You stated that Meade provided all the equipment, but we really don't know, nor were you interested to ask, if anything special was done to any of it. You've reprinted, without any honest owning up, a highly flawed comparison of two telescopes produced by the manufacturer of one of them. C'mon Mike... a reputation is a terrible thing to waste. I'd suggest you clearly answer the questions that have been put to you.. establish some form of ethical code for your journalism (because that is what you are doing) and let's get back to looking at the stars with whatever instrument suits us. Keep Meade and Celstron at arms length, and if you can't let your readers know EXACTLY what is going on. Mel Martin Seattle
Subject: 5-inch scopes Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 20:14:47 From: email@example.com (JaePbond) I tried to share my experiences and you've document them on your site in my "Night at the ETX" piece for new users and buyers. I also shared my initial experiences with you and your site with a C5+ and my ETX90 where I said that the sample C5+ I had didn't do any better than my ETX90 on planets and lunar detail; it was just brighter. In fact the lunar contrast was higher on the ETX90. As expected, the C5 was consistently better on all deep sky objects, hands down. I did say that I believed that a better sample of a C5 would have done much better and that I would someday look for another sample. This was a couple of years ago. Today, I have better insight as to what was happening with my first C5+ and btw the folks at saa are an experienced bunch. My initial experience would have been chewed apart here or simply someone would have pointed out that I had a miscollimated scope or a lemon. So what was wrong with my first C5+ ? It was not precisely collimated although I did out-focus star collimation. In addition, the primary was off, which prevented precise collimation via the secondary. How could I tell? I get the "donut" on out-of focus stars but when looking down the ota tube during daytime, concentric rings cannot be seen. Rings were overlapping. I also never did a high power in-focus collimation with this scope. The focus on planets lacked the "snap". I have a second C5+ which is much, much, better. The daytime rings are concentric, and the star test shows 1/5 to 1/6 wave accuracy at the eyepiece. I'm sure that this is not the best sample out there as I do have a C8 with a 1/7 to 1/8 wave accuracy. This scope consistently outperformed my ETX90 on planetary and lunar detail. The contrast is every bit as high or higher on the moon than an ETX90EC with 1/8 or better wave sample. The resolution overpowered small craterlets that were invisible on the ETX90. The focus on planets "snap" sharply with no doubt. But I do have to conduct high power in-focus collimation every time to be sure. If it's off a bit there is a surprising amount of softness that creeps in; out-of-focus collimation is just not good enough. So that's my experience. If I was doing the comparison you made between the ETX125 and the Nexstar, the first thing I'd do is a star test and high-power in-focus collimation of the Nexstar. IF YOU DON'T or don't know...... then anything you say can be argued as not worthwhile like a lot of people are saying here...... or is it ? Maybe not completely.........To me it does say that the Nexstar may be more prone to collimation sensitivity than the ETX125. I'm assuming that the ETX125 is like my ETX90 which never seems to go out of collimation. There are no secondary adjustments to fiddle with just primary. So a lot of people may be better off with a scope that needs less collimation tweaking but as for me I've been a bit turned off by the ETX90 and the ETX90/EC quality control and poor materials. I won't be buying a ETX125 until I hear more about how really solid it is....... kind of like a.... Nexstar. But then I could've had a Nexstar........ So more time and money may not be what is needed....but just a bit of star testing to be sure of collimation and maybe a bit more experience. This would have clarified a few things for me. Best wishes to you Mike. Jae Park
Subject: Prime focus photography with 125 Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 19:03:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe and Shelli Lewis) I haven't seen any posting of photos taken with the ETX 125 yet. I know someone has to have tried it by now. Have you seen any, and if so, would you please post them on your site. Thanks, JoeMike here: As soon as someone sends me some, I'll post them.
Subject: John Steinberg Letter Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 17:49:09 From: email@example.com (Rob Elgert) Hey Mike: This is Rob again from the Great White North. I just had to send a note regarding John Steinberg's letter in the 125 site. While he makes a few valid points regarding the evaluation, I think he missed the point of it altogether. Could it have been done more scientifically? Absolutely. But this site is a courtesy service delivered by an uncompensated enthusiast such as yourself. I got the impression from your editorial that you feel under attack and need to defend yourself. Don't worry about it. Just keep up the good work. Just remember that Meade did most of damage to the ETX reputation itself due to it's shabby handling of the ETX125 affair. By the way, I truly believe that the problems with the 125 had nothing to do with packing and everything to do with Q.C.. They just covered thier own butts and bought some time to make the production improvements required. It doesn't really matter as the bottom line is that we get a damn hot scope in the end. Despite all that's happened, I still love to use that scope!!!! Keep up the excellent site.
Subject: etx/nexstar review Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 13:54:31 From: DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland) Talk about controversy! It seems that some of your readers are biting the hand that feeds them. Your site has been a tremendous source of information despite a rash of conflicting opinions. Unfortunately your comparison was not appreciated for all your efforts to organize it. A suggestion, for what it's worth, might be to organize a challenge session between Meade and Celestron to compare scopes. For example, Oceanside Photo and Telescope has occassionally a Meade Day or a Celeston Day with their corresponding reps showing their wares. How about a Meade/Celeston Day challenge centered around these highly marketable telescopes and get an opinion on the results. There would be no question of bias under those conditions. Just food for thought. Please let me know what you think. Clear Skies, DONMike here: There are many opportunities to compare scopes, side-by-side. The Riverside Telescope Makers Conference is one example. Since both Celestron and Meade are located in Southern California perhaps something could be set up.
Subject: The 125 vs N5 comparison Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 01:28:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Odom) First, I have enjoyed your ETX site since I found it several months ago. It convinced me to purchase the ETX 125 and gave me the information needed to know to wait till the 2nd generation with the fixes came out. Thank you for all of that. I have been active in astronomy for about 25 years, useing both Meade and Celestron products, scopes, eyepieces, tripods, etc. My main telescope is a Meade 10" SCT that I think is great in every way... except it is sooo heavy that it spend almost all its time in my garage. I attend the Texas Star Party fairly often and have looked through lots of telescopes. Here is the rub. My experience with my ETX 125 2nd generation scope was very different than your description at the Meade Star Party. The 125 would GOTO fairly well... but frankly that was about all I can say positive about the experience. I can't give a fair optical evaluation because the scope was out of collimation enough to impact the images. The star test indicated, even with the collimation problem, an undercorrected mirror. Something that bothered me as well is the noise the scope makes. I thought Meade had fixed that. Apparently not, it sounds like a kids electric motor race car when slewing, and when tracking it makes such strange and loud noises that at first I was amused, but after about 10 minutes it began to detract from the viewing experience. (maybe that is my own quirk... but it is really loud!) The focusing is rough and very shakey; the right angle finder is just about useless in that all stars outside the exact center of the field of view appear to be small comets. I had better luck finding things with a wide angle eyepiece in the main scope. One other thing that bothers me is that the scope has a very front heavy balance. Any time I loosened the altitude lock the scope would quickly rotate down and hit the base. Needless to say, with the collimation problem on a Mak, you have to take it back. The very helpful astronomy shop I bought the scope from was very willing to exchange it, but they also offered me a chance to try the N5 before deciding what to do. I took them up on it, of course, and tried the N5 that night. My experience was again different from yours. The N5 did everything it is advertised to do very well. Setup was simple and everything I chose to to GOTO was in the eyepiece... and much of the time I was useing a 9mm and didn't need to change to a wider field of view ocular... I was impressed! The optics were out of collimation when I got the scope home, but with a SCT it took only about 5 minutes to make it perfect. Views of everything were great. Jupiter was crisp and sharp with great detail in the equitorial cloud bands. Two other bands stood out well also. Saturn was a near religious experience. The Cassini's division stood out black and easy with subtle band structure on the planet. I could go on about the optics, lets just say they were all that I hoped for in the ETX 125 but didn't find... at least in the one I had purchased. The Auto Star with the Meade has more bells and whistles, some of which I would like to see on the N5, but there isn't that much difference. The lack of a "Below the Horizon" message is a non issue to me, I rather like the N5 telling me the altitude of the object instead "+" means its above the horizon by the number of degrees indicated... that helps me know if it is truely visible, due to the roof tops and trees around my back yard. After telling you the altitude above or "-" below the horizon, you can just push the up or down buttons to get all sorts of other information on the object... i.e. separation of double stars. And the N5 is so quiet when slewing or tracking... it sounds like a cat purring happily. Well, I ended up keeping the N5 and letting them send the ETX125 back to the factory. The sales person at the astronomy shop said he knew that would happen. He told me that those who buy the N5 are delighted while those who buy the 125 often have problems... that was my experience. Concerning your review of the two. I believe you are an honest guy and I believe Meade is a good company, so is Celestron. But I must say that in my business I wouldn't allow one supplier to help me test his product against his competition, especially l wouldn't let him supply both samples. Mike, business is business, Meade and Celestron are in a death struggle looking for anyway to convince the consumer their product is superior. I think both have good points and challenges. My evaluation lead me to choose the N5 based on its metal construction, less shakes when focusing, quiet - quality sounding motors, ability to collimate anytime if needed, impressive - tried and true - optical system, and the feeling when useing it that you have a well made instrument that will last a long time. Best of luck with your site, I still think the site is great. << keep looking up >> Dan Odom
Subject: (no subject) Sent: Saturday, October 16, 1999 14:46:20 From: Naptownman@aol.com As an avid follower of your website since I bought an ETX over a year ago, I'm almost ashamed of the treatment you've received since posting your comparison of the 125 and the Nexstar. You published a draft which consisted of some objective information and some subjective information. And it should have been taken as nothing more than your best attempt at answering an overwhelming amount of mail regarding a comparison of the two scopes. You do your best and you get flamed and for that I apologize on behalf of the rest of us who visit your site and appreciate the effort you're putting forth to enhance our pleasure of astronomy and the ETX-line of scopes. Don Pamachena email@example.com
Subject: ETX / NexStar Review Sent: Saturday, October 16, 1999 10:35:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Greenfield) I certainly enjoy your site. It is tremendously valuable for all us viewers. I'd like to add my observations about the NexStar 5. I've owned one for a little over a month and had the chance to compare it to the ETX-90 last night. The Nexstar 5 (NS5) has been easy to set up and very accurate. It took me about 10 minutes to set it up (align) the first time and since requires about 2 minutes. I've found the tracking to be 'right on' and have even left it tracking a planet or star while going in to eat dinner. An hour later the object has always been right in the center when I return. I'm just setting it on a stable picnic table in my back yard in Altazimuth mode and using AC power. The tripod is on backorder. Following are a few comments from my log notes this past month... Saturn - clear night - good seeing - 31x to 313x (40mm ep to 8mm ep with 2x Barlow). Sharp and clear - cassini division clearly visable. Band on planet visable. Planet's shadow clearly visable on rings. Best contrast with blue filter. Jupiter - clear night - good seeing - 31x to 313x (40mm ep to 8mm ep with 2x Barlow). 5 Bands visable. Able to see swirls in 2 largest bands. Best contrast with blue filter. Double Cluster in Persius - clear night. Spectacular at low power (40mm ep). Both clusters within field of view. Looks like diamonds spilled on black velvet. Andromeda Galexy - clear night - good seeing (40mm ep). Extends outside field of view. Core very bright with dark lanes visable. Double Double - clear night (26mm ep). Easily splits both pairs. Albiero (colored double) - clear night (26mm ep). Great color contrast - one star yellowish, the other blueish. I had the chance last night to compare the NS5 with the ETX-90 (Just the viewing - I didn't set up the ETX). The ETX was on its tripod and not very stable. Not as stable as the NS5 just sitting on a table. NS5 objects (planets, double stars, clusters, nebulas) were larger, brighter and showed more detail in ever case. I was very impressed with the ETX-90 for its size however. In conclusion, I've found the NS5 to be very stable, easy to use and the viewing has been supurb. I'm certainly pleased with mine. Also, there seems to be no end to options available off the shelf. In about a month or so, according to Software Bisque, TheSky will be compatible with the NS5. So that capability is coming, too. Thanks for your great site. I appreciate your work (or is it play?!), George Greenfield An Oregon Observer
Subject: Telescopes...err...Attacks on character? Sent: Saturday, October 16, 1999 09:52:14 From: email@example.com To all readers, I DO NOT speak for Mike...However, Mike's ETX site has always been and should continue to be a fair, non-descriminating, open forum. DO NOT contribute to the attacks on character recently being made by insecure people whom obviously need to boost their ego's. By jumping so quick to condemn Mike for his prelimanary report, they have only shown that they completely ignored mike's warnings concerning liability and user choice, above all. Does anyone remember the fervor generated over the recent flawed "S&T ETX125 Review"? Geez...get a life. We are only talking about which telescopes to buy, and what "Cool Mods" to make...aren't we? Everyone has their own opinion right? Well, i for one never base an important decision on a single piece of information. I find every angle...Because ultimately, the only person to blame for not doing your homework...is YOU! Even in this age of frivilous lawsuits! I've been a regular visitor to this site since early 99'. From what i've seen, Mike has always strived to provide all sides of "the story". This is precisely why his web page is the #1 ETX site(and related small telescope site...despite his best intentions)on the net today. It's not about popularity...it's about information...and only information. Today Meade has their day....tomorrow Celestron...Big Deal! I'm a proud owner of both Celestron & Meade Products...and I've always felt they were on an equal par. Let's face it...they both manufacture pristine optics, and cutting edge technology. Beyond that i would add that Meade has, in the last few years made a distinct effort to produce revolutionary technology in a low cost, high quality format...that incidentally, was soon after copied by Celestron...and for good reason...that is what people want!! I'm sure many people(like myself) were waiting with baited breath for mike's initial ETX125 vs. Nexstar review. I'm also sure as with every other thing Mike has posted, it was quite simply what he experienced...and that goes for quoting from the Meade Reps as well. If i was meade, and i new that a meeting with Mike(and a consequent net posting) would most likely help to boost consumer confidence in the ETX125, i would send a couple of my best guys to insure the best representation for the product. And i would use a Product i knew was set up correctly. I Would also be sure to relay all the Autostar features as compared to the Nexstar features...in a commercial manner...as Meade did for mike, and he then posted. I do not Expect Meade to have the exact specs on the Nexstar, nor do i expect Celestron to have all the ETX125 Specs, or for Mike to have them for that matter. Mike's meeting with Meade Reps produced this information...what will John Doe's meeting produce? Lets wait and see, or post our experiences...NOT crucify the messenger. Also, Just to clarify...neither the Meade ETX nor the Celestron Nexstar come with a Field Tripod as standard equipment...a tripod is an extra investment. Most people buy a tripod separately from the telescope purchase and rarely use the exact tripod manufactured for a specific scope(that's what "Custom-Mod" is all about). If the Nexstar requires the Celestron tripod to perform well...then alot of people are gonna be upset. Therefore, the alleged unfairness of using a Meade Tripod with the Nexstar is a moot point. And to the comments(and entire homepage dedicated to slamming Mike) from John Steinberg(firstname.lastname@example.org) http://members.xoom.com/nexstar/commentary.html All i have to say is: What your doing is cheap!!! After all, Mike inspired you to create your site...obviously you never learned the lessons you preach in your writings...be impartial, and leave it to the reader to discern the truth...and don't take it personally. Enjoy all the new press your getting. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... Thanks Mike! Keep up the good work... when should we expect the next in-depth review of the ETX125...And now that i've put my ETX90/RA on a DS/EC Mount...how about an "Alternative Mount" page? Alex Zarvis email@example.com Interstellar Medium
Subject: People Sent: Saturday, October 16, 1999 02:55:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael L. Turney) Read your editorial regarding input you've recieved since reviewing the ETX 125EC and Nexstar. To say the least I was a little disappointed to see the direction and tone of some of the people who responded. But as I'm sure you're aware some things will never change and this certainly applies to the small mindedness of some people. To think you work as hard as you do for this site and then have to take such abuse is a hard pill to swallow so you need to be reminded that 99.9 per cent of the users of this invaluable site support and appreciate your efforts and opinions. Don't go South because of the vocal .1 per cent!! Received my ETX 125EC two days ago and I'm in Love! Have not used the AutoStar function yet but did use the scope by manually slewing and viewed both Saturn and Jupiter last night. Both were "exquisitely sharp" in the 15mm Super Plossl eyepiece and I am completely satisfied. Collimation is dead on. The optics are truly superb. I installed an electric focuser which also is extremely beneficial. Will be training the Autostar in the next couple of days and also have a tripod adaptor plate on order from Scopetronix so I can install on my Bogen tripod. Right now life is good. Thanks Mike and Hang IN There.
Subject: 125 ETX Re-Engineering Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 21:31:11 From: email@example.com (Lynn and Dan Snyder) Great site! This is truly your labor of love. You should be paid on commission by Meade for your de-facto customer support & help department! I was wondering a few of things (being on the verge of buying a 125 ETX myself), and perhaps you, Meade, or the ETX community out there can answer. Hopefully you have some feedback from the Meade seniors during your evaluation workshop on October 1, especially feedback on the S&T review. 1. What specifically did Meade modify to correct the 125 ETX "shipping problems"? Was it just additional cushioning in the box, or was there some actual improvement to the OTA & scope mount itself? 2. As per the Sky and Telescope review, is Meade planning further re-engineering / improvements to the 125 ETX to correct the "other" problems noted in the review? (i.e.. should I wait awhile for more improvements of the product before buying my 125 ETX, or is the design static now? Will the secondary baffling be reduced?). 3. On another note, has anyone been using a PC & software to control the ETX (either the 90 or the 125)? What software works, and what are people's experiences with it? Accurate pointing? Repeatability, etc. Clear skies! Dan Snyder SeattleMike here: There were several, unspecified, changes that Meade made. While I'm sure there will be continuous process improvements on all products, currently shipping models seem to be good, based upon user feedback. Waiting for more improvements is like waiting for the next, faster computer. You'll never get one because an even better one is "just around the corner". I have not tried controlling the ETX from a computer but several packages do it. SkyMap Pro and The Sky are two that come to mind.
Subject: ETX-nextstar review Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 13:55:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Skinner, Glenn) I have been a faithful follower of your site for quite sometime now, It has always been a valuable resource to ETX owners worldwide, but after reading your review between the ETX and nextstar 5 I have lost almost all respect for your site. The review and review conditions were so bised from the start that not only is the review useless, the review has destroyed my credibility in your site content. I do not own a nextstar 5 nor do I ever expect to, I own an ETX90 upgraded to the EC base and a 10" LX200. I have however repeatedly been able to use and compare the nextstar and ETX on a weekly basis for several weeks now. Our group meets twice a week and weather permitting stargazes. A good friend purchased the nextstar 5. First night, while he was reading the instruction manual, I turned his scope on, compared the two controllers and by the time he read the alignment instructions I had his scope aligned and was already slewing to objects. After three weeks of use, I have yet to see his scope miss an object on a goto unless the batteries are low (they don't last long in it) The goto is as good or slightly better than my upgraded ETX (which is quite good) The celestron tripod is by far superior to the ETX tripod, Meade severly biased your session mounting it on an ETX tripod. Tracking on the nexstar is as good as with the ETX I have found no difference in three weeks of sessions. Image quality in a COLLIMATED is as good or better depending on what type of object you are looking at, deep sky better on the nextstar, planets better on the ETX. I suspect the collimation was off on the scope provided by Meade, did you check it? You did not include that information. I know a couple of people who own nextstar scopes and none of them have experienced anything close to what your review stated. For the record, I prefer the ETX over the nextstar 5, someday I will upgrade my 90 to the 125 because I prefer the higher contrast of the mak design. The two other features I do not like are the lack of manual knobs, and the slow (strained sounding) dec motor it is very slow responding on the scopes I've used when you are moving up. This lack of speed is very proportionate to battery life. I can understand the pressure reviewing the scope under Meade executive's eyes, but the review is so biased and off base that it in my humble opinion severly hurt your credibility which I have always held high. Glenn Skinner
Subject: Just got to get one . . . Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 12:26:54 From: email@example.com (Eric Ball) Ive been a visitor to your site on and off over the past couple of years (ever since discovering the ETX) and learned a lot of valuable insights into amateur astronomy, thank you! With the release of the NEW ETX I just have to get one! Im in Florida on vacation next week (I live in the UK) and wondered if you could help me find an outlet down there that may have one in stock I could purchase before returning home? Big reasons behind wanting to pick one up in the US 1) If I dont get it there and then Ill probably never own one 2) $595.00 US, $1000+ in the UK!! Any assistance gratefully accepted keep up the good work on the site, it really does make a difference. Best regards, Eric firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Check with the dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page. I'm sure some of them will work with you. You could also check for Nature Company, Discovery Channel stores, Natural Wonders outlets where you'll be.
Subject: Edgard from Brazil - Information about ETX and ship to Brazil Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 12:17:42 From: email@example.com (edgard) Let me introduce myself... My name is Edgard, I'm 24 and I'm from Brazil Since I was a child I love astronomy, when I was 11 my dad gave me a 60mm small refractor to observe the halley comet in 1986 and since that time my love for astronomy just incrase and incrase. In 1986 here in Brazil, specially here in my city the amount of information about astronomy was very small. there're no books, no magazines, nothing. So I never used my reffrator in it's better performace In Jan 1996 I bought a 4.5 department store refletor and start to look to the heavens in a completely different way! I discovered Jupter! (it's was completely amazing) few weeks later when I was looking to a faint star I noticed the rings!! It's was Saturn! I just couldn't belive!! the weeks afters show me other impressive things like the M42 orion nebula. Than in July 1996 the internet arrived in my home. What a holy day! I began friend of a Rio de Janeiro amateour astronomer (he's is my guru) that teach me about astrophotography and a lot of things. Some day he write me and said "Why don't you buy the astronomy magazine? It's very good and you'll see a lot of intersting things!" So I decided to search for the magazine here in my city. 3 months later I found it! It was a very hard search cause here in my city almost nobody likes astronomy and just one maganize store trade this magazine here (I live in Belem a city with 1.000.000 hab and very near the amazon forest) Ok...when a opened the magazine I almost die! I saw an entire page with a lot of Meade's SCT, LX 50, LX200 8", 10" 12" !!! with it's computers , GOTO etc...It was incredible!!! for the first time in my live I was looking to real scopes! no words!!! no words!!!!!! From that day (dez 1996) to now, I've been dreaming with one of these good scopes And finily, this month I decided not to wait more, not to wait until a day that I could buy one Celestron or one Meade by myself in a dealer. So...I decided to buy the new MEADE ETX 125 with Autostar, I'm sure that this is the best scope for me It is simply perfect. But I noticed that buy this is scope have been far more difficult than the decision to buy it. I'm not kiding...but no USA dealer I contacted can ship me the ETX, neighter Focuscamera, Anacortes, OPT, Shutan Camera..etc....no one!!! I'm almost crazy!! Here in brazil there's a Meade dealer but the price he's asking me for the ETX125 is very very expensive!! (He's ETX125 price is U$ 1.600 he's autostar price is U$ 430.00) It's to much expensive!!!! If I buy the EXT in the USA + the S&H to Brazil the price in U$ will be less than the price he's asking. So I'd like a favor of you Mike, or of anyone that is reading this...please...Do you know about a store in the USA that could ship me the Meade ETX125 to me here in Brazil? Or anybody knows about a store that could ship me this scope??? I really need this scope, a good scope is my dreaming since I was 11 years old! I know that the ETX125 is back order, but wait 5 to 6 weekends for it is no problem to me! I've been waiting for a good scope more than 12 years, i can wait some weekends. Please again...Could you help me Mike? or anybody could help me? my email is firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you Mike! and thanks to everybody that is reading this email. and sorry my english Edgard FaciolaMike here: I've heard that Meade (or someone) has restricted sales in other countries. Maybe it is covered by the United States Department of State export restriction as being too powerful, like Apple's new G4 Macintosh which is too powerful to export! But seriously, it is unfortunate that people outside the US can't buy what they want at reasonable prices.
I writing you to thank you very much for your reply! I'm gonna start to look for the Meade ETX in other countries (like UK) i think that they could ship me a Meade ETX directly.
Subject: review of 125- 90 etc. etc. Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 11:43:50 From: Robert.Lonn@cox.com (Lonn, Robert (CCI-San Diego)) Your review of the scopes were right on. I would continue on this course as MEADE wants to make all this stuff right. I got my ETX-125/EC back and it is PERFECT, yes PERFECT!! Keep up the great job, and the evaluations!! Someone will always question if an evaluation was fair. Doing evaluations for a living, I could relate to your procedure. Even if you were 90% accurate, it only means that overall the MEADE product is the winner. Have a great weekend!! BTW, Did you pull the evaluation?? I don't see it posted??Mike here: There was an ISP glitch that took the site offline for about a day. The problem has been resolved.
OK, I found the review Michael! I love the comparison chart you did as well!
Subject: 125 cases Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 10:36:47 From: email@example.com (Gary) Do you or any of the readers know of any good alternative cases for the 125? My 90 case (the Seal Tight gun case) just won't cut it - even on diagonals...I had the (extra?) large case - is there a super duper extra large? As I recall, the meade 90 case was on the lightweight side, and didn't want a cheapie for my 125 (which will hopefully goto so i'll hopefully keep!) I've read about using 28 gallon rubbermaids from walmart for the NexStar 5, using the included N5 shipping foam (the 125 doesn't lend itself to that idea) Thanks for any info! Gary
Subject: Updates to ETX-NexStar comparison Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 08:19:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Russbag) Been a while since we communicated. I hate to say it but I am now a NexStar 5 owner though I still read your site. I canceled my ETX 125 order in September and got an N5. Beyond the worries about the drive performance, the real clincher was my interest in doing astrophotography: Meade doesn't recommend it, Celestron does. That was an amazing table you pulled together comparing the NexStar 5 to the ETX125! However, as an engineer and N5 owner, I have some questions about the source of some of the specs: - How did you measure the baffeling contrast as high or meduim? - How did you determine the CPU types? - How did you determine the current drain? Have you found a website that has this info? If so, please let me know where. Or did you take an N5 apart? Or did the Meade folks volunteer this type of technical data? If Meade provided some of the comparative data, it might be worth saying so in the interests of full disclosure since they are a competitor to Celestron. Meanwhile, in an effort to build on your start, I downloaded the table and updated it based on my experience. I highlighted my changes in red italics. If I thought you should delete text, I enclosed it in  and then new text follows. I have attached this file to this email. Let me know if it doesn't come through. I was very interested to read your comparison comments but disappointed that you weren't able to make it apples to apples - e.g. equivalent magnification. I look forward to my own opportunity to do a side by side with an ETX 125 but so far, have found that the N5 performance appears excellent and exceeds (not surprisingly) that of the ETX90 RA I traded in. In contrast to your first experience, the N5 auto alignment is quick, easy, and very accurate (my first night out after slewing to Jupiter and Saturn, I chose the Andromeda Galaxy from the menu without a clue to where it was or what it looked like and sure enough, it was dead center in the EP when done slewing). Tracking seems to work great though I only have the 25mm EP to judge, not a 4.7mm like you were using. Let me know what you think of my updates. RussMike here: Many thanks for helping to make the chart more accurate. I'm collecting them and will be posting an update within a few days. Tonight's site update will address your questions (my responses further down this page).
Subject: Re: ETX vs NexStar chart additions Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 00:21:43 From: email@example.com (Ken Hayes) I'm a NexStar owner and not an ETX owner. So what I report about the ETX is from many reviews that I've read. I know you are an ETX expert, and I respect your opinion and your web site is great! I just don't think your comparison was fair to the NexStar. I mean the NexStar loses in almost every point in your chart (err, Meade's chart)! Much of this is just wording by Meade's marketing. For instance, they make the plastic fork arms on the ETX sound better than the aluminum fork on the NexStar! And the chart lists very minor features that hardly anyone would care about; always in Meade's favor. I'm sure Celestron can make such a list too. And as I said before, I didn't think your comparison was done under fair conditions (Meade supplying all the scopes and doing the NexStar alignment). If I'm trying to do an objective comparison, I wouldn't trust Celestron to supply all the scopes either. Anyway, here is a recent post which reflects what I said. Points #1 and #3 deal with deep sky viewing and photography with the ETX, and I've seen similar reports before. If you think it's wrong, let me know. I think this is a well balanced report. Other points I'd tend to agree with include the maximum useful power (point number 6). I think both scopes should max out at about 300X (50-60X times diameter of 5"). Your report of a sharp view of Saturn at 404X on a poor viewing night (hard to find stars) is surprising to say the least. Especially when you say the NexStar was no better than the ETX 90. Seems to me, there was something wrong with the Meade supplied NexStar. I also agree that an LED finder scope is superior on this type of scope (even though it's cheap) because you should only need to use it for bright stars during alignment, and then not need it again (unless you don't want to use the GOTO). And, the NexStar does now support lunar tracking. Software wise, we are comparing a mature product for the ETX to a brand new product on the NexStar. And it seems NexStar's first attempt has been pretty darn good! The NexStar does not have the web update capability of the ETX (wish it did), but it seems it's software has been pretty bug-free so far (was that true for the ETX?). And it can be updated by replacing the EPROMs, I think this is how the LX-200 is updated too. ----- There is a certain amount of "religion" here clouding up the facts. Unfortunately, none of us are in a good position to nail the facts on how well an ETX125 performs vs. an N5 optically or during GOTO operations. Some things are indisputable however: 1) FACT: Meade does not recommend the ETX125 for deep space astrophotography, only for planets and the moon. Celestron says you can use the N5 for deep space astrophotography. OPINION: people have used the ETX series for deep space and will use the 125 for such but I suspect the N5 will perform better (no one will know for sure until we get some experience). 2) FACT: The ETX125 uses plastic gears, plastic motion stops, plastic fork arms vs. metal parts in the N5 - which do you think stands the better chance of still working in 30 years? OPINION: Some may argue that space age plastics will out last metal but I bet my $1200 on metal. 3) FACT: With a camera mounted on the back, the ETX can't point straight up (or anywhere close) and when polar aligned, it can't point close to the south horizon. The N5 has no such limitations on movement. OPINION: Either this matters to you or not. Maybe you never plan to put a camera on the thing. 4) FACT: When the batteries are dead in the N5, you go home whereas with the ETX you just loosen the clutches and you can point it (crudely) where you want. OPINION: As with #3 either this matters to you or not, it can be easily "fixed" by having spare power ready. (You can't fix the problem with ETX in #3.) Note that when Mike Weasner said: "I would try to center a star but the drive would stop moving the scope in one direction for no apparent reason." it sounds like a) either they ran afoul of the cordwrap setting or b) got a scope with a bum drive (not a rare occurance based on the experience of this group) or c) had low batteries. And when Mike said: "I also found it somewhat clunky that there was no good way to manually move the NexStar5 in either RA or DEC (there are no tension locks). It will move manually in DEC but in jerks, not smoothly, and the RA will not move except by using the handcontroller." he doesn't seem to understand that is isn't supposed to be moved manually - period; that is not a feature of this scope. If you want that feature, get the ETX. When operating on suffient power, the N5 moves smoothly and quitely to the target, taking 20 to 40 seconds to do it (assuming it has to move a fair amount). 5) FACT: You can't upgrade the software in the N5 except by replacing the chips. The ETX can be easily upgraded via internet download. OPINION: As someone has said, if the software works, we don't need to upgrade it. My microwave has never needed an upgrade. However, it would be nice if the scope wouldn't goto things below the horizon, and if it could track the moon (126.96.36.199 can't), etc. I thought about this and decided that I would be happy with the available features and hence, wouldn't worry about upgrades. The N5 controller also sounded easier to use (more direct accesss to features) than the AutoStar (though I have never used that). 6) FACT: The ETX125 has a FL of 1900mm vs. 1250mm for the N5. OPINION: since they are both 5" scopes and both limited to 250-300 power, what difference does it make? You will achieve the same magnification with different EPs, that's all. From what I have heard, entire books have been written about the different optical quality of different telescope designs. The evidence is that the C5 (on which the N5 is based) is a very popular, well regarded optical instrument. So is the ETX90. I would expect Meade to do a top quality job on the ETX125 optics as well and so this will continue to be a "religious" issue. I could go on but I think this is long enough. My advice would be to make a list of the things that you know are different between the two, like their design choices above, like their prices, accessories (the Meade has that undersized thread on the back vs the N5's standard 2" thread). Make a list of what is important to you like photographic ability, dead battery performance, longevity, etc. Compare the lists - that's what I did and the photographic suitablity and metal construction is what decided it for me. Oh yea - and the red dot finder on the N5 is far and away better than the optical finder on any scope! No longer do I plainly see my target in the sky and yet can't see it in the finder. (But this is all opinion...) ---- Anyway, I'm glad this is still a work-in-progress Mike. I hope others are contributing like me. Let's try and balance the chart a bit, at least. If one scope looses out, so be it. But I doubt it's a shutout on either side, as it appears to be now. I'd suggest eliminating some of the minor points or else your chart will become too big to download once Celestron gets a chance! KenMike here: It is now obvious that readers are misinterpreting my comment about the Autostar Easy Alignment star selection. Let me try to clarify that. The Autostar was selecting stars which were not bright ones, that is, not easily identified without star charts. You would look through the Finder or eyepiece and see a couple of possible stars, either one (or neither one) could be the correct star. This was a result of the geometry used in the Autostar star selections, the time of night, and the day of the year. The excellent seeing I mentioned made no difference on our ability to properly identify the Autostar selected stars.
Subject: ETX vs NexStar chart additions Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 22:08:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Hayes) My suggestions for the ETX, NexStar comparison chart: Scope Mount / Fork Arms: ETX 125 plastic. NexStar Aluminum. Gears: ETX 125 plastic. NexStar metal. Deep Sky Photography: ETX 125 No. NexStar Yes. Pointing Capability with camera. ETX limited motion NexStar no limits. Ability to us SCT accessories: ETX No. NexStar Yes. For Controller, instead of saying "no options" for NexStar, I'd say "Included". I could mention a lot more, but I don't have the time or resources Meade had to prepare the chart. There is a lot of detail there which is of little interest to most, but if you want a comprehensive chart then it's OK. It's just that someone with a lot of free time could come up with just as many minor points in NexStar's favor.Mike here: Many thanks. I certainly don't expect any one individual to update the whole chart (although that would certainly be welcome if anyone has both telescopes).
Subject: question number 164 Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 21:55:22 From: email@example.com (Gary Garland) I know, I've written a lot today...just got home with my long awaited 125 - won't get first light till at least tomorrow...two questions that I'm hoping you can answer...the packing for the scope had minimal amounts of white styrofoam around the base and 2 small pieces by the arms, otherwise it appeared pretty much like the 90 etx packaging - any way you know of for me to determine if i got a scope, version 1 or version 2? #2 - do you think i need to do a complete autostar reset for the new scope? if so, i'll lose satellite data, etc. (i believe) unless i re-download 1.3b...any advise greatly appreciated! ..AnxiousGaryMike here: Meade did not elaborate on the packaging change so I can't say what exactly was different from packaging version 1 to packaging version 2. But the bottom line was to provide additional protection to the rear of the ETX. Any time you change the Autostar/telescope combination you should retrain the drives. That's it.
well, being anxious, i didn't wait for your reply, but hit the dreaded reset option on my autostar - lo and behold, it DIDN'T wipe the memory - i still have comet, asteriod, satellite info, and was very surprised! i think 1.1m did wipe the memory, apparently this is an improvement in 1.3b. one thing interesting - i was playing with the scope indoors (i think that's a prerequisite with a new scope) and realized i left "play" in the drive when i reset and the system said "calibrating motors" - so i powered off, reset again (much more bravely than 5 minutes earlier) and let it calibrate WITHOUT slop - i wonder if there is a difference, and what effect it would have. i managed to carry the scope (without any controller) outside, and placed it on my car trunk for a couple of minutes of stargazing - managed to target saturn through some tree branches, and with the 26mm it was BLINDING - i'll definatly need to use filters. it was also about 50% larger than with my 90 - makes sense based on the focal length. i couldn't get jupiter - tree branches, and i was getting cold in my fuzzy slippers... i think i got revision 2 (as revision 1 is fairly non-existent now) and it did have some white styrafoam packing at the bottom of the base in the box, and WEDGED onto the focus knob, and also on the other bottom between the base and the tube - actually took me about 10 minutes to get the foam out (didn't want to force anything - and there was no mention about it in the manual) - i know, i might have been (more) silly, but i didn't want to screw up my brand new scope and wait until who knows when to get the other. This scope definatly feels more substantial than my 90s, and seems to have no slop ala manually moving vertically or horizontally, although i did see a bit of backlash - the price we pay for mechanical linkages. One small improvement in shipping was also the meade emblemed 1 1/4" cap in place over the eyepiece hole - rather than the gaping dust magnet in the 90s. The manager at Natural Wonders (Staten Island) gets my kudos - he was able to wrangle ONE scope, for me, based on being on the waiting list for months - there are a couple of other names, but supposedly they were fairly recent (that, and I've been calling weekly). They took back my EC NO QUESTIONS ASKED, and i gladly paid the upgrade like a gaping fool - i even got 50% off a simultaneous purchase based on the promotion they're running - great folks!
Subject: NexStar 5 vs. ETX review Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 21:11:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen Sherrod) Early in your review you stated that it might provide some useful information. It did. I am now totally convinced, instead of partially,as before, that I will never buy another Meade product. I currently own three Series 4000 plossls which are not even close to the UO Orthos in Any aspect. All three are for sale. I hope that your marketing strageties and K-Mart sales go well.Mike here: Thanks for expressing your opinion. In the spirit of openness I will post it on the next ETX-125EC Feedback page update.
In the true spirit of openness, why not add a link on that website that takes readers to the one thread on Deja discussions labeled "Don't Buy Meade" ? Then, with just one, simple click, they could read appx. 100 more opinions from various amateur astronomers all over the world.Mike here: What's the link?
Link= x30.deja.com/=rd/[S0=9020530017b8be6,ST_rn=md]/topics_md.xp?group=sci.astro.amateur&search=topic&GRPP=938540547.1462960282 Then, go back 2 or 3 days at most.
Subject: Tripod Question Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 17:41:10 From: email@example.com (Rob Elgert) I was wondering if you or anyone else can tell me if the 125 ETX will fit on the Celestron 5" Wedge (and subsequent C-8 Adjustable Tripod). From what I have read about the Meade tripod, I am afraid to use it with my newly returned scope(yes, it finally came back after I left my tail of woe on your site) for fear of it crashing to the ground. I would really appreciate a quick response to this if at all possible as I am extremely anxious to spend some quality time under the stars with my new baby. Thanx
Subject: N5 vs. ETX Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 15:41:25 From: NexStar5in@aol.com Michael, In response to your letter of the 13th, I invite you and your readers to review my evaluation of your NexStar5 v. ETX comparison. The URL for same is: members.xoom.com/nexstar/commentary.html Thank you for your consideration and continued success with both your ETX and the site. Kind regards, -John Steinberg http://members.xoom.com/nexstarMike here: I encourage everyone to read John's detailed review. He has a NexStar5 and so has more experience with it than I do.
Subject: unbiased tests!! Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 12:50:07 From: Richard.Harding@civilisations.ca I wonder if I would want to do a comparison of my wife versus Demi Moore with my wife looking over my shoulder. I know that your site does not claim to be unbiased, but please....you should write the sales brochure for Meade. I do not believe that the majority of your readers will take this as a serious "comparison". If they do, it is because they "want to believe it". There's no place like home, there's no place like home.....Mike here: This episode makes me feel for the Microsoft Windows users who think they know that their OS is better than the Mac OS. Many times they base that on little or no experience with the Mac OS (believing the marketing machine of Microsoft). Limited samples are dangerous and can lead one to erroneous conclusions or correct conclusions depending upon what you want to believe. My comparison, as I stated, was based upon a limited sample. It is for the reader to determine whether it is valid for them.
Subject: ETX vs. Nexstar 5 "Specifications List". Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 11:11:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA (Clive Gibbons) Just wondering who concocted the list you've recently posted to your website. Rather than being a useful resource for ETX owners and potential buyers, it sounds suspiciously like a piece of Meade-generated propaganda. After all, you only had a brief opportunity to inspect that Nexstar 5 at the Meade sponsored "telescope party", so I doubt you compiled that list without a lot of help from "you know who". If you honestly want to provide a useful service to your website visitors, try cutting back on the Meade advertorial stuff and replace it with more objective content. Sincerely, Clive Gibbons Technician, McMaster University, School of Geography and Geology.Mike here: I'll edit the page to indicate who did the "zeroth" draft. I did the first cut draft. I'm hoping that users like yourself will contribute to the accuracy of the comparison and turn it into something useful (as stated on the page currently).
Inviting people to contribute to the accuracy of the comparison is a noble gesture, but the problem is, the List, as presented, is so obviously Meade hyped, it should never have been posted to begin with! Geez, Mike, since when is it reasonable to stick a chunk of bogus Meade propaganda on your site and then ask folks to debunk it to make the thing more realistic? Do the right thing; yank it off, get your initial info from Meade *and* Celestron, make the whole thing less partisan and then ask for additional input. Until then, many knowledgable readers will consider it a bad joke.
Just in case you're planning on keeping the 125/N5 "Spec. List" on your website, please find attached a few ammendments. Hope you and your readers find 'em useful. Cheers, Clive.
Subject: ETX 125 vs. NexStar Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 11:02:45 From: email@example.com (Ken Hayes) I've got a lot of problems with your comparison of the ETX vs. NexStar. 1. Hard to believe the ETX 125 beats the NexStar in all categories, but if that's your opinion then OK. 2. Meade supplied the ETX samples. Chances are they are going to be better than what the average buyer will get. 3. Meade supplied the NexStar sample. Now I've got a huge problem with this! I've heard of reviews where samples come from the manufacturer, but never where samples of the competing product also come from the same guy! Was the NexStar fresh out of the box? I doubt it because it's clear that Meade has disassembled at least one NexStar as I'll describe later. I hope they put it back together properly. I know you can't afford to buy your own samples, but I think some kind of arrangement could have been made with Meade to let you get a new NexStar and buy it back from you (or something similar to get an unbiased sample). 4. You let Meade's senior people do the star alignment for the NexStar! Mike, this is getting embarrassing. 5. From the picture, the scope appears mounted on a Meade tripod rather than a NexStar tripod. Meade must of had a NexStar tripod because it's described in the comparison chart. 6. It's just hard to believe you got a brighter image of Saturn at 404X on an ETX 125 vs. the NexStar at 266X using the same eyepiece. And the view on the NexStar was no better than the ETX 90? This seems to defy the laws of optics. Doesn't this suggest to you something was wrong with your NexStar sample? 7. Your comparison chart is very impressive, but you should have stated the clear fact that Meade made it for you. There is no way a single person like yourself could make that chart, unless you want us to believe you spent 3 hours evaluating the scopes and at least two months full time taking them apart to make up that chart. Clearly Meade devoted a tremendous amount of man-hours preparing that chart. It shows how concerned they are by the NexStar competition. I think they should have the guts to print it themselves, rather than use your otherwise excellent site as a sneaky way to take rips at Celestron. Oh, by the way it is a bit outdated. The NexStar does now include lunar tracking. And the bias of the chart shows when it lists fact that the ETX does not track the sun as a safety feature. An excellent chart, but highly biased towards Meade. If Celestron choses to make one I hope you'll print it. I believe you will. Ken HayesMike here: Thanks for the comparison chart update. I'll update the chart and repost as I collect more inputs. I was hoping there would be no bias, only facts, in the chart. I'll remove the safety comment about the sun, even though that is a fact (see the warning label on the new ETXes).
Subject: life and the universe Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 06:21:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) thanks for the reviews of the scopes - i had wondered how the focal length of the 125 vs. the smaller nexstar would affect magnification - you answered that, and the tracking/goto. i really wonder if somehow i've been doing something wrong? i'll wait for my 125 to finally come in, trade up the 90 (gotta love natural wonders), then, if/whent he goto doesn't work i'll start bitching all over again... thanks, as always, and i look forward to posting that my future 125 goto's like a champ, or i'll give you an in-depth review of the N5! happy slewing, Gary
Subject: Your etx vs nexstar review Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 20:26:58 From: email@example.com (Mike Romine) Thanks for the info. It was very informative. I am glad to hear the EXT125 is finally kicking butt. I am still curious about the Nexstar though. How did the Nexstar perform on the deepsky objects? The reason I ask is that I have always read that MAK's (like the ETX) are better at planetary objects, but SCT's (like Nexstar) have the edge on deep sky (why, I do not know). Was this true in your test? BTW: Your comment about the focus vibrations on the ETX surprised me a bit. I timed them on my new reworked ETX and found they tended to last between 5 and 10 seconds. I hope Meade did not give you a special for the test. Or perhaps mine was especially bad. C-ya, Mike RomineMike here: Thanks for the email. We didn't try any deep sky objects on the NexStar5 (time was limited unfortunately). Based upon the view of Saturn, I think I would have been disappointed. Just something to test further at some point. As to vibration dampening speed, there are a lot of variables. We had the tripods in the grass not on a hard surface. Beyond that I don't recall any obvious differences in the tripod we were using.
Is there any chance Meade supplied you with a bunk Nexstar?Mike here: If so, I don't believe they did this intentionally.
Subject: No Subject Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 20:23:34 From: NexStar5in@aol.com Congratulations, Michael! With the publication of your NexStar5 vs. The entire ETX line comparison you've moved from providing a worthwhile service to the amateur astronomy community - via your web site efforts - to being nothing more than a lackey for Meade Instruments, Inc. The only questions your review answers are what your future career plans are; Perhaps a corner suite at Meade Instruments, Inc? Or was there some discussion of stock options? In the past I have looked to your site for enlightenment, now I find your strongest suit is actually comedy. Continued success with your site (and your career path!) -John Steinberg The Unofficial NexStar5 Resource Site http://members.xoom.com/nexstarMike here: Thanks for the email for expressing your opinion. I'm sure working for Meade (or Celestron or Apple) has its rewards beyond money. If money were the only goal in life we'd all be working for Microsoft. Sorry to disappoint you but my career is well established elsewhere. Since reading and/or participating in my ETX site is totally voluntary, I will respect your opinions.
Subject: ETX-125EC Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 18:26:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ray pepi) It is astonishing to me that considering how frustrated its pool of customers are that Meade has not provided any information regarding the fate of the ETX-125 on its web site or in any other organized way. It says a lot about the company, unfortunately. Ray Pepi
Subject: 125ec vs nexstar Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 15:52:08 From: email@example.com (Daryl Averill) i just got done reading your comments on the 125ec vs the nexstar i must say that ilaughed when i read it i knew that the nexstar yu would be testing would come from meade thats fair ifor one do not believe that the nex star you tested was colminated properly for if it was there is no comparison between the 90 and the nexstar i also owned a etx90ra and the ec model i now own the G5 which is the same optical tube as used on the nexstar and it blew away both my etxes i could see way more detail with my G5 and my friends nexstar in jupiters cloud bands than i ever saw with my etx 90ec as far as the 125 is concerned i had a chance to do a side by side comparison also and at approx. the same power the images in both scopes were excellent you could see the swirls and festoons in the cloud belt and they were stunning but i feel the images were slightly brighter in the nexstar and the other three people who were there also agreed but ifeel both scopes are outstanding optically now that said lets look at the mounts by far the celestron wins this comparrison hands down a all metal mount verses a chessey plastic one you do the math the focusing was much more stable in the nexstar with its larger focus knob than i the 125ec which just like the 90ec has alt of image shake and takes a few seconds to calm down i did not ntice this problem on the nexstar or my G5 asfar as the goto and tracking between the two scopes on this night they both seemed to work well. mike the point that i am making is this i donot believe you went in to this comparison with a unbias opinion ibelieve you are a meade man and you are bias twards meade as you seem to do alot with them so i am sure they give you perks for running this site because to say that saturn looked the same in the90 as the nexstar is a joke the image has ten times more detail in the nexstar i have read alot of coments on your sites and there are alot of problemswith the drive base on both etx models i just read a coment on your 125ec page that a guy just got his new improved etx and it still has problems with the drive i have read on this site peoplesaying how do they get a scope like this in this price range (i.e. 90ec) the answer is simple opticly they are good but the mounts are junk when i got my etx90ec in sept i had to bring it back three times to ge another because of problems with focusing and drive base the third one i got i had it out the second night i owned it and the drive base came apart as it was slewing across the sky needless to say i brought it back to the store and got me a G5 wich i am happy to say is working great and i like the fact that you can a just the colmination your self no need to send it back if it ever does come out of colmination as you would have to with the etx and as you said in your visit to meade you had your etx recolminated because it was slightly out of colmination after you used it for a while i will conclude this by saying there are still alot of problems with the etxes mounting system just read the coments on your own site i feel that when you pay 600.00 for something it should not have to be modified to work the celestron i own and the nexstar i had a chance to use are just plain built better with metal verses plastic and you donot have to modify them or fix them as you do with the etx i hope you post this so people can make an informed decision my advise to people out there is go to your local astronomy club and test both scopes first hand then make your decision or go to your local telescope shop and ask them what they have heard about both scopes from the people who have bought them thankyou for your time darylMike here: As I stated in the comparison, I only reported on my experiences. I had no preconceived notion of whether the NexStar5 or the ETX-125EC would perform better. Perks? What perks? Getting a loaner to beta test software, to try to provide help to other ETX users, to report on problems I've experienced (remember, I documented the Right Tube Adapter failure on the loaner ETX-90EC), and to report on good things hardly qualifies as a "perk". Meade pays for neither the site nor my time or my gas to visit them (and neither do the users of this site). I have purchased Meade products in the past just as I have purchased other vendor products. I do agree with you that buyers should do the comparisons themselves and not blindly believe anyone, including me. I only offer my opinions and reports on my experiences as guidance. As I stated earlier this year, I don't want to turn the site into a forum for Meade (or any company) bashing. Constructive comments, good and bad, on ETX-related products are welcome. As I stated shortly after the NexStar5 surfaced, this site is for ETX support, not for small telescope support (although I have been asked to expand its purpose). But as I stated then, I do welcome head-to-head comparisons. By the way, I found reading your message rather difficult due to the run-on nature of the text formatting (maybe not your fault). With the volume of email that I receive, good formatting of email messages helps a lot.
sorry about the text. it could of been my servers fault. i agree with you that your site is very helpful to people who own etxes, as i once did. i just find it hard to believe that you really believe, that thetx90ec, image was as good as the nexstars. i owned a etx 90ra as my first scope, and thought it was a good scope. i then traded it in for a 125, But after waiting all summer i gave up and got the 90ec. as isaid in my last posting it was a nightmare. i just believe after owning the two scopes that the celestron scope is better made. i like meade but i think they are still having q.c.problems. 600.00 dollars for the 90 and 895.00 for the125 is a lot of money to shell out for a scope whos mounting will not hold up to every day use. my first etx, the 90ra that i mentioned above was a good scope. but the ones i owned after that were of bad quality and that is what soured me on the etxes. i will leave with this, people ask if they should get a 90 or 5 inch scope. after owning a 90 and now a 5inch go with the 5 inch. the detail you will see is well worth the extra money as in the bigger scope the panets take on new life. thanks mike for getting back to me so quick.Mike here: I only reported what I saw. It was surprising but on the other hand, the focal lengths ARE the same for the ETX-90 and NexStar5.
yes the focal legths are the same, but there is no substitute for aperture. you said that meade brought the nex star for the comparison. i believe that the nexstar must have been slightly out of colmination because, if it had been colminated correctly i believe that you would have had a different view of the optics. i believe if you are going to do comparisons, than you should have gotten the competiters scope from them as you did with the meade. as i said the colmination can be ajusted on the nexstar buy the user, and the meade cannot. i DONOT believe that a comparison can be fair when it is meade reps supplying you with the scopes. i agree that your site is for etx owners bu when you do a comparison with the compitition you open your self up to debate. all people have to do is read your sight to see all the problems that plague this little scope thanks for your response daryl
Subject: Your comparison. Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 13:09:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA (Clive Gibbons) Just read with interest your ETX-125/EC, NexStar 5 comparison. First, a couple of short questions; 1) Where did the comparison take place? 2) Who supplied the telescopes? You mentioned that the report isn't "an indepth analysis or comparison" and is merely an expression of your opinions, but after reading it there's a few points I hope you can clarify for me. Have you had an opportunity to try out a NexStar which had typically smooth and accurate drive motions or is the one in the report the only sample you've used? Did you check the collimation of the NexStar? If so, was it misaligned? You reported that both scopes suffered from "induced vibrations" which would have benefitted from using an electric focuser. However, since the NexStar was mounted on a Meade field tripod and not the Celestron tripod (reputed to be very solid and stable), do you think it's fair to compare the steadiness of the scopes as such? Candidly, what really strikes me about your report is that it squarely flies in the face of what so many other ETX-125/EC and NexStar users have related. With this in mind, your statement that "some may read the following and believe there is a Meade bias in what I say", is a very accurate predictionMike here: The "telescope party" took place at the home of Meade person. Meade supplied all the telescopes. The NexStar5 was not obviously out of collimation. Do I trust them to have not modified the NexStar5? Do I trust them to have not supplied a non-representative ETX-125EC? The answer to both is "yes", otherwise I would not have agreed to the opportunity. Meade has earned my trust. Others may have different experiences but product substitution is counter to good business practices and I don't believe Meade would do that. This was my first opportunity to experience either the ETX-125EC or the NexStar5. I can only report on what I experienced; your mileage may vary. As to earlier experiences with the ETX-125EC, remember, those reports were based upon units that would (or should) be fixed by Meade. Most reports coming from users of the newer or repaired scopes are more inline with my comments. Based upon my "sample of one", the ETX-125EC performed better than the NexStar5. This is like when you go into the store and try out two competing products. Unless you do indepth testing (take them both home and try them out) you have to make a decision based upon your experience (and information available from elsewhere). As I stated, I reported my experiences.
. I've used the ETX-125/EC and even allowing for a total remedy to the image shift and collimation problems, there's no way I could imagine anyone seriously suggesting that the ETX-125 would be a better made, more pleasurable instrument to use than a *typical* NexStar 5. I'm hoping that any further insights you can offer will help me better understand your conclusions. (BTW, please feel free to post this to your ETX website. Thanks.) Clive Gibbons Technician, McMaster University, School of Geography and Geology.
When you say that the Nexstar "was not obviously out of collimation", how did you determine this? Examine a star at high mag.? Check intra and extra-focal images? Did you try observing through the N5 without the star diagonal, to see if that made any difference? I'm sure you're aware that relatively small amounts of miscollimation can greatly affect the visual performance of any SCT and I'd hope you considered this when making your comparison. I'm not going to debate what your opinions, personal experiences and conclusions may be. HOWEVER, if you sincerely wish your report to be more useful to your readers, I think you should clearly and unambiguously state where the review took place and more importantly, who supplied the telescopes. It doesn't matter how much *you* trust Meade Instruments. To leave out that sort of "background info." can only make your report seem less credible to a critical reviewer. Please, edit your report to make mention of where the "telescope party" took place and who supplied the scopes. Thanks. Unfortunately, you've neglected to comment on the Meade tripod issue. Let me ask again; do you think it's fair to compare the 125 and N5, with both mounted on the Meade tripod? After all, isn't that something like road testing a Ford which has been fitted with Chevy suspension parts? It doesn't make sense and can invalidate some of your impressions. In closing, I'd just like to make a few more points that I hope you'll consider. I know you have great trust in Meade Instruments, but let's think about the following... Meade has laid an egg with the initial release of the 125 and is now doing their best at "damage control" to mollify the situation. They set up a "scope party" with all instruments supplied by them (INCLUDING the Nexstar) and invite you over to "test" things (with 3 Meade reps present) and, naturally, report the findings to your website. Now, does anyone need Sherlock Holmes to fathom that Meade knew very well what the outcome of this little demonstration would be? "Trust" can only go so far, in my opinion and should never replace critical thinking and a healthy dose of skepticism. I'll continue to enjoy your Mighty ETX website and sincerely hope that it shall always serve the best interests of your readers and yourself, rather than Meade Instruments.Mike here: I felt that the collimation was not obviously bad based upon the fact there were no shape distortions during focusing. Since time was limited, no collimation tests were run on ANY of the telescopes. The tripods were the same and so therefore not a factor in the comparison. Like having Goodyear tires on both the Ford and Chevy. As to intentional misrepresentation by anyone or any company, I prefer to believe that we are all honest and what I would call "professional". Until such time as that trust is violated, I will continue to believe that. You, and perhaps others, now believe that *I* have violated that trust since I trusted Meade to be a responsible company. Until I have direct evidence that Meade has violated my trust, I will standard by my initial, albeit somewhat limited in scope, comments.
> I felt that the collimation was not obviously bad based upon the fact > there were no shape distortions during focusing. Since time was limited, > no collimation tests were run on ANY of the telescopes. OK, there was no gross miscollimation. However, the N5 could very well have been slightly misaligned, which would only show up when observing a star or planetary image at high power. More commonly, the star diagonal is misaligned (the prism not sitting right in it's housing). This can be remedied by opening the back cover plate of the diagonal and repositioning the prism. If you didn't check for this as a possible cause of the N5's disappointing imaging, you might very well come to the wrong conclusion as to which scope had the best optical performance. Every Celestron 5" SCT I've seen which sports "Starbright" coatings has delivered *very* bright images for it's aperture... certainly brighter than an ETX-125. To compare it to an ETX-90 would be silly, *unless* there was something very wrong with that particular N5. Think about it, Mike; Meade supplied *all* the scopes. I think it's time you put all that "trust in Meade" on the back burner and considered things a bit more critically. > The tripods were the same and so therefore not a factor in the > comparison. Like having Goodyear tires on both the Ford and Chevy. Sorry, but I'm not buying that. The Meade tripod has been readily demonstrated to have trouble adequately supporting anything larger than an ETX-90. To put an N5 on top of one can only make the N5 look worse than it really is. If Meade was sincere in showing you a true comparison of the ETX-125 and N5 *systems*, they *should* have put the N5 on a dedicated Celestron tripod. Once again, Meade stacked the deck against the N5. > As to intentional misrepresentation by anyone or any company, I prefer to > believe that we are all honest and what I would call "professional". You can believe what you want, Mike, but let's leave it up to your website visitors to decide. A good start would be to inform readers, in your comparison article, where the review took place and who supplied the scopes. There's no point in being coy. You might also like to make clear that while you noticed the N5 wasn't performing well, you didn't get a chance to determine why this was the case. Your article suggests that the variance was due to the two different optical designs. Do you know this for a fact, or was this suggested by the Meade guys? I'm sure you're a fine, upstanding guy, Mike. I've enjoyed reading and contributing to your website in the past and have directed others to it. However, your reputation as a fair source of ETX info. is being seriously eroded by what appears to be undue influence from Meade Instruments. Mike, do yourself a favor by stepping back a bit and reconsidering who's best interests are being served by the recent additions to your website. Right now, it looks like Meade is the only beneficiary. Best wishes, Clive.
Subject: Thanks Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 12:25:33 From: email@example.com (Ryan M. Flunker) Thanks for your web site. I just recently recieved my new 125, so far it looks great. I just wanted to say thanks because while I've been waiting for my etx to arrive I've done a lot of researching from your web site. I am especially encouraged by your recent review of the etx and nexstar. Thanks again, Ryan Flunker
Subject: Re: ETX-125EC Report Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 1999 00:22:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Gatschet) In reference to the vibration, none on drive, all was from focusing. I tried in the daylight on my concrete front porch and still got a lot of vibration, more than I noticed from the ETX-90EC a local store had on display, but then the 125 was at about twice the power (26mm ep). No big deal, same problem with vibs on every manual focus scope I've ever tried. The power focuser would greatly enhance the viewing experience, it was difficult to get to a clear focus quickly with everything in the EP swirling wildly around.
Subject: pictures taken by the new ETX-125 Sent: Monday, October 11, 1999 21:20:55 From: email@example.com (nelson) Has anybody taken any pictures using the ETX-125. I would really like to see pictures of the moon, sun, jupiter and saturn. I just order the new ETX and i have a waiting list of 5 months. To tell you the truth, it's my first telescope and i did enough research, to know that this telescope is the best one in the market for astrophotography. Please let me know Mike, if my choice was a good one and if not please point me to a new direction where i could enjoy looking at the night sky and really seeing planets and stars with a good view. thanks, Nelson
Subject: ETX 124EC Warranty Returns Sent: Monday, October 11, 1999 20:44:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Elgert) First of all, thanks for the excellent site. As I sent my scope back for repairs 6 weeks ago(baffle/collimation/vibration problems), this is all I've had to keep me going. I love my scope however Meade has quickly turned it into a Love/Hate relationship. The scope was a pleasure to use, regardless of the problems including a total failure in the autostar software. After waiting for 4 months for initial reciept, I am now waiting again with no indication from meade of a possible return date following warranty work. The dealer keeps getting conflicted information on a return and dealing with the Meade service reps is like talking to brick wall. Although I am reading excellent reviews on the repaired scopes, I am starting to lose hope of ever seeing the night sky though an ETX again. Can anybody tell me what the status is of these warranty returns. Due to withdrawal, I am starting to think Nexstar. At least then I could begin my new skywatching life that would include a serious dose of Meade bashing. After all, any scope to look thru beats no scope at all. By the way, if anyone from Meade is reading this......wake up!!!!!!!!Mike here: Repaired scopes have been going out. So hopefully yours will arrive soon. As to the NexStar5, see my comments posted 12 October.
Subject: Meade is shipping again Sent: Monday, October 11, 1999 16:15:55 From: email@example.com (Phil Salimbene) Thought everyone would like to know that according to Shutan Meade is shipping again. Got a call from Shutan camera that the ETX-125 that I ordered in April was in. They said that about a dozed went out before mine and that I should expect delivery before Friday Oct 15th. Will let you know how it performs as soon as it arrives. Thanks again! Phil Salimbene Edison, New Jersey
Subject: Optical comparison etx90, etx125 Sent: Sunday, October 10, 1999 09:58:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Hi mike, I noticed you have looked at saturn with the 125. I was just wondering a couple of things, at what power did you look at it? And how did the image compare with the 90? Thanks, TomMike here: Stay tuned for my report. I'm hoping to finish it today or tomorrow.
Subject: meade replacing my etx 125 Sent: Sunday, October 10, 1999 04:29:11 From: email@example.com (ron lemish) Last august I received my new etx 125. One of only 40 sent up to canada, and only 5 sent to my store. I went to the rockland astronomy star party in nh. Just prior to going about 1 hr. Away to springfield vt and stellafane. At the star party my etx 125 was on the newly purchased meade field tripod. Well the scope was only 5 days old and it smashed to the ground. One leg of the tripod was about 18 inches short, the leg had collapsed, even though it had been tightened very well. In short the meade canadian distributer has been most helpful. I will get a new scope and tripod in the near future. I have been told that the tragedy of the collapse is a blessing in disguise, that i shall be obtaining what amounts to a new and better scope beccause of meade upgrades. To be precise i have read a little on your site of some fixes. Can you tell me in fact what meade has done to their scopes that has made them temporarily stop shipping ?? Local people in montreal here mention baffle or mirror changes please detail. Thanking you in advance RON LEMISH Lph. RLEMISH@SUPERNET.CAMike here: Sorry to hear about the fall. Meade's tripod has been known to slip, hence the modification described on the Tech Tips page as well as a product from Scopetronix. I don't know all the details of fixes but do know that many of the problems were caused by the design of the packaging. That has been corrected.
Thanks for the promp reply. I'll check out the tripod as to prevent slipping. Some people told me to pu a cotter pin through the legs to minimize slippage. I'd rather stop it from happening altogether. From what you have learned, can you be at all specific as to the 2 or 3 changes that were engeneered into the etx 125 that necessitated stopping the shipping and will result in a proposed $100.00 Price increase ???? New packaging is not worth a $100.00 Increase. Hope you can help further, love your site.And later:
Thanks anyway,, and a special thanks for all that you have done for so many thousands through your web site. I could not think, as a meade etx owner, ever doing without it. Your effort and web site is outstanding. I knew about the stop shipping order as soon as it was ordered but meade was keeping things pretty close to their chest. I will ask my meade contact the specifics and if i find them out, i shall contact you. Keep up your superb work, i know it must be a labor of love.
Subject: ETX-125EC Report Sent: Sunday, October 10, 1999 02:21:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Gatschet) Well I've had my new 125 out for two nights now, here's what I found. From the out of focus star test the scope looks to be perfectly collimated. With two EP's 26mm & 9.7mm & 2X I have 4 possible powers, 75, 150, 200, & 400. Even at 400 power I can detect zero focus shift, Great! Vibration is a problem at all powers, regardless if the scope is on the Meade tripod, or on a concrete slab. Seem to be to much give in the fork arms, but thats what you get with plastic. Worse on the tripod. The powers focuser seems to me to be a must for a steady focus. Vertical (Dec.) drive is very tight no slop or hesitation. However there is a large amount of hesitation in the Horizontal (R.A.) drive, depending on the speed your using, anywhere from 1 sec on 9 to 5-8 sec on 1. I have to get the RA loc very tight before the scope will turn. Is there a fix for this, I don't remember seeing one? I pulled the bottom cover and looked at the worm gear assembly looks tight. The gear the worm drives starts turning before the scope does, Problems seems to be somewhere in the lock part of the assembly. First night out used ver 1.1j on the autostar, would not keep object in EP even when sync'ed. Second night I had upgraded to 1.3b, It kept objects in EP. After two star easy alignment scope missed ever targed in EP, but were in view finder. Missed by same amount each time. Tried several two star alignments same results, Think problems is with hesitation in RA drive. I'm not sure what to do, I hate to risk sending it back the Meade, Don't know what I'll get back. Any sugestions? All in all a great scope.Mike here: The next item on this page is a tip from Meade about the RA lock. Be certain it is TIGHT. This allows for better movement. As to the vibration you mentioned, I assume you were referring to hand-induced vibrations during focusing and not vibrations from the drive. I saw no vibrations from the drive in the model I looked through (and will get the report on it online as soon as possible). I also found that 1.3 was incredibly accurate in tracking once aligned.
Subject: RA Lock Sent: Friday, October 8, 1999 14:45:59 From: Meade Instruments Corporation The RA axis of the ETX-125 has zinc in the locking clutch. Sometimes the zinc acts as a pretty good bearing and requires a little more force to lock it. Some customers may not be locking the RA axis tight enough. Tell them to give it a little tighter push on the RA lock lever and the slipping clutch will go away. They will also notice a big improvement in pointing accuracy.
Subject: manual mode? Sent: Thursday, October 7, 1999 23:00:52 From: email@example.com (redmoon) Just wondering if the etx 125 is able to move in manual (unpowerd) mode, in case the batteries die out in the field. I understand the nexstar 5 is not able to move at all without electrical power... I have been reading all the posts for several months now and I am still trying to decide between an etx and n5.... Looking forward to your comparison, and also to your etx 70 report... benMike here: Just like the ETX-90EC, you can move the ETX-125EC manually by holding the OTA (optical tube assembly) and/or fork and moving the telescope by hand. There is no manual "slow motion" control like on the original ETX.
Subject: ETX-125ec info Sent: Thursday, October 7, 1999 13:56:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Gillespie) I found your site as I searched for more info/prices for an ETX-125ec. I teach earth science in a high school setting and wish to use some of my funding to purchase the 125 and accessories. So what i need from you, if you can do it, would be a suggested list of what to purchase to outfit the whole thing, telescope, lenses, tripods, etc. This will be a one time deal and I want to do it right the first time. I'd have about $2,000 limit and would need sort of a must-have, should-have, like-to-have listing if possible. Being new to this I could sure use so guidance. I also have a Meade refractor at home and wonder if the lenses would be interchangable with the 125. Can you help or show me where to go to get the info I need? Thanks for the help and time!! Tom GillespieMike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page. Lots of good ideas there.
Subject: ETX 125 vs. NexStar Sent: Thursday, October 7, 1999 10:27:16 From: Mccoy2302@aol.com You mentioned in a recent reply that you would have the opportunity to compare the ETX 125 with the NexStar. Not to put too much pressure on you, but we're counting on you! I'm sure your impressions will be of interest to many (including me - I expect my first 125 to be delivered any day now). Let us know your thoughts. I will say that the helpful salesperson at Oceanside Photo & Telescope told me that the second batch of ETX's is nothing like the first - "three times the scope" in terms of quality, motors, gears, etc. Since the Meade optics seem to always have been fairly good (and I've waited sooo long now - since May), I decided to give it a try before going the NexStar route. Look forward to your feedback.Mike here: I still haven't written up my report but I'll have several comparisons to make. Want a sneak preview? Saturn was MAGNIFICENT in the ETX-125EC and only so-so in the NexStar5. Details will be in the report, which I hope will go online sometime this weekend.
Subject: Sent: Thursday, October 7, 1999 09:21:10 From: email@example.com (Eric Jacobsen) I just bought a Meade 125ETX from Nature Company Oct 1. It was part of the second wave and was shipped direct from Meade to the Brea Mall location in Orange County Ca ( 20 mile trip). There was some extra packing foam (very stiff) between the bottom of the OTA and the mount, maybe this is what Meade added to correct "shipping" problems. First Light using standard 26mm EP: saw Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon. Very Sharp! NO COLLIMATION PROBLEMS!!! I checked with the out of focus test. the blurred star images were perfect concentric donuts. No noticable focus shift. The autostar placed the target in the Field of view every time, I really enjoyed the "grand tour" I saw the ring medula, Andromeda, M13, and whole bunch of star cluster, that I hand never heard of. I bought the Meade field tripod because I like the mount head. I will reinforce the legs with extra clamps, they seem to be th source of the slight wobble. Conclusion: I LOVE MY ETX!! This is the perfect scope for me. I live in a light and air polluted city. I would be impossible for me to find many objects without the Autostar because I can't see enough stars. I don't have the time to drive to dark skies. I don't have the budget for a larger scope. Setup time is five minutes. Years ago when I had access to telescopes, I spend many hours trying to find a few objects. Last night I saw 15 objects in as many minutes. That means I can do this every night instead of once a month at a star party. This is real astronomy for the masses. A very happy Meade CustomerMike here: Thanks for the report. Glad to hear your report. By the way, keep that extra packing for the rear of the scope in case you travel with the ETX. It is important to use it when putting the ETX into a case.
Subject: ETX-125EC Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 22:11:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Gatschet) After waiting since mid June for the 125, it showed up today. Scope looks perfect, Autostar works (ver 1.1j), but alas, clouds rolled in and it started raining. Looks like it will be Friday or Sat. before there will be a clear night to check everything out. I checked it out in the daylight with the 26mm EP there was no detectable image shift. Very little hesitation in the vertical (declination) drive, but quite a bit in the horizontal (RA) drive, several seconds. I'm going to try 1.1j before upgrading. Let you know what I find.
Subject: ETC 125 Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 06:09:58 From: email@example.com Gotta call yesterday from Astronomics, they got in 200 ETX 125's and autostars. My reservation was #117 on thier list, they said they would ship last night, so I am looking forward to getting my scope on friday. Hope the packaging etc, is ok. Ill post my initial review of the 125 over the weekend (if all is well) SInce I am upgrading from a ETX 90, ill try a side by side comparison. Later Rob
Subject: ETX-125EC User Feedback Sent: Tuesday, October 5, 1999 09:19:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Sibbernsen) Just received one of the "updated" ETX 125s directly from Meade. Beautiful telescope, and the images are excellent. I do however have some terrible slosh in the RA drive. It may take up to 6 seconds on the button before it kicks in, and then usually overshoots the target. Is there a published fix for this? I would hate to send this back after waiting 6 months in the first place. Best- Michael SibbernsenMike here: You didn't specify whether the problem is with the standard controller or the Autostar. If both, then a mechanical problem likely exists. I did not see this much backlash in the ETX-125EC I had a chance to try out.
Subject: your review(s) Sent: Tuesday, October 5, 1999 05:25:12 From: email@example.com (Gary) I'm looking forward to reading your comparison of the 125 vs. N5 - would also be interested to hear of further results with the 90 EC - thanks, as always! GaryMike here: Still have to write it all up. Just too much to do!!!!
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