ETX USER FEEDBACK - APRIL 1998
If you have any comments, suggestions, 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: ETX rear camera port 1.25 adapter Sent: Thursday, April 30, 1998 10:12:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ross) I just scored my ETX April 1. I'm stuck in a wheelchair and the ETX seemed my best option. I'm new to astronomy and your site helped me in my decision, (thanks). I just sent some email to Pocono Mt. Optics for info on the 90 degree finder scope and the ETX camera port 1.25 adapter so I can use my eye piece. My question is, in terrestrial viewing will the images be inverted or correct? (backward letters) From what I figure everything should be right. Thanks! Ross A. Elder email@example.com
Mike here: Scenes viewed through the ETX with the Visual Back eyepiece adapter and the 26mm Meade eyepiece are rotated 180 degrees. Text is not reversed, just upside-down.
Subject: Hello Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 18:58:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (elrond) I saw on your guest feedback that someone thought it would be a good idea to compile a list with email addresses of those who own ETX's. I think this is a good idea too, so I will do it on my site if I can get others to contribute their names. Also I just bought 2 Rini eyepieces, a 13mm wide angle and a 52mm. I haven't tested it on the stars yet, but terestrial views are tack sharp. I can't wait to get a clear sky. Steve
Subject: Wide field adapter Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 07:46:18 From: JaePbond@aol.com It's been a while since I wrote you but I looked with interest at the latest review of the wide field adapter. I think that a very important point is whether the adapter is usable with the widest possible 1.25 inch eyepiece such as the one I use, 35mm Ultima. If the adapter vignettes a little with the 26mm, then it will vignette a lot with a 35mm. In which case why not just get a 35mm eyepiece? I had this very problem with a C8 and the original f5 focal reducer/diagonal. It came standard with a 22mm plossl as any other eyepiece of longer f.l. showed vignetting. I find that the 35mm Ultima or the equivalent Orion 35mm Ultrascopic is probably the best 1.25 inch wide field eyepiece for the ETX or any other scope with a 1.25 inch limit. Any evaluation of a wide field adapter should be compared to this "maximum field" eyepiece. If it is usable with a 26 or higher without vignetting then that's a nice product. 2 inch eyepieces will provide a wider view but present problems of its own when used on the ETX with a 2 inch adapter. Still enjoying your site, Jae
Mike here: For those that haven't seen it, I have posted a brief initial report on the Shutan Wide-Field Adapter for the ETX on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.
Subject: astrophotography Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 02:32:20 From: email@example.com (ERICSON D-MINH THAM) Been to your website, and its pretty good with all that info on the etx, keep up the good job. I was thinking, I need a good scope to do some serious high quality astrophotography (deep space especially). Could you spare me some advice as to whether should I get the ETX. I can't really afford beyond $1,000. The price on the ETX is really tempting. Should I really get it? Thanks for your info. Ericson firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: The ETX is not an ideal scope for this unless you spend a lot of money for a heavy duty tripod/wedge and CCD. You'd be over $1000 real quick. The problem is the small aperture size of the ETX. I say "CCD" instead of film because you can do "deeper" shots with a short exposure with a CCD than with film. And since the drive really isn't designed for handling long exposures with the extra weight of a camera, you have to stick with short exposures (or manually guiding). However, as you've seen if you have looked at the Guest Shots on the site, there are many ways to get good shots. You just have to work at it. But don't expect to get the great 30 minute to 4 hour deep sky pictures. You'll need something a lot more than $1000 of telescope. But for the money and what it can do, the ETX is a great scope.
Subject: New ETX telescope - problem Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 1998 22:07:04 From: email@example.com (Kim and Scott Girard) Well I finally did it and bought an ETX. I did a fair amount of research, I wanted a telescope that was relatively inexpensive and portable. The two choices for me were the ETX and the C5. The C5 cost more, is not as portable but, I think, a better quality telescope. But since everything in life is a trade-off and no design can be optimum for all purposes, I chose the ETX. I bought my ETX from the Nature Source here in Anchorage. I could have bought it mail-order from Edmund Scientific for $595 + $45 for shipping but I opted to purchase it locally just in case I had problems. The price at the Nature Source was $670.....the additional $30 would more than pay to have it shipped back to Meade if there were problems. And am glad I did that. It wasn't evident in the store when I inspected it but when I brought it home I noticed a rattling from inside the base. The battery cover was removed but the rattle was from inside the base section which contains the drive gearing, etc. The R.A. slow-motion control turned freely too....something came undone. It's a bummer.....kind of says something about Meade's quality inspection program, but I hope it was just a random thing. The Nature Source has been excellent about it.....they are going to replace it with a new one. I think the ETX is still a good deal (from the few hours I've played with it) but I kind of wish it had more of a "quality feel" about it. Michael, your site is great....I have learnt a lot from all the feedback. Keep it up! Scott
Mike here: Congrats on the new ETX. Sorry about the problem. I wonder if something came loose in shipment. I'm glad that the Nature Source is being good to you. It seems that all the stores with "Nature" in their name are good to their Meade customers.
Subject: Am I happy with my ETX? Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 1998 19:06:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joseph Tocco) I have been using my ETX for about 6 months now. The Michigan winter really limits the time you spend outside but it also provide very clear skies. Since I am not fond of standing motionless for long periods of time my stargazing was reduced to Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and the M-42. You know, run out, take a look, and run back in the house. Certainly I could not be expected to take the time to search out the more rewarding, less visable objects I remember from my childhood. Up until a few weeks ago I was extremely pleased with the optical performance of my ETX. I have, however, felt from the beginning that the engineer at Meade must have slipped and bumped his head when he thought up some of the controls and the viewfinder. I never remember a Questar being this difficult to operate. I know, I know, theres a big difference in price. So anyway, last week I was looking at the Ring Nebula (no moon and sky was very clear.) What did I see? A little fuzzy bump. What a disappointment. I remember my homemade 6" f/10 reflector providing a much clearer view. Am I expecting too much? I am considering a 10" dob for deep sky observing. Any suggestions are welcome. Kindest regards and clear skies, Joe PS. Your site is a pleasure, keep up the good work!
Mike here: In my one look at the Ring Nebula with the ETX it came across as very clear. Nothing spectacular like the great photos of it but still recognizable as a ring. Maybe you had some high clouds in the way or some dew/fog on the objective lens or eyepiece? I'm sure the 6" provided a better view due to its greater light gathering power but it does sound like something was wrong when you looked at the Ring Nebula. Maybe others will contribute their thoughts on viewing the Ring Nebula.
Subject: About the camera mirror vibration. Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 1998 11:37:33 From: JCogan@aol.com I purchased my ETX around Christmas and have loved it ever since. All of the new toys I purchased for it were from your, and other recommendations. Thanks for the great site....... Now on to why I wrote...... I have found that most cameras have a self timer (to let the photographer get in the picture). On the cameras I have, I set the self timer, depress the shutter release, and start the clock when the shutter opens. The self timer locks the mirror up for me. It may do the same for others. Jcogan
Subject: Wide Field Adaptor Sent: Monday, April 27, 1998 18:52:50 From: email@example.com (Michael & Lori Nicholas) I have recently had the opportunity to use the new wide field adapter from Shutan Camera (developed by Apogee?). It is remarkable in the improvement it provides for deep sky use. I did have a bit of a focus travel problem that I have since remedied since I use the JMI Motofocus. I will test the remedy and give you a more complete report soon. Best regards and clear skies, Mike Nicholas Paducah, Ky.
Mike W. here: I have posted a short, initial review of the Wide-Field Adapter that I received on the Showcase Products page.
Subject: advice Sent: Monday, April 27, 1998 18:07:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Perry Rivkind) I was looking to buy the ETX.I have always been interested in astronomy but am a pure novice. Is the ETX okay for some one that has a lot to learn about the subject. Appreciate your advice. Perry Rivkind email@example.com
Mike here: The ETX makes a nice beginner's telescope. You will have to learn how to navigate your way around the sky (which is part of learning astronomy). You will get a lot of telescope for your money; it is much better than the dime-store variety telescopes. Be certain to read the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject: Meade email address Sent: Monday, April 27, 1998 05:28:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brandon) I was wondering if you had an email address of a contact at Meade? I couldn't find one on their homepage. Thanks, Brandon.
Mike here: Meade apparently prefers to use fax and voice for support. It does not publish any email addresses, nor is it visible on the MAPUG.
Subject: ETX / Practika MLT3 Vibrations Sent: Sunday, April 26, 1998 19:30:28 From: LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@eds.com G'day Mike, Thanks for the effort you have put into your site and the multitude of contributions from your readers. I am a true beginner to the field of astronomy but have read alot about it and looked through my little pair of binoculars many a time to see things. The ETX was the first scope I have looked through and the first scope I have owned. I live in Melbourne Victoria, Australia but purchased my ETX in DETROIT MI. at the Nature Company for $595 plus tax. Many of the mail order companies will not mail to Australia due to possible vendor conflicts of interest. IE. stepping on the Aussie Meade vendors toes. But the main Meade vendor in Australia does not now stock the scope. I hope this has changed. Such is Life. Now I have been attaching my 35mm camera to the tele-extender for some shots of the moon in various phases. What I have found is that mirror vibration in the camera causes small jitters in the image on what would be a great shot for me. I have the ETX on its legs and the camera with cable release. Perhaps I have a few choices. 1:/ One the camera is probable fairly heavy for the scope and legs, so any vibration would be enhanced into the scope so I may need to get a tiny tripod (one of these little 150mm, three prong gadgets) for the camera if I plan to have them both settled. 2:/ Get a decent tripod. (I must thank the readers for the comments on BHPHOTO and VIDEO as the costs for the equipment there are very good, I have been compiling comparison charts from the various vendors for the same equipment and transportation/ delivery charges) 3:/ Get a camera that can have the mirror locked into position prior to taking the shot. CAN ANY READER MAKE ANY SUGGESTIONS - If I find any interesting sites I shall also pass them onto you. Regards Scott Patten LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@EDS.COM
Mike here: A sturdy tripod will probably not help reduce vibrations from the camera. The motion of a camera mirror and shutter will almost always yield some visible movement in your images. Some cameras can flip the mirror up without tripping the shutter. This allows time for the vibrations to dampen down. But then you may get a vibration from the shutter action. Some astrophotographers have created their own "air bulb" shutters which operate independently of the camera. I've used, with some success, the "hat trick" method of covering the telescope objective with a thin piece of black cardboard before opening the camera shutter as for a timed exposure. Then I flip the cover out of the way and then back over the objective. For best results move the cover perpendicular to the telescope tube so as to not induce air currents. Exposure duration is not precise with short exposures but with practice, you can get repeatable results.
Subject: Photo-Visual Color Filters Sent: Sunday, April 26, 1998 12:31:58 From: FSBV91F@prodigy.com (MR ANTHONY S SCIARA) Hi, I have been looking to buy color filters for my ETX. I obtained information on them from Meade's web site, and I have found different filters that I would like to buy. But, since there are so many I was wondering if you could recommend certain filters that I could use for my ETX, that you have tried, or have heard about. Quite a few of the filters I found were only for use with telescopes 6-inch or 8-inch aperture or larger, so I need to know some filters that will be useful with my ETX. Thank you
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Filters page. There are few discussed there. You should also search the site for "filter"; you'll find some other hits. One thing to watch out for is that you can't use really dense filters of any color. The ETX won't pass enough light through them.
Subject: ETX tripod? Sent: Saturday, April 25, 1998 12:57:42 From: ETX90@aol.com Well, I finally purchased the ETX this week, optics seem to be perfect. Just one quick question: Are you still satisfied with the JMI Wedgepod??? I am really impatient and would like to get a good tripod, one that doesn't require modification plus I really like the idea of the wedge.... Any help will be appreciated, I've got your page bookmarked so I will keep coming back. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Dave Ponder PS. Is Meade doing anything in the way of a special ETX tripod?
Mike here: Yes, I still like my JMI tripod and wedge. In fact, I haven't removed the ETX from them in months. So much more convenient. I don't have a good waist-level surface in my backyard so I always had to take a table outside. It was awkward. Now with the tripod, I just pick everything up and good. Not as heavy as the table/ETX combination. There is an unconfirmed rumor (see further down this page) about Meade doing a tripod/wedge. We'll see.
Subject: Photos with ETX Sent: Friday, April 24, 1998 19:03:12 From: email@example.com (Al Dorn) I surfed onto your ETX web page tonight and found your photos. I, too, own an ETX and have shot a few photos with it through the camera adapter that came with the scope. I have not been terribly pleased with my results, but I like the appearance of your "eyepiece projection" photos. I had never heard of/seen this technique before. It appears that you have "de-focused" an eyepiece of choice, and aimed/placed a conventional (or electronic) camera somewhere in the light path. I would appreciate more information on methodology -- can you give me a source??? Thanks. Al sends.
Mike here: You can read some details of my "eyepiece projection" photos on the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page. Depending upon your camera type, you can get reasonable photos of bright objects using this technique.
Subject: Bright Airy Disk??? Sent: Thursday, April 23, 1998 17:25:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sully Johnston) ....Love my ETX....Love the page.......blah,blah,blah.... Here's the deal...I'm new to this sort of thing and I want to make sure my scope is seeing things the way it should....in particular, stars....is there any online resources for "star testing" a scope?.....is there a more economical way than buying the Suiter book?..........Thanks for providing this resource!!!!.......... Sully Johnston (Coastal South Carolina)
Subject: ETX new users Sent: Thursday, April 23, 1998 14:18:06 From: email@example.com (MT) We recently purchased an ETX scope. We live at the Belgian Coast and hope we will be ready to see the sun eclipse of 11 august next year. Our enthusiasm, especially from our children (8 and 10) makes it a so worthwhile investment. Congratulations with your good constructed site about a remarkable scope. We think it could be a good idea to add two new paragraphs to your site: 1. An ETX kid's corner which includes understandable notes and pictures,etc... 2. An observer's corner (monthly updated) specially designed for the world - wide ETX-user and perhaps a list of all earthlings who own an ETX. with kind regards, Trypsteen Marc, Belgium firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Thanks for the excellent suggestions. I'm a little overloaded right now. Anyone interested in taking either of these on?<
Subject: Experienc Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 1998 16:08:27 From: email@example.com (Bill/Pamela Qualls) You have a great home page! Recently, when I was evaluating different kinds of telescopes for purchase, I discovered your site. I found the range and quality of information on the ETX telescope to be excellent. The ETX seemed to meet my needs so I bought one. My experiences with the telescope to date have been consistent with those of other contributors to this page. It's a very nice instrument for the price. I bought my ETX at The Nature Company in Richmond, VA. They provided me with excellent service, and I can heartily recommend The Nature Company. I've also bought a number of accessories based on recommendations posted here (e.g., eyepieces and a carrying case), and I haven't been disappointed. I recommend using a neutral density filter for lunar observations--the scope produces a very bright image. I've also found Meade Technical Support, especially Mr. John Pieper, to be helpful with advice and responsive with support. As one example, shortly after I bought the telescope, I lost the eyepiece thumb screw on the ground. I called John, and he sent me another one right away. (I'm painting this one orange!) BTW, he couldn't confirm a previous message posted here about Meade producing a tripod equatorial wedge for the ETX. (I suggested on my return warranty card that they make one available--I believe it would sell.) I can also recommend the book, Turn Left At Orion by Consolmagno and Davis, as a resource for beginners. I purchased my copy from Orion Telescope & Binocular Center. I've had good experiences with Orion, too. I purchased their FlexiShield Dew Cap for the ETX ($29.50). It works well and lays flat when not in use. Thanks again for providing such an excellent resource! Best regards, Bill Qualls
Subject: ETX Tripod alternative and other accessories Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 1998 13:18:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I recently purchased an ETX and when I mounted it on my old tripod (Quantaray Titan II 950 - $100), was concerned that the quick release shoe might pop off from the weight of the ETX. So I made some calls and read the reviews on your website and decided to go with a Bogen. It came today and I couldn't be happier. What I ended up with was the Bogen 3011 Basic Tripod, designed to carry 13.5 pounds and the 3039 Super Pro Head, designed to carry 16 pounds. I ordered it from B&H Photo in New York, based on your website reviews. The cost was $75 for the 3011 and $125 for the 3039. The head is silky smooth with the ETX, has 3 spirit levels and is calibrated for 3 axes with easy to read dials. Considering that the JMI wedge and tripod go for $240 (I didn't care for the bulk, the looks or some of your other reviewer's concerns) and the Tiffon Modified goes for $385 (recommended for use by Pocono Mountain Optics for the ETX and Questar), I think I found a bargain. And the folks at B&H were very helpful and provided 3 I also ordered a Doskocil Extra Large case from B&H, as well as a Rigel QuikFinder, Celestron 2X Barlow short tube, Rigel Starlight, and a Meade Series 4000 32mm eyepiece from Pocono Mountain. From Astroptix, I ordered a #64 camera adapter with T-ring and a .96" to 1.25" expanding bushing (for old eyepieces). Other than a few more eyepieces (I have my eye on two Paul Rini's), I think I am ready to go. And the kicker is, I got all of this for the same price ($1200) of a Celestron C5+ or Meade 8" LX-10, which were the other two scopes I was considering. I have already used my ETX four nights (about 3 hours each night) and have nothing but praise. With a quick, visual polar alignment, I was able to track Sirius for over an hour with no correction! Moving to and tracking other objects was just as satisfying. Much better than I had expected after reading other reviews. And the portability make it a snap to travel with or take to a darker site. I am taking it on a trip soon and am pretty sure the Doskocil case will fit in the overhead compartment. The optics continue to impress me and I look forward to using a few other eyepieces. I want to thank you again for your great website! Without it, I am sure I would have wasted alot of time and money. By using your site, I avoided a bunch of frustration and am completely happy with what I got. Keep up the good work. Steady viewing. Don Shope Sugar Land, Texas
Subject: ETX's Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 1998 01:16:16 From: email@example.com (page) Congrats on the web page and associated photos. Am considering purchase of an ETX and would value your comments on its relevancy today with so many units around and value for money, now you've used it for some time. Did you buy it in Australia and from whom? Any other interesting tidbits would be welcome. Thanks in advance. Don
Mike here: For the money, size, and optical quality, the ETX is still a gem. Yes, it would be nice to have a larger one. Yes, it would be nice to have a perfect drive. Yes, it would be nice to have dark skies to always use this larger scope with a perfect drive. Yes, it would be nice to win a multi-million dollar sweepstakes. But for now, and for many users, the ETX satisfies a desire to observe the skies without spending a lot of money. Living in the United States, I bought it here. But I'm coming to Austalia next year for a few weeks!
Subject: ETX and CCD Sent: Monday, April 20, 1998 14:24:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nick Lawrence) I'm glad I found your site, it's helped a lot in deciding to order an ETX. Do you know of anybody who has used the ETX for Astrophotography with a CCD. This is a particular interest of mine, especially after a talk at my Local Astronomy club from Starlight Express, who manufacture their cameras locally. Thanks for the Site Regards Nick Lawrence
Mike here: Glad you like the ETX site. Go to the Search page and search for "CCD". You'll find several CCD images on the Guest Gallery pages.
Subject: Tripod Mount Sent: Monday, April 20, 1998 08:41:15 From: email@example.com (Ron Ostromecki) Hi: Do you have any recommendations for a quality tripod for the ETX. Also is a wedge necessary when using a tripod, or can one simply adjust the head of the tripod for polar alignment. Thanks Ron Ostromecki firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Mike here: There are some comments on tripods on the Accessories - Tripods page. Also, check out the Accessories - Showcase Products page. I review the JMI tripod/wedge combination there. Go to the Search page and search for "tripod" to find Feedback pages with tripod comments. And no, you don't NEED a wedge if your tripod is stable enough when the pan head is tilted to match your latitude.
Subject: Tripod Mount for ETX Sent: Friday, April 17, 1998 14:34:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Bunevitch) I called Meade customer support today, inquiring about using the new LXD500 equatorial mount with an ETX. I was informed that Meade is in the process of developing a tripod and wedge for the ETX. Customer support said to be on the lookout for announcements about it in about a month or so. The estimated list is about $280 but should sell for less on the street (my assumption). I ordered a wide field adapter and visual back from Shutan camera today. It is supposed to reduce the ETX to about f/8.2. I believe it is the one announed by Apogee recently. I will let you know how it performs after I get it and test it. Concerning the RA drive on the ETX. After doing an accurate polar alignment and leveling of my ETX I was able to hold Sirius in the center of the ETX with a 125X for about 20 minutes. I suppose others have not been as fortunate with their drives but mine performs better than I expected considering the price. regards, Gary Bunevitch email@example.com
Subject: A little help for a novice Sent: Thursday, April 16, 1998 20:47:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Skip Brown) I bought the ETX. Know nothing about astromony, but have a Masters in science. I think I can be taught. I want a software program that, once polar aligned, will point me to constellations by name and their individual stars. I need something that bridges star charts and freeware which generally only identifies stars. I downloaded the one posted here, but it does not identify constellations. It's very nice, but I'm not that good yet. The goal is to get my girls, 9 & 6 involved. Let's see the constellation on the computer; now go outside and move through the constellation. Any suggestions? Thanks for your effort. This is a very nice site.
Mike here: Glad you like the site. There are some excellent software programs. Voyager II, Starry Night, SkyChart, Skymap, to name a few. Check the Astronomy - Links page for some links.
Subject: Nothing to see Sent: Thursday, April 16, 1998 13:16:24 From: email@example.com (Steve Goodman) Just thought I would drop you a line. You may remember that I bought an ETX in about September last year. Unfortunately, since then, the weather has been pretty lousy here in London, so I have only had the odd occasion to use it, but did get to see Saturn, Jupiter & its moons and obviously our moon which kept me glued for some time. I normally watch from my roof, which is flat, but I have found that the heat coming off it, and out the vents causes a lot of 'distortion', and I suppose I will just have to wait till summer when my heating is off to avoid that. As yet I haven't had the opportunity to take the ETX away with me to somewhere where the light pollution isn't as bad as it is here, but again, I will probably have to wait a few months (it was actually snowing here yesterday!) Anyway, just wanted to say hi, the site still looks great, although had some problems getting your VR to work this time. I will probably be nagging you some more once I get the chance to properly use the telescope again (for instance I haven't even tried polar alignment yet!) I am sure you are looking forward to that. Not. Regards Steve
Mike here: Glad the site is still good for you! Don't know why the VR wouldn't work unless there were network traffic jams. I haven't switched it to anything requiring QuickTime 3.0. Yet.
Subject: ETX Question. Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 1998 19:56:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Termite) Greetings. I love your page and since I am thinking of purchasing an ETX, your page has really made my mind up. I do have one question that I hope you can answer for me. Is it possible to take pictures with the ETX using a normal 35mm camera? I understand there is an adapter you need, but do you need a special camera? Can you tell that I am new at this? :) Also, is special film needed? Thanks for taking the time to read this. And thanks again for the great page! Brad Setser
Mike here: Glad you like the ETX site. Check out the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page. You'll find info on how I use both digital and 35mm cameras to take pictures with the ETX. Also check out the Accessories - Astrophotography page for info on attachments for photography. As to film, almost any reasonably fast film will work. Some like Kodak and some like Fuji. Lately I've been using Kodak Max at ISO 800.
Thanx for the info. One thing I have not seen addressed, and I don't even know if it's possible. Can I use an ordinary 35mm camera. By ordinary I mean, a Walmart special for 60 bucks? Or do I need a special camera? I've never been much of a photographer and my camera is pretty simple. Insert film, point and shoot. :) Also, how do I determine my Longitude and Latitude. Is there a book I can purchase that will help me with the basics? Like Polar Alignment and such? I've already decided on the ETX and am going to order one very soon. There is no Meade dealer around here, so can you recommend a mail order store? Thanx again! You're help is greatly appreciated.
Mike here: Any 35mm camera COULD be used if you can find some way of mounting it. Having a removable lens helps but is not a requirement. Even removing the lens or mounting it is not required for bright objects. Just hold the camera lens up to the eyepiece and shoot. Results will vary a lot but it is doable; that is how I take pictures with the Casio digital camera. As to your lat/long, check out the Astronomy Links page. There is a link to site to get this for your location. As to basic books, the ETX manual will get you started on polar alignment. This site will get you even more info on lots of things. Astronomy magazines like "Astronomy" and "Sky & Telescope" help (links on the Links page). They have ads for mail order companies. There are some sites on the Links page that have astronomy book reviews. There are several user comments on dealers on the Feedback pages.
Subject: New ETX - need advise Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 1998 11:30:09 From: email@example.com Mike, I sent you an e-mail earlier concerning the ETX vs. the C5+ and I just bought an ETX today. Thanks for your reply and your excellent web site! For me, it came down to portability and price. I also considered the Meade LX10 8" but when I saw one, I couldn't imagine that hauling that thing around would be much fun. And for the price of a C5, I can get a scope, tripod, and several accessories. I bought an ETX for my father last Christmas and have been very impressed with the quality of the optics on the ETX. Sure, it has a few drawbacks, but life is a series of compromises. Until I have a good permanent site, the ETX is for me. I was talking to someone at Pocono Mountain Optics and he mentioned a tripod, the Questar Tiffan Modified, that he recommended for the ETX. It is a bit expensive at $350, but I had already decided to drop the $250 for the JMI wedge and tripod. Any thoughts on this tripod? Also, I was thinking about Polar alignment with the ETX and wondered why you couldn't mount a Telrad, or other similar device, to get a peek when the finderscope is inaccessable. Anyway, I look forward to many enjoyable evenings, and mornings, with my new ETX. Keep up the good work. Steady viewing, Don Shope Sugar Land, Texas
Mike here: A pretty good polar alignment can be done with the Telrad or any finderscope actually. Centering Polaris in an eyepiece only gives an approximate alignment anyway since Polaris is actually not an the polar axis.
Subject: ETX Sent: Monday, April 13, 1998 13:06:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (M.P.Doyle) I have since come to the realization that the ETX spotter scope is what I should be looking at. Now I am trying to narrow the field in that area. Mike
Subject: Mounts and accessories for ETX Sent: Monday, April 13, 1998 05:37:42 From: email@example.com (Gary Bunevitch) I understand that Meade now sells an LXD500 series equatorial mount which may support outfitting it with an ETX. The mount comes with optional drive mechinism and is supposed to be accurate enough to do some decent astrophotography. Have you heard any specifics? Also Apogee introduced a type of focal reducer for the ETX which is supposed to reduce the effective focal length of the ETX to about f/8.3. I believe the device costs about $90; you need a visual back to connect it to the ETX. I would be interested in your impressions of these devices. Thanks, Gary firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: ETX Sent: Sunday, April 12, 1998 17:26:14 From: email@example.com (M.P.Doyle) Hi, What should I give for a gently used, like new Meade 90mm ETX Astro Telescope? Thank you, Mike firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Since new ones are usually not discounted, anything less than $595 is a bargain if it is indeed like new. As to actual price, the seller will probably be able to sell it for nearly list so unless extra accessories are included, you might be better off going with a really new one. Then you get the full extent of Meade's warranty.
Subject: new to ETX Sent: Friday, April 10, 1998 20:01:44 From: email@example.com (michael yancey) I am a beginner from the word go. I have always been interested in star watching, and now that my four kids have left the coupe I can now start doing the things in life I always wanted. Does that sound familiar? After buying a scope without knowing what I was doing, I learned that bigger is not always the best. I found your page after reading as much as I could find on the web. I decided on the ETX because of the size and the power it has. I have the standard lens, also the #126 Barlow, and the 9.7mm from Meade. I can get a great view of the Moon using the 26mm, but when I add the Barlow I can not seem to get it focused. Also when I use the 9.7mm by itself I can not get it focused. When I look at the stars they don't seem any closer than the naked eye. I read somewhere that first time scope users may be disappointed in there first impressions. Maybe I do expect to much, but since I don't really know what to expect, I am not sure if my scope may have a problem or if it's me. I have read over your page several times, but don't believe I have found an answer to my problem. I'm not yet ready for deep space or planet viewing, so I am just trying to learn about what to expect on closer objects. I've tried land viewing and seem not to have a problem. I can bring in small objects several hundred yards away with no problem. Please drop me a line as to what to expect with my ETX. As so many before have said-- You have a great site, and keep up the great work. Thanks again, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: The focusing problem you mentioned sounds like a problem a few others have reported. Check out the March 1998 Feedback for the fix described by Walter Coates. Stars won't actually show any apparent size as you increase the magnification. They are too far away and stay as "point sources of light". However, most of the planets will show some disk, even using the 26mm eyepiece. Finally, check out the Buyer/New User Tips for some discussions on what to expect from your ETX.
Subject: pseudo mirror-lockup on a pentax Sent: Thursday, April 9, 1998 15:47:06 From: email@example.com (brian norris bailey) I was reading through your feedback pages from last year and came across one mentioning your problems with a lot of vibration when trying to do short exposures with the Pentax Spotmatic (Nov '97). It made me remember a discussion of that on the astrophotography mailing list. They talked about a quirk in the pentax that allows you to trip the mirror first, then the shutter. Most of the vibration as I understand it comes from the mirror moving out of the light path. The trick is to tap the shutter release. I have tried it with two old spotmatics and it does work with some practice. Here is the link to the archive message that talks about it: http://www.system.missouri.edu/ics/staff/andy/APML/ARCHIVES/JUN97/msg00223.html Clear skies! Brian Bailey future ETX owner
Mike here: That used to work on my Spotmatic when I first bought it (back in the 60s) but many years ago when it was serviced (the mirror wouldn't come back down after an exposure) the trick stopped working. But it is a valuable tip.
Subject: Your site! and Starry Night Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 1998 15:47:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Cordner, Dave) Mike; Some ramblings... I've been reading your site since last summer. The data you present and the approach you take is refreshing. Keep up the Great work! FYI I bought the Sienna Software - Starry Night (Deluxe) some time ago (for my MACs) and now they have a Windows 96/NT version (most of the same look and feel). The software comes with a plugin to drive LX200 scopes (don't I wish). Download the beta (3) for windows and try it out (I'm pretty sure your a mac user but...), unlike most ports this seems pretty much the same on both platforms. (I'm a Mac user since 84 or so) I take my Duo2300c outside with the ETX and use it to help locate... You can 'flip' the display so it looks like your EP view. As I understand it the first Windows release will actually come with 2 CDs (both MAC and Windows versions). Existing MAC users will be offered a 'cross-grade' (roughly 1/2 price (for Deluxe) or the price of the basic system $39.95 Vs $79.95 spend the bucks if you don't already have Deluxe package, it is worth it). Create (edit) an orbit around Saturn, go to that orbit, find Saturn, set the clock speed to increment in 30 minute cycles, set it in motion and "fly around" Saturn. Find the MIR & zoom in "REAL" close, cool! I live in Denver (and close to JMI) I'm tempted to get one of the JMI computers and see if I could develop a plugin for it. Thanks for collecting all the information and managing your site, I look forward to at least weekly visits When I first saw Orion Nebula through the ETX I was amazed, and watched it for nearly an hour. Sure the tracking is jerky, but really cool. (I implemented the hanger bolt & washer trick but my scope still runs about 40 min fast in a 24hr cycle) I now have a small collection of EPs and can range from 48x to 300x great! Meade 26mm Plossil, TeleVue 11 & 8 mm Plossil, and Meade #126 Barlow I use the JMI wedge, a Bogen 3050 tripod (used $125), and a piece of PVC pipe joint as a DEW shield ($1.75) Good job, you're an inspiration! Thanks for listening... Dave Cordner Eastman Software / Systems Engineer email@example.com (work) firstname.lastname@example.org (play) (303)546-4237 (w) (303)424-6156 (h)
Subject: ETX Lense covers Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 1998 16:28:02 From: Rvalash1@aol.com Any suggestions about where to find rubber or plastic covers for the finder scope, as well as the whole left when the 45 prism is being used. For now I use plastic baggies.
Mike here: Many users have suggested using 35mm film cans (the plastic kind) in the empty eyepiece hole. As to the Finderscope, I use an empty Meade eyepiece case; not perfect but good enough for me.
Subject: Polar Finder Sent: Sunday, April 5, 1998 07:16:59 From: email@example.com (Thomas Stebler) Dear colleagues has someone allready used the new ETX Polar Finder from JMI's INC? Is it usefull? Greetings from Switzerland. Thomas ________________ Dr. Thomas Stebler Engel-Apotheke 4051 Basel, Switzerland Fax +41 (0)61 272 70 18 E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/steblerth
Subject: batteries Sent: Friday, April 3, 1998 20:10:37 From: email@example.com (Russell Conner) I saw a few post about battery types, Ni-cad and the standard alkaline. Might I suggest that you try lithium? These can be found at camera shops in the AA format and much cheaper if you buy them through the mail. They have the drop off voltage of a Ni-CAd but last as long or longer than convential batteries. Most photgraphers use them in their flash units. You get nice fast recharges until the batteries are really ready to fail. A slow recharge after about a hundred or so flashes on my flash unit indicates I have 3 to 5 flashes left before they are dead. I'll be buyin' that ETX for my batteries any day now....
Subject: QUESTION Sent: Thursday, April 2, 1998 16:09:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jorge Franco Hdez.) HI!, MY NAME IS JORGE LUIS FRANCO HERNANDEZ, I LIVE IN MEXICO CITY. I WANT TO BUY A TELESCOPE, I HAVE TWO OPTIONS: MEADE 8" DOBSONIAN OR MEADE ETX ASTRO. I'M INTERESTING TO SEE PLANET AND DEEP SKY. PLEASE, HELP TO KNOW WHAT IS THE BEST. THANKS FOR YOR TIME AND YOUR HELP. MY E-MAIL IS email@example.com.
Subject: ETX information- Italy Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 1998 02:18:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I hope you can spend few minutes giving me some advice about buying my first telescope. I am a science teacher in an Italian High school and also if I am not an astrofile I am going to be. How can I talk about planets, stars and so on withouth having seen them? Well, I am writing to you since going to my photo shop I have seen the Meade ETX and I have been surprised by its advertised performances. I can easily appreciate the utility of a portable telescope, since I live in the country-side and I plan to go outside from home to make observation. Furthermore I can easily point the instrument to south and south-ovest only from my balcony. Nonetheless I have some doubts: 1-From the advertise I cannot understand if I can easily mount the ETX on a photo tripod for these outdoor observations. Do I need a 45 prism to use a stand? What do you usually use as stand? 2-Why should I prefer an ETX, for example, to a Meade 4500 or a 395 refractor? Can I see deep-sky objects with the same resolution and luminosity? And what about photography? What can I find in a traditional telescope I can't find in ETX? 3- ETX costs in italian lire the equivalent of $800 ( and not 500 as in USA!!!). With the equivalent of $400 I could by a second hand Celestron refractor ( F= 1000 mm D= 90 mm) or with $550 an Italy-made reflector F=900 D=114. What should I buy. Is ETX worthy the expense? Thank-you very much for your help, and excuse me for my English. Michela Castiglioni Grolli Parma Italy E-mail: email@example.com
Mike here: Nearly all your questions are answered on this ETX site. Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, check out the Accessories - Tripods page for info on tripods. As to Celestron or other Meade models, you may want to read through some of the Feedback pages. There are some comments there. Don't forget the site search capability.
Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Feedback page.
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