ETX USER FEEDBACK - MAY 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: New ETX owner Sent: Sunday, May 31, 1998 15:18:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don) I have just received my ETX and set it up for the first time yesterday. The immediate problem I had was that I could not get the 45 Deg prism or the camera mount to focus to infinity on the photo port. I moved the foces knob out on the shaft and it fixed the problem but it made me wonder what kind of inspection process Meade uses since this is very fundamental. The slow motion RA control is very sloppy but does work. It is too bad you can't move from the camera port to the eyepiece and not have to refocus. Enough complaining, my first look at the moon was spectacular and the motor drive did just fine for the 30 min I kept it on the moon. I did ,and still have problems getting a sharp image on my nikon screen. Aer their any helpful hints on getting good field photos and shots of the moon. I would not even attempt any planets until I get some advice. I also purchased the basic camera adaptor to use the camera on the 90 deg port and can find no info on using it in the manual. Can you safely use the 26 deg plossel eyepeice in a Nikon ? will it clear the mirror in the Nikon ? It is a beautiful instrument, I wish it didn't have so much plastic in it's construction, but at $595. that might be asking too much. How useful are the setting circles. Is the scale reversed for the N hemisphere? Does the procedure described in the manual work and is there a better way to set it up? Hope to hear from you, This is my first telescope so I have nothing to compare with. Regards, Don Anselmo.
Mike here: Most of your questions are addressed here on the ETX web site. Just do a search on various terms. With the camera adapter, the eyepiece does not go inside the camera body; at least it didn't on my Pentax. There has been some discussion that the ETX manual is incorrect in that the RA setting circles are reversed on some ETXes; north is actually the southern hemisphere one and vice versa.
Thanks for the rapid response. Yes I should have explored the web site first. I did find a lot of answers. I was able to make the 26 mm eye peice work on my Nikon by removing the rubber cup. However the image ,at least for field photos seems much better without any eyepeice in the adaptor. Any explanation?
Mike here again: Glad you were able to find the info. As to why the image may look better without the eyepiece, with EP you just have a telephoto lens of 1250mm focal length. When you add the eyepiece you add more glass, some magnification, and let less light through. This may be what you are experiencing.
Subject: Teflon pads Sent: Sunday, May 31, 1998 09:27:22 From: Gandpr@aol.com Mike- You got your ETX in 9/96. I got mine in 6/96. Does yours have the teflon pads described in the user comments? I took mine apart for the first time yesteday to do the hanger bolt fix and I can't find any trace of these beasts. Could this be a design 'improvement' since mine was made, or am I just not looking at the right things? Thanks for your dedication in keeping this site up and running. A great help to us all! Greg Randall
Mike here: Since I've had no need to go exploring inside my ETX I've not looked for the pads. Maybe those that have noticed the pads will send me the month/year when they got their ETX. Then we'll see if there is a pattern.
Subject: My ETX bearing experience Sent: Saturday, May 30, 1998 15:18:14 From: email@example.com First, let me congratulate you on a very fine Web site, full of useful tidbits of information. Keep it up! Now, to business. As a brand-new ETX owner, I was thinking that the bearings in the 'scope mount were just supposed to be a little bit sticky. It's my first-ever REAL telescope, and what do I know about these things, right? Then, when one of the three R.A. bearing pads under the setting circle oozed out of the mount and dropped into the palm of my hand (the other two weren't far behind), I suspected that something was afoot. That's when I went looking for some Net-wisdom on the ETX, found your Web site, and was surprised to see that I was having the same sort of difficulties that others were having! Here's what I came up with as a "fix" for this set of problems, after a lot of thought and a few false starts. First, bearing lubrication: I have a tube of what is known as "Pedro's SYNgrease", a high-pressure synthetic grease that is intended for use on any slow-running bearing that is exposed to the elements, such as bicycle hubs and bottom brackets (for which it is sold). I also use it on such things as my photo enlarger focuser and condenser control. It's really difficult to wipe it off of your hands, and soap 'n' water barely takes it off. I used this stuff (in VERY SMALL quantities) on the declination bearings (I also smeared an EXTREMELY small bit on the portion of the right-side tube arm that lies inside of the dec. lock), the R.A. bearing and hubs, and the inside and upper and lower edges of the R.A. drive gear hub, which ride inside of matching recesses in the base and fork. You should be able to find this grease at better bicycle shops; if not, try REI Co-op at http://www.rei.com/. Second: the three tiny little R.A. bearing pads: I happen to have some .015" thick adhesive-backed Teflon tape, which I used to replace the three stock pads. I added three other pieces of tape diametrically opposed to the three stock pads' locations, in the theory that "more is better". I also noticed additional raised bits of plastic in these locations, and that the fork had been wearing on these also. Do NOT overtighten the screw that holds the R.A. axis together; this warps the base and hub! This was one of my early mistakes, mine is now barely more than finger-tight. The result: The declination axis is now ABSOLUTELY smooth as butter, with almost NO stickiness at all! As a matter of fact, the 'scope really wants to tilt down now, unless an eyepiece is in the eyepiece holder (maybe I overdid the grease a bit). But, the grease seems to be heavy enough to keep this from happening. The R.A. axis is MUCH better than it was, but still not quite there. Rotationally speaking, it's almost as smooth as the declination axis, but the fork still rocks a tiny bit on the base because the Teflon tape that I had is .015" thick, while the stock pads are .030". On inspection, I can see that the R.A. hub & bearing assembly is dimensioned for the thicker pads, because I can see daylight between the pieces of Teflon tape and the bottom of the fork. Nevertheless, I honestly can't believe that it's the same mount, and I do think that I'm on the right track. Small Parts, Inc. of Miami Lakes, FL sells Teflon sheet in a variety of forms, one of which is .030" thick and etched on one side so that you can glue it to things. I think I'll get some of this and make some better (bigger) pads. One of the problems with the stock pads is that there isn't enough adhesive surface for them to stay put, and the other problem is that there needs to be six or eight of them spaced around the base, rather than three. Could someone report on the size and quantity of the replacement pads that Meade is passing out? Cowardly disclaimer: I have NO idea what the long-term effects of the grease on the plastic are, so You Are On Your Own in this area. Since it's a synthetic, I would suspect that it's fairly benign, but only time will tell. Will pass on further info once I get the Teflon. BTW, the 'scope works really well on my Bogen 3036 tripod / 3047 head combination, but I'm going to fab an adjustable wedge out of some oak and other h/w that will screw down directly onto the top of the tripod's center column, eliminating the need for the tripod head and its associated height and weight. Will also report on this when I get 'round to it. Later on. Gotta get back to the skies... Mahlon
Subject: ETX questions & suggestions Sent: Saturday, May 30, 1998 00:25:20 From: JK.SAGGESE@prodigy.net (J K SAGGESE) Great web site Mike. I've made it a frequent stop since I bought my ETX two months ago; thanks for putting up an invaluable resource for this great little scope! I quite like my ETX and have been fortunate insofar as I have experienced none of the quality control issues mentioned by other users, though my timing by buying the scope when no nighttime planets are visible could have stood some improvement. First a comment in response to a recent post regarding good beginner's books. As a thoroughly untutored greenhorn when I bought my scope, I picked up a copy of Peterson's Field Guides to the Stars and Planets upon recommendation of an astronomer friend of mine. In addition to naked-eye and telescope sky maps, the book contains a lot of explanatory material which I have found instructive and useful. It's $18 for a 500-page paperback which fits in a coat pocket. Now for my question. I know little about photography and nothing about tripod heads. Tripods are simple enough devices, but I am interested in picking up a Bogen and they offer pan/tilt heads, fluid heads, 3d heads, and all manner of confusing other styles. Which is most appropriate for equatorial mounting of the ETX with or without a JMI wedge? Also, what is the preferred method for cleaning the front surface of the objective lens, or the eyepieces for that matter? Is it safe to use a soft brush, say a horsehair brush, for dust, or will that damage the coatings? Is "optical cleaning tissue" really equivalent or better than a cotton handkerchief, and what kind of cleaning solvent is recommended? I thank you in advance for your advice. Keep up the great work with the site. JK Saggese firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Search the site for "Bogen"; there are lots of comments on their tripods. And searching the site for "cleaning". You'll find some tips.
Subj: ETX Questions Date: Friday, May 29, 1998 07:40:23 From: email@example.com I've followed your ETX page since I received my ETX as a Christmas gift from my wife last Christmas. I am very interested in getting into astrophotography and will probably eventually invest in an LX10 or LX50 (an LX200 in my dreams). That's probably not going to happen for at least another year though so I would like to begin exploring the capabilities of the ETX. I currently have my ETX mounted on a Bogen 3221 with a 3030 pan head. You review the JMI wedge on your page and mention that it can be mounted on a photo tripod. Have you tried that or do you know anyone who has? I've spent a couple of hundred dollars on the configuration I have now and if I can add a wedge without the necessity of a new tripod, I would prefer that solution. I can achieve a very rough polar alignment with my current setup (I have managed to track M42 for around an hour) but I would like to achieve the best alignment I can before attempting any planetary photos. Do you know of anyone who has any experience using the setting circles on the ETX (another reason to achieve a good polar alignment)? I think mastering the setting circles will greatly improve my viewing pleasure (I'm not really into spending most of my limited observing time star hopping)? Do you have any tips for using an SLR camera for eye-piece projection photography (actually the afocal method you describe for your Casio)? I assume you leave the 50mm lens in the camera and do your best to hold it still? I'm considering getting the JMI piggy back adapter and an Orion EZFinder. Will I be able to mount both of these accessories without them interfering with each other? Any other tips you might have for someone who is interested in beginning to explore astrophotography with an ETX? BTW, when you reply, please CC this to my home email address if it isn't too much trouble (no problem either way). I'm sending this from work and I'm accumulating a folder of useful astro tips at home. Thanks and thanks for an excellent web reference, ================================================ Ray Porter Applications Analyst Programmer Administrative Information Services, UNC-CH Phone: 966-5878 email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Home Page: http://www.adp.unc.edu/~allrp/ "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
Mike here: The JMI wedge can be mounted on a Bogen tripod. They modified it just for that brand. I've used the setting circles a few times. They work. In particular that is how I located Venus in the daytime. As to using the SLR, I did try that with extremely limited success. I actually get better results from the Casio! Don't know about the Piggyback mount and the EZFinder. Probably will work. You can slide the mount all the way rearward and leave the front most portion of the tube available. Check out the Astrophotography pages on the site for lots of details about ETX astrophotography.
Subj: Thanks Date: Thursday, May 28, 1998 12:47:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I know nothing of astronomy, I just point and get excited when I see anything. (Moon and Mars - more of the Moon than anything else). I have been using a SIMMONS* and recently was given as a gift the ETX. Can you recommend a book, which will get me beyond just pointing the telescope and wishing for the best. Yes, you guess correctly the ETX is still in the box. Help! Thanks Eliu.
Subj: Ray Wartinger's base !! Date: Thursday, May 28, 1998 09:28:04 From: email@example.com Tell Ray not to worry. My ETX and two others that I have seen, have the same 'broken stump'. It appears to be just a flashing left over from the casting. I know it looks a bit rough but they all appear to have it. I used some vaseline on the bearing surfaces at the edges and this seems to smooth things out. I was concerned about using any regular oils and greases in case they start to soften or heaven forbid, dissolve the ABS plastic. Good luck Ray. Cheers....Doug....
Subj: loose base Date: Thursday, May 28, 1998 08:44:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I did receive a package of teflon pads in the mail from Meade, but with no instructions as to their use. I doubt I'll have a chance to fiddle this week as I'm about to head south for two weeks on the coast of NC with family. Last year at this time I began using the ETX there as a new purchase. This year I am hoping to take a year's worth of experience (though it was a very difficult winter weather-wise to do much observing) and get to know the sky better through the scope. I'll work with the pads when I get back as I'd rather live with the wobble than take a chance on messing up the scope when I have these two weeks to play. As I mentioned, I purchased the scope about a year ago - right after Hale-Bopp so I never got to view the comet through the scope. It must have been quite a sight! Having observed the comet with some regularity, I began to think that I might, in fact, profit by something a bit more powerful than 10X binoculars. I must confess that I have always been a victim of "bigger is better" and, thus, must congratulate myself on my choice of an ETX. I just knew (for once in my life, at least) that bigger might not be better: A big scope would be too difficult to manage and, if I were going to use an instrument on a regular basis, it would have to be very easy to transport and set up. I purchased the ETX mainly on the basis of the Meade reputation, and reading their catalog - so I was not a very savvy shopper. It was not easy, then, to get one. Astronomics ( astronomics & christophers, ltd. Telescope and Binocular Mail Order ) was able to ship one in a week- but all other dealers were talking six months. I want to say that Astronomics will send some excellent literature on telescopes and equipment when one requests their catalog - very credible information on the different types of scopes and what each is best at doing. Along the way, I also have purchased the following Meade lenses: a Barlow, a 13.8 SWA (these two are often in use together - maybe my favorite combination with the right seeing - and I also love the 13.8 by itself), and a 9.7mm. which I don't find myself using much at all. I also have enjoyed using a Thousand Oaks solar filter and am even thinking of (some day) investing in a H-alpha setup so that I can see solar flares. I purchased a stable camera tripod from a local photo shop which seems fine so far even when the scope is polar-aligned. (More about tripods in a moment). Since I am observing in the humid northeast, I invested, after a soaking or two, in the Kendrick system has kept me dew free on some very wet nights. I do have a soft Meade bag, which, like others have mentioned is small and offers little, if any, real protection. However, it does allow me to carry the scope down the block where I need to be to enjoy dark skies. When I bought the scope I figured that it would be impossible to use it for astrophotography, but I have really been enjoying the pictures you and others have provided. I want to learn to star-hop better before I get into the next round of purchases, however. I'm still perusing the feedback archives - have worked my way back to December '97 (slow going because of major house renovations). I can tell from scattered reports that there seems to be some variability in the tracking rate between scopes. I've found mine to be quite good as it runs about 2.5 minutes slow in an hour. So, no complaints there. My one big problem is now becoming a bit more clear. One part of my mind was blaming my tripod, and my sighting of Polaris, while another part was thinking there was something wrong with the scope. I'd align the same way, centering Polaris in the 26mm lens, and some nights things would track forever. Other nights, nothing would stay in view - might as well not have had a clock-drive in the first place. Now I am beginning to understand that the RA clutch mechanism might not always be locking and so will be looking to fix that along with the wobble. I've mainly been viewing the moon and planets (all through the fall). I remember being absolutely amazed at my first sightings of Saturn and Jupiter in the late summer evenings. Enjoyed them all during the fall, and enjoyed showing them off to friends (big and little) as well. I'll never forget one morning last summer, getting up around 3:30 to get a high view of Saturn and Jupiter. Almost jumped out of my skin they were so sharp. I must have enjoyed one of those one-in-a-thousand episodes of clear seeing. Saw five clear bands on Jupiter, and the Cassini division and bands on Saturn -- easily! I was so elated I got everyone up to see. They actually didn't mind once they'd had a peek. I just wish I'd been a more sophisticated observer - could have done some drawing, at least. Also spent a wonderful, but frightfully cold, hour on New Year's Eve looking at Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. Beautiful sights at sunset. Wows from all observers each time I moved the scope. I hope to get better at learning my way around to some deep sky objects this summer. Sure am missing those planets. Sorry this is getting so long: one comment and a question or two. I just purchased DeLorme's Street Atlas USA v.5.0 because the cursor position is accompanied by latitude and longitude. It's cheap, and a good mapping program (also works, so it claims, with GPS and laptop in the car), but I love it for the lat-long readouts. I now "know" where I am - even when I'm not here! For those who roam, it's a great way to get those numbers. Questions: Has anyone done any flying with a hard-case (like those reviewed and already commented on) since the airlines have become strict with carry-ons? Does the X-L Doskocil still fit? One problem I'm having concerns finding a comfortable viewing posture. I'm missing out on long slow looks at objects because my scope never seems to be at the right height. I'm also working on getting some little friends (10 and 8) interested in viewing with me, so we have different viewing requirements. My pod height is only adjustable by altering leg height and it's a pain to juggle three legs with the scope on top to find a place where we can all see. Of course, when the little ones can see, I'm left straining my lower back. Do any of the tripods mentioned in your equipment reviews or by others have adjustable center posts? Do I need one of those adjustable height chairs I've seen advertised (big bucks - but maybe worth it?). How do you all find comfortable positions for long viewing sessions? Thanks again for maintaining this terrific site. Look forward to chatting again when I get back from NC. And, look forward to even more catching up! good seeing, alan marwine
Subj: ETX--impressions after a couple of months Date: Thursday, May 28, 1998 08:15:25 From: email@example.com Well I'm relatively new to amateur astronomy...a couple months ago I went to a local telescope dealer and asked what a good starter scope would be and he pointed me to the ETX. I must say, I'm really impressed with the scope after the first two months of usage. I mainly bought it for planets, but unfortunately my timing hasn't been all that great as the planets have been largely early morning and low horizon creatures for the past couple months. So, instead, I've been learning the skies and trying to see as many deep-sky objects as I can. With the ETX some things have been spectacular (The Hercules cluster and the Orion nebula, for example) and others disappointing (NGC 2392). As soon as the planets start appearing at night again I'll start making observations of them (since I can't seem to wake up early enough to see them in the morning). A lot of my observing has been city viewing, mainly from my balcony (which faces the northwest). I have purchased a number of accessories that I'd like to mention...I have the Meade 2x barlow, a 9.7mm and 6.9mm eyepieces (along with the 26mm that came with the scope). I have had really good results with the 9.7mm eyepiece on deep-sky objects...the Hercules cluster looked really good through this eyepiece. The 6.9mm is really pushing the ETX though. Don't even bother trying that on deep-sky objects as it just doesn't bring in enough light. On the one morning I DID rouse myself I managed to observe Venus with the 6.9mm eyepiece...you could tell the phase of Venus easily, however the image was somewhat blurred (it was a relatively clear, stable morning as well). The Meade 2x barlow is also a great accessory...it works really well with the 26mm eyepiece (I almost never use the 26mm eyepiece alone anymore). I recently purchased a Lumicon wideband filter for light pollution, however I haven't had a chance to really test it (lots of cloudy skies recently in southern Ontario). I DID try it on NGC 2392, but I didn't really see much of an improvement with it. I will try it on some brighter deep sky objects soon, weather permitting. I am also assembling the 'Dry Eye' dewcap and optical heating system, I'll send my opinion of that along when I've got the whole thing together on my ETX. As far as good 'starter' astronomy books, I can only recommend Nightwatch by Terence Dickenson (for the rank amateur :) and The Backyard Astronomer by Dickenson and Dyer. Excellent books, especially the Backyard Astronomer which gives a LOT of good tips for those who want to buy a telescope. PS--I too have noticed a certain wobbliness to the base of the ETX...or rather, the plate on which the ETX connects to the worm drive seems wobbly. I noticed something significant about this...the plate rotates on little plastic guides that are on the bottom part of the ETX base (right under the declination scale). There are about 4 or 5 of them and they aren't really noticable. On my ETX, one of them came out and as a result, the whole scope began to really wobble on it's base. I don't know if this will help anyone, but just make sure that the plastic guides are still there...on mine one of them came right out and I still need to find a good way to adhere it back in place.
Subject: Bogen 3021 tripod Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 19:30:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Takamiya) As with many other people it seems, I also got my first lessons in using the ETX from browsing your great website immediately after purchasing my ETX last November. I did look up Meade's site first, but they were next to useless when it came to practical, down-and-dirty information. Keep it up, and, yes, Meade should definitely pay you to maintain this site. Someone asked about the Bogen 3021 tripod (which is ONLY the tripod without the head, by the way): I'm using it with a dinky 3028 head because it came that way when I purchased it used. I will soon change the head to either a 3039 (Super Pro), 3047 (Deluxe 3-way Pan Head), or a 3275 (410 Compact Gear Head). Does any one have practical experience with the compact gear head? As far as the tripod itself is concerned it is very solid compared to most other brands of tripods but it is a relatively lightweight model that is rated for only a little over 13 lbs.; there are five or six sturdier tripods in the Bogen standard line but both increased weight and cost come with more solidness. In essence, a 3021 without too many heavy accessories hanging off the ETX is perfectly fine. And this particular model has three click-stopped spread angles for the legs, giving it great stability, especially useful here in Hawaii when polar aligning at this low latitude. Check out Bogen's website and you can print out the specs for their different tripods and heads. They are at: http://www.bogenphoto.com Thanks for your great work, Mike! David Takamiya
Subject: Celestron Advanced Astro Master vs JMI NGC-MAX Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 19:08:38 From: email@example.com (Antonio_L._Gonzlez) Here's a dilemma I need help with. I went to my favorite Astronomy shop today all ready to buy JMI's NGC-MAX and encoders for my ETX when my trusted dealer tells me that he just got a set of encoders and Celestron Advanced Astro Master from a guy that traded in his month old ETX setup for a larger scope and he will sell it to me for $500. I trust the dealer just fine, but I don't know much about this Celestron Advanced Astro Master computer and how it compares with the JMI MAX. Do you have any insight/advice in this matter? Thanks Antonio Gonzalez firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: More on Teflon pads Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 06:05:49 From: Ray.Wartinger@usa.xerox.com (Wartinger, Ray C) I hadn't checked the feedback for awhile. My teflon pads are ancient history -- fell off almost immediately. Seemed to have been stuck on with rubber cement. Silly design! Anyway, I'll give Meade a call and get them to send me a replacement set. Don't know if I should mention the broken post problem 'cause then I'd be admitting that I've had it apart. I guess the warranty is gone by now anyway. I've made some minor improvement just by adjusting the screw tightness (another silly design!) but the teflon pads may just be the problem after all. I'm also experimenting with a larger RA knob. This has two advantages: first, it gives me a bit more control and leverage; second, it is easier to reach. I'm even thinking of putting a large gear on the RA shaft and driving that with a smaller gear attached to a large knob. This would give me even slower motion and put the knob further out the back so it would be very easy to reach and turn. I'll keep you posted... - - Ray
Big breakthrough! After reading your suggestion about the teflon pads, I tried a small plastic shim where the original teflon pad had once been and the RA action smoothed out completely! I only replaced the one in the back since that takes the weight when the fork is tilted toward the pole. Man what a difference! Since those little buggers fell out so readily I'd discounted their importance, but as it turns out, they are vital to the smooth operation of the RA mechanism. The plastic I used was cut from a soft margarine container. The outside is real shiny so I put that side up. After cleaning both surfaces with a bit of acetone (don't use too much), I stuck in on with a bit of double sticky scotch tape, then trimmed it flush with a razor knife. Works so well I'm not sure I'll even bother to order the real replacement pads. I can't thank you enough.
Subject: Mirror flop? Sent: Monday, May 25, 1998 08:36:54 From: email@example.com (Walt) I was reading an article from Doc Greiner's ETX Info site: "Fixing the Flip Mirror in the ETX I found that the flip mirror, when in its 90 degree position, was not as stable as I would have liked. Each time the mirror was flipped, the centering of the guide star in the eyepiece changed considerably even though the star usually on the guider chip. But in some cases the flip mirror was badly enough set that a star in the center of the eyepiece did not fall on the chip at all. This problem needed to be fixed before the ETX could be used with the tiny 216XT chip. The reason for this problem is that the up position of the mirror is established by a spongy pad on the back of the mirror which does not firmly establish a stopped position. The fix allows for precision adjustment of the angle of the mirror in its up position. (90 degree position) The angular accuracy required for the mirror is quite high. A good fix can be effected in the following way." This sounds like a possible cause to the object shifting that I observe when I flip the mirror up and down. Walt
Subject: ETX Question Sent: Monday, May 25, 1998 02:39:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Hey) Nice web site. Can the finderscope be affixed on to the right hand side of the tube rather than the left (as pictured)? Regards, MWH -- A crash reduces your expensive computer to a simple stone.
Mike here: Not without drilling some holes. But alternative finderscopes like the QuikFinder and Telrad can be mounted wherever you like.
Subject: (no subject) Sent: Sunday, May 24, 1998 12:51:26 From: email@example.com (llamit) i'm thinking of getting an etx and wish to know which lens i should get i was hoping to do a range of watching including wildlife (and photo)- moon - planets- stars and deep sky- i realize that this level instrument will not perform perfectly for all situations- but what do you think? 48, ?, ?, 300 lens (would like to keep it to 4-5 lenses at first along with a tripod- also is the case wotrh the expense? thanks gary i have a ranch in montana and can't wait to go there this summer with the telescope!!
Mike here: Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page for answers to your questions. Lots of good info there.
Subject: After 30 years I own a great little scope! Sent: Sunday, May 24, 1998 00:45:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Walt) It took 30.5 years, but, finally I have my very own telescope! Wow, I sound like a kid in a candy store! I guess that's because I've wanted one since the age of 9.( I will be 40 yrs old this year!) I just want to tell you that I love everything the ETX is and isn't. From the shiny deep purple OTA to the compact little fork mount, even the little 6 X 20 finder! I have used my new toy at least 4 times each week. ( Not counting looking at it only) I can't wait to get home at night to align and learn more about the sky. I have purchased the t-adapter and mount so that I can get into the photography. I bought "Turn left at Orion", by Guy Consolmango and Dan M. Davis. A real good book for the beginner! I have seen the double-double; epsilon lyrae, Jupiter, Venus ( didn't know Venus had "phases"!, could only see 75%.) I took pictures of Venus and Jupiter with auto-focus on and in my hands. Of course this doesn't work. But, it was fun! I love to look at the moon, especially at dawn. I am a FPGA designer for a large corporation. I have alot of pressure at work. This scope has allowed me to divert myself and find, yet another way to appreciate this beautiful world I live in! I also love to fish and take nature walks. We also have use the scope to observe nature on our 5 acre farmette, outside of Rockford, Illinois. After viewing the "DarkSky" map of light pollution, we find ourselves in a relatively dark area, considering Chicago is only 75 miles east of our home. I would like to ask you a few questions about astronomy and the ETX: 1. I bought the 9.7mm SP 4000 eyepiece to get higher magnification for planets and the moon. But, I notice a small aura around the center of the lens. I have tried to focus this out, figuring it was a diffraction ring. But, it's always there! No matter what I look at. Today I cleaned the eyepiece with distilled water and a chemical free camera lens cleaning tissue. Still there! Then I noticed that when I removed the eyepiece from the scope the image of the secondary was present on the flip-mirror and it resembled the concentric of the, above mentioned, aura! Am I seeing the secondary image? Is this typical of high power pieces? Meade told me how to clean it and thought that it my be a "bubble". What is a bubble? What do you think I should do? 2. I also cleaned my 26mm SP 4000 today. I noticed a small line/scratch/hair on the outer edge of the lens. It doesn't seem to affect the view, but it bothers me that the eyepiece had the blemish. I'm wondering if I have to return both the 9.7 and the 26mm to " Natural Wonders" and pick up two new pieces! 3. I seem to get better tracking when I align to the Magnetic North Pole. What is the relationship between the way meade has calibrated the drive vs. the Polar alignment reference? Is Polaris more accurate than the Mag North? 4. Should I purchase a polar alignment tool? 5. Meade states that a ETX tripod/eq. mount will be available July 98. I really want to buy the "traveler" from Bogen, but am wondering if I should wait. I also want to use the tripod when I go camping into rougher country. The "Traveler" has a 3036 leg tripod with a 3047 head. It seems like the best all=around choice. And, for only $199.00! Meade will be offering theirs at $200 also. 6. When I center the OTA using the flip-mirror down position, view from the eye-piece and then flip the mirror up and view though the camera view-finder I find that the object is not centered view to view. Should the object be centered the same in both views? I would think so if the flip mirror is centered and calibrated to the secondary. Well, I've really asked alot of you and I hope not too much. I love my ETX and want it to perform it's best! I just finishes dusting it and will soon tuck it to sleep. :) Hope you can help me! By the way, is there a ETX users group somewhere? Thank you very much! Sincerely, Walt Boyd
Mike here: Glad you like the ETX. It can do a lot as you've discovered. And even astrophotography can be done as shown on my ETX web site. As to your questions, here are some of my thoughts: 1. I haven't seen any "aura" in my Meade 9.7mm eyepiece. From your description I'm not sure what it is. 2. Over cleaning is not a good idea. Most times, dirt and dust on the eyepieces won't interfere. Of course, if it is bad and does interfer then cleaning is required. With that said, if you cleaned off the blemish then keep the EP. 3. The magnetic pole can vary from the earth's axis by quite a bit. This is because the source of the magnetic pole is not on the axis. In some places the variation is small but in others in may be in excess of 10 degrees. Pilots worry about magnetic variation and so this information appears on flying charts. Polaris is probably more accurate but even it is about 1 degree off the axis. 4. Depends. I'm hoping a review can be posted soon. 5. I have the JMI Wedge/Tripod combination and like it. Meade may be sending me theirs for review. Keep watching the site. 6. I've not seen the shifting image when flipping the mirror. Perhaps the problem is related to the aura you've seen. Maybe the scope is slightly out of collimation? There used to be an ETX group online but it seems to have gone away. The MAPUG mailing list and I guess my site are the closest things to a users group.
Subject: Computerized ETX Page Sent: Saturday, May 23, 1998 09:40:38 From: email@example.com (Peter Ryczek) I've been browsing through your great page, and decided to supply you with a link to my page, which describes among other things how to convert ETX to computerized scope using Meade's Magellan I astro computer for a dobsonian, as well as how to cool a color quickcam and convert it to an astro CCD camera. The page's address is www.gti.net/pryczek Sincerely, Peter Ryczek
Subject: base wiggle Sent: Saturday, May 23, 1998 05:59:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (michael yancey) Mike, have been looking over updated user feedback and noticed some questions about base wiggle. I used my ETX extensively this past weekend, after viewing for an hour or so I noticed play in the base. After closer exam I found that the wiggle was not from the ETX base, but from the mounting of my Bogen 3047. Where the head is connected to the tripod has for some reason worked loose a tad. I have been unable to find how to retighten the connection. Plan to contact Bogen for help. If you or any else has a solution, contact me at email@example.com. Thanks.
Subject: ETX purchase - I changed my mind Sent: Friday, May 22, 1998 21:01:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kim and Scott Girard) Once again congratulations on a great site! I wrote a couple of weeks ago regarding an ETX that I bought from the Nature Source here in Anchorage. I originally bought it but discovered that the R.A. control mechanism was broken when I took the scope out of the box. The Nature Source was great about it...they were going to replace it no problem. However, after this first experience with an ETX and along with the other reports regarding ETX quality problems I decided to just get my money back and try another scope. Since portability was one of my main concerns as well as quality optics, I bought a TeleVUE Pronto. The cost was about twice the price of the ETX but well worth it. Since this was to be my first serious telescope I felt it was important to purchase something that would not turn me of from the hobby. I consulted and purchased the Pronto from Martin Cohen at Company 7. Good folks....they only sell the best brands and they check out and test every scope prior to shipment. Company 7 will spend all the time you need explaining anything you need to know about buying a telescope or accessories. Check them out on the web........ Take care, Scott
Subject: I think my ETX is defective... Sent: Friday, May 22, 1998 06:38:03 From: Ray.Wartinger@usa.xerox.com (Wartinger, Ray C) I've been trying to smooth out my ETX RA motion ever since I got the scope. I've had it apart numerous times tweaking the RA axis screw, trying different lubes on the rubbing parts, waving garlic over it while reciting incantations.... Nothing has improved the situation. Moving the scope in RA is verrrrrry sticky and jerky. In all those times I've had it apart, I never noticed what I think is a defect in the bottom half of the drive base. This is going to be hard to describe w/o pictures... The screw comes up through the center hole in the bottom half of the base, and threads into the hole in the top half of the base. I think there's supposed to be a post connected to the bottom half of the base through which the screw passes on its way to the top half. In mine, it looks like that post is broken off at the base. In other words, the screw passes through the bottom hole, then *through thin air*, then into the top hole! There is a ragged edge around the hole that indicates that the post was once there but somehow broke off. Without this post, the drive halves don't line up properly and the off-axis forces in the base when the scope is polar aligned cause extra friction. In alt-azimuth mode there is no off-axis force and the RA moves smoothly. I think this happened at the factory since I've never heard anything rattling in there or seen any pieces when I opened it up the first time. There's also the possibility that someone else owned my scope before I did, broke it, and returned it -- then it was resold to me as if it was new. Grrrrr! Anyway, can someone verify that there should be this post I'm talking about? Also, does anyone have any bright ideas on how to fix it? I don't think my warranty is any good anymore. Are there parts available? For example, could I buy just the plastic bottom half of the base, without the motor, circuit board, and base plate? Does anyone have a spare fork mound they don't need - - like if you bought the Astro ETX but only use the OT? I'm open to suggestions and I appreciate any help I get. Thanks and sorry for the length of this message.... - - Ray
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Thursday, May 21, 1998 11:05:56 From: email@example.com (Claire Rainville) My dealer is holding off on ordering any ETX. Because of the following test. One client: cannot get the finderscope to aligne with Polaris. An Astronomy magazine test, that said it could not be aligned with finderscope. Now your article says you lined up the compass(working the polar alignment) Would you be ever so kind as to clarify this, as the only dealer in Victoria bc. ca. is a bird watcher only. Claire Rainville firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Polar aligning the ETX, while difficult to do "precisely", can be done with sufficient accuracy for visual work and some photographic work. Show your dealer the Buyer/New User Tips page where Polar Alignment Tips are discussed. A new tip went up tonight.
Subject: Changes in Latitudes... Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 1998 22:23:30 From: email@example.com (William Brower) Hi, I'm a novice. I'd like to get an ETX but am held up by one point. I'm moving to the central pacific (9 degrees north of equator). I read that polar alignment is unusable for southern sky observing when at latitudes near 20 degrees north due to the mechanical limitations of the ETX. Does this mean I can not "lock on" to southern stars or does it just mean alignment is more difficult? What is the most useful scope/mount combo for near equatorial (and extremely dark) viewing? Thanks, Bill
Mike here: The legs that are supplied with the ETX will not tilt the mount far enough to align to the Earth's axis when near the equator. Some heavy duty tripods can hold the ETX in this unbalanced position without tipping over. So that is what you would need.
Subject: Short eyepiece fix Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 1998 15:52:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James L. Powell) I've been visiting your site regularly since I got my ETX in December, and it's really great to hear from people with the same obsession as mine. (Stargazing, at least for me, has been a lonely business.) I especially like the "ETX home remedy" suggestions - I dutifully applied the "final fix" to the RA drive bolt, put a 35mm film can in the eyepiece hole, and was crushed when I was scooped on the Dymo tape fix for the "shorty" 26mm eyepiece. (I used electricians' tape, which was easy to trim to make the eyepiece parfocal.) So I was happy to see the question about the "right-angle finder vs. nose," which I also had to deal with. My solution was to get an eyepiece extension tube from Lumicon (which cost about $20). The extension tube adds about 100mm to the focal length (bringing the ETX to about f/15), but now I can use my right eye on the 9.7mm Super Plossl without uncomfortable contortions. Thanks for your continuing effort in maintaining my favorite web site. Jim Powell
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 1998 15:17:07 From: email@example.com (Alessandro LUIGI Salvi) Well, you're right ! I'm intend to buy an ETX and I'm looking for information here in Internet, and IT's VERY DIFFICULT. If the MEADE principal page yours it's the only one left ! Ok, I'm from Brazil, in the city of Belo Horizonte (near Rio de Janeiro, about 4 hours by car). I'm trying to buy one ETX, but my informers ther in USA tell me that you paid and after 3 or 4\ months they delivered it to you, and it's inside US. After they send it to me ! It's possible??? Do you know a place to buy imediately ???? Please HELP ME !!!!! `Well. I'm an amateur in the astronomy area. It'll be my first telescope !!! Thank you and soory by take your time ! Bye !
Subject: ETX Tripod Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 1998 05:40:05 From: KiescheF@cowen.com (Fred Kiesche) T-2 weeks away from the end of my classes and the Big Test, Part I (one part per year...). I got the new Meade catalog through my job (stock analyst, now I'm own their mailing list...doesn't mean I'll get answers any faster than if I were "only" a customer!). Anyway: In the ETX section they show a tripod. The description reads: "Field Tripod: The rigid, full-length Meade ETX Field Tripod allows for standing or seated observations through the telescope. Manual controls permit precise polar alignment of the telescope's fork mount for astronomical applications. For terrestrial observing, where altazimuth orientation is desirable, the tripod head tilts to 90 degrees." From the picture it looks nice, but it looks 90% the same as the tripod on many of the Meade refractors and smaller Newts. So, if anybody has owned one of those, they can probably tell us how steady the tripod is. The only difference is the head, allowing for the mounting of the ETX. No prices in this catalog, natch. The catalog does not show any other new nifty devices for the ETX. There might be something else coming, though. One analyst report on the company talked in vague generalities of upcoming products. One was the tripod, another was a mention that Meade would be selling some version of their computer guiding/searching capabilities on the lower end telescopes. So maybe we'll get Meade-designed GOTO for the ETX? If I see anything more definite, I'll let you know. (If anybody is interested, the other thing I noticed in the catalog is that the LX10 model SCT is no longer listed...only the LX50 and LX200 SCT's...) Fred Kiesche (FKiesche@aol.com--home) (KiescheF@cowen.com--work)
Subject: Etx Wobbles on it's base Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 1998 15:33:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Hansen) Mine also has a wobble to it, also the focuser is binding in spots. I did have a look through it Saturday, but it was late and I was tired. So I don't know yet on the optics...... Gary
Subject: ETX collimation. Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 1998 11:12:43 From: gibbonsc@mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA (Clive Gibbons) I just had a quick look at your "Mighty ETX" website and it's great! I've got a brief story to relate about a friend who recently bought an ETX spotter. He purchased the scope "brand new" from a local retailer in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At first, my friend was impressed with the ETX. However, after he checked the scope's collimation with a Tectron collimation tool, he was convinced that the optics were misaligned. Star testing that evening confirmed his suspicions; the sharpest star images were mid-way from the centre of field to the edge, at the 4-o'clock position. At centre of field, the diffraction image was a bit offset and midway towards the opposite edge of field (10-o'clock), the star images were mush. He returned the next day to the shop and described the problem. The sales guy listened patiently and then produced his own Tectron tool. Sure enough, his collimation tool saw the same defect. My friend then wandered over to the other ETX in the shop and asked if it could be tested too. Unfortunately, that scope tested worse than the first unit! The end result of this was that my friend exchanged his ETX for a TeleVue Ranger. I'm wondering how many instances you've heard of or encountered, of ETX mis-collimation? Is it a fairly common problem? Cheers, Clive Gibbons Technician, McMaster University, School of Geography and Geology.
Mike here: There have been scattered reports of bad ETX collimations. But whether due to shipping or other factors, who knows. However, according to reports, Meade has always come through with a replacement, either via the dealer or directly. Fortunately, the problems seem to be infrequent. But it is a pain when it is YOU that is affected; I know, my first ETX had a blemish on the objective. The Nature Company replaced the whole unit.
Subject: Meade s/w Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 1998 00:52:34 From: email@example.com (SFIM Industries (dmt)) We are looking for a professional ephemeris software. In fact, I have seen 'Epoch 2000 sk' from Meade's software and I want to contact them, but I don't know where I can do that. We have interest in that software. But, it needs to be a little bit modified. So, I am searching to contact the 'Epoch 2000 sk' programmer or the Meade corporation via Internet. Could you help me ? best regards Mr. Gagnaire
Mike here: Meade has a web site (www.meade.com) with contact info there. However, they don't mention any email addresses so you'll have to use fax or voice.
Subject: Telescopes Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 23:43:44 From: Stevemelvi@aol.com would you recomend the ETX over a Meade 4500? trying to decide between the two and would like your opinion thanks, steve melville
Subject: ETX Cases Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 17:55:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jerome A. Schroeder) A lot of folks used to buy carrying cases for the Early Macintoshes. The cases were much sturdier than the computers and they are beginning to show up at garage sales. I've found 4 of them for 5 to 10 bucks a piece. They are Perfect for the ETX. Slightly large, but that give you space for a starchart or skinny book. Jerry
Subject: loose base Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 16:52:19 From: email@example.com (Gail S. Bass) Mike, I just found your site, and have read only a few feedback notes. I will certainly browse more as you have done a fantastic job. I wanted to reply to a note by Barry Rayburn since I have been on the phone to Meade this past week about what might be the same problem. The techs are very helpful, and I am awaiting a shipment teflon shims to replace some that have apparently fallen out of my scope. I've had the scope a bit over a year (wish I had seen your site earlier) and have really been bothered by the wobble of late. I will let you know if I am able to install them and if that fixes the problem. I am so excited about finding your site - I must read on. Hope to share more with you soon. alan marwine
Subject: New ETX owner Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 15:25:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carl Stanley) I purchased a new ETX last week from my local Wal-mart store, I don't know if Wal-mart is selling these nation wide, but the price was right, I payed $548. I was able to open up the telescope box in the store and check the quality of the telescope. I'm impressed with the optics. Thanks for the great Web-site. Carl
Subject: ETX Wide Field Reducer Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 14:09:58 From: Ray.Wartinger@usa.xerox.com (Wartinger, Ray C) I recently tried the Apogee Wide Field Reducer on my ETX. This was advertised in the Pocono Mountain Optics ad in the June Astronomy. Bottom line: I sent it back. The problem was #1 it wouldn't focus unless I removed the focus knob to allow me another couple of turns before it touched the case. #2, it greatly restricts the motion of the OT through the fork since it attaches to the back of the ETX. The focal reducer lens element is mounted in a right-angle attachment and requires the Apogee ETX-to-1.25" adaptor. I thought this would be a neat arrangement since I could have two lenses on the scope at the same time and just switch the ETX mirror to go back and forth. However, since the two setups needed wildly different focus settings, it wasn't all that convenient after all. It did indeed produce a wider field (about 29x and 1.8 degrees with the stock 26mm EP - once I got it to focus, that is) and the images looked ok, but the drawbacks greatly outweighed the advantages. This still leaves me looking for a decent wide angle solution for the ETX. Any hints? - - Ray
Mike here: I also noted the big focus changes in my Showcase Products report but could focus. As you noted, it can restrict movement through the fork. But that is true of a lot of ETX accessories that mount on the back.
Subject: Hard time finding a used ETX Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 13:46:52 From: email@example.com (Hank Fly) I've searched the net and am on several group mailings, but where would you recommend I go to find an ETX at a good priced - used or new. I'm interested in astrophotography, so a Meade LX-10 would probably be better; but the ETX sure looks great. thanks, -Hank
I guess I'll look for my second choice: any 6-8" SCT. Checked the Starry Messanger, but all were too much. If you know of any bargains in this size let me know. Price I'm looking for is ~$450. I'll keep looking. Like your site!
Subject: Shutan Right Angle Finder and Nose Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 09:04:17 From: BMartin615@aol.com I just installed the Shutan right angle finder conversion on my scope, and it works great. Most of the time I view with my left eye, so I usually I don't encounter any problems with the finder being in the way. But when I switch to my right eye, I also have trouble getting my eye positioned when I use a short eyepiece without a barlow. One way to overcome this problem is to slide the eyepiece about halfway out of the housing making sure to lock the set screw securely. This adds about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch to the overall length. You can also use a 1" eyepiece extension tube, and it will accomplish the same thing. You will increase the magnification by probably 10% to 20% depending how far you draw the eyepiece out of the housing, otherwise there are no noticeable optical problems that I have noticed. Love your web page Mike! Bob
Subject: Re: Rookie questions. Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 07:33:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (BARRY K. RAYBURN, MD) A follow-up on my reported problem. I talked to Meade's technical support and they suggested I look at the three small teflon pads that are located at the top of the base section around the perimeter. Sure enough, one of them was out of position and not doing anything. I put it back into its holder and the wiggle disappeared. They offered to send a set of replacements and identified the problem first pass - so I suspect this must come up from time to time. Barry Barry K. Rayburn, MD email@example.com
Subject: Re: Dec control Sent: Monday, May 18, 1998 07:31:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ttggtt) Worked great. It also requires the operator to lock-in the vertical adjustment. Thanks for the tip. Tim Green
Subject: Dec control Sent: Sunday, May 17, 1998 14:52:48 From: email@example.com (ttggtt) I recently purchased an ETX. This is my first telescope, but have had limited experience on other models. On this model I, the declination control only operates by moving the telescope down for fine adjusting. Is this control supposed to be able to increase declination as well. Appreciate anyone answering who has a Meade ETX.
Mike here: It sounds like the DEC control arm is at the end of its run. Unlock the DEC Lock and then turn the DEC control back the other way until you have some more leeway in its use.
Subject: Solar Filter for the ETX Sent: Saturday, May 16, 1998 12:07:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mauro Alves) I am planning to buy a solar filter for my ETX and I would like to know if anybody can comment on the differences of Mylar and glass filters. Are they equivalent when we think about image quality? Thank you for your help. Mauro email@example.com
Subject: news from france Sent: Saturday, May 16, 1998 09:51:18 From: VDelcourt@aol.com I would like to encourage you to continue your work because your website is very well done and I've found lot of informations. Thanks for all Etx users all over the world.
Mike here: Thanks. And thanks to all who have contributed their wisdom, photos, and experiences.
Subject: First look Sent: Saturday, May 16, 1998 03:35:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Termite) I bought an ETX almost 2 weeks ago and it has been raining every since. If it's not raining, it's cloudy as all get out. But just now, there was a break in the clouds and the moon popped out. At 6:15am, it was trying to get light outside, but I had to get the ETX out. I didn't want to take the time to take my table out, so I just plopped the scope down on the hood of my truck. One thing I found out, my finderscope is way out of focus. After getting the moon lined up, I spent the next half hour viewing it. the only eyepiece I have at the moment is the 26mm that came with the ETX, but it was enough to keep me glued to the moon. I have ordered a 2x Barlow and it should be here soon. I just hope Mother Nature throws me a break in the clouds again tonight. Also, I was curious as to what eyepieces you have and what filters you use. Take care. Brad Setser
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Eyepieces and Accessories - Filters pages.
Subject: Meade ETX and Eyepiece quality control again Sent: Friday, May 15, 1998 18:18:49 From: email@example.com Thanks for a great web site--its helped me a lot in using my new ETX. I want to mention that I was really disappointed with Meade's quality control with the ETX and some of their eyepieces. The 26mm that came with the unit had obvious coating problems and a 6.7mm also had to be returned for the same problem. The ETX had a loose wire on it and the motor drive wouldnt work. I fixed that myself. Seems to me that Meade needs to QC their products a lot better than they do. Their service/customer relationship group is great and they really work with you,( especially Mike Leigh)to try to ensure your satifaction. I wrote a letter to Meade's CEO telling him about my problems and disappointment with their products---so far, no response. This is the last Meade scope I will ever buy----Celestron, here I come. Thanks for a great site William Gravett
Subject: Rookie questions. Sent: Thursday, May 14, 1998 15:45:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barry K. Rayburn, MD) Great site!!! I got my ETX a few weeks ago and have generally had the usual plagues of bad weather or a bright moon, but have been having a blast. It's set up on a Bogen 3211 with a pan head (no wedge) and that seems to work well for polar alignment. My best accomplishment to date besides great views of the moon was last night when I split epsilon Bootis (2.8") with a 9.7 Plossl and the 2x Barlow. Way cool! But, I do have two annoyances and wanted to see if anyone had suggestions. I have the right angle finder conversion from Shutan - works great; overall much more pleasant than the straight through. The problem came last night when I put in the 9.7 Plossl and found that my right dominant eye had a hard time getting to the right place because of the right angle finder stuck in the bridge of my nose! I could rotate the finder to move it out of the way, but then it looks like it would interfere with the forks. Anybody else have trouble like this with short eye pieces? Any ideas? The other problem is with the ETX itself. When the RA lock is off there seems to be an excessive amount of play or jiggle between the base and the scope. I can move scope up and down about 1/16 to 1/8" on the RA rings. At high powers it really shakes when the RA lock is off. Is this normal or is mine looser than most? Thanks for the great site and your time to keep it up. Barry Rayburn email@example.com
Mike here: I haven't come across the loose base problem or seen any similar mention. Maybe someone will have a good answer. As to the short eyepieces, noses, and the right angle finders, as long as the ETX clears the fork mount you shouldn't have any problem rotating the finder. An alternative is to mount the eyepiece at the rear port of the ETX. See the Accessories - Showcase page for the Shutan Visual Back accessory that allows this and the Accessories - Miscellaneous page for the Meade Erecting Prism.
Subject: Thank you! Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 1998 21:53:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Trl) What a wonderful page! I have been looking for a hobby that will captivate my interests and so I went to Griffith Obs. and started reading about Astronomy etc. I purchased three different magazines last weekend hoping to find info on telescopes that might be good enough to keep my interest while not too expensive and I saw the inexpensive Meade ETX. I was looking on the internet for some information on it and I struck pay-dirt with your page. What a value you bring to the purchasing decision. Michael, thank you! I look forward to using an ETX soon. Troy Logan
Subject: Re: Request aid in identification of older Meade telescope Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 1998 20:23:30 From: email@example.com (Ladd Morse) I'm finding that there are very few eyepieces to select from in the .965" range. I have found several .965 to 1.25" adapters that would allow me to select from the wide range of 1.25" eyepieces. Can you think of any reasons why this might be a bad idea? Ladd
Mike here: The biggest problem might be focus. Depending upon on a lot of factors, some eyepieces might not reach a proper focus with some telescopes. But I've used my .965 Edmund eyepieces (circa early 1960s) with my ETX. See the review on the adapter on the Accessories - Eyepieces page.
Subject: Request aid in identification of older Meade telescope Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 1998 09:56:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ladd Morse) You have a wonderful web page - I must admit that in the two days of learning about telescopes, your pages have provided about 95% of what I now know about the subject. :-) I recently purchased a used Meade spotting telescope that I believe is a precursor to the ETX model. As it came with no documentation and I am a complete and absolute novice at this, I would appreciate your advice in helping me to determine exact model of scope, approximate era of manufacture and generic quality in the grander scheme of things. If you are so inclined as to help, please visit the web page that I have set up with more information and some photos to aid in identification. Thanks, Ladd Morse www.his.com/ladmorse/meade/meade.html
Subject: Zoom Eyepieces on the ETX? Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 1998 19:42:42 From: JaePbond@aol.com On the use of zoom eyepieces for astronomy, there is generally the school of thought that serious work (maximum planetary detail to be drawn, etc), should be done only with single fl eyepieces. The counter argument to this is that there is benefit to framing objects (deep sky, etc.). So I wouldn't rule out zooms but I would have to agree that for best performance go single fl. Specifically, your Nikon zoom is considered to be among the best along with Swarovski according to Better View Desired. I doubt that the Orion listed zooms will be much better. I would try to get a custom adapter made to use it if by trying some rough tests show promise. Secondly, I use the ETX off the fork mount more than on it. I use an Alt-Azimuth mount with slow motion knobs (an old Unitron unit) on various tripods. I've found this to be very good for fine tuning as the fork slow motions are rough compared to this unit and is very portable with tripod. Of course you lose tracking. I've also used it on a heavier duty equatorial mount (SP/GP). The main reason for using these other mounts is if I decide to use a LAR, 6.3 SCT reducer, and a two inch eyepiece on a two inch diagonal. It becomes too bulky to be used on the fork, both from poor balance and lack of freedom of movement. Now it may seem that this type of a set up seems counter to the ETX concept but it turns out to be no more bulky than say a wide field 80mm refractor. You get better color correction and obtain a field of view over 2 degrees plus you can switch with the flip mirror the focal lengths instantly as opposed to having to unscrew the reducer as used on SCT. Hope this helps. Jae P
Subject: I want to buy a ETX. Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 1998 10:53:31 From: email@example.com (koizume) Thank you for your good site about ETX. I am living in Santiago Chile. I moved here from Japan at the begining of april. I want to order a ETX with some accessories. But I do not know how to do it from my residence. Can I order a ETX directly from Chile? Could you recommend a good shop for me? Could you please tell me some informations you know? from Yoshiyuki Koizume *************************************** e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org home page(Japanese only) http://www.geocities.co.jp/SilkRoad/3701 ************************************
Subject: ETX/Bogen tripod, and star test. Sent: Monday, May 11, 1998 16:52:29 From: email@example.com (Neil Reimer) Thought I'd send you my thoughts in response to some of the comments/questions in the user feedback section on your ETX site. After reading a message from Don Shope on your site and emailing him, I decided to purchase a Bogen 3036 tripod with a 3039 head. Don uses a 3011 tripod which he says is very stable but I liked the versatility of the 3036. It can go from 16" to about 7' and the legs spread at different angles. The 3036/3039 combination works great for polar alignment with my ETX at my latitude. Polaris is at about 21 degrees above the horizon in Hawaii. The ETX on this combination is very stable and not off balanced even at this low angle. One drawback would be that the N/S switch on the ETX bottom is partially covered by the quick release plate on the 3039. This is not a problem for us in the northern hemisphere but actually an advantage because I can't move the switch off the N position in the dark when I'm moving the wrong switch to engage the motor drive. The plate couldn't be used in the southern hemisphere unless it is modified. In response to one person's question about using the ETX on a tripod without the fork mount, I would say that it works fine but you no longer have use of the motor drive for tracking an object. This can get anoying at high magnification. I read a lot on this site and elsewhere about problems with the optics in the ETX, which got me a bit concerned. I have not had ideal "seeing" so far on the nights I've used my scope so I was uncertain of its colmination, etc. This weeked I did a "christmas ornament" star test. This is where you place a sphere in the sun (i.e. christmas ornament, but I used marbles). You then focus the scope on the sun's pinpoint reflection from about 75 feet away at high magnification and focus in and out. The shapes of the concentric rings gives you information on the status of your optics. The ETX passed with flying colors. aloha, Neil Reimer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: A great Website... Sent: Monday, May 11, 1998 10:18:51 From: Ray.Wartinger@usa.xerox.com (Wartinger, Ray C) Here's a great website to visit and possibly add to your (equally great) ETX site. Besides alot of general astronomy info and photos, it has a page of ETX interior photos and info on improving the ETX focus and diagonal mirror mechanisms. Check it out. www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/ The ETX info is under "Tubes and Adaptors" then "Using the ETX as a Guider Telescope". - - Ray "and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining"
Subject: Bogen 3021 Tripod w/ETX Sent: Monday, May 11, 1998 04:36:34 From: email@example.com (Al) I am using the ETX on my Bogen 3021, and it seems to work just fine. Even polar alligned at 36 degrees, the setup seems stable. I have tried the setup with the legs at all three displacement angles with no problem. I use a Bogen 3260 ? video head on the tripod. This head uses mounting plates for quick takedown, again it seems perfectly stable. Al
Subject: etx on the loose... Sent: Sunday, May 10, 1998 21:19:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joseph Azzarelli) I purchased an etx for christmas, but have only used it a few days so far. I have noticed that things are a little loose, even 'floppy'. The most annoying is the dec fine adjustment knob which has play when turning one direction and then the other, making fine adjustment difficult. The RA adjustment knob is wobbly as well. Is this normal? Thanks, Joe Azzarelli
Subject: Tripod Sent: Saturday, May 9, 1998 10:48:32 From: FSBV91F@prodigy.com (MR ANTHONY S SCIARA) Hi, I have been looking for a good, heavy duty field tripod for my ETX. I found one called the JMI Wedgepod, in the June issue of Astronomy magazine on page 32. It looks like it's exactly what I am looking for and it's made specifically for the ETX. Anyway, I don't know much about tripods so I was wondering if you could help me in finding a good one, that would work with my ETX. Also, what do you think about the JMI Wedgepod? Should I buy it? Well, your help will be greatly appreciated, thanks. My e.mail address is FSBV91F@Prodigy.com. From Ryan Sciara ETX Owner P.S. In the Meade ETX instruction manual, is says that the ETX's maximum practical visual power is 325X. But I am using mine at 374X, because I have the UWA 6.7mm plus the #126 Barlow. What does it mean?
Mike here: The JMI Wedgepod is a combination of their wedge and tripod. I have comments on the combination on the Showcase Products page. I liked it enough to purchase it after using it for awhile. As to max magnification, your mileage will vary depending on what you are looking at (brightness, size, etc), quality of the optics (all of them), and your expectations.
Subject: ETX clarification Sent: Saturday, May 9, 1998 09:19:15 From: email@example.com (Perry Rivkind) I reviewed the comments of the ETX by the folks on your web site. I do see a number of comlaints on Meades ETX relative to quality control. As to the 3 ETXs' I returned to Service Merchandise the one with the missing owners manual was Services fault. The other two had never been opened and were just shipped to the store defective. I can assure you that if the ETX was made in Japan it would be perfect. I guess that is why the majority of electronics sold in the US are made in Japan. Meade certainly must like you. Perhaps you should foward all the complaints to their Hqs. They just might make an effort to improve. In time poor quality control catches up and the ETX just might flop facing other competition. Again,I very much like your website. Perry
Subject: Zoom Eyepieces on the ETX? Sent: Saturday, May 9, 1998 09:09:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Al) Over the last several years I have found myself frequently turning my spotting scope skyward, and thus have become increasingly interested in astronomy. Yesterday, I took the plunge and purchased an ETX. My first view was of the nearly full moon, and I can only comment - WOW! I also learned why the manufacturers offer polarizing filters; the intensity of the moon's image with the 26mm standard eyepiece was stunning almost to the point of being painful. The question deals with eyepieces. My favorite spotter is a 60mm Nikon ED Fieldscope. The only eyepiece I have ever used is the Nikon 20x-36x zoom. This piece was highly rated, and has been fully functional under a wide variety of conditions and applications. The current Orion catalog shows manufacturers (Celestron, Vixen, Tele Vue) offering 1.25" zooms for telescopes. I understand that astronomical observation imposes different, seemingly more complex variables, than terrestrial observation, and at any given power, the zoom will invariably suffer somewhat when compared to a single power eyepiece. However, I would be interested in any input from ETX users regarding their experience with these or other zooms as well as general comments on the practicality of zoom eyepieces for astronomical telescopes. Secondly, my the ETX on a pretty heavy Bogen tripod with the same video head used for the spotter. The setup seemed stable, but I was wondering about removing the scope from the ETX fork mount and setting up like a spotting scope directly attached to the video head. I would like to see some comments from users who have used the scope on a tripod with and without the fork mount. This is an excellent web site. I was fully prepared to spend twice what I paid for the ETX, however the comments of satisfied users, photographs, and review links convinced me that the ETX was what I wanted as my starter scope. Al
Subject: Re : Re: hie Sent: Saturday, May 9, 1998 05:18:46 From: VDelcourt@aol.com Thanks for the informations. I've purchased the ETX telescope two days ago and i would like to know what is the most interesting to look at the beginning excepted the moon. For information i live in France. bye.
Mike here: Congrats on the new ETX. Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page. There is the beginnings of an observing "list" there.
Subject: Turntable for ETX Sent: Friday, May 8, 1998 14:56:31 From: email@example.com (Alex Gibson) I prefer to use my ETX on a table using the 3 tripod legs so that I have ready access to maps and related info. However, the slightest nudge knocks out the polar alignment by moving one or more legs. I have an idea but I do not want to proceed with the work if someone else has already solved my problem or has a better idea. I plan to place a fixed turntable on the main table which would turn on teflon similiar to a dob mount.. The ETX with the 3 tripod legs would be firmly set on the turntable by anchoring the legs via stops or indentations for the leg ends. Then once the main table is levelled and then the ETX is polar aligned the turntable would be locked in place. I haven't figured out the locking mechanism yet. Would appreciate any help on this subject. Alex Gibson EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Tripod for ETX Sent: Friday, May 8, 1998 10:14:54 From: John.Evans@cern.ch (John) My apologies if I haven t been able to find this but I was wondering if anybody had used a Bogen 3021 (Manfrotto 055C) with the ETX. Would anybody have any comments? regards, John.
Subject: ETX problems Sent: Thursday, May 7, 1998 13:32:58 From: email@example.com (Perry Rivkind) Hell'o, I took your suggestion and bought the ETX. Brought it home, opened it up and found it had been used.The owners manual and wrappings were missing. Brought it back and got another one. Took it home and tried to set it up. The center tripod would not fit in the base hole.Brought it back and got another one.Took it home, opened it up and found that the base had 2 deep cuts in it and a 3 inch scratch on the scope. Brought it back and this time got my money back $623.00. I also might add that the finish on the ETX was of poor quality. Meades quality control is pretty bad. I liked the ETX but the problems scared me off Meade. Appreciate your great web site and your valuable assistance to novices. Perry firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Egads! That's a horrible experience. I think I would try a different dealer if possible! If Meade is lurking on this site I hope they will follow-up and check with the dealer.
Subject: Auto Focus Sent: Tuesday, May 5, 1998 21:19:57 From: email@example.com (Antonio_L._Gonzlez) I read a lot of good things about the JMI MotoFocus and MotoDec on your great Web Page. However, I also read a lot of complaints about its inadequacies to focus at slow speeds (a must at high magnifications) and its keeping the ETX from reaching 90 degrees Dec (necessary for polar alignment, storage and transport of the ETX). My question is: are there other products out there made by any other company that could do a better job than the JMI's devices? Sincerely; Antonio Gonzalez
Subject: ETX user Sent: Tuesday, May 5, 1998 12:52:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (J Slivoski) I really enjoy your site and it influanced me to purchase an ETX which I've had since last October. It was mainly bought for astronomy, but I use more for terrestrial viewing than anything else. Mostly it's used in bird watching and bird photography. Although it's not the best set up for daylight telephoto use it has given me some great photos. Some of the better photos I've taken of the birds with the ETX are at our birding web site. I wonder if you would be interested in linking to us. Our address is http://www.slivoski.com/birding. Again all of the photos were taken with the ASTRO ETX connected to my 35mm camera. I tried a few night sky shots but untill we get a better tripod it's totally useless. My wife and I also have an Astronomy site. It has some photos I've taken of constellations, hale-bopp, and a few other night sky things. The pictures were all taken with a 50mm lens on my 35mm camera. This site's address is http://www.slivoski.com/astronomy. I should stress that we are new commers to both birding and astronomy as hobbies. City folk who finally got to move to the heart of the country where you can enjoy somewhat dark skies and plenty of wildlife. Thank's again for you site. John and Janet Slivoski
Subject: JMI ETX Polar Finder Sent: Tuesday, May 5, 1998 06:53:13 From: email@example.com (Alex Gibson) I have been looking through the articles and archives on your site for any user views on the polar finder advertised in the June/98 issue of Sky and Telescope, page 45 but have been unable to find anything. Have I missed it or is there just no reviews at this time?
Mike here: No reviews as yet. I don't have one (yet).
Subject: film question Sent: Monday, May 4, 1998 22:09:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (D.S. Dennison) My name is Shawn and I work for Natural Wonders where we sell the ETX. I'm seriously considering buying one (actually I know I'm going to buy it, I'm just waiting for the money to do so) but anyway, my question is I notice that you shoot with 400 speed film. Why did you choose this speed? I don't know a whole lot about astrophotography but it would seem to me that for the longer exposure times for deep space objects a higher speed would be in order, like TMAX1000 or 1500. If you could clear this up for me that would be great. Eager to learn, Shawn.
Mike here: I started out with 400 speed film since I had it on-hand. I've since moved to the Kodak Max 800. And yes, you're right. Faster film is better for astrophotography of most objects. Planets and the Moon may not need a fast film, depending upon a lot of factors. Of course, fast film can suffer from an increase in film grain, which may or may not be a factor. I've been pleased so far with the Kodak Max 800 and having it processed onto PhotoCD.
Subject: ETX-Bogen Balancing Accessory from Steve Stanford Sent: Monday, May 4, 1998 12:34:50 From: email@example.com (Buzz) This is a user comment for inclusion on your site. I found information about this product from the comment in your miscellaneous section. Received my ETX-Bogen Balancing Accessory from Steve Stanford (firstname.lastname@example.org) today. It came packaged in protective bubble wrap that contained the threaded bar, bolt, lock washer and ring washer. I didn't expect much, but to my surprise, the bar was mirror polished with all edges and points nicely smoothed and rounded. Mounting instructions were included. The assembly fit perfectly on my Bogen 3011 and the balance was spot on. My bar had a spacing of 2.75 inches between the mounting points which worked nicely for my lat of 38.58. There is even room on one end of the bar for a bubble level that you can get at any hardware store. He also includes a SASE for payment if you are satisfied. Now I can swing the unit around and even bump it without the worry of it tipping over. Thanks Steve! Buzz Burgess email@example.com
Subject: Finally bought one! Sent: Monday, May 4, 1998 10:43:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Termite) Greetings. Well, I finally bought an ETX!! I did alot of looking around, but I kept coming back to the ETX. I looked at some larger scopes that some friends of mine had and decided the time it took to drag a monster of a scope outside and set it up just wasn't worth it. I ordered mine from Eagle Optics for $589.00 plus $20 S/H. Thanx for all your help and for all the info on your site. Brad
Subject: Feedback: Photo Stuff with the ETX Sent: Sunday, May 3, 1998 17:18:19 From: LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@eds.com G'day Mike, Received some good feedback. I have nearly made it through all of the archives. Perhaps I should have read through them before asking questions, it would have saved you a lot of time. I now realise that I am not on my own when it comes to this issue. Also some of the readers have referred to the QuickCam. I have attached a URL for a good site which also has plenty of other Quickcam info links: Astrophotography with a QuickCam Regards from OZ Scott. To: Scott Patten From: RAYREG [INET.RAYREG] @ DIAMOND @ EDS HUB@AUEDSHUB Date: 02/05/98 02:13:00 EDT Subject: Photo Stuff with the ETX Scott- I agree with Mike. Any scope can produce image blur or shift for less than obvious reasons. I, too, have had a "blur" problem using the time release method with my Nikon FM on the ETX. I ran several tests with the camera in place, and, while viewing through a 12mm X-hair, noticed a very perceptible movement of the object even with a mirror lock-up. The hat trick is probably the best way to go. But...even some of the blurry shots of a 2-day old moon look good. Good luck. Keep trying! Ray G
Subject: observations of ring nebula Sent: Sunday, May 3, 1998 07:55:58 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com it's been a while sinced i have sent an email in but I do keep coming back to this webpage. As to viewing the ring nebula with the etx, i found that when i viewed it, the image of m57 was crisp and clear. Without any kind of filter, I was able (and other people as well) to view the ring nebula, which is a small planetary nebula of about a 9 magnitude. Being able to view a 9 magnitude object with a 3.56 inch diameter scope i feel is very impressive. With a filter (lumicon's Olll), i am able to see more details in it. Another big factor when observing this is, how long do u look at it for? The longer an object is observed, the better the view. There is a big difference between observing an object and just looking at it. I spend up to about 45 minutes observing one object. This not only provides better views of the object, but it trains your eye to become more sensitive. I have observed m57 many times with my etx, as well as my 10 inch dob and 17.5 inch truss. To be honest, i find the etx to be my favorite scope. Every object that I have seen with my other scopes i have seen with my etx. M57 isn't a bright object, or detailed one, but knowing that you're viewing an object about 2,150 lightyears away through a 3.56 inch scope really impresses me. Dave
Mike here: A couple of other tips on seeing more when viewing faint objects. 1) Let your eyes become fully dark-adapted. 2) Use averted-vision, that is, don't look directly at the object but look slightly off to one the side of it. Try different sides, top, bottom, etc, to see which direction works best for you.
Subject: Another Baby Mak Story Sent: Friday, May 1, 1998 22:27:22 From: email@example.com (Raymond Gilmore) Another astro-nut and myself set out to compare my ETX with a 12.5 Meade Dob. How stupid! Of course the 12.5" found the deep sky objects to be brighter and with better resolution. But, it was the ETX that showed it could ALSO find these objects and display them with ease. Examples: M-97; M-106; M-51; M-95 and 96. As a point of comparison, we both scoped M-42 and 43. The view with the 12.5 was fantastic with a 26mm Plossl. Not to be outdone, the Baby Mak, with the same 26mm, showed the same,beautiful view, but with better contrast and definition...but, not as bright. We both agree - Baby Mak do reallll good!! RpG
Subject: wide field adapter Sent: Friday, May 1, 1998 18:30:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (peter zimmerman) Another solution to the wide-field problem is available from Orion. It is possible to purchase a "Large Accessory Ring" from them which functionally changes the porthole at the back of the ETX into a completely standard SCT mount. I got it so I could use my existing camera T-mount adapter with the ETX. The ability to put standard accessories for an SCT on the ETX means that you can buy any make of wide field adapter (or use one you have) to obtain the advantages of exposure time reduction, etc. I'm planning to try one sometime in early summer. It may be that the Shutan is better; it may be that the Meade standard or the unit from other companies is superior. They are slightly more expensive, I think. pete
Subject: Very nicely done webpage on Meade ETX....lots of good info Sent: Friday, May 1, 1998 15:42:58 From: email@example.com (Daniel H Lauring) Nice work. I just picked up one at Service Merchandise of all places. Its my second telescope. I tried a 114EQ 4" reflecting telescope but found it frustrating chasing Jupiter across the sky (seemed to race out of view every 10 seconds.) Wouldn't you know, since I got it on Thursday its been raining and cloudy and they predict rain all weekend! I've got a question for you. With no stars to look at I tried it out on some terrestrial bodies. I focused it on some white tulips behind our house (about 300 yards away.) I was a little suprised to see some pretty severe ghosting around the white heads of the flowers. Is this normal? Will this occur with planet viewing? I don't see anything like this indicated with your moon and planet photos. Did I get a bad one? The other thing I noticed it the fine altitude adjustment seems to have a big freeplay/backlash in it. When I change directions it takes quite a bit of winding before it starts moving in the other direction. Thanks. Again, nice informative website (I must have spent 2 hours reading the reviews and tips there.)
Mike here: Are the optics perhaps dirty? Maybe it had been sitting out at Service Merchandise and so collected some dust? Or maybe someone tried to clean the optics and left smeared residue? Either one, especially a lousy cleaning, could result in a bad image. The declination adjustment should kick in immediately if the DEC lock is fully engaged. However, since this is just a friction lock it could be that it has gotten dirty as well as so there is less friction. So, I guess I could begin to wonder how long this scope was sitting out in the showroom (or elsewhere) and under what conditions. I'm not saying that a dirty scope is the culprit in both of these cases but it could be.
They just got them in and sold out most of them so I don't think it sat too long. I did notice the front lens came off rather easily and there was a piece of material on the inside of the lens which I dusted off. Otherwise the lens looked remarkably shiny and clean. It was rather scary actually. Not only did the front lens unscrew quite easily (as I was trying to loosen the lens cap) but the body started unscrewing as well. I had to tighten the whole tube back down. How do I clean the lens properly? I'll want to try that before returning it. I read a post on sci.astro.amateur where an uncoated lens caused these ghosting reflections. Does that sound possible? re: DEC lock: Woops, sounds like a case of "read the manual." I didn't have the friction DEC lock fully engaged. Just gave it another go on some street lights down the block and didn't see any ghosting whatsoever. Now I'm wondering if I forgot to open my glass door and was sighting through it. I imagine the thermal panes would play havoc on the image! If I can get this sorted I think the ETX will be the ideal scope to introduce my boys to stargazing. I'll always remember sitting out a night with my father, gazing, with fascination, at the moon's craters through his spotting scope. I was looking for a telescope that would be as easy to crank out for use with my boys. Thanks again for the help and great website.
Mike here again: See the March 1998 Feedback archive for some cleaning tips.
I checked this morning through the sliding door glass and without it. There was not a discernible difference. Both looked fine...no ghosting. Then I remembered the screen door. When I viewed through that I got terrible ghosting. Problem solved. I feel a quite silly now.
Subject: Help! Using DC camera with telescope Sent: Friday, May 1, 1998 12:05:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clifford A. Pulis) Hope you can help us. You are unique in your success with the DC and telescope in astrophotogaphy. We need help, that is our club members (Everglades Astro. Club.) are anxious to know how you are able to get a focused image notwithstanding some inherent obstacles in the DC's. Please answer the following: I'm unable to get a focused image either thru the eyepiece or thru the rear port of my Questar 3.5" telescope. I am using a Kodak DC-120 which has a fixed lens and an automatic focus (It does NOT focus thru the primary lense). It has no manual focus. Does your casio DC -QV-10 have similar features? If so, how are you able to focus, and how do you circumvent (or neutralize) the camera's fixed lens? Bottom line, How do you get a fixed focus? Thank for your help. Cliff Pulis
Mike here: I guess maybe I've been lucky or maybe just persistent. Taking astrophotos using the Casio is challenging and requires some patience. The Casio QV-10 has a fixed focus lens focused at infinity (except for a macro position which is not applicable for astrophotography). So I can't adjust the focus nor does the camera do any automatic focusing. This is ideal for the eyepiece projection (really afocal) photography. I focus the image in the eyepiece by looking into the eyepiece as normal. Then I place the camera lens up to the eyepiece. Since the Casio has a nice LCD screen I can see what the lens sees. When I have the image I want, I press the shutter button. Then I usually delete that image since I moved the camera during the exposure, which even though very brief, it can be long enough for blurring to occur from handholding the camera. I take lots of pictures but delete them from the camera almost immediately. I eventually get the good photo. If there is a distance sensor IR port on your camera, you might be able to cover it to disable the automatic focusing (although that might fool the camera into thinking the subject is really close!). Since I don't have the Kodak camera, I don't know what else might work. Maybe someone else has some thoughts?
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