Last updated: 15 September 2003
Subject:	ETX-105EC/UHTC
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 22:42:10
From: (skyray60)
Regarding the ETX-105:

I am an avid Celestron user and have owned both the Celestar 8 with
Advanced Astromaster and CM1100 with Advanced Astromaster.  Both scopes
were equipped with CCD cameras; ST5C for the C8 and ST6B for the C11
running 'The Sky' Ver. 5 Astronomy Software and CCDSOFT for image
processing.  Both scopes are great in a fixed site situation and of
course the C11 is the standard for imaging.   I travel a lot and wanted
a portable scope that would fit in the overhead of a commercial aircraft
but still supply the image quality and light gathering ability to view
my favorite objects in different parts of the country.  A friend in Salt
Lake City recently upgraded his ETX-90 with Autostar to the ETX-105 with
Autostar.  Having the opportunity to view with the 105, I decided to
purchase this scope when the price went down last February.  Meade
offered the ETX-105 with #884 Tripod and #497 Autostar for the
affordable price of $695 thru its dealers.  I purchased the scope from
Astronomics and also opted for the special Series 4000 eyepiece set for
$99 which I was eligible for when the purchase of the Meade scope was
transacted.   To put it rather bluntly, I was pleasantly surprised at
the image quality and facility provided by the ETX-105/UHTC.   When I
pointed the UHTC at M4 and my Salt Lake City friend did the same (side
by side with same eyepiece, 26mm) we found that the UHTC clearly showed
that magnificent Globular Cluster next to Antaraes, while the standard
105 did not.  What Meade says about the UHTC having a 20% increase in
light gathering ability seems to be absolutely true.   With the eyepiece
set in tow, I took the ETX-105/UHTC up to another friends observatory in
Minnesota and set up for a week of viewing over the July 4th.  Again, I
was presently surprised at the number of objects I could find and view
with the ETX-105/UHTC.  The eyepiece set allowed me to select the field
of view that best displayed the object I wanted to see.  I love to star
hop, and found that with a red dot finder, finder scope and large FOV
eyepiece (32mm) I could jump from object to object with ease.  Not
having to rely on the computer is the most fun of all.  In dark skies
(Mag 6+) the ETX preformed much better than I originally expected.  
When we hooked up a digital camera, the views of the moon were some of
the best I've seen with any scope.  The optics on the ETX are truly
wonderful and tack sharp, clear and in focus from edge to edge.  At
another friends place in Landers, California I hooked up a video camera
to the ETX and the image on the TV monitor was just great.  We made over
2 hours of video tape of the moon and Mars.  With a Barlow the ETX
showed close up views of the moon that were wonderful.  With eyepiece
projection, the views of Mars were much better than expected.  I had
thought that focusing Mars would be difficult, but by observing the TV
Monitor, I was able to tweek the focus to an acceptable level with a
little persistence.   To put it mildly, anyone that cannot get some
wonderful views with the ETX-105/UHTC is simply not trying.  I hate to
say this, but my opinion of Meade has changed considerably; for the
better.  My scope was shipped minus the eyepiece rubber cup and when the
Autostar was broken in shipment back from Minnesota I was at a loss. 
Meade did not answer their phones and did not reply to my emails.  I
went to Irvine, California to visit Meade and after about 2 hours of
waiting (with others there for the same purpose-repair) I came away with
a replacement Autostar and the rubber cup I was missing.  I talked with
one of their sales people and voiced concern about Meade's lack of
customer service and quality control of their products.  He assured me
that things will improve after this rush is over concerning Mars.  Meade
has been inundated with business and cannot keep up with the demand for
scopes, much less service what is already out there.   Time will tell
about the improvements, but for now I am a happy camper (or observer as
it may be).

Ray Stinson
Salt Lake
Los Angeles

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