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  1. #1
    Astro-Baby's Avatar
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    Unhappy Meade 5000 Series APO



    I have a Meade 5000 Series triplet APO in 102mm on evaluation at the moment. I was offered it at what I consider a good price and I was considering it as a smaller scope which would be easier to transport than the other scopes in my stable.

    Last night I got to use it for the first time and I have to admit it was very disappointing in the views it offered up. The moon was was quite awesome with very crisp well defined views and Saturn was similarly crisp and well contrasted BUT its deep sky performance seemed far more lacking than I would have supposed. The double cluster was a bit ho-hum, M13 was merely a puff of smoke. I couldn't test other targets as they werent available. M42 was too close to the moon, M31 too close to the horizon etc.

    Now obviously I wasnt expecting a 100mm refractor to slog it out and give views rivalling my 200mm reflector but I really felt, and my partner agreed, that the scope seemed to offer only the same quality of views as my trust yTAL 100RS Achromat which is also a 100mm scope. I was expecting something sharper, clearer etc.

    Now last night, although it was an unsually good night for the UK, did suffer from a really bright moon which obviously wont have helped but I know from experience the TAL would have delivered views that were probably as good.
    I know this will most likely cause all sorts of punch ups in the saloon but I really was struggling to see any advantage in the Meade 5000 for its hefty price tag compared with my TAL 100RS.

    If I want to keep the Meade 5000 then some of my other scopes have to go. The 250mm reflector will go anyway but I'd also have to sell the Mak 180 to cover the cost of the Meade 5000.

    While I'd be perfectly happy to sell the 250 I would be reluctant to sell the Mak 180 UNLESS the Meade could amaze and I felt from last nights viewing that it could do little that the humble TAL cant.

    Am I missing something here ? Could this particular scope just be a lemon ?

    I have to say from an ergonomics viewpoint I wasnt impressed with the Meade - it has a lot of faults for sure. Most of these could be corrected or worked around but only if the views were going to be worth it.

    So .......should I really expect an APO with a UK price tage of £1300 to perform not substantially better than an achromat with a price tag of £300 ?

    I dont do imaging so the advantages of a faster focal ratio are not very significant to me.

    Your opinions would be valued.
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  3. #2
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    Yes-- but you may have an exceptionally good sample of an achro -- an example would be that several of the Stellarvue brand Achromatics give views almost as good as an APO triplet.

    You sound like me-- sorry but I am not impressed with a refractor style scope (for visual)except for certain targets like double stars -- planets-- and solar. Now for astro-photography an APO is simply the best thing to use!

    I have always found them less than I expected on Deep Sky-- Keep the Maksutov.

    Forget about the Meade 5000-- anyway that's my 2 cents worth.

    Clear skies!

    (PS-- for the refractor heads out there who are fixing to FLAME ME-- I have a Stellarvue BV80 -- binoviewer ready refractor-- my one and only refractor.) so I am also a REFRACTOR-head.
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  4. #3
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    Default

    Hey there Astro-Baby

    First, thanks for tips posted on your website on how to collimate a reflector.

    I have a Zhumell 10 inch reflector that I use just for visual work. For astrophotography I have an Orion 120 ST with a ED80T-CF on order. IMHO a refractor, no matter how good, can’t hold a candle to the power of a large and relatively inexpensive aperture available in a reflector. For imaging, a reflector is no match to the ease and contrast available in a great refractor. If your game is just visual, stick with the reflector.
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  5. #4
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    My 5000 APO is strictly for Imaging purposes only, that is where they excel! Agree wholeheartedly with what Joe said.

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    Jeff Turner


    12" LX-200 GPS w UltraWedge, 800 HD OTA, CGEM, 80mm Meade APO, Orion ST80, Orion Mini Guide
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  6. #5
    astronut's Avatar
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    For what its worth I had owned both the Meade 6" achro & the Meade 7" Mak at the same time a while back & that was the only refractor I really missed due to its aperture ( did require a -V filter) BUT it could not hold a candle to the mighty maksutov.
    Given a choice on an APO tho I have a small ED I do intend to someday own a large triplet APO someday but in the 4" range a used Tak is the way to go for visual or AP IMHO. Blows away the Meade.
    A 102FS Tak can be had for $1,300 USD just saw one tonight on Cloudy Nights ( used obviously) actually considered it but wife would have the family jewels on display so.......I backed out at the last moment, ( If I had a nice HD mount id have bought it & chanced the frying pan reprival. vA good mount can set one back too.........sigh.
    The only Meade product thus far that ever impressed me was my 7" Mak.
    And ive owned a LOT of Meade scopes including the 8" SCTs.
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  7. #6
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    Problem here is the UK is terrribly expensive for telescopes. For instance this Meade 5000 I have is $1300 dollars in the states - its £1300 here in the UK and the £ is worth $1.6 so if you added what we would pay for stuff the TAK you mention would come out at about $2000 in your cash - ie almost double the price and that assumes you could find one.

    I have other issues with the Meade to be honest. Mechanically its not great. The finder is a horror - theres so much wrong with it. The illumination is way to bright even at its lowest setting, doesnt hold zero, its wobbly as hell because the finder holder is so badly designed. The finder bracket is also designed to scartch the focusers whitework to bits. The focuser is ok but why in hell didnt Meade put a proper rotating focuser on it. The finder always fould either the eyepiece or the carrying handle.

    The ludicous dew sheild which has to be puit on the scope backwatds for transport is so duff - it means the inside area of the dew shield (the bit you;d like to be black) is constantly rubbed to a satin finish when you place the shield on the scope for transport and the metal lens cap with threads just a hair away from the optics is bizarre - why would you do that ?

    The dovetail is a horrible cast thing rather than a machined or milled bit of aluminium.

    These are all faults I could resolve and on the credit side the focuser is rather good, the lenses look beautiful and taking just the OTA on its own its rather well made with a good finsih to its white work its a shame that attention to detail on the other bits was left out.

    I dont think this ones a keeper to be honest - I was out last night with it and it just totally leaves me cold.

    Its a shame because with some of the niggles fixed it might be a good scope and it definitely more portable than anything else I have including the TAL which is longer and tricker to transport.
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  9. #7
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    It is too bad that meade has built a reputable name for themselves then let quality go by the wayside ...I have an old lxd 55 achro in the 5in range and i love it ..It has good color and the fringing is not too bad except on bright objects .. Mabey i got a good example of one like joe L was saying about your TAL ..I have heard that those scopes are worth the money and have good color as well .....Mine came with tube rings and a crappy small cast dovetail so i replaced it with a generic 13in machined one ...The stock finder was also replaced ..I cant stand a straight through finder ...I was considering getting one of the series 5000 scopes , Now i will have to test drive one before i buy one ..
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    classic Big-mac , Meade eye pieces with a few odd balls thrown in ...
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  10. #8
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    Well I wouldnt be entirely negative about the 5000 - the main OTA is nice - its well made and the focuser is very good, the fit and finsih is alo good. I just think for £1300 it should preform a lot better than my 2nd hand TAL achro which cost £120.

    It could well be the TAL is simply too good - plenty of people who have used them would rate them as the best 4" Achro available at almost ANY price. Optically the TAL is so good its scary. Believe it or not I bought mine as a piece of room decor, after all a second hand achro that cost £120 was hardly likle to be much good was it ?

    After I had owned it a few weeks I decided to plonk it down outside and have a look throughit at the moon - I almost fainted at how good the view was My partner had a look and was knocked out. A few weeks later we were in a field with a seasoned lunar observer with his 6" SCT and box full of TV eyepieces and you could hear him grinding his teeth after he saw the view through the TAL with an indifferent Plossl

    Who knows - maybe I hjave a one in a thousand scope with the TAL. It certainly doesnt exhibit fringing in any great way - it can be a little bit prone to it but nothing that a light yellow filter doesnt kill off. It also has a wonderful 'snap' to focus - your never in any doubt if perfect focus is acheived. Peple who have had a look through it have usually been pretty well amazed.

    The 5000 - sighs - I have it for one more week so it has a stay of execution pending me finding the views to be worth the price tag

    Ah well - my love of the TAL is well known. The downer with the TAL though is trying to find something thats better at a price that I can afford
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  11. #9
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    Sorry to hear its so expensive on scopes over the big pond. Can get expensive in Canada too & we are neighbors go figure. Import taxes .......gotta be a better way.
    If I lived over there id make a friend here, have them buy the scope for you then ship it as a gift. Ive done that a few times for buds in Canada, it works very very well.
    I will say Meade does make pretty good lenses, one of their better ones is the 102mm achro. Had one & it had a very low CA BUT, as in all cheaper Meades it had a focuser that one would expect on a $50 junk scope from Tasco. Saying it has play & slop is a gross understatement & nobody makes a crawford that fits its odd size OTA.
    I wasn't about to have a custom made focuser that cost more then the scope machined so I fixed it myself drilling & tapping in a nylon bolt which worked great but looked like crap. The guy who bought my Orion ED also got the 102 I just threw it in I was so disgusted with the focuser. He said later he liked the 102 for the larger aparture & the nice view. If they would just make good focusers for them they would sell like wildfire, or if someone offered a focuser mass produced that fit them one could make a small fortune im sure.
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  12. #10
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    Astro-Baby I have a solution!
    Sell me the Tal! If its not around other scopes won't seem so bad.
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