Must have had too much time on my hands....for your amusement.. some thoughts on a few pieces of kit I've had the chance to meet over the last few years
Royal 2.5” Refractor.
My first love who showed me Saturn. She was an equatorially mounted refractor with slow motion controls. Silver finish. 450x power! All I ever wanted after that was bigger & brighter.
The Royal lied. Chuck really didn’t like Diana. As for 450x??? What was my 13 year old mind thinking. My first “big” scope arrived a decade later. It was black. Fantastic bang for buck. The heavens unfolded.
It took me some years to discover all C-8’s were not created equal, as the version 2.0 “CAT” I upgraded to (downgrade really, but the S&T advertising was slick in the mid 1980’s) was sadly a sow’s ear compared to my Vixen SP mounted original. After 35 years satisfaction still guaranteed.
Meade LX10 SCT
First one went back to the factory. Second one was not much better. Lacked contrast.
The forks hummed...I suspect at F sharp.....then again maybe D flat....
Beautiful engineering. Now out of fashion, but the tangent arm drive in declination was sublime. No pregnant pause when reversing direction. Push either Dec button and the mount responded instantly. It worked beautifully. In a perfect world I’d still have one.
Bought one as a little bird told me GoTo for the G-11 was soon to be invented. Still... hit it with a hammer...and not a lot happens...just keep on trackin’ . The design is very much Scott Losmandy’s baby, and has been developed enormously for well over 15 years....and continues to do so. Rigid, low PE, amazing payload capacity. It continues to evolve. Probably the best mount you can lift without getting a hernia.
Very precise and correct. GoTo placed somewhere in the 1960’s but functional with good American software and any PC notebook. Not an American 428 cubic inch muscle car (or Sumo WRX ) but packs beautifully into a Pelican case and is the perfect partner for travel or while on safari.
Nothing digital here...just inspired engineering from the generation that put men on the moon, flew the SR-71 and Concorde and probably also invented Velcro. They really *are* better than any 3.5” Maksutov since 1950. Simply the original “cool”.
Serious aperture without a too serious price tag. A beautifully behaved telescope that gave many years of service with a minimum of fuss. Not top shelf, but continually performed very well.
I told the kids....if we have a bushfire...please grab the AP130.
Optical perfection in a small, fully machined optical tube that would easily double as an x-ray wave-guide. These telescopes are sublime. Perfect intra-and extra-focal patterns converge to a focus which delivers an image as good as the laws of physics allow. I’ve had many offers from others to buy it...from my cold dead hands....
See AP130. But she’s a big girl. 4” focuser and field flattner makes her back-end even heavier....(no darling...your butt does not look big in black) but there are few telescopes out there than can deliver needle point images over a 6x7cm frame and are still waiting for CCD’s to grow up.
1st Gen RCOS 12.5” Carbon Tube
Big. Flashy, and with a little attitude. A top shelf performer to be sure, but lacked some refinement....that came in the later models.....
Carbon Fibre truss. Bugger-all flexure or focus shift. Zero expansion ceramic optics with superb thermal stability. Focus absolutely adjustable to 1/10,000th of an inch. Paul Jones took a while to get the optics right, but nailed them in the end. Mega $ bucks, while not Valhalla, produces images most sane mortals would be happy with....
Then again..is this an insane hobby or what...?