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LX800 versus LX600

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#1 Topquark

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 05:05 PM

Hello All,

I'm trying to decide between a LX800 and an LX600. From a performance perspective, is anyone familiar with any differences? I'm interested in the 12" models for astrophotography. It appears that both are suited to astrophotography. The difference in price is large. What does a 12" LX800 do that the 12" LX600 does NOT do?

Are there any major reliability differences?
Are there any major portability differences? Size and weight are not explicitly stated.
Are there any major performance differences?
Does one model require a great deal more accessories to get it working?
Is there a major performance difference between the mounts? Maybe the mounts can support different amounts of weight, which may explain the difference in price.

From reading about the two product, I can't really determine these differences. I can see that the LX800 lists a different set of features, but I'm not sure this justifies the extreme difference in price.

Listed prices:
12" LX600: $5,500
12" LX800: $10,000

I'm looking for a response from perhaps a Meade employee or even someone who may have considered the two scopes as I have before. Any insight would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!
-Topquark

#2 gspie

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:56 PM

The major difference between the two is that the LX600 is a fork-mount (that supports an equatorial wedge), and the LX800 is a German Equatorial mount. I currently have an LX200 (while my LX800 is still held in quarrantine due to the recall ;<(

The issue I have with it is the distance from the rear-cell to the bottom of the fork mount -- I cannot image beyond 50-degrees declination or the camera will hit the base (of the LX200). The LX600 looks like there is more room for the camera - just not sure how much space.

I have been working with other GEM mounts, and like them, which is another reason I went for the LX800 -- the only issue is if you image too far beyond the meridian, you may have to do a pier-flip -- not great in the middle of an imaging run.

The LX600 with the fork is pretty heavy -- the OTA itels is not too bad -- the LX800 mount is close to 40 pounds -- just the mount head. So the weight is probably an issue for either.
The LX800 can support a pretty big load -- it comes with 22-lb weights, and additional weights can be ordered --probably not an issue, I thing the 12" gets two by default.
LX850 with 10" ACF OTA and Takahashi FS 60C OTA -- SBIG STT-8300M CCD with FW8G-STT Self Guiding Filter Wheel and SBIG AO-8 Adaptive Optics -- Camera Control and Image Calibration with Maxim DL/CCD Pro, Image processing with PixInsight, and final composition with Photoshop CS5

http://home.comcast....ie/astroweb.htm

#3 Topquark

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:10 PM

Ya know, I never even considered the bottom of the camera impacting the base of the fork. That is a really good concern.

From the website:
Solid Fork Mount With Heavy Duty 5.75" Gears. Large, high-quality worm-gear drives in both axes provide smooth movements with low periodic error that are critical for long exposure astrophotography. Providing the freedom to go horizon to horizon without any meridian flip, unlike German Equatorial Mounts.

A pier flip occurs when the telescope is tracking, and suddenly it must re-orient itself to continue tracking, because it has reached a physical limit, correct?


If the fork mount can address this, then maybe the $5,500 unit is even superior, not just in price, than the LX800?

Does anyone know of a good source of technical information about these scopes?

Size is important to me; I want to know if I can fit it in a Toyota Corolla. . . . haha.

Anyways gspie, I appreciate your response. It was very helpful.

-TQ

#4 Topquark

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:16 PM

I love your site gspie! It is inspiring, especially as I'm just starting out.

-Thanks again

#5 gspie

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:40 PM

The pier flip is necessary when tracking an object across the meridian. Based on the declination of the object, as the gears track westward past the meridian, there is a good chance that the OTA will hit the tripod. The LX800 is supposed to stoip tracking once it passes a set distance past the meridian-- I didn't have it long enough to test it. In my circumstance, once I get a few degrees beyond the meridian, my imaging run would be terminated because my house is to the west of my observation point, so this is not an issue -- I plan my exposures around it.

The fork mounts will not have this problem. What I do when imaging with my LX200 is put the camera on the back of my rear-cell, then see how far it will go manually before hitting the fork base. I then set my imaging software to not slew beyond that point. I forgot once -- scope made some nasty noises, but I was able to disengage the cluths before anyt real damage. The LX600 appears to have quite a bit more distance between the reear cell and mount base -- see if the specs say how far it is, or maybe someone at Meade support can tell you.
LX850 with 10" ACF OTA and Takahashi FS 60C OTA -- SBIG STT-8300M CCD with FW8G-STT Self Guiding Filter Wheel and SBIG AO-8 Adaptive Optics -- Camera Control and Image Calibration with Maxim DL/CCD Pro, Image processing with PixInsight, and final composition with Photoshop CS5

http://home.comcast....ie/astroweb.htm

#6 Topquark

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:36 PM

It is knowledge like this that I need to ingrain into my brain:

1.) How not to totally screw up the telescope you spent eons saving for by hurting components during auto tracking.

Among other, slightly lesser important gems:

2.) How to make good equipment decisions from the beginning, to avoid wasting time and money. There are a lot of options out there. I think that if/when I finally obtain the gear I want, I'll write an in-depth review. I have read quite a bit of reviews on how to get started. I want to detail every bit of it. I'd like to help the people who are just getting started to avoid expensive mistakes. For example, I drove out of the city to the darkest site within many miles. I brought my DSLR camera to try and just play around with the manual exposing for longer than a fraction of a second. Upon getting there, I found I had made two really dumb errors. The moon was obnoxiously full (I still haven't completely forgiven her), and although I had tried exposing my DSLR in the manual setting while at home and had it working fine, I hadn't tried it in the dark. The 4 hour trip was completely wasted, because I didn't know that to focus the camera I needed to 'focus on infinity' and disable the autofocusing feature. Lessoned learned.

3.) Red head lamps are underrated.

4.) There are some apps out there that can be helpful when trying to learn the constellations.



Hopefully I can add to this pathetically small list as I go more and more.

#7 gspie

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:01 AM

Best way to figure out which to get is talk to people in a local astronomy club -- there are people with many different setups, and you may actually be able to see/feel the equipment during star parties.
If you are using a DSLR the fork mount won't be an issue -- I am using a CCD + Filter Wheel + Adaptive Optics (5"-6" worth of equipment) -- makes the whole setup quite long -- that is where the fork issue came up for me.

There are quite a few apps out there -- I am using something called StarMap Pro (iPhone - good for getting object coordinates and Hour Angle of the objects -- needed for the manual GEM with setting circles).

On the PC side --there is a free one called Stellarium --seems to be good for 'showing' the sky -- on the 'pay-up' side of it, Software Bisque has TheSkyX (several different versions).

I'm sure someone else could come up with quite a few more.
LX850 with 10" ACF OTA and Takahashi FS 60C OTA -- SBIG STT-8300M CCD with FW8G-STT Self Guiding Filter Wheel and SBIG AO-8 Adaptive Optics -- Camera Control and Image Calibration with Maxim DL/CCD Pro, Image processing with PixInsight, and final composition with Photoshop CS5

http://home.comcast....ie/astroweb.htm





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