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MEADE ETX-LS


bivvie
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Just had the sales assistant at my local telescope/camera shop raving about this brilliant new scope that does everything for you at the click of a switch. Iv'e just spent the last 2 hours on the web looking for images taken with this telescope and i cant find a single one, not even on mead's main uk dealer website. Anybody know anybody who has one and if possible could i see some images taken with it. Iv'e read a lot of reviews about it and experienced astrophotographers are saying that the built in camera wouldn't produce good images at all. Was thinking of buying one but not so sure now.

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I'm not sure how many of these scopes are actually out there yet as the scope was late coming out. Given Meade's reliability problems with new products lately it seems that a lot of potential purchasers are waiting until it's been out for awhile to see how reliable it is.

The camera is really there for the alignment system. Basically it's a webcam mounted under the OTA and so it can't be used to take images through the scope. It's only capable of taking some low res widefield shots through it's werbcam lens.

John

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November's edition of 'Sky at Night' magazine has a review of it. The built in camera is mainly intended to assist in the alignment process, not as a serious astro-camera though it can take snap-shots but it has low resolution and a wide field, according to S&N. Proper astrophotography would require a separate camera. Also, as the mount is altaz, field rotation is going to be an issue for exposures of any length. It's very expensive though and I can't help feeling there are better deals out there, such as a Celestron C6 on a CG5 goto mount. Also, Meade's reliability reputation is not the best.

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Quite a few reviews and mentions of this on cloudy nights.

It has been out over in the US for some time now, even has a software update available now.:eek::D

Read a few and it seems there aren't that many bad comments. It seems to do what it cliams to and that is put it down, power it up and tell it to align itself while you go have a coffee.:rolleyes::rolleyes:

Think they have beefed up quite bit of the drive train so more reliable in that area. :):hello2:

Not sure about the camera, read that the scope has a memory card so that images can be transferred easily, but the camera chip is basic.

Think I saw one at last years Astrofest. It seems to have become available over here in the UK only in the last 4-6 weeks. GreenWitch, Telescope House and Sherwoods started advertising them about then.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have actually purchased one - I wanted something that wasn't too big or too complex for my kids to learn to use. I still have an old reflector but, I wanted a go-to scope. The ETX LS 6 ACF met my needs.

Unfortunately, the weather has been miserable for observing for months. I've been able to use it a for a total of 8 hours since I purchased it in July, 2009. Based on my usage, here's my personal experience.

1) Setting up is a breeze. I purchased a Celestron power pack as the C cell batteries would be quickly drained. Smart move. I turn the power on to the scope and it walks me through the alignment process. Once it's started, I usually take my dog for a walk and when I get back, it's good to go.

2) The build in "camera" was a let down for me. I was hoping that the "imager" could take images through the main optics. Nope. The Meade site doesn't spell this out very well. I have a problem with the SD slot and do need to return it to Meade for repair. Mine was not "new" out of the box. The telescope company I purchased it from had used it as a demo for a couple of nights. The SD slot may have been damaged prior to my getting the scope.

3) Image quality has been outstanding and I enjoy the go-to features of the scope.

4) I haven't updated the firmware yet. That's on my agenda.

5) I have tried to take pictures using my SLR camera (film based). The images weren't blurry, but the local lab didn't develop them right. I am now looking to purchase a Meade DSI III Pro.

Well, that's all for now. Would I buy another one? Probably. Although I think I'd like an 8" next time.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Chuck,

I bought one, mine is the LS 6" ACF not the ETX LS6" ACF.

The etx ls 6 is older and had more problems. Meade updated the gears a bit and dropped the etx name off and now the LS is in its own.

The scope as you have said, works a treat, simple to use and the only problem I had was needing a power tank as the scope cannot run on battery's alone (thanks for telling us this Meade....NOT).

Anyway I love it, the ccd cam is just really for alignment I feel but at least shows what you are looking at to others if you add the monitor. (however vague).

As you said, wish I had gone for the 8" but the money....???

regards,

A.P

Edited by Gaze Away
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Best thing is speak to a few camera shops who sell meade for their opinion. I was considering this and the success of the auto align feature very much depends on your location.

One dealer I spoke to confirmed the return rate was high - because it would not auto align - the key issue here is that the LS series apparently require a clear 180 degree view of the sky.

I know some dealers have stopped selling it because of this.

I like Meade scopes because their optics are cracking and the LS comes with ACF.

If it was me I would go for the LT series - the same design as the LS but without autoalign. You can get the 8" LT for the same price as the 6" LS.

The other main option is the Celestron SE series - another good scope.

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Well I have had the 8 inch for about 6 months now and I have to tell you all it is amazing. No faults out of the box, aligns itself in minutes, the tonight's tours and the goto system is quick and accurate. Superb optics and for a beginner like me, I can view some great deep sky objects just like a pro.

If there is a downside apart from the price I was also hoping that the inbuilt camera would double up for taking pictures - but I have not had much luck - a guy called John Kramer from the States has been getting some incredible results but not sure what his set up is. A superb scope for the beginer and pro alike.

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Worth speaking to Green witch astro shop - a meade dealer who won't sell the LS - worth finding out their reasons why and judge from there.

The only other disadvantage of the meade is that you can't remove the OTA if at some stage you fancy mounting it on a german equatorial mount. A GEM is really the best option if you want to do astrophotography.

The Celestron SE series allow you to remove the OTA and put on a mount such as an EQ6.

Worth looking at both and taking the decision from there.

I would point you in the direction of First Light Optics but they don't sell Meade, but I highly rate Telescope House - unfortunately you have just missed their 10% off weekend - but they do come round every couple of months.

Best of Luck

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i have the etx ls 8"

to be honest i would say that it does what it claims in 4 out of ten nights out

it goes through the auto align and then fails to find the last star even though i can see it in my eyepiece!

i have had many a frustrating night out with it although when it is doing it,s thing properly the views are fantastic.

but be aware the gps plays up alot and wont find your location (in my garden this wont work at all i have to manually align....annoying when you have spent this much on a scope!)

so in my honest opinion dont spend as much on a meade and go the synscan route i have found this cheaper and more reliable

hope this helps

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  • 4 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I have owned the LS-8 ACF for almost a year, and I find it terrific, but not perfect. I was never promised that the onboard camera worked through the scope, so that was not a disappointment. I find that it took me about a month to really get it to become reliable. Part of this was learning to keep batteries in the scope to maintain the GPS info between sessions - and running it off a 12V battery supply (Powertank).

The big plusses for me are that it's "portable", that the audio-video outputs make it fantastic for outreach (friends, school kids, cub scouts, etc.) both outdoors and in-class. I also like the fact that I can always switch to manual aligning if there are obstructions or lights around. I also like that I can drive it with the free Stellarium software. I can set it up after supper and come back for observing hours later.

A few corrections :

- it will align perfectly well even if only a part of the sky is visible. My backyard is heavily treed.

- The onboard SD slot is a MiniSD (not micro) with a 2Gb max limit.

Really wise to have made the firmware on the miniSD and store it with the scope. It takes about 30 minutes to reload it. Mine firmware has only failed twice - once for low power.

Let me know if you need any more info - and clear skies!

Chris

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well did some work on my ls6 over the past few nights. I do have one problem which I would throw out there. when switching on it is unable to locate gps and then goes to manual setup and when I scroll down the list of countries am unable to find UK? GB? England? Etc etc. I guess it must be software but find that rather strange. I live in built up area so thought gps would be a but risky but not finding our emerald isle on the list was a bit odd.

apart from that everything else went great. Able to do the two star setup and away I went. optics nice and clear and the whole experience was very nice. I did switch off the audio and did not have the monitor hooked up. maybe this weekend if the weather holds will get the webcam or dis connected and take some shots to publish here

happy viewing everyone. oh yes while I'm here just thought I would mention that I thought the BBC's stargazing show last night promised a lot but fell well short IMO guess I expected too much but they that just me I

Cheers

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Hi. We are on the list as "ENGLAND" when you enter location! If its not there as a choice on your scope then its definitely a fault (there on mine before and after software upgrade. GPS rarely works on mine - a great pity as otherwise alignmemt works fine. I have heavily tree shaded garden, but it always finds suitable stars. My main criticism is that with a better manual, and more information on quirks like the "mini" SD card you could save hours of "finding out the hard way". For example nowhere does the manual tell you that the mini SD must be 2GB or less. Hope this helps.

This is my first post!

regards

Dennis

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Hi Folks

I own an ETX LS 6 ACF and had it just under a year. It's a great scope for beginners especially and the views are great from it for a 6" scope. It is a flick the switch and let it go normally peice of kit which is great but I can also say that I too have had problems with the GPS requiring me to set up manually. That's stilll not a big problem as you don't need to learn polar aligning to set it up etc as it still aligns itself up during a manual set up, all is required from the user is keying in your location and checking the date/time before it starts it's alignment.

I use mine as a grab & go and also hook it up to my Samsung SCB-4000 live cam and watch live images on my tv which is great. I find the goto on the "Tonights Best" tours very accurate therefore great for finding your way around the sky and for those who like to see things without the task of having to find it this scope delivers.

I would say the only real problem I have had with it is that the mount is very noisey (sounds like a coffee grinder when slewing) compared to a proper mount like an NEQ6 or the like but that can be overcome by slowing the slew down via the handset so avoiding annoying the neighbours.

The cam is only really for alignment and if you want to image you will need to buy a web cam and add to your kit.

Hope this helps

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Fascinating thread this - 90% of the discussion is on the mount and only the occasional mention of the optics of the scope.

I know the mount is the "unique selling point" of this model but it's the optics that actually deliver the good in terms of the views.

That's probably a rather "Luddite" point of view I guess - showing my age :)

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It is highly recommended that you run these electronic scopes off of a standalone rechargable 12V battery pack and cord. Most any of the units designed for auto jump starting or camping will do. You will need a centre-positive N-sized plug for the scope end and a cigarette lighter style plug for the power supply end. The latter can be obtained here in Canada for around $12. I also install the internal alkaline cell batteries in case my power cord gets pulled loose and also to retain the GPS data between sessions.

Enjoy! Chris

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