Questar 3.5


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Brand and Model:Questar 3.5
Price ($USD):$4050.00
Type:Maksutov-Cassegrain
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:89mm (3.5")
f Ratio:f/14.6
Focal Length:1300mm
Finder:4 - 6x built in
Electric Power:120 VAC or 9v opt
Mount:Fork w/ clock drive
Tripod:Built in Table legs
Weight (lbs):6.7 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):14 " x6 "x6 "
Description:The Questar Standard 3.5 has long been regarded as the finest personal telescope in the world. In addition to the telescope`s legendary resolution, flatness of field and contrast, the Standard has integrated features that are unavailable with other telescopes.

Price includes lens cap, 16mm (80 - 120X) and 24mm (53 -80X) eyepieces, built-in finder (4X & 6X), Barlow lens for eyepiece port, star-diagonal prism; 110 VAC synchronous electric drive. Continuous 360 degree slow motion controls 25:1 with manual override slip clutch on both axis, Declination clamp, settable right ascension and fixed declination setting circles, finder solar filter and carrying case. Velvet lined case has door pouches that hold one eyepiece, 1.5" aperture solar filter, electric cord, Powerguide hand control and legs for converting to tabletop polar equatorial position. A ΒΌ-20 mounting hole centrally located on base can be used to attach most tripods. 30-45 degree latitude legs are standard. Special order for other latitudes. Questar barrel has moon map and perpetual star chart, the latter pulls forward to form dewcap. Weight less than 8 lbs., in carrying case 14 lbs. in specially designed packing and drum (Specify voltage and latitude).


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Vote Highlights Vote
Questar 3.5
To begin, I have a hard time understanding how someone could praise the ETX as "almost as good" as a Questar, and then give the Questar a rating of "1". Does that make the ETX a 1/2 or 3/4 ? Think about it !

But more to the point. Would I pay $4000+ (the current list) for a Questar Standard 3.5 ? Maybe. DID I ? No. There are excellent second hand Questars available on an occasional basis, and I picked up a 1988 model on eBay for over $1500 less than the list price. The ad stated that it was "near mint" and was from a reputable astronomic equipment dealer, so I gave it a shot.

When the scope arrived, I was more than surprised and pleased. The '88 looked as if it had just left the factory..... immaculate to say the least. And that is one of the advantages of buying a second hand Questar in many cases. They are usually taken well care of by their owners as "prized posessions", where all too often much of the "mass marketed" equipment is found to be less than well maintained. You don't "have to" pay full retail to obtain an excellent Questar scope.

With that said, would I consider buying a "new" Questar at the current price level ? ABSOLUTELY ! My experience with the purchase of the nearly 14 year old '88 has gone a long way in proving to myself the quality of these beautiful little scopes, not only asthetically and mechanically, but also optically. I've seen and used many an ETX, and knowing Meades propensity for poor quality control and consistency, it's obvious that their little Maks run the gamut from mediocre to very good. "You just never know what you're gonna get" to quote Forrest Gump.

To those of us who own or have owned Questar scopes, there is seldom if ever any question as to their top-notch consistency in the quality control department. I have owned many scopes over the years, but it takes "experiencing" the quality and small details of Questar workmanship to realize how and where so many "mass market" scopes fall short. Can the optical quality of a "better" ETX ever approach that of a Questar Standard ? Even of the best examples of the ETX I've seen, I have never experienced one that came close to the resolution and optical quality of the Questar, "field tests" and "reviews" to the contrary. Meade has obviously profited from promoting the idea of getting a "Questar-like" small scope at a significant discount to the "real thing". But then, with the RA models now being sold in droves at far below their original retail price in the $595 range (Shutan recently selling them at UNDER $200 !!), it is obvious that there is a "value" problem there somewhere. Questar scopes, on the other hand, are known for their excellent resale value..... even the classic scopes of the late 50s and 60s regularly sell for more than their original price tag. In this regard, Questars are in the same class as most other top-end scopes. As the old saying goes, "Quality remains long after price is forgotten".

Sure Questars (and other top of the line scopes) are "expensive" But how many items that you buy for personal use and enjoyment can you depend on to last a lifetime and beyond ?

I have owned many quality telescopes over the past 35+ years, but the simple pride in ownership of a Questar and the impeccable quality and performance involved in this small scope is something that has to be experienced to be understood. I have no doubt it will become my favorite and most used telescope, and that it and I will travel many light years together.

A strong 10...... with no hesitation.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 15 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.168.169)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39090


Questar 3.5
I recently picked up a Questar Duplex on Astromart. Truth is I am one of those "over 40" amateurs who dreamed as a kid of owning one. Prior to the Questar I have owned and enjoyed numerous scopes from a 10" Portaball to various 3" refractors and most sizes inbetween. The Questar has rapidly established itself as the perfect quick-look and travel scope. I keep it on an old Gitzo tripod and simply carry it outside with the 16mm Brandon in place.

A few nights back I came home late from dinner with friends. Since it was clear I grabbed the Questar and went outside. Within a few minutes I had viewed M13, M57, the double-double, Albeiro and the moon. The optics are amazingly sharp and easily separated the double double into it's component parts each surrounded by a diffraction ring. M13 was partially resolved and M57 showed as a two-tone smoke-ring. Not bad from a heavily light-polluted site near Los Angeles! Being able to go from finder to medium and high power at the flick of a couple of switches is the ultimate in ease of use. Though the finder, while convenient, does take a bit of getting use to.

This morning I had it out for a quick look at Saturn and to compare it to an excellent Showa 4" F/10 flourite scope. Results? The Questar matched it neck and neck for sharpness but did not put up as bright an image. Each easily showed Cassinis and detail on the globe. The image was best at 162x (Brandon 8mm) in the Questar but held up well to over 200x. At 166x (6mm UO ortho) the Showa was simply brighter. Higher power gave the edge to the Showa but not by much. Turning to the moon I found the same performance: excellent sharpness in both, the Showa image being just a bit brighter and holding a bit more at higher powers- 225x and above.

The biggest difference? I carried the Questar out in one hand while it took three trips with the Showa/GM8 combination. And the Questar went back into it's case, and is now ready to go off to the office and provided great solar viewing for my co-workers during lunch in a local park.

Verdict? The Questar is an excellent scope for someone who has a need for optical perfection in a small package. It is not a deep sky visual scope in my opinion (what size/quality scopes did Galileo and Messier use?) but it excels at lunar, planetary and doubles stars. Plus it will, hopefully, accompany me to Africa for this December's total eclipse. The Questar will certainly be my most used scope and I could live quite happily with just two scopes: the 10" Zambuto/Portaball and the Questar.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 12 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.197.61)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=115907


Questar 3.5
Okay, first off, the ETX *IS* almost as good as a Questar. I know - I owned both, side by side. Compared head to head on many many nights. Consistently, the views were almost identical (using the same eyepieces in both). Where the Questar pulls away is in the build construction and overall quality. This thing is a work of art! Silky smooth controls, and more gadgets than you can shake a stick at, all in a package more compact than the Meade. However, I found it hard to keep all the knobs straight, and i never did get the hang of the "through the eyepiece" finderscope. Overall this is a great scope (I think the optics in the ETX are also top shelf), but where it falls down is in value. This is way too much to pay for a 3.5 inch scope. Don't let the hype fool you - 3.5 inches is 3.5 inches. This scope does NOT outperform an 8 inch SCT - I know. I also owned a C8 at the same time. It just isn't going to happen. The price is too high, but if you can afford it, you'll have one of the world's premier compact travel scopes (for the money, though, I'd be looking at a TV-85 or an AP Traveller). VERDICT: Recommended (if you can afford it).

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:9 Mount:10 Ease of Use:7 Value:3
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: BBQedIguana
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=142085


Questar 3.5
I previously voted, but forgot to log in, so my vote was recorded as 'unreliable' I'm voting again, the same way, hoping that logging in makes a differencve.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 7 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: JKZimm
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=415735


Questar 3.5
I don't own a Questar, but a good friend does and we observe together frequently. I find the Questar to perform as well or better than any other scope I've used. It is bright, has good contrast, and mechanically is superb. At star parties I've had shoot outs with my friend and occasionally win except on poor seeing nights when his smaller apature is a major advantage. I own a five inch robo scope. I am handicapped and choose a nexstar 5 becuse of my specialized needs. I don't kid myself those looking through our scopes and evaluating them are more on the inexperienced side as most marvel at both. Objectively though I love my scope because I can use it there is no question in my mind that the Quester is the better scope. It is a work of art. It's mechanical quality is the best I've ever seen, fit and finish superb. Questar's general approach seems to be quality above technology or any other consideration. Questar has taken a good design as near perfection as anyone in the business. I don't have a problem with rating a Questar a 1 so long as all other 3.5 maks would rate a zero. I would love to own a Questar but my specialized needs are better met by a lesser scope. I am impressed by the Questar though I'm not a Mak fan. Purely and simply this is the best there is.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 4 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.44.200)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39116


Questar 3.5
The "perfect" scope for travel! Zero error in the optics afford sharp, clear stellar views. The terrestrial ability is amazing! Total package weighs just 14 pounds - easy carry-on for the airplanes!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.4.91)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=111709


Questar 3.5
As a Questar 3.5 owner for three years, and with 12 prior years using other telescopes, I feel justified in rating the Questar 3.5 as a "9". Actually I'd give it a 9.8 but fractional ratings aren't allowed. My prior experience is exclusively with refractors, but the list includes Meade 60mm & 80mm, Celestron 102mm, Astro-Physics 102mm Starfire (two of 'em!) and D&G Optical 127mm. My reasons for not giving the Questar a "10" are as follows:
(1) A small but still significant number of Questars suffer from what I consider to be excessive image shift while focussing. The reason is inherent in the overall thimble design and requires factory "tweaking" to correct. I believe that it should have been redesigned by now (the design is 50 years old).
(2) Questar's PowerGuide II still suffers from quality-control problems that cause inaccurate tracking, as witnessed by the number of complaints on the Questar Users' Group web page. For an accessory that costs over $400, this is unacceptable.
(3) Questar moves too slowly in accepting new technology (such as GOTO) and making it available on the Questar.
That said, I think that the Questar still offers an "observing experience" (for lack of a better term) that is unrivalled - but it appeals only to a relatively small group of amateur astronomers. I believe that Larry Braymer knew that his telescope would never be "for the masses" but would appeal only to those who could appreciate the total experience of observing with fine optics, mounted in a telescope that was simple to set up and a breeze to operate. We afficianados like to refer to the Questar as "functional art", and that probably says it better than anything else. The Questar is not "just a telescope", any more than a Ferrari is "just a car". For those who simply want to observe and see the most that can be seen with the least outlay of cash, there are many better choices than a Questar - a good 6" or 8" Dob, for example - just as a Honda Accord is a far better choice than a Ferrari for someone who just "wants to drive" (better reliability and lower cost to repair, too!). But driving a Ferrari is an "experience," just as using a Questar is an "experience." For me personally, observing the stars is an "experience" that goes far beyond just finding another interesting object. I am a solitary observer; I don't like star parties. I like to be able to sometimes set up and take down quickly, at the proverbial "drop of a hat", or at other times engage in carefully planned solar or planetary observing sessions. And I like being able to take my astronomy with me when I travel.
Some have stated emphatically that the Meade ETX makes more sense in a telescope this size, basing it largely on the ETX's optics being sometimes as good and other times almost as good (or at least not discernably worse). If optics alone is the sole criterion, then the ETX is for you. But astronomy, to me, is more than just optics alone, and the Questar seems to satisfy my "inner needs" better than any other telescope I've ever owned - although the A-P Starfires and the D&G 127mm (which I used for 9 years, until I got tired of horsing the G-11 mount around) came close.
In closing, let me emphasize that the above is not an attempt to justify the cost of the Questar on performance alone. I don't believe that is possible. But there is simply not another telescope available with the same total package of features and quality that is as comfortable and relaxing to use, so for those who want what the Questar offers it is simply the only game in town.
Paul Bock (ALPO, RASC, AL)
Hamilton, VA

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.195.193)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39088


Questar 3.5
This is the easiest rating I have ever submitted! For me cost was not an issue. My father (God bless his "Yankee Trading" traditions) found a 1960 3.5 Q in an antique store in South Florida and it was priced at $199.00. Knowing nothing about telescopes he managed to bargain it down to $54.00!!!!!!! I'm not kidding....serial number is 0-675! I own several other scopes including a C8D, a short tube 90 and a 6" Meade reflector. On deep sky the C8 will outperform just about anything smaller with an LPR filter fitted. But the 3.5 Q was not far behind!!!As compared to a short tube 90 there is no comparison and it was foolish of me to try since the Questar just blew it away in every aspect of performance. Look, I have no axe to grind nor do I need to justify a large expenditure. (I still can't believe it) Those who hate the Q because of it's cost...you got a valid point. Those who love them for every other reason are justified also. Anyone who has used a 3.5 or 7 Q has got to admit...This is one hell of a fine telescope no matter how small. As far as long lasting quality, this one is some 41 years old and looks like it maybe 4 years old and thats only because of some minor scratches on the base.

Gary Bell

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.197.159)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39080


Questar 3.5
I bought a Questar 3.5 about a year ago, loved it the first time I used it and love it still. I also own a 15" Dob and an 8"SCT.
Optically the Questar outperforms my SCT despite a 6X lightgathering disadvantage. Of course the 15" Dob gives better views, but its amazing how close the Questar comes on most nights.
My Questar replaced an ETX, and like the ETX, the set-up and take-down require only minutes. I found the ETX mount to be flimsy and annoying which is why I replaced it. In contrast the Questar mount and tracking are perfect. The attention to detail in its design is wonderful. Features like the built-in barlow and finder scope really add to the ease of use. I've even take a few good pictures with the Questar, tho of course the better mounted SCT is superior for astrophotography.
For easy set-up, excellent optics and comfortable viewing, the Questar beats any other scope I've used.
It is expensive and if cost is an issue the ETX is a tempting alternative. None the less, I think the Questar is more than worth the price they charge for it.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 2 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.24.247)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=85406


Questar 3.5
Quality, quality, quality.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.15.122)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=607306

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