Celestron CG-14

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Brand and Model:Celestron CG-14
Price ($USD):$5299.95
Attributes: un-checked Go-To checked PEC
Aperture:356mm (14")
f Ratio:f/11
Focal Length:3910mm
Electric Power:17amp/hr. portable battery
Mount:Losmandy GEQ
Tripod:Losmandy / German
Weight (lbs):130+ lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):Real Big
Description:An incredible combination of hardware. When completely assembled, it's an awesome sight. Yes it's real big but easy enough for one person to deal with. The heaviest component is the OTA which weighs in at 50 lbs. Thanks Celestron for getting away from the fork mount on this one. Great optics, great mount and just great to own.

Vote Highlights Vote
Celestron CG-14
I'm pleased with the purchase, I'm also pleased I went through Company 7
and got some quality control. Some of these appear to be better than
others; if you buy company 7 you get a scope that meets or beats specifications, whereas the scopes that fall below par are returned to Celestron and certainly
get funneled through big vendors without any quality checks.

Star test is good, very symmetrical on both sides of focus. But it seems to make very big difference to collimate near zenith. This precaution isn't necessary on the c8 or 9.25, I had taken the habit of colliating on Polaris (about 43 degrees altitude) and that didn't work. Main reason was that in the "GEM hole" you have to go into the weirdest positions to get Polaris centered for the star test. In those weird positions mirror is under maximum duress. That still doesn't seem to matter on the 8 or 9.25, but on the 14 zenith collimatin seems to help find the sweet spot which gives the scope better all-around performance in different parts of the sky. Focus shift is a manageable 1-2 arc minutes. Even though I have extensive experience with a c8 and 9.25 it's taking me some time to get used to operating this thing.

There is a lot of disucssion and worry to about side-to-side mirror flop, a much bigger problem than focus shift. All I can say is that I did dozens of side-to-side flips on Polaris while shimming the OTA to make it paralllel to the RA axis of the mount (I had to shim about .1"), and didnt have any problems. (This process is different from finding polaris while polar aligned, because to do this you actually align purposely dead-on on Polaris, and eventually you end up with Polaris in the center of hte FOV as you move side to side. So you get less need for weird contortions than when trying to view polairs from a polar-aligned position).

A few points:

1. It's not hard to slide onto the G11 saddle. It does force you to slide in from the bottom rather than the top, which is waht I did with the 9.25 and c8 (on an sp mount).

2. It handles fine in the wind on the G11. I used it in 15-20 mph wind and
was doing better than the dobs around me. CCD would be another matter but I'm
not sure one could do ccd with the 14 on any mount in a strong wind, not well anyhow. I would think small ota vibrations would affect imaging even if the mount itself was rigid.

I don't think this OTA ships well. My first one arrived in pieces courtesy
ups. The replacement fared far better. It is wise to use air freight, not ground, to minimize time in the transportation system, and also arrange to have it held at the delivery point for your pickup, don't let someone try to bring it to your door. I also took a camera and a friend to the pickup station and photographed each phase of opening the box and inspected it before signing off and taking it home. Also insure for $5k value this trips extra precautions that the real price of $3.9-4.3k won't do.

Problems in shipping include loosening of the secondary and, potentially, shifting or bending of the baffle tube. It was my secondary which
came off, shattered on primary in transit on the first scope. I strongly
suspect that many of the "bad 14s" have a secondary attachment problem which is
bad enough to impede good performance (if it's a bit loose it'll lose collimation) but not bad enough to result in disaster, as my first one did.

On the sct-user group the 14s get very positive reviews, but there are some
unhappy campers out there in cyberspace (some posting above). After evaluating many pros and cons my response was to pay the $400 price premium to purchase from Company 7. That decision worked out well, and if you're interested in this scope but worried about quality control issues, you shouldn't be trying to save $400 on quality control and $70 by shipping ground instead of air.

I bought the G11 from Pocono and wish I had bought it from company7. Here too area number of quality control issues that you woulnd't need to know about if somneone with knowledge was setting it up and evaluating before shipping. In any case I swapped the nylon clutch pads out for UHMW (available from losmandy for $10 for two), and did the unauthorized but often performed 3rd bearing
addition (search web or join losmandy_users for details). As a result the G11 handles MUCH more smoothly, feels a lot more like a Vixen. It's a good thing, too, because you need extra accuracy to use an f/11 3910 fl scope with dscs, even with teh UO 40mm/70 FOV you have .71 degrees fov to work with while locating.

Mars this year is not a good quality control test where I live, even at its highest it's still too low for excellent seeing, but the 14 pulled in a lot of detail I'd never seen before and outperformed an adjacent 12.5" starsplitter dob. I'm very glad I bought this scope.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.196.137)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40636

Celestron CG-14
I have a 1976 version of the C-14. I still love it after all these years. It still kicks every 12 1/2 newtonian's butt. Thomas Johnson (the founder) did the final figure on the optics and matched them all to a high quality standard of 1/15 "each" optical component. My mighty 16" f5 newtonian on its Optical Craftman mount is much better all around but not significantly. Mr. Johnson recommended off the record that I not get the coatings because keeping the corrector glass free of sediment was important to make it perform to its full potential. Using sterile cotton and distilled water with a flash light in the dark keeps it clean and you can use pressure and not worry about scratching the a coating. I've cleaned the silver coatings only twice over the years but no pressure applied of course. I think some of the older C-14s were very good. It might be a good idea if you're in the market to test out an older c-14 that's good shape. I'm sure that optical coatings have come a long way since the 70s, but I've passed up having the coatings added. By the way, the optical glass of the corrector is not optical glass but plain old standard float glass ala windows in your house but corrected. The electronics package has never given a problem in 32 years and when I set it up outside I still have that feeling I had back in 1976 that it is truly a awesome instrument with an almost mythical quality. I recommend Pentax or Clave eyepieces in the 20-32 mm range to get the most out of it. You won't regret having the best eyepieces to use with a truly world class instrument. Now that I'm 65 it's getting much harder to heave that scope up in the air and place it into the fork cradle. Either that or it's mysteriously gotten a lot heavier!

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.70.133)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=580779

Celestron CG-14
Wow, unbelievable optics...Moving from the LX-200 line ( 10" and the lastest 12" GPS version ) You can't compare the quality, C-14 Rocks!!!! J.E.

p.s. Unless you enjoy throwing your money away on large SCT's that don't deliver, just step up and buy a C-14...You won't regret owning one!!!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.75.152)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=218739

Celestron CG-14
Excellent optics for Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Commonly use 300x and higher. Good contrast if you use a dewcap. G-11 gemini goto works well. Need a bigger mount for imaging but great visually.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.30.212)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=111128

Celestron CG-14
Optically my new C14 is awsome. Compared superbly in head to head with a Tak Mewlon 300 which is a $12k scope. Low point is fact that there were some cosmetic flaws. They are minor but enough to bother me. Looks like some small digs in metal on back of OTA were just painted over. Crackle paint on back is not uniform everywhere. Some places are heavier than others and there are some larger "bumps" that are obvious. Of course this might be petty, but to me it is unacceptable on a $4k+ OTA only. In the end the optics more than make up for the flaws and in the end that is what is important.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.107.31)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=69393

Celestron CG-14
This is one big boy. I throw mine up on a G11 for visual only. I've only looked through one other (RTMC Camp Oakes), so can't comment on variability in optics with this model, but, everyone who has looked through mine says it is excellent. Two factors affect this scope: cool-down time and seeing. Eventually,it will reach ambient(at least where I observe from[So. Calif.]), and produce tremendous views, providing you have good seeing (not often the case, here). This scope does everything very well, deep-sky to planetary. Glad I bought it. Plan on something more portable for quick looks!

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:7 Ease of Use:9 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.16.39)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=49559

Celestron CG-14
This is a great scope, it can be finicky about collimation.
Stability on the G11 is excellent and I've been able to keep
observing in winds that caused dobs of comparable aperture
to shut down.

I have not felt deprived because of the field of view. A
comparable dob on an equatorial platform will run about $5400,
the G11-C14 will run $600. But the C14 is much more tolerant
of midrange eyepieces than a dob--edge of field will be better--
and an eyepiece minded dob owner could easily erase the price
difference between the two systems by buying eyepieces designed
to correct for dob field of view distortions. The C14 is also
more friendly to 2" filters (as is any long focal length scope)
like the OIII.

There is a lot of consensus that maximum dsc accuracy is about
20-30 arc minutes (diameter) whereas a go-to system like Gemini or Skywalker
will get within 3-4 arc minutes.

Rumors that the G11 is "too small" for this scope are greatly
exaggerated. I don't think anyone who has the money should be
discouraged from buying a massive mount like the HGM 200 or one of
the high end astrophysics. But still the G11 offers comparative
portability and precision in tracking and pointing. Put it this way:
if I could afford the HM200 AND the G11 I think that most nights it's the
G11 that would go into the car. If you're planning
on loading $6k of photographic equipmenmt onto the C14, then
probably the G11 is not the best option.

This scope really grows on you, though. It always attracts attention.
I suppose it's like a Corvette. Sure you can always think of a better
sports car to own, more expensive, or faster, or better cornering. But
a Corvette is still a Corvette. This scope does what an sct ought to
do: large aperture, portability, sealed optics, long focal length (a
plus for geezers with small pupils) good star test, excellent

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.34.33)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40643

Celestron CG-14
Good for CCD with Fastar system. I like it!

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.252.11)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40641

Celestron CG-14
I purchased my c14 from Company 7 and very pleased with the results. The losmandt G11 works wonderfull with new version 2 software. Have had wonderfull support from losmandy and wouls go through the same process again.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.117.19)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40639

Celestron CG-14
If you're lucky and get a good sample, it'll be far better than any Meade. They're always poor quality.
A happy Celestron customer.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.225.77)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40637

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