Meade Lightbridge 12"


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Meade Lightbridge 12"
This is a great telescope for observing deep sky objects. It is very portable and breaks down into very manageable pieces that easily fit into my trunk - the largest component weighs 36 lbs. Setup is quick and easy and it nearly holds collimation even after being broken down and reassembled. Only requires tweaking with a laser collimator to bring it into perfect trim. It needs an after-market counter weight kit to bring it into reasonable balance when using heavy eyepieces. I have 35 years experience with all sorts of scopes and this is by far the most capable and easiest scope to use that I've ever owned. Provides outstanding views of deep sky objects when using Televue Panoptic and Nagler eyepieces.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.239.141)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=566548


Meade Lightbridge 12"
Another piece of chinese junk from Meade. The bearings are too small, the mirror astigmatic, and the base is made from cheap particle board (the same stuff as cheap shelving from Ikea).

Not worth the money.

Overall Rating: 1
Optics:0 Mount:0 Ease of Use:1 Value:1
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.202.58)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=578371


Meade Lightbridge 12"
Poorly designed with mediocre optics.

I have spent the evening oberserving with two of these models, on different occasions - one was a 12", and one was a 16". First off, this is a very cheaply made "truss" dob. All of the components that should be wood are actually made of cheap particle board. It wouldn't take very long for it to fall apart after a few nights of dewy conditions. The "mirror box" and "secondary cage" are really just sections of cheap tubing like you would have in an Orion solid-tube dob. It looks like Meade simply cut out the middle of the telescope, and put some trusses in there.

Setup time is not bad, but the whole thing is horribly heavy for it's size, because the base is made of particle board instead of wood, which kind of mitigates the point of the tube being lighter. Once setup, the first annoyance is the collimation screws, which are poorly machined and difficult to use - setting collimation on this telescope is an excercise in patience - more on this later.

Observing with this telescope, the first thing you will notice is that the movement is horrible. It feels way too loose on the az axis, and way too stiff on the alt. This is because the designers decided to use incredibly undersized bearings on the alt, and then use a lazy suzan type bearing for the az. The combo is incredibly annoying, as it requires a lot of force to move the scope up and down, but the scope is so "loose" in the az that it will want to spin as you are trying to force it up and down - horrible design. Also, forget about ever adding any type of DSC's to this scope, as the undersized bearings are concave, so you will never be able to add encoders.

The optical quality is mediocre, but acceptable. Both samples I saw suffered from astigmatic mirrors, and had overall correction to approx. 1/4 wave, with some zonal error. At this price, one would not expect much more than the minimum to meet "diffraction limited", so this is acceptable. The bigger problem with this telescope, however, is that the mirror has poor coatings - I compared this scope side by side with a Discovery 12" dob, and the images in the Discovery were substantially brighter (and also much sharper due to the better mirror in the Discovery). The views were so much dimmer in the Meade that it felt like I was looking through an 8" scope, not a 12". But the worst problem is that on both samples of the Meade that I used, the mirror would tend to quickly go out of collimation while observing. I began checking it every half hour, and would have to retweak the collimation again.

All in all, the design of this scope is horribly thought out, and horribly executed. The optics are barely acceptable, and the whole telescope exudes a very cheap, flimsy feel. It would need a lot of modification to make it better, and would still hardly be worth it at the end of the day, IMHO. Sadly, this seems to be par for the course with most of the scopes I have seen from Meade these days - a very sad state of affairs from a company who once made very nice telescopes in the USA instead of marketing these substandard Chinese imports.

I would recommend to anyone considering one of these to save your money for 6 months and get a Discovery or other better built telescope. You will be glad you waited in the end as you will have a much better instrument.

Overall Rating: 2
Optics:3 Mount:1 Ease of Use:1 Value:3
Weight: 11 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: TelescopeFan
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=579802


Meade Lightbridge 12"
If you want a telescope that will only last a year, this is the one for you. If you want a telescope that will not fall apart, look elsewhere.

Overall Rating: 2
Optics:3 Mount:1 Ease of Use:2 Value:2
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.195.159)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=579938


Meade Lightbridge 12"
First, I'd like to say that the previous reviews have made several "assumptions" without field testing the scope extensively enough and this alone puts their claims into question.

I've owned 2 of these 12" beauties. Both used. I had both mirrors tested before recoating. Both were 1/5 wave, non astigmatic, with no turned edge. Strehl ratio on the first was 0.924. The second (which I still own now for 6 years) is 0.946. Star testing of both matched the actual test reports very closely. Imaging, both planetary and deep sky are stunning to say the least. Plenty of sharp detail, blowing away my (now former) Tak FS128 and AP Turismo 130.

The particle board mount has held up nicely over several years of week long star parties under very humid and rainy conditions. No peeling of the laminate or water logging of the boards have occurred. The bearings have the perfect sticktion, but still move smoothly and precisely.

None of the components are particularly heavy and considering that the whole telescope is only 80 lbs, it stands as the lightest production 12 inch truss dob on the market today.

If you consider the fact that I've owned over 140 scopes in my life, including some very premium brands like AP, Tak, TV, Starmaster, and Obsession, and have rid myself of all of them and now own this one, tells you a lot!

After a bit of modification (new collimation springs and tightening of the screws, etc.) and adjusting of the focuser, it is a very useable, easy to use tool for astronomy. I've never gotten anything but compliments about the images it produces.

A fine scope by any standards....

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:7 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.111.71)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=612608

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