Sunday, August 30, 2009

Meade DS-2090 Refractor Telescope at Costco with 4mm Plossl upgrade

Last week I bought this $199 telescope on costco, prior buying it, I did some research on Internet, google and Meade website cant find it, its DS-2090, with 90mm aperture, 800mm focal length with f/8.8 focal ratio, and equipped with SmartFinder, it seems this is not an "official" product of meade, so it just being made for such reasonable price for some reasonable reason, their official product on this range is DS-2080, it is 80mm aperture and f/10 focal ratio, 2 plossl eyepieces and has price tag $299.

I read somewhere after googling, that some one bought Meade Reflector telescope on walmart at sale price, around $199 and got "unofficial" product as well, and worse part base on his review, its come with hyugenian eyepieces, which is in telescope astronomy world, that is the least technology one can possibly have in this field, no one really want to use it anymore.

Anyway, I give my self a try, its costco anyway, if I dont like it, I can return it for whatever reason within 30days, so I bought it and opened it, here is the contents :
- 90mm Refractor Telescope
- 5 eyepieces, MA or Kellner types (phewww....), with focal length : 6mm, 12mm, 17mm, 20mm and 25mm and its storage case
- All other accessories, SmartFinder tripod and controller, red dot finder, Autostar Suite CD, Manual.
- 8 AA battery for the controller is NOT INCLUDED.
- all made with good quality material, not a plastic, except a 90 degree diagonal mirror which it has plastic case.

For $199, thats pretty much a bargain, especially with a SmartFinder capability, and those 5 eyepieces (Although MA, but for focal length above 17mm, that is still a good choice), and this has 90mm aperture compare to what official meade product has, which is 80mm, so it has 10mm more in collecting the light, so $100 less with slight better aperture.

ok enough for all description, I want to test it to see into planetary system, so at night I point it out to jupiter, and wow.. with that 6mm MA eyepieces, the jupiter look blurry, with only around 6mm in diameter, hardly to see those color pattern of jupiter atmosphere (and dont ask about jupiter red eye), that really disappointed, and with 12mm eyepieces, all I can see is clear bright jupiter in about 3mm size, without detail, and its 4 moons, left picture is from hubble telescope, so that is just for my reference, not my expectations for this telescope :-D

and about our moon, with this telescope, by looking on its size, no one will doubt about its capability to see moon surface in detail.

All in all, I am still thinking whether I want to keep it or return it to costco, my kids love this telescope, but with such performance, probably I can dial down the expense for just 100$ or even less by getting smaller telescope just for moon watcher, I am not a full time or even quarter time astronomer, in fact this is my first telescope that I ever buy, so get that result on jupiter surprising me in different ways, one way is I know the result will not as great as telescope that planetarium I once visited has.

Anyway, I move forward with another test, right now I am waiting my order for 4mm plossl eyepiece from Agena Astro store, its GSO brand and only $29, with free shipping, some people wrote reviews that this GSO plossl eyepiece outperform most MA/kellner eyepiece and will help on such level of magnification and increase the contrast, so I am expecting to get that jupiter red eye with this eyepiece, will update with the result later.

UPDATE on 4mm GSO Plossl (or Super Plossl as it says on many websites)

Sept, 20th 2009, its been about 2 weeks after I have this 4mm GSO Plossl eyepiece, this eyepiece basically give 200x magnification on this telescope compare to 133x with stock MA 6mm eyepiece, I tried to use this on many occasion just to check on Jupiter, because I want to see its atmosphere texture, and the result is quite good, and I am not too satisfied, but still its impress me, having almost 70x on more magnification compare to 6mm, for sure it might decrease the brightness of the jupiter, but I think this is the power of Plossl compare to MA, the image that I got is just as dim (or as bright) as 6mm eyepiece, but bigger and more texture visibility, but again I was not that impressed.

therefore upgrading from 6mm MA to 4mm Plossl is just it, I mean, thats it, on positive side its look bigger, with same brightness, and little bit upgrade on watching jupiter atmosphere texture.

and for negative side, this is the only negative side I have, its 4mm, the hole is just 4mm for my eye to look in to it, I dont wear eyeglass so it doesnt matter for me to put my eye really close (I mean, really close is the eye might be only 1mm near the lens :-) ), and this is because the eyepiece only has 6mm on eye relief.

so for the suggestion, spending $29 with that "few improvement on result comparing to effort peeking on 4mm hole" is not worth to try, I might suggest people to go directly with leap jump to the Meade 5000 series eyepiece (5.5mm) or probably goes directly to vixen NLV (2.5mm or 4mm) for better watching experience, as both type of eyepiece offering longer eye relief, and for sure, the hole for us to peek in to it is not 4mm, its probably 8mm or more.

anyway, I kept the telescope and the 4mm plossl eyepiece, I wish I can just spent another $69 on Meade 5000 eyepiece or $169 for that vixen NLV, but $29 was the reason I spent on GSO at first time, although the satisfactory result is average, $29 is my level for now.



Pedley said...

I have also just purchased this same model @ costco.
I plane to try it out tonight but the weather is not looking in my favor.
I look forward to Utems follow up to his 4mm plossl eyepiece!

Utems said...

hi pedley,

I put the update on GSO 4mm Plossl result, please read above, if your budget is not too tight, I suggest just go with Meade 5000 series eyepiece, as watching jupiter on 4mm hole its not really that fun :-).

Dennis said...

I recently bought this scope at Costco. An excellent value for an entry level Telescope. As others have mentioned, upgrading the eyepieces to Plossl type eyepieces provides a better viewing experience. I purchased a 7.5mm Plossl (Parks Optical brand), and also a 32mm Plossl eyepiece for viewing faint objects like the Orion Nebula. You can pick up higher quality eyepieces like these at Telescope stores like Scope City if you get the itch to upgade the scope's capabilities.

I think this scope would make a great gift for youngsters who have an interest in space and astronomy. For beginners, the five basic eyepieces that come with the scope should be more than enough to start with.

I've seen this scope priced considerably higher on Amazon, so the $199 price tag at Costco is a great deal.

Service said...

Thanks Utems!
Based on your comments I have decided to order the (& just did!) vixen NLV (
I'm hoping foe a great planet viewing experience & will post my thoughts once I receive it!

middle of nowhere said...

Hello Service,

cant wait to hear your experience on this telescope (Costco Meade Refractor Telescope) with Vixen NLV 5mm that you just bought.

Tim Jones said...

The best update that you can make to this scope is to replace the stock diagonal (~85% transmission) to a better dielectric coating unit with 98% to 99% transmission. It'll cost around $75 depending on brand and source (don't go for the Takahashi :-) ). I got the Pro Optic for around $69.

When I changed my diagonal, even the MA eyepieces provided wonderfully bright images.

I also have a 5MM 1.25" Plossl and it provides very satisfying results.

BTW - anyone reading this expecting to see planetary resolution for Saturn or Jupiter in a 3.5" scope needs to reset their expectations. 90MM / 3.5" of aperture just won't get you there. Heck, even with our 9.25" SCG with 2" back and 4MM eyepieces, we're lucky to see the spot - and we live and view in the Arizona desert.

Kris from Arizona said...

Thanks for review of this. I'm still debating on it though. I might buy it to see how it goes and then return it if it's not enough for me. I'm debating dropping an additional 200 dollars for a product i'll be more impressed by.

Thank you again though for a great review.


Anonymous said...

I have a Meade telescope D=90mm, Focal Length = 800mm. The moon details are very clear. I can see Jupiter & its 4 moons. But I can not see Jupiter details similar to the picture from Hubble telescope. Do you know what I need to buy in order to see (somewhat) good details of Jupiter?

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