Meade LX65 6″ ACF Review: Amazing and Tedious at the Same Time
Meade LX65 6″ promises unrivaled optical quality and a tedious mount.
Meade LX65 6″ is, in theory, a phenomenal telescope. The ACF technology inside the optical tube provides a flat field of view that no other competitor can match at this price range.
But, the mount is prone to error, and to make things worse, Meade Customer Service is awful.
Getting this telescope is a risk in and of itself. But, the incredible optical tube may be worth considering.
What Makes LX65 8" ACF's Optics Stand Out?
Let me try to explain briefly. Maksutov’s such as NexStar SE’s and LX65’s suffer from coma, which is distortion at the edges of the image.
This problem can be solved with an expensive design change, and Meade has decided to implement it with LX65 6″ ACF.
The technology is called Advanced Coma-Free(Hence, the ACF in the name.). The mirrors flatten the field of view, and there is little to no coma. A superb design choice, especially for a 6″ optical tube.
LX65 6″ ACF is the only model that has no coma at his price range.
None of the other models have this tech at this price range. If you are going to go for a Meade LX65 6″ ACF, this might be the main reason.
1800mm Focal Length
Coma Free Optics
6″ aperture is the limiting factor, but it is more than enough for most.
The optical performance is sharp and detailed, but the 6″ aperture is a limiting factor. You can get the same amount of optical power from a 300$ Dobsonian, so keep in mind you are paying for the technology more than the optics.
The 6″ aperture is enough for most viewing most astronomers hope for. Significant Solar System details such as Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and the Lunar Surface can be observed easily. And, with a focal reducer, almost all of the “observable” deep space objects can be observed on ideal conditions. But keep in mind, without a focal reducer, the field of view will be too narrow for deep space observations.
Is Astrophotography Possible With Meade LX65 6" ACF?
The short answer is, no, it is not possible. The long answer is, to some extent.
Meade LX65 6″ ACF doesn’t have equatorial motion, it has altazimuth motion. It can’t counter Earth’s rotation, and as a result, it can’t take long exposure images of deep space.
Planetary imaging is possible with LX65 6″ ACF.
But, it is great for taking short exposure images of Solar System objects. Planets will look detailed and bright with a Maksutov such as LX65 6″ ACF.
Prone to Breaking Down
The LX65 Mount is a production failure. I don’t want to be too harsh because Meade really tried to create something of high quality. The motors are all metal, and the connection are so strong there is a second slot for a lightweight telescope. None of the other telescope mounts have such a feature.
LX65 Mount’s is unreliable.
But, the mount frequently breaks down, the motors produce awkward noises, on some models, the AUX Port is reversed and cooks up the insides. On top of all that, Meade Customer service is nothing short of dreadful.
So why should anyone take the risk of dealing with the annoying process of getting the telescope fixed when they pay 1000$?
Meade Customer Service is annoyingly bad.
In contrast, Celestron has phenomenal customer service for the NexStar Series, and although the mount is less sturdy, it works reliably.
Meade loses the battle for the 6″ Maksutov telescope race at this point. I am sorry, Meade, but this is unacceptable at this price range.
A 12V external battery is necessary.
LX65 has a battery slot for 12 C type batteries. The batteries last a long night, but maintaining the battery supply is costly. As a result, most people choose to connect a 12V external battery to the telescope. There is simply no way around it. In the end, the battery slot only works as backup storage.
There are two ways to control the telescope digitally. The hand controller, which is old technology, but reliable.
Or SkySafari 6, which is much more capable and more modern. I recommend connecting SkySafari 6 to the mount as soon as possible. It makes a huge difference.
26mm Plössl Eyepiece
Red Dot Finder
Metal 1.25″ Focuser
The accessories that come with the telescope aren’t even worth mentioning. There is a 26mm Plössl Eyepiece, which is fine for general viewing, but a below-average accessory. The red dot finder is useless and should be changed as soon as possible.
The built-in focuser is made of metal and works pretty well. There is some amount of wobble on each focusing action, but that is to be expected at this price range. None of the companies have come up with a cheap, perfectly stable focuser for a reasonable price.
Meade LX65 8" ACF Lacks Upgrade Choices
This the second major problem with the LX65 6″ ACF.
Celestron NexStar SE telescope can be upgraded with amazing stuff such as StarSense, HyperStar, SkyPortal, and more. Meade doesn’t have a large user base for the LX65 Series, so they haven’t introduced anything extra for astrophotography or anything that will make your observations better.
There are little to none upgrade choices for LX65 6″ ACF. As a result, you will have to use what you purchase for years to come. This would be a deal-breaker for most.
Poor Customer Service
The combination of the erroneous LX65 Mount and the poor customer service experience is scary. The telescope costs 1000$, and no one should deal with these stuff at this price range.
The second major problem is the lack of upgrade choices. There is no room for improvement with Meade LX65 6″ ACF.
There is no built-in battery.
If the telescope was cheaper, it might have been worth getting due to the mesmerizing optical quality. But Meade LX65 6″ ACF costs as much as NexStar Evolution 6, which has a built-in battery and an optical performance that is close.
It is hard to recommend LX65 6″ ACF as a whole, but the optical tube is out of this world(pun intended).