Meade LX65 8″ ACF Review: Optical Prowess
Meade LX65 8″ provides phenomenal optics as compensation to its unreliable mount and poor customer service.
The LX65 Series of Meade is notoriously unreliable in build quality. The mount ocassionaly breaks down, and the customer service is unresponsive.
But, the optical quality is so good it may make you overlook the issues.
What Makes LX65 8" ACF's Optics Stand Out?
There are two main things at this price range that are vital for a great image—a flat field of view, and light transmission.
The main competitor of LX65 8″ ACF is Celestron NexStar 8SE. NexStar 8SE merely has light transmission technology, called StarBright XLT.
Meade LX65 8″ ACF, on the other hand, has both light transmission technology and ACF technology. The images are both bright and flat.
8″ ACF’s optics are much better; it is as simple as that.
ACF stands for Advanced Coma-Free, and it makes a huge difference.
2032mm Focal Length
Coma Free Optics
Deep space and planetary performance of LX65 8″ ACF are flawless. The 8″ aperture is enough for most viewing any astronomer can ask for, and the colour accuracy is excellent due to UHTC coatings.
8″ aperture is more than enough, the images are sharp and colour accurate.
As I’ve mentioned before, ACF technology provides a flatter image and gets rid of the coma at the edges. At its price range, LX65 8″ ACF is the only model that has a flat field view.
A focal reducer is a necessary upgrade for a wider field of view for observing deep space objects, but it is not an expensive upgrade, so it is not something to worry about.
The optical design is the sole reason why LX65 8″ ACF stands out. All the other aspects are subpar, which I will talk about to one by one.
Is Astrophotography possible with Meade LX65 8" ACF?
Astrophotography divides into two main areas, short exposure and long exposure. Meade LX65 8″ ACF is capable of short exposure astrophotography, which is suitable for imaging planets, the Moon, and exceptionally bright space objects.
Moon, and exceptionally bright space objects.
If you get Meade’s Equatorial Wedge and polar align your scope, you can shoot long exposure images.
You need an equatorial wedge for serious astrophotography.
Prone to Breaking Down
Meade’s LX65 Mount is a complicated issue.
The mount is sturdy, and in theory, built well. Although the outside is all plastic, the insides are almost all metal. Manufacturers rarely put “all-metal” motors inside mounts, and the mount is significantly stronger than its main competitor NexStar 8SE.
As a result, the LX65 mount can carry an extra, lightweight telescope with the second slot. You can attach a large finder or a short refractor, and a get an extra wide-field view of the object. None of the other computerized mounts in the market has such a specialty.
LX65 Mount uses 12C batteries which can last a long observation night; or a 12v external power supply. Most people end up using an external power supply and use the batteries as back up.
There are two ways of controlling the telescope: the hand controller, or SkySafari 6. Although the hand controller is more reliable, SkySafari 6 is much more capable.
Lx65 Mount Is Prone to Error.
The problem is reliability. The motors occasionally break down, start making loud noises, or some kind of problem occurs with the auto-tracking. These problems would be OK if Meade’s customer service weren’t awful. No one wants to contact unresponsive customer service when they pay 1.300$ for a telescope.
Meade Customer Service is awful.
The unreliable build quality of the mount is a deal-breaker for most, and that includes me.
26mm Plössl Eyepiece
Red Dot Finder
1.25″ Metal Focuser
There is a 26mm Plössl eyepiece included for general viewing, and a plastic red dot finder. The finder is not worth much, but the eyepiece is of average quality and usable.
The focuser is built-in and made of metal. It works well, but the 8″ optical tube wobbles slightly on every single focus movement. This is the case with all the classic Maksutov models in the market, so I can’t complain.
Meade LX65 8" ACF Lacks Upgrade Choices
This is the other, major problem with LX65 8″ ACF. Celestron NexStar 8SE has lower quality optics, but due to its large user base, Celestron introduced awesome upgrades such as StarSense and SkyPortal App. Meade doesn’t have these upgrades simply because not many people use LX65 8″ ACF.
Poor Customer Service
Meade’s customer service needs improvement. As long as they treat their customers like they are money supplies, they won’t get very far.
The build quality of the mount is not reliable. There is no guarantee yours won’t break down, and you will have to send the telescope to the customer service in such case.
Meade LX65 8″ ACF lacks upgrade choices such as StarSense and SkyPortal.
There is no built-in battery.
Meade LX65 ACF is sensational and dreadful at the same time. The optical design doesn’t have a competition at its price range, and the mount is more robust than its competitors’.
But, there is a risk to getting Meade LX65 8″ ACF. If the mount breaks down, you will have to deal with the annoying Meade Customer Service.
Get this fantastic telescope at your own risk, would be my last words.