Sky and Telescope
for Televue model, $25 for Celestron model
reflex finders for many telescopes..
to other small reflex finders on the market. They are designed
to be used with many different models of telescope.
have been observing since I was 6, and now that I am 29 I have acquired
the financial autonomy to buy an eyepiece now and then. I would not rate
myself as an expert observer as I have been in and out of the hobby, and
as most amateurs, especially those who are married, have children and live
in urban areas, have too little quality observing time. I have two places
to observe: my garden in Northern France with 120 clear nights a year and
mag 3.5 skies, where I just give a little glimpse when it's clear at the
moon and planets (the Orion nebula is "seeable" but a sure
disappointment) , and a place in rural, southern France with darker and
clearer skies. There I hunt galaxies and globulars which are my favorite
targets, but I only have a handful of good nights there per year. My
e-mail is email@example.com.
I bought the Qwikpoint second-hand on the Internet. I wanted a reflex
finder to put on my 16" dob, the 8x50 finder of which is not placed
in a practical position (I need to set the ladder in one position to look
at the finder, find the object, then re-set the ladder to look through the
eyepiece - ATMs take note). I had been encouraged by the use of the
Celestron supplies on the Nexstars 5.
Outside View and setup - Winner: Celestron Starpointer
cannot compare the installation of the Celestron and Televue units as the
Starpointer I use was already installed on the Nexstar 5. But both use the
dovetail system, and you are on your own to find a way to attach the
dovetail to your scope. I see that Televue sells different models of the
Qwikpoint to suit different scopes. Mine was second-hand so I did not have
a choice. The dovetail plate has two Allen screws but as I was not sure of
the final location for the finder I just attached the dovetail plate with
double-sided tape for the while.
big surprise is the whole electronics board is outside, not encased. The
rotating button that adjusts brightness is outside, and it's too small. It
makes it look cheap but so far it has not proven a problem on the field. I
think all those people who have developed an adoration for Televue
equipment and who will risk exposing their Type 6 Nagler at a star party
just to show they have a Type 6 are not going to boast about the looks of
these. As for me, I was a little worried in the beginning but as the
electronics work OK, it's fine with me.
The bad surprise is that you need a screwdriver to align the thing. Once
attached to the scope, you try to find a star in both the telescope and
the finder. Then you realize you need to move by x and y the finder. Pick
screwdriver. Turn the screw. Look back at the finder. Realize you were not
screwing while you should have unscrewed. Unscrew. Now it's about ok but
when you look back at the eyepiece you realize that in the process you
have moved the tube. And I feel the screws are a little hard to turn.
battery is outside like on the Qwikpoint, but all the rest is encased. And
you have two little rotating buttons to align the finder, which are quite
smooth to move.
If you are reading this review just to make up your mind before buying one
or the other, you can stop here. These details make the Qwikpoint a pain
in the neck to setup. It does not mean setting up the Starpointer is a
pleasure, but it's a 30s operation you do not have to worry about.
Notice to ATMs
base of both finders is very short, so the line of sight is very close to
the OTA. It is not a problem on small SCTs/MCTs, and certainly even
refractors as you look at the finder from behind the tube. However on
Dobsonians and Equatorial Newtonians, it obliges you to hug the OTA in a
manner that will comfort onlookers on the weird relationship you have with
your telescope. I am working on some sort of stalk to have it 4 - 6 inches
away from the secondary cage of my Dob.
Nighttime Use - Result: Tie
finders use the same principle: aim the little red dot at the sky. Thus
they work and perform the same. I have a complaint on MY Televue model,
which is that there is a big halo (about 3 times larger than the dot
itself, and brighter) floating around the real dot, which tends to wash
out the star you aim. I ask the jury not to take this element into
account, as it might be some bad maintenance by the previous owner.
Anyway, I cannot think of an easier way to aim at an object.
I noticed on both that if you move you line of sight, the red dot will
Using Reflex Finders
a straight-through finder addict. So my view of the hots and nots of these
new things might have a little bias.
to locate naked-eye visible objects or objects you know by heart (when
like me you have looked at M13 every summer night you have been observing,
you know where it is).
on large scopes, to give the alignment on the last naked-eye star of your
star-hopping route, then carry on with the Optical finder or the eyepiece
(on the tallest dobs, you can only move a couple degrees in azimuth before
having to move you ladder).
the only finder you will ever need on a GOTO scope.
-> perfect for small scopes and/or beginners scopes.
hard to use in light-polluted backyards as you are limited to naked-eye
stars (which, by the way, are dimmed by the half-reflecting lens).
this battery is going to give out someday, and most annoyingly, some
cleaning that lens is not a daytime activity you look forward to.
-> if you already have a magnifying finder, keep it at all costs and
use both in tandem. If you are of those who do not like magnifying
finders, this might reconcile you with them.
Conclusion of this Comparo
Celestron Starpointer is a much better thing out of the box, both in
"perceived quality" and in practical use. So if you are looking
to buy a 1x for a scope you already have, take the Celestron. And it sells
for around $20-25, when I see the price, I feel like purchasing 3 to put
on my scope, one for zenithal use, one for horizontal use and one for
in-between (big dob
owners know what I mean - using a ladder for an object, then kneeling on
the ground for the next one)
However, you want these finders for simplicity's sake and the setup is the
most difficult part of their use. So if you get a telescope with a
Qwikpoint already rigged to it, keep it, the improvement is not worth the
hassle of installing a better model.
Submited by - Mathieu Chauveau - France - firstname.lastname@example.org