Inch Questar

The Q7, a scaled up 3.5, has always been a rare bird in the amateur community due to its astronomical price. We used the word jewel-like to describe the 3.5; for the 7, the word is "legendary." How does the Questar 7 perform? It works beautifully, under the right conditions. "Right conditions" mostly means allowing plenty of time for the tube to cool down so the optics adjust to outdoor temperatures and the nasty air currents inside the OTA to die away. You had best hope that temperatures do not continue falling throughout the evening. If that happens, this sizable MCT may never acclimate. For best results, the Questar 7 should also be used on objects appropriate for it. Large open clusters and nebulae are not its objects of choice. Its slow f/15 focal ratio delivers high magnifications, with even a 25-mm eyepiece producing over 100x.

Like the 3^-inch, the Questar 7 uses a built-in diagonal. This one is more "normal" than the 3.5 arrangement, however, and allows the use of standard 2-inch eyepieces as well as the pair of Brandon oculars supplied with the telescope. As an option, the user may choose to purchase an Astro model rather than the Classic 7. The Astro uses a standard 2-inch star diagonal and is more versatile but does not include the famous built-in finder and Barlow. Questar goes back and forth on the Q7, sometimes offering it in a fork-mount configuration similar to that of the 3.5 and at other times making the "big" scope available only as an OTA.

As with the 3.5-inch, price is the main barrier between most amateurs and the Questar 7 of their dreams. Do you think the 3.5 is expensive? The cost of a Classic Q7 with fork mount is $11,600. Admittedly, this model sports Questar's advanced (and lovely) titanium tube, which is lighter than the standard aluminum and has somewhat better cooldown characteristics. If $11,000 is too rich for your blood, Questar will sell the OTA alone for "only" $8,775. Back in the 1960s, the Q7 was often referred to as a "doctor's telescope." That was not just because the scope's gleaming stainless steel and aluminum body made it look at home in an operating theater, but because you would need to be a wealthy physician to afford one. That has not changed, but if you are lucky enough to get your hands on this scope, its Questar/ Cumberland optics may astound.

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