How good these larger LX90s are depends on what is done with them. A visual observer who wants more than what is delivered by an 8-inch and who does not habitually use high magnifications may find the Meade LX90-ACF 10- and 12-inch pair is worthy of consideration. The 10-inch and 12-inch LX90s have all the nice features of the 8-inch, including built in GPS receivers, no-extra-cost UHTC-enhanced coatings, and Meade's excellent ACF optics.
Although the 8-inch is a winner, the bigger LX90s are less exciting. The reason is obvious in a picture of the 12-inch member of the family (Plate 22). What Meade did to produce the two big sisters was merely upsize the 8-inch fork's length and width to accommodate the longer, larger-diameter tubes. The drive base is precisely the same. And it is not that big, folks, not even for the 8-inch. The drive base is undersize for the 10-inch and ridiculously small looking for the 12-inch. Now, looks are not everything, but the fact is that the small drive base, when combined with these too-light forks, does limit the telescopes' stability. The 10 and 12 are bearable for visual observers but inadequate for demanding imaging.
Plate 22. (LX90 12-inch) Meade has recently upsized and redesigned the LX90, adding a 12-inch ACF model to the series. Credit: Image courtesy of Meade Instruments Corporation.
That is the bad. Where is the good? At $2,700 and $3,300, the 10- and 12-inch LX90-ACFs are substantially cheaper than their LX200-ACF cousins. Going the cheap route does not mean sacrificing good optics, either. These f/10 telescopes use the same aplantic optics used in the LX200s. Weight is another consideration. At 60 pounds, the 12-inch is not exactly a lightweight, but it is a lot easier to place on the tripod than the equivalent LX200-ACF and is lighter than the smaller-aperture Celestron CPC 1100. The 10-inch is 10 pounds lighter still and will not be a huge problem for almost anyone to get on a tripod for alt-azimuth operation.
Like the 8-inch LX90, the 10 and 12 are competitive when it comes to accessories, which include 1.25-inch star diagonals, decent (imported) 26-mm Plossl eyepieces, and Meade's Autostar Suite telescope control and planetarium software.
Should a CAT buyer consider the LX90 10-inch and 12-inch? Keep this maxim in mind when deciding: The only enemy of good enough is more better. The 8-inch
LX90-ACF is such a good scope, it is a shame Meade tried to improve it by equipping its mount with too big OTAs.
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