The top-of-the-line 8-inch SCT is the best of the best for mass-produced Schmidt Cassegrains, and it is where Meade's and Celestron's offerings diverge. At one time, Meade was saying its top scopes, the LX200-ACF and LX400-ACF, were not really SCTs at all, but CATs of an "advanced Ritchey Chrétien design." Most optically knowledgeable amateurs called the ACF telescopes "optimized/aplantic SCTs" instead, and in a recent settlement between Meade and makers of true Ritchey-Chrétien telescopes, Meade has agreed not to refer to its telescopes as Ritcheys any more.
Optics aside the Meade ACFs are similar to other Meade fork-mount SCTs in most ways. Celestron takes a different path here. Rather than producing a fork scope with more features or a new optical design, they abandon the fork altogether and place a standard C8 SCT OTA on a high-quality GEM mount, the CGE.
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