I love all my Meade stuff and will keep it alive as long as humanly possible . With the two LXD75 mounts I have that are now into their sixth year of faithful service , I can say they have been both dependable and accurate in what they were intended to do . Excellent Go-To and tracking that exceeded my expectations . Too bad Meade dropped the LXD75 . The optical tubes that ride on these mounts are my AR5 achromatic refractor . With 5" of clear aperture at f9.3 , it's optical performance has also exceeded my expectations and has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment . My other tube , the SN8 . I am so glad I bought this 8" Schmidt Newtonian . This thing has shown me so many jaw dropping views I could talk about them for hours . The funky focuser attached to this model would be the only negative and as much as I'd like to upgrade that part of the scope , it's still useable even though it does take a little effort in finding the sweet spot at f4 . As far as some that just want to flip a switch , the ol' LXD75s take really not much effort at all to set up for a nights worth of spot on Go-TOs . I can be set up and ready to go with both setups in about 20 minutes . That's pulling everything out of the crates , mounting the tubes , pointing the polar alighnment scope , hooking up the power packs , setting the time and date and going through the three star alignment process . Not a big deal . I wouldn't feel right if I had to do any less . I use exclusively two full sets of Meade series 4000 Plossls except the 40mm units . I sold those without delay as they just seem useless to me . I don't know why anyone even makes a 40mm Plossl . These very affordable oculars throw up excellent views that can't be beat for the money . Even in the f4 Schmidt Newt they all perform wonderfully with the exception of the 32mm showing some slight edge aberration , although nothing what one would expect at f4 . I have three Meade shorty Barlows . A 2x unit that I use with the AR5 , and a 2x plus a 3x unit that I use in the SN8 . They all perform wonderfully . I have a full range and then some of Meades color Planetary filters . I know some folks don't do Planetary filters , but I find them to be very usefull and also somewhat fun to experiment with while I was still in the experimental stage . With that all behind me , I pretty much just grab the known to work best combo for the object I'm about to view . The Meade Broadband , Narrowband and 0III filters are part of my equipment also and I own enough of them to go around on both scopes simultaneously . It was sad to see these discontinued too as they all perform in excellent fashion . So yes , I am a Meade type guy for sure and it's sad for me to see what's happened . Let's remember though , it wasn't all that long ago when things at Celestron were looking pretty precarious . Now look at them . They've made some smarter moves in recent years bringing on a larger variety of innovative products , providing choices at various price points , while it seemed that Meade kinda went the other way . The lack of choices in an affordable GEM didn't seem smart to me . Neither did dropping the Schmidt Newt , or any kind of achromat at all other than the toy variety . The way I see it , we don't want toys , and there's much too big of price gap in their current product line to get outside the toy realm . Not all of us can afford to shell out six or eight grand for a scope .
This company needs the right group of people or the right team in there to put it back on track .
I know who they are and I'm rootin ' for 'em .