There were a number of points to consider before I bought the CGE1400. Firstly I do not have a observatory. It really would not make sense in my garden which is small with very tall trees round it as well as houses and sodium lights. This means something that I can set up fairly easily in the garden but also pack into the back of a Volvo V70. I really wanted resolution, and therefore as much focal length and aparture as possible. Clearly the mount should be as high quality as the telescope, and again be portable and easily set up. Everything pointed towards a CGE1400, all the reveiws I read rate the Celestron optics, and the CGE mount is apparently out of the Losmandy stable, so I felt sure that it would be good. The C14 optical tube wieghs in at 45lb, so was 2lb less than the 8" Classic with all the accessories on it that I was hauling in and out of the house every available night, so I felt sure that I would be able to set it up by myself.
The question was then whether to get Fastar or not? I chose not too, I do not like the idea of hanging things on the corrector plate in the dark and the whole point of this instrument is to get detail rather than field of veiw. If I want field of veiw, I reckon that a quality refractor or telephoto lens is the way to go. Still, people are getting very lovely pictures with the Faster set up.
The boxes competely filled the back of the Volvo with the seats layed flat...it is big, but I did expect that really which is why I did not take the children when I went to collect it. It was very well packed and in perfect condition when I got it out of the boxes.
The tube is easy to pick up, but what I had not anticipated was how awkward it is to get the mounting rail into the saddle plate. I have now figured out how to do this, details of which can be found in another section, and I can now set it up and take it down easily without help if neccessary. However, it is safer to do it with the help of another person, particularly if the tube has frost on it.
Optically it was in perfect collimation straight out of the box and the views are spectacular. There is a very,very slight image shift when focussing, but I did not even notice this until I was asked what the image shift was like, and I went looking for it. The moon has become an interesting object for me again, M42 blew my socks off and Saturn is amazing. The CGE mount works very well and places everything squarely in the middle of the eyepeice when it is set up with reasonable polar alignment. It took a while to get the antibacklash values set to a level that felt right, but this is me rather than the mount.
One thing that caught me out initially, the real time clock was off when delivered. Of coarse I did not get this far in the instruction manual before I got bored and took the telescope out into the garden. I set the clock and everything seemed to work fine, the next day it took me a little while to work out why it no longer pointed to objects as well as it had done the day before! Once the clock was switch on everything worked well.
First impression is that it tracks very well, and when I have aligned it properly using the drift method it will be excellent...it will be interesting to test this out.