Note: The following post was originally posted on January 2, 2012 but I added new information today in the comments as a result of communications with Vic Maris at Stellarvue.
I like the finderscope Meade includes on the LX200, but my neck and back disagree. Not only disagree, they finally rebelled a couple weeks ago while I was zeroing in on the Pleiades almost directly above my head.
So I ordered the Stellarvue F50-2 9x50mm Deluxe Finder scope from Oceanside Photo & Telescope (OPT) because it has a diagonal with a rotating back, so you can easily look through the eyepiece, whether your telescope is aimed at objects near the horizon or straight up, simply by loosening the rotator locking screw to adjust the eyepiece to the angle you want. All that stops it from rotating a full 360 degrees is my optical tube.
Support staff at OPT said my current Meade mounting rings will work with the Stellarvue finder. They were right, saving that expense. That doesn't happen often.
Also, the Stellarvue finder comes with a 1.25" 23mm eyepiece with reticle, but no illuminator. You have to buy the illuminator seperately... or not.
I have had a Meade 9mm eyepiece with illuminate reticle for a couple of years, but don't use it much due to its narrow true field of view in my telescope. I was happy to find that its illuminator screwed into the new Stellarvue reticle eyepiece and works perfectly.
So now I have two reticle eyepieces with different powers and fields of view that can share an illuminator. And, because the Stellarvue finder accepts other 1.25" eyepieces, I can use its 23mm reticle eyepiece on my telescope as well.
Here are my "first" impressions based on two nights of observations.
The Stellarvue finder scope appears to be solidly built. It looks good, feels good, and the moving parts work smoothly. The eyepiece has a focuser for the reticle crosshairs. The finder has a helical focusing ring which moves very smoothly.
There is a learning curve involved in using this finder, because it has so many moving parts grouped together in such a small area. My Meade finder scope has only one moving part, the focuser. The Stellarvue has six (once you add an illuminator). But you get the hang of it quickly.
Here's a rundown of those moving parts, starting where the scope ends and the diagonal begins: (1) Locking rotator screw to hold the diagonal at the angle you want for comfortable viewing; (2) rotator (this is done by turning the diagonal); (3) helical focuser; (4) screw to lock the eyepiece in place; (5) focuser for the reticle crosshairs, and (6) on/off brightness knob for the illuminator.
It does take an hour or so to get used to all of these and to find them easily in the dark without looking. That's particularly the case for the helical focuser and the reticle focuser, because they are so close together. But they are spaced almost an inch apart, and the knobs have a very different texture.
This is not a complaint. It is exactly because of all of these moving parts that the Stellarvue finder scope is so versatile. And more moving parts on the Stellarvue means fewer moving parts in my neck and back.