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Any experience with Parks telescopes?

Started by macdonjh, 02/13/2013 07:28AM
Posted 02/13/2013 07:28AM Opening Post
I don't see much chat about Parks Optical. Does anyone out there have any experience with these scopes? Good? Bad?
Posted 02/15/2013 03:11PM #1
Well...they never sold many scopes and they are out of business now. Bottom line? Optics ranged from fair to good, OTAs and mounts were yesterday's technology, prices too high. wink

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Posted 03/01/2013 12:12PM #2
I just ordered and received some items I needed for a Cave restoration I am performing. They very quickly shipped a pair of 6" 1.5" bore aluminum setting circles and an awesome 1.25" all metal focuser just like the ones on the old Caves.

They responded to my emails very quickly and someone answered the phone and followed up immediately with answers to my questions when I called them.

They are apparently a "subsidiary" of Lumicon now and are selling current stock. Their website still carries fiberglass tubes and a multitude of telescope making components. It kinda brought back memories of the old days when I was perusing their website! Their telescopes are still listed for sale, also.
Posted 04/23/2013 11:51AM | Edited 04/23/2013 12:00PM #3
Well, I took the plunge and purchased the Park 10" HIT from another Astromarter. Thanks to everyone that answered my call for information. After receiving all the parts that make up the scope, I ordered Parallax rings and a Losmandy dovetail bar, assembled it, collimated it, installed it in the rings and put it on my bigger mount (way too big for my smaller mount).

The short version is, I think this scope has high "cool factor". And good optics.

I've been a long focus observer for a long time, my C-11 is the fastest scope I regularly observe with. Since getting the Parks scope collimated in Newtonian configuration was the simplest thing to do, that's how I observed first. The wide field, and sometimes visible shadow from the secondary mirror, were new experiences for me. And a lot of fun. Even at f/4 I didn't notice objectionable coma with Plossls. A harsher test will come in a couple of weeks now that I have a focuser that will accept 2" eye pieces. The stars were pin point, the field wide and the back ground black. The view of M42 made me wish it was still December so I could see it again.

Thus far I've only been able to do a fair job of collimating the Cassegrain secondary. Globular clusters look really good at f/15, but the scope's performance on planets so far hasn't been that good. Of course, we haven't had a night of really good seeing on the 3rd Coast in a long time.

If you've read this thread, you've seen Mr. Mollise's comments. Here are my responses: optical quality is very satisfying for this example. If Parks' quality was hit-or-miss, this example is a hit. I, too, have recently looked at the Parks website and the mounts are antique. The old list prices are too high, but the prices they are currently advertising might be reasonable if their quality is consistently good. The scope is indeed much heavier than it needs to be. The 10" mirror is 2" thick so it weighs a ton. There is a lot of metal in the primary cell and back plate. Even the famous Parks tube is really heavy, but then most people already know that. The stock rack-and-pinion focusers aren't very good, serviceable, but I've changed them out. I'll report the actual weight when I'm finished with the work I'm doing.