As an f/15 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope (MCT), the Meade LX65 optical tube assembly is a viable alternative to to both the Celestron 5-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain and the Synta (Orion and Sky-Watcher) MCTs.
Weighing just 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg), the Meade offering features a matte dark blue tube, 1.25-inch visual back, a mirror star diagonal, 26 mm Plossl eyepiece, red-dot finder, and Vixen-style mounting rail.
Performance of the little scope is surprisingly good. The standard enhanced coatings and full advertised aperture provide excellent contrast and light grasp. The secondary obstruction is relatively small, but a truncated cone secondary baffle needlessly expands the blockage.
Nevertheless, the little Mak put up a beautiful, high-contrast image of the moon. At 73x, the lunar surface was sharply defined with authentic color rendition, absolutely black shadows, and an almost refractor-like presence. At 158x, the image remained solid, with the delicate Rima Birt and coalesced craterlets near Copernicus standing out clearly.
Performance on the planets was also noteworthy: At 106x, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was an easy target, and knots and streamers in the North and South Equatorial Belts provided detail similar to what is revealed by a good 4-inch refractor. Saturn displayed its Cassini Division, North Equatorial Belt and polar darkening with excellent fidelity at 127x.
The telescope also performed well on multiple stars. The four components of Epsilon Lyrae were easily and cleanly resolved, and the more challenging Delta Cygni was split with its tiny companion nestled in the first diffraction ring at 158x.
The 5-incher was remarkably good at deep-sky vistas. The ultra-high transmission coatings (UHTC) coatings provided the light throughput to resolve M22, M13, and M5 nicely, and open clusters and nebulae stood out against the stygian background.
Overall, this is a very capable and highly portable instrument.
The Good: Excellent optics, light weight
The Bad: Limited field of view