CPC 925 GPS (XLT) Computerized Telescope
- Product Review (submitted on March 15, 2012):
The CPC925 is the overlooked member in the CPC series by those wanting a smaller or less expensive scope and by those who suggest that the CPC1100 is the better buy because of the larger aperture and relatively small weight difference. So why consider the 925? I can only tell you why I bought mine and why I will keep it.
The CPC925 uses the same tripod and mount as the larger 1100; only the OTA is different. The excellent design of the CPC mount makes it relatively easy to lift and carry using the two well-positioned handholds. The 800 is an easy carry and the 1100 is a doable carry, but for me the 925 is a just right carry. I can lift, carry, go up and down steps, and put the mount on the tripod, in the dark without awkwardness.
I owned a Nexstar 8SE and the visual improvement with the 925 is unmistakable and clearly superior to the 8SE. It is not a small or trifling difference either in limiting magnitude or in resolving good views of Mars or Saturn.
The CPC mount has superior go-to accuracy and tracking accuracy compared to either the 4/5 SE or 6/8 SE mounts. For alignment, I can use a zoom EP set to 10 or 12mm and get go-to results that 30 to 50% more accurate than with the Nexstars.
The heavy tripod and twin forks make it easy to focus without the Nexstar jitter. The onboard GPS seems trivial at first, but you soon come to enjoy the faster setup.
Because of very unusual set of shipping problems, I was able to sample three CPC925s. The first one was amazing. Spot on collimation in spite of rough handling and near zero image shift with very crisp views of Jupiter and globular clusters. I was eager to try one that hadn’t been customized by the shipping company. Well we all have dreams, but eventually I received the one I have now. I have to say that in some ways it is not quite as nice as the first example because it has (even after some adjustment more image shift and maybe just maybe the stars are not quite as crisp. However, it is not by any measure a bad example of the CPC925, but rather a bit closer to the middle of the quality curve. I moved past my initial disappointment and quickly came to enjoy this scope. This is a good sign for you. If several examples (one w/o the Fastar secondary and two with) have good or superior optics, the odds are that yours will be good or better than good.
My observing location is just over the hills from the San Francisco-Oakland light dome; a red or not so good site in terms of light pollution. For that reason, I added a video camera to my accessory list and now use it more than my favorite 20mm/68 degree EP. This greatly expands what the number of DSOs that I can see; a magnitude 15 planetary nebula for example. Brighter DSOs become colorful and detailed objects, red in the Ring and the Dumbbell Nebulae.
What then are the dislikes, the cons and the negatives? The single locating pin in the center of the tripod is not always easy to hit when setting the mount down. Although I always find it, a set of outboard locating fingers something like the Starizona Landing Pad might ease concern on a dark night.
That is about it. There is much to like about the 925 and so far I really have no complaints. I am still a bit in awe of the views.