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M4lcs67

Thinking of upgrading to a Celestron 8"

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I have had my scope for a few months now and to a certain extent I have been very happy with it, however it does have it's limitations as it is a 5". So have been thinking about upgrading it to an 8" at some point.

There are two that I have been considering but cannot instantly see much difference on the face of it between the two.

First Light Optics - Celestron C8-SGT XLT GOTO

First Light Optics - Celestron NexStar 8SE

There is hardly any price difference between the two. Was going to ask what everyone else thought would potentially be the best one?

Also I would probably sell my current Nexstar 127 SLT and add the money to fund the new scope. It is immaculate and has all the pieces with it as well as the packaging that it came in. Does anyone know what I should be asking for it??????

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I have a GP-C8, which has an equatorial mount, and is similar to the SGT, but without the goto. I personally like an EQ mount a lot. It allows me to do planetary photography, and I can attach anything to the rear of the scope without running the risk of it creating problems when viewing near zenith (as I hear the NexStar 8 SE can do, even with a bog standard diagonal). I also have heard the NexStar 8 SE puts its mount at the limit of what it can bear, whereas the SGT version should not have any trouble with the 4.7 kg weight of the optical tube assembly.

Not everyone likes an EQ mount, btw, some think it is more difficult to set up and use. With a bit of experience, I find I can set mine up very quickly indeed, with good enough polar alignment for visual work, in 5 minutes or so, if need be. I do not have to do a star alignment for goto, because my scope does not have it.

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Personally I would opt for the SGT on the EQ mount, for all the reasons stated above. If you ever wanted to venture in to taking images with the C8 then having an EQ mount is the better option

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Ditto. The german equitorial mount is the one to go for... Could you save the extra for the 9.25"? Don't have one myself but they are very highly regarded...

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My 2c worth - bear in mind I'm relatively new to this as well.

I brought the 8SE last year, and it's turned out to be a cracking little scope. Used it for planetary, lunar and DSO's and it's proven more than capable for each. You will still need a dark site for DSO's if you want more than a faint fuzzy...

If you are interested in visual only, then I would suggest you go with the SE as it is really easy to move around and setup. I can setup from scratch within about 5-7 minutes now, which is pretty useful if your observing time is limited or you need to travel to a dark site.

If you think you may want to progress into DSO imaging, then I suspect that you may want to go with the C8-SGT as the mount on the 8SE does suffer from severe wobbling, especially when it is windy or when adjusting the focus. Plus it's obviously a ALT-AZ mount which will make long term exposures difficult / impossible due to field rotation.

I believe the OTA's are exactly the same on each scope optically - however the 8SE does come in an awesome shade of orange. Very important! :)

Hope this helps somewhat!

CS,

- Jason

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I would say the wobble (due to the SE mount being at its limits) would really bug me when observing. My GP mount is very solid, and that helps a lot when just observing. It also easier to attach bigger diagonals for wider field objects in the SGT version compared to the SE. A large 2" diagonal may jam on the mount when observing near zenith. I remember someone complaining this already happened with a stock 1.25" diagonal. A 2" diagonal is VERY useful for a C8 (along with a 2" visual back to replace the standard one. This gives WAY wider views and is brilliant for DSO watching. It completely transformed my scope.

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I had an 8SE once and the wobbly mount made it a real pain to observe with. Since replaced with a C8 OTA on my modded Skytee 2 mount. Now that is nice and solid in either Alt-Az or EQ mode.

I think the C8 is probably the best all-round scope as it does everything well. Everyone should have one. :) Admitedly a specialised scope may beat it for one particular type of observing, but the C8 will beat the specialist scope in just about every other type of observing.

John

post-14522-13387768156_thumb.jpg

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The 8se is a later design than the c8 I believe. Later designs tend to be an improvement in technology. Don't ask me what the improvements are though.

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The latest Celestron 8" SCT OTAs are all identical except for the colour. So no matter if you buy an 8SE or an C8-SGT or a CPC 800 you're getting the same optics.

The only big difference are the C8 Edge HD OTAs, they are a lot different.

John

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I had an 8SE once and the wobbly mount made it a real pain to observe with. Since replaced with a C8 OTA on my modded Skytee 2 mount. Now that is nice and solid in either Alt-Az or EQ mode.

I think the C8 is probably the best all-round scope as it does everything well. Everyone should have one. :p Admitedly a specialised scope may beat it for one particular type of observing, but the C8 will beat the specialist scope in just about every other type of observing.

John

I couldn't agree more :(, if ever I buy a bigger scope, I will keep the C8, it is just such a nice all-round scope. In a week's time I will have had it for precisely 15 years. :)

Edited by michael.h.f.wilkinson

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I also have a C8 and as mentioned above the optics are identical. Its down to the mount whether you want the EQ or the Alt/Az

One thing I will add is that you have the choice of 2" accessories but an alternative that may work out cheaper if to get a Celestron F6.3 focal reducer. This effectively turns your scope into a dual purpose scope. Without the FR your scope is a fantastic planetary scope for both observing and imaging. With the FR you open up the realms of DSOs especially for imaging and also reduces exposure time. I have recently bought one for my C8 and it is now my most important accessory in my case

Hope others can add to this and hope it helps you decide :)

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Thanks to you all for your input. Looks like I have some more research to do. If both are optically identical then it basically comes down to the mount. I do like the sound of a nice solid mount although there is a trade-off in the respect of ease of set-up etc. I can get my current scope up and running in around 10 mins although I always use the 2 star alignment method. Have never been able to get a match confirmed with the 3 star one. I suppose you get a more accurate alignment with the 3 star method, but if you can't get a lock-on then it is pretty pointless. Decisions, decisions......

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i have the heq5 pro mount with a celestron 8" sct on and i have trouble getting a 3 star alignment, so i just do a 2 star, i also had the scope on a nexstar mount, good mounts but if you are going to add extra equipment or image then a eq mount is the way to go. the eq mounts are more work to set up but if you keep placing the mount in the same position in the garden it can save some time polar aligning.

also what Johninderby says about the 8" sct being a good round scope stands true, and he`s had and has alot of scopes and knows a thing or two.

Edited by red dwalf

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If both are optically identical then it basically comes down to the mount.
Which comes down to whether you want the scope for astrophotography or visual. If it's visual then go for the SE, imaging will require the EQ mount of the SGT. You can always purchase an EQ wedge for the SE later if you want to go the imaging route with that scope, but it will cost a bit more.
there is a trade-off in the respect of ease of set-up etc.
You will master it quickly and hone down the set up time to minutes whatever scope you get, but the SE will be slightly easier to start with.
I always use the 2 star alignment method. Have never been able to get a match confirmed with the 3 star one. I suppose you get a more accurate alignment with the 3 star method, but if you can't get a lock-on then it is pretty pointless. Decisions, decisions......
A GPS alignment system will aid greatly you for this. The Nexstar SE has an optional CN16 GPS Accessory (93963). I think this can be attached to the SGT too but after a quick internet search does not seem to match the instructions too well. Alternatively, the CPC 800 has GPS as standard, has a nice steady double fork mount and is rock solid on the supplied tripod. (Extra 400 pounds in price though, and an EQ wedge for it will cost a bomb).

I have the CPC 1100 and it's the best thing around. Seriously. But it comes with a whole other set of problems... I wish it was as portable as the Nextstar 5"!!!

Finally, check out this guy's thoughts on the matter:

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The old "Do I want it for visual or imaging" conundrum. :)

If it's only going to be visual then I really like the CPC 800, rock solid with this OTA and it will be a pleasure to use albeit hevier than the 8SE. For imaging the C8 on an HEQ5 is ideal.

There is another approach to consider. Get the C8 OTA and use it on a manual Alt-Az mount such as a Skytee 2 (instant set-up) and then later on get an HEQ5 for imaging.

John

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Was mainly going to use for observing, but if I decided to do photography further down the line then I was considering a webcam with adaptor. At least it would mean that the scope wouldn't have a heavy DSLR hanging off the back of it, so the 8SE would be better, but there is still time to make a firm decision on both counts. Also have noticed that FLO have dropped the price of the Nexstar 127 MAK, but don't know what I could sell it for if I decided to change. It is only a few months old and is in as new condition. Any ideas???

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Also have noticed that FLO have dropped the price of the Nexstar 127 MAK, but don't know what I could sell it for if I decided to change. It is only a few months old and is in as new condition. Any ideas???
Unfortunately for you Celestron brought out the Skyprodigy range, so older models will start to crash in price a little. (Just when though I don't know.) The Skyprodigy range cost A FORTUNE though so you may still get some return on your MAK. Progress and improvements manage to do that sort of thing. If I had the money I would consider the CPC HD but it is so much more money than the normal CPC that it is doesn't really make sense. (Especially when you consider that the older CPCs will eventually come down in price!)

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Regarding an equatorial wedge for an 8SE, I understand that does not work, because the SE mount is already maxed out in alt-az mode by the C8 OTA. It may work for the CPC mount, I don't know, though that is certainly sturdy enough.

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Regarding an equatorial wedge for an 8SE, I understand that does not work, because the SE mount is already maxed out in alt-az mode by the C8 OTA. It may work for the CPC mount, I don't know, though that is certainly sturdy enough.

Have to agree with that. The 6/8 SE mount was originally designed for the C5 OTA, and while it works brilliantly with the 6" OTA, it's being pushed to its absolute limit by the 8" OTA.

John

Edited by johninderby

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As the optics are the same then the choice is down to the mount - the CG-5 is much more stable than the SE mount and only takes 10 mins to set up.

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I think I will have to take a look at them both side by side in a shop (will not make a decision unless I have seen the physical scopes first). Sturdiness and ease of set-up would be considerations. And yes with the release of the Skyprodigy range and the fact that they are a new product that cost a fortune, thus driving down the resale value of current equipment. One thing in my favour would be that it will be a while before these new scopes come down in price so there should still be a market for scopes like mine at decent second hand prices.

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The alleged wobble on the SE mount is nowhere near as big a problem as people think. I have had no problems with it.

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While some SE mounts may vary I suppose, the wobble is why I got rid of my 8SE and replaced it with something sturdier. Just didn't enjoy using it.

BTW on the subject of prices falling it's worth reading through this recent thread. Just might make you think twice about it.

http://stargazerslounge.com/sponsor-announcements-offers/147918-storm-brewing.html

John

John

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Thanks yet again for all your input. With such differences of opinion, I have some more research to do be for I decide if I am going to do this.

One other thing however. The C8 SGT has a more sturdy mount. Does it have metal gears or does it rely on nylon ones? I assume that the Nexstar 8SE has nylon ones. It may seem like a strange question to ask, but metal gearing will be more hardwearing. And also the backlash off metal gears wouldn't be as bad????

I must admit that I do find the lag that I get from my current scopes motors/gears a little bit irritating when changing direction.

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