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I've been thinking about getting a new telescope for quite a while, and have settled on a Skywatcher FlexTube Dobsonian with GOTO. Thing is, I'm not sure whether to go for the 250PX version or the 300P version.

Links: First Light Optics - Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX FlexTube GOTO and First Light Optics - Skywatcher Skyliner 300P FlexTube GOTO

First of all, is the extra £300 worth the extra aperture?

Secondly, how big is the 300P? Is it a practical 'scope? I've seen a video of the 400P and it's a monster. ;) As much as I'd love a massive 'scope, I need something I can handle. I'm of quite a small build and will happily admit I'm not the strongest person in the world.

Finally, what sort of accessories would you recommend as essential buys when I get one of these telescopes?

Thanks!

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For me the 300P is worth the extra money for the increased aperture, with 44% more light gathering power for 40% more cost.

Size-wise, our 300P is about 1.2 metres tall when it's not extended and the base is about 65cm wide, so the footprint is surprisingly small considering the size of the scope ;) The tube easily fits in our car boot.

It's tricky for me to say how hard it is to handle because I am quite big but I find it easy to handle. The tube can be taken off very quickly so you can move the tube and base separately. I find the tube an easy shape to move around - although it's big I can easily get a good solid hold on it. And the base has carry handles, so that's easy to grip!

My essential accessories would be:

- Something to collimate it with. Some people say the collimation holds well between each viewing even when compacting and extending it, but I don't seem to have the knack of that yet and collimate every time (takes me about 2 minutes using a laser). Some options here:

First Light Optics - Collimation

- Something to wrap around the open sides when it's extended. We use a camping mat at the moment, or you can buy a light shroud:

First Light Optics - Astrozap light shroud for Skywatcher FlexTube

Happy shopping!

Edited by Luke

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Can't advise on the size issue as I only have 200mm.

Don't forget a good planisphere to get a bearing on your sky at any given moment, and a star atlas. I use the S&T Pocket Atlas, just the right size and content for my light polluted backyard sky.

Once you find your observing style you can start thinking eyepieces collection. And if you think deciding on your scope is hard, it's going to be even head spinning!

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It's tough to give advice like this, as what is easy to shift around for one person will be next to impossible for another.

You say you are of small build, so be careful what you buy. Are you able to get to a showroom that has these scopes in stock ? It would be worth the time & petrol to avoid disappointment and wasting money. Quoted sizes & weights are of some help, but nothing is better than seeing these scopes in the flesh.

The Flextube dobs make for a more compact scope for moving around, but are heavier than a solid tube equivalent.

All the best in your choice, Ed.

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Thanks for the replies - very helpful.

I've got a cheshire collimator that I haven't used yet. Are laser collimators easier to get on with?

I think I may have to go and see one of these 'scopes in the flesh before I make a final decision so I can get a proper idea of size.

Edited by PreludeToADream

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hi there the 300p is heavy and big,i have the solid tube ,am no muscle man but i would not like to carry it far ,i have to walk about 30 feet down my garden and its done in two stages carry the rather heavy dob base,then the tube its not fun when its frosty but the views it presents me with is mega the 250p i can not com on but i dare bet that the views are much the same save ya 300 quid and get a couple a decent eps with it

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My criteria was "can I get the base through the interior doors of my house without taking it to bits?"

The 300P was the biggest thing which met that requirement so I bought it. ;)

2" of additional aperture doesn't sound like much, but look at it from the surface area of the primary.

250 = 491cm²
300 = 707cm²

Looks a bit different now eh?

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I think I may have to go and see one of these 'scopes in the flesh before I make a final decision so I can get a proper idea of size.

a very wise decision indeed

I would add, if it's to be your only scope then the 10" is a better option, as its an easier scope to live with.

But if you intend to keep your other scope as a second scope, go for the 12".

Regards Steve

Edited by swamp thing

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a very wise decision indeed

I would add, if it's to be your only scope then the 10" is a better option, as its an easier scope to live with.

But if you intend to keep your other scope as a second scope, go for the 12".

Regards Steve

I am planning on keeping my Skywatcher 130P as it's a nice little 'scope that's quite portable.

Does anyone know of any showrooms in the Midlands that might have one of these 'scopes I can go and look at?

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This might help. I bought the 250 in October. I am 5'8", reasonably strong through playing sport all my life but at 44 I am no where near as fit or strong as my heyday - I can still run fast but thats no use when I have a 30kg telescope in my arms. :)

I can carry the scope in one piece across my living room and out the patio doors but I wouldnt want to carry it 50 metres. Its quite bulky for my short arms so while I can lift the weight balance is a bit of an issue.

Best advice I saw when deciding what to get was go see one on display. You might just regret the extra weight/bulk of the 300.

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Just realised my last point was a repeat of several others. Sorry!

Great thing about living close to the ground is we dont have to stoop quite so much with a Dob :)

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