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Advice on Meade ETX 105/125 for a beginner?

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Hello all,

I am moving back to East Sussex shortly from London, but am yet to purchase my first telescope. From what I have read on the internet I am looking at possibly a Meade ETX 105 or 125...any thoughts?

I suppose I want it for general viewing but definetely for photography as I have a Canon EOS 400, which I think is decent enough...any help and advice is very welcome...

Many, many thanks...Jacqui

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hi jacqui, and welcome , the meade 125 etx will be a good scope but there are other scopes with the same or similar performance for less£££ sw 127 mak goto is around 350-400.... also you want to do photography so a newt or refractor scope might be more your cup of tea ..

have a look at the sw 200pds this will be exellent for visual and photograhpy on an eq5 goto mount , this will be around the price of the meade you were looking at . :icon_salut:

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For Lunar or Planetary imaging one of the 127's on an EQ will be hard to beat due to the FL,The Meade ETX scopes are aimed more at visual usage when you want a quick set up,but that doesn't mean they cant be used for L + P imaging,but for longer exposure's on Deep Sky stuff then a different scope with a better fl is what you'd need (the ETX 125 is f15)

As a scope the 125 has served we well so far,Im very impressed with it,only done a small amount of imaging with a borrowed webcam on Jupiter with awesome results,but as will be said an EQ mount with an "all round" scope is best for imaging,

Maybe get a 105 for those grab and go sessions,and still get the 2nd scope for imaging :)


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Thanks for the detailed posts!! I am very grateful.

As to how much of a beginner I am..well...I have never actually looked through one, I am embaressed to say. I have read books, watched programmes and been on a course, but no actual telescope experience, and dreading the setup when I do finally get one.

I live in a very rural spot which has fantastic dark skys and only ever observed with my eyes.

Thanks again...

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The little Meades are unsuitable for DSLR photography. They are not that great for visual either, to be brutally honest. I think you can do better for the money.

But first, be aware that astrophotography of the deep sky with a DSLR is very complicated and begins with the mount, not the scope. You need a decent equatorial mount and that bites hard into the budget.

If you remove photography from the priorities you have a far wider choice of telescope and would get much better views. The simple Dobsonian mount is lovely and intuitive to use and costs peanuts to make, meaning your cash goes into the optics and not dubious electronics. (Little Go To scopes merrily go to things far to faint to be visible...)

For example...

First Light Optics - Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian

I love astrophotography and make most of my living from it but it's a fair old palaver and can impede someone making their first moves into observing!


Edited by ollypenrice
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Hi Jacqui, Your wording suggests that you would be more interested in imaging. Camera wise you're off to a great start by already owning a Canon EOS DSLR:) Despite what I'm about to say I would go along to your local Astronomy club and look througha variety of scopes to see whats what :icon_salut: Any way, a good place to start learning the ropes of Astrophotography is just with the camera on a tripod as long as you keep the exposure times short e.g 5 seconds to avoid too much star trailing from the Earths rotation, you can use the live view screen to focus on a bright star or the Moon and then take short exposures of anything you want, just have a play :), you will need a trigger release which is an exposure button on a wire so you don't get camera shake when taking pics. This is a good place to start in my opinion and gets you used to focus (I still struggle with this) and gets you used to using live view and all the camera settings such as ISO settings for If or when you get more deeply into imaging. I'm sure someone will be along to tell you about taking star trails around the pole star which gives lovely results with just a camera on a tripod.

Telescope wise its all about the mount and the focal ratio of the scope that sits on it. Apart from being motorised, the mount needs to be equatorial so single longer exposures can be taken without field rotation. The scope (often refered to as the OTA- Optical Tube Assembly) needs to have a short focal ratio such as f/5 or 6, with short f-ratios like this you need much less exposure time than with longer f-ratios, as short f/ratio scopes "grasp light" much more effectively than long f/ratios scopes. Short f-ratio scopes also give a wider field of view than long f/ratio scopes.

Types of imaging - with you DSLR you can effectively image the Moon and deep sky objects such as stars, nebulae and galaxies. The other branch of imaging is planetary imaging and for this you use a webcam and basically film the planets and stack the the individual frames of the film in software to bring out the planetary detail (for this a long f-ratio is better because it enables you to magnify the planet more, so the planet appears bigger in a narrower field of view)

Good equipment options to begin with in my opinion - Well there are quite a few options depending on your buget, as you were looking at the etx 125 (only suitable for webcam imaging of planets) I will assume a buget of around 750-800 pounds, for this you could get any mount between a basic EQ3 with a RA motor for about 200 pounds and a HEQ5 pro for about 750 pounds, the later is widely considered the minimum for serious imaging. With an equatorial mount you can basically stick almost any scope on it via a dovetale plate as long as you consider the weight the scope against the sturdiness of the mount, so if you buy an equatorial mount you can swap between a reflector or a refractor (f/5-6) for deep sky imaging, and a Maksutov (like the etx OTA f/12-15) for webcam imaging of planets, basically the equatorial mount is a very versatile bit of kit:)

If you want portability (Which I suspect you do as you were looking at the ETX) the EQ3 pro mount might be a good choice with a small refractor to go on it, this mount is 388 pounds which would leave you a fair amount to spend on a Scope to stick on it. I would go for a small short tube refractor because they are very beginner friendly in that they are small and light, and require no collumnating. With your remaining buget I would go for an Equinox 66 which is a quality little scope for 315 pounds (I'm thinking of selling both my 200p and my 80mm semi-Apo refractor to get one!) This is whats known as an Apochromatic Refractor which means it basically corrects for all 3 primary colours of light so you dont get false colour, also the quality of the lenses and the baffling is better so you get less distorted stars and better contrast compared to cheaper whats known as Achromatic refractors which only correct for 2 out of the 3 primary colours of light. The equinox as part of a portable imaging setup would be fab, another important feature is the focusser on quality Apo's they have scales on the focusser so its easier to find and keep focus.

If you want a setup which is a better all rounder for both visual and imaging I would go for a 150pds reflector on a EQ5 pro mount, this would be less portable but would be better on faint objects for visual work as well as being a good balance of scope to mount for imaging, although with reflectors they need a bit more maintenance like regular collumnation to get the best out of them.

One other bit of kit that you need is a T-ring and adaptor to attach your camera to your scope, both of these bits add up to about 25 pounds.

I hope this helps

Regards Chris ;)

Edited by starfox
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Even if you want to do some visual work, don't buy one of these. The build quality has decreased markedly over the last 5-6 years and they are not the 'scopes they were then. I know three people who regret buying these. Consider a Celestron equivalent if you want to observe primarily. I know a couple of people who have bought 4" and 5" Celestrons and have had no problems with them.

Possibly controversial comments, I know, especially from someone with a Meade LX90, but this was bought 8 years ago, is of excellent quality and has never let me down - unlike the LNT and GPS versions that were bought by friends more recently. You just need to see my scope next to theirs to see the drop in quality

Negative comments I know, but hopefully useful.


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