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Andymarrison

Decision to make - 200p vs nexstar 8se

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Hello all. Second post on this topic, and unlikely to be the last I reckon! Having settled on a 200p with eq5 mount last week, I've spent even more time reading around the subject (probably a big mistake!) and am now trying to decide between the original choice of 200p, but this time with an HEQ5 mount, and a Celestron Nexstar 8SE. Can anyone help me out with what the main pros and cons of each would be? One of my main concerns is portability, because my house is not in a particularly good spot for observing, and I guess I'm a bit concerned that the 200p would be a lot less portable. I'm also concerned about ease of use/ speed of setup, and it looks like the celestron would probably win on that too. My worry is the higher focal ratio of the celestron (f10 vs f5 for the 200p) but I have to say I'm not quite clear on what the consequences of this will be for observing. I think I'll principally be doing visual stuff, and perhaps more DSOs than planets, though I'm not aiming to be a DSO specialist in any way. Can anyone help?!:D

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Hi Andy, a tough choice! Both are excellent scopes from what I've heard.

I don't have experience of these scopes myself, but I can tell you: For a given aperture and eyepiece, f10 means higher magnification, but dimmer images compared to f5.

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Hi Andy, If you say you will be doing mostly visual. Coupled with portability, ease of use/ speed of setup. I would suggest an 8" dob. In my humble opinion this would be a much better setup for you.

Graham.

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For portability I'd go for the 8SE. However, if you want to do imaging in the future, the HEQ5 will be better.

The long focal length doesn't really matter for visual except for the wide field. The image brightness will be the same at the same magnification. You just need a shorter focal length eyepiece to achieve the same magnification in a 200p than the C8.

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If you want portability, an equatorial mount isn't the best option. The less stuff you have to have log around and set up the better.

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Well i do indeed have a 8se and can say that it is a very nice scope. Optics are sharp and quite bright (even at F10). I think for visual observing you dont really need to get hung up on the F ratio of the scope, this really comes into effect in astrophotography. And of course there are devices (reducers, hyperstar) that can dramatically reduce the F10 of the Schmitt considerably. However I would say that if you even have an thought that you might at some stage want to do astrophotography then make sure you buy either scope with an EQ mount. The standard GOTO mount for the Celestron is totally useless for this (a lesson painfully learnt).

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I'm 100% glad I went with the dob option as I don't think it can be beaten for ease of use and also portability(depending on size!). Going for the dob will also allow more of your budget for eypieces etc

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If your issues are portability, ease of setup, visual, I don't think there is a better system than the nexstar se series but I must reiterate like some other posters have said.If you have any hope of deep space imaging with the se system forget it. even if you bought all the aftermarket add ons it would still at best be only adequate and you will have spent more than double your original cost of scope and mount. If you ever intend to image dso's get the heq5 and probably the 150p. If you intend to do only visual with a little planetary imaging get the 8se it is a great tool for that, and when you add in portability, ease of setup and goto there isn't a better way to see the stars.

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Just to really confuse you...

I own an 8SE and have recently purchased a HEQ5. Initially I used the 8SE for visual on the planets, moon, sun and globular clusters - absolutely cracking scope for this.

I then started getting into DSO's, so used an (£100) Samsung SCB-2000 camera with the 8SE which again turned out to be a good combination, especially considering it is not a GEM.

You can see some of my efforts with the 8SE / SCB-2000 combination on YT and my SGL album:

Stargazers Lounge - PunkJay's Album: General Astro Images

Now I've bitten the imaging bug, I've purchased an HEQ5 and am using the 8SE OTA with it. Again, I think I've stumbled upon a cracking configuration for imaging.

punkjay-albums-8se-ota-heq5-sony-nex5n-photos-picture15820-m51-120202.jpg

punkjay-albums-8se-ota-heq5-sony-nex5n-photos-picture15819-m42-120303.jpg

Assuming you follow a similar path in astronomy to mine, then I think the 8SE will offer you a fantastic start to the heavens and then offer you the flexibility to grow in the future.

Clear skies,

- Jason

Edited by PunkJay

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I can only give you my experience with a Newt/EQ setup as I have never owned the Nexstar or equivilent although that was what I intended to buy when I first started.

I went through various changes of heart over which scope I would get during the first 6-8 months when all I was using where Big Bins and a tripod.

I now have an 8" Orion Newt on an EQ5 mount (non goto but does have dual motors and a polar scope.)

Firstly - Transport and setup - I find this no problem. I takes me 15 mins to pack the scope and mount into the boot and about the same to unpack and setup at my local dark site. Polar alignment and colimation are a bit of a challenge the first couple of times you do them but soon get to be quick and easy.

Secondly - Ease of use. This was the deciding factor for me. I'm 6'4" and have a bad back consequently my observing position is all important. Having looked through various scopes at observing evenings with my astro society I found that the EQ mount could be setup so as to require the minimum amount of bending to look through the eyepiece. Also it does not rely on power - if my batteries run flat I just disengage the motors and manually track.

I'm sure that any imagers out there would steer you towards the HEQ5 mount as well.

I suppose the main thing I would say is that there may be factors other than astronomical ones that will influence your choice of scope but both of the ones you are looking at sound like great choices and I'm sure you will be very happy with whichever you choose.

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If your just after visual then the 8se is a great scope, I have a 8" dob and can honestly say the visual is about the same. Although the 8" newt dob edges over at a dark site for dso's. I'm looking at either the 10" 250PX FlexTube goto or the 8se myself. Choices choices.

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surely there is no way an 8se could be set up as quick or as easy to use as a dob!obviously the dob will be much larger and less portable but i can fit my 200p in the boot of a peugeot 206sw and they arent that heavy or cumbersome to move

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surely there is no way an 8se could be set up as quick or as easy to use as a dob!obviously the dob will be much larger and less portable but i can fit my 200p in the boot of a peugeot 206sw and they arent that heavy or cumbersome to move

there really isn't much in it you rarely need to collimate an sct and the nexstar is portable enough to be taken out as one unit

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Thanks guys - had considered a Dob, but will be wanting to carry scope with luggage, wife and kids in car sometimes, and whilst it's a big car, there are limits! Sounds like the usable magnification/FOV, given the range of eyepieces at reasonable price, is going to be the main factor - if I want a relatively low mag of say 70x with the Nexstar I'll need a 28mm, but with the 200p a 14mm. Lower mags would be accessible with the 200p using "standard" focal length eyepieces, but to achieve the same with the nexstar I'd be looking at some very long focal length eyepieces (or a focal reducer). Same goes, but the opposite way round, for high mags. It's a tough one, 'cos I reckon I'd get more use out of the Nexstar, but I've always been a fan of DSOs and not so much planetary observing, so on this the 200p seems to win because of the lower magnifications accessible. At this rate I'll collapse under the weight of the decision and end up buying an expensive handbag for the wife instead...:D

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there really isn't much in it you rarely need to collimate an sct and the nexstar is portable enough to be taken out as one unit

i would have thought you could set up a dob in less time than it takes to open the tripod on the 8se plus most people wont transport it in one piece.i do get where you are coming from though,im sure there isnt much in it

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