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£400 or a £900 telescope?


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What's the difference between a £400 scope and a £900 one? When ever I look it's mainly because the dearer one has a better tripod and a goto?

I'm getting annoyed because I keep thinking £400 isn't a lot for a good telescope whereas everytime I compare the £400 one to a higher value one, the cheaper one always seems to come out on top?

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Hi

The simple answer is £500 but I don't think that's what you are asking!

The prices don't tell me what scopes they are or you're own telescope needs. These will dictate which is the 'best' scope. If you can provide a few more details I'll offer more constructive advice.

Edited by onesmallstep
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You need a scope and a mount. Depending on what you want to do with the scope, the mount will be more or less expensive. The cheapest mounts, Dobsonians, are actually the best at what they do. But they don't do everything. They don't do deep sky imaging, for instance. They don't (as John Dobson invented them) track the sky. They don't offer single axis manual tracking at high powers.

If you want to do deep sky imaging the mount comes first, the camera comes second and the scope comes last.

Horses and courses, decisions decisions!

Olly

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I think the issue described is more that he spots a decent scope with reasonable performance but it is sat on a $900 or more mount.

then sees a scope that appears equal for less.

Shop around ... a lot!

Some dealers offer OTA deals you can get a nice scope and then select a cheaper non computerised mount. you should get a reasonable scope for 400, with a mount included? I am not sure, like the real experts say it depends on the type of scope you want and what you expect to do with it.

You do get what you pay for though.

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there can be lots of reasons for the difference in price; type of scope, size of scope, type of mount, goto, brand etc etc. As others say, the right scope is the right one for you. The best scope is the one that gets used! So pick the one that suits your situation and is within your budget.

eg. a £400 dob will be excellent, but not if you want goto or to do imaging. A £900 dob would get some great aperture, but no good if you want to carry it in a back pack!

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I was and probably still am going to get the skywatcher 200p tonight from FLO. My first scope was the SW 114H and I want insurances that this 200p scope is better than the one I had before because visually they look exactly the same!

The 200p has everything I want.

The only problem is the size of the scope because now I've spotted this one: Celestron Omni XLT 127 and the size is much more reasonable, however, it doesn't come with a few things that I like about the Skywatcher. I got my first scope 11 years ago because I was impressed with the specifications and it turned out to be not as I expected. So I don't want to fall back into that mind frame as £400 for a telescope is still a lot of money!

So, does the Skywatcher 200p sound better than the Celestron Omni XLT 127?

I basically want to use the scope for imaging purposes which is why I have enough budget left for a DSLR camera hence why the telescope price is cheaper than if I got a £500+ one!

Anyway, I think I know what to do, just need to make sure that the 200p is a good telescope and is better than the 114h?

Thanks, all information is appreciated!

Andrew Steele.

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@ Gary:

That was what I thought, the scope would probably cost less than £300 but then I don't have the budget and don't want to spend £550 on the HQE5 tripod when it probably wouldn't make that much difference... the original tripod must be pretty decent?

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the 200p will definitely be better than the 114 for visual, guaranteed (3x brighter for a start). However for deep sky imaging I would recommend something smaller than 200mm. Size is not important for imaging, focal ratio is. A small f5 scope will be just a bright as a big f5 scope. With the big scope you are just getting more weight (bigger mount), more expense and a longer focal length making tracking more difficult. For imaging I would recommend (from experience) a 150pds on a HEQ5. Very manageable size and cost. If you want to zoom in a bit, just crop the image (most cameras are 10MP+ these days). The HEQ5 will then be able to take a guide scope for when you really get into imaging. Also make sure you get a -ds reflector, otherwise you won't achieve focus with a DSLR.

I started with a 10" dob, then rolled back to a 150pds for imaging. I now use a 85mm f1.4 lens on my 450d which is an amazing 12x brighter than the scope. It's just 10x more 'zoomed out', but if I crop to 100%, I can get to some reasonable image scale on the screen.

For planetary or lunar imaging, go for a Mak with a webcam. Compact, long focal length, low maintainance, good price.

Edited by sgazer
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@ Gary:

That was what I thought, the scope would probably cost less than £300 but then I don't have the budget and don't want to spend £550 on the HQE5 tripod when it probably wouldn't make that much difference... the original tripod must be pretty decent?

As you will no doubt be advised by accomplished imagers here, the mount is everything...

Perry

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If using a DSLR camera for astro-photography...start with as sturdy a tripod & as heavy duty EQ mount with tracking as you can afford...then sort out what 'scope you can afford to stick on it..

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I hope the OP doesn't take this the wrong way, it's not intended to offend. I could be wrong, but the first post in this thread suggests that the OP hasn't done much research into telescopes and backyard astronomy in general. In which case it's a bad idea to go buying something by just setting a price and going with the first thing that fits - it's almost certain to produce unsatisfactory results. There's a lot of research to be done and knowledge to be gained before you can choose a scope for yourself with a reasonable degree of certainty that it will work for you as you want it to. If that sounds tiresome, consider the fact that the entire hobby is like that - there's always more to find out and lots of research to be done. Personally I love that about it - it teaches me patience, and gives me a chance to enjoy it even when it's cloudy.

In any event, I'd advise against rushing - take it slow, do your homework, and end up with a scope that brings a smile to your face every time you get to use it. Again, if I'm wrong I apologize in advance :)

Edited by newman
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If it's imaging you're interested in and particularly Deep Sky Objects like galaxies and nebulae, I heartedly recommend Steve Richards' book "Making Every Photon Count" available from FLO and directly from him. This carefully takes you through every step in choosing your equipment. It's an easy read and very helpful. Steve posts on here in the name of Steppenwolf.

I took his and other people's advice and spent all my spare cash on a very good mount - in fact I had to save up more - but have never regretted it. I had already bought a cheapish 5" reflector from Amazon before I'd even heard of SGL as I'd always had an interest in astronomy but never really done anything about it. I had various issues with the cheap scope, mainly the mount/tripod. Once I'd bought a good mount the old scope performed a lot better. I could now use the rather crude rack and pinion focuser to focus the scope - with the old tripod and mount it wasn't possible without everything shaking terribly. With the NEQ6 mount it was solid.

SO... my advice - spend your money and maybe even save up more for a really good mount - at least an HEQ5 Pro for imaging (an NEQ6 Pro would be well future-proof), that will last you and will be adequate for an 8" reflector such as the SW Explorer 200 P DS which will do you well for DSO and planetary/lunar etc. for quite a long time. If you go for a lesser mount you will want to upgrade later on - I've seen it happen.

I also went for a refractor rather than reflector on Steve's advice for imaging DSO - an Evostar 80 ED DS Pro OTA. These are great for DSO but less so for planetary. I'm thinking of getting a bigger scope - a Newtonian, to augment my equipment later on.

Edited by Gina
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The mount is probably everything and even though I have got the funds to pay up to £3,000, I don't want to spend that much on it! I love it as a hobby but if it's this stressful then I'll turn my interests into something else!

I've had other people on other forums saying the 200p is good for imaging dso's because it's a fast scope and you lot saying the other!

I do appreciate feedback and I just need one more question answered (SIMPLY):

Would the 200p allow me to take photos of dsos and planets? I know it would for the dsos and I assume it wouldn't be for planets but I've taken pictures before through my old scope and they come out just as good!

I am going to buy the 200p because they must make a scope that people would buy and atm this scope fits in with my plans! If I bought the best scope there is, then that's my hobby done and dusted! Anyway, I've seen other people on here with the scope take really good images, so it can't be that hard ;-D

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The mount is probably everything and even though I have got the funds to pay up to £3,000, I don't want to spend that much on it! I love it as a hobby but if it's this stressful then I'll turn my interests into something else!

I've had other people on other forums saying the 200p is good for imaging dso's because it's a fast scope and you lot saying the other!

I do appreciate feedback and I just need one more question answered (SIMPLY):

Would the 200p allow me to take photos of dsos and planets? I know it would for the dsos and I assume it wouldn't be for planets but I've taken pictures before through my old scope and they come out just as good!

I am going to buy the 200p because they must make a scope that people would buy and atm this scope fits in with my plans! If I bought the best scope there is, then that's my hobby done and dusted! Anyway, I've seen other people on here with the scope take really good images, so it can't be that hard ;-D

get the best mount you can afford for imaging.

Edited by rory
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Planets yes, DSO's yes, but with a caveat - many deep space objects are much larger than the field of view the 200P provides. For DSO's the scope would need to be on a driven EQ mount. You could probably get away with a dob mount if you were just going to image planets using a high frame-rate camera.

Edited by Black Knight
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A 200p/pds is a good allrounder and there are lots of great images on here using this scope:) it will be good for planets due to its relatively long focal length which will frame planets well especially when Barlowed up, and it will be great for DSO's especially small galaxies and panetary nebula due to its combination of fast optics (f/5), long focal length, and great light grasp. The down sides are its size compared to a small imaging refractor like an ED80, and the need to collumnate Newts, also its fairly heavy, as mentioned above you need a good sturdy EQ mount for imaging, I had a 200p on an old HEQ5 a while ago and I would say that this would be the minimum you'd want mount wise, although I know people on here who image with a 200p on an eq5 but I'm sure they would agree that an HEQ5 or bigger would be a good idea.

hth

Chris

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Good luck with your new scope and I hope you don't find imaging at all stressful.

I have to say thought, that I found picking the scope a whole lot easier than learning the basics of imagining.

At one point I was seriously tempted to pack it all in and take up basket weaving.

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A 200p/200pds on an HEQ5Pro will get you up & running for use with your DSLR...this mount will also carry the weight of extras..like a guide-scope for those long exposure sessions

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For using a DSLR you need the PDS version for the shorter tube provided specially for using a DSLR to provide enough back focus. You also want the slow motion focuser to get accurate focus for imaging - focus is critical for good results.

Yes, HEQ5 Pro minimum for imaging DSOs and NEQ6 Pro highly recommended.

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This hobby needs plenty of patience and dedication and has a steep learning curve. If you don't like a challenge this hobby is not for you. But if you do it is very rewarding as you make progress and get better and better results.

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