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rob1

Schmidt Cassegrain or maksutov???

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http://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-127-eq3-2.html or http://www.firstlightoptics.com/omni-xlt-series/celestron-omni-xlt-127.html im looking to buy a compact telescope i can carry around easily as i live on a second floor apartment and dont have a car so would need to carry it my local park, just want to know what im better off getting and whats the difference between Schmidt Cassegrain and maksutov, this will be my first scope and want to see as much as possible whitch will allow better views of DSO's aswell as lunar and planets? thanks for the help.

Rob.

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Having had both, I would say the SCT is more flexible, in that you can add a f6.3 flattener/reducer and an SLR quite easy. Not sure about the mounts - whether you could add motors to either in the future if you wanted tracking.

Edited by sgazer

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The Skymax 127 has a very good reputation. Not so sure about the Celstron Omni.

I'm not an expert but the Maks tend to have a slightly longer focal length due to the different front plate but can have longer cool down times. These are excellent scopes and tend to be used more for planetary and lunar observing because of the long focal length. For visual use I'm not sure how well they will perform on DSOs due to the aperture.

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The C5 OTA is slightly faster than the Mak, giving you a larger FOV (20% in terms of diameter, 40% more area of the sky). The OTA is also slightly lighter. Both are very good on planets (the Mak might have the slightest edge), the C5 has a pretty clear edge in FOV. The mounts seem equivalent, and should be fine for planetary AP. I use my C8 on DSOs a lot, and the SCT and Mak designs are fine, visually, except on a handful of very extended objects. Both scopes will perform on DSOs roughly the same as a 120mm refractor (more-or-less the same amount of light). The mak does cool down more slowly due to the thicker corrector plate. In either case, I would recommend a dew shield.

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As you live in a second floor flat, I might suggest ditching the EQ mount and getting a lightweight Alt/Az, like a Vixen Porta II or SW AZ4.

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Neither scope lends themselves very easily to ap so there may be some merit in buying an ota and an alt az. mount both packages on an eq 3 type mount weigh about 40lbs so not something you want to carry too far. It's doable but it will not be comfortable and will after a while dampen your enthusisam to get out and view. As to which ota the 127mak is cheaper and plug and play while very occasionally you may have to collimate the sct. Personally I prefer the sct given the same eyepiece the view is a little brighter it's a function of the smaller focal length. However the mak is an excellent scope.

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Im considering one of these vixens. Nice and light and get good reviews. Good price to and will sit on the ep3 or az4 nicely.

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Both are excellent scopes and the differences between them are not great.

I agree with the idea of perhaps a lighter alt/az mount for lugging about rather than an EQ - unless AP is really important to you

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I have the heavier Vixen GP mount, and it can be lugged around quite easily, but an Alt-Az mount can also suffice. For planetary AP I do prefer an EQ mount and tracking is a feature which makes observing more relaxing in my view (advanced alt-az mounts can also track). The Vixen vmc110 is a very good scope, but has a smaller aperture (33% less light).

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BTW, when going for a lighter alt-az mount, I would consider getting a C6 OTA (only 60 euro more at TS). The extra inch of aperture can help, and it is not much heavier than the C5 OTA (3.7 kg vs 2.7 kg). It is just 300g heavier than the Mak 127 OTA.

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How about the Celestron C5 spotting scope with an AZ4 alt/azi mount or the Vixen Mini Porta/tripod? These combinations should provide a good portable setup.

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I've never weighed my set up but I can tell you that while I might be happy to hump it in and out of the house as far as the end of the garden, I'd be jiggered if I carried it any further! It's not seriously heavy but hefty enough to put a strain on my (bad) back and rather an awkward shape for fitting through the patio doors. Add to that the sheer preciousness of the item being carried and the worry of dropping it and you have a nervous straining sweating 38 year old with a bad back!

I could lift a bigger scope and mount in and out of the house (probably in two parts) but no further than the end of the garden.

On that premise I'm guessing that the equivalent SCT would be substantially lighter.

I mention this as I was wondering about a travel scope recently? Though to be honest when I came across a SW Mak in a camera shop recently I thought it looked so neat I was sorely tempted.

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