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Affordable, quality beginner 8" SCT??

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What's an affordable, quality beginner 8" SCT?

I'm saving my pennies to eventually get my own first telescope. I've been using a borrowed Dobsonian reflector, and for various reasons, am leaning toward an SCT. My hopeful budget is around $1000 or so. I want it for visual use primarily with tracking and go-to, and decent enough to dabble some in photography.

I want an 8" aperture as that seems to be the lowest really good aperture size (6" would be too small, I think, from my reading). I don't know what all the features do on each more expensive 8" model, but I just need a basic one for learning the night sky, but quality enough I'll use for a long time.

Would a Celestron Nexstar 8 SE best meet this criteria?

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It sure would although a tad more than $1000, even in USA!

If you think your going down the photography road in the future I would consider holding on until you have enough for a decent EQ GOTO mount and 8"OTA SCT.

You can't go far wrong with celestron for both, although for the mount Sky Watcher have a fantastic range such as the marvellous HEQ5

The Nexstar range are great set ups but will be limited on astroimaging if you get serious.


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Hi Ya Nwink - the 8SE is a very nice scope - Reading through all of the posts on here regarding the stability it seems that the 8"SCT on the SE mount is probably at the limit of the set up ( I had a Meade LX90 8"SCT for a long time and was very pleased with it, optically and electronically it was very nice - never had a minutes trouble with it and very accurate) .  A lot have said that the 8" is probably the best aperture to start to begin to get a good "hold" of the night sky and the SCT is a very small tube compared to a Newt of the same aperture - so easy to move around and very manageable if you have to carry long distances to set up away from the lights - the only downside I think is the mount - I have always said and stand by the fact that the 8" SCT is far better with a dual fork arm mount than a single arm mount - its rock steady and very stable - not to say that the SE isn't a good mount - but you will be much happier with a dual fork arm  mount if you intend to continue with the hobby - best to get a very nice set up from the start in my opinion - the LX 90 gave my hours of fun and a pleasure to use and I never looked back with my choice of set up - I must have been doing something right I owned the Meade for about 5 years and only sold it to part fund the CPC, If I could have, I would have kept it!!

I know that it means saving a little more money, but if you can hold on to the Newt until you have enough for the SCT - this will give you the night sky "fix" for the time being.

Optically, I think the Newt gives much "tighter" stars - especially when the seeing isn't so good - the SCT will show slightly "bloated" stars, but i think when you get used to the views, you forget about it - Also, Planetary - the f10 system of the SCT works very well here - together with tracking you can sit at the back of the scope for hours (if your anything like me) - this is where the visual works very well - you get a very nice seated position at the back of the scope and you can follow for hours at a time.

The EQ mounts are probably the best for AP - but for purely visual and a little "web camming" you can get a lot done with the fork mount.

I have a little 127 Mak on an EQ mount - I must say that the fork mount is much easier and quicker to set up for a nights observing - you don't have to keep rotating the EP when you move to a different part of the sky with the SCT tube, especially with a Newt, you may have to keep rotating the tube for different parts of he sky.

HTH a little Nwink - I have settled with the humble SCT and have had hours of fun with it - just have a little think about your mounting options - no 1 mount will suit all - but for mainly visual I don't think you can beat a dual fork mounted short tube SCT - if you decide to go foe the SCT that is ?



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I agree with Paul above on the LX90. Excellent views and well made. I bought one about 10 years ago sold it, regretfully, and have gone full circle and bought the latest ACF version. It's simple to set up, not too heavy, and the goto is very accurate ( as long as you take care setting the scope and mount up properly) Views through the scope are stunning.

For simple lunar and planetary photography, it does really well, but if you are going to seriously get into astro photography, you should be looking at a GEM mount. This is where it starts getting expensive.

I used a simple imaging camera with my old LX90 and got some impressive shots of the moon and planets, I just bought an Orion Starshoot 5 mp cam so I can do the same again. I'm afraid I don't gave the patience or cash to get into the level of imaging many members here are doing.


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