Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_2019_sp_banner.thumb.jpg.a0ff260c05b90dead5c594e9b4ee9fd0.jpg

simona

Trying to choose a telescope

Recommended Posts

Hey guys! new to the forum here but have been reading many posts! I've been a long time star gazer (with the naked eye) but just very casually (seeing meteor showers etc). For a long time i've been wanting to get a telescope and make this a serious hobby. 

Having absolutely no clue about telescopes whatsoever i soon realized i had jumped into the deep end and was a little overwhelmed with all the information and choices out there. So i started doing some research and feel that i have a very basic understanding now, but i was hoping to get some advise.

From my understanding, i'm after a roughly f/5 reflector because whilst i do want to see planets etc my main focus is DSO. I know getting into astrophotography as a novice isnt recommended, so i dont want to delve into that now THOUGH eventually id like to take some casual shots of galaxies etc. My budget isnt very large, but id like a scope that will be suitable for this as well since i simply dont have the money to be replacing this telescope anytime soon. (thinking ccd instead of dslr though my knowledge here is effectively non existent so if i sound silly i apologize).

Having browsed all the telescopes at first light optics i narrowed down my choices and based on the reviews i read on this forum i decided on the: SkyWatcher 150/750 EQ3-2, but then was disheartened to see they don't ship to australia. Thus started my quest to find someone who sells it here, and i did, but for about $200 more than the converted GBP price. I was very very sad. So i did some more research and found two other telescopes i thought maybe might be good.

These are my three top choices, with the aussie prices. If you guys could point me in the direction of which you'd recommend or value for money (or another one that you think will be better (but around the same price range) that would be absolutely spectacular!

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ MD = $400
Saxon Velocity 15075 EQ3 = $600
SkyWatcher 150/750 EQ3 = $700
The SkyWatcher is kinda out of my price range to be honest, but if it's significantly the best one i "can" afford, then i'll definitely take the plunge. What do you guys think?
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, welcome to SGL.

I have one of these in the UK, but Oz scopes do the same, and I'd say more scope for your money. 

http://www.ozscopes.com.au/skywatcher-8-dobsonian-telescope.html

If your just wanting to concentrate on visual observations, the 8" 200P is a great telescope and even better from truly darker observing sites.

There may be a few snaps in my Gallery, taken with a mobile phone/DSLR, so quick images of the Moon will be fine, but for long exposures, or photographing galaxies and nebula, requires a tracking system and a solid mount.

Edited by Charic
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi charic! thanks so much for responding. I have read a lot of good things about dobsonians but for some reason i just seem to be avoiding them. maybe because they look so huge and as a tiny 5'1 female i dont think i can lift that anywhere lol and living in the subrusb of melbourne, ill be wanting to take it somewhere darker for viewing. Or do you think ill find the same problem with the scopes i found too? i notice the celestron is about the same weight but i couldnt find the weight of the other two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your still taller than the Skyliner ( 4` 4" ) and it separates into two sections, if you think its too heavy to lift as one unit. If you can drive, the scope  lays across the back seats, and the base can fit in the trunk/boot  or front seat.

Dobsonians are in fact Newtonian telescopes? its just the mount, the  Dobsonian,  that differs to other mounts, namely  equatorial mounts. I find those very time consuming for visual work. With the 200P I can sit comfortably on a drum stool and observe as long as the weather allows. 

No matter what telescope you choose, it will always fare better from a darker site, under the right conditions. I have street lighting that affects my observations, but I I hide my eyes from the lights by hiding behind walls/sheds, I can then better adapt my eyes to the night, and effectively  see more.

Edited by Charic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 6" 150P would be lighter in weight, but I would suggest the 8" as the better scope, because it gathers more light, and has the better focuser,  and if you go even larger, say a 10" or 12" then better again.

Here's a brief overview of the Skyliner. 

Edited by Charic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are proper shops in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane that I know of. You might benefit from taking the time and heading into one of them. Not sure about Perth or Darwin though. Also, have you considered attending a star party at your nearest Astro club. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd also endorse the 8" over the 6" models. An 8" is at the sweet-spot where the entire sky really opens up to you, allowing a new and fantastic object to see every night of your life. And many more to come. A 6" is nothing to sneer at, but 8 seems to be the magic-number.

If you do go to a shop, ask them if you can use the finder-scope to help pay for an upgrade to a RACI finder instead of the stright-through design it comes with. A RACI has a diagonal on it so you look through it from the same standing position (or sitting when you get a seat) as you look through the eyepiece from. Otherwise you may be needing some Yoga-Classes to help you contort your body into a pretzel trying to peer through a straight finder. Or a chiropractor. What is a RACI exactly? Here's an example:

http://www.telescope.com/Accessories/Telescope-Finder-Scopes/Black-9x50-Right-Angle-Correct-Image-Finder/pc/-1/c/3/sc/49/p/7212.uts

An 8X or 9 X 50mm is what I suggest.

Happy hunting!

Dave

Edited by Dave In Vermont
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Simona,

welcome to the forum. I would agree with previous posters that the 8" dobsonian is worth considering. The tube and the mount can be separated and both weigh in at about 10kg. The EQ3 mount will not allow you to take pictures other than webcam shots of the moon and some planets. Same holds true for a dobsonian, however you get the better telescope and it is cheaper than the 150/EQ3. Since you live in Melbourne you might want to go past Bintel or OzScope.

Only disadvantage I can see is the focal length of 1250mm on the 8" dob which in my opinion is a bit long for a lot of DSOs. It will give a smaller field of view again ideal for smaller objects.

If your interest is in astrophotography, I am tempted to suggest to get a better mount (the EQ5) and start using the DSLR to take widefield pictures. There is a section in the imaging part of the forum. Later you can get a short focal length refractor like the SW ST80 with 400 mm focal length. If you are totally hooked you can always use the ST80 as a guide scope in the even more distant future...

Good luck and sorry if I have confused you even more.

HJ

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was looking the other day, and there are a few 8" dobs on Gumtree. Only 1 in Vic, but quite a few on the east coast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Simona,

welcome to the forum. I would agree with previous posters that the 8" dobsonian is worth considering. The tube and the mount can be separated and both weigh in at about 10kg. The EQ3 mount will not allow you to take pictures other than webcam shots of the moon and some planets. Same holds true for a dobsonian, however you get the better telescope and it is cheaper than the 150/EQ3. Since you live in Melbourne you might want to go past Bintel or OzScope.

Only disadvantage I can see is the focal length of 1250mm on the 8" dob which in my opinion is a bit long for a lot of DSOs. It will give a smaller field of view again ideal for smaller objects.

If your interest is in astrophotography, I am tempted to suggest to get a better mount (the EQ5) and start using the DSLR to take widefield pictures. There is a section in the imaging part of the forum. Later you can get a short focal length refractor like the SW ST80 with 400 mm focal length. If you are totally hooked you can always use the ST80 as a guide scope in the even more distant future...

Good luck and sorry if I have confused you even more.

HJ

Thank you to everyone for responding. Astrophotgraphy is definitely my interest. I had a think about your suggestion and had a look at some of my options. Would you think a Skywatcher Explorer 200PDS EQ5 would be good? It's got the nice 8inch aperture everyone was recommending. I have read on this forum that really a minimum of a heq5 mount is needed, but i just can't afford it. would an eq5 be sufficient for short exposure/casual photography?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to everyone for responding. Astrophotgraphy is definitely my interest. I had a think about your suggestion and had a look at some of my options. Would you think a Skywatcher Explorer 200PDS EQ5 would be good? It's got the nice 8inch aperture everyone was recommending. I have read on this forum that really a minimum of a heq5 mount is needed, but i just can't afford it. would an eq5 be sufficient for short exposure/casual photography?  

If your aim is astrophotography than the combination 8" reflector and EQ5 will not work. I am thinking of getting this scope for my second scope to chase galaxies, but it will push the HEQ5 to its limits. I'm certain that I will not be able to put my current guide scope on it as well. Furthermore, the longer the focal length the more precise tracking has to be. 

8" telescopes and bigger are really good for observing - unless you are really rich and can afford top-of-the-range mounts. The Skywatcher ED80 is a refractor with 80mm aperture and 600mm focal length and very popular to get into astrophotography. It is also outside your price range. Which leaves you with either a small reflector (SW 130PDS  http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/210593-imaging-with-the-130pds/)or a small refractor (this link is for the SW 80ED but in your case I was more thinking SW 80ST http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/236987-what-can-the-skywatcher-evostar-ed80-do-for-me/).

For photography even a camera lens can do marvelous things: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/255993-downtown-cygnus-revisited/as an example.

What people, myself included, don't realize at the beginning is how big DSOs are - sometimes several times larger than the full moon. They are just faint. Hence tracking is far more important than the power of the telescope.

Down under, we are blessed with having some of the most amazing DSOs on our doorstep.

Cheers

HJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Simona, 

Welcome to SGL.  Let me congratulate you first for your very intelligent first post.

It's very nice to know you have put much thought into what you wish to do.

Some newcomers rush blindly into a purchase, and invariably make poor choices.

The previous posters have give you some good advice, so you have a base to start from

as regards a suitable telescope.

All I would had is, if Capital is a stumbling block, perhaps you could consider the

Used market places, Some really good bargains can be had there,

you can always ask more help / advice if you need to before spending your money.

Good Luck, and enjoy your stay here.

Ron.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum Simona.

I'm a purely visual observer but read plenty of threads on the forum about starting out in AstroPhotography.

You do really need to make choice between visual and AP, otherwise the compromises are just too great.

The comments about an 8" scope being a sweet spot are correct, but for visual not AP. Most people start off with an 80ED with perhaps a focal reducer and on an EQ5 or HEQ5 mount. Quite a few people have had good results with the 130P on similar mounts. There is a useful thread on here somewhere which I will link to if I can find it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to the thread. Apologies as it gets a little lively in places, passionate lot us astronomers. Just ignore that and have a read through to get various opinions and see what can be achieved with different kit. For AP, sticking within the limits of your mount is one of the most important aspects.

http://stargazerslounge.com/index.php?/topic/247984-Thinking-about-replacing-my-Skywatcher-10%22-Dob-with-a-Skywatcher-200P-EQ5-GoTo%2E%2E%2E-Maybe%2E%2E

Here is a direct link to the 130P thread although it is in the one above too

http://stargazerslounge.com/index.php?/topic/210593-Imaging-with-the-130pds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Simona.  I'm always concerned about those new to telescopes getting in too deep by buying one that is large, heavy, with lots of gizmos etc and getting quickly disheartened before they've experienced the joy and relaxation that a smallish, simple telescope can bring.  I know nothing about astrophotography (AP) which is a great hobby as well as being of real value to science but I wonder if some people miss out on the simple pleasures of just looking.  If your budget is tight you will obviously need to purchase a telescope than can be used for AP even if you only initially use it visually.  The best value for money is the Newtonian and I think some people buy an inexpensive dobsonian, eventually mounting the optical tube on an equatorial mount so they can use it for AP.   As to what size to get this is a difficult decision because of that accursed affliction know as 'aperture fever' although this is less of a problem for AP-ers than for visual observers.  You will have to decide what is the largest you can manage physically, perhaps by going to a shop or a star party (I'm sure some people won't mind you trying to lift their 'scope), if you can get to one.     

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and a warm welcome to the SGL. Plenty of good advice already given, but I think it would be best to see some of these scopes before taking the plunge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just skimmed through the posts here and saw the astrophotography being an interest point.

So, my suggestion here would be to hold fire on getting a scope for a little while and do a little bit more homework.   Firstly, there are Astromony Societies close to you.  So get yourself alone to them - the local memebers will be able to out you in touch with the right suppliers of the kit that will work best for your needs.  Also, you'll get opportunities to see some kit first hand, and from what I've seen of kit from down under.   I'm thinking get to know the kit, also the people in the society too as they'll be most likely have dark sites setup already which you'd be able to attend.  (makes it quite a social affair too)  Which in aus is a great think, as there are other things to consider that we in the northern hemisphere don't need to content with. (Mosquitoes, red backs to name a couple of things)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Simona.

I agree with most of whats been said so far, however id just like to say that a Newtonian, DOB or otherwise, having an aperture of 150mm is a serious scope and capable of showing you some spectacular, even jaw dropping views of every kind of object. It will not be too heavy to move around and is easy to use. I'd suggest you seriously consider this size of scope, firstly because you seem to be worried about your ability to manage a large scope, and second because if you find a large scope difficult to handle, it will ultimately put you off observing. The other fatal advice I'd like to offer is regarding focal ratio; a F8 150mm Newtonian will give you higher powers and sharper stars across the field of view than its shorter F5 sibling, and will give better views of the moon and planets.

Mike

P.S. Im 6ft + and built like a brick outhouse but I've never yet met a 5'1" woman who wasn't stronger than me. :-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aaaahh :( sigh i feel like i'm left with more questions now than answers! LOL so much different advice. i thought i had a grasp at things but i'm left pulling my hair not knowing where to go from here. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond and give suggestions. I really do want to do both observation and imaging, but imaging is definitely the priority if i had to choose. 

First i thought 150, then everyone was saying 200 is better, now smaller is better for photography? 

I was under the impression small focal ratio was better for deep sky and large for close planets, but mike you seem to suggest otherwise :(

ps ~ a bit of a gentle giant then :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Simona, welcome to SGL. Like MikeDnight, I'm a long term astro enthusiast and I would endorse his comments (apart from his physical strength!) There is an awful lot to learn about and to see with visual astronomy before you get involved with astrophotography. There is a significant gulf between the two and if on a tight budget the compromises just add to the difficulties, you will notice that posts from photographers mainly consist of problems and frustrations. Enjoy visual astronomy whilst you can!     :smiley:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aaaahh :( sigh i feel like i'm left with more questions now than answers! LOL so much different advice. i thought i had a grasp at things but i'm left pulling my hair not knowing where to go from here. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond and give suggestions. I really do want to do both observation and imaging, but imaging is definitely the priority if i had to choose. 

First i thought 150, then everyone was saying 200 is better, now smaller is better for photography? 

I was under the impression small focal ratio was better for deep sky and large for close planets, but mike you seem to suggest otherwise :(

ps ~ a bit of a gentle giant then :)

Sorry for confusing you - but it is important to understand the differences between observing and imaging. For observations, bigger is better - as easy as this. The largest Dob you can afford gives you the best results. For imaging, the scope comes secondary. The heart of the setup is the mount. Yes, big scopes are better for imaging too, BUT big scopes need very expensive mounts.

Hence the camera lens or a small scope for starters and the best mount you can afford.

And it is possible to get good results with small scopes or camera lenses. I had three links in my previous post. Have a look what can be achieved without outrageously expensive gear. And yes, small focal ratios are better for DSOs because they are faint and small focal ratios reduce the required exposure time. Moon and planets are very bright and focal ratios are not important. For example I use 5 min exposure time on a nebula with ISO800 or 1600 and 1/200 sec on the moon with ISO200 - that's a 60000 fold difference even before you take the higher sensitivity into account. By the way the f-ration of the ED80 is f/7.5.

I think, the first decision you have to make is whether you want to go down the imaging or visual route...

Good luck!

HJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to SGL Simona :)

As mentioned above there is no one scope that satisfies all requirements for both observing and imaging. For observing,  the larger the aperture the better, but for imaging the mount is most important, and a variety of scopes and cameras can be used for the actual photography - usually with a low f-ratio typically around f-5.

Inevitably you are going to need to save a fair bit more for imaging because the mount is going to cost around £500 to £700 alone, depending on whether you choose new or second hand. So you'd be well advised to pick a good sized observing scope initially and get some viewing under your belt - the experience learning the night sky and it's seasons will serve well when you eventually come to do imaging.

Something like a 150P or 200P Newtonian will give you a great start - and a Dobsonian mount will be your cheapest option. Don't worry about the size unduly - they break down into two main bits for transportation and either will suit your height. The other thing I'd recommend is a good read of "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards. It's the imagers bible for astro photography - well laid out and easy to read it will tell you all you need to know about this very complex but rewarding aspect of astronomy. Hope your head feels better soon lol. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aaaahh :( sigh i feel like i'm left with more questions now than answers! LOL so much different advice. i thought i had a grasp at things but i'm left pulling my hair not knowing where to go from here. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond and give suggestions. I really do want to do both observation and imaging, but imaging is definitely the priority if i had to choose. 

First i thought 150, then everyone was saying 200 is better, now smaller is better for photography? 

I was under the impression small focal ratio was better for deep sky and large for close planets, but mike you seem to suggest otherwise :(

ps ~ a bit of a gentle giant then :)

Sorry Simona, i was advising from a visual point of view. May be if your priority is astroimaging a smallish ED would be the scope to aim for. A ED80 has already been suggested.

Mike :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.