Jump to content


150pds vs 130pds and mount

Recommended Posts

Hello all!
i've been reading you for quite some time, in order to gather info that will help me buy my first telescope.
I am on a tight budget (~500 euros), and I wanted something that will do fairly good both on observation, and later in astrophotography, which seems a logical step after observation.

At first I was about to buy a 5'' mak, but after reading you, I realized that it will not serve any of my future AP endeavors.

So I came down to sw 130pds and 150pds. A friend suggested that the 150pds will be better, since the details from DSO reveal when you go from 5 to 6 inches. Will the difference be so obvious?Does the money investment in 150pds really worth it?

Let's examine the mounting thing now.

In the scenario that I am going with 150pds, is a AZ Synscan Goto suitable in terms of weight? Or am I going to face issues there. I know that AZ4 can hold the weight of the 150pds, but there is no goto mechanism.
Can an amateur survive without the GOTO mechanism?
The budget is strict so an EQ mount (especially with GOTO) is currently out of reach. And I know that almost everybody suggests that AP is incompatible with AZ mounts, but I am ok with this. I am not looking for perfection, just some plain amateur AP. Furthermore, if I go with the 150pds which is not compact exactly, i want at least the mounting to be as compact as possible.

On the other hand, I think that 130pds can well fit to AZ Synscan Goto mount. And it's more compact/portable. But will the difference in observation will be so visible?Given that I will keep the telescope for some time. 


Please feel free to comment in any way you like.Suggestions in terms of other models/brands (given the restrictions: budget, observation, AP), are also most welcome.


p.s: i live in Europe, where prices are a lot more expensive that in US.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there, and welcome to the forum.

I can't answer all your questions, as I have never used the AZ Synscan, but can offer some advice.

1) If you really can't get an EQ mount that this stage then an AZ mount that supports tracking (I assume the Synscan does) is absolutely essential. You won't be able to do any DSO photography, of any standard, with a manual AZ mount (planetary would be difficult but doable, though these fast Newts are not a great scope choice for planets; lunar would be fine). Check out the No EQ imaging challenge on this site to see what can be done with a tracking AZ mount though.

2) I would personally recommend the smaller and lighter 130 P-DS. You're giving away very little indeed compared to the 150, it's less expensive (put the saving towards a coma corrector) and the lighter tube / shorted focal length means you'll likely be able to use more of the frames you capture. There is a thread on here (Imaging with the 130 P-DS) that shows just what this little scope can achieve. As with the No EQ challenge thread, there should be plenty on there to inspire and encourage.

The above assumes AP is important - if you are mostly going for visual, then the 150 would be better.

Hope this helps.


Edited by billyharris72
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would strongly advise that you save a little more and maybe look at the second hand market for at least a eq5 pro but ideally the heq5 is the standard starting point.

If you go for the eq5 then the smaller lighter 130 would be your best choice.

You will get a larger fov with the 130 but I do like the 150. Maybe because I am lazy and do not really want to move camera and guide scope from one to the other.

You will also need to factor in a coma corrector at some point but I have managed without for a while as this can be cropped out.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Astro photography is  going to be a prime need for you, then a simple Alt Az. mount will allow you 
to make  observations until such time as you can afford  a good tracking mount for AP.

As stated above, the HEQ5 Synscan  is the capable entry level. The EQ6 Synscan is  more expensive, but improved mount .
Not cheap, but your money needs to be spent wisely, so better to wait until  your finances can cope with the purchase.

There is a thriving Use Astro equipment market place, and some bargains can be had from one of those, but before you 
make any decisions on a potential purchase, get Advice on SGL first if you are unsure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys for the tips! Really appreciate the suggestions! 

However, let's try to have in mind that I am not going to buy an EQ mount anytime soon. So let's focus on these two questions:

- is the 150pds too heavy for a AZ synscan mount?

- will there be any significant differences in observation between 130pds and 150pds, to justify the price difference?

Looking forward to hearing your answers



Link to comment
Share on other sites

130pds for me over the 150pds. It won't impact the kinds of things you can image, will be lighter, which your mount will thank you for and is all round much easier to handle and deal with. I agree that you can cut your teeth on this very tricky hobby with a simple Az mount to begin with as an EQ waits in the wings. Planets/Lunar/Bright DSOs are all great targets for you. Astrophotography is hard, so taking things gently and mastering the skills one at a time will get you there.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest you take the 130pds and then make sure the mount you purchase has a good resale value which will enable you to upgrade at a later date.

A smaller mount will be better with the lighter scope as mentioned and you will be happy enough to keep hold of the scope forever as these are great bits of kit to have. 

Before buying anything have a look at this first as you it will help you make the right choices and will cost you allot less than buying astro gear you dont need.

Making Every Photon Count

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A 130P-DS on an EQ3 Pro Goto makes for a good imaging setup and costs £574  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-ds-eq3-pro-goto.html

You can see images (many from beginners) taken using an EQ3 here https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/279039-the-eq3-dso-challenge/


Edited by bobro
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have both the AZ Synscan and an EQ5. The maximum load that skywatcher recommend for the AZ mount is a 130/650 which appears to be the same weight as a 130P-DS. HOWEVER, I would expect the AZ mount to struggle with this scope - not so much the motors in the goto, but the stability for vibration-free viewing. (I think that's why everyone who has posted so far has tried to steer you towards an EQ mount...)

I use a 1145P on the AZ as a light travel scope, and strap a 150P-DS to the EQ5 when I'm in the back garden. 

So without question forget the 150 on the AZ. Expect some frustration with the AZ/130 combo, but if it is all you can afford then go for it. I promise you that you will quickly wish you had an EQ, but wishing isn't going to find an extra €200!!

Clear skies... 


Oh, and I would add that suggesting AP in many people's minds conjures thoughts of guided scopes - I'm sure that for many of the top quality images you see 'taken with a 130P-DS', are taken with setups where the 130 is the cheapest component (out of mount, guide camera, camera and OTA) ! It is more than acceptable to just strap a DSLR to a motorised mount for reasonably cheap astro photographs, but the AZ/130 will struggle with even this simple task... 

Edited by adyj1
Added AP info
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, adyj1 said:

Oh, and I would add that suggesting AP in many people's minds conjures thoughts of guided scopes - I'm sure that for many of the top quality images you see 'taken with a 130P-DS', are taken with setups where the 130 is the cheapest component (out of mount, guide camera, camera and OTA) !

This is why I started this thread:


Link to comment
Share on other sites


I would like to thank you all for your replies. I respect all opinions, even the ones I strongly disagree :)
So, after taking into serious consideration what you've written, portability, tight budget, imaging and viewing characteristics, I decided to go with skywatcher 130pds on a AZ synscan goto mount.

Besides, a battery 12V pack, do you have anything else to suggest, in terms of eyepieces, barlows, filters, etc, that in your opinion are going to be needed from day one, or soon enough that I might just buy them now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.