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of all the kinds of telescopes, is there any one kind that just flat out is better or do all different kinds do different things better? I'm on the market now to buy my third scope, so i want to see if there is a "best" design, and if not, what kind of scope suits my needs. i don't do astrophotography yet, but i want to at some point. i have a honking big minivan so portability isn't big deal, and anyway my mak is very portable. i have a pretty good budget, i can spend up to $700 on this although i would like to keep it under $600 if i can. i would love specific recommendations, but i also would love just general ideas.

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Hi , the best scope in my opinion is the scope that will get used. No point having a scope that is to big , to heavy to move outside or to a dark site .

But bang for buck ,then it has to be the reflector, why ? Lots of aperture for sensible money compared to other scope types?  

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horses for courses, but if you was going to tie me down id agree with above, a newt of 8inch would take you a long way, but if you was interested in solar it would be a frac and for planets a smit-cass would be the tool for the job. there isn't any good allrounders because of the widefield of targets . goodluck. charl.

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This will surprise some but ignoring budget I'd say that a 120ed type scope is about the best all rounder you can buy. Whilst I agree that a newt is better value for money per inch, a 5" class ed refractor will have more flexibility as it can be used for solar white light and potentially hydrogen alpha too. Also star shapes are sharper, you have (usually) a wider maximum field and there's a bit more contrast. 

To be honest though all scopes these days are great and we are truly spoilt for choice.

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35 minutes ago, Moonshane said:

This will surprise some but ignoring budget I'd say that a 120ed type scope is about the best all rounder you can buy. Whilst I agree that a newt is better value for money per inch, a 5" class ed refractor will have more flexibility as it can be used for solar white light and potentially hydrogen alpha too. Also star shapes are sharper, you have (usually) a wider maximum field and there's a bit more contrast. 

To be honest though all scopes these days are great and we are truly spoilt for choice.

Having owned 25+ scopes over the years I'd either go for something like the above or maybe an 8" F/6 dobsonian :icon_scratch:

Another very versatile design that I have owned is a 6 inch maksutov-newtonian athough it was quite heavy for the aperture and required more cool down time than the above. At one point I owned both a 6" F/5.9 mak-newt and an ED120. They were both really great scopes but I kept the ED120 in the end because it's cool down time was faster and it's mounting requirements were more modest.

 

Edited by John
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I would forget about AP in the 1st instance.  Concentrate on grabbing a 4" refractor without worrying too much about the control of chromatic aberration (expensive to correct) with 2 or 3 plossl's to view planets, lunar & bright DSO's.  

If after a year or 2 IF your interest is still burning you will know your destiny. 

Get a copy of 'The Light Hearted Astronomer'.  Its advice I wish I could have / still do wish I could follow. 

Good luck with your choices. 

Edited by jabeoo1
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The simple answer to your question is 'no' there is no one design which is better than all the others. I'm a bit of a die hard refractor fan, but in your position I would probably buy a decent sized dob. With your minivan, portability is not an issue and you can presumably get it out under dark skies where it will show you some amazing sights.

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3 hours ago, Stu said:

The simple answer to your question is 'no' there is no one design which is better than all the others. I'm a bit of a die hard refractor fan, but in your position I would probably buy a decent sized dob. With your minivan, portability is not an issue and you can presumably get it out under dark skies where it will show you some amazing sights.

thats what I've been thinking. dobs are pretty simple from what i read, at least they are after you learn how to use them. I've been thinking that i want either a large reflector or a modest dob, i tried a refractor for my first scope and they just don't have the aperture i need. big aperture = more light drawn in + LP = LP strengthened, right? i live in michigan, and its not very dark in my backyard but i live near some decent sites and I'm a few hours from a IDSP (thats where i was this weekend in fact) so i can really get a lot out of a big aperture. a small aperture, however, like most refractors, doesn't do what i want it to. some day i plan to try out a better refractor than my first one, but one with a big aperture is way outside my price range. 

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43 minutes ago, Some Dude With A Mak- Cass said:

... a small aperture, however, like most refractors, doesn't do what i want it to.....

What sort of thing do you want a scope to do for you ?

Your original post was rather unspecific which is why there were a wide range of suggestions I suspect.

If your priority is to get out under dark skies and explore the deep sky then aperture is what you will want. Your budget will purchase a 10" dobsonian such as the Orion Skyquest XT10 or the Zhumell Z10 so, in terms of light grasp, those would be the sorts of scope to consider for that sort of observing.

 

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6 hours ago, Some Dude With A Mak- Cass said:

a small aperture, however, like most refractors, doesn't do what i want it to. some day i plan to try out a better refractor than my first one, but one with a big aperture is way outside my price range. 

A small (say 4") refractor properly used under a dark sky can give lovely results, particularly for the larger objects up there like open clusters or nebulae such as the Veil.

That said, a decent aperture dob (such as the 10" suggested by John) will give you much better results on a broad range of deep sky objects. Any scope will struggle with light pollution except when viewing the moon and planets; get it to a dark site and it will show you far more.

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11 hours ago, Stu said:

The simple answer to your question is 'no' there is no one design which is better than all the others. I'm a bit of a die hard refractor fan, but in your position I would probably buy a decent sized dob. With your minivan, portability is not an issue and you can presumably get it out under dark skies where it will show you some amazing sights.

 

8 hours ago, Some Dude With A Mak- Cass said:

thats what I've been thinking. dobs are pretty simple from what i read, at least they are after you learn how to use them. I've been thinking that i want either a large reflector or a modest dob, i tried a refractor for my first scope and they just don't have the aperture i need. big aperture = more light drawn in + LP = LP strengthened, right? i live in michigan, and its not very dark in my backyard but i live near some decent sites and I'm a few hours from a IDSP (thats where i was this weekend in fact) so i can really get a lot out of a big aperture. a small aperture, however, like most refractors, doesn't do what i want it to. some day i plan to try out a better refractor than my first one, but one with a big aperture is way outside my price range. 

 

Just to clarify for Dude with Mak. A Dob is the mount the scope uses, named after John Dobson. Refractor in theory and reflector can be used on Dobson mounts, even though mostly used for reflectors. A refractor has a glass type optics lenses, and a reflector is mirror based . As I think from a previous post from the gent there was a bit of confusion over refractor/reflector?

If it's bang for buck and it's aperture you need then a quality reflector every time IMO , And this can be on a Dobson mount or some type of AZ/EQ mount . The Dobson mount is far better IMO for the bigger reflector because effective ,but sensible money 

Hope this helps☺

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There is no "best scope" design. Requirements often conflict. Do you want it a) cheap for the aperture? b) portable? c) easy to use and find stuff with? d) ultimate contrast? e) large aperture? f) quick cool down? g) minimum maintenance? h) wide visual field of view?

Note that several of these desirable features totally clash. 

Edited by Cosmic Geoff

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Just thinking about this slightly more....

....There is an argument that there is a preferable design at different apertures. Not a hard and fast rule and open to much debate but....

Up to around 5", refractors are of a manageable size and can give fantastic, high contrast views of anything from widefield targets to planetary and lunar.

From around 6" to 9.25", SCT and Mak designs remain relatively compact and manageable, providing significant aperture and resolution in a package that can easily be mounted on an affordable mount. Maks in the 6" to 8" range, and in my opinion the C925 is the higher end of the more portable SCTs. Excellent planetary, lunar and doubles scopes, particularly for imaging, but also very capable on the smaller DSOs. Mak-newts and other types fit in this category too. 

From 8" to 12"/14", solid tube dobsonians make a lot of sense, manageable size and excellent aperture per £. Great on a wide range of objects. Of course there are large SCTs in this range which make great observatory scopes, permanently mounted.

From 16" upwards, Truss dobsonians are transportable and able to be taken to the darkest sites to give best Deep Sky observing capabilities.

Plenty of exceptions to the above, but perhaps a starting point for deciding on a different scope type.

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12 hours ago, John said:

What sort of thing do you want a scope to do for you ?

Your original post was rather unspecific which is why there were a wide range of suggestions I suspect.

If your priority is to get out under dark skies and explore the deep sky then aperture is what you will want. Your budget will purchase a 10" dobsonian such as the Orion Skyquest XT10 or the Zhumell Z10 so, in terms of light grasp, those would be the sorts of scope to consider for that sort of observing.

 

living near some darker sites, and a reasonable drive to a dark sky park, i can get a lot out of a big aperture. its usually dark enough to see the pleaides naked-eye, so i want a scope that can pull in a ton of light and really make the most of a dark sky. with my mak i have gotten some good views of some of the brighter DSOs, so i want a scope that can get me even further into DSOs. my mak is very versatile and i have seen most of the planets with it, so whatever scope i get need not be good for planetary. basically what i want is a good scope that can provide good views of the brighter DSOs.

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4 hours ago, Timebandit said:

 

 

Just to clarify for Dude with Mak. A Dob is the mount the scope uses, named after John Dobson. Refractor in theory and reflector can be used on Dobson mounts, even though mostly used for reflectors. A refractor has a glass type optics lenses, and a reflector is mirror based . As I think from a previous post from the gent there was a bit of confusion over refractor/reflector?

If it's bang for buck and it's aperture you need then a quality reflector every time IMO , And this can be on a Dobson mount or some type of AZ/EQ mount . The Dobson mount is far better IMO for the bigger reflector because effective ,but sensible money 

Hope this helps☺

very much so. i really shoudlnt trust what i read on wikipedia because i was under the impression a dob had a slightly different optical design than a reflector. I'm thinking at this point the best thing for me is just the biggest dob i can buy. is that right or are there other considerations yet to be mentioned?

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i looked on the orion website under dobsonians, and found the Orion Build-A-Scope IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope and it looked like what i need but its very customizable, which IMO only improves it. are build-a-scopes worth the money, or should i buy something more mundane? it really tempting to buy a build-a-scope because i can customize it so heavily, but I'm worried something like that might be beyond my scope of knowledge at this point. i mean, just on friday i switched up refractors and reflectors, so i really have a lot to learn. but i think that if i were to buy the build-a-scope, i think i would learn a lot. is it just to soon for a scope like this or do you think i could learn to get the most out of it?

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On 20/11/2017 at 20:29, Some Dude With A Mak- Cass said:

of all the kinds of telescopes, is there any one kind that just flat out is better or do all different kinds do different things better? I'm on the market now to buy my third scope, so i want to see if there is a "best" design, and if not, what kind of scope suits my needs. i don't do astrophotography yet, but i want to at some point. i have a honking big minivan so portability isn't big deal, and anyway my mak is very portable. i have a pretty good budget, i can spend up to $700 on this although i would like to keep it under $600 if i can. i would love specific recommendations, but i also would love just general ideas.

No.  Any more than is there a "best" type of car.  It depends on what you will do with it.

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if i were to look back on all the scopes i ever had, (many) i would say that despite being the biggest of them all my 12 Dob was the one i used most by far, it is fairly hefty but the views assuming you have access to dark skies are fantastic.

i would go with an 8" Goto Dob, you'll love it really!

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My first was an 8 inch F8. It was a bit too unwieldy so I think a F7 or 6 would have been better. 

Now have a C8 F10 & 10 inch F5 dob, both of which are easy to carry with guide scope & Telrad in place. 

My next scope may be a 120 ED. Uncertain about doublet (cheaper) or triplet though. F7/.5 so good not too long or short F ratio. (That Astro Physics F6 is what I wish I could afford though)

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On 11/21/2017 at 14:32, Some Dude With A Mak- Cass said:

i looked on the orion website under dobsonians, and found the Orion Build-A-Scope IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope and it looked like what i need but its very customizable, which IMO only improves it. are build-a-scopes worth the money, or should i buy something more mundane? it really tempting to buy a build-a-scope because i can customize it so heavily, but I'm worried something like that might be beyond my scope of knowledge at this point. i mean, just on friday i switched up refractors and reflectors, so i really have a lot to learn. but i think that if i were to buy the build-a-scope, i think i would learn a lot. is it just to soon for a scope like this or do you think i could learn to get the most out of it?

The Orion Build A-Scope Dob would seem an excellent idea if you know the exact package you want.

Do you?

Customising a scope is great. If you know what kit you want. If you don't you are kinda making a 'Guess A-Scope' and could well end up paying for accessories you don't want/need. 

TBH I would start off with a more mundane bass scope and customise it myself as my experience grew. In this way I would only be buying kit I wanted. 

Dobs are very useable in mundane bass mode ;) (and are great fun) 

Good luck with your decision :) 

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Wish the UK Orion had build-a-scope. 

I would have plastic tube rather than metal or carbon fibre, my own choice of focuser, and my own choice for guide scope. Also go for a board mount probably. 

 

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