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rocambol

8" SCT or 6" Maksutov or 4" APO or 6" Ritchey-Chretien?

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Hi guys, it's me again, the astronomer who hadn't see or touch a telescope in person ever!

this is my second post, which I believe it is more specific and the question is more direct.
I am still learning so excuse my ignorance and my lack of experience and I open for any suggestion and waiting for any help I can get.
I am about purchasing a telescope, that can please me and makes me finally pursue my dream of observing the night sky and see the wonders of God realm.

The rules are simple, vote on what you advise me to get:
8" SCT ? 6" Maksutov? 4" APO? 6" RC?

And the true question is: what telescope can get me the greatest crystal sharp view?

I know (as I an engineer) that there is no simple answer to this question or any question about any precise instrument like telescope, and there is unlimited factors that I must consider to obtain the true answer for that silly question, the aperture and the type of telescope will not make the answer easy but .. I will try to be more specific as much as I can.
what the telescope (among the 4 types I've listed) that will make me see (Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Andromeda, Horsehead nebula, ...) in the sharpest and most beautiful view?

if any of these telescopes need some upgrades or accessories to outperform the others, then it will count as the best.

I am really concerned about contrast, resolution, spectacular view.

-

And here I am trying to answer what you could possibly ask me:

Filed of Interest? Planetary and some DSO viewing ( Excellent Planetary View, Good DSO view)

Budget? max $1200

Where do you live? Iraq

Light pollution? 3410 μcd/m2 (medium)

Portability matters? No.

Nearest Drak site? about 25 km from my home.

Able to attend an astronomy event/club? No.

OTA or full package? Full package prefered.

The frequency of use? once a week.

Astrophotography? Yes but I want to view first then I can learn AP and purchase some AP accessories later.

Planetry AP or DOS AP? Excellent Planetry Ap, Fair DOS AP.

Do you have a camera? Yes, Canon Rebel T6i.

Want GoTo or manual mount? GoTo preferred.

EQ or Alt-azimuth mount? EQ.

Are dobs considered? NOOO.

Hubble view Expectations? Absolutely NO.

Weight & size matter? No.

General Astronomy knowledge? Yes, quite good.

Why these specific types? According to my 6 months deep research, I narrowed down my choices to these types.

Any other types considered? Yes, as long as they meet my requirements but NO dobs, please.

Why you hate dobs? I don't hate them, but dobs don't meet my expectations for now.

Do you know the differences between these types? Yes, but I don't know how they perform in the observing field.

Married? Yes. and this is the most important factor LoL.

I just want you voting on one of these telescopes, and why you vote for it.

And please if you recommend a specific telescope under the category you voted for then I will appreciate it, and if there is a link then I will be more thankful.

I am really enjoying reading your quotes and your arguments, all opinions are respected and considered, after all. I am just learning from you.

Thank you all in advance for your assistance.

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8" SCT

Out of listed scopes, for myself that would probably come as last choice, but given your interests / preferences it is probably the best choice.

It will provide you with best views of planets (Mak can come close, but you will want optically exceptional unit to do so, vs average SCT), it has the most aperture for viewing, and yes it used for astro photography.

RC will have low contrast on planets. APO while being fine instrument and 4" apo is versatile scope (wide field, DSO, planets, you name it) - is probably suited for people that know they want one and why they want one. Mak as I already said, will be out of budget for really good one - in your budget range, 8" SCT will provide better views against any Mak available.

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8" SCT for sure... the 4" APO migh and propably will give you crisper stars during the best seeing but $1200 wont get you a 4" APO and the 8" aperture will show you more DSO and planetary detail during the clearest seeing nights (most out of these on your list).

 

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8" SCT.

It offers amazing views with a large aperture for the price.

I have used it for astrophotography and it is great, although, I found it needs a good mount and a coma corrector.

The 6" RC will give inferior views to the SCT, and the SCT with a coma corrector will have just as good star shapes.

You cannot get a 4" APO for $1200, and even so I believe the SCT will provide better views of galaxies and planets.

I also think the SCT beats the 6" maksutov because it has more aperture.

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8''  SCT and add a reducer to give it a better F ratio...

I have a 9.25'' SCT and it is a lovely 'scope.

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As our friends already said, 1.200$ won't get you a 4-inch apo but a 4" semi-apo...

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p4964_TS-Optics-ED-102mm-f-7-Refraktor-Teleskop-mit-2--Crayford-Auszug.html

...is within that budget if you can accept a little violet fringing, which can be reduced if you attach a violet-reducing diagonal to it:

Either that or the 6" Mak if contrast and resolution are your priorities.

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Not sure if your 1.200$ limit is for the optical tube only, or the complete scope, so there is a 4" apo for that price:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p9868_TS-Optics-PhotoLine-102mm-f-7-FPL53-Dublet-Apo-mit-2-5--Auszug.html

It has a solid 2.5" rack-and-pinion focuser of a larger diameter than the standard 2" crayford, larger fully illuminated field for imaging. 

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7 hours ago, rocambol said:

Hi guys, it's me again, the astronomer who hadn't see or touch a telescope in person ever!

this is my second post, which I believe it is more specific and the question is more direct.
I am still learning so excuse my ignorance and my lack of experience and I open for any suggestion and waiting for any help I can get.
I am about purchasing a telescope, that can please me and makes me finally pursue my dream of observing the night sky and see the wonders of God realm.

The rules are simple, vote on what you advise me to get:
8" SCT ? 6" Maksutov? 4" APO? 6" RC?

And the true question is: what telescope can get me the greatest crystal sharp view?

I know (as I an engineer) that there is no simple answer to this question or any question about any precise instrument like telescope, and there is unlimited factors that I must consider to obtain the true answer for that silly question, the aperture and the type of telescope will not make the answer easy but .. I will try to be more specific as much as I can.
what the telescope (among the 4 types I've listed) that will make me see (Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Andromeda, Horsehead nebula, ...) in the sharpest and most beautiful view?

if any of these telescopes need some upgrades or accessories to outperform the others, then it will count as the best.

I am really concerned about contrast, resolution, spectacular view.

And here I am trying to answer what you could possibly ask me:

Filed of Interest? Planetary and some DSO viewing ( Excellent Planetary View, Good DSO view)

Budget? max $1200

Where do you live? Iraq

Light pollution? 3410 μcd/m2 (medium)

Portability matters? No.

Nearest Drak site? about 25 km from my home.

Able to attend an astronomy event/club? No.

OTA or full package? Full package prefered.

The frequency of use? once a week.

Astrophotography? Yes but I want to view first then I can learn AP and purchase some AP accessories later.

Planetry AP or DOS AP? Excellent Planetry Ap, Fair DOS AP.

Do you have a camera? Yes, Canon Rebel T6i.

Want GoTo or manual mount? GoTo preferred.

EQ or Alt-azimuth mount? EQ.

Are dobs considered? NOOO.

Hubble view Expectations? Absolutely NO.

Weight & size matter? No.

General Astronomy knowledge? Yes, quite good.

Why these specific types? According to my 6 months deep research, I narrowed down my choices to these types.

Any other types considered? Yes, as long as they meet my requirements but NO dobs, please.

Why you hate dobs? I don't hate them, but dobs don't meet my expectations for now.

Do you know the differences between these types? Yes, but I don't know how they perform in the observing field.

Married? Yes. and this is the most important factor LoL.

I just want you voting on one of these telescopes, and why you vote for it.

And please if you recommend a specific telescope under the category you voted for then I will appreciate it, and if there is a link then I will be more thankful.

I am really enjoying reading your quotes and your arguments, all opinions are respected and considered, after all. I am just learning from you.

Thank you all in advance for your assistance.

SCTs can be hit and miss on quality. If you want sharp views of planets and better light grasp than the apo, I'd go for the Mak. It will beat the SCT in all probability, on Jupiter for example. You will also overcome light pollution more. But, a good SCT will beat the Mak. You just have to weigh up the risk of getting a mediocre one. Mak quality is more consistent. But it will have a narrow FOV compared to the SCT and won't be as flexible for astrophotography as the SCT. On the other hand, the Mak would be cheaper than the SCT, and you would need to get a good mount for astrophotography which are not cheap!

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An SCT is the best all round scope in my humble and considered opinion. I've owned and used several variants of everything on your list, except a Mak, which don't appeal to me because of the cool down period and their limited practical use on anything other than planetary and lunar views, which in practice, we tend to spend very little time actually observing, they aren't exactly a challenge!

An SCT offers the most when you consider all round capability, especially as you have written off Dobsonians as an option.

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You will not be disappointed with an 8" SCT.  Mine outperforms a Newtonian of the same aperture and (unsurprisingly) a 5" Maksutov. By general consensus, an apochromat of comparable aperture would give better contrast, but at an extortionate price.

Re. the mount, an equatorial GoTo mount will provide for future ventures into astrophography, but for purely visual work an equatorial will be a nuisance and an alt-az GoTo will be easier to manage.  Looking at the practicalities, I can pick up my complete 8" SCT OTA/mount/tripod assembly and carry it outdoors, and you can't do that with the equivalent equatorial.  Also, to  single-handedly attach a fat 8" OTA with no grab handle to a mount, several feet  above a hard surface, every observing night, is something that you really don't want to do. 

If you go for an 8" alt-az GoTo SCT package, the more expensive variants have better mechanics.  (I have the Celestron C8 SE, which is a popular model.)

 

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I have had my Celestron GP-C8 (8" SCT on Vixen Great Polaris EQ mount) for over 22 years, and it is still a great scope. It outperformed my old "planet killer" 6" F/8 Newtonian, which had a very good set of mirrors, and small central obstruction, both on planets and certainly on DSOs. It has shown me some 500 galaxies and a host of other DSOs to date. Great for lunar and planetary imaging too.

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Hi and welcome Rocambol.

I've only used a 4" APO and so wouldn't dare to comment about which is the best 'scope to purchase. However, I have learned a few things along the way which you might not be aware of. I don't want to pour cold water on your dreams, but I think you need to be aware of some of the issues you are faced with, in order to make a sound decision. First off, there really isn't a perfect telescope type, some are better suited to some roles whilst others to other roles, and you will need to identify where your priorities lie.

You seem to imply that your priority will be for visual where you are seeking a "spectacular view". I would not want you to think that you will be able to see what appear in images in this forum. In general, deep space objects will be a grey smudge to the eye, not the brightly coloured objects shown in images. I would not want your expectations to be too high. Yes, you will be able to see the different hues of stars, but not the colours of very feint objects. That is not to say that these views are not mesmerising, they are! Just different to those that you see in images.

That then leads on to astrophotography, because you may be tempted down that route. Make no mistake this can be challenging, especially to your wallet :smile:. Most folk start off using a short focal length (~500mm) refractor, with an 80mm object glass. Yes, you can image with SCTs, but it is a serious challenge because of the relatively long focal lengths involved, even with a reducer, and therefore the need for a very high quality mount and serious attention to the techniques involved. I would not recommend imaging with the SCT class of instruments to a novice.

So you see, it all rather depends on how you see your interest developing. I know it is tempting to rush out and buy a telescope and mount in the first instance, but I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read as much as you can about the options before spending your hard earned cash. And there's plenty of information within these forum pages too!

Ian

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this, but aside from the latest corrected SCTs such as the EdgeHD series from Celestron, I've never seen anything but mushy planetary views through regular SCTs.  Even run of the mill commercial Maks give higher contrast, sharper views than regular SCTs.  I don't know if it's the large central obstruction or the failure to bring all light to the same focus, but they're just not that sharp to my eye.  The lack of diffraction spikes is nice, but inch for inch, a premium figured mirror in a Newt reveals more low contrast details than in a typical SCT.  Perhaps when compared to commercially available Newts SCTs fare better.

If you have the money and want to go the SCT route, get an EdgeHD or similar.  The image quality rivals that of a 5 or 6 inch ED refractor based on side by side viewing at a star party.  I'm tempted to try one for myself someday.  The main downside is that focal reducers for them are quite expensive.  The field is already flat, so you don't need one for native focal length astrophotography, though.

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9 hours ago, The Admiral said:

Hi and welcome Rocambol.

I've only used a 4" APO and so wouldn't dare to comment about which is the best 'scope to purchase. However, I have learned a few things along the way which you might not be aware of. I don't want to pour cold water on your dreams, but I think you need to be aware of some of the issues you are faced with, in order to make a sound decision. First off, there really isn't a perfect telescope type, some are better suited to some roles whilst others to other roles, and you will need to identify where your priorities lie.

You seem to imply that your priority will be for visual where you are seeking a "spectacular view". I would not want you to think that you will be able to see what appear in images in this forum. In general, deep space objects will be a grey smudge to the eye, not the brightly coloured objects shown in images. I would not want your expectations to be too high. Yes, you will be able to see the different hues of stars, but not the colours of very feint objects. That is not to say that these views are not mesmerising, they are! Just different to those that you see in images.

That then leads on to astrophotography, because you may be tempted down that route. Make no mistake this can be challenging, especially to your wallet :smile:. Most folk start off using a short focal length (~500mm) refractor, with an 80mm object glass. Yes, you can image with SCTs, but it is a serious challenge because of the relatively long focal lengths involved, even with a reducer, and therefore the need for a very high quality mount and serious attention to the techniques involved. I would not recommend imaging with the SCT class of instruments to a novice.

So you see, it all rather depends on how you see your interest developing. I know it is tempting to rush out and buy a telescope and mount in the first instance, but I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read as much as you can about the options before spending your hard earned cash. And there's plenty of information within these forum pages too!

Ian

Hi, Ian and thanks.

I am not rush at all, I really enjoy learning about telescopes before I can get one because I believe knowledge is the golden key for the fun gate in the astronomy kingdom

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5 hours ago, Louis D said:

I know I'll get flamed for saying this, but aside from the latest corrected SCTs such as the EdgeHD series from Celestron, I've never seen anything but mushy planetary views through regular SCTs.  Even run of the mill commercial Maks give higher contrast, sharper views than regular SCTs.  I don't know if it's the large central obstruction or the failure to bring all light to the same focus, but they're just not that sharp to my eye.  The lack of diffraction spikes is nice, but inch for inch, a premium figured mirror in a Newt reveals more low contrast details than in a typical SCT.  Perhaps when compared to commercially available Newts SCTs fare better.

If you have the money and want to go the SCT route, get an EdgeHD or similar.  The image quality rivals that of a 5 or 6 inch ED refractor based on side by side viewing at a star party.  I'm tempted to try one for myself someday.  The main downside is that focal reducers for them are quite expensive.  The field is already flat, so you don't need one for native focal length astrophotography, though.

I’ll probably get just as flamed for this as well but I do wonder whether the diffence in image quality could be down to collimation. In my (admittedly limited) experience I’ve found there is one hell of a difference between a scope thats been collimated pretty well and one that’s spot on :icon_biggrin:

PS I have a c8 but that in no way influences my opinion, honest guv :happy7:

PPS I have to say I do quite fancy an edge :hello2:

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7 hours ago, Louis D said:

I know I'll get flamed for saying this, but aside from the latest corrected SCTs such as the EdgeHD series from Celestron, I've never seen anything but mushy planetary views through regular SCTs.  Even run of the mill commercial Maks give higher contrast, sharper views than regular SCTs.  I don't know if it's the large central obstruction or the failure to bring all light to the same focus, but they're just not that sharp to my eye.  The lack of diffraction spikes is nice, but inch for inch, a premium figured mirror in a Newt reveals more low contrast details than in a typical SCT.  Perhaps when compared to commercially available Newts SCTs fare better.

If you have the money and want to go the SCT route, get an EdgeHD or similar.  The image quality rivals that of a 5 or 6 inch ED refractor based on side by side viewing at a star party.  I'm tempted to try one for myself someday.  The main downside is that focal reducers for them are quite expensive.  The field is already flat, so you don't need one for native focal length astrophotography, though.

There does seem to be consensus that the EDGE SCTs are better than the previous versions. In my opinion a normal SCT will be beaten by the 6 inch mak in terms of crystal sharpness, but as others have said, the Mak is a specialist scope designed to give best performance on lunar and planetary. If you love looking at Jupiter for example, I can't see a normal SCT satisfying you. If you are interested in astrophotography my advice would be get the 80 mm ED skywatcher evostar with a good mount like the heq5. An SCT won't beat the sharp images of  DSOs and it will cost you less than an SCT/mount combo. Look at some photos of the Orion nebula , the Pleiades and Andromeda taken with the 80 mm ED and you'll see what I mean! You will need to decide if you want to do serious astrophotography or would be happy with visual only. If photography then the mount is paramount ( excuse the pun!). 

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12 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I can pick up my complete 8" SCT OTA/mount/tripod assembly and carry it outdoors, and you can't do that with the equivalent equatorial. 

Of course you can. I don't stand outside to pack my 8"sct + avx down at end of session. I pick the whole thing up and carry it indoors.

It has a bit of weight sure, but nothing any normally built adult should have any problems with.

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1 hour ago, Olsin said:

Of course you can. I don't stand outside to pack my 8"sct + avx down at end of session. I pick the whole thing up and carry it indoors.

It has a bit of weight sure, but nothing any normally built adult should have any problems with

1 hour ago, Olsin said:

Of course you can. I don't stand outside to pack my 8"sct + avx down at end of session. I pick the whole thing up and carry it indoors.

It has a bit of weight sure, but nothing any normally built adult should have any problems with.

It depends on where you're storing it. In my house I couldn't store it in one piece, as it would get in the way. But your point is still valid if you have the storage space.

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1 hour ago, Olsin said:

It has a bit of weight sure, but nothing any normally built adult should have any problems with.

Danish people must be very strong! :shocked: My CG5 + C8 + counterweights weighs in at 35kg and is very unwieldy, being top heavy with no handles, I would never attempt to carry it in one piece (and I'm average height and build). Well done for managing it, but not sure I would recommend it to anyone else!

9 hours ago, Louis D said:

I know I'll get flamed for saying this, but aside from the latest corrected SCTs such as the EdgeHD series from Celestron, I've never seen anything but mushy planetary views through regular SCTs.

Wouldn't dream of flaming you Louis! I have seen plenty of poor planetary views through my C8, mainly due to poor atmospherics and inadequate cooling I think, but I have also seen many stunning views showing incredible amounts of detail. I have only ever done a side by side test against my 4" achromat (no contest) so cannot really compare against Maks, but I have been really happy with the planetary views with the C8 when conditions are right. I know a lot of people have said that they have not seen good views through big SCTs, not sure why,  I know some poor atmospheric conditions can sometimes favour smaller apertures when doing side by side comparisons. Perhaps it's a case that larger SCTs are more picky about the right conditions in order to perform. 

 

Back to the OP I would have thought a C8 on an EQ5 is the way to go for general visual and imaging planets and get a small semi-apo refractor later on when you are ready to start DSO imaging (and when you've saved a bit more money!) . :smiley:

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SCT + frac

My C9.25 is my first choice for visual but last for AP, I'd recommend a frac starting out with AP... soo...

Put a rail on the top with a saddle. Aside from acting as a handle to mount it, you can stick a small frac on there for the wide field views. Thats what I do.

There you go.. sorted. Remember, N+1 scope is never enough.. they get lonely.. so you need to start off with 2 :evil::D

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19 minutes ago, Sp@ce_d said:

SCT + frac

My C9.25 is my first choice for visual but last for AP, I'd recommend a frac starting out with AP... soo...

Put a rail on the top with a saddle. Aside from acting as a handle to mount it, you can stick a small frac on there for the wide field views. Thats what I do.

There you go.. sorted. Remember, N+1 scope is never enough.. they get lonely.. so you need to start off with 2 :evil::D

Hi, I've been labouring over whether to go for a 9.25 in SCT or 180 mm mak. I've decided on the Mak plus 80 mm ED to cover most areas I'm interested in. I'm interested in the saddle you mentioned. Would this allow astrophotography with the frac at the same time as visual with mak all on an heq5?

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39 minutes ago, Analysis Paralysis said:

Hi, I've been labouring over whether to go for a 9.25 in SCT or 180 mm mak. I've decided on the Mak plus 80 mm ED to cover most areas I'm interested in. I'm interested in the saddle you mentioned. Would this allow astrophotography with the frac at the same time as visual with mak all on an heq5?

I am waiting the answer too

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6 hours ago, Analysis Paralysis said:

Hi, I've been labouring over whether to go for a 9.25 in SCT or 180 mm mak. I've decided on the Mak plus 80 mm ED to cover most areas I'm interested in. I'm interested in the saddle you mentioned. Would this allow astrophotography with the frac at the same time as visual with mak all on an heq5?

I found that 'piggybacking' even a small refractor on my C8 created a surprising amount of extra 'leverage' and I needed to load up extra counterweights, putting extra load on the mount - this is not ideal for imaging especially on the smaller mounts, but ok for visual, as long as you have enough counterweights! Probably better to mount the refractor directly on the mount for imaging and keep things light and unstressed. As for doing visual through the SCT/Mak at the same time as imaging through the piggybacked refractor, I wouldn't have thought its a good idea as one touch of the scope and you have ruined an exposure, also you will have to look at the same object for hours while you are imaging. 

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On ‎1‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 02:02, rocambol said:

what the telescope (among the 4 types I've listed) that will make me see (Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Andromeda, Horsehead nebula, ...) in the sharpest and most beautiful view?

if any of these telescopes need some upgrades or accessories to outperform the others, then it will count as the best.

I am really concerned about contrast, resolution, spectacular view.

On second thoughts, the original poster should if at all possible "try before he buys" to see if the reality conforms to the 'spectacular views' he is expecting.  To be honest, I have never been able to see the amount of detail on planets reported by more keen-eyed observers, or shown in digitally processed planetary photographs.

I appreciate that Iraq is not the ideal place to visit astro clubs or shop for telescopes.  A cautious course would be to buy a smaller and cheaper instrument to start off with, no bigger than a 130mm Maksutov or Newtonian.  Then you can calibrate your expectations, and re-define what most interests you after trying some observing. Planets will look somewhat better (but not spectacularly better) with the ideal instrument, while deep-space objects requiring maximum light (such as galaxies or star clusters or planetary nebulae) will look a lot better through a bigger instrument.

Even with a small instrument you can practice taking photographs to see if fiddling with cameras and Registax is really your idea of fun.

A small instrument could be sold on or re-purposed for something else without much financial penalty. Or, it is always useful to have more than one instrument - a grab'n go and a 'big gun'. 

P.S. I have never seen a Richey-Chretien and I understand it is not a beginners' instrument.

Edited by Cosmic Geoff
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As said.. I wouldn't do AP with the SCT on the mount. Not with an HEQ5.. I didn't notice flex when I had it on the EQ8 in the Obsy but outside the wind won't help either. My portable imaging rig normally consists of my HEQ5 & Esprit 80. Thats a nice combo.

However to get back to the OP's question.

An 8" SCT & a small frac mounted on top would be a nice combo I think. Possibly a Mak but I can't remember TBH how good the views are in comparison with a Mak having been years since I last looked through one.

My 9.25 SCT with top rail & saddle I made up myself. Velco is from when I had it imaging in the Obsy, for attaching cable tidy's etc.

IMG_0276.thumb.png.5e9de08c7fb8656f57f97c7a8020b767.png

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