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Which is the best telescope for Visual use Skywatcher 150p,150pl or a 200p dob?


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Hello again,

After many hours of researching and asking on forums I’ve decided not to go down the imaging road as I’ve come to realise it’s way out of my budget. Now after realising this I’ve narrowed down to three telescopes that I’m considering on getting purely for visual use.. Skywatcher 150p 150pl or the dobsonian 200p. What is the difference between the 150p and the pl?  I’m after something that can let me see enough detail on planets that I’ll enjoy and also allows me to get views of deep sky objects. I have been talking to Martin from FLO as well and still can’t decide. I’m hoping you can help me make my decision. I’d also like to know how comefortable these three are as I’ll be most likely doing long sessions for sketching.  My budget is £400 max.

Thanks for for the help (again).

Edited by Revilo
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I know it would be easier to have a goto Mount but for me I think finding objects by yourself is more rewarding and learn abit more about the sky but that’s just me though. I’d say a fair amount. At t

200p , bigger the mirror the more light caught the better the view. charl.

The Skywatcher Comes in two versions, The Explorer, 200P with an EQ mount and the Skyliner 200P, which is what I have, but the focal ratios differ between the two scopes. If your decided that you want

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Hi Revilo,

if you're going to do long sessions for sketching I would consider a system with tracking (holds object centered in eyepiece) and that means GOTO...

if you're interested in planets then I would consider an 8" SCT. The longer focal length of sct scopes helps get the most out of planets (gets you much closer).

if you're stuck with manual then the 200p dob will take some beating on price and comes with a mount.

the 150 scopes you mention don't come with a mount so that is extra. Don't go for an EQ mount, for visual it's just extra hassle you don't need.

if I were you and you wanted a 150 with goto then I would go for the  skywatcher star discovery. At 350 it's great value. Planets will be small though :( 

So for planets you should consider an 8" sct. But the price is big compared to a reflector , even second hand.

whats the difference between 150p and 150pl, "l" stands for "long". The pl will have a longer tube (1200mm versus 750mm or focal length) and this makes it better for planets but harder to mount and balance. I would get a dob over a 1200mm scope on an EQ mount (I really wouldnt fancy that, like a sail in the wind)

What is your budget?

hth, Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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12 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

Hi Revilo,

if you're going to do long sessions for sketching I would consider a system with tracking (holds object centered in eyepiece)

if you're interested in planets then I would consider an 8" SCT. The long focal length helps get the most out of planets.

if you're stuck with manual then the 200p dob will take some beating on price and comes with a mount.

the 150 scopes you mention don't come with a mount so that is extra. Don't go for an EQ mount, for visual it's just extra hassle you don't need.

if I were you and you wanted a 150 with goto then I would go for the  skywatcher star discovery. At 350 it's great value.

but for planets you should consider a 8" sct. But the price is big compared to a reflector , even second hand.

whats the difference between 150p and 150pl, "l" stands for "long". The pl will have a longer tube (focal length) and this makes it better for planets but harder to mount and balance.

hth, Alan

Thanks for the info, unfortunately the 8” sct is way out of my budget of £400 and most going for £1500+ lol if I’m looking at the right ones. Is this the same star discovery your thinking of ? https://www.firstlightoptics.com/az-goto/sky-watcher-star-discovery-150p.html is there much of a difference between this and the 200p dob. As I don’t won’t to get it and then regret not getting the 200p instead. Sorry forgot to mention budget.

Edited by Revilo
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3 minutes ago, Revilo said:

Thanks for the info, unfortunately the 8” sct is way out of my budget of £400 and most going for £1500+ lol if I’m looking at the right ones. Is this the same star discovery your thinking of ? https://www.firstlightoptics.com/az-goto/sky-watcher-star-discovery-150p.html is there much of a difference between this and the 200p dob. As I don’t won’t to get it and then regret not getting the 200p instead.

The 8" dob will show way more than the 6" reflector. It gathers 77% more light.

it does not have goto though so you have to find stuff on your own. For a first scope, I think goto is a must. But that's just my opinion. Who wants to spend all night trying to find something? How many clear nights do you get where you live?

(I like to observe with the little clear sky time that I get :) )

Edited by alanjgreen
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5 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

The 8" dob will show way more than the 6" reflector. It gathers 77% more light.

it does not have goto though so you have to find stuff on your own. For a first scope, I think goto is a must. But that's just my opinion. Who wants to spend all night trying to find something? How many clear nights do you get where you live?

I know it would be easier to have a goto Mount but for me I think finding objects by yourself is more rewarding and learn abit more about the sky but that’s just me though. I’d say a fair amount. At the moment though it’s been fairly cloudy but have had about 4 or 5 clear nights this month. If not a go to I do have a app on my iPad for helping me track haven’t tried it yet so not sure how good it is.

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Just now, Revilo said:

I know it would be easier to have a goto Mount but for me I think finding objects by yourself is more rewarding and learn abit more about the sky but that’s just me though. I’d say a fair amount. At the moment though it’s been fairly cloudy but have had about 4 or 5 clear nights this month.

I would get the 8" dob then. Make sure you buy " turn left at Orion" (book) to help you find objects to view. It's the best £20 you will ever spend 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516651094&sr=8-1&keywords=turn+left+at+orion+book

(FLO stock the book too)

Get the spiral bound version, it's made to take outside. Objects are sorted by season and has sketches of what you will see in small scope :) 

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2 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

I would get the 8" dob then. Make sure you buy " turn left at Orion" (book) to help you find objects to view. It's the best £20 you will ever spend 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516651094&sr=8-1&keywords=turn+left+at+orion+book

(FLO stock the book too)

Get the spiral bound version, it's made to take outside. Objects are sorted by season and has sketches of what you will see in small scope :) 

Thank you. Have already ordered it as most people have recommended this book :). May I ask one question? How comfortable is it viewing using the dob if you know.  I’ve heard that using eq mounts the eye piece can get into some weird positions. Is it the same as the dob. And should I buy a stool/chair for it.

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If the go-to is not your thing then the 200p is the best option.

Easy to use, just push. Easy to setup, can be carried out in just two pieces. Once you get proficient at star hopping it will show you much much more than the 150 goto.

And it is true that newts on EQ mounts can get get really awkward to look through. One object might have the right eyepiece hight, but then when you go to look at another object the eyepiece could be pointing strait up or strait down. 

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4 minutes ago, Galen Gilmore said:

If the go-to is not your thing then the 200p is the best option.

Easy to use, just push. Easy to setup, can be carried out in just two pieces. Once you get proficient at star hopping it will show you much much more than the 150 goto.

And it is true that newts on EQ mounts can get get really awkward to look through. One object might have the right eyepiece hight, but then when you go to look at another object the eyepiece could be pointing strait up or strait down. 

Thanks looks like I’ll be purchasing a 200p in the next month or so, Thanks for the advice.

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20 minutes ago, Revilo said:

Thank you. Have already ordered it as most people have recommended this book :). May I ask one question? How comfortable is it viewing using the dob if you know.  I’ve heard that using eq mounts the eye piece can get into some weird positions. Is it the same as the dob. And should I buy a stool/chair for it.

The eyepiece angle only rotates on eq mounts. You will not have this issue with a dob mount. You will definitely require a chair unless you are only 4" tall. 

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1 hour ago, Revilo said:

I know it would be easier to have a goto Mount but for me I think finding objects by yourself is more rewarding and learn abit more about the sky but that’s just me though. I’d say a fair amount. At the moment though it’s been fairly cloudy but have had about 4 or 5 clear nights this month. If not a go to I do have a app on my iPad for helping me track haven’t tried it yet so not sure how good it is.

Hi,

I agree with you there, I think every amateur astronomer should start out by searching for objects themselves as it gives you a far better idea how the night sky is mapped out.

This is the scope I started out with but it's slightly over your budget, it's on a clock driven EQ5 mount & the 200p it comes with is amazing https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-eq5.html

The 150pl  is also great value & it comes with a EQ3-2: mount which is also a clock driven EQ. It's well within your budget & leaves you a little cash left over for a collimation tool (reflectors need colimating now and again)  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-150pl-eq3-2.html  and also a bahtinov mask to make focusing easier https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bahtinov-focus-masks/starsharp-bahtinov-focus-masks.html

My best advice before you buy is to find out where your local astro group is & pop along, they should be more than happy to give good advice & will more than likely have the scopes your interested in so you can have a bit of hands on time with them

Regards

Steve

Edited by nephilim
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The Skywatcher Comes in two versions, The Explorer, 200P with an EQ mount and the Skyliner 200P, which is what I have, but the focal ratios differ between the two scopes. If your decided that you want a Dobsonian, I recommend the 8" Skyliner.

I have no electronics to worry about, no alignment worries, and not the best system for photography, though you can take snaps through the eyepiece using a mobile phone, or connect a digital camera to photograph the Moon. 

Any of the eyepieces in my signature work well on this scope, their mighty cheap too. I have tried more expensive, their just not needed. 

The best I can give my scope is a darker sky, its as if I left with one scope, and used something better on arrival at the darker site, but that affects ALL telescopes, unless their already located at a dark site ( dark site - no street lights, no car lights, nothing? )

I view all my targets from a seated position , and apart for targets directly overhead, its not an issue looking through the eyepiece, though the finder scope may prove awkward due to eye placement.

For purely visual observations, more aperture provides more detail, so the larger you can go, the better, however size, weight and cost are all something to contend with. 

I can't see there being an issue whilst drawing, if your telescope does not track the target, just move it in turn! The extra cost for a tracking system, just doesn't justify the cost, if its only you that want's to view. If there were several folk wanting to view, then a tracking  unit could help, as it would for imaging, but as avoiding that route,  a Go-To is not essential.

Scopes that purport to be better for Planetary are a waste if the Planet is not there in the first place? Set that scope next to mine, your going to see the same image.
I've considered the benefits of Go-To myself, having owned the Skyliner for some time now. Whats the point for my needs? Set Up the Go-To system, align to Polaris, press a few buttons, and bingo the telescope will slew (slowly ) into position, but the image will still look the same  if I looked though the non Go-To, under my local conditions, in-fact, even under the best conditions. If I can't find a target, there's always next time,  and finding targets is easy if you push a button, but if conditions don't allow you to actually see that target, then the Go-To is no better than my Pu-To (Push to ! ) therefore I don't need Go-To or any electronics to get the best from this sky, just a darker sky. 

The opposite is  also true too, here during the Summer, its almost constant twilight, the scope is almost unusable, its just to bright out there, so I revert to Binoculars as only the primary stars in some of the major constellations are actually visible, the rest of the sky is still blue (almost), so the 200P is not perfect all year round at my location.

If I bought an ED80 for astrophotography, it would be on a fully automated tracking system, but I'll still have the same viewing conditions to contend with, ie,  '****'  weather in Winter and light skies during the summer, but honestly, I still love this scope, recommend the Skyliner to anyone, and its my opinion that the only scope to better  this is a larger scope!!!!

Edited by Charic
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10 minutes ago, Charic said:

The Skywatcher Comes in two versions, The Explorer, 200P with an EQ mount and the Skyliner 200P, which is what I have.
If your decided that you want a Dobsonian, I recommend the 8" Skyliner.

No electronics to worry about, no alignment worries, forget Polaris, and  not the best system for photography, though you can take snaps through the eyepiece using a mobile phone, or connect a digital camera to photograph the Moon. 

Any of the eyepieces in my signature work well on this scope, their mighty cheap too. I have tried more expensive, their just not needed. 

The best I can give my scope is a darker sky, its as if I left with one scope, and used something better on arrival at the darker site, but that affects ALL telescopes, unless their already located at a dark site ( dark site - no street lights, no car lights, nothing? )

I view all my targets from a seated position , and apart for targets directly overhead, its not an issues looking through the eyepiece, though the finder scope may prove awkward due to eye placement.

For purely visual observations, more aperture provides more detail, so the larger you can go, the better, however size, weight and cost are all something to contend with. 

I can't see there being an issue whilst drawing, if the telescope does not track the target. The extra cost for a tracking system, just doesn't seem worth the money, if its only you that want's to view. If there were several folk wanting to view, then tracking would help, as it would for imaging, but your coming of that route, so a Go-To is not essential.
Scopes that purport to be better for Planetary are a waste if the Planet is not there in the first place? Set that scope next to mine, your going to see the same image.
I've considered the benefits of Go-To myself, having owned the Skyliner for some time now. Whats the point for my needs? Set Up the Go-To system, align, press a few buttons, and bingo the telescope will slew (slowly ) into positions, but the image will still look the same  if I looked though the non Go-To, under my local conditions, or even under the best conditions. If I can't find a target, theres always next time, but I don't need Go-To or any electronics to get the best from this sky, just a darker sky. 

The opposite is true too, here during the Summer of almost constant twilight, the scope is almost unusable, its just to bright out there, so I revert to Binoculars as only the primary stars in the major constellations are visible, the rest of the sky is still blue (almost), so the 200P is not perfect all year round at my location.

If I bought an ED80 for astrophotography, it would be on a fully automated tracking system, but I still have the same viewing conditions to contend with, ie,  '****'  weather in Winter and light skies during the summer, but honestly, I still love this scope, recommend the Skyliner to anyone, and its my opinion that the only scope to better  this is a larger scope!!!!

Thanks for the detailed response. Think I’ve made up my mind on getting the 200p dob. I’ll have a look at those eps that you have in your signature.. And it will mainly be me using the scope most of the time. True about the weather luckily my location isn’t that bad with light pollution when it’s clear. And for the goto Mount I don’t think I’ll get one any time soon and if I do want to go into photography I think I’ll just get the star adventurer and use my dob as the main scope. I have been looking at seats while I’ve posted is it better to get a proper observation chair or would an ironing stool be just fine? Do you just use a normal chair?

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26 minutes ago, nephilim said:

Hi,

I agree with you there, I think every amateur astronomer should start out by searching for objects themselves as it gives you a far better idea how the night sky is mapped out.

This is the scope I started out with but it's slightly over your budget, it's on a clock driven EQ5 mount & the 200p it comes with is amazing https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-eq5.html

The 150pl  is also great value & it comes with a EQ3-2: mount which is also a clock driven EQ. It's well within your budget & leaves you a little cash left over for a collimation tool (reflectors need colimating now and again)  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-150pl-eq3-2.html  and also a bahtinov mask to make focusing easier https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bahtinov-focus-masks/starsharp-bahtinov-focus-masks.html

My best advice before you buy is to find out where your local astro group is & pop along, they should be more than happy to give good advice & will more than likely have the scopes your interested in so you can have a bit of hands on time with them

Regards

Steve

Hi thanks for the response , I have looked at that scope it was the first one I found actually but it’s a bit of a stretch. Just because I’ll have to buy accessories and other things. I’ll have a look to see if there is a group near me.  Reason Im probably getting the dobsonian is because it’s simple to use especially if others want to use it. 

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21 minutes ago, Revilo said:

I have been looking at seats while I’ve posted is it better to get a proper observation chair or would an ironing stool be just fine? Do you just use a normal chair?

Use whatever you find the most comfortable. I use a drum stool that  I bought from Gear4Music.
This one https://www.gear4music.com/Stools/Gear4music
(I'll delete this link should the detail change).

Also, is there anywhere you could view, feel the weight, look through the 200P, a club or shop maybe. Whats right for me may not necessarily be right for you, same with eyepieces ( thats a major topic in itself - just nip over to the EYEPIECE forum for information ) but looking at the information on our sponsors site, the 200P is  "the UK's most popular Dobsonian telescope". 

Edited by Charic
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1 hour ago, Revilo said:

I know it would be easier to have a goto Mount but for me I think finding objects by yourself is more rewarding and learn abit more about the sky but that’s just me though. I’d say a fair amount. At the moment though it’s been fairly cloudy but have had about 4 or 5 clear nights this month. If not a go to I do have a app on my iPad for helping me track haven’t tried it yet so not sure how good it is.

There is a lot of frustration star hopping if your skies don't show the guide stars easily. I started with a manual scope and moved to the set up shown in my signature and see more in one night than a month of finding my own way. It is still necessary to know the major signposts to get the GOTO setup so time with my manual scope wasn't wasted. 

Just my thoughts, I know others disagree.

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Looks like your 200p is f5.9. That's excellent and why Charic said it would be favorable for EPs--slower primaries are much more forgiving on things like collimation, coma, and decent-enough EPs. Below f5 and folks start looking for paracorrs, laser collimators and expensive uber-corrected EPs. And for general purpose, nothing beats a decent Dob/Newtonian.

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If it is in your budget would go for a 10" collapsible dob

Easy to transport and set up

Also get a right angle spotting scope, and then eliminates having to kneel on the ground when looking at objects higher altitude

I also use a laser pointer to aim my dob where want to view, and just lay the laser pointer along the dovetail of the spotting scope

John

 

Skywatcher 10 inch Dobson.jpg

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+1 for an 8" Dob without GoTo. A "lifetime scope", which you will learn to master within a few months. Hunting down some elusive DSO's is a lot of fun. Enough money left for accessories; if you want to take up sketching, an equatorial platform will do. Easy and quick setup, easy to transport to dark sky areas. At f/6, no problems with eyepieces and collimation accuracy. For good reasons, my 8" f/4 Hofheim Instruments traveldob is, at the moment, my most used scope.

Observing seated will add at least 0.5 to 1.0 mag to your NELM (Naked Eye Limiting Magnitude). No experience with an ironing stool; there are a lot of DIY solutions on the net.

Stephan

 

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8 minutes ago, cletrac1922 said:

If it is in your budget would go for a 10" collapsible dob

Easy to transport and set up

Also get a right angle spotting scope, and then eliminates having to kneel on the ground when looking at objects higher altitude

I also use a laser pointer to aim my dob where want to view, and just lay the laser pointer along the dovetail of the spotting scope

John

 

Skywatcher 10 inch Dobson.jpg

Thanks unfortunately the collapsible dob is not within my budget which has to include the scope accessories etc. but I’ll be doing it mostly near my garden any way as I live next to a big field and isn’t that affected by light pollution.also thank you for the image gives me a rough idea about how big they can get have looked at videos but doesn’t really do it justice. Apart from the laser point is there any other major accessories I should consider when starting out.

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20 minutes ago, laowhoo said:

Looks like your 200p is f5.9. That's excellent and why Charic said it would be favorable for EPs--slower primaries are much more forgiving on things like collimation, coma, and decent-enough EPs. Below f5 and folks start looking for paracorrs, laser collimators and expensive uber-corrected EPs. And for general purpose, nothing beats a decent Dob/Newtonian.

Thank you, understanding a lot more about this ,than when I first started looking for scopes. :)

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10 minutes ago, Revilo said:

interesting to know about the difference when sitting even though it doesn’t sound a lot.

A gain of 0.5 mag NELM means on average, that you can spot twice as many of astronomical objects of any given type-and that's a lot! (the volume of observed space doubles).

Stephan

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44 minutes ago, Revilo said:

Hi thanks for the response , I have looked at that scope it was the first one I found actually but it’s a bit of a stretch. Just because I’ll have to buy accessories and other things. I’ll have a look to see if there is a group near me.  Reason Im probably getting the dobsonian is because it’s simple to use especially if others want to use it. 

For just visual I would also recommend a dobsonian. I mentioned EQ mounts as I was asumong you were wanting an easy way to keep the target in view for sketching as in a dob scope will need constant nudging to keep anything in view. 

If you look at  this site http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/browse.php you'll find good quality/well kept astro gear at a sensible price leaving u spare money for a couple of eyepieces. I use this site regularly & it's always been good.

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