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PhoTenix

Telescope recommendations needed please ?

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Hi guys, annoying newbie here, just starting out. Had a cheap, rubbish telescope years ago (don't remember name etc) but now looking to gaze into the night sky again properly. 

Could I have some suggestions on a telescope please ? 

Should I get a reflector or a refractor ?

What's a decent one to take pictures with ?

I've looked at so many reviews which are just confusing and contradictory.

Thank you 😊

 

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Hi

Assuming your username indicates photography interest.

Skywatcher Az-gti with 27mm mak. 

Use the mak for observing and imaging planets and Moon.

Take the mak off (having upgraded the mounts firmware to support eq mode) use what I'll assume you already own camera and lenses and image deep space objects.

As a suggestion from the intro you gave though budget would help

 

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Thanks guys. I'm in the UK So my budget would be about £150. 

I'm fascinated with the universe and have dabbled in photography and have a half decent DSLR, although it's old now. 

So, I'm up most nights anyway, I don't get out, so thought to myself, I'll get back into it, as I love the night sky ☺️

T.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not sure how serious u will get into AP but norm getting into this area can costs thousands. In the last dozen years alot people going with a 70mm to 100mm apo and something like heq5.

Then a good camera etc. A heq5 is like 1500 b4 taxes etc an 80mm apo 1100 b4 taxes. Where I live but that's still way over your bujet

Now if u just mean entry level AP then that's alot easier but serious AP is alot 

For visual u decent start is a 5 inch reflector like the skywatcher 130mm f/5 on eq2 package. But for ap may need to be upgraded to cg4 with motors and hand controller or anything cept the planets wont work. As u will start to get star trails. 

Edited by joe aguiar
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3 hours ago, PhoTenix said:

Thanks guys. I'm in the UK So my budget would be about £150. 

I'm fascinated with the universe and have dabbled in photography and have a half decent DSLR, although it's old now. 

So, I'm up most nights anyway, I don't get out, so thought to myself, I'll get back into it, as I love the night sky ☺️

T.

One thing you'll propably find out soon, is that the mount will be more important than which scope you get. At least when we're talking entry level.

In my oppinion you'll find your viewing experience a lot better with a shitty scope on a good mount, than vice versa. So £150 is propably ambitious in that regard. Because mounts aren't cheap.

I whole heartedly concur with Happy-Kats recommendation of the AZ- GTI mount with the 127mm Maksutov telescope. The mount is a Go-To mount that automatically directs the scope to the star/planet/NGC object you want to view. You direct it by using an App on your phone. I cannot overstate its usefulness as a beginner. I have learned more about the night sky using the AZ-GTI than I have reading about it on the internet or in books. There are a multitude of Go-To mounts out there. The reason I recommend this one in particular, is because it is usualy sold as a package deal with the Maksutov 127mm. It's a popular item, and hence the price is accordingly low. Alas, not £150 I'm afraid :(.

The Maksutov is not ideal for deep sky objects (Nebulae, galaxies and clusters). Planets and the moon is where this telescope type truly shines. But you CAN take some inspiring deepsky photos even with an outdated DSLR and your Maksutov 127mm. I did. And I was so enthused and delighted with my meager (but recognizable) result, that I have since invested many many hundreds of Euros in a new mount and several telescopes and cameras. Tread lighty my friend :). It is so addictive.

 

Good luck, and let us know how you get along.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, PhoTenix said:

I'm in the UK So my budget would be about £150

I think £150 is going to be a tight squeeze for a mount and telescope :undecided: It's probably worth having a look at our site's sponsor, FLO for ideas. They're reputable, trustworthy, always happy to help, give great customer service, unbeatable prices and are based in the UK :thumbright:

Personally, for that budget I would recommend a Dobsonian telescope. Something like the Heritage or if you could stretch your budget, the Skyliner 150. Dobsonians are Newtonian scopes mounted on a very simple yet robust wooden base, so in effect you're placing most of your money in the scope's aperture. This means you'll be able to go a little deeper and resolve just a little more.

From experience I do feel that as with most things in life, in astronomy you get what you pay for. Buying a cheap telescope on a cheap mount will get you a cheap telescope on a cheap mount that will probably cause more frustration than joy. In terms of astronomy, the 5" or 6" dobs are not that big and relatively easy to set up and use. In the budget range they are going to be more solid than a tripod mounted telescope. The only limitation is that these scope are probably not too suited to astrophotography - but getting into astrophotography is another ball game and prices are seriously more expensive.

With a Dob, you do need to budget in a collimation tool called a Chesire, you might need a star atlas of some sort (you can always print them out), and you might need a red torch. You will also need to bend down to look through these scopes. The Heritage will probably need a table to place it on and the 150 a chair for you to sit on.

To get an idea of the scopes' size, this link is helpful.

Good luck in your quest and let us know your thoughts :thumbright:

Edited by Rob Sellent
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Ditto the heritage 130p, plus the telescope does come off the mount and could be used on a tripod if that is useful in time.

Astrophotography could have fun with what you have already using a static mount. This was a static mount DSLR and 24mm lens. Free software used to stack and stitch and GIMP could have been used to process. Details here

Autosave001 grp1-3_stitch HLVG.png

 

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Posted (edited)

Again thanks guys. Some really useful info 🤘😊

I'm always on Ebay for one thing or another (I have a lot of animals/reps etc. lol) so I ventured a look and theres a lot of used telescopes on there too, going for a very decent price it seems. 

I'm thinking that my budget would be better suited to a used one first, before I shell out a fortune on one. 

What details should I look for in terms of specs ?

Are there any brands/types i should avoid ?

Is a Reflector or a Refractor better ? 

Sorry for all the newbie questions ☺️ 

T. 

Edited by PhoTenix
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I recommend first start visual for a year or 2 learn the sky then go to Ap later.

doing this way u can fit something decent in your budget, for ap is awhole different ball game

joejaguar

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Ok so I found a few on ebay and would like some feedback but I can't upload an image for some reason !

 

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Posted (edited)

You might want to also check out https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/ - I generally trust them a *little* more than eBay for astronomy gear, but as above, your budget is going to be restrictive.

Another consideration for a return to visual observing (not photography) would be a decent pair of binoculars.  You can see a lot (and a lot more than I expected), and they're very portable.

Edited by jadcx
Grammar
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Hi and welcome to the forum :smiley:

You need to be very careful in buying from e.bay. There are some decent scopes on there but many very mediocre or poor ones I'm afraid.

It is worth looking at the First Light Optics website because they only sell decent equipment. You will also get top notch pre and post sales service from them which is important because what you are buying is a specialised scientific instrument. Here is the First Light Optics starter scope section:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes.html

I agree with jadcx that the UK Astro Buy & Sell website is a better place to look for used astro equipment than e.bay.

 

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Posted (edited)

can understand why many would prefer to go elsewhere than ebay, but I've bought all mine from the bay with no issues, but I did collect each of them in person so they were transported home with care. I've not tried AP via the scopes so far other than mobile to eyepiece, fiddly to achieve a nice image so will one day sort something to fit the EP to go further.

I've the skywatcher 130EQ2 with clockwork drive that seems to track fine for visual, and also a Tal100RS on EQ5 with SynScan which is nice to use. The 130 can be had for under £100 often, the TAL  was quite a bit more but I had to have it ;) 

Probably best if you want to go ebay/classifieds route to stick with better known brands like skywatcher/celestron and aim for larger aperture (mirror/objective lens) but the short tube reflectors maybe less useful for AP? Others who know way more than me can advise better on that front but they tend to have a corrector lens  in the focuser to compensate the shorter tube length and not sure what that does for the image with a camera rather than a regular eyepiece. Makes collimation fun too I gather.

Should add - if you are able, go check the equipment before bidding or committing to buy, check for fungus on optics, scratches on mirrors, that bits that should move do and all the components are present etc (not that I did lol, but did exchange messages with the sellers to verify stuff beforehand)

Edited by DaveL59
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I suggested a look at FLO's website to give an idea of what decent scopes to look out for :smiley:

I've bought a few good things from e.bay as well but I've been in the hobby for 35+ years so I know what to look our for (and what to avoid !).

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13 minutes ago, John said:

Hi and welcome to the forum :smiley:

You need to be very careful in buying from e.bay. There are some decent scopes on there but many very mediocre or poor ones I'm afraid.

It is worth looking at the First Light Optics website because they only sell decent equipment. You will also get top notch pre and post sales service from them which is important because what you are buying is a specialised scientific instrument. Here is the First Light Optics starter scope section:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes.html

I agree with jadcx that the UK Astro Buy & Sell website is a better place to look for used astro equipment than e.bay.

 

Thanks. I'm looking on there now 🤘

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3 minutes ago, John said:

I suggested a look at FLO's website to give an idea of what decent scopes to look out for :smiley:

I've bought a few good things from e.bay as well but I've been in the hobby for 35+ years so I know what to look our for (and what to avoid !).

wasn't aimed at you john, in fact you replied as I was writing mine :)

Agree about looking at FLO and others to see what's good and get a general idea of what may suit, also helps to better know if the bay price asked is reasonable or not. Seen quite a few ads for scopes where its not much less than new with warranty, but claimed to be unused even if a year or more old. 

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When perusing used equipment, whether on e.bay or on UK Astro Buy & Sell, it's worth bearing in mind that, in general, the price of a piece of used equipment should be around 60% of the new price. And that is assuming that it's in excellent condition and fully working in all respects.

I've seen many "bidding wars" on e.bay where the final price gets far too close to the new retail price :rolleyes2:

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I agree with few saying careful of getting from the bay. the reason is if your in the hobby for awhile and u understand whats good optics whats bad optics, then ok u can buy from there as long u understand.

there are some that are not good quality ones BUT they have cheap prices and brand new people wont know the difference BUT you will pay the price later when images are not best.

ill give you an example and this was just like couple months  ago.

I bought a meade 127mm reflector on a eq2  from a Canadian dealer as I just needed a new eq2 for a small grab and go ota. price is $270 with tax, iam trying to sell the ota for $99 as I didn't need that part. 

I check amazo** you know what I mean I don't want put the full name. they sell celestron version 127mm price was $179

ok that sounds a lot cheaper from amaz BUT a new person probally wont see the major reason why.

first the amaz one  was on a eq1 and not a eq2.  A 5" reflector is already too big for the eq1 but new person wont know that. some people would want that on a eq3.

2nd the finder scope was a 5x24 model which is SOOO old and bascally trash. the one I got was a decent red dot finderscope.

some of the trash scope comes with 1.25" focuser which is good but its hygens 1.25" eps which again are trash, again most brand new people may not know that. A lot those big box store or warehouse ask the maker of these scope that they want a scope in their prferered  price range and they get it. the scope may be the same BUT the other accessiores are not the same. they do that to get it cheaper. so all long you know that then that's fine. most may not know that. so by time u upgrade the mount to the eq2 from the eq1 then finderscope and eps you are paying a lot more for the same package.

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Posted (edited)

I'd be wary of buying secondhand if I wasn't sure what exactly I was looking for and how I could distinguish between the good from not so good. Other than that, there's no hurry. This is a great site and you can keep on asking question, posting up possibilities you've found and sounding out opinions and options etc.

Might also be helpful to run through a number of questions to help hone your pursuit:

  • where will I be viewing from?
  • where will I store the gear?
  • how are the sky conditions in terms of light pollution etc?
  • if I need to carry the scope/mount etc is this easily done from the storage area?
  • what do I expect to see (Hubble vs visual expectations etc)?
  • do I have budget for the other bits and pieces which might become necessary (cheshire, atlas, warm clothing, an extra eyepiece, etc)?
  • what kind of weight and size would I be comfortable with?

Finally, two astro-related quotes I like:

  • a poor man cannot afford not to buy quality
  • buy in haste, repent at leisure

:thumbright:

Edited by Rob Sellent
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Yes you can pick up some good sruff on eBay but can be a minefield for the beginner. Once you’ve been in the hobby a little while and are starting to understand whats what and know whats good and what isn’t then eBay is worth looking at

Someone like FLO is a good source of advice and of course here on SGL where you can take advantage of others experience ( mistakes?😁) before buying.

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My thinking was that I'll check what's on the FLO site, then have a look around secondhand for the same ones. 

I have found a few the same so far but am checking condition, use etc. 

With ebay I have a certain amount of guarantee against anything that's damaged or doesn't work. That's why I'll only buy secondhand from there. 

Does this sound like a sensible plan ? ☺️

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Also I spotted the Philip's guide to stargazing which shows monthly. Is this a good buy to start with?

Thanks again guys for all the advice.

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Why not save your budget towards the telescope at this stage and instead sign up for the free monthly newsletter from Binoculaysky website as it provides interesting things to see.

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