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I've had a number of Synta ST80 and 102's all of which also had good optics. I've recently sold an ST102 which gave a super star test. Lots of good scopes out there at competative prices :smiley:

 

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I like the 80mmST BUT right now I have a 102f/5 as my white solar scope and just a wide field scope.

joejaguar

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If you have a photo tripod with a ball head then use it with the head tilted at 90 degrees to the vertical, I use mine with a 90mm Mak and every bit as good as a dedicated ALT-AZ mount.

Alan

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Thanks for all the replies. I think having been through everything I'm pretty much back to the very beginning - the Flextube. There seems to be little doubt that I'll see more with that than a similarly priced refractor from the comments above. Whilst the form factor is somewhat bulkier it's still relatively compact, and the idea of mounting it on a camera tripod with a vixen clamp as shown above is an appealing one. My tripod ballhead is rated up to 8kg; even being conservative with that figure, the Flextube shouldn't trouble it too much. But given the kids will also be using this, knowing it'll sit on the ground happily and I'll just need to bend slightly from a seated position whilst they stand is actually quite desirable.

My one question though is the leftfield option thrown up by Alfian - a 102 Mak such as the Skymax 102 would be fractionally over budget. How would that compare to the Flextube? I'm aiming to use this in relatively dark areas away from the worst of the light pollution and would like to have my options open, with DSO's, planetary etc doable with whatever I settle on.Sk

Edited by A_N_other_beginner

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The Skymax 102 is twice the focal length of the Heritage flextube 130 f5 so it will give half the field of view for any given eyepiece. The Skymax is very good for Luna and planetary views and brighter dso's are doable with good use of a decent finder. With respect to some dso's the Heritage would be better and the extra aperture helps. I had a Heritage 130 for a while and for all its simplicity (the helical focuser I ultimately found frustrating even though it works adequately) it performs surprisingly well. The Mak's build is very different, small, very portable but chunky and solid and for me has a nice feel to it. The two scopes are quite different but in the end they both deliver well enough.

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That makes sense, cheers. Think I'm pretty well settled on the Flextube then. I'll consider a shroud nearer the time but for camping on fairly dark sky areas (Lakes/Peak District/Snowdonia) I'm not going to worry overly.

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