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Are Certain Brands Better Than Others


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Hi guys,

I've been researching telescopes and trying to find a decent beginner's one but I don't know which one to choose. I live in the UK and I am looking to spend around £500. I am looking for something portable and easy to setup. Are there certain brands I should be looking at or avoiding?

I was looking at the Bresser and Celestron scopes. I like the idea of the Celestron 4E as it is pretty much fully automatic. I also read that the quality and what you get for the money with a Bresser is very good.

If anyone can recommend one or tell me what I should be looking out for it would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Mikey

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

Celestron, Skywatcher, Bresser and Meade are all around the same quality.

Some of their models have features which make them more attractive and some prefer this brands compterised GOTO system over that one but broadly these brands occupy the same quality sector.

Celestron and Skywatcher are actually owned and made by the same company now.

So look for the model that has the specification and features that you feel you might need and that hits your price point.

Remember to allow enough budget for accessories such as dew shields, and additional eyepieces and maybe a finder scope upgrade. These seem to be the first additions people make to scopes. Dew shields are important with scopes such as the mak-cassegrains (ie: the Celestron 4E) and schmidt-cassegrains.

 

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17 minutes ago, mikeyjm26 said:

Hi guys,

I've been researching telescopes and trying to find a decent beginner's one but I don't know which one to choose. I live in the UK and I am looking to spend around £500. I am looking for something portable and easy to setup. Are there certain brands I should be looking at or avoiding?

I was looking at the Bresser and Celestron scopes. I like the idea of the Celestron 4E as it is pretty much fully automatic. I also read that the quality and what you get for the money with a Bresser is very good.

If anyone can recommend one or tell me what I should be looking out for it would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Mikey

 

5 minutes ago, John said:

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Celestron, Skywatcher, Bresser and Meade are all around the same quality.

Some of their models have features which make them more attractive and some prefer this brands compterised GOTO system over that one but broadly these brands occupy the same quality sector.

Celestron and Skywatcher are actually owned and made by the same company now.

So look for the model that has the specification and features that you feel you might need and that hits your price point.

Remember to allow enough budget for accessories such as dew shields, and additional eyepieces and maybe a finder scope upgrade. These seem to be the first additions people make to scopes. Dew shields are important with scopes such as the mak-cassegrains (ie: the Celestron 4E) and schmidt-cassegrains.

 

 

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I currently own this setup

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html

Under your budget and more aperture. Having the extra aperture means you will see more objects in the night sky. 

However as John mentions above you will certainly need a dew shield for it. Can be home made, a google search should get you some tutorials. Very cheap and easy to make.

I won't go into eyepieces, it's a tin of worms, haha 😅

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Hi mike telescopes can be a little daunting at first and brands like Meade,celestron,Bresser,and definitely skywatcher is a major contender in very good value for money and mostly quality and have a whole different range of telescopes to choose from to beginning level intermediate and Advanced I would definitely suggest a scope which is pretty much maintenance free to start off with and the function of goto capability will help you learn the night sky a lot quicker alignment is easy with most of thease scopes and you can even control your scope via sky safari and celestrons own sky portal from your smart device ie iPad or phone this app is free with celestron however you will need to purchase the WiFi module separately.then this allows you to remotely control your scope with a planturiam of the night sky it’s just a question of choosing an object like to observe and press goto.aslo you may of heard there is really not such a thing as a perfect scope and some do things better than others visually so I would definitely recommend something like a maksutov thease are more narrow field of view than a sct cassagrain design and pretty much maintenance free and offer sharp quality optics for the money thease perform very well on the planets and the moon and splitting double stars etc.then the sct cassagrain is more of the work horse of the telescope world and will offer you a wider field of veiw than the mak not quite as sharp as the mak optically however a better overall design for doing a bit of everything 

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Thanks for the replies. What I find confusing is that you have telescopes for specific purposes. How much of a difference is there in what you can view when looking at planet from a telescope that is designed for it and one not, also when looking at nebula. Can the one that is able to view DSO not focus as well on say the moon or any other planet?

Thanks for any comments, really appreciated.

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16 minutes ago, mikeyjm26 said:

Thanks for the replies. What I find confusing is that you have telescopes for specific purposes. How much of a difference is there in what you can view when looking at planet from a telescope that is designed for it and one not, also when looking at nebula. Can the one that is able to view DSO not focus as well on say the moon or any other planet?

Thanks for any comments, really appreciated.

Hi Mikey, no difference in focus on anything you look at up there, it is all basically on infinity.

So once you are sharply focussed on one object everything else will be too, no matter what telescope you are using.

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22 minutes ago, mikeyjm26 said:

Thanks for the replies. What I find confusing is that you have telescopes for specific purposes. How much of a difference is there in what you can view when looking at planet from a telescope that is designed for it and one not, also when looking at nebula. Can the one that is able to view DSO not focus as well on say the moon or any other planet?

Thanks for any comments, really appreciated.

Each design has it's strengths and weaknesses but all of them can observe the full range of astro targets.

As Geoff says above, to all intents and purposes all astro targets are at infinity for focusing purposes.

People end up having more than one scope as they develop in the hobby and want something particularly good at something specific but all the designs are actually quite versatile.

 

 

 

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Welcome!

Thought I would add, regarding scopes for specific purposes, a scope gathers light and magnifies it. Some objects are much fainter than others, like nebulae are harder to see and fainter than planets or the moon. For faint object we like large aperture telescopes like dobsonians for example, these gather more light than let’s say a much smaller refractor and, allow for one to see more of any particular nebula or faint galaxy. That being said, those large scopes are also great for planets as well, whereas the small scopes won’t provide as detailed an image as the large ones on faint objects. In short, small or large, one can see faint objects better in large scopes than small ones.

Most of us experienced amateurs have started out with one scope but, over the years have yearned for larger scopes for those galaxies and nebula. Eventually you too will find you’ll have more than one for different objects. In the meantime, select your first and enjoy the heck out of it. Learn your way around the sky, you will find you may like viewing a particular type of object over others, then is when you’ll find you want a better suited scope for your needs. 

Edited by Sunshine
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Ok so would I be correct in saying that a bigger aperture will allow me to see fainter objects as it lets in more light? Therefore would I better off with a Dobsonian or would that be too technically advanced for a beginner? Ideally I would like to view more nebulas etc than planets.

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Dobsonians are very popular starter scopes. You do get the most aperture per £ spent and therefore better views of deep sky objects. They are quite bulky scopes however. While some dobsonians do have motor drives and even GOTO computer systems to find targets, these add to the price and weight so most folks are content to "drive" their dobsonians themselves and to find objects themselves. So you do need to be prepared to navigate your scope around the sky to find targets using a star chart, mobile phone based app or similar tool.

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, John said:

Dobsonians are very popular starter scopes. You do get the most aperture per £ spent and therefore better views of deep sky objects. They are quite bulky scopes however. While some dobsonians do have motor drives and even GOTO computer systems to find targets, these add to the price and weight so most folks are content to "drive" their dobsonians themselves and to find objects themselves. So you do need to be prepared to navigate your scope around the sky to find targets using a star chart, mobile phone based app or similar tool.

 

 

 

Thanks for that. I was looking at an 8" Dobsonian, the Sky-watcher Skyliner 200P seem very reasonable but the Bresser equivalent is £100 more expensive. It is better? Is a dew shield still required? If I go down the Dobsonian route I will need a laser collimator as well.

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The Skywatcher dob is an excellent basic dob. The Bresser is a better equipped dob with a number of advantages such as a great high quality focuser and proper large alt bearings and is monuted using tube rings which means it can be balanced by moving the tube up or down. The focuser on the Bresser is worth more than the price difference on it’s own.

So basicly if on a tight budget the Skywatcher will serve you well but the Bresser is simply a step up. 

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1 minute ago, mikeyjm26 said:

Thanks for that. I was looking at an 8" Dobsonian, the Sky-watcher Skyliner 200P seem very reasonable but the Bresser equivalent is £100 more expensive. It is better? Is a dew shield still required? If I go down the Dobsonian route I will need a laser collimator as well.

I got a Bresser Messier 8" very recently, just a couple of things to bare in mind, mine actually also came with a Solar filter, Planisphere, and smart phone holder. This isn't listed in the "whats in the box" section on FLO website listing, I believe its around £70 in extra stuff. Also bare in mind it only comes with a 25mm eyepiece, unlike the skywatcher dobsonian that comes with both 10mm and 25mm eyepieces.

The finderscopes are also different, I ended up getting a red dot as I find them a little more useful as you can see exactly where in the sky (relevant to what you can see) your scope is pointing. Red dot wise, a lot of people seem to give the Telrad and Rigel good reviews, personally i got the telrad, though its a little heavier than rigel and can lead to balance issues at lower angles if put too far forward. 

I believe the focuser on the Bresser is a little better, along with the way the mounting system works, though i'm sure the more experienced guys can give you a better opinion on these as I haven't owned a skywatcher 200p. 

Another thing to think about is that there are a lot more people who own skywatcher 200p's as the scopes been around longer and are very popular, therefore there is more modification advice, and information about it available. Someone said the Bresser has a lot of upgrade potential, i've noticed it has fan mounts at the back, and has a gear set upgrade that bresser sells, and apparently is easily fitted to an equatorial mount, though i'm not sure how this compares to the skywatcher.

Other than these things I haven't had the scope long enough to give a comprehensive review or report on it, but just message me if you'd like to know anything.

 

Links:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-8-dobsonian-telescope.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/rigel-quikfinder-compact-reflex-sight.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/telrad-finder-astronomy.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-1-10-gear-set-for-hex-focuser.html

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A couple of notes.

The Bresser focuser isn’t a tiny bit better but a huge difference in quality and is very good focuser. The Skywatcher focuser is a cheap light duty very basic focuser and is often the first thing replaced.

Links to the focusers so you can see the price differences.

Skywatcher focuser ( dob does come with different knobs though)

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-1252-rack-pinion-focuser.html

Bresser Hexafoc focuser (this is the refractor verson but gives an idea of the price)

https://www.bresseruk.com/astronomy/explore-scientific-2-5-hex-focuser-with-1-10-gear-reduction.html

The eyepieces that come with the Skywatcher are low quality but the one that comes with the Bresser is much higher quality and fairly decent eyepiece.

Edited by johninderby
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Mikey

First of all welcome from Land Down Under

First of all you have to work out what you want to use the scope for

Just purely visual, then cannot go far wrong with a Dob

If want to do AP, then you will need a scope which tracks, with SynScan controller

Then go for a Skywatcher ED100 on a HEQ5 mount, or a Celestron 4E, 6E or 8E depending on your budget

Have attached pics of my SW 10" flex Dob, and my ED80 on EQ5pro mount

The ED80 was taken a club solar day late last year

John 

Skywatcher 10in Dob.jpg

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

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4 hours ago, mikeyjm26 said:

Thanks for the replies. What I find confusing is that you have telescopes for specific purposes. How much of a difference is there in what you can view when looking at planet from a telescope that is designed for it and one not, also when looking at nebula. Can the one that is able to view DSO not focus as well on say the moon or any other planet?

Thanks for any comments, really appreciated.

There are more, rather mundane variables to consider. For instance, will you travel with your chosen instrument? If so, do you have a car? Where will it be stored? Are there stairs to climb etc? Do you have any physical impairments which may prevent moving the telescope around or staying comfortable at the eyepiece? 

Will you get on with manually tracking an object which is a little tricky at higher magnifications? Would you prefer the mount to do it for you?

Are you interested in astrophotography? Or visual at first and see how things go?

Dobsonians are far from 'technically advanced'. They're the simplest telescope and mount to use and aperture per buck there's no contest but those other considerations above to consider. 'The best telescope is the one you use the most' really is true.

Have you considered binoculars? A good pair of 10x50 binoculars, an astronomy for beginners book or two and planisphere will set you back less than £100. My binoculars are used more than my two telescopes. I wish I'd followed Sir Patrick Moore's advce and bought them first!

 

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10 hours ago, Cuto100200 said:

I got a Bresser Messier 8" very recently, just a couple of things to bare in mind, mine actually also came with a Solar filter, Planisphere, and smart phone holder. This isn't listed in the "whats in the box" section on FLO website listing, I believe its around £70 in extra stuff. Also bare in mind it only comes with a 25mm eyepiece, unlike the skywatcher dobsonian that comes with both 10mm and 25mm eyepieces.

The finderscopes are also different, I ended up getting a red dot as I find them a little more useful as you can see exactly where in the sky (relevant to what you can see) your scope is pointing. Red dot wise, a lot of people seem to give the Telrad and Rigel good reviews, personally i got the telrad, though its a little heavier than rigel and can lead to balance issues at lower angles if put too far forward. 

I believe the focuser on the Bresser is a little better, along with the way the mounting system works, though i'm sure the more experienced guys can give you a better opinion on these as I haven't owned a skywatcher 200p. 

Another thing to think about is that there are a lot more people who own skywatcher 200p's as the scopes been around longer and are very popular, therefore there is more modification advice, and information about it available. Someone said the Bresser has a lot of upgrade potential, i've noticed it has fan mounts at the back, and has a gear set upgrade that bresser sells, and apparently is easily fitted to an equatorial mount, though i'm not sure how this compares to the skywatcher.

Other than these things I haven't had the scope long enough to give a comprehensive review or report on it, but just message me if you'd like to know anything.

 

Links:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-8-dobsonian-telescope.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/rigel-quikfinder-compact-reflex-sight.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/telrad-finder-astronomy.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-1-10-gear-set-for-hex-focuser.html

Many thanks for the info. Those are certainly upgrades I will look at getting. Does it require the gear set initially or is fine to begin with? I was considering getting a moon filter and barlow for a first purchase?

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10 hours ago, johninderby said:

The Skywatcher dob is an excellent basic dob. The Bresser is a better equipped dob with a number of advantages such as a great high quality focuser and proper large alt bearings and is monuted using tube rings which means it can be balanced by moving the tube up or down. The focuser on the Bresser is worth more than the price difference on it’s own.

So basicly if on a tight budget the Skywatcher will serve you well but the Bresser is simply a step up. 

Thanks for confirming that, I think the Bresser will be one to go for.

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9 hours ago, cletrac1922 said:

Mikey

First of all welcome from Land Down Under

First of all you have to work out what you want to use the scope for

Just purely visual, then cannot go far wrong with a Dob

If want to do AP, then you will need a scope which tracks, with SynScan controller

Then go for a Skywatcher ED100 on a HEQ5 mount, or a Celestron 4E, 6E or 8E depending on your budget

Have attached pics of my SW 10" flex Dob, and my ED80 on EQ5pro mount

The ED80 was taken a club solar day late last year

John 

Skywatcher 10in Dob.jpg

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

Hi John, the 10" in certainly quite big!!! Part of my issue is that I like the idea of both visual and astrophotography. Of course astrophotography is not cheap to get into initially so until I see if the hobby hooks me the visual will need to do just now. As mentioned above the Bresser comes with a phone mount so that could be interesting. It would be good to see what the difference in images are like between both telescopes.

Using a Dob and manually having to move it to track the object does slightly concern me, in fact finding the object first does lol This is part of the reason I like the idea of the Celestron 4E as I think for what it offers at that price point is pretty good compared to the others but I could be wrong.

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9 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

There are more, rather mundane variables to consider. For instance, will you travel with your chosen instrument? If so, do you have a car? Where will it be stored? Are there stairs to climb etc? Do you have any physical impairments which may prevent moving the telescope around or staying comfortable at the eyepiece? 

Will you get on with manually tracking an object which is a little tricky at higher magnifications? Would you prefer the mount to do it for you?

Are you interested in astrophotography? Or visual at first and see how things go?

Dobsonians are far from 'technically advanced'. They're the simplest telescope and mount to use and aperture per buck there's no contest but those other considerations above to consider. 'The best telescope is the one you use the most' really is true.

Have you considered binoculars? A good pair of 10x50 binoculars, an astronomy for beginners book or two and planisphere will set you back less than £100. My binoculars are used more than my two telescopes. I wish I'd followed Sir Patrick Moore's advce and bought them first!

 

Hi ScouseSpaceCadet, I have thought about the issues of larger manual telescope and it does concern me. Moving is and tracking an object does not look as easy as using one the other mounts that has the fine movement knobs, sorry for my lack of terminology. Storing it will probably have to be in my shed for a Dob, the Celestron I might get away with keeping it indoors. I do really like the idea of astrophotography but a mount alone would cost as much as a telescope to get me up and running. Then I would need a camera or eyepiece camera. Not cheap unfortunately.

I did consider binoculars, I still have a look but my issue with them is how good can they be? I have difficulty trying to hold my phone steady to take a picture of the moon so using binoculars it going to be equally as hard!!!

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8" Dob's are easy to store upright in a corner. They take up very little floor space, much less than a tripod. Storing it in a shed is a bit dodgy due to damp over time. There's those here that do so, there's good advice available on how to protect it.

Keeping an object in view is with a telescope on a dobson mount isn't any harder than using manual slomo knobs.

Binocular shakes can be dampened by simply leaning on or against something, by mounting them on a tripod, or probably most popular for binocular astronomy buffs, a monopod.

'...how good can they be?', have a look at the binocular section of the forum. Loads of people either only use binoculars, or have at least one pair to compliment their other gear.

It's a hard decision to make, maybe list all the pros and cons on paper then just go for it.

You did say you were looking for "something portable and easy to setup" and goto...

The Skymax 127 on an AZ-GTI comes in below your budget, including buying a power supply which is bought separately. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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I linked to this earlier in the thread, as did ScouseSpaceCadet just now.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky-watcher-az-gti-wifi/sky-watcher-skymax-127-az-gti.html

This simply takes 8 AA type batteries to run it and they last for ages. 

For what you are considering it might be a great starter and the mount is very ubiquitous for using with cameras and potentially other scopes too. 

Steve

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I've got the Sky-Watcher Skyliner 200P and can thoroughly recommend it.  You could buy that, plus some good eyepieces for a lot less than your £500.  Just my tuppence worth. 

20200406_210834.thumb.jpg.bc64634aec84a77da99c983fd6216fc1.jpg20200406_210841.thumb.jpg.a9bd54927af71841bd637e79297d7462.jpg20200406_212107.thumb.jpg.5e961bfc6ffcc82aadedfea3858a90b1.jpg20200406_212123.thumb.jpg.d96fdce0c7e7547697189946f69f4b46.jpg

Edited by Guest
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2 hours ago, merlin100 said:

I've got the Sky-Watcher Skyliner 200P and can thoroughly recommend it.  You could buy that, plus some good eyepieces for a lot less than your £500.  Just my tuppence worth. 

They are pretty decent images from 200P. Is that using the standard eyepiece?

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