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I need some help choosing a budget telescope.

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Hello, my budget is around 150/160 EUR, I was wondering what telescope should I buy? I need some suggestions as all I know is that bigger is better. I am currently looking at StarRider 80F400EQ, is it any good? Also I'm from Europe if that's relevant.

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I've received my 130p first time looking trough a telescope, it was so AMAZING, there were way more stars than I thought I would be able to ever see in a city. Thanks everyone for helping me pick out

You may well have seen this recommended elsewhere, but if not, you could also take a look at this list of objects that are visible from light-polluted skies: https://las-astro.org.uk/docs/Loughto

So after all, I'm answering kinda late, but I found a 150p for 260 from Finland, so I ordered it, for people who are interested I'll post a follow up once I recieve it, about my expirience, thanks for

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59 minutes ago, Lotinsh said:

am currently looking at StarRider 80F400EQ, is it any good? 

Probably not. On face value it looks like a typical 80mm f5 achromat, which is a fairly standard scope, sold for instance as the skywatcher skytravel (ST) 80. However, the one you've linked to appears to have an even cheaper focuser than normal, with no standard finder shoe for you to easily swap finder as with the normal one. In terms of mounting, the mount itself looks extremely weak and flimsy, and the connection between telescope and mount looks like some odd concoction instead of the standard vixen dovetail/clamp so you can't easily mount the telescope on a decent mount later. Finally, it looks to have an erecting prism, which is aimed more at terrestrial use, rather than a star diagonal, so that would also need replacing. 

Personally, if I was in your position, i would buy a Skywatcher Heritage 130p. I suspect with recent price increases this is now over your budget, but I would suggest saving up until it is in your budget rather than buying something cheaper which turns out to be a waste of money. With current global stock issues I suspect that you will have to wait for a telescope anyway so saving up longer may not be as big of an issue as it normally could be. 

One thing to be aware of with the heritage 130p is that it comes on a mini Dobsonian base, so you will need something for it to sit on to raise it up to a use able height (e.g. a garden table)

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This is a lovely observing report from last night using a skywatcher ST80. They were using a goto mount for most of the viewing rather than manually finding everything


The ST80 comes in two main flavours whether manufactured by Skywatcher or Orion.

ST80 A - astronomically with 90 degree diagonal and tube rings

ST80 T - terrestrial with 45 degree erect image diagonal and a fixed mini dove bar with camera tripod thread holes.

The same optics in either, I use an Orion ST80 T flavoured one.

The ST80 excels at wide field views with lovely star fields. I'm suspecting it might be found within budget through finding stock is less likely. The heritage 130P is also great.


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16 minutes ago, Lotinsh said:

So I found the ST80 from my country shop around 160, but at the same price is the Levenhuk skyline travel 80, so which one should I get? 

The normal ST80. Optically they may be the same telescope, but the Levenhuk has the same problems with an inadequate mount and non-standard fittings as the first one. 

Bear in mind that the normal ST80 can be bought as an OTA only package so check the one you are looking at comes with a mount. 

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Do you have a link to the shop you are looking at? Do they list all the out of stock telescopes too? If they only list in stock telescopes there is a chance they might have something suitable once deliveries from china start coming in more regularly (and more cheaply). 

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If you have a photo tripod, or can buy a second hand one, the st80 will work well on it. I recently bought one, and have just explained about he tripod on another thread, look it up !

I know Orion st80 'scopes are in stock in the EU, I had a discussion over this last week with someone !

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1 hour ago, Lotinsh said:

@Tiny Clanger Thanks for advice, but do all tripods work? Or do I need to look for a specific one?

It's a matter of the rigidity and height of the tripod legs, and the smoothness of movement of the head part (the bit that turns) , expensive tripods are better in both respects, but any tripod will hold the little ST80. It's just that some cheap ones may be unstable or jerky to use

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Thanks for advice, but sadly I can only scratch up to 170 not more, but the scope does look nice.

Edit: just in case I am willing to order from ebay aswell, as long as its from europe.

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with UPS standard shipping to Latvia - it is <160euro.

With that kind of budget - you are really looking at very basic telescope and 70mm F/10 is not a bad choice. It will show you the moon and planets - although those will be small. 70mm of aperture is not much but you should be able to see bright messier objects with that.

Most of these scopes are made in China and objective lens of the telescope is rather fine. You should value the package by accessories.

I don't know much about K9 and K25 eyepieces that come with Levenhuk scope - but they don't really inspire confidence. Neither does x3 barlow nor 4x20 finder scope (who needs finer on 80 F/5 scope anyway?).

SW 10mm and 25mm "super" eyepieces are well known - and while 10mm is not the best - 25mm is really OK eyepiece. In fact - both are good enough to keep you going for quite some time until you have budget for upgrade (and most people upgrade 10mm).

I'm not happy with 6x24mm finder - you'd be better served with red dot finder instead. 2x barlow is also not something to write home about - but that is what you get in that sort of budget.

Many people will actually say - get a pair of binoculars instead to get to know the skies, but 70 F/10 scope is good enough I feel to get you started.

Another alternative would be this:


However - that is not going to be in stock for some time ...

Maybe if you are patient some more - that will give you time to save a bit more and maybe even for prices to come down back to normal (due to C19 - prices are on the rise at the moment). I think that you can get quite a bit more for not a lot more money really. One that I linked already or something like this:



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@vlaivThe first one seems nice and fits well in my budged, but what do you think about the Bresser Telescope AC 90/500 Messier OTA? I know it has no mount but that shouldn't hopefully be much of a problem. Also thanks for helping.


Nvm, it can be shipped only at 30.06.2021 that's kind of a long time.


This one maybe is also good? https://www.astroshop.eu/telescopes/ts-optics-telescope-ac-70-700-starscope-az-2/p,56947#tab_bar_1_select

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2 hours ago, Lotinsh said:

@Ricochet Hey man, if you have some time mind explaining to me what inadequate mount and non standard fittings mean? 


Ok, so what I mean by fittings is how the telescope connects to the mount and also how the finder scope connects to the telescope. Have a look at the picture below, by @Highburymark of a telescope attached to a mount.


You can see a long silver bar attached to the telescope, which is a "Vixen" dovetail, and on the mount you can see a silver clamp that is holding onto the dovetail. These items are a standard size so that telescope with its standard dovetail can be fitted onto any mount that has a Vixen dovetail clamp, so you can have more than one telescope and mount and interchange them. More importantly, it means that if you buy a telescope and discover that the mount is not strong enough to hold the telescope well, you can just buy a new mount and put your telescope on it, you don't have to buy a whole new setup, or hunt for the correct size rings to enable you to put a normal dovetail on your telescope and use it with a new mount. Similarly, if you look at the focuser in the above photo, you can see a smaller black clamp rising up off the telescope. This is a standard Vixen/Synta finder shoe, and there are many different finders that use this system so you have lots of options to upgrade or replace the finder that comes with the telescope. The Starrider telescope you were first looking at did not appear to have either of these. The telescope looks like it fits to the mount with some unique system, so it is not so easy to just buy a new mount and put your telescope on it, and the finder is screwed on, which limits you to only a couple of cheap finders should the supplied one break.

With regards to the mount, it is very important that the mount and tripod are very strong and sturdy so that they can hold the telescope in the position that you are trying to point it and to not have a lot of vibration, which will prevent you from being able to actually see anything through the telescope. If you look at say https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth-astronomy-mounts/skywatcher-az4-alt-az-mount.html you will notice that it has a big solid mount head and thick steel legs. This would make a very sturdy mount for an ST80 type scope. If you now look back at the mount that comes with the Levenhuk, you will see that in comparison it is very small and spindly. That mount will not hold even a small telescope like the ST80 very well. You will definitely have lots of vibrations every time you go near it and you will also find that when you point the telescope up, the mount head will flop backwards so you would have to hold the handle at all times just to keep the telescope pointed in the right direction. Of the two telescopes you have said you can afford, I think I prefer the Starrider, but I think that the one suggested by @vlaiv is is probably better by more than the difference in price (even though it is out of your budget).

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8 minutes ago, Lotinsh said:

The first one seems nice and fits well in my budged, but what do you think about the Bresser Telescope AC 90/500 Messier OTA?

I think that it is very good value for the money - but not available at the moment.

Are you considering OTA scopes?

Do understand that you'll need decent mount to mount them on. Above 90/500 weighs about 2Kg. You need very good photo tripod + alt az head to hold such scope. Combination that can easily surpass your budget alone with OTA scope.


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@Ricochet Thanks for the amazing explanation, so that means I cant buy just any camera mount right?


@vlaiv OTA scopes as long as camera tripods work, I should be good right?

Not sure if this is good enough, I found a fairly cheap mount: https://www.1a.lv/p/hama-star-75-tripod-bag/27pe?mtd=search&pos=regular&src=searchnode

I'm willing to go up to 35 EUR on the mount, if that's enough, but if that's too cheap then I'll go for a telescope that already comes with one.

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2 minutes ago, Lotinsh said:

@Ricochet Thanks for the amazing explanation, so that means I cant buy just any camera mount right?


@vlaiv OTA scopes as long as camera tripods work, I should be good right?

Not sure if this is good enough, I found a fairly cheap mount: https://www.1a.lv/p/hama-star-75-tripod-bag/27pe?mtd=search&pos=regular&src=searchnode

I'm willing to go up to 35 EUR on the mount, if that's enough, but if that's too cheap then I'll go for a telescope that already comes with one.

I don't think you want to do that to yourself.

In theory, such tripod will hold the scope but it will be disaster to use. It will be barely able to hold the scope and there is simply no mention of smooth motion - you won't be able to track the sky properly with such combination.

If you want to put decent tripod + head yourself - it will cost you 150-200euro to do that. You'll get much better platform then these starter mounts that come bundled with scopes.

For example you can use something like this:


On a good tripod that can carry say 6-8Kg.

But I think it is besides the point to talk about this since your budget will not allow for such thing.

Just keep in mind - astronomy mount needs to be stable and needs to enable you to track your target as earth rotates and targets in the night sky shift. Cheap photo tripod that is meant to hold camera relatively stable is not going to provide this for you. Closest that you'll get to usable astronomy mount is decent video fluid head - but even those are not designed to handle telescopes - how often do you point your camera straight up? Telescope? Well - most of the time.


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