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@powerlord

Cheers for the link i'll be sure to give it a watch!

I'm still on the deciding phase - just need to really pull the trigger on one now, I love the idea of the 130/150 Heritage still a great suggestion from @Tiny Clanger and just weighing up whether they'd still be suitable for hiking with though, when taking into consideration other things we take with us, we tend to take one backpack - guess who gets the pleasure of carrying that about! - decided however i am gonna stretch the budget a bit further than originally stated, feel a Refractor better suits my needs of needing to haul it about.

Looking into this has opened a whole can of "what if i get this one instead", thankfully i'm spoilt for choice with photography equipment else i'd never get any work done!

I can see how this hobby easily becomes a rabbit hole of "if i spend another £100 here i can get this instead..." before you know it.

Again, thanks for your help everyone! Will update once i make my purchase,

Stephen.

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frankly for hiking, I'd have thought a good pair of binos is best ? and of course, useful during the day.

I carry a wee pair of pentax 10x21 binos with me. Optics are super clear and bright.

i suppose a bigger pair with a tripod mount gives you better views, while still having the flexibility of using during the day ?

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@sw89 I am not sure if you have been made aware of a star tracking mount https://www.firstlightoptics.com/star-tracker-astronomy-mounts/ioptron-skytracker-pro-camera-mount-with-polar-scope.html

These can be easily added to any half decent tripod but are really only for attaching your camera and not camera and scope due to weight limitations.

I have a similar setup and it works great for wider field views although I have used it for higher magnifications with some success.

It also has the added advantage of being very light (2.5lb) and can be bolted onto any decent camera tripod. 

Edited by bomberbaz
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@powerlord

Do already have a pair of Binoculars that we take - never thought of using them for looking upwards to be honest, shall have to give them a brief go, I know i keep saying hiking however it wouldn't be just used for that, again i know finding an all rounder may be difficult, am leaning towards the ST80, ST102's just to dip the feet then maybe invest further should we use it more, be nice if she could just take it out into the garden and observe from there also - where we live there isn't that much light pollution thankfully.

@bomberbaz

Looks a decent way to go, however i feel she may see this a present bought for myself!, that's proving part the difficulty of buying for someone else, i look at it as what i'd like and i'd want all the bells and whistles - my partner not so much ha.

 

Stephen

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4 minutes ago, sw89 said:

@bomberbaz

Looks a decent way to go, however i feel she may see this a present bought for myself!, that's proving part the difficulty of buying for someone else, i look at it as what i'd like and i'd want all the bells and whistles - my partner not so much ha.

Buy a scope for the other half, the mount for yourself, simples 😅

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I have this one (for now) https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-evostar-90-660-az-pronto.html which might be similar though smaller and the mount head is less interesting and its AZ (though the starquest is able to be used that way I think). 

Had it a year, been happy with it and I've tried out lots of targets. It did most things though as its small aperture there is a limit to what you can see in any detail but it was always fun. I ended up doing plenty of upgrades which helped improve it no end but even in its basic form it was a good introductory telescope and very good as a grab and go. The mount is so-so if you start adding heavier things (EP primarily) though I compensated with some of those ankle weights placed on the tripod legs. The only thing to watch would be it doesn't overbalance if you have heavy stuff on it and near zenith due to the way the az pronto is top mounted.

 

Edited by wibblefish
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Its the same as the 102ST but in a different livery and no tube rings ... i bought one of these from a well respected member on here and they are nice scopes . Obviously false colour is present on the brighter objects but for widefield stuff they are fairly decent . Be aware of course , and i'm not sure anyone has mentioned this , you wont see any colour from faint fuzzies you may view . All in all a good starter scope on a decent enough starter mount ... you can even buy a motor for it which will track the object in view , allowing you to take a picture or two .

 

Edited by Stu1smartcookie
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I've now narrowed it down even more!

@wibblefish's suggestion -  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-evostar-90-660-az-pronto.html this is f 7.3 - would this give better viewing?

or the https://www.firstlightoptics.com/telescopes-in-stock/sky-watcher-starquest-102r-f49-achromatic-refractor-telescope.html @Stu1smartcookie gives this a thumbs up! f4.9

i'm guessing the viewing differences between these 2 scopes will be negligible, just have to pull the trigger now on one!

i've ruled out astrophotography all together as i've seen the ED80 - would quite like this for myself - maybe i can convince my partner that'd be a good birthday present for me which is also quickly coming around! we can observe and then shoot at the same time with 2 scopes ;) Plus one these 2 get us into it cheaper.

St80's look great but i feel we'd be wanting more from it.

Once again you've all be so helpful, hopefully one day i can return the help to someone here!

goes over my original budget but not by to much.

Thanks,

Stephen.

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4 hours ago, powerlord said:

frankly for hiking, I'd have thought a good pair of binos is best ? and of course, useful during the day.

I carry a wee pair of pentax 10x21 binos with me. Optics are super clear and bright.

i suppose a bigger pair with a tripod mount gives you better views, while still having the flexibility of using during the day ?

At the end of my first post on this thread, I said the same,

"For something genuinely portable , with decent quality instruments available well  within your price range, I'd suggest some 10/50 binoculars and a monopod / ball or trigger head are the logical choices. "

and still think it is the only sensible rucsac friendly option. 

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Sorry I just re-read the initial requirements, the 90/660 might be to long for hiking the tube doesn't fold up etc and is roughly 75cm from diagonal end to front of telescope. I wouldn't particular want to hike with it though it might be portable in a long bag with its tripod potentially but the pronto mount head would also weigh some.

I would recommend either something smaller like the ST80 / small Mak(spotting scope style like @johninderby has mentioned on other threads?) though I have no experience with either or probably a decent pair of binoculars (I have Olympus DPS-1 10x50 and they are ok (lots of review on here or check the binocular forum for other suggestions) and maybe a tripod / monopod like has already been said.

 

Edited by wibblefish
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8 minutes ago, sw89 said:

I've now narrowed it down even more!

@wibblefish's suggestion -  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-evostar-90-660-az-pronto.html this is f 7.3 - would this give better viewing?

or the https://www.firstlightoptics.com/telescopes-in-stock/sky-watcher-starquest-102r-f49-achromatic-refractor-telescope.html @Stu1smartcookie gives this a thumbs up! f4.9

i'm guessing the viewing differences between these 2 scopes will be negligible, just have to pull the trigger now on one!

i've ruled out astrophotography all together as i've seen the ED80 - would quite like this for myself - maybe i can convince my partner that'd be a good birthday present for me which is also quickly coming around! we can observe and then shoot at the same time with 2 scopes ;) Plus one these 2 get us into it cheaper.

St80's look great but i feel we'd be wanting more from it.

Once again you've all be so helpful, hopefully one day i can return the help to someone here!

goes over my original budget but not by to much.

Thanks,

Stephen.

Don't worry about the f number, it is only really relevant in telescopes when thinking about the 'scope's requirements in eyepiece upgrade quality . Nothing like as important as the photographic lens focal ratio.

The difference in light collecting isn't negligible between a 90mm aperture and a 102mm aperture though :

a circle of 90mm diameter has an area of 63.6 cm, while a circle of 102mm diameter has an area of 81.7 cm2

That is quite an increase in light gathering potential,  which is good for viewing faint objects, However, (there's always a caveat in astro kit :evil4: ) bigger aperture means a bigger , heavier 'scope , which means less portable and you absolutely have to have a heftier , steadier mount and tripod., or it is essentially useless.

For instance, my cheap 102mm refractor (one of these https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-ar-102s-600-refractor-ota.html   https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102s-600-Hexafoc-OTA.html) is nice for wide field views, but it is longer than the height of my 62l rucsac,  weighs 4kg and requires (to be steady) a heavy tripod and mount at least as heavy again.

 

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@Tiny Clanger You're a wealth of knowledge on here!

I don't mind the weight all that much so long as we're not talking 30 kgs or so, i'm used to lugging my photo gear about.

I know i said hiking however I'd rather sacrifice on weight if it means better viewing when we get to the location - i'm comfortable hauling photo kit about, my studio tripod pushes 7 kg without a camera attached and have hauled this to many locations, along with strobe lights etc.

From what ive read and understand then a 102 (4"?) is an ideal frac then? - may pull the trigger on that starquest 102.

@Stu1smartcookie unfortunately i cant see the used gear here yet. - the ED glass reduces the CA ?

This hobby really is a black hole, having places like this is a god send!, i can see how people get more than one scope - i've not even got one yet for my partner and already considering buying multiple! 😂

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2 minutes ago, sw89 said:

the ED glass reduces the CA ?

its a bit of a minefield in itself ... ED glass has many guises ... the scope certainly isnt "colour free " so its probably FL51 ( although i am honestly not sure ) . But , just as important for your situation , it has a healthy aperture which increases its light gathering abilities . Of course it has a very short focal length . its really lightweight too 

 

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1 minute ago, johninderby said:

The Bresser 102 is a regular achro and doesn’t have ED glass in it. Is OK for low to mid. magnification but CA is a problem at higher magnification.Good little scope though with a great focuser.

John i beg to differ as this scope was always marketed as having ED glass although what type was never disclosed . Of course thats when i had one , if the marketting has been corrected then i stand corrected . 

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I suppose the glass could be technically ED but as there is no mention of what it actually is assume  it is the lowest quality ED. Had one and it performed like a decent achro as far as CA was concerned. Yes a nice scope though.

Interesting to note that the Bresser 102S version has no mention of ED glass at all yet it is just a bit longer focal length scope. 🤔

Edited by johninderby
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If you're hiking, then obviously pack size and weight is a major consideration, so really your are limited to a very small refractor, maksutov or binoculars. If the instrument will be used at home then what are your skies like? Can you see at least a slither of the Milky Way or are you badly light polluted?

The cheaper achromatic travel friendly telescopes will not provide great high magnification views of the moon or planets but under dark skies there are plenty of other objects to observe. Likewise using 10x50 binoculars.

A 90mm to 102mm maksutov is small and they're designed for high magnification however the field of view is quite narrow compared to the refractors.The quality of the image is excellent compared to the cheap achromats and arguably not that different to an ED72.

Considering budget, this version of the Skymax 102 with the AZ Pronto mount and aluminium tubular tripod is ideal. The tripod can be strapped to the outside of a (for instance 40L) rucksack and the rest is easily fitted inside, with plenty of room to spare for the usual hiking gear.

https://www.microglobe.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-102-az-pronto-maksutov-cassegrain-telescope-p-18276.html

Unfortunately (for hikers) the tubular tripod has been replaced by a sturdier model and is more commonly the version for sale now:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-skymax-102s-az-pronto.html

 

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6 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

If you're hiking, then obviously pack size and weight is a major consideration, so really your are limited to a very small refractor, maksutov or binoculars. If the instrument will be used at home then what are your skies like? Can you see at least a slither of the Milky Way or are you badly light polluted?

The cheaper achromatic travel friendly telescopes will not provide great high magnification views of the moon or planets but under dark skies there are plenty of other objects to observe. Likewise using 10x50 binoculars.

A 90mm to 102mm maksutov is small and they're designed for high magnification however the field of view is quite narrow compared to the refractors.The quality of the image is excellent compared to the cheap achromats and arguably not that different to an ED72.

Considering budget, this version of the Skymax 102 with the AZ Pronto mount and aluminium tubular tripod is ideal. The tripod can be strapped to the outside of a (for instance 40L) rucksack and the rest is easily fitted inside, with plenty of room to spare for the usual hiking gear.

https://www.microglobe.co.uk/skywatcher-skymax-102-az-pronto-maksutov-cassegrain-telescope-p-18276.html

Unfortunately (for hikers) the tubular tripod has been replaced by a sturdier model and is more commonly the version for sale now:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-skymax-102s-az-pronto.html

 

Yes that 102 mm Mak and pronto was a combination  i just sold the other week to fund my SkyTee ... the scope is a wonderful instrument that punches above its weight . Agree though about the tripod , shame they changed it really 

 

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41 minutes ago, sw89 said:

@Tiny Clanger You're a wealth of knowledge on here!

I don't mind the weight all that much so long as we're not talking 30 kgs or so, i'm used to lugging my photo gear about.

I know i said hiking however I'd rather sacrifice on weight if it means better viewing when we get to the location - i'm comfortable hauling photo kit about, my studio tripod pushes 7 kg without a camera attached and have hauled this to many locations, along with strobe lights etc.

From what ive read and understand then a 102 (4"?) is an ideal frac then? - may pull the trigger on that starquest 102.

@Stu1smartcookie unfortunately i cant see the used gear here yet. - the ED glass reduces the CA ?

This hobby really is a black hole, having places like this is a god send!, i can see how people get more than one scope - i've not even got one yet for my partner and already considering buying multiple! 😂

I bought the 102mm achro as a speedy set up grab and go to take advantage of brief cloud gaps in my garden , it's OK for wide field but , to my eyes hopeless at high magnifications because of the C.A. , so I don't use it for planets. Other folk seem to notice CA less (on another similar thread, there;'s someone who finds the ST80 acceptable for planetary use , I cannot unsee the ST80 violet fringe though ! ) , maybe it's an eyesight thing, maybe it's that I've been a photographer (both pro and am) for longer than I care to mention 🙂  and notice this sort of thing more.

I didn't suggest the 102 to you, because I don't think it is a good first 'scope choice. It is fine for what I wanted it for (mostly as a test of if it is a convenient size of instrument for me , both in terms of aperture and portability, and a worthwhile increase over an 80mm ) but it isn't wonderful . I expect to sell it on in the next year or so when I can afford a better 102mm.

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50 minutes ago, Stu1smartcookie said:

John i beg to differ as this scope was always marketed as having ED glass although what type was never disclosed . Of course thats when i had one , if the marketting has been corrected then i stand corrected . 

Are you thinking of the 102 xs Stu ? There are three now four ! (they've added a 1000mm one I don't recall seeing before ) versions of the 102,

the 102xs, which is the tiny short one with (reputedly) different glass, a 460mm focal length  https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102xs-460-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube.html?listtype=search&searchparam=102 xs

the one I have, the 102s at 600mm focal length https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102s-600-Hexafoc-OTA.html

 the 102/1000 , 1000mm focal length ( you guessed that, didn't you 🙂 ) https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102-1000-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube-assembly.html?listtype=search&searchparam=messier ar

and the 102L which is 1350mm focal length https://www.bresseruk.com/BRESSER-Messier-AR-102L-1350-Hexafoc-Optical-Tube-assembly.html?listtype=search&searchparam=messier ar

OP might wonder why the weird different lengths , answer is ( briefly) longer tube acrhros control CA better. However, as I said, there is always a trade off ... the longer the tube, the harder and more expensive it is to mount properly, and obviously the more cumbersome it is .

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