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I've got a few quid saved and had a look around and done a bit of homework, I am a beginner! What's the best dobsonian about, Zhumell z8 looks good or is there another one with similar specs or better! Basically which telescope would anyone advise me to buy! 

Edited by JayJay007
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The Zhumell Z8 is discontinued.  The Apertura AD8 and Orion SkyLine 8" are the same thing and the latter is currently available in the US.  It's also sold as StellaLyra in Europe.  All are made by GSO in Taiwan.  It's a really good starter scope.

Another really good option is the Explore Scientific (Bresser in Europe) 8" FirstLight Dob.  The big altitude trunnions make for better motion in that axis than either the GSO or Synta (Sky Watcher, Orion SkyQuest, etc.) Dobs with their smaller diameter axles.  There's an affordable 2 speed focuser upgrade available to bring it into parity with the GSO Dob.  JOC presumably makes both the ES and Bresser versions as it is their parent company.

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6 hours ago, JayJay007 said:

I've got a few quid saved and had a look around and done a bit of homework, I am a beginner! What's the best dobsonian about, Zhumell z8 looks good or is there another one with similar specs or better! Basically which telescope would anyone advise me to buy! 

I would skip a 200mm/8", and get a 250mm/10".  The best 8" is a 10".  The 10" would require somewhat more expensive eyepieces to observe at the lower powers, but in the long run it's still the better choice.  A 250mm is the same length as a 200mm, just a little larger in girth.  Collimation will be a bit more difficult, at f/5, but not too terribly much.

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First of all welcome to SGL.

For a first scope, if buying new, go to a specialist astro retailer. Not the likes of amazon.
You will in all probably find the after sales support useful.

Before talking about scope type, you need to look at you viewing circumstances and expectations.
If you weight50Kg, have a bad back and would need to take the scope down flights of stairs to use......a big dob is useless.
What sort of sky objects do you want to see most. I know we all say everything but no scope does everything in the best way.

There are lots of threads on SGL about first scope choice.
You wil see that not everyone wants or suits the same first scope.

My contribution is that a 10" dob recommended above is probably too big.
I have owned at various times 8", 10" 12" newtonian scopes.
I regard 8" as easy to handle, 10" a bit awkward and 12" is a beast that you need to plan around.
They all look the same size on web pages and numbers relating to size and weight mean much more when you have a huge scope in the living room!

Keep asking the questions and keep your money in your pocket for now.

HTH, David.


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I second what Carbon Brush has said above regarding the size of your choice. I first jumped in too deep and bought a 12” Dobsonian go to second hand. When I picked it up I couldn’t believe how big it actually was. It was even heavy due to the motors in the base etc. They don’t appear that big in the photos online. I swiftly sold it after using it only once as it was just too cumbersome. I then opted for the 8” Stella Lyra from FLO (just sold out). The Bresser was going to be my next choice. Take your time and don’t make the mistake i did. Good luck 👍 

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I third what Carbon Brush said.

I would add to it by asking the following: Are you in the heavy light pollution near a city centre or are you in a quiet village off the beaten track? Do you live in a flat or a house with a garden? Do you enjoy the idea of hunting for objects to look at by consulting a star map then following waypoint stars to get there? Or are you all about seeing what there is do be seen and find the idea of only seeing 1-3 objects in a two hour session tiring and unsatisfying? 

If you answered a quiet village, a house with a garden, and like the idea of hunting down things then a manual Dob is for you. If you answered anything other than all three of the preceding answers you should consider a Push To or GOTO telescope. The reason being is that in light pollution of an urban city star hopping to find objects can be frustrating to the point where a person exits the hobby and bins the telescope. Carrying a Dob up and down a fight of stairs or even carrying everything down in an elevator can be tedious, causes a person to exit the hobby, and the telescope gathering dust. In addition even in a house a Dob will take up an outsized amount of room.

Granted if you are dedicated enough or find the idea of star hopping very rewarding then you can make a go of it in a city centre but most people don't.  

Two options that will give you the option to star hop if you are a mind to but have a fully computerized tracking and moving telescope at something very much under £1,300 would be the Skywatcher AZ-GTI with either the Skymax 127mm Mak-Cas or the AZ-GTi with the 130mm Newtonian. They are £559 and £449 respectively at this site's sponsor First Light Optics known as FLO for short. Both are very compact, light weight, and break down into small bits for storage. I also highly recommend FLO as a organization to buy from. Even though I am across the pond I use them regularly because of their fantastic customer service and good prices even with shipping to the US. You will need an eyepiece or eyepieces to go along with the telescope. One option that means only one eyepiece would be the Baader click zoom that goes from 24mm to 8mm in terms of magnification. Don't bother with color filters. They are a waste of money. So is an eyepiece kit. The only thing to consider is a moon filter. This is only necessary if you are bothered by the brightness of the moon. I am not so I don't bother. I do go "moon blind" after looking at it, but it fades pretty quickly.





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I thank you for all your comments, very helpful as you know its very daunting! I've been looking at the 2 skywatchers and I agree a goto would be great but lots of people have told me the bigger the appiture the better, I'm correct in saying thoes 2 are only 5" is this the reason why there computerised? Basically is it easier to find things with an 8 or 10" and the smaller you go a computer is needed! O and I live in the middle of no where, south west of England and have a big garden, I could even set a telescope up and leave it there, it wouldn't have to be moved! 

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6 minutes ago, JayJay007 said:

Basically is it easier to find things with an 8 or 10"

You will use an optical finder or a Telrad to locate objects . Larger Apperture will enable you to see further into space and to see more objects as you will increase light gathering , but you will also increase any imperfections ie light pollution . If you have dark , clear skies you may be overwhelmed by sheer volume of stars which actually make it difficult to pick out the targets ( not a bad problem to have in my book lol ).

As for the scopes mentioned to go with the AZ-Gti , both are very capable , the skymax 127 is a very powerful scope that will excel on planets and the moon and brighter DSO's .. for some people , thats all they need especially as both scopes will not show false colour.

I suggest though that you seek out a YouTube channel from Ed Ting, and Astrobackyard , by Trevor Jones ( hes mainly into photography but did a nice piece on visual astronomy ) .. who both champion the 200mm Dobsonian as being the best starter scope . 

In the end it comes down to , Price , Location , and viewing preferences . If these didnt matter we would ALL have the biggest and best scopes money can buy . 


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16 minutes ago, JayJay007 said:

Basically is it easier to find things with an 8 or 10" and the smaller you go a computer is needed!

Absolutely not. The bigger instruments tend to have a smaller field of view making it harder to find anything. Whether you have GoTo or not is a personal choice. Some people like to 'keep it simple' and enjoy the prolonged hunt of finding faint objects manually. Others appreciate the time-saving of having the GoTo tech find objects for you quickly.   And if you want to image, having an adequate GoTo mount is even more desirable. 

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26 minutes ago, JayJay007 said:

have a big garden, I could even set a telescope up and leave it there, it wouldn't have to be moved! 

If you go for a (Skywatcher, Celestron, etc) dob mount, this is basically melamine faced chipboard, or fibreboard.
Lasts for years - provided it doesn't get too damp for too long.
Orion Optics have dob mounts made from aluminium. Very nice with a price tag to match.

A tripod and EQ or alt/az mount are mostly metal with some plastic.
Obviously very tolerant of damp and can be left outside, subject to a bit of grease on screws and WD40 or similar for the shiny bits.

Then of course you need something like a Telegizmo 365 cover for the weather.

Work on the basis of indoor storage for now, whether house or garage, think about permanent outoors later.

HTH, David.

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Again thank you for all your replies! So in a nut shell I have £500 - 1000, I'm a beginner, I would like to be wow'd looking at the moon, jupiter, saturn etc for now, I live SW of England in the middle of nowhere, have a large garden so space is no issue indoors or out! Which telescope do you people advise? 

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This is a good choice to get you started. Place in garden, point and look.
There are other makes of 200mm dob. I'm not saying this is best. Others will no doubt give you a comparison with (for example) a Bresser dob.
Certain build methods and accessories vary between manufacturers.

Probably to go with your first purchase is a collimation tool.
If the scope is a bit off when it arrives, you will need to collimate. But look through it first.
You don't need an all singing dancing laser guided thingy.
People used to use 35mm film canistoers with a hole poked in the end.


You need some sort of star chart or object aid. You can download a phone or tablet app, often for free.
A planisphere is a low cost tool that is (in my opinion) under rated by those who choose higher technologu paths.
Here is one low cost example.


After using the scope for a while you may decide you don't like the straight through finder.
You can go for a right angle finder. Either inverted (as the scope) or corrected image.
Others prefer a Telrad, or Rigel Quickfinder.
Use the scope first. Get a feel for how you get on with the supplied finder before spending.
Some stay with the stock finder and like it. My own preference is right angle.

The supplied 25mm eyepiece will give acceptable views. The 10mm maybe not so good.
See how you get on. See what magnifications you would like. Ask questions - most important.
Eyepieces are a huge subject. governed not just by focal length. But whether you use glasses. Whether you can accept distorion at edge of field and much more.
By the time you are thinking of spending on eyepeices, you will probably have enough post count/time to access the SGL classified.
A good source of used eyepieces in good condition with usually and honest explanation of why they are on sale.
A far better place to buy than the likes of ebay.
You can buy used and sell on at little loss if you don't like them.

Enjoy the journey.


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I'll come down on the 200mm dob side too. In terms of what you get for your money, it is the standout option. Drawbacks include size, weight ,and storage, if you are aware of those and can deal with them, the 200mm (8" in old money) is a good compromise between light gathering ability and ease of use. For that reason an explore scientific  I mean Bresser (same  thing sort of ) 200mm dob is on my wants list, as a step up from the 150mm dob. I own and love.

Bigger apertures will collect more light but .... and it's a big but ... you don't know how involved you will get, this is your first 'scope, and lugging a huge thing out of the shed/garage wherever and setting it up to catch the (seemingly increasingly brief) clear nights , only to put it away again is something which may soon lose its allure, particularly in winter.

A smaller 'scope you do use frequently , because it is easy to set up, will show you more than the huge thing that stays in storage on all but a few nights.

Any of these would do the job (assuming you can find one in stock)

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html  £369

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/stellalyra-telescopes/stellalyra-8-f6-dobsonian.html   £449 , better accessories than the skywatcher tho'

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bresser-telescopes/bresser-messier-8-dobsonian-telescope.html £433 , lighter weight than the other two (which is a big plus point for  me, but maybe not you !) , tube rings and a different altitude pivot.




Edited by Tiny Clanger
ES/Bresser confusion
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Despite starting with a 6" dob myself, and progressing to an 8", and then finally to a 12". I think if like you mentioned your main interest is the moon, Saturn and Jupiter. A better choice for these targets would be a mak.

I would still echo what the others have said though, dobs are a great beginner scope. They are good at a lot of things and give plenty of bang for the buck.

Either way, I hope you have fun with the hobby, and welcome to the best forum on the internet! 🤝

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If you get an 8", you'll always wonder what a 10" might've been like.  If you get a 10", you'll never wonder as to an 8".  Two extra inches in diameter doesn't sound like much, but when you consider the light-gathering area instead...


...there lies the advantage, particularly under darker skies...

...for globular-clusters, nebulae, and galaxies, as well as the planets.

Edited by Alan64
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