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Help Choosing 1st Scope


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Hi All

Just joined and looking for some advice. I have received a gift in the form of a shop voucher (Lamberts of Lancaster - now Staveley based), and as I want an Alt/Az mount with a max budget of £300, they have advised two scopes as a good 1st choice. Both are Skywatcher as this is who they stock, links to models below. 

http://www.opticalvision.co.uk/az-pronto-alt-azimuth-telescopes/evostar-90660-az-pronto.html

http://www.opticalvision.co.uk/az-pronto-alt-azimuth-telescopes/skymax-102s-az-pronto.html

Myself and my wife want to do some mixed viewing, so a bit of moon, planets and some deep sky. I have some Plossl eyepieces lined up as I know replacing the ones included is a good idea, and I will get a Barlow as well.

But, I can’t decide which scope will be best of the two available. Shop advice is to go with the Evostar, as it is easier to use and has a wider field. But, I am concerned about lens quality and CA issues. I know the Maksutov needs a bit more effort to use, and has a narrower field, but would this be a better quality scope.

Help and advice appreciated. 

Cheers

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There are various other choices and some people will recommend a Dobsonian mounted scope (because nearly all your money goes into the telescope rather than its mount).

If you really want one of the two you cite, either would be fine. I have a Startravel 102mm f5, which is a bigger aperture and shorter focal ratio than the Evostar and while I can see the chromatic aberration it's not generally a critical problem.  The Maksutov should be a fine scope (nobody ever complains about having a bad one) and is a size smaller than my Maksutov - an instrument I intend to keep. 

Either would be a handy grab'n go scope regardless of what you buy or upgrade to later.

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As a start either would be good. Disadvantages are: - Evostar, CA is very noticeable; Mak - needs more cool down time for best performance, so not really grab and go.

Dobsonians don't have CA problems. Plus you get more aperture for your money. A Skywatcher Heritage 150 (f5) is £238 - better for low power; a Standard 150P (f8) is £295 - better for planets. 

150mm is a big step up from either 90mm or 102mm, so that's where my money would go.

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I own a Sky Watcher Evostar 100ED. I can’t say enough about how nice their products are. I love mine and use it frequently. I also have  binocular-telescope. If you have the budget they are great too. I find the BT easier to find targets. But back to what was recommended, you can’t go wrong with SW. Maybe add the Evostar 100ED to your list. 

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With respect to the scope's dimensions alone (i.e. ignoring anything specific to the Evostar, which I have not used), its CA not the worst out there for a shortish achromat:

251182738_Refractorchromaticaberrationmatrix.jpg.093f03a5ae0904e8ea638daa12a13c47.jpg

My own Bresser achromat is worse on this measure. So you would have the option of taming the false colour with a filter. CA is rather subjective; some observers can quite happily put up with (or in some cases, not even be able to see) colour that others can not. Bear in mind that, on extended targets, the CA will also have the effect of muddying the detail, so you lose resolution. Also, if you're going to be using it for planets, you will need some decent levels of magnification, and CA increases with magnification.

The short refractor and the Mak are in a sense complementary; if you could have both, you would prefer the achromat for low-magnification, wider-field observing and the Mak for higher-magnification views of planets and smaller DSOs. If budget constrains you to just one for now, then either will still be usable on a range of targets, but not ideal. There is no scope that is ideal in all situations, however much you spend.

For a first scope, I would go along with the advice above and give serious consideration to a 150mm dob. You can get decent views of planets (I agree with your intention to upgrade the eyepieces) and the extra aperture will help to see fainter DSOs than with the other options.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Zermelo said:

With respect to the scope's dimensions alone (i.e. ignoring anything specific to the Evostar, which I have not used), its CA not the worst out there for a shortish achromat:

251182738_Refractorchromaticaberrationmatrix.jpg.093f03a5ae0904e8ea638daa12a13c47.jpg

My own Bresser achromat is worse on this measure. So you would have the option of taming the false colour with a filter. CA is rather subjective; some observers can quite happily put up with (or in some cases, not even be able to see) colour that others can not. Bear in mind that, on extended targets, the CA will also have the effect of muddying the detail, so you lose resolution. Also, if you're going to be using it for planets, you will need some decent levels of magnification, and CA increases with magnification.

The short refractor and the Mak are in a sense complementary; if you could have both, you would prefer the achromat for low-magnification, wider-field observing and the Mak for higher-magnification views of planets and smaller DSOs. If budget constrains you to just one for now, then either will still be usable on a range of targets, but not ideal. There is no scope that is ideal in all situations, however much you spend.

For a first scope, I would go along with the advice above and give serious consideration to a 150mm dob. You can get decent views of planets (I agree with your intention to upgrade the eyepieces) and the extra aperture will help to see fainter DSOs than with the other options.

 

 

 

I’m not sure if you were responding to my comment but I can say, you have to be pretty picky about CA to complain about the SW Evostar 100ED. It is very limited if any. Charts are nice as a guide but ultimately you have to use you’re eyes to see what is acceptable. If your want less CA go with the SD version. 

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Thanks everyone for all the advice and suggestions. I’ve gone with the Evostar, and will find out soon enough if the CA is an issue or not for me. Fingers crossed! I haven’t gone with a Dob as I need something that has a tripod due to where I will be viewing (out in the wilds). 

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