Jump to content

Ceph and Cass

PLEASE HELP A NEWBIE DECIDE BETWEEN 80mm REFRACTOR VS 127mm REFLECTOR!


Recommended Posts

I'm very new to astronomy, but also a bit of a nerd and don't mind figuring the details out. I've been wanting a telescope for quite a while now, but I don't have a big budget. So as amazon prime day came I decided it was my time to strike.

Like I said I am new to telescopes, but the general idea I gathered is higher aperture = more detail = better. So I found this steal: https://amzn.to/3RHy1V5 When I bought it I got a slightly used one from amazon warehouse deals for around 100CAD final price. It had good reviews, had the best aperture for the price, so I was very satisfied.

However, later on I found another crazy deal: https://amzn.to/3Plnb4X For only 230CAD final price, I get a 127mm aperture! However, there are two problems. One, is that apparently reflector telescopes are harder to maintain. You need to "collimate" them (which I don't know how to do, but I'm willing to learn). You need them to cooldown. And this one had some scarier reviews, like bad eyepieces, a bad scope, they needed to be collimated, etc.

So now I've come to this point: I've decided to return the original 80mm refractor and buy the 127mm reflector. However after researching this topic some more I'm not sure if this was the correct move. I'm 18 and my budget is very limited so I'm anxious and worried. My main goals with the telescopes are to observe the moon and planets in maximum detail, and if I go to a low light pollution zone some time maybe some deeper space objects. Please help me! Do you think I will be able to figure out how to collimate the telescope? Do you think the 127mm aperture will be that much better than the 80mm one? Or perhaps I should cancel the 127mm one and opt for the safety of the 80mm?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly that refractor will most likely be garbage. It doesn’t seem to be from a well known manufacturer and looks to be the sort you’d get at a department store. It has a short focal length of 400mm making it a focal ratio of f5 which is quite “fast”. It will put a lot of strain on cheap eyepieces and I’d imagine there’d be quite of lot of aberration when looking at anything through it. 
 

I have at least heard of the Celestron although I haven’t used one. I’d almost certainly bet my life on that being a better scope entirely. Collimation isn’t that hard but depending on the type of reflector and its focal length can increase difficulty of doing it.

Have you looked at the 2nd hand market? There’s an awesome https://www.astrobuysell.com Canadian community which you might be better off sourcing a scope from. You’d get a good 2nd hand dobsonian mounted reflector for little more than what you’re looking at.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Powerseeker 127 is not a great telescope. The optical design known as a Bird-Jones reflector uses a corrector lens within the focuser to correct for spherical aberrations and also increases the focal length of the telescope to 1000mm. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, SkyblockCEO said:

I'm very new to astronomy, but also a bit of a nerd and don't mind figuring the details out. I've been wanting a telescope for quite a while now, but I don't have a big budget.

Welcome to SGL. If you specify what is your budget then folk here can provide better guidance. Between the 2 scopes you have come across the Celestron is the better one but as Cornelius V has mentioned, it has its issues.

My suggestion is take a look at other posts here as well on advice given to others on buying new scopes before taking the plunge into buying one. If there is a local astro club join that first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello SkyblockCEO and welcome to the site 👍

It's always a challenge when you have a tight budget so have a good read of the above and don't be too concerned about collimation, there are many on here that can offer advice and help.

If I could put something out there for you to think about. Have you thought about binoculas or a spotting scope? Both can provide excellent views of the moon and planets and both can be found at very good prices. There are sections within the site on equipment and observing with binoculas, have a look and see if it helps.

Let us know how you get on.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, M40 said:

don't be too concerned about collimation,

The reflector that he is talking about is a bird Jones for which you have to strip the focuser down to remove the lens that is doubling the focal length of the scope. Best avoiding this style of telescope in my opinion. A standard reflector is another matter, and the big scary word “collimation” should not put you off. I am also recommending a pair of astro binoculars and a tripod or monopod. A pair of say 15x70 would show you a multitude of targets to observe. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome to SGL,

Amazon and other non-astronomy related storefronts should be avoided at all costs for astronomy purhcases. Especially so if the scope in question is a generic noname brand like the refractor you linked. Celestron is a well known and liked brand, but this particular model, the powerseeker 127, is and im going to be honest: Perhaps the worst telescope for the money in the world. The mount is flimsy and very frustrating to use, the views will shake and wobble for several seconds after touching anything in the scope. The telescope itself will not give sharp views in the center of the field of view and it only gets worse towards the edges (much worse). Both of these scopes are i would imagine so bad that there is a good chance you give up and throw them off a cliff and never look back.

To name a few stores closer to you:

https://optcorp.com/

https://www.highpointscientific.com/

There are many others (dont know that many stores on that side of the atlantic).

This one ships from the UK, but the prices are pretty good:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/

If you have a specific upper limit in your budget we could advice better on which way to go. But still want to say again, that neither of the scopes you linked will give you your moneys worth! (there are scopes around that pricerange that would though).

And as a bonus, a review of the powerseeker 127 from Ed Ting:

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome.

Another 'buy from an astro retailer' comment from me.

Also avoid amazon Warehouse unless you are confident you understand the product in detail.
Scroll down this thread to entry from 2019.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alas, astronomy is not a cheap hobby.  Both the scopes you cite look like models to be avoided at all costs.

If your budget is severely restricted, I suggest you look at the type of scope known as a 'Dobsonian' or 'table-top Dobsonian' which should give you a fairly decent scope on a very basic chip-board mount.  Most of your dollars will hence go into the optics, and if you decide you don't like the mount, you have the option of saving up for a better mount and putting the tube on it.

Some budget Newtonian or Dobsonian-mounted scopes now have fixed collimation of the primary mirror, which takes that issue out of your hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always heard bad things about telescopes like the PowerSeeker 127EQ in the Italian forums, both for the optical yield and for the great collimation difficulties compared to a classic Newtonian, even for expert amateurs. For the achromats 80/400 I do not pronounce on the brand, I have a Konus Vista-80 that I like for its optical performance but they told me that it was made when Konus imported Japanese (and not Chinese) optics into Italy. 80/400 made in China I have always read the things you read on short achromatics: good for low magnification but painful high resolution observations on the Moon & planets, I have an achromatic 70/400 (the Travelscope 70 by Celestron, also made in China) which has these characteristics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome :)

Since you are in Canada I would suggest you look for a used telescope here: https://www.astrobuysell.com/index.php

Currently there are a couple of good deals that seem to be around your budget.

The 80mm f/5 refractor is good for general observing but is more like using a binocular (low power widefield views)

The reflector you mentioned as others have said is one to avoid. There is a Celestron 130mm in the buy & sell list though that is a good choice and does not have the issues of the 127mm.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Telescopes skyrocketed in price during the pandemic. If the telescope has a long focal length like 1000mm but looks short (like the 127mm), don't buy it. Within your budget I would look for a tabletop dobsonian 114mm-150mm, or a used 6" (150mm) or larger Dobsonian. Refractors are fine but inexpensive ones come on shaky tripods or cheap EQ mounts. I've seen some good reviews of the Celestron 102mm refractor. Amazon is fine if you pay attention to what you are buying, compare prices as resellers sometimes slap ridiculously high prices on things. Very few companies build telescopes, they are mostly resellers so if 2 scopes look alike, they are probably the same. All the new telescopes in your price range will be Chinese with a Celestron, Orion, Carson, Bushnell, whatever label. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 for searching a used scope.  Maybe a bit above your budget but in the end totally zero costs.  They sell for the same price as you paid for.  At least. 
 

You might find a more satisfying reflector for the same price as a smaller and probably less satisfying refractor 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 13/07/2022 at 04:52, SkyblockCEO said:

I'm very new to astronomy

I might suggest that you don't rush into any purchases for the time being!

It might be better simply to use good quality binoculars and become familiar (VERY) with the night sky, believe me, it does help to know the night sky like the back of your hand.

As others have stated, this is NOT a cheap pastime. An initial purchase of a cheap telescope is unlikely to further your interests within astronomy per sec. If your initial interest is moon, planets, eventually consider a 75-80mm F12 (or thereabouts) refractor on a mount that is capable of handling a 'scope twice the size and ten times the weight of the 75-80 refractor. Just a personal opinion, 'I put far more emphasis into the actual mounts for scopes than the scopes themselves'. For the simple reason that if I wish to upgrade to larger/more expensive scopes there is a mount that is able to hold the wretch STEADY!

Regarding scopes, (the following is HIGHLY subjective)- GO for quality, an 80mm TeleVue refractor, or equivalent, purchases 2nd hand will have NO significant depreciation if within the future you lose interest with the hobby. Browse reviews within user sites and ignore advertising hype. The makers of the top quality scopes DON'T need to advertise!!

I might suggest a few visits to any local or otherwise 'star parties' within reach of you. Ask participants 'nicely' (unless you are 2.5 metres tall and look like a gorilla) if you may have a peep through their scopes.... It will give a good idea as to what you can actually view through a scope. (😞 Which might be somewhat disappointing 😞 after looking at some of the amazing IMAGES that various members post 🙂 

PS.. Download Stellarium, great way to get familiar with the night sky through a computer.

Edited by SthBohemia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither the unbranded refractor, nor the much better reflector are much use.

See commentary above.

The Skywatch StarTravel ST80 has a decent price and performs far better than is generally expected in the price range.

This is light enough to mount on a decent camera tripod for observing.

For imaging you could easily fit a DSLR to this and track the stars by eye - old time fashion.

It’s good for observing, and with a motorised go-to mount, can also provide good results imaging.

The original Skywatcher Star adventurer would carry this with a DSLR easily - i did for about a year.

Read lots first, Sky and Night magazine has well written reviews. There’s some good stuff on YouTube; lazy Greek, backyard astronomy, astrobiscuit and others.

Watch, absorb, ask more questions.

 

 

Edited by iapa
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Someone above already mentioned it, but it is a point worth heeding.  You buy a telescope from a place that specializes in telescopes.  That definitely isn't Amazon.  Orion ,OPT, Agenda Astro, Explore Scientific are all good places to buy from.  The other thing, and we all hate to hear this, but save up for something better, you will not regret this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 for the ST80.

TN1vzQ6l.jpg

These are sold under different brand names but are actually made by a Taiwanese based company on the Chinese mainland. Mine (above) now sports an afermarket rotating focuser enabling the use of 2" accessories. These achromatic doublets are very versatile and don't display a huge amount of chromatic aberration. As refracting scopes have no central obstruction they will usually display better contrast than a reflecting telescope. Patrick Moore once stated that in many respects a 4" refractor was more or less equal to a 6" reflector. This ratio still hold true in many ways where an 80mmm refractor can be compared with a 127mm reflector. Obviously a larger aperture will resolve more detail. But many people, including myself, tend to prefer the better contrast of a smaller refractor over a larger reflector. Perhaps not in all cases. Sometimes I find I prefer my 127mm Maksutov over my 80mm ED doublet for some planetary observing. Maksutov scopes are not good all-rounders though in my experience. 

WT0RbzJl.jpg

Astronomy, alas, is not a cheap hobby. Although this doesn't mean you can't enjoy the night sky if you don't spend tens of thousands of pounds on equipment. The ST80 has been a good starter for many amateur astronomers. It has a versatility, it is portable and can be taken outside and used straight away. A small refractor will have no real cool down period to attain the thermal equilibrium to obtain a stable image. Larger reflectors can take hours to cool outside. My 127mm Maksutov can take an hour. My 235mm SCT usually well over two hours. 

0K9pZN3l.jpg 

The ST80 can be used as a low power scope to sweep starfields and observe open clusters. It has a wide field of view. Yet you can get magnifications well over a 100x and see the rings of Saturn. The main problem with a short tube refractor is finding a suitable mount. A decent and portable mount is as important as the scope. I would recommend something like the SW AZ5. In this way you can get the scope out under the stars rapidly taking advantage of the weather and conditions. 

TQnhBFFl.jpg

I have telescopes with apertures ranging between 60mm and 235mm. I've had nearly 90 observing sessions this year. The vast majority of those sessions have been with just two scopes: the 72mm Evostar (above) and the 60mm Altair (below).

DMaIDrkl.jpg

Bigger isn't always necessarily better.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Zeta Reticulan said:

Astronomy, alas, is not a cheap hobby.

Bit off topic, however, I can assure you astronomy is a LOT darn cheaper than serious stamp collecting 😞 😞 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This package has to be good value if you ask me. A 4" refractor can be a powerful instrument. Admittedly larger than an 80mm, but the ST102 is quite compact. With a yellow anti-cyan filter I can easily get 125x-150x on the Moon with mine.

TbzQZ6Gl.jpg

Mine doesn't get out as much as it used to (plus it has an aftermarket focuser). It's basically a bigger ST80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Zeta Reticulan said:

This package has to be good value if you ask me.

Zeta, do you work as a salesman for an astro company? If not you missed your vocation! 🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, SthBohemia said:

Zeta, do you work as a salesman for an astro company? If not you missed your vocation! 🙂 

Maybe so, but the StarTravel OTAs are a very good start for performance/£

As stated previously, I used one for about a year; successfully yo my eyes as a starter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.