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cdlftw

Gift for Dad: Explorer 150P / 150PL?

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It takes me about 5 minutes to set up my 150PL on its EQ3-2 equitorial mount, point it to north and start viewing - certainly no longer.

The PL is a lot longer than the P so if space is a problem then consider the shorter, but otherwise I can't see any advantage of the P over the PL, other than perhaps stability on of the scope on the mount for imaging but as I understand it, if you are serious about imaging then you don't want the EQ3 anyway.

I thought I'd want to get into imaging straight away but there is so much to enjoy and learn without this expensive aspect of the hobby that I would concentrate on enjoying the views for now.

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Wow, what a lot of answers. some great, some a little off topic.

The original question was to choose between a 150p and a 150pl. Funny how these sort of questions always bring out 'dob' answers, even though the question never asks about them! Fan of dobs though I am, I find it best to stick to the question that's asked!

To be honest, there isn't a huge difference between the two to make one signifcantly better than the other. The 150p does have a 2" focuser, but 2" EPs in short lengths aren't readily available or very good. this would lead to purchasing a mixture of 1.25" and 2" EPs. Not especially a problem, but you may find yourself swapping between the two.

The focal length is, again, not a huge issue. The longer focal length pl isn't significanlty longer to make a huge difference. Both scopes will be equally good at planets, DSOs etc

Skywatcher have a very good reputation for producing quality scopes at affordable prices. A lot of beginners start out with a SW and many people stick with them or come back to them later.

TAL do make very good scopes as well, although they tend to be slightly more expensive. TBH, if your dad hasn't looked thru a TAL, he wont realise there is any difference (if there is any noticeable) between the two. Aperture is king though, so the 150 is probably a better bet than a 114mm or a 130mm.

The EQ mount does take a little getting used to, but follow the primers already mentioned and you can be up and running in next to no time. Using an EQ3 or a TAL EQ mount, I can be polar aligned and viewing in just a couple of mins. the suggestion that a dob is quicker to set up is a bit of a misnomer. In fact, you can often carry a scope on an EQ mount out in one and set up straight away, whilst many dobs will need two trips.

EQ3 mounts aren't good for photography? Nonesense! Anyone starting out with photography should really (IMHO) start out with lunar and planetary work, for which an EQ3 is perfectly adeqaute to begin with (I know from, limited, experience).

So, in conclusion, I'm sure your dad will be overjoyed with either the 150p or the 150pl. I suggest just getting the one that you can afford the easiest at the moment, and try and bung in some extras to get him satrted - Turn Left at Orion, a moon filter, red light, wooly hat.

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I thought I wanted a motorized EQ mount when I started. Better all arounder I thought. Tracking for my kids I thought. I talked to a few folks and they said get the dob. So much simpler, More stable, better eyepiece position, and lighter to transport. My kids (about 10 at the time) much preferred using the alt-az pushto mount. Plus, a dob is so cheap, that you can add a long exposure capable EQ mount later without spending much if any more (maybe £50 tops) than if you bought the heavy EQ to start. Or even better, purchase a dedicated 80mm / long exposure eq mount (again, combined cost no more than putting a huge tube on an eq mount).

At your budget, I would get the largest aperture dob I could afford!

Edited by jimhaleysscomet

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If I could afford an f8 - f10 scope with a 2" focus on a dob mount for about £200 then that is what I would get. If you can stretch just a tad to get the 2" focus it will definitely be worth it.

If they are too much, consider the Heritage 130P flex tube. It is only 1.25" focus tube but the flex tube / mini dob base makes it SUPER PORTABLE. Only downside is you really need to set it on a sturdy stool or table (I use my toolbox).

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The original question was to choose between a 150p and a 150pl. Funny how these sort of questions always bring out 'dob' answers, even though the question never asks about them! Fan of dobs though I am, I find it best to stick to the question that's asked!

Not wishing to be rude to anyone, but after reading the posts on here over the last few months I am convinced that if i asked a question about a car somebody would recomend a Dob. :)

Well lets face it they are a much greener object and so easy to push in comparison. :D:D

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The original question was to choose between a 150p and a 150pl. Funny how these sort of questions always bring out 'dob' answers, even though the question never asks about them! Fan of dobs though I am, I find it best to stick to the question that's asked!

Can someone please offer advice on what I should be thinking about?

I thought that was the question...

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Wow, what a lot of answers. some great, some a little off topic.

The original question was to choose between a 150p and a 150pl. Funny how these sort of questions always bring out 'dob' answers, even though the question never asks about them! Fan of dobs though I am, I find it best to stick to the question that's asked!

I don't think it's so much a case of people diverting off topic but just saying "have you considered this option?" A twist on the original question that maybe of benefit or interest.

Most newcomers completely overlook the dob because it isn't as jazzy looking as an EQ mounted scope. People like their bling, like the gadets, a button to press or a knob to turn. A dob is a tube in a box.

But a 150 dob can be carried in one piece by almost anyone. There's nothing to learn, simply push it in the direction you want to look. In short, it's simply not possible to own a telescope that sets up faster than a dob or simpler to use. Plus the tube itself can still be EQ mounted whenever the need be. And with so many cheap dual drive EQ5's on the market, it can be a 150PL on a superior mount and the extra cost later needn't be that great.

Edited by russ

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But it's not an 'option' if they are asking about 2 specific scopes that are not dobs. Sometimes it's just not a required answer, although it always seems to crop up. I'm a huge fan of Maks, but I don't try and push them at every oppotunity.

All I'm saying is that the original question was between the 150p and the 150pl. For all we know, the poster has already looked at dobs and discounted them. As they question does't ask '150p, 150pl or a (insert dob, mak, Schmit frac etc here)?' there is no need to bring them up, just stick to answering the question in hand.

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I'm sure he would say " thanks for the suggestion guys but already ruled that one out!" if there was any problem.

Besides, the Skyliner 150 is only a variation on the 150PL anyway, so i think it was a very fair suggestion in this case.

Edited by russ

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I thought the OP also asked if there was anything else he should be considering.

I don't think anyone is "pushing" dobs. What do we care what other people view with? It is just that for the majority of folks on a limited budget the dob gives the most performance. That is why the dob suggestion comes up again and again. Plus, as said before.... you can always add an EQ mount later and the total cost is barely more than the cost of purchasing the EQ mounted scope up front. To me, to not offer the smallest, least expensive (or most powerful), easiest to set up option would be less than candid.

Edited by jimhaleysscomet

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:D Good point. Agree to disagree.

hope they bought a scope after all that!

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Hi all,

Nope, not run away yet :D In fact, I'm very happy with all the advice, and agree with most of it.

I did find it strange that several people mentioned Dobs, and continue to do so in almost every request for advice. I guess they really are a good scope, on an easy to use, straightforward mount and very useful for the beginner. I didn't go down this route, this time, because I vaguelly remember the old old old scope my Dad had was on a mount, so he may well be used to them - but maybe it was an AltAz mount...

What I did go for in the end, after all the advice from this thread, and from all the others on the site was an Explorer 130P. Slightly smaller, but made sure I got the parabolic mirror. I went for a smaller version (even though the 150P/LP wasn't much bigger) for several reasons, the first being "the best telescope is the one you use the most" and wondering if a larger scope might find itself in the spare bedroom unused. The second reason is also, I can also buy him a larger Dob/EQ Mount scope later if he takes to the hobby and gets a feel for where he wants to go with his viewing.

I have to say a huge thankyou to you all for the time you've taken in giving me your advice, and also a very big thankyou to FLO - I ordered the scope yesterday afternoon, and it was here before lunch today!!! Incredible service, especially at this time of year!!!

On a further note, after spending the last few weeks looking at lots of scopes, reading up, posting here, looking at pictures, buying magazines and books, I'm bitten too. I have always loved looking at the sky, and especially where I live, which has the darkest skies I've ever seen in the UK, but I'm now researching my first scope - and will be making a purchase very early in the new year (so watch out for more advice requests!).

Thanks again, and I look forward to reading more of your posts, and hopefully contributing myself over time.

(PS, it's worth mentioning that even though a scope arrived today, the sky is pitch black, with the brightest stars, not a cloud in sight! I guess it's because it's not MY scope... I'm *this* close to 'making sure it works'....) :)

Craig.

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Round my way, theres a dirty dob pusher on every street corner.

Heres a pic of one I caught selling dobs to kids outside the local school.

post-17722-133877415446_thumb.jpg

shame on them!

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Hello to everyone, I'm new to the site and registered after seeing the forum was sponsored by FLO.

My reason for replying to this particular thread is twofold,

A - I've heard nothing but good things about FLO and I can see no good reason to purchase elsewhere.

B - The choice between the SW Explorer 150pl /Skyliner 150 is precisely the dilemma I find myself in at the moment.

I am very new to Astronomy so I'm not sure what my main interest will eventually be but after reading through lots of discussions an F8 150mm scope does appear to be a good all rounder.

This is probably a silly question but for high magnification observing just how much nudging does a Dob need to track an object?

Truthfully this is the only thing putting me of a Dob as I wondered if it would be easier with a Polar aligned EQ.

One last question which I hope may help me decide whether to buy now or later.

As SW have updated the 150p with a Crayford but not the 150pl, do you feel that SW may add the higher quality focusser to the longer focal length in the future, or do you feel that SW have a new model in the pipeline .

I am at the point where funds permit a purchase, dearie me I feel like a kid counting down sleeps to Christmas :hello2:

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How much you have to push a scope to track depends a lot on what it is your tracking and how much magnification your using. At a high power magnification of around x200 Jupiter whizzes along at a fair old rate in my 8" - the moon crosses the EP like an F1 car :hello2:

Now I know the Dob fans will claim you get used to it but me personally I dont WANT to get used to it. Each time you nudge the scope the view vibrates. By the time the vibrations have died down the objects moved again.

I used to have a refractor on an Alt/Az - I know its not exactly the same thing but I spent the entire time trying to track the object and very little time actually looking at it.

When you have spent an hour trying to find somewthing in the first place its a bit of a wind up to not be able to spend time looking at and being immersed in the view.

Thats why I prefere a tracking mount. Once its all set up - and yes sometimes it can be a royal pain - its easy. I can either find it with the GoTo or just aim where I want and then let the mount track for me leaving me free to enjoy the view without constantly having to mess with the scope.

To me (and this is a personal view) having a non tracking scope is rather like driving a vintage car. The question is do you want to get to Brighton from London to enjoy the club life or do you want to potter about at 5mph constantly squirting oil on something, pressing this button, pulling that lever, nudging this etc.

For DSOs the Dobs got a potential aperture advantage £ for £ but I used Astronuts Dob briefly at Salisbury and while the views were immense cos of its 12" size the fact that M13 was constantly shifting in the EP really wound me up. I have even heard certain Dob owners moan about it at the SSP :)

In fairness I moan lots when the GoTo has a hissy fit occasionally or the power runs out on my HEQ5 which can be a bit of a downer. I can console myself with the fact that while its running the views are good, stable, lacking in vibration form me having to track. The question is how to Dob owners console themselves when the views wobbling about :)

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Astro_baby, that makes a lot of sense, steadily turning a knob to track an object sounds smoother than a Dob and of course I have the option of a clock drive later when funds permit.

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Astro_baby..... it is interesting how our experiences differ. Every EQ mount I have used (probably not as solidly mounted as should be) shook every time I focused and that drove me crazy. Most of the dobs I have used did not shake after I nudge them so I never had to wait for them to settle.

But, if someone gave me a motorized mount with a heavy tripod... then I think I would like them a lot better.

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I don't agree on the dob shaking. My Orion XT8i is really smooth. I only notice some mild, almost insignificant, shaking at 240x and it lasts only a second. It's just a matter of having the tension knobs at the right tension. Maybe it depends on the quality of the scope. The fact that I get a better view for the south and east horizons from the back of my house and the north and west are better from the front makes me relocate the scope often during a session. It wasn't something I toke under consideration at the time, but fortunately I did pick a dob, if I had went for an EQ mount seeing objects on both areas of the sky, on the same night, would be very hard and I would have to make a choice before each setup.

Even with strong gusts of wind the scope doesn't budge a millimeter!

But I only used an EQ mount once so I can't really make a good comparison. I'm not biased against EQ mounts, in fact I would like to get an EQ6 and a 80Ed for an imaging rig in the future, I just want to point out the "shaking problem" is something I haven't encountered and my experience with a dob is quite the opposite.

Edited by pvaz

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