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SkyMax 127 v's Nexstar 6


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What do you want out of your scope?

The Skymax is very good value, and going from 5 inch to 6 inch, IMO you dont get the extra Bang for your buck.

So id say get the Skymax and maybe 2 nice eyepieces and a Barlow for the same budget as the Nexstar 6SE.

That would provide you with a good starter kit.

But at the same time possible consider a Dob as you get far more apature for your money. (visual work with limited photographic)

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It's a specific (comparison) question I have often asked myself. By the time I had invested and experimented with assembling my MAK127 system, from separate purchases, could I have simply (and for less cost) simply bought a Celestron C6 GoTo combo! But as they say on reality TV, it's all about "the journey"... :D <G>

MAKS seem to arrive pre-collimated - Allegedly you may need to tweak a Celestron? The Skywatcher GoTo (tripod) is [iMO] near it's limit - The Celestron mount may not be? etc. etc. :(

On limited budget, I recently bought a MAK150. Despite a few more "disadvantages", I STILL feel the 6" aperture renders some of my main object of desire ("Second level" Open clusters: M36, 37, 38 etc.) of greater observational interest. Many DSOs seem to lie just on the "cusp" of the 5" scope... But then, I would say that, in retrospect? :D

Whither next: A Celestron C8 , a (lightweight!) 10" Newtonian OTA even... ;)

Edited by Macavity
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The Celestron 6/8SE mount retails at £469.00 on it's own and is a far better mount than the the light duty one that comes with the SkyMax 127, and will handle an 8" SCT OTA.

http://firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=nexstar_SE_mount

The OTA to compare to the Celestron C6 to would be the SkyMax 150. I've had the chance to compare them head to head and performance is about the same, no real advantage either way although I did prefer the C6.

The SkyMax 127 is good though, and amazingly cheap.

John

Edited by johninderby
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Thank you, there's a lot to mull over there.:D

As a newcomer, could you tell me the advantages/disadvantages of a Dobsonion over say, a refractor or a MC. Am I right in presuming that a Dobsonion is a reflector?

Layor

P.S. In reply to Earl's query, I would like to study astrophotography as well as a general combing of the skies:D

Edited by Layor
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A Dobsonian will give you the best bang for the buck.

Pros.

Cheap to buy - refractors are expensive.

Good aperture = objects appear brighter and have more definition.

Does not dew up - both refractors and maks/scts will.

Very easy to move and setup.

Cools down quickly (especially if you put a £5 computer fan in the back)

Cons

Viewing angle can be awkward - Maks/SCTs and refractors are VERY comfortable.

No tracking - makes it difficult for the planets - but wide angle eyepieces help.

A lot depends on what kind of viewing you want to do. If you want to do planets, the moon and deepsky then I would suggest a 8-10" Dob.

BTW you can always mount your dob on an equatorial mount later to track.

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If you are going to spend time taking photos then the Dob is not going to be an option, its strength is Price/size but really is a visual tool.

If your going down the photo route, you really are going to have to consider a Equatorial mounted telescope, although short exposures like the moon and CCD can be done with the Nexstar range style scope.

I made the mistake of getting a Nextstar 4SE only to replace it within a month after some trading and spending for my current set up.

Which is great for visual, and an OK starting point for Photo work.

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Ive seen a few dobs dew up, they are less likely to dew up but can still happen. Dobs are good value for apperture but you will have to find objects in the sky manually.

Any idea what you want to use scope for? Planets, DSO, etc

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Hi Dweller, I have to admit the viewing angle is one of my concerns, I have a cheap Tasco that was bought for me some years ago as a present (hope that my sons don't see this post:D). And It is very awkard to view from it, that was one reason for looking at a MC.

The other reason was that if I aim to do some photography, having the camera mounted on the side of the scope would seem to make it very unstable. However, never having been there, I woupld be guided by your honourable selves.

Cheers, Layor

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A Dobsonian will give you the best bang for the buck.

Pros...

Cons...

Very clear. I sometimes think, what we really need, is a "matrix" (sticky) of such things. Scope type along one axis, characteristics along t'other: Poor, fair, good etc. But perhaps there would never be complete concensus! :D Edited by Macavity
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As mentioned above nothing else comes close to a dob in terms of the optics and performance for the money, which is why so many buy one as their first scope. Good for DSOs and planetary as well as the moon. However really only suitable for visual use.

A Mak is an excellent and compact design, but due to it's long focal length best suited to planets and the moon. Also can be slow to cool down.

Refractors are great but really only economically practical in smaller apertures. Cheap refractors do suffer from false colour, the more expensive APOs don't but costs can quickly go through the roof. Cool down quickly and should never need collimating.

An 8" dob is a good starting point as it's not too big to move about but yet it is big enough to give some great views and it's one you can keep permanently even if you buy other scopes further down the road.

John

Edited by johninderby
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The viewing angel of the SCT / MC scopes are great (im a big fan of them) but they have a longer focal length. typically F10-15. If you want to progress to astrophotography you could use a focal reducer which mounts on the back of the scope.

Have said that both the skymax and nexstar are not the best mounts for astrophotography. You would need a much more stable mount.

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Hello Layor,

If you want to do astrophotography then you have to think about the mount first. It needs to be both accurate and stable.

I am purely visual - I gave up taking photos because I prefer the involvement of viewing and drawing but someone will come along soon and answer your question ....

One important thing though - telescopes must be FULLY cooled to get the best out of them. SCT's and Maks's are very poor at cooling down, refractors are better and Newtonians better still.

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I can see your point about the Newtonians but because I cannot leave it in situ, each time I move it I will have to re collimate it, whereas the Mak's is a fixed collimation. Also don't the Newtionians have a problem with flaring which will not help with the photography.

But having said all that at least I'm learning and starting to put things together thanks to all your help:D

Cheers, Layor

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Most guys use a smallish (80mm) Apo refractor on a large (EQ6) mount to do astrophotography. If photography is your prime interest a small quality APO is the way to go as optically they cannot be beaten.

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My 2p worth.....

I am probably in a similar situation to you, I want AP, and I want it now, but to get some reasonable results means spending a bit of money and there is no scope that does it all well.

My plan is a 10 inch dob this year for visual, then if still keen buy a mount and refractor next year for AP. Or maybe even just buy the mount (EQ6) and some tube rings for the Dob tube and mount that for AP. With a view to expanding later.

A Dob tube can be mounted on an EQ head so you can have fexibility.

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Mark, that's a very good plan.

Thanks, also although I have done some visual stuff many years ago, I feel I owe it to myself to get out there and see these fuzzys with my own eyes, learn where they are, how to navigate. Then when/if I do AP I will appreciate what is happening on the GOTO/guiding software enabling me to plan a bit more and understand why things aren't working. Recognise the pictures for what they are compared to visual sightings. Also serving an apprenticeship out in the cold and dark will just make sitting in a warm room behind a screen more appreciated.

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Hi Mark,

I've just got back on the site after spending quite a bit of time on different shops looking to see what is on offer. I think that I have come to the same, or similar, conclusion as yourself regarding the way forward but I think I may go for a Celestron Nexstar 6SE first before delving deeper into AP. Although saying that I have already got my camera, a Canon 450D (which I'm chuffed to bits with:D)

The only other option I was thinking of was getting a SkyMax 150 Pro tube only and a EQ5 mount which comes to just over £900. Approx £150 more than the 6SE.

Comments, gentlemen please:D

Layor

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