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So which way to go?


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I'm looking to jump right in and say i want an all rounder.. i hear the sighs! and i feel your anguish.

i'd like to look into deeper space, check out the planets, take a picture along the way. I have a D60, not great but fair! i have been toying with the idear of buying the Meade LS-8" ACF, but everytime i get to the point of clicking 'buy me now' something inside says stop and go back to look at the Equitorial mounted units again..i just cant make the decission, i like the look of the 12" LX range but the money soon spirals, i see from previous threads that going up in size does not always make better viewing and that an 8" is somewhat optimal for an allrounder..id like to talk eye pieces aswell but suppose i really need to make a decision on the scope first.

you know when your enthusiastic but neieve, armed with a lot of info but little comprehension, well that about sums me up right now! i know it wont be clear to me what i exactly want from my scope unitll i have taken it to its limits, and then decided what i want from the next. (possibly my other)

i just need someone to say to me your right/wrong stop, or dont worry the limiting factors of photography wont be so bad!? or no, equitorial mounted is certainly the way forward, but as i am now so lost in my options i dont expect that it's possible with a simple answer!

weight is a factor and the LS 8" does seem to offer a lot of bang for the money (although quite expensive) it is still quite compact.. if i end up equitorial i notice from user specs in the forums that most are bigger apperture than the 8" i am looking at!? i would not rule out a larger size unit just because of weight but may take on board your experience...if there are threads you think may help i'm up for making my eyes bleed reading (no problem), i have read the choosing a scope and i have read alot on other peoples subjects just for information purpose..seeing what you lot get upto and the questions and answers...i think i end up way of my own topic but good reading just for informations sake.

if you have any insight and dont mind sharing i'm all ears!

i'm not under any real pressure to choose so any help will be taken on board..

i'm at work at the moment and have taken about an hour to write this atleast..if it seems all over the place its just my thoughts as i keep diving back to the keyboard between customers!

Thanks in advance

Rols

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I feel your pain Rols I am in the same boat myself so although I cant offer any great advice I will share any that comes my way and will keep an eye on this thread for advice myself.

Good luck and clear skies

Jonathon

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your welcome to join in..

have you got as far as what type of scope your thinking of buying?

and where and what info have you found usefull?

do you know what you want to look at or is it a little of everything?

are you budget restricted?

have you seen anything that you like the thought of?

i'm pretty sure on type, i'm just twitching on what will suit me further into the hobby.

i'm seriously thinking that i may be limiting myself from the start if i buy single arm against the equitorial, but could do with some experince as to how much, i think for the picture taking side of it i am, but to go spend all that money on something that kind of future proofs me but may limit my closer observations tends too worry me a little...i need some experince to confirm all my questions/fears!

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I am looking as cheap as possible to view the moon, planets etc first then moving further a field there, I was told that to a certain extent some different eypieces can further the view however I'm not 100% sure on that one.

I am going to pop along to local astronomical societies to see if I can gain more advice from there.

there are a few things to conider i.e. are you going to transport it? is weight an issue? etc.

Jonathon

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I was in exactly the same boat myself up until a few days ago (other than I preferred the Celestron CPC800 [on offer] to the Maede scopes). After a lot of reading on here (and finding out just how much a wedge cost, and how cumbersome they are) I decided to go with a HEQ5 Pro and an Equinox 80 refractor for approximately the same cost (by the time you've added a star diagonal, finderscope and a couple of EPs).

I was nearly talked into the EQ6, which is the bigger brother of my mount, but I'm glad I went for the HEQ5 as that weighs more than enough.

For photography, the f-number is more important than aperture. And the mount is more important than the scope.

If you want to do everything, you may need more than one scope. I might well add a 150mm Newtonian to my 80mm refractor and piggyback them on the same mount.

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Ok here goes!

If your interested in astrophotography you'll need an equatorial mount AND I think every one will agree that it is all about the mount. If you can't track well you can't take images. Ok So we're talking an NEQ6 if you can stretch that far.

I'm not going to heap to much info on you at this point but if you choose the right mount it's the basis of an expandable system.

As far as the optics - I've ended up with an 8" high quality Newtonian (with a fast F-ratio) because it matches my CCD camera and is paried well with my guider scope. It allows me a good range of targets. It's also fantastic for visual and is really light.

FYI. Slow (high number) F ratios produce a wider field of view (you can see more in the eyepiece) but dimmer view. Faster (lower numbers) give a narrower field of view but much brighter view.

Mark

Edited by mark7331
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FYI. Slow (high number) F ratios produce a wider field of view (you can see more in the eyepiece) but dimmer view. Faster (lower numbers) give a narrower field of view but much brighter view.

Ooops! Erm... Close, but no cigar...

You got the view sizes swapped over there! :o

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I went for the sky watcher explorer 200p with the eq5 mount having had a 130 not got it yet but from what I have been told on this forum it will be just the ticket as I want to cover most aspects, deep sky objects, planets and my be do a bit of astrophotography later on when I have learned more on the subject. Dont rush it like I did when I started off or you will be back in the shop again. Hope you get what you need and all goes well for you..

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Ooops! Erm... Close, but no cigar...

You got the view sizes swapped over there! :o

Yep. Guilty as charged! Don't know where to put my face! :)

Ok So I mean:-

For the same aperture - Slow (high number) F ratios produce a narrower field of view (you can see less in the eyepiece) and dimmer view. Faster (lower numbers) give a wider field of view and much brighter view.

When you look at it that way why on earth would you but a slower F number scope. I guess the answer is they're better at planetary (brighter) stuff.

Thank you great bear! :headbang:

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@ Asur84, i think you have the right line of thought, going and looking through other scopes is most likely the best way forward! good luck with that, let me knwo how you get on and remember to note what you get to use so we can get some informed feedback! i'm seriously thinking along the same lines, my partner went to a star party in Norfolk about 3 weeks ago without a scope and stayed the night on the field, she was amazed by the setups but didnt have the nerve to go ask if she could take a peak through the lense...silly i thought! if you dont ask you dont get and all that. i notiec at the bottom you furthred with "i think i got it figured out now" what scope?

@Mark7331 thanks for the heads up on the F numbers, i just went away and read a little about that for the sake of a better understanding, but will prob read again when the kids have gone bed! (thanks great_bear for the pickup) i went away and took a look at the mounts 5/6 that you suggested, i'm not sure of the quality, i'm sure fair but why in white and whats the next best and why? i would prefer an over sized mount i think something that will take years of use from a fair size scope, need to see the tech spec plastic/nylon or metal, whitch is best?

@ astrokat what it costs to do the job to a fair degree of good! what was your trail of thought when you asked, i'm intrested in hearing your thoughts!?

will pop back a little later and catch up..i know your going to hate this question but who really wins when it comes to the optics and coatings? i see that meade have bad reviews from a customer service point but is it worth the ache? 8" against 12" what do i lose and gain in the real world?

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What ever scope you get you will be looking to change it after a while after a while since no scope will be good at everything. My first decent scope was a fork mounted 8" Nexstar. I really wish I still had it.

A fork mount is far more pleasant to use for visual work than an equatorial. The scope is always in a comfortable predicatable position.

The optics in these scopes are very good and the whole design is very convenient for quick set up. 8" is nicely manageable. Bright planets and the moon look superb but it will still give very good performance on deep sky targets. One other benefit of this design is that it is very easy on eye piece optics. No need to spend a fortune here.

I think goto is a great way to start. Many people disagree but the problem with DSO viewing is that the targets are often exceptionally difficult to see. Knowing the target is in the field of view is a big help as you start to train your eyes to spot things. With practice you get much better and this will be a big help if you want to use a dob that doesn't have goto.

Enjoy the scope, get some binos and star charts and learn the night sky. You will have a great year and then be much clearer about where you want to go.

One tip though, if you do get an 8" LX 200 don't sell it!

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i see you have the 10" Martin, what do you mount that on?

did you go from the 8" Nexstar to the 10" Meade or was there something in between?

when you left the nexstar and looked through the 10" at closer objects (planets) did you find you had lost the quality of the 8" you was used to?, i realy like the thought of owning the 8" goto but have just sent a message to meade asking if they have short term plants to upgrade the mount and possibly the max size of the scope on it!

i hear word back from the UK importer who 'says' he had just returned from a show in europe where meade had shown an upgrade to the mount for an extra £250 if true i will wait for the release..i'm torn on the equitorial mount and realy torn on the 8" goto or the 10" manual with an equitorial, i know i could upgrade the mount but maybe a LS GOTO would give me the portabillity to keep the desire alive and again maybe i could get myself a DOB at a later date.. it think my viewing will be done mostly from a little villiage in Norfolk (parents) as it gets very dark in the villiage and there will be a clear 360 of the skies! not like the back garden in northampton.

am off to see what type of cost is involved between the 8 and 10"ACF and then ask meade if they want me to to trial a 10" goto on there new mount! lol

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Hi Rols

With your budget you will be getting a fairly good quality scope. You will want accessories with it like decent ep's, power pack, possibly a collimator, dewshield and dew control system, etc.

I would put a third of your budget towards those things and look at scopes around £1300-£1400. You can get a very useful scope for that and there's a vast variety to choose from.

The best thing you can do right now is join a local astro soc so you can see these scopes in the flesh and get to try some out. Better still go to a star party for a day and linger late for some try outs.

You'll get a lot of questions answered and get a much better idea of what to go for. Wisbech star party is this coming w/e plus you'd be welcome to join us at EMS if the weather allows our observing session Sat night.

Cheers :o

(you should also look at second hand - there are some great bargains and savings to be had)

Edited by brantuk
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Yup, i just looked at 2nd hand on ebay but a little troubled at the thought of not knowing what your getting and if its working quite as it should, did notice a nice sounding ETX125 with some 4000 Ep's and a mount..will be keeping an eye out for sure, i was going to ask about the quality of dew control kits, but not till later! as were here are they all much alike is there better and worse brands something that stands out from the rest for obvious reasons economy/quality?

just downloaded and updated Stellarium will be using that as my sky guide for the time being, maybe a ISBN number for a good sky guide aswell if nayone has something close by. how do you find that 300p was just looking into them one of the sales sites they pack down or something, the goto is pretty much a must on that type i would imagine?

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I got my Nextar second hand about 5 years ago. Shortly after getting it I got a Toucam for planetary imaging and also got my self a modified webcam camera to do some deep sky imaging. I used a Meade 3.3 reducer and imaged in Alt Az using 40 second subs. Shortly after I bought a Skywatcher ED80 and a second hand Super Polaris equatorial mount (£150 on astro buy and sell.

Whilst having a lot of fun with the NS8 I used the ED80 Super Polaris set up to learn how to use the equatorial mount - using setting circles (not necessary if you have goto), using a polar alignment scope and drift aligning. Did a bit of deep sky imaging through the ED80 with the web cam moving up to 2 minute exposures.. Then got a William Optics ZS66 refractor to partner the ED80 and started doing autoguiding on with the super polaris. Whilst the imaging was going I was doing visual or planetary imaging with the NS8.

After this I upgraded the Super Polaris to a second hand Great Polaris DX which had goto and also an ED120 (again second hand). I also rigged up the NS8 so that I could have the ED80 or the ZS66 piggy backed on top. Got myself an equatorial wedge for the NS8 and I was then kitted out for long exposures. At about this time I got my first CCD camera - an SXH9.

I then sold a Laser sailing dinghy, my Super Polaris and GPDX to fund my current imaging mount, a Takahashi EM200 (silly money!). I also sadly parted with the NS8. Because I still wanted to do visual as well I bought myself a 12" Dobsonian. Bought the LX200ACF for long focal length imaging and eventually a Takahashi FSQ 106 for short focal lengths. The SX H9 camera went and in came a QHY8 and eventually a QSI 532 wsg. I sold the ED80 but got another Super Polaris for my ED120.

My latest purchase is a Celestron CGEM mount so that I can use the LX200 away from the observatory for visual and planetary imaging. Oh, and I've also got a GSO 8" F4 Newtonian which I've hardly used and will soon be replacing with an Skywatcher MakNewt 190 for medium focal lengths.

The point of all this waffle is to explain that if you get committed what ever scope you buy will sooner or later be changed. Don't attempt a once and for all purchase.

A fork mounted 8" SCT is a very good way to start. Or you can get an equatorial mount with or without goto, it doesn't really matter. The main thing is to get out there and start your way up the learning curve. Buy wisely and whenever possible second hand. Just a quick look through the posts on the forum, including this one will show you just how itchy astronomers are to buy and sell kit.

As for the differences between a 10" and an 8" SCT, well I've hardly ever looked through the LX200 so I couldn't say! I do know that it has extremely good optics though and is well made.

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Thanks for the return Martin. lights out for me, will read more when i get the time. i think half the fun of this type of thing is the build up to the purchase! using it will be the cheshire smile of all time!

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The 300P flextube's a smashing scope for observing. I got the auto tracking one and upgraded it with the goto handset and it's a blessing not having to push it to track objects. But It's not really accurate enough for serious photography - you'd need an equatorial mount for that - but it will hapilly track solar system objects taking a few snaps on the way for a good 30 mins.

Stellarium's a good move. I never recommend s/h from ebay unless you can view it first and know what to look for. However - if you buy from other astronomers in the for sale section here, or astro buy/sell, etc then you'll find the equipment is usually well cared for and mostly in great condition.

As for books - can't go wrong with "Turn Left at Orion" ISBN 978-0-521-78190-9 or "Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders" ISBN 978-0-596-52685-6 :o

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Will take a look at the books thanks for that, have just come off the phone to Broadhurst and it looks like i a shall be waiting for Meade to release there new mount on the 8" ACF, it has just been confirmed that the new mount is equitorial and a lot sturdier, Meade also intend to release and electric focus to go with it all for around an extra £250..to me that sounds superb an eq on a goto system for little extra..i think i'm sold on the idear but as the release is not till next year it will give me a chance to learn the sky,play with stellarium and read the books and see what you guys get upto..maybe see you at a star party sometime soon!

Thanks for the info and guides, clear skies!

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