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About to spend a big wodge of cash!


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I've thought long and hard about what I want and I think I've finally found the starter set up for me. :eek:

Here's what my FLO shopping basket looks like:

Celestron NexStar 8SE

Celestron Eyeopener Eyepiece and Filter kit

Skywatcher PowerTank 7Ah

AstroZap Dew Heater Tape

AstroZap Dual Channel Dew Heater Controller

AstroZap Flexible Dew Shield

Total price comes to just a tad under £1,500. I have the money in the bank doing nothing so might as well enjoy it instead of letting some undeserving banker get rich on it.

I know some people like to make their own dew shield and dew shield heaters and controllers, to be honest I'm too lazy! Besides, I rather like having official kit as I know it should fit and work properly together with minimal effort, and shouldn't cause any problems unlike if I got some botched DIY effort wrong!

The only thing I'm unsure of is the eyepiece kit, there's another one that FLO sell called the Revelation Photo-Visual Eyepiece Kit, this actually looks like it might be a slightly better kit but I'm hoping to get a proper opinion on that. :)

Anything essential that I've missed? Upgrades to diagonals etc can wait until I've had a chance to find out for myself what's lacking, if anything, for my novice eyes.

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It's not that the Rev kit is better, in fact they're the same, except that the Rev kit has a better range or EP's for long FL scope and the Celestron kit is better for short FL's. You should get the Rev. kit for that scope. Otherwise it looks a nice list :eek:

EDIT: Yeah, it's FL is 2032 mm, so the Rev. kits 9mm will give you 226x mag, which is more than enough.

Edited by Revs
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great choice of gear.

i too have read that the Revelation eyepiece set is better, i believe that the 2x barlow is an apo which is good, i have the older set and it`s very good i think for the money, you wouldn`t be able to buy them individualy for the price of the sets.

i would go without the 7amp power pack though, it`s not big enough, mount draws 2 amps per hour so will only give you 3 1/2 hours max and thats not using you dew heater, a better and cheaper buy is to get down to maplins and buy one of their power packs, 17 amp batterys which is better starting from £20, i have the yellow one which cost £25 and it runs the mount for ages

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Rather than splash £1129 on the Nexstar 8SE, I'd spend £1295 on the CPC800.

Opticstar and F1 telescopes, together with possibly a few others, still have it at last months sale price - maybe they ordered a few extra in like FLO have done with the Celestron binoculars offer so they could offer the low price for longer.

I wouldn't hang about if you were going to order it, as the price will probably go back up again soon.

Edited by dmahon
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If you have any aspirations to do any deep sky imaging it will be more difficult using the kit you have listed. It would be fine for observing and imaging the Moon and planets.

It's long focal length and slow focal ratio number would make it's more demanding for imaging DSO's.

I first started off by buying a large 10" SCT Alt/azimuth mount wanting to image with it but quickly found that I would have to spend £500 more to buy a wedge to make it track the sky like an equatorial mount. It's something I sorely regret buying and I wish I had found SGL and all the info here before I had made my purchase.

The mistake is to buy the biggest scope you can afford thinking it will produce better pictures. It more to do with the accuracy of tracking the stars and low F number scopes. All that apeture will give you is more resolution but this is ultimately limited by the atmosphere.

Regards

Kevin

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Thanks for the advice guys!

Hmm, I did look at the CPC800 but it was just that bit too expensive from FLO. I suppose for the extra £170 I do get a GPS, proper finder scope, and dual fork which I assume gives greater stability (no vibration when focusing?) Anything else of note?

Can that OTA be easily fitted to a GEM? The 8SE goes straight onto one from what I've been told, but I don't know how the dual fork arrangement is fitted in this case.

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If you have any aspirations to do any deep sky imaging it will be more difficult using the kit you have listed.

I've found this out already and so I've largely ruled out any aspirations of producing fantastic images from my first telescope set up. I may purchase an HEQ or GEM at a later date if the imaging bug really grips me, but even then I would have to weigh up how much I want to spend on producing maybe a handful of nice images, I doubt I have the patience to spend all night / week / month capturing frames for just one image when others have already done it better!

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I recently read that all the Celestron 8" tubes are the same optics - AN or SAN - except the Edge HD's. The CPC 800's are a very good price nowadays but nothing wrong with the SE series.

Hold fire on the power and ep kit. Maplins are a great source of power packs and much cheaper for basically the same thing. The Revelations are best if it has to be a kit - but I'd advise starting with the supplied ep's for a reference point, then borrow one or two better quality ep's to get an idea of what you want. Join a local astro soc or pop along to a star party - most people will be pleased to help you :eek:

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Hmm, I was afraid this might happen - yet more things to think about!

I see Opticstar are doing a deal with one of several free gifts, I don't expect the eye pieces to be fantastic, but are they decent enough (and how would they compare to the Revelations?) What about the SL-131C Coolair 1.3Mpixel camera? 1.3MPixel doesn't sound like a lot, I suspect I could get better results from my Canon 1000D, but I wait to be corrected on that. :eek:

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Two of the ep's in the Celestron kit are unusable for me - like squinting hard through the eye of a sewing needle the apertures are so tiny - I prefer a bit more comfort than that. Only the 32mm is multi element - the rest are single elements (though the advert implies otherwise) and the barlow is below average. Believe me I have that set. The case is very useable though lol :eek:

Perrins idea above is probably the best.

Edited by brantuk
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Hi Jonathan

I think you will be better off in the long run to get a couple of really good eyepieces to make the most of the image in a fine telescope you are buying. You will find hardly any use for some of them and might end up wanting better quality versions of the ones you most use

regards, andrew

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I bought the revelation set with my first scope and would recommend spending the money on a couple of better quality EPs instead. I've found Ortho's to be good value at higher mags with the long FL scope. and spend as much as you can afford on a good wide FOV EP. A cheap EP makes your scope cheap...

d

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Thanks again guys, I think I will be taking your advice on the eyepieces.

As for the CPC 800, well my plan is to keep the option of fitting the OTA to an equatorial mount (which I might buy at some stage), and it looks like the CPC 800 OTA does not detach like the 8SE one does. As it looks like it's the same OTA with no real advantage when it comes to viewing possibilities, I might as well save the £170 and spend it on making the 8SE better, or put it towards that EQ mount. :eek:

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I went a similar route. After much advice and questions I went for the 8se and also got and EQ6. I therefore had an 8se for grab and go visual, and moving the OTA to the EQ6 a photographic setup. Although the cpc is probably better if you intend to do purely visual, if you have any asperations to do photography get the 8se. Then you can get an EQ5/6 later and use the same OTA, or any other you get later, on the EQ.

Dew strips & shield essential. Red dot finder good. Get a red torch too. Later maybe get Bob's knobs to aid collimation. Easy to get direct from the US.

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I've been reading this with interest as I am also about to take the plunge and buy my first telescope. I had pretty much decided on the 6SE as the jump in price to the 8SE seemed hard to justify. Then someone mentioned the CPC800, I followed the link, and at that price the large increse in cost suddenly doesn't seem so bad! That looks like a lot of scope for the money.

My main concern though is ease of setup, as if the thing is difficult to set up then my wife and I won't use it as much. The appeal of the 6SE was that I could just lift the whole scope and mount, fully assembled, straight out of the conservatory where it will be stored, on to the patio, and we're off and running. The CPC800 however, is almost double the weight. Is it still realistic to expect to be able to move the CPC800 fully assembled?

Also, I presume that both scopes have to be properly levelled before doing the alignment. Can they actually be levelled correctly with the OTA attached or will it need to be removed so as to place a level on the tripod? If the OTA does need to be removed to get a level base then it blows my idea of moving the fully assembled scope out of the water. If the OTA does need to be removed every time, how easy is it to fit the OTA on to the 6/8SE and the CPC800 8" mounts?

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From what I've read the 8SE OTA is very easily detached (this was the clincher for me), the CPC800 is probably not quite as easy as I think you have to remove the entire Goto mount with OTA still in it. The 8SE should be much easier to handle than the CPC800, the 6SE easier still due to it's reduced weight (I don't think size is going to be much of an issue between the 8SE and 6SE). People have said that they struggle with the CPC800 compared to the 8SE.

The difference in price between 8SE and CPC800 (assuming the current sale price of £1295 for the CPC800) is a mere £170, and for that you do get some nice additions over the 8SE, but I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I already have a Celestron Sky Scout so the GPS is not something I need, the upgraded gearing is probably only there to cope with the extra weight, the finder scope probably won't be used much on a Goto mount anyway (better to detach it and use it as a small hand-held telescope!), after that I don't actually think there are any other benefits. Remember that with the same eyepieces the CPC800 and 8SE should in theory provide identical views, there's likely to be a much bigger jump between the 6SE and the 8SE in terms of seeing fainter DSOs. The single fork of the SEs means that it takes a few seconds to settle after focusing as the vibrations make viewing difficult/impossible, but I would hardly call this a major problem.

A Sky Scout is a very nice piece of kit, especially for the beginner, and has a lot more besides GPS so personally I would spend that £170 on a Sky Scout (they are about that price now).

Edited by jonathan
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Thanks for that Jonathan, it helps. The thing I like about the SE series is that I won't even need to detach the OTA from the mount to move it as it is so light, but the CPC seems to be a lot heavier. But will I still need to remove the OTA on the SE to get the thing level each time I move it or does it not matter if just using an ALT-Azimuth mount?

My ideal setup would be an 8" SCT on a GOTO mount with a dovetail so that at some later point I could put another scope on there if I wanted. The ideal mount would be something like the CG5 GT but without the equatorial bit as I just want ease of set up. The problem as I see it is that with the mount on the SE or the CPC, if I want to put a longer scope on there at some point in the future it could be a problem.

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