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New Scope Advice


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I'm looking to upgrade to a new scope and was after some help! I've scoured numerous reviews and threads and seem to be going round in circles now!. So I thought the easiest thing was to start my own post.

I am very much at the beginner stage, until now I have only used a pair of celestron 10x50 binocs and a skywatcher heritage-76. I've started finding my way around the skies and want to plunge for a 'proper' scope.

I've narrowed it down to the skywatcher explorer range, but can't decide which one will suit best. I am keen to explore the usual - moon, planets and then stars and dso if possible. I started looking at the 130, but then after reading reviews noticed that the majority voted the 130p as a preference. I'm working to a budget of around £250, for which I was hoping to have some spare cash to get a couple of accessories - lenses etc. So the 130p fits perfectly.

My dilemma is that the more I look at it, I am tempted to push the budget a bit more and go for the 150p or 150pl. I did toy with the dobsonian 150p but I'm keen to learn about the eq mounts as no doubt if this takes off then I would probably upgrade in the future to a bigger scope and eq mount for photography. I must admit that although the dobsonian looks a bargain, I'm swayed to the newtonian. So my questions are...

1 - Is there a great difference in the 130p to the 150p? I know it will gather more light, but for a beginner will the difference be worth it. There is roughly a £100 difference between the two. As I am a relative newbie, I also don't want to blow my mind with anything that's too difficult. I haven't had any problems so far and am looking forward to getting more involved. Although I have set this budget, I'm quite happy to look at the 114 or 130 if the consensus suggests this.

2 - If I do go down the 150p mount - how much more difficult is it to use the EQ3-2 mount instead of the EQ2 mount? Having never used one, this will be a main early challenge. I appreciate that these are quite basic and not up to using for astrophotography, but I'm not really worried about that at the minute.

3 - The 150p and 150pl are roughly the same price. The main stumling block on this one was portability. The pl is obviously a longer scope, and that was another point of interest. I haven't got bags of space so I'm looking to limit what I get this way. I will be seeing all of these scopes in the flesh before I buy, but didn't want to get excited about the 150pl if it turns out to be a bit of a monster.

4 - How much difference is there in the RDF scope to the 6x30 finder scope. I had no problems with the finder scope on my 76 (6x24), but on the 130p you get a RDF, and on the 150 you get the 6x30. Probably trivial, but which one wins here?

I am open to any further suggestions that anyone else based on the above info.

I think that covers everything. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

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The 150PL is long but not massively so. When I first saw it I thought it was huge and it is but not in a ungainly way. I don't own a car and I have taken it places on the bus and it's been fine.

On good thing is that being slow at F8, cheaper eyepieces perform better than the F5 short (I don't know the specifics of why) so even the 10mm that comes with the scope works well despite being regarded as gawdawful. The first eyepieces I bought were Celestron Omni plossls that you can get around the £22 mark (which were around £40-£60 this time last year).

The EQ2 works exactly the same as the EQ3-2, just a lot smaller. Better with the EQ3-2, for a 6" newt then it's more than capable.

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firstly and most importantly welcome to sgl. the 130p is a fine scope the 150p is better, but if you are asking will the 130p be a good scope to start the answer is yes. the 150 will give brighter views and you will see further. but there's plenty to see in a 130p its certainly not a waste of money. as for the mounts the eq3 is a bit bigger and stronger. but essentially it operates the same. as for the finder. I like rdf but some people like the magnification you get with a finder scope. in answer to your question which is best. in purely scope terms the 150p is better it has a bigger apparture and a better mount and to reflect that it has a bigger price. which is better for you?. I think you are wise to get a look at them as only then will you know which one is best for you in size. I would love a 12" dob but my viewing habits and storage only stretch to a 5" sct sometimes its not about whats the best scope its really about whats the best scope for you. 150p is a very nice scope but if you decide the 130p is for you, I doubt you will be disappointed

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Following on...

I thought I was all set to purchase the 150p, but the more I look at posts, I'm convincing myself that it might be easier to go for the 130p to start off with. I'm starting to put myself off the 150p due to the more advanced mount (eq3-2). Am I being a bit silly here - basically can the 150p be used as a first 'proper' scope or should it be for someone a bit more experienced?:)

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The EQ3-2 isn't more complex, just got a bit more muscle. The way you use them is exactly the same. A six inch Newt is a perfect place to start - epeaking as someone who did just that but I think it will keep you happier for longer in this hobby.

If I bought the 130 like I thought about doing then I might he pulling the cash together to buy a 200p at the minute but I'm happy to upgrade the mount and keep the scope for a few more years.

I love my 150PL and I do have an emotional attachment to it. I've seen things with it that make my skin tingle, things that I wouldn't have seen with the 130.

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Thank you.

Just the news I was looking for. The more you read the more technical it can get, and until you get going yourself it can get a bit daunting. I can't wait to get it.

I'm not to far from the Sherwoods store, so hope to see them in the flesh. I am 90% certain on the 150p, but may swing to the 150pl if it's not too big to store!.

Thanks

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Hi.

A thought on finder versus red dot. They aren't expensive new and you can usually pick them up 2nd hand. There is no right answer for which to go for. Have a look and a play, then spend a few quid if you aren't happy.

I have used a mix of finders on assorted scopes. My (big) MN78 has a Rigel quikfinder (a type of red dot device) plus a 50mm right angle finder.

On the mount. Buy the biggest you can afford/carry. A strong rigid mount will give you options. Whether it be trying different scopes, or just getting more stable images with your original scope. Scopes & mounts can always be bought/sold/upgraded separately. I have a collection of lumps of aluminium bar, bolts, etc from trials on different scopes and mounts.

Hope this helps, rather than confuses.

David.

David.

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Either scope is a good bit of kit, the 130P is a well regarded starter scope and the 150 in both versions is a nice piece of hardware.

From a complexity point of view there will be no difference. The mounts and scopes work the same way.

If you budget can strtch then get the bigger scope - I am hesitant to give that kind of advice because although aperture is king it obviously has to fit in with a budget. Theres alwaysa temptation in this game to keep getting bigger and bigger.

I just bought a 10" scope and realised the firts time I lugged it up the stairs to my flat its probably a non-starter. Its just too big and heavy. The jury is out on that one at the moment.

When I was looking at a grab and go scope two tears ago I settled on a 4" Maksutove, then I decided maybe a 5" would be better, next thing I knew I was consideringa CPC800 which was completely not what was really wanted but I got hooked on aperture again.

Sooo in a nutshell buy the biggest you can afford but keep in mind whatever you buy if the bug bites you will be upgrading almost for sure.

Bear in mind also that there will be additional bits of kit you'll need. A red light torch, dewshield, extra eyepieces, better finder etc etc etc.

The 150 isn't that much bigger physically than the 130, at least the difference is nowhere near as marked as say between a 150 and a 200 or a 200 and a 250.

Whatever you choose either of those scopes will show you a whole new universe and firts scopes are like first love. YOu always remember them with affection.

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I think it's always advisable to see the scope in a showroom first as you'll get a true impression on how large or small it is. Also if opting for a goto system you can see and hear it in operation.

I was looking at some of the SGT scopes from Celestron and for a little less money could of got a Skywatcher 200P on a HEQ5 mount, which looked fine in the pictures, but in reality was huge, and simply wouldn't fit in the intended location when not in use.

I'm sure the 150P will give you years of happy observing... but I bet when you visit Sherwoods that you'll be distracted by something else :)

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I've not long had my 150p as a first scope and its fine,not too heavy to take in and out.

The mount is a piece of cake you will have no trouble and you will get some great views.

When i first got it i thought it was massive but after a couple of months it seems quite small "ish" now,but i MUST not buy a bigger one!!

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