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'Where do I begin ......'


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... researched telescopes over the last month or so starting with an 80 refractor and ended at the 9.25 cat by which time I'd lost the plot. Discussed with FLO and I am back to the 80. However, there are considerations that I began with :-

1) A scope that would allow visual and astrophoto' of DSOs

2) A single scope

3) A mount to suit

4) Not too large or heavy - this 'ere body could complain

5) Storage consideration

6) What CCD & guider

7) 2" or 1-1/4" eyepieces

8) Budget - 2K say

9) My comfort zone

10) Imaging may delay to Autumn

So, this shouldn't be too much of a prob - eh???

I am beginning to believe that the criteria cannot be met by one scope. Tfov implies a fast small focal length tube for astrophoto' and longer for planetry etc. Mediation is at the expense of the other.

So two scopes?

Looking at a Meade/WO 80 refractor for astrophoto' on a SW Synscan EQ3-2? HEQ5?

A long f/l tube, nice aperture for visual only could be cheaper but note 4/5 above is a consideration.

C'est moi. Any suggestions welcome.


ye oldie git

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And you'd be right, in an ideal world, your criteria can't be met with just the one setup, but...

ED80, HEQ5, ST80, QHY5v and an SLR to start with. At least one Celestron Ultima barlow for Lunar with the 5v and the ED80, or you could add a Skymax 127 into the pot and use that with the 5v for lunar/planetary, with the Ultima barlow.

The 5v serves double duty as a guide camera and lunar/planetary imager. If you can afford a CCD, the 314L looks to be an ideal combination with the 80ED also (but... it ain't cheap).

The HEQ5 with the setup I described, I can lug out in a single go (all setup), it's pretty resilient. The ED80 can be pushed far beyond what you'd expect it to be capable it's a class performer for the money. The Skymax provides the long focal length in a reasonable tube and I've seen some great results produced with it.

Actually, I'm in about that position myself :)...

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Thanks John. Why the ED80? I had heard/read that the focusser wasn't up to scratch ......? Recommended to change it to a Moonlight which defeats the object. Also, the build wasn't as good say as the WO. But that's what I had heard, not from any prior knowledge.



PS I have put this thread in the wron place methinks.

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I bought an Orion Optics f4 (short tube) Newtonian some fourteen years ago, and it's given me great service. Wonderful for DSO's and pretty good on the planets too, and though I don't do imaging, I should think it would be ideal for this. The important thing for you is that this sort of scope is very portable. The tube is only 80cms long, light weight, and very easy to carry. There's also no problem taking it on the back seat of a car. Setting up in my garden takes about ten minutes, that's carrying all the bits out, aligning the mount, attaching the scope and weights, and eyepiece in. Packing up is just as quick, and with the tripod folded and the tube on end, storage isn't a problem.

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The thread location is now sorted :)...

I can't really comment on the WO scopes, having no experience of them. My 80ED is still using the original Celestron Rack and Pinion, whereas the new SW 80ED DS has a dual speed crayford (which I'd put money on is much better).

I think the key is the optic quality, and I have to say, the optics perform superbly on mine.

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Hi John.

Many thanks. I wasn't aware of the Orion tube so I'll take a look. I just anticipate at 2 in the morning, dismounting the tube and dropping it. It'd have to stay that way until daylight. I agree with wrt optic quality - APOs. The Meade 80 looks interesting as its a triplet but the price drifts a little higher .... but you only buy it once (for me that's the case). I am in no particular hurry - its been cloudy everyday for the last month - just want to make the right decision.

Best Regards


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I will second the ED80 as possibly as close you could get to an 'all rounder' at least at a budget. It is mainly a wide field setup, great on big DSO's, OK on the planets, pritty good on the moon, but small faint objects as I have found out is where the short folcal length struggles.

I would DEFENTLY say if you are seriously thinking about astrophotography that their is no compromise on the mount! HEQ5 over the EQ3-2 anyday!

I have been using celstrons CG5 or 'skywatchers EQ5's twin' and although it has allowed me to snap a few pics I am already looking to upgrade to a HEQ5 or better.

Seriously if there is one thing you don't compromise on it is the mount.

For the CCD...a DSLR is the best bang for buck IMO, expensive CCD's come with more experiance i think.

My top tip is to buy second hand where you can, the UK has a great astro second hand market. 90% of my kit was bought this way. Not only do you save £$ but if you make a mistake or want to upgrade quickly with an item you have bought then you don't stand to lose much money. As usualy the prices don't vary to much.

Keep the questions coming. Thats what we're here for :)

Good luck in your endevour!

Edited by msinclairinork
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Hi msinclairinork

I know deep down that its an HEQ5 minimum - just thought that I might get away with the 3-2, but not convinced. I have ordered the photon counting book and look forward to that. I'll take a look at a DSLR after that but can see your point. Used market in this field or photography has always bothered me. I have only seen one site on the web for SH astro kit - I still need 40+ points and a month to see this site for SH - but no rush. I'll also take another look at the ED80 i I had put it aside wrt focusser.



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Hi Michael.

The focusser probs were re current SW ED80 thus the Orion ED so I guess that's the diff. Mmm. where do I get one for that price - Orion that is.

Thanks for your input, I become more comfortable with what I am up to on this site.



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