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Recommendations...


collangm
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I'm in the process of making a final selection on the type of scope I would like to purchase but would welcome some insider knowledge of which may be best suited. I intend to use the scope/mount for both astronomical observations (DSO, Planetary) but also for astrophotography (piggy-backed and through the lens). The two scopes I had in-mind were;

1. Meade LX90 ACF (AltAz)

2. Meade LXD75 (EQ)

Can anyone tell me the merits or detriments of using either of these types of scope for the above intended use?

Thanks,

Gary

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Finding one scope for both visual and photography is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Except there probably isn't even a needle...

I have my own opinion on Meade, but I'll let those who currently have one of the scopes you mention make comment.

Good luck with your search

Cheers

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Thanks Stuart. Please don't hold back if you have any opinions on the two scopes mentioned. I'm certainly not tied to any particular brand and would certainly like to hear any positives and negatives of this make. I understand that Meade products are somewhat overpriced relatiove to some lesser known makes but any suggestions you may have for me would be very much welcome.

If you don't wish to upset other members with your comments :) then please feel free to PM me your response.

Cheers,

Gary

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Is the photography deep sky? If so...

I would not touch any of the following with a ten foot pole;

-a fork SCT.

-a wedge which would be needed to convert the above from Alt Az.

-a telescope with a focal length of more than a meter or an f ratio slower than f7. (Until I had three years' imaging experience at least.)

The visual and deep sky imaging scope is, as Stuart says, nigh on impossible to find. The candidates, for me, are - a well chosen 6 or 8 inch Newt on NEQ6. A SkyWatcher MN190. A 5 inch semi apo or apo refractor like the SW ED120 with reducer.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Hi Olly,

Yes, the imaging will be for DSO's. Can you advise why you would personal;ly avoid the Fork mounted SCT with an EQ Wedge fitted? I saw this as a best of both as you had the option to switch between either EQ or AltAz at will. Is this likely to impede DSO astrophotography as I always assumed that was why you needed the EQ wedge to enable true sky tracking, aligned with the polar north?

Thanks,

Gary

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A 6" or 8" Newt would be an excellent place to start: light weight, good gathering power and hundreds of cheap 'must-haves' like reducers and correctors on the market.

However you should spend more cash on the mount I think.

There are loads of 'scopes both new and second hand that are good for AP, but not all that many suitable mounts under 1000 GBP.

I wouldn't use an LXD75 for A-P with anything larger than a 4" scope.

Once "trained" its o.k. for accuracy, but is mechanically quite weak. Mine lasted 3 days, then on it went!

I might have gotten the one they made on a Wednesday morning after getting a pay rise, but my HEQ5 was just 'perfect'.

Once trained in with PEC (not everyone does this) its accuracy was spot-on (+/- 4") and it carried both my TSA120 and 8" GSO (Revelation, Altair, TS etc.) Newt - tho' NOT at the same time - without complaining.

Apart from re-greasing with lithium grease, I left it strictly unmodded and unmolested by 3rd party software or bits for its entire stay and it performed like a champ.

G'luck whichever way you go!

LMC

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A smaller lighter scope for imaging is easier to mount and guide and can still produce some excellent results.

A larger scope is much more important for visual as your eyes can't stack the photons the way a camera can.

A good solid mount is vital though.

Cheers

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Without autoguiding the SCT would have no chance at all on deep sky imaging. Long focal lengths need to be accurately guided and the slow f ratio means long subs, so adding to the problem. However they are very attractve visual scopes and are great for webcamming the planets, which might be less of a financial black hole than DS!

They come up on the used market at good discounts over new.

Olly

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Is the photography deep sky? If so...

I would not touch any of the following with a ten foot pole;

-a fork SCT.

-a wedge which would be needed to convert the above from Alt Az.

-a telescope with a focal length of more than a meter or an f ratio slower than f7. (Until I had three years' imaging experience at least.)

The visual and deep sky imaging scope is, as Stuart says, nigh on impossible to find. The candidates, for me, are - a well chosen 6 or 8 inch Newt on NEQ6. A SkyWatcher MN190. A 5 inch semi apo or apo refractor like the SW ED120 with reducer.

Olly

Got to agree with this advice even though I went down the fork mounted SCT route before I knew anyhing at all about what I wanted to do...

Billy...

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Hmm, a lot to think about here...:)

This question is aimed at Ollypenrice - Having looked at your (fantastic) images of M31 on your website, taken with your TAK FSQ85 (?), do you think an alternate purchase of a William Optics Megrez 72 or 90 provide similar results...?

Sits back and waits for laughter and abuse??? :(

Thanks in advance,

Gary

Edited by collangm
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Yes, and very nice it looks there too.

I see you have a couple of WO scopes Stuart (WO 132FLT and WO ZS66 ED). How do you rate these quality/optics wise? Based on my previous hit-list of scopes, would you say a 90-102mm refractor would be better than the 8" (200mm) SCT's listed at the start of this thread? I'm assuming overall costs will be higher as I would also need a good quality mount in addition to the scope. It would seem, from other posts read, most people would recommend spending as much or more on the mount than the scope itself.

As a rank amateur, I feel like I may be falling into the 'buy the best' at too early-a-stage?

Lots of questions I know but I do respect the advice and feedback from this forum and its members :)

Gary

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It certainly shouldn't cost you more than the new cost of an LX90. For a mount, a Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro is going to get the job done for you. The Megrez 72 is a great little scope to start out with the imaging. And that's only £1100 spent, a few hundred short of the LX90. So enough in the kitty for a visual scope, if you still desire.

As a rank amateur, I feel like I may be falling into the 'buy the best' at too early-a-stage?

Yes, you need to be careful of that.

Edited by russ
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Anything from a camera lens to a 14" lightbucket will capture photons and allow imaging. However, the quality of the mount will determine whether you can use 15 second subs or 10 minute ones!

You would be best budgeting for an EQ mount (HEQ5 or EQ6) a main scope (Well corrected APO??) a guide scope (Skywatcher ST80?) a guide cam and an imaging cam.

If you can control it all with a Laptop then there are more options, I use an LVI and DSLR so that I don't need a laptop in the field but these do have some limitations.

A good well corrected 80-100mm main scope will be good, focal length less than 1000mm eases guiding problems.

Cheers

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Thanks for the response guys.

I'm currently looking into possible 2nd-hand options as this should keep costs down over new equipment, and may offer the possibility of obtaining something decent for my money.

I queried the LX90 originally as I may be able to source one (barely used) for ~ £750, including some £1500 worth of extra's. Still chasing that avenue as I still think this is a viable alternative to the rare 2nd-hand WO/Tel-Vue/Vixen or dare I say it, Takahashi! :)

Many Thanks,

Gary

Edited by collangm
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Hmm, a lot to think about here...:)

This question is aimed at Ollypenrice - Having looked at your (fantastic) images of M31 on your website, taken with your TAK FSQ85 (?), do you think an alternate purchase of a William Optics Megrez 72 or 90 provide similar results...?

Sits back and waits for laughter and abuse??? :(

Thanks in advance,

Gary

Sorry, I missed this question. No laughter or abuse will come from my direction, I promise you! The answer is Yes. It will produce very similar results. Actually I don't know which website you are referring to because on the business site (:: Sun * Star * France ::) the M31 is just from a little ZS66. The one from the FSQ85ED is this one;

http://ollypenrice.smugmug.com/Other/Galaxies/M31best-v1/1056334673_daDu7-M.jpg

Any decent apo will give a similar result to this, WO or ED80 or whatever. The FSQ is faster and a little better in all areas but the final result will be very similar.

When I reviewed the TEC140 which replaced our budget Meade 127 triplet (a grand versus five grand) I said that the quality of the DSO in an image was very similar in both. The stellar images, particularly of hot blue stars, are significantly better in the TEC.

Visually the Meade seemed excellent to me. The TEC seems perfect. That is not a big difference.

I have just imaged the Horse in an Altair Astro 115 triplet at a fraction of the cost of the TEC. It is downright excellent.

Our 'dream level' telescopes are better than the good budget stuff but in all honesty not all that much better.

One of the best bits of astronomical glass I have ever used is a Canon EF200L camera lens. It is a fast, flatfield killer lens of 71mm wide open.

You don't need aperture in imaging. Lots of newcomers find this hard to accept, I know.

Olly

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Hi Gary,

Starting with a SC is quite a challenging start. The focal lenght will make the first steps quite tough.

I hope you already have some experience in astronomy, polar aligning a mount, used to set up go to, guiding etc....

The shorter the focal the easier when you start.... long focal are for experienced astronomers as you really need to have the experience..... and the budget.

To image at 2000mm or more, you need a damn good mount!!! G11 at least not to comment on the Paramount and other toys we would all love to have one day.

I would recommend a short focal lenght at a start with a light equatorial mount to get experience first. As Olly said, a small refractor like a 80ed up to a 120 or 127ed will do. Keep a focal lenght of less than 1000mm and you will have good fun.

As you probably noticed, Olly, experienced imager, does not image with crazy focal length,....

All the best and good choice

Jerry

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