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Celestron NexStar 127 SLT v Skywatcher 200P Dob v Skywatcher 200P EQ5


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Hi all

I'm about to buy a telescope (the first for many, many years) and while I have been doing research and trawling through the archives here there seems to be such a wealth of experience here that I thought I'd also ask you all for your opinions please.

I have been using my binoculars for astronomy and have a basic knowledge of the constellations but would now like a better look at the Moon, planets like Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, and hopefully some of the closer nebulae. I have a budget of around £400 and I am going to concentrate purely on visual astronomy. Having asked some stores and looked done some web research the 3 telescopes above have been mentioned pretty much exclusively within my budget. Realistically I'm not going to use the telescope that often so ease of maintenance and setup might be factors. Likewise it might be nice to move it to a different site every once in a while, though again this won't be a regular occurrence.

The 127 SLT has a 1500mm focal length at F11.81, the 200P Dob is 1200mm at F5.91, and the 200P EQ5 is 1000mm at F5. For general visual astronomy of interesting celestial objects which combination do people prefer?

I guess I'll also have to budget for extra eyepieces though I can add these later so my budget stands for the telescope.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!

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Thank you. I originally thought I might try to take photos but I've since decided it's going to be too difficult and expensive so I'm very happy just sticking with visual astronomy.

Any other recommendations or is the Skywatcher 200P Dob as good as it gets for my budget?

If I went for that, any recommendations on other eyepieces? It's supplied with 10mm and 25mm eyepieces which I assume are ok?

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Hi, I got an 8" Dob this week and I love it!

It has a big enough aperture to see loads, yet if you don't plan to move it much it's certainly managable.

Many people find EQ mounts a pain. They are essential for photography of DSO. For visual, the AZ mount of the Dob is so easy ie up, down, left, right.

The 127 SLT was one of my choices, but I'm led to believe the tripod/mount is wobbly, and with less than 5" aperture.

I wrote a review of the http://stargazerslounge.com/equipment-reviews/132996-skywatcher-skyliner-200p-8-dob.html this morning.

My main 'likes' about this 'scope are the ease of use and value for money.

P.S. Don't be put off by collimation. Once you've done it once or twice it's a doddle.


Edited by Orion_the_Hunter
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Having had a Nexstar 127 up until last week and now own the 200P on a HEQ5 Pro I believe the EQ mount has taught me a great deal more than knew before. I am still in learning mode but having a stable image is very important to me. The Nexstar mount was infuriating. If there's any chance that you might upgrade at some stage then I would go with the EQ mount.

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My 2p worth... for what its worth. If you are thinking about photography through the scope then the EQ mount is preferable, it matters not if you are attaching a £35 "instamatic", a £1000 DSLR or £5K of specialist CCD camera, it will be an requirement with anything other than imaging the moon. However, in order to do so you will need to drive the scope which is around a further £100 on your budget.

Therefore out of your choices the 200P dob would be your best bet. If the eyepieces are the same as those with the 200P EQ version (which I'm 99% sure they are) then they are quite reasonable.

Looking around £400 gets you a 10" basic dob Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian Telescope | Telescopes | Rother Valley Optics

£475 gets you an auto tracking 200P Skyliner 200P Flex Tube Auto Tracking Dobsonian | Telescopes | Rother Valley Optics

If you really like the portability of the 127 mak then why not look at the EQ3-2 mounted version which comes in at £350 Skymax 127 EQ3-2 With Free DVD | Telescopes | Rother Valley Optics or if you add the optional dual axis motor drive around £440.

There are a lot of choices, but whilst we all could come up with scopes that come in around your budget, the final choice is something that is personal, and I would always advise making a trip out to see these scopes in "the flesh" at any of the large retailers. Sometimes having set your hart on one model, you could be disappointed in some aspect when you have it demonstrated

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Thanks Orion - great review and a great steer to the collimation article too, especially useful for me as I hadn't got a clue what that involved!

Veracocha/malc-c, thank you too. I've definitely decided not to pursue astro photography, I know that for me it will only spoil my fun. I think for me the fun will be getting the telescope out every now and then and just browsing around, as well as looking at a few favourites! I guess the tracking scopes make life a little easier for just browsing but are a necessity for astro photography? Thanks for the advice about actually seeing them too! I fully intend to visit a dealer and ideally will find a star party to have a real look! How much more would I see with a 10" Dob versus an 8" Dob, given that it must be considerably bigger and heavier? Any other downside of the 10" Dob?

Edited by misterb
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How much more would I see with a 10" Dob versus an 8" Dob, given that it must be considerably bigger and heavier? Any other downside of the 10" Dob?

From the description

56% more Light Gathering than 200mm

Basically Dobs are light buckets.. the larger the aperture the fainter the object that can be viewed, or for example when looking at galaxies the brighter they will look. This is all dependent on your location of course. If you live under light polluted skies then I don't think you would notice any difference... but if you live in a remote village miles from the nearest city or large town then the difference may well be noticeable.

Personally I would opt for the 200P on the EQ-5 mount. This will give you the same views as the dob, but, should you wish to try your hand at imaging you have the option of adding the additional dual axis drives for under £100, rather than find your options limited by the dobsonian mount. But then again, that's my personal choice, for you the easy setup may be more of a deciding factor, or your personal circumstances may be that you could own multiple scopes catering for any needs.....

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I've just been reviewing the responses I received from various shops and they almost all recommended the 127 SLT. Any suggestions as to why that might be? The GOTO system perhaps, which I presume isn't great at that price?

One piece of advice for use with the 127 SLT was to use a focal reducer to get a wider field of view. Does this work well in practice or will it lead to a compromise in terms of what is seen?

Sorry for the questions but it's a fair amount of money to get it wrong - I'd much prefer to get it right! :)

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I respectfully suggest that most of the suppliers don't have the Skywatcher 200/HEQ5 combination in stock so are looking to shift what they have in. For two weeks every supplier I have contacted is saying that nothing is due in until second week March so I have trapsed around the country to find them pre-owned. The goto on my 127 was actually very good indeed.

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