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Buying Skywatcher 200p?


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Hi.

I'm new to astronomy but I've been a professional photographer for a few years and have been really interested in learning more about the sky.

After speaking to some people about equipment, I plan to get some decent zoom binoculars to start with, but I'm planning to order my first scope when funds allow.

I hope to (eventually) get to the stage where I can get some good photographs of the moon, planets, messiers etc.

I think I've decided on a scope - Skywatcher Explorer 200p with a EQ5 mount.

This is the fastest I can afford with the possibility of ordering a Synscan GOTO attachment in the future.

I currently have a Canon 5D mkII, but I also plan to order a Philips SPC-880 (and flash it with the 900 software).

Can you guys give your opinion on that scope for my needs and suggest any small accessories I should get at the same time? Filters etc.

Thanks!

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Hi

I´m new to this as well and I´m expecting to receive my 200p eq5 tomorrow or by Wednesday I hope. I chose this scope after looking around a lot.I´m hoping to do some imaging with web cam but from what I´ve heard working with a dslr is more difficult. I´ve been told that an eq6 is the min for this work.Anyway I´m going to give it ago when I can with my lighter canon 450d and see what happens.

fingers crossed:hello2:

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I have been told that the 200pds is better for imaging, and it has a dual speed Crayford, approx £50 more?

As with most purchases it would help if you could look into the future. If you are thinking going down the route of a guide scope plus the 200p then the HEQ5 mount will probably max out weight wise and you should consider a HEQ6. The 6 will cost you more initially but will save in the long run.

I had the same dilemma and settled for a 250px dob, cos I don't think I will do imaging (famous last words)

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That's exactly what I have at the mo (EQ5 & 200p)

For the job it was intended, get me started & to see if I enjoy - was great.

At the mo though i'm having problems with the mirrors & alignment.

IMO - for the price of these - it's just right.

Imaging though - not entirely convinced. I'm thinking of progressing to an ED80 (especially for imaging).

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Have you seen this...U.K. Astronomy Buy & Sell

Not me. Not my mate. Not someone who owes me a favour. Just saw the ad this morning.

At first sight it looks very good. But you are near enough to take a proper look.

For a first scope, this size of package might be handful to carry and set up. EQ alignment and all that.

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Thanks for all the replies.

I forgot to say my budget is around £400 max, so a bigger mount isn't really possible at the moment, unless anyone knows of anything going second hand?

What is it that makes the EQ5 unsuitable for imaging? Is it not stable enough for long exposures or is it a weight issue?

I'm sure it will take me a lot of research and practice to get the scope focused on anything at first, before I start imaging, but obviously I don't want to have to upgrade straight away.

Thanks David, that looks really promising. I'll look more into that.

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Thanks for all the replies.

I forgot to say my budget is around £400 max, so a bigger mount isn't really possible at the moment, unless anyone knows of anything going second hand?

What is it that makes the EQ5 unsuitable for imaging? Is it not stable enough for long exposures or is it a weight issue?

I'm sure it will take me a lot of research and practice to get the scope focused on anything at first, before I start imaging, but obviously I don't want to have to upgrade straight away.

Thanks David, that looks really promising. I'll look more into that.

For imaging both. Ideally the total weight of equipment (telescope/camera/guidescope etc) should not exceed two thirds the load capacity of the mount, which is why a lot of astrophotograhers choose a mount such as the EQ6 which has a capacity of 18kg compared to the EQ5 (9kg),

Peter

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The replies I've got on here is vastly different to the advice I received on another astro forum (in a good way).

I was basically told "you clearly know nothing about astronomy/astrophotography, don't bother buying a telescope, buy a Canon 'L' series superzoom lens or some binoculars".

I've been looking for prices of the standard EQ6 mount, but I can only find the synscan version for around £1000, plus the scope, which is way out of my price range atm.

Any ideas where to look?

Really clear sky here in Leeds tonight! Wish I had a scope to have a better look.

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Thanks everyone.

I've been speaking to Martin at First Light Optics and although I would benefit from a pro mount,

I've decided to stick with the standard EQ5 mount for now while I'm still learning and getting used to the equipment.

If I begin to enjoy this hobby, I can sell my EQ5, or get a second scope for it,

and I'd look at getting the NEQ6 Pro Synscan mount for proper imaging, but for now its out of my price (and skill) range.

I've been comparing the 200p with the 200pds version...

What's your opinions?

I think the advantage on the pds of being able to use filters on a DSLR would be useful for the extra price, but I'm planning to use a webcam for any imaging, so would the uprated viewfinder on the PDS be necessary for me?

Also, I've noticed there is a difference in magnifications stated.

The 'p' comes with a 10mm and a 25mm 1.25" eyepiece, providing x40, x100 (and x80, x200 with a 2x barlow) magnification.

The 'pds' has a the 2" 28mm eyepiece which only provides x36 magnification.

Would this reduce its usability with standard viewing?

Can you fit barlows to this eyepiece?

Thanks!

Edited by tolucophoto
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I'm not all that knowledgeable, at all, so sorry if there's an obvious flaw in my reasoning here. But...

Why not just buy the Dobsonian version of the 200p for now, saving quite a lot of money, and keep the money saved as the start of a fund to eventually pay for an EQ6 mount (or whatever) to put the OTA onto. Just use the telescope for visual observation until you can afford to mount it on a "serious" EQ mount. The Dobsonian base might always come in useful, even after you have your imaging setup, for those occasions when you want something relatively portable and simple to use for visual observing. And even if you never use the Dob mount again after you get an EQ6, it costs so little that you haven't really lost much. A safe bet?

(perhaps also consider using some of the money saved by buying the Dobsonian-mounted scope to buy some eyepieces)

EDIT: Oh dear, what a plonker, immediately after posting this I noticed that the Skywatchers you were looking at were f/5, naturally for astrophotography, while the dob is f/6 (ish). Sorry!

EDIT2: Actually, a variation on my first idea, which will probably just turn out to be a different kind of stupid for reasons I again fail to appreciate, would be to spend the amount you were going to spend on an inadequately EQ-mounted 8 inch f/5 Skywatcher on a Dobsonian mounted 10 inch f/4.7 Skywatcher (for visual use now and photography use on an EQ6 later). As was stated in another thread recently, some people appear (as much as I can understand it) to have done well in astrophotography with something along those lines.

Edited by GHarris
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@GHarris: Thanks for the info! I'll compare the two. Are the scopes essentially the same thing, just on a different style mounts?

Anyone got any opinions about my last post?

Thing is I've been offered a second hand 200p with EQ5 for a lot less.

Could I fit the Crayford focuser to the standard 200p to overcome the DSLR problem?

Cheers

Edited by tolucophoto
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Hi again tolcuphoto. I had rather hoped that by now someone knowledgeable would have stepped in and told you if (and to what extent) my suggestions were silly ideas. In the absence of that I'll tell you what I can. Blind leading the blind, etc! At least this post will "bump" your thread back onto the first page which might help get you the responses you need. (To those who know what they're talking about: Please don't be put off telling me I'm wrong for the sake of politeness - I don't mind being told that I'm being a total idiot when I actually am :))

I am under the impression that the optical quality of the Skywatchers is the identical, whether they are the Dob-mounted version or the EQ-mounted version. If they are actually a different optical specification - in the case of the difference in focal lengths of the 200mm reflectors - then that's something you need to think about. But the quality itself is the same.

One minor thing is that I have no idea at what point one obtains tube rings - the Skywatcher Dobs don't use tube rings to mount as I understand it, whereas the EQ mounted equivalents do. So are the tube rings included with the purchase of a new mount? I'm not sure because the size of the tube ring depends on the size of the telescope.

You can fit new focusers to telescopes, but it may need an adapter to fit the already-drilled screw holes your last focuser used. Perhaps there are situations where it's better to drill new holes, I'm not sure. First Light Optics or other vendors might be able to advise you here. Shops that sell 3rd-party focusers must know something about whether and how they can be fitted! Especially for a popular telescope range like the Skywatchers.

Considering how cheaply the used 200p is being sold it might perhaps be just as good an option as a new Dobsonian equivalent. Though to my mind there might still be an argument for the convenience and simplicity of the Dob when you want to do visual observing. I suppose it depends, at the time of getting the heavy duty mount for photography, on the amount of money you'd get when you sell the EQ5 vs. whether (and how much) you'd still find the Dob mount useful. You might find the Dob arrangement useful on days you want to just view visually, because it simply weighs less (and is a little bit easier to put onto the mount).

You will probably find that you need more eyepieces than the ones that come "stock" with the telescope you buy, so don't worry about what you get with one deal or another. The few eyepieces that are bundled will probably be useful, yes, but you will want some more before too long.

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While the optics are of the same quality the dobs tend to have longer focal length OTAs. The dob uses a couple of moulded plastic parts that bolt onto the tube and then drop onto rollers in the dob mount. When you remove these parts you re just left with a couple of small mounting holes in the OTA that can be covered with some white tape. Tube rings and a dovetail bar would be needed to mount the OTA on an EQ mount and would cost about £35.00 or so and can be purchased from any astro dealer.

One other approach that you might consider is to buy a shorter focal length OTA that would be more suitable for imaging. Tube rings usually come with the OTA. Then you could get a Skytee 2 Alt-Az mount which would let you use the OTA like a dob but with the added advantage of having slo-mo controls. The Skytee 2 uses a standard Vixen type dovetail and so uses the same arrangement for mounting the OTA as with an EQ mount and will easily handle a 10" OTA. And then later on you could get an HEQ6 EQ mount when you wanted to do some imaging.

Just search Skytee 2 here on SGL for some examples.

John

Edited by johninderby
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Thanks for all the info.

I've been offered an unmissable deal on a 200p + EQ5, so I am planning to get that for now so I get learn all about the sky and the equipment.

That gives me the opportunity to upgrade the mount sooner.

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