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Still trying to understand good or bad scopes

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#26 csrlice12

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 03:55 PM

I'll throw some snacks in my pocket.......just in case.


That just means the bear will chase you first... :lol:

#27 frito

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

Haas, that's too much for that scope. Keep looking - i see much better deals all the time. Hold out for a 6" or 8" dob. I typically see 4.5 " dob's go for less than $100, and 6" & 8" dob's going between $150 - $250.


+1 this.

to the OP that XT4.5 is not a bad scope but if your taller you better see it first because they are very small and low to the ground. its a great scope for kids due to its size off the ground. all this being said they are asking far to much for it, probably sticking too much weight into the extra eyepieces and filters that honestly are not worth that much on the used market either. i would not pay more than 150 for it but then again i would not buy it because it will require a stand to raise it up high enough to comfortably use from a astronomy chair or standing.

the XT6,8, and 10 are all taller than this scope and are the same height. for all but the lowest objects in the sky the eyepiece is high enough off the ground to use sitting comfortably and as the person i quoted above said the XT6's sell used for 150-200 and the XT8's for 200-250 don't pay more unless there's a good reason.

#28 panhard

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:11 PM

Haas, that's too much for that scope. Keep looking - i see much better deals all the time. Hold out for a 6" or 8" dob. I typically see 4.5 " dob's go for less than $100, and 6" & 8" dob's going between $150 - $250.

Way too much.

#29 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:11 PM

Ok, thanks guys. I'm just getting anxious, and there aren't too many new ones popping up around here on Craigs list. I'm trying to go used to get more bang for the buck.

#30 panhard

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

Don't get too anxious. That usually ends up resulting in poor decisions ok.

#31 frito

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:40 PM

Ok, thanks guys. I'm just getting anxious, and there aren't too many new ones popping up around here on Craigs list. I'm trying to go used to get more bang for the buck.


patience is a virtue when it comes to shopping the local Craigslist for scopes. i rarely see killer deals pop up. but when i do and i'm in the market i jump on it. i would check local astronomy clubs too. they may have members who buy up the deals on craigslist so they can fix them up and resell them to new members for much less than retail or for use in loaner scope programs. my club does this and its sort of funny when my XT8 i got for 200 showed up on CL i stole it out from under a friend of mine in the club who usually buys them up. that same night we had a party planned and i showed up with the scope and told him that i snagged it off craigslist for 200 earlier that day and he was like it was you!!! lol

if you just chomping at the bit to get out and view stuff local clubs are great for that too. then it will give you an idea of whats out there and whats popular and how they perform. don't be afraid to ask if anyone has scopes they want to sell, many people collect too many and don't think about selling them until someone brings it up.

#32 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

With a focal length of 1000mm (40") and a tube length of 26" this must be one of those designs with a built in barlow in the focuser. I would NOT recommend it.


I'm really not considering the purchase of this, as much as I'm just on a fact finding mission. Can you explain why that focal length is concerning to you?


I have a similar scope as well as an 8" Meade SCT, so I'll give you the low down.

A Newtonian Reflector uses a parabolic primary mirror.

A Bird-Jones Reflector uses a spherical primary mirror.

A Bird-Jones Reflector also uses a "corrector lens assembly" (which some call a Barlow) to compensate for optical issues with spherical mirrors. Some times you may see these scopes advertised as being Catadioptric because they use mirrors AND lenses in the optical train. Purists will argue that point, but who cares?

Any way, the reason Bird-Jones Reflectors are so inexpensive is because it costs less to make a spherical mirror.

And if I may be so bold, a Bird-Jones is not really a 'bad' design. The issues I have seen with Bird-Jones Reflectors have been in the execution, with problems ranging from the mount to the eyepieces that come with the scope.

In my case, the EPs that came with my scope were junk. When I tried a Meade 26mm Super Plossol I was surprised at how good that little scope (102mm) really is.

With that being said, knowing what I know now I would not buy a Bird-Jones again. And its not because the design is bad, its because of where and how these scopes are being manufactured.

If I were you I would hold out for at least a 6" DOB. I snagged a 6" Meade Starfinder for my sister for a mere $100.00, and she loves it.

#33 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:49 PM

The only thing making me shy away from dobs is the lack of storage room I have, and my possibility of getting too "lazy" to drag it out for some viewing. I was also considering some of the meade ext's for that very reason.
It's hard for me to tell what's good, and what to stay away from.

#34 frito

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:04 PM

a smaller dob while larger in storage and a bit heavier as well than a 4-5" tripod mounted scope are about 5 to 10 times easier to drag out and get setup properly and start viewing with.

trust me i know from experience. i go out to star parties in the area with the club nearly every weekend. i'm setup and ready to view in less than 10 min and i have 2 finder scopes to adjust as well as collimating the scope and very often i don't even need to collimate it because my XT8 holds its collimation surprisingly well.

mean while the guys with newts on goto EQ mounts are leveling their tripod, assembling the mount on the tripod. putting the OTA on the mount. playing with the counter balance weights for a bit. then polar aligning.... you get the picture.

an Alt Az tripod mounted refractor is about as fast and easy to setup as a dob but the difference in what you can see is very large at the same price point and thats why i think the Dob's win.

#35 csrlice12

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:04 PM

I'd look at the CN classifieds here in the reflector area. You will more likely get better equipment at a better price then craigslist. It has also more likely been taken care of. CN also has a rating system so you can check out prior history of buyers/sellers. Much safer then craigs list, especiallly if you are not familiar with the equipment.

#36 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:32 PM

Good Points, frito. I'll keep searching for that dob.

csrlice12 --- I looked a bit on CN classifieds, but that's when I still thought I could get something satisfactory for under $150. I'll look again now that I realize I'm just going to have to spend a bit more.
The reason I was going thru craigs list so much was because I figured there, I was more likely to run across someone who has a very nice scope, but got bored with it, and then is looking to dump it cheap.

#37 JohnMurphyRN

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:52 PM

Good Points, frito. I'll keep searching for that dob.

csrlice12 --- I looked a bit on CN classifieds, but that's when I still thought I could get something satisfactory for under $150. I'll look again now that I realize I'm just going to have to spend a bit more.
The reason I was going thru craigs list so much was because I figured there, I was more likely to run across someone who has a very nice scope, but got bored with it, and then is looking to dump it cheap.


At CNC you typically see 'real' telescopes for sale at around 60% of replacement cost.

On Craigslist you typically see telescope-shaped objects that most people wouldn't be interested in at a free price point. HOWEVER, occasionally you can sneak up on something pretty good, most often priced at 90% of new (overpriced). RARELY but SOMETIMES you can find something worthwhile having and it also be a pretty good deal. I got my 12.5" Discovery with a bunch of accessories off of Craigslist at a price I'd consider reasonable for the bare primary mirror. I got my Paracorr off Craigslist at a price point I was concerned it was stolen (it wasn't). I got my 17.5", BinoVue, an Ethos EP, a pair of Panoptics, and a Nexstar 6 (pending) off of CNC, all for "reasonable" prices.

With CNC you have a higher degree of certainty that the scope was maintained due to the owner having some knowledge on the topic. You'll probably pay something resembling "reasonable" value.

For an entry level dob if the primary mirror looks ok and you can look through it and see something, it's probably a reasonable low risk at 60% of replacement. You'll find people who know nothing about what they have on Craiglist. This works both ways: you might get it cheap, or they may have damaged it so extensively that you wouldn't want it free.

It's worthwhile looking everywhere, you never know what you'll run accross. Where are you located?

#38 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:31 PM

John, I'm in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

#39 Pentax Syntax

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:44 PM

Photons are photons and the Dob will be fine if you find a good one. City astronomy can be challenging but shouldn't really change the scope you are considering. Such things as ergonomics, portability are far more important in making that decision.

#40 JohnMurphyRN

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:45 PM

Ok, I just went and looked at Cragslist near to you. I see a couple of things that are mildly interesting but overpriced (but perhaps they'll take less?) and one that SEEMS LIKE A SCREAMING DEAL TO ME...

The Nexstar5 is a good scope, but $500 is more than I'd give - more like $350. There's an XT8 for $285, would be interesting to me at $200, and is what the people around here recommend as the ideal starting scope.

AND THERE'S A 10" DOB FOR $110!!!!! AN OLD COULTER 10.1 DOB!! The pics are good enough to convince me it should be useable. If it was close to me I'd jump on it myself. If you don't get it, I'll try get the guy to ship me just the optics eyepieces and focuser out of it. (assuming it doesn't get pounced on now that I've drawn attention to it)

#41 frito

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:55 PM

Ok, I just went and looked at Cragslist near to you. I see a couple of things that are mildly interesting but overpriced (but perhaps they'll take less?) and one that SEEMS LIKE A SCREAMING DEAL TO ME...

The Nexstar5 is a good scope, but $500 is more than I'd give - more like $350. There's an XT8 for $285, would be interesting to me at $200, and is what the people around here recommend as the ideal starting scope.

AND THERE'S A 10" DOB FOR $110!!!!! AN OLD COULTER 10.1 DOB!! The pics are good enough to convince me it should be useable. If it was close to me I'd jump on it myself. If you don't get it, I'll try get the guy to ship me just the optics eyepieces and focuser out of it. (assuming it doesn't get pounced on now that I've drawn attention to it)


haha yeah that coulters a steal in pretty much any condition. you could get the mirror stripped and recoated and still be good.

XT8 at 285 is a bit steep. if they will go down to 250 or less i'd pick it up if the coulter's junk or sold already.

#42 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:25 PM

Yeah, I saw that one, and it was such a cheap price, I just assumed it to be something wrong, or typo, or something.

#43 frito

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:27 PM

no, its just an old scope. they are not pretty but they are good scopes. i viewed through a guys 13.1 Coulter a number a weekends ago and it handily beat my XT8 on Andromeda galaxy (M31) and it should.

#44 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:40 PM

Go for it, John. That thing is just too massive for me. I don't even have a decent place to store it.
I might contact the guy on that 8 incher.

#45 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:42 PM

Even at $200 bucks, for me to travel to Lodi, and back, will probably cost me another $60 in gas. :p

#46 JohnMurphyRN

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:44 PM

Go for it, John. That thing is just too massive for me. I don't even have a decent place to store it.
I might contact the guy on that 8 incher.


ok.....Offer at asking price sent for just the optics. We'll see what comes of it. Getting those optics at that price is enough to get me to take the ATM plunge.

#47 frito

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:50 PM

Even at $200 bucks, for me to travel to Lodi, and back, will probably cost me another $60 in gas. :p


see if they will meet you half way? many people will. it never hurts to ask questions, you never know how desperate they might be to sell it and if it does not sell quickly they could change their mind.

imho you cannot go wrong with an XT8 or any other 8" dob to start off with. they are light enough to be carried as a single unit and small enough that you can stick them in a corner at your house when not in use. easily fits in a 20 x 20 square area.

#48 Haas

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

Even at $200 bucks, for me to travel to Lodi, and back, will probably cost me another $60 in gas. :p


see if they will meet you half way? many people will. it never hurts to ask questions, you never know how desperate they might be to sell it and if it does not sell quickly they could change their mind.

imho you cannot go wrong with an XT8 or any other 8" dob to start off with. they are light enough to be carried as a single unit and small enough that you can stick them in a corner at your house when not in use. easily fits in a 20 x 20 square area.


True, and I never thought of the idea of meeting half way. I already contacted him asking how firm he was on price, we'll see where it goes from there. Getting excited already. You'd think I was a 8 year old on Christmas eve. :lol:

#49 krp

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:57 PM

Good luck, an 8" dob will show you a lot.

#50 BigC

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:06 AM

Haas,

Sent you aPM that ought to be of interest.

The scope in the link you posted is overpriced. I paid just over $100 for a 4.5" Starblast used,including shipping from Arizona last year.

Of course some areas have more people offering scopes for sale so chances of finding a good deal vary by your location.

Generally you don't want to pay too close to new price for a used item because you don't have any warranty or return protection.






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