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No need to use the C word when newbies begin here

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#1 kfiscus

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:47 PM

Collimation. I'm sure there will be people that disagree but I don't think we need to even mention collimation the very first time a newbie asks us for help/recommendations. I think most of us agree that collimation is important but also that it's easy. I don't think it should be entered on a newbie's pros and cons checklist- they're probably overwhelmed already. It is nowhere near important enough to sway someone away from reflectors. If collimation is going to be too-difficult a challenge for them, then stargazing is going to be a very short-lived part of their life.

#2 frito

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:43 PM

while i do agree with you esp on the last part i think what your saying really only applies to F/6 and slower scopes. if a newbie was looking to start off with a 10" or 12" then collimation becomes much more important.

#3 Allan...

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:01 AM

I kind of agree with you, Kfiscus. Collimation darn near scared me like crazy at first and it wasnt until I bought a laser collimator that I really started to understand the process and was no longer afraid of doing it; plus it made is a snap. Clare

#4 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:16 AM

sometimes i feel the opposite...it is easy once your secondary mirror is good. hopefully that was the case out of the box. it helps to have good tools for it.

sometimes i feel a refractor or mak cass are better starter scopes for the non mechanical types. I think it is something to consider when choosing a scope. Just like looking at any of the plusses and minuses of scope designs.

#5 Mark9473

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:29 AM

Collimation. I'm sure there will be people that disagree but I don't think we need to even mention collimation the very first time a newbie asks us for help/recommendations.

It is nowhere near important enough to sway someone away from reflectors.


I would have agreed with you back in the day when a beginner reflector was typically f/8. Now that the scopes are typically f/5 or faster I don't agree, especially since we've all switched from buying in brick-n-mortar stores in the text town, to buying from importers who don't even open the boxes they receive from China.

#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:12 AM

Collimation. I'm sure there will be people that disagree but I don't think we need to even mention collimation the very first time a newbie asks us for help/recommendations. I think most of us agree that collimation is important but also that it's easy. I don't think it should be entered on a newbie's pros and cons checklist- they're probably overwhelmed already. It is nowhere near important enough to sway someone away from reflectors. If collimation is going to be too-difficult a challenge for them, then stargazing is going to be a very short-lived part of their life.


I think our role is to provide information and educate, answer questions so that someone trying to choose a first scope can make a wise decision. When someone is deciding to purchase a scope, they need to know what they are getting themselves into. This needs include the minuses as well as the pluses.

I think it is important that someone purchasing a Newtonian is well aware that it will need to be collimated on a regular basis and proper collimation requires some basic tools and skills. Knowing that slower scopes are much easier to collimate also worthy of note. Like anything, it is easy once you have the tools and the skills but learning collimation can be confusing and frustrating as the many threads in this forum and in the reflector forum show.

Collimation, thermal equilibrium, propensity for dewing, coma, chromatic aberration, fast scopes and eyepieces, these are important factors that ought to enter in to someones decision. Trying to save someone from the understanding is not doing anyone a favor.

One real difficulty with forums like this is that as experienced members we have our favorites and often responses to someone's questions are highly biased by our personal choices. I love Newtonians, I love Dobsonians but I know that when I am responding to someone's question, I know they are not buying a scope for me but rather a scope for them and they need to know what they are in for.

Jon Isaacs

#7 sg6

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:14 AM

When people ask about a scope then for a reflector collimation is something that will need to be done at some time.

More relevant is the fact that they will need to also buy something to do it with. This tool necessary for maintaining the scope is not supplied as a part of the package.

Seems no point ignoring it, and will agree that it can be a concern to someone starting out. However it is a part of buying and using a reflector and getting decent views out of it, and to that extent whoever is asking should be informed of it.

#8 csrlice12

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:24 AM

I'm more in agreement with Jon and Sg6; they should know what is involved in owning/operating a newt/dob; including collimation (and Sg6 makes a good point....they normally don't provide the collimation equipment when you buy the scope, it will need to be an additional purchase.

Same on the refractor side, they should be told about the difference between Acro and APO (and the cost/performance differences), and how bright objects can have "colors" around them; they should also be told the difference between EQ and Alt/Az mounts (I truely believe setting up/operating an EQ mount is a much more daunting task then collimating a dob.) On SCTs they should be told about the narrower FOV and cooling/dew problems. If they're into AP they should be told to smile for the camera; as it'll probably be the last time they smile (especially after looking at their bank balance).

and if they're into refractors; maybe ask them what the big infatuation is with finderscopes.... :lol:

#9 newtoskies

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:36 AM

I have to disagree, as a newbie myself. I must admit that when I first heard the C word it had worried me. BUT when I ordered my 6" through Orion I had checked out their video before the scope arrived. I then had an understanding of what collimation is. Yes it's only a 6", but it still needs the big C from time to time.
I think when it IS mentioned then a simple link to the Orion video, or any other, with give them an idea of what it is. It does get much easier after the first or second time.

Heck it's like owning a car, eventually you have to change the oil, or tire. I don't think that stops anyone from buying a car right. I look at it as upkeep and maintenance.

#10 Escher

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

Sorry kfiscus, but I have to disagree as well.

When I was a beginner - had I NOT been told about collimation I would have been VERY upset. Someone spending a significant amount of money needs to know all the pluses and minuses about what they are buying.

Had I been saddled with a $500 scope based on recommendations from the community, and no one warned me about how to set it up and maintain it I would have been very upset. Imagine being a new person, buying a telescope and then when you read the manual and it talks about "getting the best performance out of your telescope" and a chapter explains collimation... I would feel at least a little bit betrayed because someone thought I shouldn't worry about it as a "beginner", yet here in the manual it says its essential for the best performance!

Let the person decide what they want to worry about - and if they can't handle collimation, then they can make an educated decision.

#11 howard929

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:11 AM

+1

We're all adults here and IMO should be treated as such.

#12 newtoskies

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:21 AM

With say a 6" like mine it usually comes collimated. Mine was dead on when I got the scope. So then I went and drastically misaligned it so I could collimate it so I could learn how to do it. Took about 5 minutes to get it perfect again, and since then I have no issues with the big C.
With the video and instructions in the manual one should have no problems. IF this is a big issue then the person should think of getting a refractor instead.

I say it's part of owning a scope. After all, you would not recommend an EQ mount and not tell the person that it has to be polar aligned.....

Just my thoughts.

#13 howard929

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:04 PM

IMHO, there's no need for a new term that anyone needs to hide behind and even though I can't always spel it coreckly, collimation, collimating, is what it is.

#14 Maverick199

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

I was thinking on these lines when I read Jon's reply, so +1 too. What is necessary and which is pointed out regularly by us is that Collimation isn't difficult, its a necessity, that is all.

#15 GpB311

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

I like to make mental pro/con lists for purchases like a telescope, so I was pretty glad to be aware of what I was in for, even if it did intimidate me a little at first.

Its weird how collimation has gone from something I was worried about to a personal challenge for perfection and maximizing what I can get from what I have.

#16 kfiscus

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

We all agree that it's important. My original post said "begin" and "first" because some people seem to mention collimation in their very first response to a newbie, like that's the most important thing of all. It can sound like their choices are 'refractor or something that's awful to deal with'.

#17 Paco_Grande

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

As a newbie, collimation was a tad intimidating at first, now not so. What I did find far more difficult to deal with as a newbie were statements like:

"I wouldn't recommend that scope. An f5 or faster newt is hard on eyepieces."

If one wants to help ease the head-spinning noob syndrome, construct sentences that provide clarity... For a noob, that sentence might as well be written in latin.

#18 Grandpa Jim

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

As a newbie, collimation was a tad intimidating at first, now not so. What I did find far more difficult to deal with as a newbie were statements like:

"I wouldn't recommend that scope. An f5 or faster newt is hard on eyepieces."

If one wants to help ease the head-spinning noob syndrome, construct sentences that provide clarity... For a noob, that sentence might as well be written in latin.


I AGREE!! *Clarify*........instead of just rattling off platitudes!!
Remember - we all don't know what we're doing just yet :)

#19 killdabuddha

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:51 PM


They're always gonna ask. And good thing, cuz that's where we read how to do it and partly why we went with f/6, 2.6" secondary, etc.. Now, doin it is fun. But before the build, there were a few other things, too, that designed the scope more than we did.

#20 rdandrea

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

Safer to use the "C" word here than in the Binos forum.

#21 Paco_Grande

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

They're always gonna ask. And good thing, cuz that's where we read how to do it and partly why we went with f/6, 2.6" secondary, etc.. Now, doin it is fun. But before the build, there were a few other things, too, that designed the scope more than we did.


Off the medication I see? :lol:

#22 Haas

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:25 PM

As a newbie, I will say, once I heard about collimation, I was a little worried, but I you tubed it, got an idea of what it's all about, and it don't really bother me at all. Not intimidated by it, for what it's worth.

#23 GeneT

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:34 PM

After a set up and session or two, it is time to add collimation to the mix. Collimation is not all that difficult. If it is put off too long, the images will blur up and the person won't know why. As I see it, learning collimation is just one of the factors of telescope ownership like focusing, letting the mirror(s) cool down, set up, and so on.

#24 Meadeball

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:08 AM

Now, doin it is fun. But before the build, there were a few other things, too, that designed the scope more than we did.

Huh? :scratchhead:

As a newbie, I will say, once I heard about collimation, I was a little worried, but I you tubed it, got an idea of what it's all about, and it don't really bother me at all.

Er, what ...? :crazyeyes:

#25 killdabuddha

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:32 PM

Naw Paco, Meadeball,

Still on the meds, thx. :jump: For us, and it bein our first scope, we had to do what we could to keep everything as simple as possible. That meant homework to understand how the scope does what it does at its most basic. And as we were bino-viewin and havin to pay for things twice, we also had to keep costs down (no Paracorrs or expensive, uber-corrected EPs). Goin with f/6 got us where we needed to be, and the more forgiving collimation of a slower mirror was a big part of our decision. But I also remember recoiling at things like collimation and central obstruction initially, and wonderin whether these made a Newt an inherently inferior instrument. Glad we looked further.






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