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#1 skybama

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:05 AM

So I've finally decided to bite the bullet and get a telescope. I have read thru many threads here and gathered some very good info. I have also talked with a couple of coworkers who own telescopes. So it comes down to these choices....

Zhumell Z8 or Z10 Dobsonian

or

Orion XT8i

My coworkers recommend the Zhumell, looks like the Orion is the recommended beginner unit here.

So, what's a newb to do? I have been told there may be some disadvantage to the 10 inch Zhumell because of the large mirror size. The 8 inch is a sharper image.

I really like the object locator on the Orion.

So which is the better unit?

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories. Which telescope has a wider array of available accessories?

My goal is to buy the telescope and probably have my wife buy me one awesome accessory for xmas (maybe a barlow). What would be the ultimate eyepiece to compliment each telescope?

Thanks for any input

#2 Don Trinko

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:22 AM

both will be very similar in quality. Made in China, decent mirror but not great. Some get lucky and get a good mirror and some get a not so good mirror.(doesn't help much does it) Don T.

#3 CJK

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

Sorry, I can give you no advice at all, but I wanted to say welcome from one newbie to another! Good luck with your quest!

-- Chris

#4 csrlice12

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

Depends. How well do you know the night sky? Is finding an object fun, or do you prefer to view? If you don't know the sky, want to view, and time is limited, go for the 8XTi. The XTi will help you learn the sky (but you got to pay attention) and will help to identify objects if you do find something in view. If having "help" finding things is not your bag, and the "hunt" excites you as much as the viewing, then go for the 10" and add some setting circles to it (total cost about $50 + your labor) and some sky charts and you're ready to go. One word, however. Depending on your finances, the 10" is a much faster scope then the 8", and is less forgiving of cheaper eyepieces. The 8" will give you some good views with moderately priced eyepieces (plossels will work with either). The ES68* and 82* series eyepieces work great in either scope. I recommend the 24mm and the 11mm 82* as these are both fantastic eyepieces for their price (24mm~$200, 11mm $99)

#5 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:37 AM

So I've finally decided to bite the bullet and get a telescope. I have read thru many threads here and gathered some very good info. I have also talked with a couple of coworkers who own telescopes. So it comes down to these choices....

Zhumell Z8 or Z10 Dobsonian

or

Orion XT8i

My coworkers recommend the Zhumell, looks like the Orion is the recommended beginner unit here.

So, what's a newb to do? I have been told there may be some disadvantage to the 10 inch Zhumell because of the large mirror size. The 8 inch is a sharper image.

I really like the object locator on the Orion.

So which is the better unit?

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories. Which telescope has a wider array of available accessories?

My goal is to buy the telescope and probably have my wife buy me one awesome accessory for xams (maybe a barlow). What would be the ultimate eyepiece to compliment each telescope?

Thanks for any input


The Zhumell gets you a better "kit" out of the box, 2-speed focuser, 2" widefield eyepiece, mirror fan, better finder etc... However with the Orion you will see more stuff starting out, not because the scope is better, but just because you will find it quicker with the Intilliscope COL. Myself, I don't have a COL, and mostly don't miss it. Most nights I enjoy star-hopping, but every now and again, I just want to look at stuff... With the Z10, your only option would be "manual" setting circles, either home-made or something like the "Halo" sold at Optics-planet. (BTW, their Apertura scopes are clones of the Zhumell)

As for the 10 vs 8, the 10 is "faster" (lower f/#) so some less expensive eyepieces will show more 'coma' - streaking of stars near the edge of the field. My 10" is faster than the zhumell (f4.5 vs f4.9) and I don't find the coma to be an issue - I see it, but it does not bother me. Other do mind it, so personal preference rules here. Other than coma, the 8" will not be any "clearer" with the same eyepieces. Plus the 10" will pull more light, making those faint-fuzzes a bit more brighter/clearer.

Accessories - both scopes will take almost any accessory that the other will take - most are not brand specific.

IMHO, you decision should be between the Z10 and XT8i.

#6 skybama

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

Depends. How well do you know the night sky? Is finding an object fun, or do you prefer to view? If you don't know the sky, want to view, and time is limited, go for the 8XTi. The XTi will help you learn the sky (but you got to pay attention) and will help to identify objects if you do find something in view. If having "help" finding things is not your bag, and the "hunt" excites you as much as the viewing, then go for the 10" and add some setting circles to it (total cost about $50 + your labor) and some sky charts and you're ready to go. One word, however. Depending on your finances, the 10" is a much faster scope then the 8", and is less forgiving of cheaper eyepieces. The 8" will give you some good views with moderately priced eyepieces (plossels will work with either). The ES68* and 82* series eyepieces work great in either scope. I recommend the 24mm and the 11mm 82* as these are both fantastic eyepieces for their price (24mm~$200, 11mm $99)


I don't know the sky at all except that in mid-summer the big dipper is right out my back door. I live in North Alabama just outside Huntsville so I think light pollution is minimal. I would prefer to view rather than hunt but I also prefer quality over budget. My coworker recommended the ES14mm 82* eyepiece. The Zhumell comes with a laser collimator which is a plus.

#7 mjs

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:50 AM

Portability and usability wise, it's tough to best an 8" dob. I have a Z8 and am very pleased with it; the Orion scope should compare closely in quality and it has the Intelliscope feature you think you want, so I think you ought to go with that.

10" is better than 8" but also bulkier and heavier for not that much more aperture.

Mile

#8 Dave74

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:56 AM

Some get lucky and get a good mirror and some get a not so good mirror.(doesn't help much does it) Don T.


After months of research before purchasing and the time since, this is the first I've heard of GSO mirror quality being hit or miss. I guess I must be one of the lucky ones, because my views have been great.

#9 BoriSpider

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

Hi, and welcome to CN.
The XTi version is great to have because you can use it,
or turn it off and practice your star-hopping.

All-in-all they're all good dobs, get the deal that best
suits you. Oh, and consider used equipment for bigger savings.

#10 frito

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:11 AM

10's are not *much* better than 8's as far as light gathering goes. its not a large difference. same with their resolution and the resolution could be effected by mirror quality as well so thats another variable. it's one reason why i'm extremely reluctant to "upgrade" to a 10" from my 8" all i'm getting is 50% more light gathering and say slightly higher resolution but with added size, weight and a faster mirror and that also lends itself to be harder to make good quality and as they are mass produced its not out of the question that they could be more likely worse quality than the F/6 8" mass produced mirrors.

i've also determined this because quite a few people i know in my club have 10" Orion and GSO scopes and i have yet to see an object they could see and i could not in my 8" and objects in general don't look much if any brighter or detailed than they do in my 8. once you start getting into the 12" + size range however the difference is much more visible and that is why i have determined if i buy a bigger light bucket its going to be a 12" or larger.

anyways done ranting for now, OP buy what you want to buy. all the scopes you mentioned are great first scopes and will serve you well. don't worry your self with the laser collimator esp if you end up looking harder at the 8" scopes . they are slow enough scopes at F/5.9 they don't require or even really need it. i'm still using a collimation cap and don't really even care to buy anything fancier. i'd rather put that money into eyepieces or gas. the intelliscope is a nice feature but you will still need to learn the stars a bit so you can align it properly. the good thing about them though is if you wish to not use it there is nothing stopping you from doing so.

#11 jfaust75

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:12 AM

mine too........with the guarantee you get on any of these brand new scopes i wouldnt factor that in at all(if its bad you can get replaced but i think that is few and far between)

Id vote for the XTi because you said you dont know the sky and are more interested in viewing than hunting......the nice thing about the intelliscope is after you learn where something is,or if you just want to hunt you can use it without the "help".

8" is perfect for a beginer also, its big enough to show you lots, but not too big and the 8" is "easier" on eyepieces(as in you can get away with cheaper eyepieces and still have great views)

#12 jfaust75

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

Some get lucky and get a good mirror and some get a not so good mirror.(doesn't help much does it) Don T.


After months of research before purchasing and the time since, this is the first I've heard of GSO mirror quality being hit or miss. I guess I must be one of the lucky ones, because my views have been great.


the " mine too" comment was aimed at this........i thought id be next response but two snuck in before me.....lol

#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:43 AM

If you don't know the sky at all, the Intelliscope would be a huge plus, but the fullOrion go to and tracking suite on the XXg 8 and 10 inch Dobs would be even better. Might consider them as an option.

#14 Billytk

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:38 PM

Get the Orion XT8I you won't regret it.

#15 SteveG

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:13 PM

I've had an XT Orion dob and currently have an Astro Tech 8" dob (same as Zhumell). The Zhumell (Or AT) design for the dob base is much better than the Orion in my opinion. The balancing altitude bearing system on the Zhumell is worlds beyond the stiff spring used on the Orion. The Zhumell has a very nice lazy susan bearing on the azimuth - the Orion uses just plastic pads if I'm not mistaken. The Zhumell comes with better accessories too. If you do go with the Zhumell, please consider getting it from our sponsor:
https://www.astronom...escopes_c3.aspx

#16 BigC

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

The 10" gathers ONLY 55% more light and has ONLY 20% more resolution so I just don't know why anyone would want the bigger scope!And it is a whole $100 more money.(Tongue firmly in cheek!!!)

If you want to see the most objects,thw faintest objects then of course you want the bigger scope.Aperture rules,all else being equal.



I have owned and used a variety of non-goto Dobs:a Galileo 80mm, a Bushnell 4.5,Starblast 4.5,Bushnell Ares 6,Orion XT 8 classic, Z10,and Z12. EVERY step up in aperture reveals more.

Get the biggest scope you are comfortable handling.

I think the Zhumells come with a azimuth circle on the base(my Z10 had one;my Z12 was found baseless and price discounted ) and a Jon mentioned in another thread you may buy a digital level from Sears (go online they have a sale now).The digital level will give you an elevation angle.If you use the free program Stellarium or some others then you can find objects by moving the scope to the corresponding AZ and EL numbers as given by the computer.

Thanks to Jon's tip ,my digital level is on order because I opted to upgrade to one with a built-in laser pointer and built-in calculator of angular differences (about $45).Its magnetic base should grab the steel tube of the Z12.Even if one's Dob has no azimuth circle it really shouldn't be hard to add one.

#17 BigC

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

Definitely get the 2" Barlow as your first accesory.The 2" Barlow should come with a 2" to 1.25" adapter -Zhumell's does and all others I have viewed online but check to be sure.The 2" size will allow you to increase the power of th big eyepieces and still be useful with the smaller 1.25" but a 1.25" barlow restricts you to that size.I like to use a Celestron 2" E-lux in the 2" Barlow for nice medium power views.Pop a 2" 40 or 50mm plossl without barlow in the focuser for the "big picture".

#18 frito

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:04 PM

The 10" gathers ONLY 55% more light and has ONLY 20% more resolution so I just don't know why anyone would want the bigger scope!And it is a whole $100 more money.(Tongue firmly in cheek!!!)

If you want to see the most objects,the faintest objects then of course you want the bigger scope.Aperture rules,all else being equal.


I don't disagree with you. i was just stating the facts. once you get past 8" it takes larger and larger increases in aperture to double the light gathering, this in turn means the difference in what one can see in an 8 vs a 10" scope is not as large as one might expect. in my experience and i'm not sure maybe i just got a good mirror in my XT8 but i can't see much if any difference between it and other folk's 10" scopes all being used at the same time at the same place.

now other peoples 12" on through 22" dob's i've viewed things in before do show large changes in the detail seen. the nicer ones like the starmasters and obsessions i've looked through show amazing amounts of detail.

#19 Gary Riley

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:13 PM

An 8 inch dob will show you a tremendous amount of night sky objects. It would be very portable and easy to setup. The Zhumell (Apertura/Astro-Tech) and Orion are all decent quality scopes for the price.

If you are just starting out then you might want to consider the Orion XT8i. I don't own one but if I had it to do over I would have probably chosen one with the Intelliscope Object Locator to help save some time in locating objects quicker, especially if you live in a fairly light polluted area. But even with the object locator you really should work at becoming real familiar with the night sky.

According to Orion's site the XT8i comes with an 9x50 RACI finder scope which is good. Also it comes with two plossl eyepieces: 10mm and 25mm which should be fair eyepieces starting out.

Whether you purchase an Orion, Zhumell, etc. you will still need to consider adding some of these to your equipment list: Cheshire sight-tube collimating tool for aligning your two mirrors; 2x shorty style Barlow lens for doubling the power of your eyepieces (1.25 inch Orion Shorty Barlow or the GSO 2 inch with the 1.25 inch adapter); 1.25 inch variable polarizing Moon filter; 1.25 inch narrowband filter for viewing certain types of nebulae (Orion Ultrablock or something like the Baader UHC-S, or Lumicon, etc.).

You will probably want to look at getting at least one better quality eyepiece beyond what comes with the scope. The 25mm eyepiece that comes with the XTi will be ok as your low power finder eyepiece to start out with. The 10mm will probably have a fairly small eye relief. You may wish to consider something in the 68-82 degree and with larger eye relief such as around 15-20mm range such as the Baader Hyperions, Orion Stratus (both offer 68 degree FOV and 20mm E.R.) or maybe the Explore Scientific 82 degree eyepieces an eyepiece in the 10mm-17mm range for medium/high powers.

And of course decent star charts (S&T Pocket Sky Atlas) for example and or books such as Turn Left at Orion, Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders, The Nightsky Observer's Guide vol. 1 & 2, etc. Of course there is computer astronomy freeware such as Stellarium and Sky Safari that you can purchase for your smartphone.

Any of those scopes you listed would be good.

Good luck and enjoy!
Gary

#20 Achernar

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:24 PM

If you do not need glasses and do not mind the relatively short eye-relief, the ES 82 degree eyepieces are exellent for deep sky objects. They also do well on the planets too, but there is some distortion and lateral color near the edge of the field of view. I have all of them except for the 30mm model, they work very well when used with my 10 and 15-inch F/4.5 Dobs, which are tough on eyepieces. A laser collimator is not however what I recommend for a collimation tool, unless you pay the bucks for a good one. They must be collimated to be of any use, if they are not your telesope will be way out of collimation. A sight tube and Cheshire eyepiece is simple and easy to use, and very accurate if your primary mirror has a center dot on it. Most commerical telescopes come with one. For now, a Telrad teamed up with a 50mm finder will help you bag those objects, and later you can put digital setting circles on the telescope. I use them on my 10 and 15-inch Dobs, once initialized they make locating objects much easier, especially from suburban or urban areas.

Taras

#21 GeneT

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:20 PM

If of equal quality in mirror figure, there will not be a sharper image in an eight vs. a 10. The 8 is a nice sized Dob, but I have found that the 10 is not all that much more difficult to haul and handle than an 8. I recommend you visit a star party held by your local astronomy club to note the differences. Eight and 10 inch Dobs are very popular sizes and should be readily available.

#22 Dave74

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:20 PM

Also, an adjustable chair.

#23 Saneless

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:45 AM

I felt like there was no rush in finding the objects in the sky. I wanted this to be a hobby that was interesting, rewarding, and actually built a skill all while making me familiar with my surroundings.

Much like I feel I have absolutely no idea what the layout of a city is like if I stick to GPS, I didn't want that to happen with the sky. Soo, I felt like it wasn't necessary. Everything that's in the sky will stay in the sky, and it's up to me to build my skill to earn the right to see it. I wanted a challenge everytime I stepped outside. What would an intelliscope do for me? So I can just buzz through all the objects in the sky. Big whoop. I really just didn't see the point.

Aside from that, I didn't feel like it was worth the $300 premium for the intelliscope version.

If in the end I regret it, I can always get another scope like a go-to. But I wanted my beginner scope something that taught me to appreciate finding things on my own. I'll never forget the first time I went through all the hard work to find andromeda. It made the fairly unimpressive image actually very satisfying.

#24 rforrester

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:42 AM

Hi Skybama,
I am guessing you are from Alabama. If so what part? I live in a small city north west of Birmingham.

#25 skybama

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:30 AM

Hi Skybama,
I am guessing you are from Alabama. If so what part? I live in a small city north west of Birmingham.


I'm just north of Huntsville.

Thanks for all the suggestions. This has been a fairly difficult decision because i tend to jump into things head first and buy the best equipment available. But, all things considered, I think I am going with the Z8. It is very afforable right now and I can always upgrade later. The Intelliscope would certainly be nice but I think the Z8 will force me to "learn" the sky.






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