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102 GT vs Z10 as first scope.

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#1 Schaaf

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:20 PM

I know, I know... Aperture is king.


But, it's also the scope you're going to use more right?

I have a chance to get a (never been assembled or used, essentially new) Z10 on CL for 250. (No base, but they're 50 bucks direct from Hayneedle.) Or, I can pick up the Costco special that seems to be getting pretty decent reviews and some nicer eye pieces for around the same price.

There are pros and cons of each one.

I've always wanted a Dob, but it's going to take up a lot of space, it's larger, heavier, and doesn't have goto. *Not a huge, deal, but the tracking aspect of it would be nice. And my interest generally lies in the deep fuzzy things.

The 102 is supposed to offer great views of the planets, and decent images of the other things assuming you have decent eye pieces. The goto is an interesting aspect - mainly for its tracking abilities. It's smaller, lighter and takes up less space, and would be easier to use as a "grab and go" scope. It would be much easier and more suited to my backyard viewing situation too.

My wife thinks that I'd be getting in over my head with the Dob, and that It would be easier for our son to use the 102 someday when I've moved on to a different scope. (Funny how she knows that I'll eventually want a different scope, but fails to realize that it's probably going to be a 10"-12" dob.... I don't think she wants it sitting around the house. We're kinda short on space, so the Wife Acceptance Factor is pretty low on that one.)

Does anyone currently have two scopes of similar apertures? Do you find yourself using one more than the other?
I know I ultimately have to make the decision for myself, but I wanted to get some input and feedback from you guys on here that actually own these things!

Thanks!

#2 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:37 PM

I have a 10" coulter dob and a 90mmETX (go-to Mak-Cass). I use the dob probably 10 times for every 1 of the go-to ETX.

As for the "my son will use it" comment, my boy likes the go-to scope better, but I still have to set it up, align it, find targets, etc...

So I vote get the dob, and build a base for it.

#3 Mike4242

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

A Dob actually takes up less floor space than a refractor mounted on a tripod. Just point the Dob straight up and it takes up about a 2'x2' area.

#4 Dave74

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:51 PM

I keep my AD10 in the garage. There is NOTHING difficult about setting it up. If there's anyway you can keep it in a shed or garage, get the dob. Plus it might be a cool project to build your own base. There's a great ATM forum on this site. I plan on making my own scope eventually.

#5 Meadeball

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:19 PM

Yes, the scope for you is the one you will use more.

In your own initial post, Schaaf, it looks like you have your own answer. Nobody else is going to be able to "convince you" what's right for you.

I've owned an 8-inch newt in the past, and I currently own the 102GT. I don't know the fellow with the ETX who only uses it 1/10th of the time, but as for me, I got rid of my 8-inch because I always found excuses to avoid lugging it out. The 102 sits in the corner all set-up and ready to go, and I can one-hand carry the whole thing outside and be observing in minutes. Less aperture, yes, but not so much as to be a huge difference in the eyepiece on a good clear night. (There are those who will disagree with what I've just said, but I've found the 102 to have some very surprising optics.) You've listed a lot more "personal" pros for the 102 over the Dob. So get what you want, and enjoy it! I'll tell ya this from experience ... with GoTo, I've seen a LOT more stuff with my 102 than I ever took the time to try and find with my non-GoTo 8-inch. I really enjoy spending my observing time observing instead of starhopping and swinging my tube around in weensy circles getting irritated.

That's my opinion; we can all play nice together. :gve:

#6 Dave74

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:26 PM

It's true. To each his own.

#7 kfiscus

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:57 PM

10".

#8 GeneT

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

Get both. :grin:

#9 Fimpster

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:19 PM

I have the Z10 and a Celestron Omni XLT 102ED; same aperture and fl as the NS102GT. As mentioned earlier the Z10 actually takes up less floor space. Just point the Z10 at zenith and it takes up less than 2 sq ft.

Also I personally use my Z10 much more often that my 102. But thats just me. The Z10 is so simple to set up. I grab the tube and my friend or wife grabs the base and its set up and cooling 60 seconds after we get outside. My 102ED takes much more set up and alignment time. Not that its that bad, and the NS102GT would probably be simpler than my 102.

The last few months I've even used my Z10 more than my 8" SCT because of the simple setup. It's great for quick hour long sessions.

Good luck and welcome to CN!

#10 Gary Riley

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:44 PM

I have the Z12 dob and the 102mm Omni XLT f/9.8 refractor as well. The 4 inch is a nice little scope, very good on open clusters, double stars, Moon and planets. But that 10 inch dob you're talking about will show you way more objects with greater resolution than the 4 inch will. The dob is a very simple setup. Set it up outside anywhere from 30 min. to an hour before observing to adjust to the outside temps. and 5 min. or so to check your collimation and your ready to start observing. Maybe do like someone else posted earlier---get both at that price!

Gary

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:58 AM

The 102 is supposed to offer great views of the planets, and decent images of the other things assuming you have decent eye pieces. The goto is an interesting aspect - mainly for its tracking abilities. It's smaller, lighter and takes up less space, and would be easier to use as a "grab and go" scope. It would be much easier and more suited to my backyard viewing situation too.


A few thoughts/experiences:

- "Great views of the planets" is relative. I have owned two Celestron 102mm F/10 achromatic refractors, currently own a TV-NP-101, an fancy apo. The Celestrons provided decent views of the planets but the chromatic aberration is visible and definitely affects contrast and crispness. The NP-101 provides a crisp, clean view but is limited by it's 4 inch aperture.

When I want the "good views" of the planets, that is to see the most detail possible, it's not the NP-101 that I will choose, it's my 10 year old $240 on Astromart, 10 inch F/5 GSO Dobsonian or something even larger. Properly collimated and cooled down, the 10 inch shows significantly more detail than the NP-101 which shows more than the 102mm F/10 achromat.

- The Nexstar GT mount is a decent entry level mount but it is undersized for a 40 inch long, 4 inch refractor. It's a reasonable mount for a shorter, lighter scope but it's just not really up to such a large scope. And, as others have said, if you are going to leave it setup, the 10 inch Dob will take up less floor space.

- When comes to urban, backyard observing, aperture is your friend, it helps you cut through light pollution and see fainter objects. GOTO will help the scope point at the object but it is of little value if you cannot see the object. A larger scope helps one see many objects.

- In my situation, a mounted 40 inch OTA, is not "one hand through the door, out to the backyard ready to go scope." Navigating a 40 inch OTA through a standard door way with a tripod that needs to also clear results in minor bumping and banging... it is just unavoidable without removing the OTA from the mount and probably collapsing the tripod as well.

- I do like and use my 4 inch refractor from my urban backyard but it's short, 26 inches long and fits through the door with only a normal amount of care required. For someone who has been around a number of years with many hours of eyepiece time, a 4 inch is sufficient to see many interesting targets. However, for someone getting started from an urban backyard, I would believe that the larger aperture of the 10 inch Dobsonian is going to be more useful and provide a more satisfying experience.

Jon

#12 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:56 AM

Yes, the scope for you is the one you will use more.

In your own initial post, Schaaf, it looks like you have your own answer. Nobody else is going to be able to "convince you" what's right for you.

I've owned an 8-inch newt in the past, and I currently own the 102GT. I don't know the fellow with the ETX who only uses it 1/10th of the time, but as for me, I got rid of my 8-inch because I always found excuses to avoid lugging it out.

That's my opinion; we can all play nice together. :gve:


Yup, we all play nice here. :) Truth be told, I might use my ETX more, but I am not good as alignment. Seems it takes me 3-4 tries & half an hour to get it slewing on target and tracking proper. True, I can half-effort it, and in 5 minutes get the go-to go get kind of close, and tracking off at an angle, but that kind of defeats the point of a go-to tracking scope, IMHO.

My paper-tube, pressboard-base beast of a 10" is heavy to lug out, true, but I am set up and viewing in a few minutes. , and I don't mind "starhopping and swinging my tube around in weensy circles getting irritated" :)

But like you said, opinions are opinions, and everyone has one. But you do have something I don't - the same go-to scope the OP is looking at. Maybe is it easier to set up & align than my ETX.

#13 Schaaf

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:58 PM

I've pretty much decided that the refractor is out of the picture at this point. It's between a dob and *maybe* a 6se. I might be able to swing it cost wise, but I'm not sure yet. The goto aspect is too appealing. I'd probably still do a 10" dob, but one that doesn't come from CL.

I've always wanted a SE

#14 BigC

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:12 PM

If you are going the SE route, think seriously about getting the 8Se instead of the 6Se;the 8SE has more scope per dollar and takes up no more space as both use the same tripod and mount.

In either case you can minimize floor space by setting the spreader points bewtween the tripod legs when not viewing.Or even set the scope on a shelf and fold up the tripod .

#15 Schaaf

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:15 PM

The six is going to be a stretch (financially) as it is. It was my understanding that the 6 and 8 use the same mount so I could theoretically upgrade just the OTA down the road.

#16 JoLo

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:24 PM

Yeah, go-to is nice, but ultimately you are in it for the views, yes? No contest, go with the Dob. Learning to star hop is rewarding, not as difficult as some portray it, and will reap benefits in the long run. Learn the sky, not what buttons to press!

#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:45 PM

I'd probably still do a 10" dob, but one that doesn't come from CL.



In my mind, Craigslist is the place to buy a Dob. One has to be concerned when buying telescopes that rely on electronics secondhand but a Dob is simple, there is little to go wrong and what can go wrong is easily fixed. If it looks to be in good condition, it almost certainly is in good condition.

Jon

#18 BigC

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

The six is going to be a stretch (financially) as it is. It was my understanding that the 6 and 8 use the same mount so I could theoretically upgrade just the OTA down the road.

Check out Bill Me Later ;you might be able to get a 6 months "same as cash" offer.As long as you pay it off completely on time no interest.Could make either scope a little more easy.

#19 BigC

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:59 PM

I'd probably still do a 10" dob, but one that doesn't come from CL.



In my mind, Craigslist is the place to buy a Dob. One has to be concerned when buying telescopes that rely on electronics secondhand but a Dob is simple, there is little to go wrong and what can go wrong is easily fixed. If it looks to be in good condition, it almost certainly is in good condition.

Jon


Indeed.I have gotten several terrific deals on craigslist Dobs ;some so good I would be accused of gloating or fabrication were I to post the prices! And there is absolutely no doubt that all four were legitimately owned by the sellers.No back alley or meet in McDonald's parking lot deals but "come over to the house and see it".One seller was moving house,one bought a big SCT goto,one lost interest in astronomy,and one just needed the money for other purposes.It is easy to check out a Dob.The hard part is all the time spent looking through the ads.

#20 Schaaf

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:04 PM

Yeah. I suppose.

The z10 on CL looks good. Has never been assembled or used and was apparently purchased at an auction by a guy who doesn't know anything about it other than it doesn't come with a base. Hayneedle sells the base for only 48 bucks which sounds too good to be true, but the guy verified it was the entire lower assembly for the OTA.

You guys make a good argument.

#21 killdabuddha

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:35 PM


You won't be sorry

#22 Locoman

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

Hey Shcaaf,
I have the Z10, "Costco 102GT", C6-N, ST120 and a C6-SCT. I got the Z10 first and enjoyed it every time I used it. The big mistake I made was that I stored the Z10 in my shed. I would use it and dew would form on it and I would put it back into the shed. After two years the mirror got a cloudy look to it and it developed about six or seven pin holes. I haven't had it out for a good look with it for over a year so I'm not sure how the mirror really is. I know it is my fault for at least not storing it in my gargage and making sure to not to put the end cap on until the dew had evaporated. Someday I will have the mirror recoated or buy a new mirror. Anyway, I don't miss hauling it out and hauling it back because it is really heavy to me. For some a 10" dob is portable and I agree but it is still heavy to pick up and carry! I use my other OTA's on my Hal-130 tripod with the goto mount that came with the 102GT. I am completely happy with these scopes using them with this combination. Goto is great because I'm not one who has the time to get out most nights and to stay out all night to observe. I have seen more with it than without it, but the Z10 does go deeper for sure. There is something to be said for portability and the ease of set up. There is no perfect scope but for me if I had start all over again I would start out with a C6-SE or a C8-SE. Both are portable and have goto. No matter what scope you start out with you will always wonder how other scopes will perform and what they are like to use. So for a lot of us it becomes a journey!

#23 JohnMurphyRN

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:25 PM

"And my interest generally lies in the deep fuzzy things."

That just screams for aperture...

#24 csrlice12

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:50 PM

That 10" will blow your socks off at a dark site....

#25 svrider1000

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:20 AM

I had an Orion XT10i and then a 6SE but now I currently have a 8SE and 102GT.

Ok here are two options.

Buy the Dob and find your way around the skies and if you get tired of it you can always sell it for more than $200 and then maybe you can find a scope that you will like better or maybe get the 102GT. When I had my Dob I had to get a RACI finder so that i did not have to bend down all of the time to find objects. Also Telrads are nice if you can see the stars well enough to star hop but you will need a program like Starmap Pro for iPhone or lots of Star Charts

Buy the 102GT and you can later put something else on the mount. I was using my 6SE OTA on my GT mount until today when I got my 8SE and sold the 6SE OTA. The 102GT Mount held my Orion 127 5 inch Mak also with no issues.

Once you get a get a goto scope that is accurate and tracks well you may not want to go back to old way of star hopping. I can go in the house and talk to my wife for a bit and when I come back the object is still in my eye piece.






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