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What telescope for $1000 budget? For beginner.

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#1 Juggernaut

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

Hi,

I have a $1000 budget to buy the best telescope I can.

Can you please make a good recommendation for what I might consider?

I am new to astronomy.

My requirements:
1) Cannot be dobsonian because I need to move it easily - just a tripod and the telescope as 2 basic parts to transport.

2) I need it to have a mount for a Nikon DSLR camera (or be compatible with such a mount)

3) I want it to have that feature (is it called go-to?) which will find and track what you are looking for once you have calibrated it.

4) The best image quality I can get within these confines.

I hope my list of requirements is not unreasonable.

I would appreciate any advice.

Thanks!
Juggernaut

#2 obin robinson

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:40 PM

Hello there and welcome aboard. There are a lot of great people here who can help you out. Before we help tough they will want to know what you are trying to view. Far away galaxies? Asteroids? Planets? Satellites? Star clusters? If you are just trying to do astrophotography you may not even need a telescope. A good equatorial mount and a quality apochromatic camera lens may be enough.

obin ;)

#3 jerwin

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:03 AM

Astrophotography gets kind of tricky on a $1000 budget. The mount is the most important part of this. You'll want a Equatorial mount so it can properly track the sky as smooth as possible. Celestron makes an advanced VX mount that is getting good reviews, but the mount alone is 799. They make a 6" newtonian that rides on that advanced vx for 899 total.

you can get adapters that will hook your camera to the scope no problem, you want a nikon t-ring and something like a t camera adapter.

Honestly you're probably better off to post your question in the astrophotography forum and see what the guys say over there. There is also a post at the top of the beginners forum called why oh why AP for beginners that I'd suggest reading some of. AP can be kind of a money pit when you cut corners, and I think can be a bigger money pit when you buy the right equipment. However buying better equipment the first time saves you grief later on.

Anyway, welcome to cloudynights, and good luck to you.

Clear skies
Jim

#4 Maverick199

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:19 AM

You need a telescope on an equatorial mount as you want to add a DSLR. But still that will not solve your issue of 'moving it easily'. These tripods are heavy, even the basic CG-5 with weights.

You can get an Alt/Az mount and scope like the Nexstar and still do a decent amount of AP with Nikon DSLR. Check the Nexstar forums for some of the images and comments made over there.

#5 lamplight

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:17 AM

Hi and welcome!

I like the reflector on eq suggestion, or equally a small refactor like 80mm on eq. But then you're left with very little for accessories. :(

Your # 1 is ns not really met by doing astrophotography: need a good sturdy mount with plenty of weight capacity for whatever scope you get, the scope, counterweights, power supply. I could go on.. (Computer?).. Still a small scope setup won't be murder to move but just wanted to mention its not as simple as we all would hope it to be. :confused:

That said you can do tons of experimenting with a dslr and one of the scope types recommended.. I've barely begun myself, too busy enjoying finding objects with the scope :confused:

#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:33 AM

I don't think you can get what you really have in the back of your mind, but I think you can come close.

Two cautions. You can't do serious astrophotography on your budget, especially when you take the other criteria into account. But you can certainly have fun messsing around.

Contrary to appearances, 8-inch Dobsonians are in fact quite easy to move around. Anything that's much more portable will also be much more limited in capability.

Having said all that, it seems very likely that the telescope that will satisfy you best is some kind of catadioptric -- probably an SCT -- on a Go To mount.

#7 kenrenard

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:40 AM

If you are completely new do you have a pair of binoculars? They are the best beginner and experience tool you can have.
Also do you belong to a local Astronomy club? I would look into joining one. Photography can get tricky and very expensive.
For something simple you may want to look into a Celestron 6SE or a Meade ETX Goto.

Here is a link to the Nexstar 6SE
http://www.celestron...exstar-6se.html
I know of two folks in our astronomy club that own them. They are very good scopes with go to and you can take pictures with a DSLR. Although not long exposer pictures. This leaves you a little bit of room for eyepieces, books, etc.

With all that said a dob is very easy to move especially in the 6-8 inch range. I can be set up in under 30 seconds. But if your heart is set on a pictures that rules out the dob.

Hope this is helpful.

Ken

#8 edwincjones

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:24 AM

"I am new to astronomy"

back to the basics
1-join a club
2-naked eye viewing until you can find yourself around the sky
3-hand held binoculars (any size will do now)
4-then get a scope

There are 50,000+ members on CNs, and we can give you 50,000 different opinions, but what you really want, what you enjoy will be up to what appeals to you-something we do not know, and you probably do not either.
Going to star parties, looking at the various options, will help you decide much better than our recommendations

from someone who has spent a lot money to discover that he does not want,
edj

#9 kenrenard

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:43 AM

"I am new to astronomy"

back to the basics
1-join a club
2-naked eye viewing until you can find yourself around the sky
3-hand held binoculars (any size will do now)
4-then get a scope

There are 50,000+ members on CNs, and we can give you 50,000 different opinions, but what you really want, what you enjoy will be up to what appeals to you-something we do not know, and you probably do not either.
Going to star parties, looking at the various options, will help you decide much better than our recommendations

from someone who has spent a lot money to discover that he does not want,
edj


Ed,
I think you have explained it perfectly. We can always buy something, in the beginning we don't even know what we want or need!

Ken

#10 Jay Wise

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

Dear Jug,
You have close to $1000 worth of good advice on this thread alone! Tony Flanders is an editor with SKY and TELESCOPE and a specialist in astrophotography. Ignore his advice at your peril! Ed's advice is spot on as well. For $1000 you will have trouble beating a 6"SE or a 6" Meade LT. All you can do with a camera at entry level astronomy is noodle around and have some fun. Either of the 6" scopes can however keep you exploring for years when used as a visual scope.

JayW

#11 csrlice12

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

visit a star party and look thru the various scopes....you might even change your mind about a dob.......Orion has an 8" dob with GoTo (Visual only) for about that price.

#12 drbyyz

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:55 PM

You've received quite a bit of advice about astrophotography but it wasn't clear to me that's what you were asking about...is that indeed what you want to do? Or do you just want the mount to also be used for your camera? I think we all assumed you meant astrophotography, but please clarify for us what you plan to do with the camera.

To add on to others advice, if you are new, you probably don't know what you want or need yet. I definitely suggest seeing if you can get to an observing session with a local club and try a few different scopes. Unless you live somewhere weird, everyone will be very friendly and have no issue letting you take a look through their equipment(as long as you are polite and careful!)

I'd also suggest perhaps spending a small portion of your budget(or utilizing a local library if that's an option) on a book. I recommend Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson. A book like this will give you a great insight as to what different types of scopes are out there, and the pros and cons of each type.

Also, continue to use and abuse(well maybe not) these forums, there is an incredible amount of information contained here. All you need to do is search, or ask.

And Welcome!!!!

#13 GeneT

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

Take a look at this telescope. Given your budget, it may be a good choice.

https://www.astronom...ct-telescope...

#14 Juggernaut

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:32 PM

Hi all. Thank you for the information.

To clarify, as drbyyz suggested, I am not looking to focus on astrophotography - I want a good scope to see deep space objects and some casual capability to take pictures of space objects from time to time - casual photography only.

My only real experience is with the telescopes I have borrowed. None of them have been able to see Jupiter as anything more than a white circle - no definition at all. I want something better than those.

During my first check I found this scope which seems pretty good to me. It says it has a camera adapter, but I don't know if that means it is universal or not. It is a bit above my budget, but that is ok:
http://www.telescope...r-Telescopes...

Any problems, concerns with this scope?

I won't buy right now - just trying to learn what is what - trying to get rid of some of my ignorance and learn what I didn't know I didn't know :-)

Thanks!
Juggernaut

#15 csrlice12

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:29 PM

A large Newt on an EQ Mount is a wild beast to control. It not only takes a lot of setup, but you have to lift that OTA (about 20-25lbs) way up and hold it steady (and with that weight, it ain't gonna want to remain steady) to get it mounted. Plus, any butterfly in the area beats its wings, and your scope's gonna turn into a wind sock. Truthfully, a large newt on an EQ mount is NOT a beginner scope. And truthfully, that scope is WAY too much for that mount. If you are looking for something with GoTo and future AP, I'd get at a minimum a CG5 Mount. For the scope, maybe a 650-800mm refractor (maybe a bottom level APO). This will give you a visual widefield scope, but being an APO, you can push the power better then an achromat for planetary/lunar use. It could also do entry-to intermediate level AP.

#16 kenrenard

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

Take a look at this telescope. Given your budget, it may be a good choice.

https://www.astronom...ct-telescope...



I agree with Gene. These are easy to use and set up and I have viewed through quite a few at my local club. They are quite popular and capable. You may be able to find one used. I know specifically one member who uses a standard T ring adapter with a DSLR with the 6SE and has taken some decent lunar and planetary images.

Also just about any telescope that is decent will show detail on Jupiter. I am not sure what you looked through but even a 60mm refractor will show the two main bands.

I would stay away from the 8 inch eq mounted scope you sent that will be a bit of work to set up and this may prohibit you from using it as much. You want to start with something you can set up quick and observe. I think the Nexstars fit that with the ability to find and track.


Ken

#17 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:41 PM

Find a used CG5-ASGT mount for less than $500.00. One recently sold on the CN classifieds for $400.00 with upgrades. Then choose either an 8" SCT or a 80-90mm refractor. There is an AT 80mm ED Trip for $550.00 on the classifieds right now. Now you just need the adapter for your camera, an extension tube for propper back focus, a celestron serial cable and usb to serial adapter and make sure you have the correct power supply that you want to use. Either battery 12v or 110v. You're all set!

#18 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:50 PM

During my first check I found this scope which seems pretty good to me. It says it has a camera adapter, but I don't know if that means it is universal or not. It is a bit above my budget, but that is ok:
http://www.telescope...r-Telescopes...


I'm not sure what the "camera adapter" in question actually is. You could call and ask. It might just be a 1/4-20 bolt on the tube rings that allows the camera to ride "piggyback" on the scope but not actually shoot through it.

Nothing wrong with piggyback photography by the way; it's a great way to break into the field. But it's only good for wide fields of constellations or star fields, not close-ups of individual objects.

In any case, a camera adapter is a standard commodity, readily purchased. One end goes into a standard 1.25-inch or 2-inch focuser; the other end attaches to a standard T mount. And you can easily buy T adapters for any camera model. All this does cost money, of course ...

Be aware that this scope is seriously big and heavy -- much less portable than an 8-inch Dob. Also, the tripod is a bit tall for a Newtonian; you will probably sometimes need a short stepladder or stepstool to reach the eyepiece.

Also, equatorial-mounted Newtonians have a problem with tube rotation. With all equatorial mounts the tube rotates as the mount tracks the sky -- that's why they're needed for photography. But it means that the eyepiece can end up at some very awkward angles. You can fix this by leveling the tube, loosening the tube rings, rotating the tube, tightening the tube rings, and then returning the scope to the original position. But that takes time. And it takes some experience to guess just how to rotate the tube so that the eyepiece will be right after the scope has been returned to its original position.

You can buy "rotating rings" that allow you to rotate the tube without first returning it to a level position. But they're not cheap. If you loosen conventional tube rings without first leveling the tube bad things happen. Been there, done that.

Many if not most Newtonians have a problem coming to focus with a camera at prime focus. The problem is that the camera body takes up an extra inch or two, so the focuser needs to be racked an inch or two inward of its normal position when using an eyepiece. I don't know if that's possible with this scope. Again, you could ask.

The SkyView Pro mount is pretty robust; however, the tube is a lot for a mount of this class to handle. My guess is that it will work beautifully for visual use but not be steady enough for long-exposure photography.

I'm not saying this is a bad scope; it's undoubtedly ideal for some people. But as a rule of thumb for the average beginner, I'd say that if you want a reflector, you should buy a Dob. And if you want an equatorial mount, you should buy a catadioptric (if you want substantial aperture) or a refractor (if you don't mind small aperture).

#19 geekgroupie

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:14 PM

NexStar Se.... 5", 6" or 8". The bigger the better. Great portablility.... I travel much for my job. The OTA slides off easily, tripod legs shorten and fits nicely in back seats of my vehicle

#20 Paco_Grande

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:25 PM

Ok, so dropping the idea of a goto computerized mount for a second, this is a lot of scope for $400.

http://www.optcorp.c...?pid=1086-13719

I'm one of the guys who thinks a Newtonian on an alt/az mount is the bee's knees. :)

But if the Goto is really what you want, in that price range, how can you go wrong with a 6SE or an 8SE? :shrug: You can't!

Lastly, if you can wrap your head around a Dobsonian, the Orion XT10i will blow your mind.

If you're in the SF Bay area, I'll sell you my CPC800 for what a new 8SE will cost you. Maybe even a bit less. :)

#21 geekgroupie

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:28 PM

good post, Paco

#22 hectar

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:53 PM

During my first check I found this scope which seems pretty good to me. It says it has a camera adapter, but I don't know if that means it is universal or not. It is a bit above my budget, but that is ok:
http://www.telescope...r-Telescopes...


I'm not sure what the "camera adapter" in question actually is. You could call and ask. It might just be a 1/4-20 bolt on the tube rings that allows the camera to ride "piggyback" on the scope but not actually shoot through it.

Nothing wrong with piggyback photography by the way; it's a great way to break into the field. But it's only good for wide fields of constellations or star fields, not close-ups of individual objects.

In any case, a camera adapter is a standard commodity, readily purchased. One end goes into a standard 1.25-inch or 2-inch focuser; the other end attaches to a standard T mount. And you can easily buy T adapters for any camera model. All this does cost money, of course ...

Be aware that this scope is seriously big and heavy -- much less portable than an 8-inch Dob. Also, the tripod is a bit tall for a Newtonian; you will probably sometimes need a short stepladder or stepstool to reach the eyepiece.

Also, equatorial-mounted Newtonians have a problem with tube rotation. With all equatorial mounts the tube rotates as the mount tracks the sky -- that's why they're needed for photography. But it means that the eyepiece can end up at some very awkward angles. You can fix this by leveling the tube, loosening the tube rings, rotating the tube, tightening the tube rings, and then returning the scope to the original position. But that takes time. And it takes some experience to guess just how to rotate the tube so that the eyepiece will be right after the scope has been returned to its original position.

You can buy "rotating rings" that allow you to rotate the tube without first returning it to a level position. But they're not cheap. If you loosen conventional tube rings without first leveling the tube bad things happen. Been there, done that.

Many if not most Newtonians have a problem coming to focus with a camera at prime focus. The problem is that the camera body takes up an extra inch or two, so the focuser needs to be racked an inch or two inward of its normal position when using an eyepiece. I don't know if that's possible with this scope. Again, you could ask.

The SkyView Pro mount is pretty robust; however, the tube is a lot for a mount of this class to handle. My guess is that it will work beautifully for visual use but not be steady enough for long-exposure photography.

I'm not saying this is a bad scope; it's undoubtedly ideal for some people. But as a rule of thumb for the average beginner, I'd say that if you want a reflector, you should buy a Dob. And if you want an equatorial mount, you should buy a catadioptric (if you want substantial aperture) or a refractor (if you don't mind small aperture).

I agree with Tony. Here is a another smaller newtonian but it has AVX mount. (They were offering it with free shipping couple of weeks ago, not any more).
I would suggest to start with better mount and smaller scopes...
http://www.bhphotovi...advancd_vx_6...

#23 cpsTN

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:12 AM

Judging by most of what you want, I suggest the Celestron SE6 (or 5). By the way, dobs CAN be moved in two pieces. :)

#24 Brad Greig

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

I'd agree with the 8SE. That was my second telescope. The goto is a nice feature. It's not too terribly heavy, even when completely assembled.

The Orion XT10i was my first telescope. That's a great one too, but the goto of the 8SE is nice to have, especially when others are looking through the scope and they don't know how to follow the object being viewed.

I have since moved on to dabble in AP, recently acquiring an Orion Atlas mount, with a 8" Newt on the way. But as previously mentioned, this gets very heavy and very expensive quite quickly.

The SCT adapter and T ring for the 8SE is quite inexpensive. You can start there with short exposure AP. Then see where it goes from there.

Good luck!

#25 Juggernaut

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

Take a look at this telescope. Given your budget, it may be a good choice.

https://www.astronom...ct-telescope...


Hi,

How does it compare in image quality to the one I was looking at:

http://www.telescope...r-Telescopes...

They are both 8 inch but I know there is more to image quality than the number of inches...

Thanks!
Juggernaut






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