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What telescope for $1000 budget? For beginner.

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#26 Tony Flanders

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:44 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...


I'd have to compare them side by side to tell, and there might well be more variation between two different scopes of the same design than between the designs. Probably pretty close, is my guess.

#27 Paco_Grande

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

I'm going out on a limb and say the Newt will probably show a bit more contrast. But it's one of those things that you could only see with them side by side. And even then it might not matter to most.

I have several Newts and am never tempted to use them on an EQ mount. It just seems a nightmare to me. They're awesome on an alt/az or Dobsonian (which is alt/az.) Dealing with the size and weight, and the likely weird EP position with a Newt on an EQ, is not for the faint of heart. You gotta be committed to use one. LOL.

There's a reason why Celestron sells a gazillion 8 and 6SEs. They're just so good all around.

Maybe the Newt/EQ hardware is calling your soul - so be it. We're just trying to suggest another view. Sometimes even the experts are wrong. You might fall in love with a Newt on an EQ. Who knows? :shrug:

View-wise, you're not going to be disappointed with either.

#28 Juggernaut

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:11 PM

I'm going out on a limb and say the Newt will probably show a bit more contrast. But it's one of those things that you could only see with them side by side. And even then it might not matter to most.

I have several Newts and am never tempted to use them on an EQ mount. It just seems a nightmare to me. They're awesome on an alt/az or Dobsonian (which is alt/az.) Dealing with the size and weight, and the likely weird EP position with a Newt on an EQ, is not for the faint of heart. You gotta be committed to use one. LOL.

There's a reason why Celestron sells a gazillion 8 and 6SEs. They're just so good all around.

Maybe the Newt/EQ hardware is calling your soul - so be it. We're just trying to suggest another view. Sometimes even the experts are wrong. You might fall in love with a Newt on an EQ. Who knows? :shrug:

View-wise, you're not going to be disappointed with either.


Hi,

I don't have a bias. Easier to move around for similar image quality sounds good to me. I guess I am more concerned because I have used a Newt before with good results and one like the Celestron with poor results, but I do not know the specifications of either, unfortunately, so it is not a valid concern.

Another ignorant question - are their "zoom" capability the same? At least with cameras, 200 mm on one camera might be 300 mm on another...depends on the sensor.

Thanks!
Juggernaut

#29 Gregen

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

I'd go for any dobsonian :dob:. You can probably get a 10inch for 1000. If the viewer is real young- 5-7 I would go in the investment of a goto. But if not go for the aperture and get a nice dob! Good luck! :grin:

#30 Gregen

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:30 PM

Sorry I just read your whole post. So because you need transport and you want to take astrophotos, I'd go for a small, but nice, refractor that is only 5'' s. I would not dive right into astrophotography right away though ( i know it's tempting) It is a super complicated process that takes lots of time and practice. Also if you want to get the best experience I would say go for a non goto and just a tracking motor because it teaches you to navigate through the sky and really teaches you your way around the sky. Now if you still do want to take astrophotos, and you have a Nikon, guessing a D3100, you should buy a simple light projection photography tube. You can get them from Meade and Orion. You should also try prime focus later. Good luck to whatever you chose though. It may be rough in the beginning but it is worth it with a lifetime passion.

#31 Tony Flanders

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:02 AM

I guess I am more concerned because I have used a Newt before with good results and one like the Celestron with poor results.


There were some poor SCTs made back in the 70s and 80s, but the ones made in the last decade seem to have consistently high quality.

Both SCTs and Newts need to be collimated properly, and will perform arbitrarily badly if the collimation is sufficiently bad.

The one indisputable advantage of the Newt from an optical standoint is that it has better wide-field ability, in other words it can achieve lower magnifications.

The other difference is that the Newt is equatorial mounted. In theory that makes it suitable for long-exposure astrophotography, which the alt-az mounted 8SE definitely is not. However, I have my doubts about whether that mount is adequate for the job with that optical tube.

Without a doubt, the EQ-mounted Newt would allow longer piggyback exposures; the mount certainly should be good enough for that.

Beyond that, equatorial and alt-azimuth mounts have radically different feels -- hard to describe. The ergonomics are considerably better with an alt-az mount. And they're inherently simpler and lighter.

#32 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:45 AM

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


Hi:

The two scopes in question are the Celestron 8SE and the Orion SkyView Pro8 Goto, an 8 inch F/5 Newtonian on a Sky View Pro Mount. My thinking:

8 inch Orion SkyView Pro: I like Newtonians, have a number of them that I use on a regular basis. I do have an 8 inch F/5 Newtonian on Celestron CG-5 ASGT mount, the scope is the same as the Orion but the mount is beefier. In my opinion, the Sky View Pro undersized for a 8 inch F/5 Newtonian. Celestron is coming out with an upgraded version of the CG5-ASGT mount, that would be the one to choose.

8 inch Celestron on the VX mount

Between the 8SE and an 8 inch F/5 Newtonian I would choose the Newtonian but for most people I would recommend the 8 inch SCT. Newtonians on Equatorial mounts put the observer is some awkward positions, you tangle with the counterweight and the tripod trying to get to the eyepiece. As you move around the sky, the tube rotates and so the focuser rotates. The tube needs to be frequently rotated in the rings, this can be awkward, the tube can slip, you can lose alignment.

The advantage of the Newtonian is that it is capable of a wider field of view, cools faster. On the downside, it will require more frequent collimation... it's bigger.

Alt-az mounts are in general more comfortable than Equatorial mounts, the tube does not rotate. The SCT has a short tube so the eyepiece position does not change drastically, the rig is lighter..

In my mind, a Newtonian is best mounted on Dobsonian mount. It is just so much simpler to use, more comfortable, no awkward straddling of the counterweight or the tripod legs, the tube does not rotate... My Dobsonians get frequent use, my Equatorially mounted Newtonians not so much...

Jon

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#33 Paco_Grande

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:13 PM

...
are their "zoom" capability the same? At least with cameras, 200 mm on one camera might be 300 mm on another...depends on the sensor.

Thanks!
Juggernaut


Yes, but with a telescope it's a bit more simple than, say, how a particular lens will work on a full frame camera like the Canon 5D compared to the 7D or 40D's crop sensor.

Generally we look to the focal ratio (focal length/aperture) as the basic means to determine how "wide" the view is and/or how it might perform using different eyepieces. A basic comparison between a telescope and a camera lens that might make sense could be:

f5 telescope - 50mm camera lens (wide field)
f10 telescope - 200mm camera lens (moderate)
f15 telescope - 400mm camera lens (narrow field)

Those are not direct relationships except in the sense of how wide the field of view will be.

The second consideration you'll run into around here is how demanding, or how "hard" a scope is on eyepieces. The faster the ratio, the more demanding it will be on the ability of the eyepiece. For example, an f4.5 telescope will need higher quality eyepieces than an f10 in order to have excellent views. That is purely a physics issue. It also means that eyepieces for the f4.5 scope are going to be more expensive - sometimes a LOT more expensive. :D

As for magnification ability. Generally, high power (slower ratios like f10+) are used for planets and maybe a couple of other specific objects. Faster ratios/wide field (f5-f8) for deep space objects, to gain nice big views of the sky. Each has its advantages, which is why many of us own more than one telescope. Still, a good quality wide-field scope can do very nicely on planets, and vice versa.

http://www.synaptics...s/telbasic.html

#34 panhard

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:33 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


Hi:

The two scopes in question are the Celestron 8SE and the Orion SkyView Pro8 Goto, an 8 inch F/5 Newtonian on a Sky View Pro Mount. My thinking:

8 inch Orion SkyView Pro: I like Newtonians, have a number of them that I use on a regular basis. I do have an 8 inch F/5 Newtonian on Celestron CG-5 ASGT mount, the scope is the same as the Orion but the mount is beefier. In my opinion, the Sky View Pro undersized for a 8 inch F/5 Newtonian. Celestron is coming out with an upgraded version of the CG5-ASGT mount, that would be the one to choose.

8 inch Celestron on the VX mount

Between the 8SE and an 8 inch F/5 Newtonian I would choose the Newtonian but for most people I would recommend the 8 inch SCT. Newtonians on Equatorial mounts put the observer is some awkward positions, you tangle with the counterweight and the tripod trying to get to the eyepiece. As you move around the sky, the tube rotates and so the focuser rotates. The tube needs to be frequently rotated in the rings, this can be awkward, the tube can slip, you can lose alignment.

The advantage of the Newtonian is that it is capable of a wider field of view, cools faster. On the downside, it will require more frequent collimation... it's bigger.

Alt-az mounts are in general more comfortable than Equatorial mounts, the tube does not rotate. The SCT has a short tube so the eyepiece position does not change drastically, the rig is lighter..

In my mind, a Newtonian is best mounted on Dobsonian mount. It is just so much simpler to use, more comfortable, no awkward straddling of the counterweight or the tripod legs, the tube does not rotate... My Dobsonians get frequent use, my Equatorially mounted Newtonians not so much...

Jon

Jon you hit the nail square on the head.

#35 Juggernaut

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:35 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...


I'd have to compare them side by side to tell, and there might well be more variation between two different scopes of the same design than between the designs. Probably pretty close, is my guess.


Hi Tony. Thank you for the information.

Sorry for my ignorance:

I see the nexstar 8 is f/10 and the Newton is f/4.9

Despite that difference they will still be similar?

(maybe I should reconsider the dobsonians - if they can be separated into 2 parts for easy moving...)

Thanks!
Juggernaut

#36 kenrenard

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

Juggernaut,
You'll find nothing works as easy and as well as a Dobsonian. It's a miracle how something so simple can be so useful. Thank God for John Dobson!

Ken

#37 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:52 PM

(maybe I should reconsider the dobsonians - if they can be separated into 2 parts for easy moving...)

Thanks!
Juggernaut



:waytogo:

Each and every type of scope has advantages and disadvantages. Dobs are quick to setup, cool quickly, provide widefields of view as well as solid high magnification performance. They are robust, SCTs have the corrector plate that needs protection. Dobsonians are comfortable for most objects in the sky.

GOTO Dobs are available but I think of the classic Dob and totally manual.. In the smaller sizes Dobs are bigger than other scopes but in the larger sizes, (14 inches and up), truss Dobs are about the only practical design.

Dobs are definitely worth consideration, (as are, EQ Newtonians, SCTs and refractors), not because they can be less expensive but because of their capabilities...

Jon

#38 Tony Flanders

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:19 PM

I see the nexstar 8 is f/10 and the Newton is f/4.9

Despite that difference they will still be similar?


To a good first approximation, all that it means is that you will need a different set of eyepieces to yield the same set of magnifications. Or a 2X Barlow, which effectively converts the f/4.9 Newt to f/9.8.

Maybe I should reconsider the dobsonians - if they can be separated into 2 parts for easy moving...


All Dobs can be separated into two pieces; that's how they're shipped. With classic models -- no setting circles, springs, or motor drive -- you just pick the tube up off the rocker box and put it back on to restore the scope to working configuration. Takes less than a second each way.

I have handles on both the tube and rocker box of my 7-inch Dob, so I routinely walk around with one in each hand, for counterbalance. It gets old after a quarter mile or so, but it's a piece of cake for carrying it short distances.

#39 Juggernaut

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:22 AM

I see the nexstar 8 is f/10 and the Newton is f/4.9

Despite that difference they will still be similar?


To a good first approximation, all that it means is that you will need a different set of eyepieces to yield the same set of magnifications. Or a 2X Barlow, which effectively converts the f/4.9 Newt to f/9.8.

Maybe I should reconsider the dobsonians - if they can be separated into 2 parts for easy moving...


All Dobs can be separated into two pieces; that's how they're shipped. With classic models -- no setting circles, springs, or motor drive -- you just pick the tube up off the rocker box and put it back on to restore the scope to working configuration. Takes less than a second each way.

I have handles on both the tube and rocker box of my 7-inch Dob, so I routinely walk around with one in each hand, for counterbalance. It gets old after a quarter mile or so, but it's a piece of cake for carrying it short distances.


Hi,

Thanks for the information - so basically they are a scope and a base rather than a scope and a tripod, right?

If there is no GO TO feature, then is there any built in ability to counteract the rotation of the earth? Won't this be needed if I want to take any pictures at all of deep space objects?

Thank you!
Juggernaut

#40 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:32 AM

Thanks for the information - so basically they are a scope and a base rather than a scope and a tripod, right?


Right. More accurately, a conventional scope has three pieces: a tripod (or pier), a "head" that allows for rotation, and an optical tube. A Dob dispenses with the tripod entirely, and places the "head" right on the ground.

If there is no GO TO feature, then is there any built in ability to counteract the rotation of the earth? Won't this be needed if I want to take any pictures at all of deep space objects?


That's correct; Dobs are unsuitable for long-exposure astrophotography. You can place them on equatorial platforms that track the sky, but that adds considerable weight, bulk, and cost.

You can, however, take fine snapshots of the Moon through the eyepiece of a Dob, and passably good snapshots of the planets, too. These objects are so bright that the Earth's rotation isn't an issue -- or is less of an issue, anyway.

Note that the 8SE is also not suitable for long-exposure astrophotography because it has an alt-azimuth mount. That causes smearing due to field rotation; the objects in the sky rotate but the tube does not.

As I said before, there's a limit to what kind of deep-sky astrophotography you can do for $1000. If you really want to make that your first priority, you best bet is to spend most of that money on the mount and buy a very small optical tube to put on it -- something like an 80-mm refractor.

However, that will seriously compromise your views; smaller scopes show less than bigger scopes. Mind you, that's not the end of the world -- I love the views through 80-mm scopes. However, they're nowhere near as impressive as the views through an 8-inch scope. If wow is what you want, an 80-mm scope may not supply it -- depending on your sensibility.

If you want to get the best possible views for your money, you should buy a Dob. But that rules out long-exposure astrophotography.

The danger is that if you try to get both in one telescope, you may end up with a scope that's satisfactory for neither.

Here's one way of looking at it. An 8-inch Dob is a really good visual scope, something you could use happily all your life. And it costs just $400, which is small change in the context of astrophotography.

To get a rig that's comparably good for deep-sky astrophotography would cost many thousands of dollars. So maybe it makes sense to start with the Dob and then move on to astrophotography when the time comes. Meanwhile, you can take snapshots of the Moon through the Dob and wide-field scenic shots of the constellations using your DSLR on a fixed tripod.

Alternatively, you could get a more modest EQ-mounted scope which wouldn't be adequate for through-the-scope deep-sky photography but would work fine for piggyback. Then you could get deeper into astrophotography using telephoto lenses on your DSLR.

#41 kenrenard

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

Tony,
I would like to see how the handles are attached to your tube. I have an Orion XT8. I put a know on one end for slow movements. But I have thought of putting a full handle on. If you have a picture it would be helpful. Thanks


Ken

#42 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:02 AM


The danger is that if you try to get both (visual and a-p) in one telescope, you may end up with a scope that's satisfactory for neither.



:waytogo:

That's about the long and short of it. I once bought a filter from Mark Manner who is a dedicated astrophotographer. This is what his observatory looks like:

A serious observatory

Jon

#43 MawkHawk

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

If it were me, I'd skip the camera altogether and get an Orion XT8g. Good aperture, easy of use, goto and tracking. Can't go wrong.

#44 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

I would like to see how the handles are attached to your tube.


The handles on mine are built into the scope; it's an unconventional (but very effective) design. Try a web search for "Starmaster Oak Classic."

To put handles on a conventional Dob, I would probably tie a tight strap below and above the pivot point and then connect them with a handle, either rigid or just nylon webbing. Alternatively, you could drill right into the tube -- depending on the model.

#45 kenrenard

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

Thanks Tony,
That is interesting design. I know Teeter's telescope makes something similar now with their STS series.

Mine has springs attaching the tube to the base. I can see now where to put the handle. I was thinking for walking down the street or bringing in and out of the garage.

I've already drilled some holes in the tube. I guess I could put a few more in:)


Ken

#46 FTLAUDSKY

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

Great advice in this thread. If you only have $1000 forget about AP. I am not kidding or trying to stop you. Just giving you advice from a newb myself. Your going to need two scopes at a minimum. One for visual and one for AP. Realize this now. There is no one scope for everything. I learned after many hours this is the truth. Short and sweet. Also the mount is the most important part of the rig. It will limit what you can guy so spend up. Accessories are another story...

Two options: both good
1. Small refractor with EQ mount - spend most on the mount and less on the scope - I would go with AVX mount/72mm Astro-Tech (new) or CG5/80-90mm (used) - realize this will not be the best for visual/but can get used for AP
2. 6-8" SCT with go to mount - Good for visual, not great for AP - go used for a 8SE and buy some ep's

Whenever possible buy used if your ok with it. You can save a lot of money, but your taking a risk so be careful.

#47 Kevdog

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:23 PM

I have a Meade LT8. It's for sale for just under $1000. With the single arm mount (like the nexstar 8 SE) it shakes too much for any serious photography. You can get so-so shots with it.

Look on the used market. My local CL has had some great deals. I should have bought a fully configured AP setup with a Meade 8" LX200 for $1500. I screwed up and someone else bought it before I did. Ended up with a C11 NexStar and wedge, but haven't had time to really set it up for AP.

AP takes lots of time and lots of fiddling to do it well.

Here are some shots with my LT8 and my Olympus E-PM1 hooked to it:
Posted Image

Posted Image

Note how they are not sharp. The mount can't keep still enough for a sharp picture. It also makes focusing hard. They were fun to take though.

Hoping for much better with the C11.

#48 kenrenard

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:35 PM

I think they look pretty good. Not bad for a scope under $1000.00. Think how much something costs that produced pictures like yours 30 years ago?

Ken

#49 Tony Flanders

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:55 AM

I think they look pretty good. Not bad for a scope under $1000.00. Think how much something costs that produced pictures like yours 30 years ago?


That's a very helpful perspective. It certainly is possible to take photos with a scope that costs less than $1000 -- as long as your expectations aren't too high and as long as you're willing to invest some serious time and effort.

Serious time and effort was the name of the game three or four decades ago; if you weren't willing to spend hours staring through your guide scope and tweaking the slo-mos, you didn't take up astrophotography. And even then you were lucky to get pictures as good as the ones posted above. Even with top-notch equipment.

#50 Juggernaut

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:07 PM

Hi all.

As I think about it and realize how difficult it is to take good images here on terra firma, I think that at this point I would be happy to forgo the idea of astrophotography (there are great shots on the web that I could never duplicate at a bargain price without devoting my life to technique!)

That being said, if I get a dobsonian unit without "go to", will I find myself frustrated for having to constantly adjusting the scope. I have young children who I would like to show the sky - is a "go to" scope the least frustrating way to go? In my prior experiences, it seemed that by the time they got situated, often the object being viewed was about to leave the viewing area of the scope.

Thanks!
Juggernaut






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