Jump to content


Photo

Help me decide on a telescope ($2k :) (Beginner)

  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#1 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:19 PM

Hi all:
My budget is around $2,000, I have done my research but I'm a total novice!.
I am also a photographer and as such, I will eventually use it to take photos as well.

With that info here is what I have so far:

Mount - LX80 Multi-mount (like the expansion options and initially would like to spend the most amount of $$ on the mount instead of the scope)

Explore scientific 80mm ED APO Triplet
Orion 80 ED APO
Orion 102mm refractor
Explore scientific 127 or 102 AR Doublet
Sky-Watcher 100mm ED

Reflectors<-- don't know much about these
Cassegrains - I've looked through them before but I don't know much about them either.

This scope will need to last me a long time so quality is a plus!

I want to learn astronomy as a family activity so I would use it for visual observations first and imaging second.
I would like my scope to be versatile enough to be able to see faint fuzzies , Deep objects and planets

I don't have a backyard (2nd floor apartment) BUT I am 3 minutes from a park with an observatory and watch area with minimal light AND I am 15 minutes away from Alligator alley !

Any help, suggestions, ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks for the help and evening from FL :bow:
JoeStarPR

#2 Whichwayisnorth

Whichwayisnorth

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1454
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:38 PM

As a member of Cloudy Nights you will also get a small discount :)

click here to make your dreams come true

#3 GOLGO13

GOLGO13

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3113
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2005
  • Loc: St. Louis area

Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:48 PM

I have too many negatives about the lx80 mount. Look toward orion or celestron for the mount. Of those scopes I like the skywatcher 100 for visual...I would do an orion triplet 80mm for imaging.

The 8 inch sct suggested would be awesome...then get an 80mm triplet later.

#4 panhard

panhard

    It's All Good

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 13661
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Markham Ontario Canada

Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:58 PM

As a member of Cloudy Nights you will also get a small discount :)

click here to make your dreams come true

That is great choice. Depending upon what mount is included.

#5 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:13 PM

What mount do you guys recommend? I want to get one that I can grow with ! :)
Also, why the negatives on the LX-80 mount?
thanks

#6 Jarrod

Jarrod

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2013
  • Loc: SE USA

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:25 PM

That C8 Edge HD/AVX combo is what I was going to recommend too (and what I nearly bought - until I decided that I was going to have two scopes). The new AVX mount is getting rave reviews.

#7 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:31 PM

I'm beginning to like that C8. what's the payload on that mount? Will I be able to attach say, an 80mmED later on?

#8 Momerath

Momerath

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 212
  • Joined: 31 May 2011
  • Loc: Upstate SC,

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:52 PM

That C8 Edge HD/AVX combo is what I was going to recommend too (and what I nearly bought - until I decided that I was going to have two scopes). The new AVX mount is getting rave reviews.


+1 on the AVX mount. I have heard nothing but good about them. Celestron Advanced VX Series 8" Edge HD Go To Telescope 12031 is $ 1999 which is in your price range.

I would go with that or a small refractor.
Stellarvue 90mm Raptor f/7 Triplet APO Telescope w/ Carbon Fiber Tube & 2.5" Dual Speed Focuser is $1495 add that to the AVX and you have 2200

Lots of good choices.

#9 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 26 April 2013 - 11:18 PM

Just read a review of sorts of the VX mount, looks good so far but saw nothing about dual tubes config on that mount. That is the only reason I am looking at the LX-80. Knowing me I will end up with 2 scopes and was thinking on spending on a mount with a good payload but that I can transport easily. Still searching the web for the max payload on that VX tho.
Thanks for the info ! keep the suggestions flowing :)

#10 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20320
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 26 April 2013 - 11:49 PM

I'd do a bit more research on the LX80 mount. It's been trouble plagued. I' definitely choose a different mount. Also, if you really think you'll end up doing a lot of imaging, it's unlikely that you'll be satisfied with a $2000 scope and mount combo for very long. Perhaps get a good sub-$1000 visual set-up first, and then when you have your star-legs under you, start deliberately upgrading gear or adding new gear to support and imaging foray.

I know very few astronomers end up preferring the gear that they chose to start out with. It's a process. When first starting, you have no idea what you're really going to like. Only with experience do you figure out your needs and wants. I'm a believer in going cheap to start, and then getting serious later once you know what's what and where.

Regards,

Jim

#11 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 26 April 2013 - 11:57 PM

Was just checking youtube videos and it has indeed a ton of issues. Guess I'll stick with the Celestron VX. so far so good on the reviews

#12 Whichwayisnorth

Whichwayisnorth

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1454
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:16 AM

The combo I pointed out is going to be great to start out with. Especially since you want to start learning the sky and using it visually. Sometime in June/July Celestron is going to release the focal reducer for it. I think it is 299? 399? Something like that. This will allow you to have a much better time taking photos with your DSLR camera. There is a lot of room to grow with the EdgeHD OTA. You can pick up the whole thing, OTA, mount, weights and all and then carry it outside. That is what I do. I keep it fully assembled and I just pick it up and carry it outside when I want to use it.

In the future you can also start saving up for perhaps the Celestron 8300 series one shot color ccd camera. Then grab a hyperstar lens which allows you to attach that camera to the front of the corrector plate to shoot at F/2!! That is a lot of fun but it is a chunk of change.

Now you've asked a few times about using two scopes at once.

You can buy a side by side saddle plate (extra) but the instrument capacity of this mount isn't high enough to support both the 8" SCT and an 80mm refractor at the same time. Not for photography anyways. If you are going to use that configuration for visual it should be fine.

#13 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 43925
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:05 AM

This scope will need to last me a long time so quality is a plus!

I want to learn astronomy as a family activity so I would use it for visual observations first and imaging second.
I would like my scope to be versatile enough to be able to see faint fuzzies , Deep objects and planets



Hi:

I suggest finding your local astronomy club or going to a star party before deciding on a purchase. It's best to decide on a scope with some first hand knowledge of what it will show you, how big it is, what it is like set it up, to observe with it.

Any scope will show the deep sky and the planets, but what you see and how deep you go, how much detail you see, that does depend on the scope. Your choices are all refractors, all 5 inches or under, some are achromats, some are apo's, some will provide a clear, clean view of the planes, some will shroud Jupiter and Saturn in a purple haze. If you want this scope to "last a long time" the first requirement is that you be satisfied with the views.

There is a lot to see in a 4 inch refractor but in comparison to a larger scope, say and 8 inch or 10 inch, the views tend to be underwhelming. I have one very nice 4 inch refractor, it is an amazing scope in it's perfection but alongside a $500 10 inch Dobsonian, it's perfection is overwhelmed by the shear power of the larger aperture.

It might be that a 4 inch refractor is the ideal scope for you but you ought to know that before buying it.

Jon

#14 KWB

KWB

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 16312
  • Joined: 30 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Westminster,Co Elev.5400 feet

Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:15 AM

What an excellent post and summation by Jon. I couldn't agree more with what he just stated. :ubetcha: :bow:

#15 geekgroupie

geekgroupie

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 230
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Puebo, CO

Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:17 AM

For what it's worth (disclaimer = inherent).... I had an astrophysicist pick out my first scope and he chose a NexStar. Sure would like a Dob as my next scope. Funny, tho.. I spent $1,000 on a scope and it's like I bought a canoe compared to what I see other "yacht club" owners play with. I guess that's the good thing about this hobby... the potential both intellectually and financially is endless.

#16 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10825
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:32 AM

You'll know you're part of the crowd when you walk around with one eye closed (unless you're one of those Binofolk) :lol:

#17 BoldAxis1967

BoldAxis1967

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Kentucky

Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:16 PM

It is great that you have a nice budget to select your first scope, it definitely increases the options available to you. Last year my first scope budget was $1000. I spent $600 on the scope and over the next month or so quickly spent the $400. If you spend all $2000 on a telescope (OTA, mount and tripod) this will exhaust your budget without having money for accessories and you will probably need 2 or 3 eypepieces and a Barlow almost immediately.

You mentioned you want this to be a family affair, that sounds really cool and it seems like you have a fantastic observing spot! These are two important ingredients. If you have small children you will need an observing chair or a stable step-stool. Another consideration is how much weight you are willing to haul to your car, unload and set-up, breakdown and haul back to your apt. If feasible you can keep the counterweights and maybe the tripod in your vehicle. I would carefully consider the weight factor. I would ask myself, “is this a telescope that I am going to feel comfortable setting-up 40 times a year?” A bridge table or something similar might also be in the cards :lol:.

I would carefully consider Jon and Jim’s comments. I do not have enough experience to suggest anything specific but I think you can get a really excellent first telescope for visual observation that includes Go-To for $1200 to 1500. This would leave some room for accessories over your first year. If after a year or so you decided you want a different scope you can sell it (keep you accessories) for about ¾ of your original purchase price, assuming it is in excellent condition.

Whatever you choose, you and your family will have a blast, but it may take a few times before you feel comfortable with the setup and learn how to operate the Go-To.

#18 BoldAxis1967

BoldAxis1967

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Kentucky

Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:35 PM

JoeStar: I did not mean to indicate that you need to spend $1200 to 1500 for an excellent scope. As others have stated above, $500 can get you a very powerful and excellent scope. I was just trying to make the point that you can go less expensive and still get very good quality. Another words, explore your options you do not need to spend $2000 to get a quality telesscope for visual observation.

#19 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:35 AM

Thanks all for the great suggestions. I will take them all under advisement. I went to the observatory tonight but it was really cloudy. I did had a chance to speak to a few guys about scopes and first buys and got a general idea as well. thank you !

#20 lamplight

lamplight

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2012
  • Loc: western MA, U.S.

Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:48 AM

As a member of Cloudy Nights you will also get a small discount :)

click here to make your dreams come true

That's just too easy to click, no fair.

#21 Benson

Benson

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 147
  • Joined: 22 May 2010
  • Loc: -6 gmt

Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:16 AM

I'm partial to the GM8 mount for a modest aperature [<10"] scope. My AP rig is an AT6RC with ST80 finder. Total investment [including GM8] was about $1800. It's not a great visual scope, but, excellent for AP.

#22 Paco_Grande

Paco_Grande

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1594
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Banana Republic of California

Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

Remember that within your budget you'll need more than just the mount and scope. You'll want eyepieces, a chair, camera mounting parts, and other goodies - it adds up fast.

Many of us agree that trying to consider both visual and AP for one's first scope is a mistake because the requirements are so different, and because as a newbie, you don't really know yet what you want. If you're like most of us, we bought the scope we thought we wanted at first, only to discover shortly thereafter that no, that's not really what I want; I want that instead. It happened to me. I thought I had to have an 8" SCT computerized scope and ended up enjoying manually operated Newtonians much more. lol

Ok, so. One option might be the Celestron 8SE, which is an awesome visual (and family) scope, and it's possible to do some basic AP with it. Plus it's easy to haul around. Then, when (and if) the AP itch really kicks in, you can use the 8SE's OTA on another mount, like the VX mount or something similar. And if you end up using just the new OTA/mount combo you've created, sell off the SE mount. The SE is hugely popular and holds its resale value very well compared to many others.

Seems like a good way to go.

http://www.telescope...stronnexstar...

#23 JoeStarPR

JoeStarPR

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2012

Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:10 PM

thank you all !. I think im going for the 8SE after all.

#24 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20320
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:00 PM

"I had an astrophysicist pick out my first scope and he chose a NexStar."

That's a little like saying you had an engineer who designs screens for LCD displays pick out your oil paints for you. :grin: Observational astronomy as a professional tool has been dead for almost a century. Amateur astronomy is an aesthetic pursuit. Modern astrophysics is all about theory, probes, data, experiments and articles. Unless the astro-physist in question is also a visual observer hobbyist, I would tend to put *less* weight in his opinion than the opinions of experienced, active visual observers.

That said, I don't think the Nexstar 8 SE is a bad choice. But it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a noob.

Regards,

Jim

#25 Paco_Grande

Paco_Grande

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1594
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Banana Republic of California

Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:09 PM

"I had an astrophysicist pick out my first scope and he chose a NexStar."

That's a little like saying you had an engineer who designs screens for LCD displays pick out your oil paints for you. :grin: Observational astronomy as a professional tool has been dead for almost a century. Amateur astronomy is an aesthetic pursuit. Modern astrophysics is all about theory, probes, data, experiments and articles. Unless the astro-physist in question is also a visual observer hobbyist, I would tend to put *less* weight in his opinion than the opinions of experienced, active visual observers.

That said, I don't think the Nexstar 8 SE is a bad choice. But it wouldn't be my first recommendation for a noob.

Regards,

Jim


Yeah, argument from authority can be fallacious. :D

The 8SE might not be the best noob scope but it is a scope he can grow into nicely without the hassles of handling a big GEM.

BTW, I'm taking up your 60mm observation challenge. I'm looking forward to it!






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics