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I'm doing the "shopping cart dance"...

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#1 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:06 PM

After receiving lots of great advice from forum members and lucking out by waiting for responses since Celestron rolled out some discounts while I was afflicted with analysis paralysis, I've been filling and emptying shopping carts for the last week and a half. Here's my quandary...

I want either an C8 Edge HD (now on sale for $1169) or a C9.25 Edge HD (now on sale for $2069) for an upcoming dark sky trip. It will be my "aperture" scope for the trip, so it's important. I had almost totally 100% decided on the C9.25 Edge HD (being tilted over the precipice when I learned that it has the larger rear port like the C11 and C14 so that I can use my A-P 2.7" rear adapter with it), but then once I had it in the cart something happened. After two days, I emptied the cart and refilled it with a C8 Edge HD, waited a day, and then added the C9.25 standard OTA ($1279) on the theory that I'd like to try a C9.25 OTA of some flavor, and the price of the C8 Edge HD plus the C9.25 standard is about the same as the C9.25 Edge alone. I also already have a Lymax for a C11 that I can adapt to use with the C9.25 standard. Two for the price of one, as it were. But...

I emptied the car again and put the C9.25 Edge HD back in it, and almost hit "proceed to checkout", then decided to sleep on it. The next day I yanked the C9.25 Edge HD and replaced it with the C8 Edge HD, mainly because by going C8 it would let me use the OTA on both mounts I'm taking (an alt-az and a driven EQ), and also would allow me to comfortably downsize the EQ I'm taking to an Atlas or CG5, rather than something in the AP900/G11/CGE class. My back would surely thank me.

But then I got to thinking about my last trip to this site. On that trip I had a 102mm refractor and a 7" (180mm) Mak-Cass. It was so dark that the 7" at the site performed on DSOs very much like my 12" performs from my suburban home, so while 180mm isn't a big scope, under very dark skies, it was big enough to keep me uber-busy for a week. While a C8 is a bump up in light grasp and resolution over a 7", it's not a huge bump up. The C9.25, in contrast, would be a substantial bump up over the 7-incher I used last time, so out went the C8 Edge HD and instead in went the C9.25 standard. Close enough in price to one another as to be interchangeable on that front. I almost hit the checkout button again, but then decided to once again sleep on it. After all, the C9.25 standard isn't on sale and the Edge scopes are...

The following day I added the C8 Edge HD to the car with the standard C9.25 and was *this close* >.< to pulling the trigger before dumping both and putting the C9.25 Edge HD back in the cart. Then, figuring that mean't I'd be rolling with a CGE or AP900 as a result (I like stability), said "Hey, why not a C11?" Out went the C9.25 Edge HD and in went a C11 Edge HD, until I saw the price. Total j-o-k-e. About 2x the price of the standard C11 even with the Edge HD OTA on sale, and in a range where for about the same money I could get both C8 Edge HD for my smaller mounts and a C9.25 Edge HD for its bigger rear aperture, for about the same money. But then I realized that for only a little more than the standard C9.25, I could instead get a standard C11 OTA ($1750), and DSO to me heart's content.

So I did what any reasonable person would do, and slept on it. A new dawn brought a new idea. I didn't want to be obligated to bring the larger mounts, so *poof* the C11 was removed from my cart and from consideration. Back in went the mount friendly C8 Edge HD and I was all set to buy when...

:lol:

I looked at the lousy diagonal and cheap eyepiece (neither of which I'd ever use) and then looked at the 23mm Luminos and 2" XLT diagonal that comes with the C9.25 Edge HD, and figured I could dump the Luminos for at least $100 and the diagonal for at least $50, new, never used, shaving $150 off the real cost of the C9.25 Edge HD relative to the 8" version, so out with the 8, into the cart with the 9.25. And here I sit.

I need to order by COB tomorrow as I want ample time to use the OTA before the trip, leaving plenty of time prior to the trip for a return/refund or exchange if it doesn't measure up to my requirements. I've spent so much time with that shopping cart that I feel like a bagger at Safeway.

What should I do? Which should I buy? (I'll make it easy for you and set it up as multiple choice)

(a) C8 Edge HD
(b) C9.25 Edge HD
© C9.25 standard
(d) Both (a) and ©

Among those alternatives, which would you buy and why?

Regards,

Jim

#2 Footbag

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:17 PM

I did the same dance you did with my current OTA. I went with the 800 for one reason. The focal reducer for the 9.25 may be some time off.

After buying it and using it and loving it I still got aperture fever and considered selling it for an 11" Edge. A sweet open box deal fell into my lap, but I just couldn't swing it. I'm still hung up on the focal reducer and the 9.25, but that will solve itself soon enough. As you pointed out, mounting an 11" will take a larger mount.

I didn't really consider a regular c8, because I already had one and wanted the Edge upgrade. If I were to buy a non-edge, I'd look for a used one. There are many out there, and you get a great deal.

Hope that helps.

#3 Steve Darden

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

Jim,

If my memory is correct, you already have a regular C8. I would either (a)get the C8 Edge HD and sell the regular C8 to cover part of the cost or (e) jump to the C11 standard. In my opinion, if you are going to have to take one of your larger mounts (to carry the C9) then you might as well make it count and go with the C11 that will show even more.

#4 EddWen

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:26 PM

You will only get over your analysis paralysis by going through a 12 step process that will not be done in time for your trip.


What should I do? Which should I buy? (I'll make it easy for you and set it up as multiple choice)

(a) C8 Edge HD
(b) C9.25 Edge HD
© C9.25 standard
(d) Both (a) and ©

Among those alternatives, which would you buy and why?

Regards,

Jim



#5 groz

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:39 PM

You want aperture. Why are you playing with 8 and 9 inch stuff in the shopping cart?

If you really want an SCT, and you want aperture, put the 14 inch in the cart, pull the trigger, and be done with it. Then again, if the price made you balk at the 11, you dont want to even look at (or thru) the 14.

With that said, there was a time I was having a similar problem, but we got lucky. At a star party, we ended up with two acquaintances set up right next to us. One had the C11, and one had the C8, both pretty much brand new from the telescope store. Both were well collimated by an expert. We ended up with both telescopes, pointed at the same targets (tried 5 of them) over a span of an hour, and used the same eyepiece to look thru them.

I went home, and pulled the trigger on the C8. to my relatively untrained eye (I'm of the bent, telescopes are indeed just long lenses for a camera), I could see no difference between them during our setup at the star party.

#6 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:50 PM

Hi Steve. Yep, I have a standard C5, C6 and C8 currently. All three of those will be on the chopping block after I've picked up the new scope, more because I need the storage room than to offset the cost of the new scope. The thing with the C11, though, is that it'll mean two counteweights rather than one, and a little more volume taken up in cargo to boot.

I'm leaning (d), best of both worlds, as I also plan on picking up a CPC Deluxe 1100 for an extended trip next year or the next time they get discounted deeply.

Regards,

Jim

#7 WesC

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:03 PM

I too went through the same thing... I was really torn between the Edge 9.25 and the Edge 11... in the end aperture won out and I bought the Edge 11 and I'm very happy with it. I bought it 2 days before the end of the last sale!

If you are stuck between the Edge 8 and the Edge 9.25 I would get the Edge 9.25. And then prepare to sell your C8 because you probably wont use it anymore. ;)

#8 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:03 PM

If I wanted that much aperture (14"+) I certainly wouldn't take an SCT. Instead I'd just make due with my 16" f/5.1 Dob, and call it a day. I haven't met the C14 yet that could even come remotely close to a similarly sized or slightly larger premium Dob, and at that level the pricing on the Dob is actually lower than on the SCT. Smaller premium Dobs are considerably more costly than similar sized SCTs.

C14s defeat the purpose of the SCT IMO. They are large and heavy enough to be inconvenient to transport and mount, and compared to alternatives they are relatively expensive (unlike smaller SCTs which are cheap compared to premium alternatives). To me, once you go over 10" or 11" the advantages of the SCT, primarily compactness and easy mountatbility for its aperture, start to evaporate. I don't think I'd ever entertain a C14 unless I had a semi-permanent place to leave it mounted.

I'm leaning towards (d) to compare the two (standard C9.25 and Edge HD) and perhaps sending the one I like less packing for a refund before the trip.

Regards,

Jim

#9 Wmacky

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:17 PM

I just went through this. I bought the HD C8. It just has too much going for it. The only negatives were the SCT rear opening, and less light gathering. IF you could handle those 2 setbacks, the pluses are many.

1. Financially, the C8 is the best EdgeHD deal by far. With the sale, it's only a little more than the standard C8. What a deal! The others are a lot more $$$$ .

2. Amazing light gathering for such a small, and lightweight package. I keep hearing that the 9.25 weighs almost as much, and is almost as bulky to handle as the C11. I'd just go for the C11 in that case.

3. Widest field of view.

4. Less risk if you get a dud. I'd be very very unhappy with a 3 or 4 thousand dollar dud.The risk is real. :crazy:


If you have the extra money to spent, I'd get a regular C11, and a EdgeHD 8.

Why? Because the C8 is the better Edge "deal", and I feel the C8 would make an easier to use imaging scope, so I'd rather it be the Edge version, and then use the C11 as a less expensive light bucket.

#10 Crow Haven

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:19 PM

If the C-11 is out (I'm loving mine!!!) then....keep it simple --
(b) Get the Edge HD C9.25! :grin:

#11 WesC

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:22 PM

I'm kinda opposite to that. I don't want to own a lot of scopes. I really only want one SCT and one good APO or maybe a quad. If I could just have my Edge 11 and a Tak FSQ106 ED III I'd be a very happy camper! :)

I don't live in a very dark area sadly so I need a lot of light gathering. I viewed through the Edge 8 (which sold me on the flat field) but I can see a LOT more through the Edge 11, so that's what I got. The Edge 14 is amazing, but its HUGE and expensive so I got the biggest I could afford and handle by myself.

Everyone has different needs, wants and opinions. I'm just happy we have so many choices to suit our goals! :)

#12 Scott Beith

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:23 PM

b

#13 amicus sidera

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:55 PM

(b).

Best combination of aperture, transportability and quality.

It's a pleasure helping you spend your money, Jim.

:grin:

Fred

#14 tomcody

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:38 PM

b

#15 FeynmanFan

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:44 PM

Sell the C5, C8. Keep the C6, which you've indicated before has good optics, and is quite portable. Buy the C9.25 Egde, and sell the eyepiece (for which I'm sure you have multiple replacements, Mr. Hooligan), and the diagonal. I sure wish I had your dilemma.

#16 crow

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:59 PM

I'd go for the 8 Edge, you sound pretty dubious about the edge scopes in general. That being the case I'd go in small with as least to lose as possible.

This way you're not committing much financially. If it turns out ok, you've got a nice flat field, portable/lightweight bit of aperture to mess with.

Not quite win/win but as near as you'll get it.

#17 Stew57

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 09:35 PM

Go for B as you will look through someone's C9.25HD one day and say I shoulda.

#18 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:26 PM

I'd correct that. I'm not dubious about the Edge scopes. Rather, I'm dubious about Celestron SCTs (though less dubious about Celestron SCTs than Meade, but that's another story) and do not believe that there are any differences in QC or QA with the Edge scopes versus the regular ones. So I'm skeptical about Celestron's marketing claims (such as the white paper that contradicts itself of primary mirror focal ratios for some of the models) as well as "fan enthusiasm" which for every brand is generally not factually substantiated or based, so from my perspective I take exactly the same gamble with an Edge as a non-Edge SCT, and in my experience mod odds are about 50-50 in the quality lottery; mediocre vs. decent. Incidentally that 50-50 ratio also seems to apply to the new Celesrton mounts; CGEM, AVX and CGE Pro. Lots of duds mixed with the studs. :grin: I'd love to see Celestron raise prices 20% and put that money into improved quality management. But I digress.

In addition, I only purchase from retailers with 30-day no questions asked return/refund/exchange policies. So long as I dump a dud inside of 30 days, I'm taking no risk but the return shipping, really. My biggest error in the past has been buying SCTs during the wetter weather season and not being able to get them outside before warranty was my only recourse. Given that Celestron shipped it in the first place, I doubt my dissatisfaction with figure quality will be a recognized warranty issue.

In addition, I can afford any scope I want. However, when it comes to mass-produced, made in China goods, I would feel like a fool if I overpaid. I think the current pricing on the non-Edge scopes represents pretty fair value for the level of quality and consistency of the products. It's just a matter of time before the Edge scopes are priced similarly, IMO, so the current Edge sale, for me, is just Celestron giving back a little unwarrented margin. There's more they owe consumers and eventually they'll have to drop prices as they saturate the market at current prices. Recall that the exact same thing happened to ES with its 82s and 100s. In order to be able to unload what they're making, the "sales" got better and became virtually permanent pricing. I don't want to overpay not for economic reasons, but rather for "fairness" and "value" reasons based on my past experiences with this manufacturer.

With that in mind, I'm seeing a "crowd sourced" faveorite - option (b) C9.25 Edge HD - emerging. So I gotta ask the C9.25 Edge HD advocates; why they $2069 Edge HD version over the standard C9.25 SCT for $1279? Put another way, is the larger rear aperture and field flattening doublet worth another $800 (roughly the price of a C8 standard OTA or C6 with Nexstar mount, or any Ethos or ZAO II you want, etc.).

For the Edhe HD 8-incher advocates, I agree that the 8-inch has the fairest price right now of all the Edge scopes, likely because it's the highest volume production unit. I do like the compactness and mount versatility, gentler 2000mm focal length and reasonable value pricing. On the other hand, it is just 8-inches. 9.25 inches is available for just $100 more (albeit without the corrective doublet in the baffle). While the Edge C8 certainly is good relative value compared to the standard C8 (though at least one dealer has orange tube C8s from Nexstar SE bundles for $800), is it a good value compared to the C9.25 standard for just $100 more?

Lastly, there were a couple of votes for a standard C11. At $1750 it's arguably the best value of all. About half the price of its Edge sibling "on sale". $500 more than its standard C9.25 sibling or $320 *less* than the C9.25 Edge. I get that. And having had a C11 previously, I certainly could manage the OTA (it's just 27#; not much more than a big premium refractor). What opting for this would mean to me, though, is having one mount for the SCT and one for the refractor, such that if the CGE decides to succumb to RA and Dec port failure in the bush, the C11 goes back in its case for the rest of the trip. I *might* be able to shoehorn the 22# C9.25 on the alt-az mount in a pinch, though it would certainly be happier on the CGE. The C11? No way. Is the C11"s value enough to outweigh its lower convenience and greater "risk" on the mount front?

Lots of interesting ideas here.

Regards,

Jim

#19 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:35 PM

Wow, lots of strong "b" votes. :thinking:

Regards,

Jim

#20 Stew57

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:42 PM

Have you looked through both? Surely someone has them in your area so you can do a side by side. I am well pleased with my C11HD. For my old eyes the flat field to the edge works better. BTW the most interesting astronomer should not need a scope. His eyes can gather the same amount of "light" at the same magnification as the hubble.

#21 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 11:27 PM

I just bought an Edge 11 HD. It kicks the *BLEEP* out of my old C8 (non-HD) both visually and photographically. The flat field was worth the price to me. I can transport it comfortably and get it on the mount comfortably, though I could see someone else finding it unwieldy. Here's another "b" vote, though I would have said to get the C11 HD if it were an option. FWIW, I did not buy the expensive, heavy focal reducer and I don't miss it.

#22 derangedhermit

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 03:25 AM

If I owned a Mewlon 210 I'd put my money and time into getting a rock-solid collimation solution in place for it, and take it on my trip. What great telescopes - it's a shame if an example misses use under a dark sky because of an unaddressed issue. If you don't have the Takahashi collimating scope, that is supposed to make the job easier. I believe I would enjoy the images more from it than from any of the others you are discussing. You're taking another scope for wide-field views.

If I knew I was buying a C11, I wouldn't think about a C9.25; they aren't different enough to be interesting to compare.

Lee

#23 orion61

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 05:21 AM

Id go the STD 9.25 and an F6.3 FF/FR....
That would make the DSO observing a lot better by correcting the field, and lowering the F ratio!
My C8 Lives with it on it.. I've even used it on my C14.
At least I can clean it if the lenses get dirty.

#24 Hermie

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 05:56 AM

Jim,

I don't have experience with these scopes, but I have been mulling a cat to complement my refractor - if I ever can get settled in one place. I've started to post several times, only to delete my suggestion. So I empathize with your dilemma.

There is just so much overlap with the scopes you have and that you are planning to get. I think that a C8 and C11 is a reasonable combination, but when you throw in the C9.25 and Mewlon it begins to be like an eyepiece collection!

Really, your decision comes down to: which of your existing scopes do you want to put in a head-to-head with an Edge? Your existing C8 (which you have said is nice) or the Mewlon (which should have some advantages over a C9.25).

I'd love to suggest that you get a C11 and just squeeze everything in your car, but you have said that won't work. If I understand your situation with the Mewlon, then I guess a C9.25 Edge is what you want in the cart.

Hermie

#25 Gord

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:44 AM

Jim,

I would go for the C925HD only. While I do like collecting scopes (can't say my wife shares that feeling :lol:), the 925HD will be better than both the 8HD and the regular 925.

The guy I got my C8EdgeHD from replaced it with a C925EdgeHD. The 8 was beautiful, but the 925 did everything better (save for giving up a little absolute field due to the FL increase). And he had a TMB refractor as well and felt the 925 just could do more (DSO, planets).

I had my 8 Edge out last night and these things are just so nice to use. A 16T5 in the diagonal on M13 and it frames the cluster and the two bright field stars. And the stars are _perfect_ right to the field stop and all across the center.

I would say if you were looking for utmost portability in one scope, then it would be the C8Edge since it rides a CG5 class mount perfectly and can be moved all as a single package. I think the 925 would push this over the top a bit due to needing more counterweights and it taxing the mount a little more.

But since you are already dragging the bigger mount, go for it!

Clear skies! :grin:






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