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Scope choices... Opinions please

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#1 NeoDinian

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 06:43 PM

Hello...

New to the forum here. So lets start with a little about me.

My name is Jeff, I do not (yet) own a scope, but I have been involved with Astronomy for a while now... Had joined a club at my last residence where I had Observatory Keys with access to an Astro-Physics 10" refractor and an 18" Obsession dob.

Currently I am looking into a scope for my very own, and start getting into astro-photography. I would personally rank myself as an intermediate or above user.

Heres my current choices, both "packages" will cost me about the same money. Which one does everyone think would be the better setup, and more importantly, why?

Setup 1:
Meade 10"-LX200 GPS UHTC (New)

Setup 2:
11" Celestron (Used)
Orion Atlas Goto. (New)
Orion 80 Short tube OTA (New) - For wide field shots, piggy-backed to the C-11.

The prices are within $50.00 of each other.. Although I would save up and get a Wedge for the Meade if I went with that one.

Any opinions as to which I should pick, and why?

Thanks in advance... :)

#2 Rcade

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 07:05 PM

I would go with the Celestron setup. WHY ---
Reasons ===
1.) I have had several Celestron SCTs and have been impressed with all of them.
2.) An extra inch of light gathering aperture
3.) The GEM mounting will give you more flexibility
4.) You can mount other OTAs on the Atlas
5.) The Atlas is rock solid mount
6.) The Atlas is quieter in slewing mode
7.) No need for a field derotator for photography
8.) Well I just like black better than big blue

Good Luck,

#3 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 07:09 PM

Most experts say that for astrophotography you should get a GEM.

#4 NeoDinian

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 07:23 PM

Good points. And most of those I have concidered, and still leave me wondering...

The LX200 has the mirror-lock... And with a Wedge added, it basicly acts like the GEM with guiding. Plus the coatings (The C-11 did not have the starbrite coating) and GPS...

Another concern is the weight capacity. The Atlas states 40#... I have no idea what the LX200 can hold extra, but I've seen users (Here even) with LX200 setups with multiple scope attachments and accessories. With the GEM, I would (Eventually) have the C-11 with a CCD, Orion 80 Short tube with a Film camera, and a guide-scope with autoguider. Could the Atlas handle all that??? Also, From what I've been told, everything on a GEM needs to be mounted inline to the counter-weights to keep the balance right.

So... As you can see, this is why I am so confussed...

#5 jrcrilly

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 07:53 PM

The LX200 has the mirror-lock... And with a Wedge added, it basicly acts like the GEM with guiding. Plus the coatings (The C-11 did not have the starbrite coating) and GPS...


How old is the C11? Celestron has been offering Starbright coatings for many years. I have had older Celestron SCT's and they were OK but I would be reluctant today to buy a Celestron that wasn't marked either "special coatings" or Starbright. A desirable Meade SCT would be labelled MCOG, EMC, or UHTC.

The Meade on a wedge will surely exhibit more precise tracking than any Synta GEM - and it's the tracking that determines whether you can take photos or not. Remember that the least expensive GEM that can perform like the LX200GPS is the CGE.

#6 NeoDinian

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 08:15 PM

John:

I'd have to look at the scope again... As far as I know, it's only 1 year old.. But I didn't see any label on the tube.

Ok.. For the benifit of doubt, since I don't know for sure.. Lets assume it is coated.

I am planning on the wedge. That was already in the works, but I can't do the wedge and scope at the same time...

Of course, I do want to do photography... (Still debating on using Film or not. I've done it in the past..) But besides that, I also look forward to visual use, as does my wife.

After a new house, I do plan on building a more permenent setup... At that time, I may look into a high quality GEM...

#7 southmike

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 09:24 PM

given the two choices i would go with the gps..more accurate.

however.. I would consider another option
go for a lx200 10" classic
with a good wedge at the minimum a modified super wedge.
a 6.3 reducer, rings and a guide scope, counterweight set,flip mirror,and an illuminated eyepiece.

the classic 10" can have a mirror lock added , it is an inexpensive add-on . the guide scope is a great chance at a grab and go, which you will want when you don't want to lug out a 10". and it will double as a wide field imager.

all that will cost you less then a new gps.
optically be the same (as non uhtc) just add a web cam, dslr, or ccd.

#8 snorkler

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 09:48 PM

I'd probably pick the Meade because I haven't seen many astrophotos taken by people using the Atlas mount. Thus I'd wonder whether it's got a low enough periodic error to do the job.

OTOH, for the price of the Atlas go-to mount, you could buy a used Losmandy G-11 (non go-to) and have the best of both worlds. The C11 has an excellent reputation, and having the ST80 would be nice for widefield photos and viewing.

#9 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 01:55 AM

Well, the C-11 is a great scope optically, but with the UHTC coatings, the Meade will be superior. You're also comparing a new, warranted product with a used unknown. With the mirror lock features, etc. it will help you with photography. Tracking can also be more accurate, especially if you do use a wedge. I would go with the new unit due to warranty, special coatings, and features. Although the C-11 would definitely be a good tool as well, as long as it is in great shape.

#10 TK6411

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 01:21 PM

The C-11 on the Atlas Mount should perform fine for astrophotography and visual use. Nothing wrong with the Meade LX200GPS setup its a great mount and has awesome tracking as well especially for a Fork Mounted SCT. I have used the LXD75 for astrophotography with my 8" SCT and 6" SN and have had great results myself. So too have others even with the 10" Meade SN on a LXD55 ( Itchy's Astro Images with 10" SN LXD55 ) so you be the judge...

Everyone seems to suggest that you can only do astrophotography with a G-11 or CGE GEM or only with a LX200GPS...wrong. Those are great mounts and setups, very very stable and workhorse platforms...no argument there but to suggest that you can't do astrophotography on these "less expensive" lighter duty mounts is simply wrong. You can get great results, especially if you are looking into doing wide field stuff with a smaller lighter weight refractor. Look around and see what many others are doing with these type of mounts. The results speak for themselves. The Atlas is even beefier and more stable than the LXD55 or even the LXD75 which I have so I see no reason the Atlas won't work for you and the C-11. I would get a C-11 with at least the Starbright or even the XLT coatings...they will help in photo if not visual use.

Jim

#11 NeoDinian

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 04:47 PM

Well, Some great thoughts here.

I checked with the store, and the C-11 has the "Starbright" coating. But the Warrantee is only a 30-day store, since it is used.

The Meade is new. So it has the Mirror lock and Micro-Focuser, as well as the coating... And from some of the pics I've seen of others setups, I think I can add what I need without worrying about the weight issues. Does anyone have any info as to the capacity of the LX-200???

Currently, I'm swinging towards the lx200 10"... The ease of use with the GPS will be a plus with my wife (and family) to use as well. And I will not be doing the Cam setup for at least a few months yet, so I'll have time to get the Wedge as well...

Southmike:

I'm still planning the Orion 80 for wide field, But if I hold off long enough, that may turn into an ED-80. Although, not sure if a "Wide-Field" scope would do well as a guide-scope, so I may have to do something else for that need. For the time being, my photo thoughts were planning on starting out using the meade DSI with short exposures stacked. So I don't think I need a guide scope just yet.

Within the next year or 2, I think I will still get the Atlas (And possibly an Apo)...

#12 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 05:00 PM

Hard call on this one. I love german eq mounts so much, but the arguments for the fork mount are compelling.

Today I'm going to say the extra inch of aperture and the refractor and the EQ mount.


Tomorrow I may swing the other way, but I won't post it. :)

#13 Chris Schroeder

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 06:42 PM

I'll add my :penny::penny: here, it sounds like you'll also be doing a lot a visual viewing as well. The fort mount would be easier on the neck for that, no unusual angles, no watching out for the counter weight, it would be quicker for setup. When you want to do astrophography, you put the wedge on, want to do just visual, go to a star party, leave the wedge off.

#14 NeoDinian

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:07 PM

Chris:

Easier that way? Whats the issue with leaving the wedge on full time? Or is it just convenience?

#15 TK6411

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 10:10 PM

No matter which scope you choose from the list you gave I am sure it will give you great views and provide a great platform for astrophotography. Good luck on your selected scope. Let us know what you do decide to get and how it performs.

Jim

#16 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 10:35 PM

No matter which scope you choose from the list you gave I am sure it will give you great views and provide a great platform for astrophotography. Good luck on your selected scope. Let us know what you do decide to get and how it performs.

Jim


Very true. All good setups. Comes down to whether you want new or used and style and features. At least in my mind. Good luck and I'll second the comment of "let us know how it goes!"

#17 southmike

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 01:53 AM

not sure of the actual capacity of a lx200 ten ..

but it does hold a rather heavy metal dew shield, st120, with a 9x50 rt angle finder, a flip miror on the st120, 6.3 focal reducer,counterweight set , and a set of bino viewers with 2 tv32 plossls...

#18 NeoDinian

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 08:09 AM

Southmike:

Thats probably about the same weight range as I'm thinking.

Dew Shield (Thinking a heated FlexiShield)
Orion 80 shorty.
Meade DSI
(Unknown at this time) Cam for the widefield)

Wish I had a number though. It would be nice to know what is possible before finding out the hard way that I've gone too far. :)

#19 NeoDinian

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 09:58 AM

Well, It's looking like my budget will be a bit higher now. (Gotta love that!) :)

So. Researching a few things. I may be doing the LX200-10", orion ST-80, as well as the DSI and accessories and possibly a wedge all in one shot... Some extra accessories I'm looking at are Full apature glass solar filters for BOTH scopes, 3 ED (Or X-Cel) Eyepieces, 2x and 5x barlows, Variable polarizing filter, and an O-III or Narrowband filter.

GREAT timing as well, as it turns out that Meade has a special going on now through the end of Nov on the DSI. You get the DSI-Color, 3.3 focal reducer, AC Adapter, and anti-vibration pads, all for just 299.00! GREAT DEAL!

It's starting to look like this may be happening within the next 3-5 weeks. I can't wait! Mars is going to look VERY good about that time for a First-Light test!!!

#20 Joel

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 10:50 AM

That $299 deal is a great value.

#21 darylf96

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 07:19 PM

You will find the LX200 to be very flexible for the things you want to do. You will need to invest in a wedge at some point, can probably buy one used at Astromart. But you can do short-exposure with stacking in Alt-Az mode and have fun with the DSI. You will also want a focal reducer to get the scope to f6 for photo work. You will be buying lots of goodies for that scope.


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