During the summer when I am setting up the 25" in 100 deg temps I wonder if it is all worth it. Then I look at m22 and say to myself "darned right it is". I little bit of hard work on the front end reaps many benefits on the back end.
Thinking about the OP's opinion that a 6" is the "best telescope" for advanced observers I would have to humbly disagree. While such an observer can really make a 6" scope hum it is simply not enough aperture to hold ones interest for more then a few objects. IMO a 16" f/5 or an 18" f/4.5 hits the sweet spot for the advanced observer. Enough aperture to really go deep and portable enough to make set up easy.
Kevin et. al.
I just don't think one can make generalizations about which what's the best scope. . If someone finds a scope that works for them, that's as much as one can hope for. There's just too many things going on ..
How much time do you have? How often are the skies clear? how dark are the skies? Are there dark skies nearby, how strong and tall are you, what do enjoy looking at. What type of scopes do you enjoy. What are you financial resources ? The list is endless .
I'm 70, retired , I have the time. The skies are often clear and relatively dark, clear skies are within an hour's drive and i am fortunate to have 4 acres with a small home and a good sized garage for scope storage . I spend a week to 2 weeks a month our here with the primary goal of observing.
It takes me 5 minutes the first night to take the cover off, attach the handles and roll the 22 inch out and remove the handles. The next night , its about 2 minutes . I spend a lot of time observing, 550 hours last year, i like big scopes and I'm in a situation where it's very doable . A 6 inch or 8 inch would not be a good fit.
But for many, a 6 inch or an 8 inch is good fit. From my urban backyard , I spend a lot of time with 3 inch and 4 inch scopes with my big scopes being a 10 inch and a 13 inch . If i were in another situation, they could be one scope and an 8 inch or a 6 inch.
I will say this is response to Gary's "Scopes grow bigger with time. "
That has not been my experience. For me , even my biggest scope seems more and more manageable with time . When i first purchased my 25 inch F/5 Obsession, it seemed like a monster.. No surprise there. But as time passed, I came to see it as just a big scope but not all that big.
My observation is that one's largest scope will always seem intimidating , by constrast , the second largest will see very manageable. When i got the 16 inch , suddenly the 12.5 inch seemed to have lost a substantial amount of weight and bulk and become a featherweight ..