I looked at Menzel 2 in Norma, which is a very faint planetary nebula with my 8" Edge SCT a few nights ago. Though I was pleased to see it , I was frustrated by the lack of clarity when compared to my refractors. There was too much 'white noise' from other objects. It was like having a sheet of plastic over the front and yes, it is properly aligned.
Maybe I should have used my 140mm Vixen, which has more clarity, but less light gathering power.
I know people will say get a larger Dob to satisfy my aperture fever. Fact is that I had a 12" Dob for years, but after a combination of ageing and discovering the joys of refactors, I sold it off. I also came to dislike 'mirror imaging' the views from each instrument and found this to impede the flow of my viewings. I brought the SCT to be my light bucket, but as said, its clarity pales in comparison with a quality refractor.
I notice in comment about the new skywatcher 6inch ED refractor, some are already calling for a 7" F9. It makes me wonder about the future of medium quality refractors.
There are two other paths that future ED refractors that future designs may take, instead of just scaling up.
Remember the folder Unitrons? Perhaps a large, folded design might make handling, storage and transporting much more feasible to the likes of me.
Or are we simply awaiting a design with a builtin reducer like the Vixen 140mm or like some of the TeleVue designs? Maybe there are other paths that I have not thought off.
I will never have a 8" refractor by just scaling up the current offerings. However, I look forward to what may come forth after some innovation.
Your opinions please...