Have read here about fine distinctions ie should I get an 8" or a 10". And I have done my share of backyard observing with small to moderate scopes ...
Then I went to the Oregon Star Party and saw the Veil Nebula through an 18" dob. And M51 through a 30 inch. This was quite a few years ago.
Frankly it ruined me as far as observing from the city is concerned. Yes the moon and Jupiter still look nice but everything else is sort of disappointing.
I wonder if others have felt this way. For now I have sort of given up until I can retire to darker skies and a big dob.
I used to have aperture envy, but I knew that I lacked the commitment to buy a very large scope (14" was my largest) and transport it to dark skies.
But then I discovered night vision astronomy. Now, my 12" scope performs as well from my red zone sky as it would using a conventional eyepiece under dark skies.
I picked up a full 2 -2.5 magnitudes on stars
I can see as many galaxies from my red zone as I used to see from Bortle 4 skies
I can see nebula that would be invisible in my scope even in Bortle 1 skies using conventional eyepieces
I can resolve Globulars now that were barely even visible in the past
And, when I am not using a telescope, I can see the entire Barnard's Loop... From a Red Zone!!!! California Nebula? Yes. Angle Fish Nebula? Yes!. Helix Nebula from Red Zone . Horse Head Nebula from Red Zone! North American Nebula is fantastic from my location using a $25 used SLR lens. I can walk out my door in the summer and see it easily.
It used to be a problem taking my 14" scope even 25 miles, but now I can take my 6" to the nearest "dark" site (Bortle 5 if I am lucky) and have exceptional observing, though I can see the arms in the Whirlpool Galaxy right from my light polluted back yard.
Some don't like us talking about using NV for astronomy, but of the 36 or so years I have been doing amateur astronomy and having owned about 50 telescopes and maybe about the same number of eyepieces, I have had more success in the last 3 year than all of the 33 years before that combined.
Not pure? I don't give a rat's butt about that. Not really observing? LOL. I look into the eyepiece and I see amazing things. My bucket list was entirely fulfilled in the first year, and now I am seeing things I never even knew existed.
If you have big scope fever but don't want the hassle of a big scope, for the fraction of the cost, you can get a state of the art image intensifier and see stuff with your existing scope. A lot of us do a lot of observing even from city skies using very small scopes. It is soooo much fun!!!!