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Explore FirstLight 10" or Apertura AD 10 Dobsonian

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#1 Jomar

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:35 PM

I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on which would be a better starter scope, the: 

 

$459 -   Explore FirstLight 10" Dobsonian - FL-DOB1005-01

OR

$659 -    Apertura AD 10 Dobonian

 

The Apertura has 2 eyepeices (2" superview 30 mm and 1.25" 9 mm plossl) as opposed to ES's one 1.25" 25 mm plossl. It also has a laser collimater, a fan, an  8x50 Right Angle Correct Image Finder, 2 speed focuser (as opposed to ES's 1 speed) and a moon filter.  The price tag on the ES would have less sticker shock on my better half smile.gif, but would I be better off "biting the bullet" on the Apertura?  For instance I've read that I may need to buy a Cheshire Collimation Eyepiece anyway because Apertura's laser isn't accurate and that i will probably want to change out the 9 mm extra eyepiece off the bat.  This will be my first scope so I'm not sure how to assess the relative merrits of each scope and price.  Thanks in advance.

 

John  

 

PS do any of the telescope sites typically have President's Day sales or at any other times.  I read in another topic that they sometimes hold sales during the NEAF Expo. PD is a week away and the NEAF convention as about two months away I think.



#2 Barlowbill

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:54 PM

I drive an 8" Dob.  To me, the 2" is a big deal, as is the 2 speed focuser, as is the RACI finderscope.  The Lazy Susan roller bearings are a plus.  The 35mm extension tube is thrown in for good measure.  I don't know anything about their laser collimator.  The moon filter is nice.  That is what you are paying extra for. 

IMO, you will need something to go along with the RACI finderscope.  Red dot or green laser.  Until you get used to the RACI, using it alone can be difficult.  I use a green laser on a dual mount with a RACI and like it alot.  Best of luck  


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#3 Jomar

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:57 PM

Explore FirstLight 10" Dobsonian - FL-DOB1005-01

I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on which would be a better starter scope, the:

$459 -   Explore FirstLight 10" Dobsonian - FL-DOB1005-01
OR
$659 -    Apertura AD 10 Dobonian

The Apertura has 2 eyepeices (2" superview 30 mm and 1.25" 9 mm plossl) as opposed to ES's one 1.25" 25 mm plossl. It also has a laser collimater, a fan, an  8x50 Right Angle Correct Image Finder, 2 speed focuser (as opposed to ES's 1 speed) and a moon filter.  The price tag on the ES would have less sticker shock on my better half  , but would I be better off "biting the bullet" on the Apertura?  For instance I've read that I may need to buy a Cheshire Collimation Eyepiece anyway because Apertura's laser isn't accurate and that i will probably want to change out the 9 mm extra eyepiece off the bat.  This will be my first scope so I'm not sure how to assess the relative merrits of each scope and price.  Thanks in advance.

John 

PS do any of the telescope sites typically have President's Day sales or at any other times.  I read in another topic that they sometimes hold sales during the NEAF Expo. PD is a week away and the NEAF convention as about two months away I think.



#4 wrnchhead

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:04 PM

I have had the AD8 for about a year and a half. I concur with the 9mm EP, all but useless. The supplied laser collimator is great, once you know how to collimate the tool itself. I have to tweak mine every couple of months. 


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#5 Scott Regener

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:09 PM

My opinion is that the two-speed an RACI justify the price difference, but you can always add those later if the cheaper scope is in your budget now. They are not required, they just make things nicer. The Superview tips things for me - you will want to replace all the other eyepieces as soon as you can, but that one will last you years. Sure you could get the cheaper scope and that eyepiece, but now you only save $130 by forgoing the better finder and focuser. Unless the choice is to wait another year to get the funds, go for the better package.


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#6 Augustus

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:33 PM

The ES has a superior mount, and you can always buy a Telrad and more/better eyepieces.


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#7 Carl N

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:20 PM

I started with an Apertura 10". Those are good scopes. With the RACI and 2 speed it's better than the ES. Dont get hung up over a moon filter. I am not sure what one poster meant by the ES having a better mount. But the Apertura system works well, and allows encoders. It's a time tested design in terms of a box, and the axis bearings work well. The ES could be great, I dont know, but the AD10 is a really good Dob. I never heard of anyone in 6 years complaining about their mirrors. It comes pre spotted, the cell is easy to operate and collimate.

Look on the web and you can find encoders for these with a GOTO kit for about $200. There are a few other aftermarket accessories.

You will quickly want something like a wide AFOV 9mm, 14mm, and 22mm eyepieces with a good quality barlow, and perhaps a Telrad.

Get a big magnet and attach it to a 1-2 pound weight. Slide that up and down the tube on the top to adjust balance between eyepieces. Add a plastic shower cap to put on each end when not in use, under the supplied cap on the open end. Get a Telegizmos 365 cover so you can leave it out several days at a time in nice weather, but keep it covered when not in use. Put a 20w bulb under the cover overnight after using the scope to dry out any dew trapped inside when you covered it.


That's really all you need for a great visual experience, well that and dark skies! About $250, with some judicious used buying, for all that, less the goto option, and you can really spend years with just that setup. At least, that's what you can tell the household CFO.

One thing I would spend a bit more on, or ask for a birthday present, is a Panoptic 35, Nagler 31, something like that. A GOOD low power eyepiece.

I found this scope to hold collimation very well!

Edited by Carl N, 11 February 2019 - 07:22 PM.

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#8 AnalogKid

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 09:55 AM

<snip>

PS do any of the telescope sites typically have President's Day sales or at any other times.  I read in another topic that they sometimes hold sales during the NEAF Expo. PD is a week away and the NEAF convention as about two months away I think.

I can't speak for this year, but I was looking for a scope last year this time, and was waiting for the sales for PD or NEAF.   Unfortunately for what I was looking for ( a 10" solid tube or 12" collapsable) there were none.   I waited until after Memorial Day with no sales, and just bit the bullet.   Got a 12" Skywatcher collapsible.

FWIW, the 10" Aptura was on my shortlist.  I forget exactly what put it up there though. 



#9 Jond105

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 04:02 PM

Explore Scientific. The mount is perfect for better balancing. It's also cheaper.
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#10 Biggen

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 05:47 PM

I have the AD8. The two speed focuser and altitude bearings are the reason I got it. The other accessories really don’t matter. I took the RACI off, never used any of the eyepieces, and only ran the fan once to make sure it worked. Never ran it again. I had to spend an hour collimating the laser so now it shoots straight.

 

Honestly, Dobs are always a work in progress. I took the primary mirror out temporarily so I could add a handle on the back side in order to pick it up balanced horizontally. I also added a knob near the front to make tracking easier. Added a Telrad as well in place of the RACI. I’m always tinkering with it.



#11 MalVeauX

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:57 AM

I'd also get the 10" E.S., the cost savings is big and it's probably the same mirror on all these scopes, so the only differences really will be the accessory package. $200 difference saves a lot, which means higher quality eyepieces and/or a good finder of your choice. Heck, with a cost savings like that you could put a short wide field achromat on it for a total package.

 

Very best,


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#12 Starkid2u

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 09:06 AM

A couple of things: One, no matter which one you get, you're not finished spending $$$. Count on it. Two, yes some of the companies have sales around NEAF time. Can you hold out till then? That's up to you. Speaking of that's up to you, the AD 10 seems to be in the minority. I believe you have your answer. + $200, too. Go get 'em, cowboy!

 

STARKID2U


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#13 skywatcher99

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 02:27 PM

I am in the same boat.  Looking at these two - cost savings vs. accessories on the other one.

 

I am leaning towards Apertura AD10 for a weird reason along with accessories.  I like the black color better! smile.gif

 

Jomar - what did you end up buying?


Edited by skywatcher99, 13 February 2019 - 02:27 PM.

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#14 Jond105

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 04:02 PM

I am in the same boat. Looking at these two - cost savings vs. accessories on the other one.

I am leaning towards Apertura AD10 for a weird reason along with accessories. I like the black color better! smile.gif

Jomar - what did you end up buying?


You'll regret liking black when it comes time to cool it off

The Es first light thought of everything with better mounting and not going black. Just so you know even though apertura has its little fan, black tubes are the worst in my opinion. Especially on a dob in the summer

#15 zleonis

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 05:07 PM

You'll regret liking black when it comes time to cool it off

The Es first light thought of everything with better mounting and not going black. Just so you know even though apertura has its little fan, black tubes are the worst in my opinion. Especially on a dob in the summer

Interesting, I'd never considered that tube color might affect acclimation. Is the idea that black paint radiates heat less effectively than white? Or that it absorbs radiation from other stuff that's cooling down? Seems a bit surprising that this effect would be worse in summer, when the temperature differences between inside/outside are generally lower (at least in Midwestern/Eastern US).



#16 Jond105

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 05:22 PM

My thoughts on it are this, generally I'm putting my stuff outside around 4-5 when I know there will be a clear night. The black tube definitely absorbs the heat. So the tube currents from the heat could possibly still be there even with the fan running after the sun sets. I could certainly tell the difference last summer when I had my Skywatcher and Orion refractors out. The white Orion felt cooler a lot faster. My black collapsible dob, definitely helps get rid of all the heat in the tube currents do to the openness in the body design. I also imagine the black tube might absorb any body heat from long observation, maybe. So don't take that to heart. 

 

The black tube tube may help in preventing any dew build up do to it holding onto the heat longer, but I feel a fan and a blow dryer will help all that throughout the night. And later in the summer when the planets start setting earlier and earlier in the evening, I feel the white tube will become ambient for a better view while the sun is still out setting. 



#17 Biggen

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 05:33 PM

I think color you choose is inconsequential. If white was really “better”, then every scope maker would paint them white.

 

Personally, I like black better.  I dont want any large reflective surfaces near me when viewing.


Edited by Biggen, 13 February 2019 - 05:33 PM.

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#18 Asbytec

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 06:02 PM

I chose the ES because it does have a better set of altitude bearings, more true to the Dobsonian design. I got tired of my previous Dob going "bump" in the night as it slewed uncommanded to the zenith when I removed an eyepiece. The Apertura bearings are nice...in fact, they are too nice. They are too smooth to provide sufficient friction without movement becoming sticky. I had to add counter weights and play with weight and balance over a range of eyepieces. Got tired of messing with it. 

 

The ES is less of a "beginner" scope than it is a "no frills" scope. Add your own frills. If you do not have a nice set of eyepieces already, you'll have to get some along with a RACI finder or Telrad and a cooling fan. The optics in two samples I know of are pretty good. But, most importantly, when you put it on an object, it says there when you change eyepieces. That's a huge no hassle benefit. IMO, all Dobs need to be built this way. Truth be told, however, you may need a little counter weight to allow the tube to ride higher in the saddle. I solved that by using a USB power bank to power my fan. 

 

All commercial Dobs seem to be a work in progress. The ES needs a washer on the back of the diagonal, for example. But, thankfully, they are cheap and simple fixes. In comparison, look at the lengthy Zhumell mod thread in the reflector forum for some idea. The ES is a better "no frills" base from which to start with, in my opinion, and any needed mods are very cheap and simple, in my experience. Save money and add the frills is not a bad way to go. 


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#19 earlyriser

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 06:10 PM

I find that the fan helps my 10 inch Apertura cool down much quicker, and reduces dewing on the secondary if I leave it running. I also like the altitude clutches, the duel speed focuser, and RACI finder, although I just replaced the finder with one from Stellarvue. The eyepieces are better than nothing, but they were the first to go. The laser collimator isn't great, but it's easy to use and gets you close. I use it to align the secondary and primary, then double check the primary alignment with a cheshire eyepiece from Celestron.

 

Don't have any experience with the Explore Scientific scope. But in any case, I agree with Asbytec. All Dobsonians are a work in progress. Well, maybe not a Teeter, but that is in a whole other class.



#20 spaceoddity

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 07:15 PM

I started with an Apertura 10". Those are good scopes. With the RACI and 2 speed it's better than the ES. Dont get hung up over a moon filter. I am not sure what one poster meant by the ES having a better mount. But the Apertura system works well, and allows encoders. It's a time tested design in terms of a box, and the axis bearings work well. The ES could be great, I dont know, but the AD10 is a really good Dob. I never heard of anyone in 6 years complaining about their mirrors. It comes pre spotted, the cell is easy to operate and collimate.

Look on the web and you can find encoders for these with a GOTO kit for about $200. There are a few other aftermarket accessories.

You will quickly want something like a wide AFOV 9mm, 14mm, and 22mm eyepieces with a good quality barlow, and perhaps a Telrad.

Get a big magnet and attach it to a 1-2 pound weight. Slide that up and down the tube on the top to adjust balance between eyepieces. Add a plastic shower cap to put on each end when not in use, under the supplied cap on the open end. Get a Telegizmos 365 cover so you can leave it out several days at a time in nice weather, but keep it covered when not in use. Put a 20w bulb under the cover overnight after using the scope to dry out any dew trapped inside when you covered it.


That's really all you need for a great visual experience, well that and dark skies! About $250, with some judicious used buying, for all that, less the goto option, and you can really spend years with just that setup. At least, that's what you can tell the household CFO.

One thing I would spend a bit more on, or ask for a birthday present, is a Panoptic 35, Nagler 31, something like that. A GOOD low power eyepiece.

I found this scope to hold collimation very well!

Was wondering the same. I've never used or seen the ES dob in person but the adjustable tension alt bearings and the lazy susan azimuth on the apertura are the best I've ever experienced on a commercial dob. ES may be better IDK, but the apertura is very smooth and alt tension is easily set to balance. They are certainly way better than my orion. The 2-speed focuser and 9X50 raci finderscope are probably worth the price difference and a cooling fan is a necessity.  



#21 skywatcher99

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:04 PM

Was wondering the same. I've never used or seen the ES dob in person but the adjustable tension alt bearings and the lazy susan azimuth on the apertura are the best I've ever experienced on a commercial dob. ES may be better IDK, but the apertura is very smooth and alt tension is easily set to balance. They are certainly way better than my orion. The 2-speed focuser and 9X50 raci finderscope are probably worth the price difference and a cooling fan is a necessity.  

 

I am a total newbie. I can work with computers and install fans but I don't want to drill holes on a telescope because I have never worked on one and I don't know anyone who could help me which is the reason I am leaning towards AD10. 

 

Fan + RACI + 2-speed focuser = price difference worth paying if I understand correctly.

 

Still it would be nice if AD10 was around $600.



#22 Biggen

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 10:20 PM

I am a total newbie. I can work with computers and install fans but I don't want to drill holes on a telescope because I have never worked on one and I don't know anyone who could help me which is the reason I am leaning towards AD10. 

 

Fan + RACI + 2-speed focuser = price difference worth paying if I understand correctly.

 

Still it would be nice if AD10 was around $600.

It's just sheet metal rolled to form a tube. If you are even halfway handy, there is nothing to it.


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#23 Scott Regener

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:43 AM

My thoughts on it are this, generally I'm putting my stuff outside around 4-5 when I know there will be a clear night. The black tube definitely absorbs the heat. So the tube currents from the heat could possibly still be there even with the fan running after the sun sets. I could certainly tell the difference last summer when I had my Skywatcher and Orion refractors out. The white Orion felt cooler a lot faster. My black collapsible dob, definitely helps get rid of all the heat in the tube currents do to the openness in the body design. I also imagine the black tube might absorb any body heat from long observation, maybe. So don't take that to heart. 

 

The black tube tube may help in preventing any dew build up do to it holding onto the heat longer, but I feel a fan and a blow dryer will help all that throughout the night. And later in the summer when the planets start setting earlier and earlier in the evening, I feel the white tube will become ambient for a better view while the sun is still out setting. 

 

Please don’t speak about what you don’t know. They don’t paint engine blocks black because it’s pretty. Black dissipates heat faster than white, especially in the IR spectrum. Sure, in sunlight the white tube will be cooler, but once the sun sets, black is superior. Frankly, you should never put your telescope in direct sunlight unless you are observing the sun. Why put your telescope through that heat stress?



#24 pregulla

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 11:59 AM

Actually, paint emissivity of any color is roughly the same (unless it's a metallic paint, then it's going to be lower). So it doesn't matter black or white or magenta.


Edited by pregulla, 14 February 2019 - 12:01 PM.

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#25 Asbytec

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 03:22 PM

I agree the dual speed focuser is better, it is optional on the "no frills" ES. I will tell you, though, the focuser seems pretty robust with plenty of back focus. Believe it or not, I use almost all of it (top to bottom) between my 12mm Nagler and my 6mm TMB with a Barlow. My older commercial 12" Dob suffered a little spider droop affecting collimation as it slewed through altitude. Not so in the ES, very sturdy spider. The secondary mirror is a little large, but it offers quite a fully illuminated field and long back focus and will very likely support bino viewing (but I have not done it to say for sure.) 

 

The ES is a good scope. I enjoy my ES 8" solid tube as much as others enjoy their Apertura, etc. 


Edited by Asbytec, 14 February 2019 - 03:42 PM.

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