Like so many others out there, I'm in the market for my first telescope.
I've read many of the posts here, and I've finally decided that a tabletop Dobsonian will probably be the best for me right now. In keeping with the idea that the best scope is the one that you actually use, I think I'm much more likely to use something smallish that I can carry through the house and out to the backyard easily.
In college (25 years ago), I was the TA for an astronomy lab class that required nighttime visits to the rooftop telescopes. They were, I believe, 4.5 in Newtonians on alt/az mounts. The views were nifty, but I didn't like having to realign them every few minutes. So I am actually a bit nervous about getting a Dob, but I am afraid that the extra complication of a tripod would really keep me from heading outside. I think I'm willing to make this concession. Obviously, I've never used a tabletop Dob before.
Anyway, after lots of thinking, I believe that I've narrowed my choices to the Starblast 6 (non-intelligent) or the OneSky. Maybe also the Z130. The OneSky looks very appealing because it is small and light and I can see myself heading out on almost any clear night. The starblast seems heavier and larger (not really sure how big the base is - I can't find that info on their web site).
The starblast is $350, and comes with two eyepieces - 25mm and 10mm. At that price, I'd have to make do with these eyepieces until next Christmas, when some nice person might get me a Barlow and perhaps another eyepiece.
The OneSky is $200, and comes with two similar eyepieces - 25mm and 10mm. But with such a low price I could get a Barlow and another couple of eyepieces (or maybe the Celestron 8-24mm zoom).
I'd like to have decent views of Jupiter and Saturn. I'd like to be able to enjoy finding the Messier objects. I've got Turn Left at Orion. I live in probably a dark red sky pollution area. We can't see the Milky Way from home. I'd like to take the scope with us when we go camping (by which I mean renting a cabin in state parks, not pitching a tent).
So I want the Starblast, but that means waiting for any decent views of the planets, and it seems sort of large-ish. And I want the Onesky because I can get more for my money now, and it is smaller and more portable. Will the SB have much more fabulous views that are worth the wait? This I don't know.
I know lots of people will tell me to get a nice 8" dob - but I don't see myself dragging it in and out of the house (can they be stored on the patio? I live in a humid climate). So I think that is not really an option. Really. I've been through that internal struggle. I can't do it. I need smallish, lightish, and easy to set up (ish).
So I'm sort of looking for thoughts, suggestions (maybe I've missed something?), and opinions.