Hello everyone. New member here, and a beginner to astronomy, although I've done quite a bit of reading and research (Night Watch, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, Star Watch, reading the forums here, looking at some stuff on the Sky and Telescope website). I'm planning on buying my first telescope and have one in mind but can't find much in the way of reviews for the particular scope either here or anywhere else on the web, other than some brief mentions by people who don't say if they've actually used it, so I figured I'd ask in this forum.
Does anyone have any experience with the Explore Scientific Firstlight 130mm Newtonian with EQ3 mount?
Specifically I'd just like to know the quality of this telescope. Are the optics decent? Is the mount decent? As it's a fast (f/4.6) scope, can you get good views with not too expensive EP's (something like Orion Sirius Plossls)? And what would be the highest practical magnification with such a fast scope? How easy is it to collimate it, and how sensitive is it if it's slightly out of collimation.
I really want to hear from people who've used this telescope themselves.
I live in light polluted Central New Jersey, and as I'm a beginner, I want a telescope that will be able to give me a taste of everything there is to see (planets, split double stars, DSO's, etc), but realize that not everything will be Hubble photograph wonderful with a scope such as this. I just want something decent to get my feet wet, that won't break the bank if I lose interest in the hobby.
This scope is on sale at Amazon for $162, which seems like a great deal, especially as it has an EQ3 mount, and comes with a 25mm Plossl EP. The comparable Meade and Celestron 130mm newts seem to come on EQ2 mounts and with MA/Kellner EPs. But it's only a deal if the mount is a good EQ3, and the EP a good quality Plossl, so I want to hear from those who've used it.
Thank you all in advance for any and all advice and help you can give.