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Big purchases; the best decision you’ve made, despite feeling uneasy about it at the time!

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#1 SimonIRE

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 03:26 AM

I am about to blow what I consider to be a lot of cash on a mount for my new observatory. It’s been a major mental preoccupation for the last 6 weeks and to be honest, quite distracting. My current logic is not to waste money going in multiple small steps but instead aim for the best I can afford from the get go; I have learned that this probably a good strategy from recent experiences. 

 

I am curious to know; what’s the biggest brilliant astro-purchase you have made, despite feeling unease about it at the time?



#2 Traveler

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:07 AM

A-P mount and A-P telescope at the same time...It was my first big spending after finishing university and a couple of months in my first job....never regret doing that and still own the two with great plesure.

 

(at that time there was alsmost no waiting list for us European buyers when buying A-P equipment through Baader Planetarium Germany)


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#3 sg6

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:09 AM

I am curious to know; what’s the biggest brilliant astro-purchase you have made, despite feeling unease about it at the time?

The opposite way to yours. Debated initially the 8SE or CPC800, decided on the ETX70.

That was my best decision/purchase.

The unease was: Was I wasting the money on the ETX that I could put to the 8SE/CPC.

 

I think that the big "decision" is to be utterly honest with yourself.

Is it for me, for show, for what, and why?

I read a lot of purchases where it is fairly obvious that the person wants something as a show piece.


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#4 SimonIRE

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:15 AM

The opposite way to yours. Debated initially the 8SE or CPC800, decided on the ETX70.

That was my best decision/purchase.

The unease was: Was I wasting the money on the ETX that I could put to the 8SE/CPC.

 

I think that the big "decision" is to be utterly honest with yourself.

Is it for me, for show, for what, and why?

I read a lot of purchases where it is fairly obvious that the person wants something as a show piece.

 

Yes... I think you’re right. Something  I am struggling with is quality creep. You make a decision on something and then think - “ok, if I save a bit more I can get the next one up”. But it never seems to end. The individual also has a lot to do with it. I seem to have poor impulse control which is not good....



#5 db2005

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:23 AM

One instance for me was when I decided to upgrade my Orion 80ED to a Vixen SD81S. A 1mm extra aperture, eh? Such an "upgrade" sounds silly, especially as the Vixen cost about twice as much as the Orion. But the Vixen is lighter, slightly more compact and has outstanding optics. And the scope is so pretty that it can stay on its Porta mount and tripod in my living room, always ready for grab-and-go astronomy. This little gem of a scope is not my most expensive astronomy purchase, but it is my most used scope, seeing more use than all my other scopes put together.


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#6 SimonIRE

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:28 AM

My current big issue is trying to balance premium mount cost with capacity. For AP I can’t see myself going over 25kg which is the limit of one of the mounts I am looking at (and several thousands less than the next step up...50kg). Will I use 50kg - almost definitely not....but will I need 30kg capacity sometime in the future? - perhaps...how far do you go to future proof yourself...?


Edited by SimonIRE, 20 July 2019 - 04:30 AM.


#7 Astrojensen

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 05:05 AM

 

what’s the biggest brilliant astro-purchase you have made, despite feeling unease about it at the time?

When i bought my Zeiss Telemator from APM in 2008. At the time, it cost around $2.5k, which is a LOT for a 63mm scope. Would I even use it, after the novelty wore off? 

 

I still use it today and it has probably been my most used telescope ever. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 05:39 AM

I am about to blow what I consider to be a lot of cash on a mount for my new observatory. It’s been a major mental preoccupation for the last 6 weeks and to be honest, quite distracting. My current logic is not to waste money going in multiple small steps but instead aim for the best I can afford from the get go; I have learned that this probably a good strategy from recent experiences. 

 

I am curious to know; what’s the biggest brilliant astro-purchase you have made, despite feeling unease about it at the time?

With any large purchase, there is a certain amount of apprehension.  But I am a visual astronomer and by the time we had enough money for me to buy somewhat expensive equipment, I knew what I liked doing and I was confident in my choices.  I always talk over my more expensive purchases with my wife, I want her to know but more than that, I want her perspective because she knows me better than anyone.  I have never purchased equipment I couldn't pay for cash (or credit paid off at the next billing).  I have never purchased equipment expensive enough that it represented a significant reduction in savings or resources.  Basically when one is doing visual, it's possible to build up one piece at a time.  

 

The largest "astronomy related" purchase we have made was buying 4 acres in the high desert with a small house that needed a complete remodel.  I had concern about the cost of the remodel and the long terms wisdom as an investment.  From an astronomy point of view and a lifestyle point of view, it has been a real winner.  

 

My questions for you:

 

Do you have the cash to do this?

 

How long have you been involved astro-photography?  Are you very experienced or just getting started?  Do you have a clear idea of just what you enjoy photographing?

 

Jon


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#9 SimonIRE

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:04 AM

With any large purchase, there is a certain amount of apprehension. But I am a visual astronomer and by the time we had enough money for me to buy somewhat expensive equipment, I knew what I liked doing and I was confident in my choices. I always talk over my more expensive purchases with my wife, I want her to know but more than that, I want her perspective because she knows me better than anyone. I have never purchased equipment I couldn't pay for cash (or credit paid off at the next billing). I have never purchased equipment expensive enough that it represented a significant reduction in savings or resources. Basically when one is doing visual, it's possible to build up one piece at a time.

The largest "astronomy related" purchase we have made was buying 4 acres in the high desert with a small house that needed a complete remodel. I had concern about the cost of the remodel and the long terms wisdom as an investment. From an astronomy point of view and a lifestyle point of view, it has been a real winner.

My questions for you:

Do you have the cash to do this?

How long have you been involved astro-photography? Are you very experienced or just getting started? Do you have a clear idea of just what you enjoy photographing?

Jon


Can afford it, but like anything, the money in the bank is also nice.

Not experienced, but experienced in making poor initial choices to save money only to end up purchasing twice

Deep sky object AP is the goal and learning on a basic scope (WO 73mm refractor)

Edited by SimonIRE, 20 July 2019 - 06:25 AM.


#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:32 AM

Can afford it, but like anything, the money in the bank is also nice. 

 

No experienced, but experienced in making poor initial choices to save money only to end up purchasing twice

 

Deep sky object AP is the goal and learning on a basic scope (WO 73mm refractor)

This is the way I see it:

 

You will always buy at least twice. The right equipment to discover the hobby and whether it suits you, what aspects of it you enjoy, what direction you want to take will not be the right equipment some years down the road when you understand what this hobby is about more importantly, how you relate to and enjoy this hobby. 

 

Trying to short cut the experience aspect of equipment choice is a good way to make an expensive mistake.  It's not that the equipment is poor but rather that it may not be well suited for what you really want to do in the future. If I had purchased the equipment I have today when I was first starting out, I probably would not still be doing amateur astronomy.  My equipment is suited for someone who knows what they want to do and knows how to do it.

 

One reason what I have not been overly apprehensive about major equipment purchases is because I did know myself and I was well aware of what I was buying. 

 

In your situation, I sense that you are trying to make decisions that require experience and understandings, knowledge about amateur astronomy and yourself, that you just don't have... When someone is purchasing expensive equipment, they need to have the knowledge necessary to be confident in their purchase.  Now is not the time to make those decisions.  Now is the time to discover and enjoy using affordable equipment appropriate for the task.

 

Jon


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#11 TOMDEY

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 07:29 AM

I am about to blow what I consider to be a lot of cash on a mount for my new observatory. It’s been a major mental preoccupation for the last 6 weeks and to be honest, quite distracting. My current logic is not to waste money going in multiple small steps but instead aim for the best I can afford from the get go; I have learned that this probably a good strategy from recent experiences. 

I am curious to know; what’s the biggest brilliant astro-purchase you have made, despite feeling unease about it at the time?

This is the way I see it:

You will always buy at least twice. The right equipment to discover the hobby and whether it suits you, what aspects of it you enjoy, what direction you want to take will not be the right equipment some years down the road when you understand what this hobby is about more importantly, how you relate to and enjoy this hobby. 

Trying to short cut the experience aspect of equipment choice is a good way to make an expensive mistake.  It's not that the equipment is poor but rather that it may not be well suited for what you really want to do in the future. If I had purchased the equipment I have today when I was first starting out, I probably would not still be doing amateur astronomy.  My equipment is suited for someone who knows what they want to do and knows how to do it.

One reason what I have not been overly apprehensive about major equipment purchases is because I did know myself and I was well aware of what I was buying. 

In your situation, I sense that you are trying to make decisions that require experience and understandings, knowledge about amateur astronomy and yourself, that you just don't have... When someone is purchasing expensive equipment, they need to have the knowledge necessary to be confident in their purchase.  Now is not the time to make those decisions.  Now is the time to discover and enjoy using affordable equipment appropriate for the task.

Jon

Hi Simon; I'm agreeing with Jon, here. Incrementalism is not really a waste of money, time, or effort; the learning has value and just can't leapfrog over that. Your ultimate scope will not be some friend's or manufacturer's recommendation --- but what you know and decide, after experiencing and enjoying a few more modest set-ups. For some (most?) avocationals, enthusiasm lasts a few months or years, then wanes... and head for the next hobby. Nothing wrong with that! For those who hang in there, virtually all would agree that building up to the grand, personal focus and equipment... needed the accumulated experience.

 

Note that the same applies to sports car, titanium racing bike, martial arts black belts, Olympic team.    Tom


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#12 SimonIRE

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 07:55 AM

Hi Simon; I'm agreeing with Jon, here. Incrementalism is not really a waste of money, time, or effort; the learning has value and just can't leapfrog over that. Your ultimate scope will not be some friend's or manufacturer's recommendation --- but what you know and decide, after experiencing and enjoying a few more modest set-ups. For some (most?) avocationals, enthusiasm lasts a few months or years, then wanes... and head for the next hobby. Nothing wrong with that! For those who hang in there, virtually all would agree that building up to the grand, personal focus and equipment... needed the accumulated experience.

Note that the same applies to sports car, titanium racing bike, martial arts black belts, Olympic team. Tom


This all seems like very wise advice. The only item I was going to spend significant resource on was a mount; everything else would be entry-level. Hmm...I need to think
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#13 junomike

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 08:09 AM

APM 130 F6 (LZOS).  Had it for a few years before selling it (back to person I got it from).


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#14 Allan Wade

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 10:18 AM

I spent a full year planning for my big dob upgrade before I made the order. When the first $10000 deposit disappeared from the bank account I had more than a few feelings of apprehension. Especially knowing I had committed myself to way, way more money to spend. But it has easily turned out as the best Astro purchase I have made and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. 

 

Life is short. Live it to the full and chase your dreams.


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#15 Pauls72

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 11:15 AM

William Optics FLT98 scope package with a Flat4 Flattener/reducer and case.

I was a leery at the time because so many people seemed to be using Vixen, Meade, Orion or Explore Scientific refractors. Not many people had W.O. scopes. I wanted a good APO triplet with FPL53 glass and a good focuser. I had never seen a W.O. scope in person. Second choice would have been a Skywatcher Espirt.

I am supper happy with it and my decision.


Edited by Pauls72, 20 July 2019 - 11:21 AM.

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#16 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 11:44 AM

Purchasing 18 acres in the boonies for a future observatory (2006).  It has worked out reasonably well, but, due to high local elevation and associated frequent night windiness, it's not ideal for a roll off with big Dobs.  I wish I had researched the site better before building the structures.   But the few really great nights I have had there were as good as any I have experienced at any major star party over the years.



#17 RAKing

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 11:46 AM

I had my sights set on an A-P mount as soon as I came back into the hobby and after checking things out, I put my name on the waiting list for a Mach 1 in early 2008.  I waited 18 mounts, but I got it in 2009, and it has worked flawlessly ever since.

 

There were no uneasy feelings and no buyer's remorse.  It was the biggest purchase I ever made in this hobby and it has more than paid for itself in the past ten + years!  I would do it again in a heartbeat! cool.gif

 

My father taught me that the best way to enjoy astronomy was to "Get a solid mount" and everything builds from that.  That is the advice I give everyone who asks.

 

To the OP - you are not "blowing" anything.  A good mount is an investment that will repay you many times over.  My Mach 1 ran over $6,000.00 US.  Ten years later, the cost is down to $600 per year - less than the cost of some eyepieces. 

 

Go for it and enjoy! flowerred.gif

 

Ron


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#18 Stelios

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:56 PM

My most expensive astrophotography purchase (by far) was my Mach1 GTO mount. It has been the most rewarding as well, and I have never regretted it--although I was extremely nervous at the time. I expect my mount will be sold by my wife after my passing (hopefully still many long years away). I think it cost as much as all the rest of my stuff put together. 

 

To address someone else's remark, it was definitely not as a show piece, nor can I see how something that usually only you see can be a "showpiece." This is not the country club where the latest Mercedes gets envy points. 

 

If you are serious about astrophotography, there's no way you can overspend on a mount. If you are doing visual, you may be OK with a solid but a bit less accurate mount. For a permanent astrophotography installation (observatory) the new CEM120EC/EC2 deserve consideration along with the usual AP/SB suspects. For visual something like a G11 or even CGX or EQ6R-Pro may be good enough.


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#19 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 05:15 PM

I'm happy with my $200 LX70 (but I am visual only). It handles my FC100DL just fine. The FC100DL cost 15 times as much as the mount it rides on and was my first big purchase and the largest single purchase I have yet made. I was a little apprehensive about spending over $3,000 (with finder and clamshell) on a telescope but I have been very happy with it. If you know what you want and have researched the options than I doubt you will be disappointed with an expensive but high quality piece of equipment.

Edited by Ihtegla Sar, 20 July 2019 - 05:19 PM.

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#20 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 10:16 PM

Most of my astro purchases have been incremental. Buying a larger Newtonian to replace a smaller one, a larger mount to replace a smaller one, etc. As such, I pretty much knew what to expect. 

 

Then there is the Unknown. The most anxiety for me was getting a NV eyepiece. I had zero hands-on experience with one, I just went off some CN posts and articles. In 2015 I tried video astronomy and did not like it very much, selling that equipment at substantial loss. Would this be a more expensive repeat?

 

It turned out to be the best money I have spent (so far) in 35+ years of astronomy.


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 21 July 2019 - 07:15 AM.

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#21 SimonIRE

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 01:13 AM

Great points made by all...and I appreciate the wisdom.

My biggest investment so far has been the money I’ve put into my RoR observatory. This was a gamble - a big gamble. I’ve had to spend time creating an application to the council for permission (my land is on a conservation area) which involved getting legal advice. Overall compared to some of you it wasn’t that much but it has set me back about $10k. There was simply no way to know if this would be a waste. I was getting annoyed setting up all the time and I wanted my children and wife to enjoy being around the equipment and share in it. I also moved to the country from the city a few years ago and this was something I had always dreamed of doing.

It seems pointless to fill it with a cheaper mount...

Maybe I’m foolish...but my instinct tells me it’s a good thing.
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#22 scadvice

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 01:53 PM

My Stellarvue SVA130T as I was really looking to buy the SVX102mmT. It is  still is the best decision for me. I was guilt ridden for... ohhh about eight hours...sweaty.gif


Edited by scadvice, 21 July 2019 - 01:58 PM.

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#23 rkelley8493

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 02:35 PM

Stellarvue SVA130T for me too! I had been wanting to get a nice Apo refractor, and I came close to purchasing a couple relatively low cost ones. Almost got the Stellarvue 125 Access on the classifieds, but I ended up deciding to wait as I didn't have a mount for it at the time. A few weeks later, an Access 102 cam up on the classifieds, and I almost got it to mount on top of my LX90 piggyback style. But again, I told myself if I was going to invest in a good quality Apo, I should take my time and do it right.

So I started saving a little more $$ each month and saved up enough to get a good solid mount, the Orion Atlas Pro AZ-EQ mount. Next came the Apo. I had narrowed it down between the Explore Sci FCD100 127mm, the APM 140 SD Apo, Orion Eon 130, and the SVA130T. I marked off the ES 127 after seeing some things about it I didn't like. Parts of it looked cheaply made, like the dew shield, finder shoe bracket, and cradle. I also marked off the Orion because of some of the specs and cosmetics about it I didn't care for. Then, I was this close -- to getting the APM 140, but no US vendor had them in stock, except for the model with 3.7" focuser. And it was nearly as much as the SVA130T. So, I called the vendor to see if the SV was in stock, and lo and behold, there was one left. I got the one with the 3" Feather Touch focuser, and I am so glad I did. I have no regrets, no thinking back about my decision, no "I should've"s, and no bangbang.gif . Very happy and content with my decision, and I'm glad I took my time and did my homework before making a major purchase.

This refractor has given me the sharpest, contrast-iest, most colorful, beautiful views I've ever experienced. I had always overlooked refractors because of their limited apertures, but now I see what all the fuss was about! It's my primary scope now with the LX90-10 serving as my backup.

 

stella.jpg


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#24 KLWalsh

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 04:27 PM

My Nikon D810A.
Most expensive camera I ever bought, and I was concerned I’d never get enough use from it.
But it’s been fantastic not just for astro photos but regular photography as well.
And then getting Backyard Nikon software to control my camera, which also works with PHD2 to control the mount for dithering, has really made me happy with my choice.

#25 cuzimthedad

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 04:39 PM

We just had a new home built but I don't think that counts...although it does in a sense cuz we are now a lot closer to some really dark skies. Anyway, my most expensive purchase in the end will be my 15" Teeter classic. I intend for it to be my forever scope and put all the whistles on it I could. Really looking forward to its October arrival!




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