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

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#26 bobhen

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 06:12 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.

Plus one on the Night Vision Image Intensifier eyepiece.

 

I did as much reading as I could but never used one personally. But it has turned out to be one of the best astro purchases that I’ve made.

 

I’ll add another. In 1989 I bought a new Astro-Physics 6” refractor. And although I had looked through refractors before, I had never even seen an Astro-Physics refractor let alone look through one.

 

It too turned out to be one of the best astro purchases I’ve made.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 21 July 2019 - 06:12 PM.


#27 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 06:40 PM

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.


If you have already invested in moving to the country and building an Observatory than definitely trust your instinct and buy a good mount. I used to do a lot of rock climbing and my climbing buddy had the same philoshphy about buying the best from the beginning rather than buying incrementally. Last thing you want is to be fighting with your gear and wishing you had bought something better when you are out enjoying your hobby. If you can afford it and have already invested in land and an Observatory I don't think you will regret getting the best mount. Buying incrementally seems well suited to those who aren't really sure if they are committed to astronomy or cannot afford the best right now and need something now that's good enough to get out observing. Sounds like neither of those apply to you. Life is short. Get something you will enjoy and treasure the rest of your days. :)

#28 Knasal

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 10:13 PM

My18” Teeter Dob. Sadly, Rob Teeter recently announced a suspension in production. I’m glad I got my scope when I did... as someone mentioned before, it’s a “life-scope.” 

 

Kevin



#29 GrandadCast

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 09:56 AM

Having 'Heaven's View Observatories' build an observatory (currently in the middle of the build), not counting the land, land clearing, new home build and moving. Heck of a buy.

Jess



#30 DeanS

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 10:17 AM

When I was buying my first AP mount I was going back and forth over 900 vs 1200.  A lot of money for either to me at the time.  The seller, Herb at Anacortes, said you will never regret buying a good quality mount, and you can never be over mounted.

 

I have never regretted it smile.gif

 

(I did get the 1200)


Edited by DeanS, 22 July 2019 - 11:22 AM.

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#31 NuclearRoy

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 11:11 AM

CEM60.

Seemed like a LOT of money and more mount than I would 'ever' need...

 

It might have been a lot of money, but I am glad I listened to the advice I got here on CN.



#32 jgraham

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 12:00 PM

The biggest leap for me was moving from modified DSLRs to a dedicated, cooled astro camera. I took a long hard look at the ZWO ASI071MC during their introductory sale and almost passed on it, but finally caved in and placed an order during the final hours of the sale. It cost at least twice as much as I have ever paid for a DSLR before including the cost of having a camera modified. In the end it proved to be a wise choice, my new camera brought my imaging up to a new level and the ASI071MC has proven to be a solid performer. I later upgraded the camera to a Pro and ended up adding a pair of ZWO ASI294MC Pros. Years later the ASI071MC Pro remains my workhorse camera and has been one of my better investments.

 

Neat stuff.



#33 buddy ny

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:26 PM

I had just dropped 2300$(?) on a TMB 105mm classic from the 1st production run #34
The scope arrived all was well.
The next day Astro-Physics contacted me , I had been on their waiting list for about 5 yrs.I did not expect this!!
Alice
( Alice is aces )from AP told me I had to pay up right there.
A 130mm had my name on it
But I had just bought a TMB. With great financial apprehension I pulled the trigger.
I dropped over 6-K in 2 weeks on Apo's.
Who'd have thought this could happen. Synchronicity,, karma,, luck.. This was back in the early 2000's.
I don't want to sweat like that again over Astro gear. Since then I don't get on any more waiting lists
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#34 t-ara-fan

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:54 PM

OP: get a premium mount. Something that can handle lots of weight - even if you don't have a heavy load. Something that can do a pointing model, so finding targets and tracking is effortless.

 

_____________________________________________________________

 

I am another Mach1GTO guy.  I had a HEQ5-Pro ... an OK entry level "30 pound payload (visual)" mount for an 80mm refractor.  EQMOD was great, and I added leg spreaders and a tray to hold my 50lb battery.  My subsequent purchase of an EdgeHD 8 with Moonlite focuser and a couple Losmandy dovetails was too much weight for consistent success.

 

I decided I needed something better, so in the fall of 2017 I ordered a Mach1GTO.  I think I was lucky. I called up and talked to George about a few technical things. Then I said "OK I will take one." and they said "Done".  Later I found out people were waiting 6-12 months to get one.

 

I literally kissed it the first time I set it up in my family room.  I have never for a second regretted buying it.  A 14lb counterweight costs USD145, not cheap stuff. But everything is the BEST it can be, not just sort of OK.  Spring loaded worms were one of the key features for me.

 

My astro buddy saw the Mach1GTO, and wanted one. (He has a 130mm AP refractor that took 5 years to get!!!)  The Mach1 was not available, but the 1100 was in stock. So he got an 1100.  Knowing it would be amazing. It is.

 

You cannot have too much mount.


Edited by t-ara-fan, 24 July 2019 - 12:03 AM.

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#35 clearwaterdave

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 07:45 AM

Maybe not so big to some but I had a hard time justifying the AT102ED to myself because I had an Omni 102,f/6.5.,and the ES,AR127.,and a number of other scopes.,lol.,But with all the hoopla about ED glass and this scope being sold for $500 I decided to see for myself.,

   It took a few sessions and side by sides.,but my old eyes finnally started to "see".,and it drove sooo nice mounted on Frank.,I decided I had done good.,

   Next thing I know the Meade LX70 mount/tripod goes on sell out sale.,I have been wanting to learn to use an EQ mount but not willing to spend the $$ for a good usable one.,

  Well when the most knowledgable and lovely Miss Terra gave it her thumbs up I bit the bullet.,and guess what.,

  As it turns out.,the AT102ED sits so nice on this mount it is just too perfect.,Getting to learn the EQ with this nice scope on it has made it a treat for this old astronimizer.,cheers

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#36 Eddgie

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:02 AM

For me, it was the move to image intensified eyepieces.  I was an early adopter of applying NV to astronomy, but I was not the first by any stretch.   Since there were few users, I was anxious about whether it would perform the way others said it would, but the videos I saw looked very promising, and I thought "heck, even if is half as powerful as the videos show, then I have to try it."  I thought that if it was anywhere close to reports of the true early adopters were giving or showed in videos, then I would be pleased.

 

In the end, it was far better than even the few early users suggested.   Within a year of getting the first monocular, I bought a full binocular (1.43x the fun at twice the price).   I do all of my DSO work now with image intensified eyepieces. 

 

The other purchase was the EdgeHD 8.  I was one of the first people in the US to have purchased an EdgeHD, and I was anxious about it.  I had grown completely dissatisfied with the off axis performace of my other SCTs.  I was very anxious about how improved the off axis performance would be, but it actually exceeded my expectations, giving field that were sharper at the edge than even many refractors. 

 

So, two cases where I had anxiety, but had an experience that was far better than I was expecting. 

 

For every story like these though, I have stories about where internet reports that gave very high expectation that often seemed too good to be true turned out to be pretty much squarely in the too good to be true category.  


Edited by Eddgie, 24 July 2019 - 11:04 AM.


#37 JMW

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 12:05 AM

I bought a TEC 140ED on Astromart about 5 years ago. My wife love me for it. It became her scope.

 

I was concerned about paying someone $5000 on a scope I haven't seen in person and trusting them based on their Astromart reviews that they would deliver a quality scope as promised. They did and it has been great.



#38 HydrogenAlpha

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:34 AM

I notice many comments on getting a premium mount. 

 

Is it really that worth it? My G11 guides my 5" refractor effortlessly for 15 min subs (the most I can get from my window), I get all the pointing accuracy I need from just aligning one star, and with my RA extension kit the mount can go way past meridian. What can a premium mount add that is worth throwing more than 5k, assuming I don't intend to shoot at long focal lengths? 

 

Anyway, back to the topic. I don't think I really felt any of my big purchases were "the best decision I made". Somehow all my expensive equipment have been plagued with problems that required sending it back to the manufacturer. My Atik 16200 had a shutter jammed, and my APM LZOS have unexplainable diffraction spikes (and possibly striae). While they eventually worked fine, I'm not sure if the total amount of money (and stress) I spent on them were even worth it. 



#39 l_stoian79

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 02:44 PM

I bought a "used"SW EQ8 mount 3 years ago. The mount was on sale for 1year or so ... i have it, i use it 1-2 times per year with a C14 of a friend. I will use it as an "observatory" mount after i finish building my house and a ROR observatory. The mount was barely used (2 times outside), basically it was new ... first price asked was ~3000eur, after 1year price dropped to 2000eur. I HAD TO BUY IT :-) so now I have it, and a AZ EQ5, and a AZ GTi, and a Vixen Porta II.

#40 iKMN

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:58 PM

I saved and scrounged and worked a ton of overtime to acquire a set of Ethos and then Hurricane Irma devastated me. Had to sell them all plus all my scopes. I’m now on a Celestron, ES, Skywatcher “on sale only” budget. I’m still loving the hobby though. No regrets. Get the bigger mount if you want or think you need it.

Cheers

K

#41 Usquebae

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 11:06 PM

Last August I purchased a C9.25 SCT and an AZ8 so that I could mount the C9.25 and a 120 F/5 Achro side-by-side as my primary setup.  I already had an 8" F/6 dob for similar aperture class to the C9.25, and I had a Twilight I mount for easy sky-sweeping with the 120ST.  It wouldn't take any more effort to set up the dob and the 120ST separately than to use the dual scope rig I was contemplating.  So, was $2K going to be worth it?  I did already have an smaller dual scope setup:  a C6 and 72mm F/6 refractor on Orion SkyView AZ.  My experience with this taught me how much I do love having both rich field and higher mag views right before me, needing only to lean this way or that to change views.  I was, nevertheless, quite nervous that the new rig might not prove worth the extra effort and cash.  The 8" dob is just so easy to use...

 

I rolled the dice and have no regrets.  I still use the dob when I'm feeling lazy or am not sure how much viewing time I will get.  Otherwise, the AZ8 setup is my first choice.  Experience with the smaller tandem rig - my "incremental" step - was crucial in my decision-making process.  Without it I would probably still be only dreaming of the AZ8 rig.



#42 Mike G.

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 06:23 AM

The decision that gave me the most angst was the purchase of the APM binos. I originally went for the black semi-apo’s Not realizing they were limited to 40x. With the pair I received that was a hard limit that became apparent very soon after receiving them. That purchase had caused me some trepidation but then I realized I hadn’t done my homework and had made a bad decision. After some emails back and forth with APM I decided to sell off the almost new 100 semi-apo’s And go for the Ed-apo’s wondering if it was yet another mistake. It wasn’t. Best Astro purchase I ever made. A big chunk of money for binos but worth every penny 


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#43 stryker66

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 08:23 PM

we learn few things, I mix canon lens to refractor but finally decided on a pure balanced setup. all focal length are 714mm F7.. I don't know why I waited for this for so long.. I have yet to test my guiding because I switch to OAG.. This and also TPO RC10 all this month..

All Stellarvues, one Raptor and two Access. 3x faster acquiring data and no longer need of EFW..all will have an individual astrodon filters on ZWO1600mm cam.

2VM6X.jpg

 

2VM6Y.jpg

 

2VM6Z.jpg

 

 

2VM73.jpg


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#44 Mike G.

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 07:40 AM

we learn few things, I mix canon lens to refractor but finally decided on a pure balanced setup. all focal length are 714mm F7.. I don't know why I waited for this for so long.. I have yet to test my guiding because I switch to OAG.. This and also TPO RC10 all this month..

All Stellarvues, one Raptor and two Access. 3x faster acquiring data and no longer need of EFW..all will have an individual astrodon filters on ZWO1600mm cam.

2VM6X.jpg

 

2VM6Y.jpg

 

2VM6Z.jpg

 

 

2VM73.jpg

Does your wife know or did you buy her a Porsche to distract her when the bill came?


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#45 Stelios

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 01:54 PM

we learn few things, I mix canon lens to refractor but finally decided on a pure balanced setup. all focal length are 714mm F7.. I don't know why I waited for this for so long.. I have yet to test my guiding because I switch to OAG.. This and also TPO RC10 all this month..

All Stellarvues, one Raptor and two Access. 3x faster acquiring data and no longer need of EFW..all will have an individual astrodon filters on ZWO1600mm cam.

2VM6X.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

That's an interesting idea. So you load the three refractors with R, G, B filters (simultaneously or Ha, Oiii, Sii (for narrowband)?

 

Rather pricey for me, but I can see the value if money is no object.  Sweet setup! Your CFO must be a sweetheart :)



#46 Stelios

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:01 PM

I notice many comments on getting a premium mount. 

 

Is it really that worth it? My G11 guides my 5" refractor effortlessly for 15 min subs (the most I can get from my window), I get all the pointing accuracy I need from just aligning one star, and with my RA extension kit the mount can go way past meridian. What can a premium mount add that is worth throwing more than 5k, assuming I don't intend to shoot at long focal lengths? 

 

Anyway, back to the topic. I don't think I really felt any of my big purchases were "the best decision I made". Somehow all my expensive equipment have been plagued with problems that required sending it back to the manufacturer. My Atik 16200 had a shutter jammed, and my APM LZOS have unexplainable diffraction spikes (and possibly striae). While they eventually worked fine, I'm not sure if the total amount of money (and stress) I spent on them were even worth it. 

It's not worth it if you happen to get an outstanding unit of a semi-premium brand, or have the skills to tinker to make it so. But not everyone does, and one of the big draws of premium mounts is consistency and dependability (as well as performance and multiple ease-of-use features--e.g. for the Mach1: rotating base, through-mount-cabling, availability of RAPAS, built-in-Wifi, *precision* balancing by disengaging motors (one turn of a switch), self-correcting gearboxes). 

 

And you're right, it's possible to get poor units of otherwise superior brands. However they will generally address all problems to your satisfaction, unlike mass-production manufacturers. 

 

Someone should start a thread "cheapest purchase that was more than worth the money." There's a lot of good things out there that don't cost a lot, but that doesn't mean that there are not very expensive things that are worth every penny and more.


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#47 Mike G.

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 12:31 AM

It's not worth it if you happen to get an outstanding unit of a semi-premium brand, or have the skills to tinker to make it so. But not everyone does, and one of the big draws of premium mounts is consistency and dependability (as well as performance and multiple ease-of-use features--e.g. for the Mach1: rotating base, through-mount-cabling, availability of RAPAS, built-in-Wifi, *precision* balancing by disengaging motors (one turn of a switch), self-correcting gearboxes). 

 

And you're right, it's possible to get poor units of otherwise superior brands. However they will generally address all problems to your satisfaction, unlike mass-production manufacturers. 

 

Someone should start a thread "cheapest purchase that was more than worth the money." There's a lot of good things out there that don't cost a lot, but that doesn't mean that there are not very expensive things that are worth every penny and more.

There is already that thread -it’s about the c90 and called

something for nothing



#48 rajilina

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 09:20 PM

The 15K I spent on my half of a toy hauler 5 years ago. No, it's not strictly astronomy equipment, but it was the thing that made it easy to spend quality time in areas with truly dark skies - helloooooo Milky Way! -  and being able to do that has reignited a life-long love of looking at the stars. Since we've had the Tiny House, a trip to see the Perseids has become an annual event for us, which has in turn sparked a desire to have my own astronomy equipment, which is now finally happening for me. I've wanted to do this all my life, but I doubt I would have gotten there without the Tiny House.

 

There was angst before the purchase for sure, but since then, I can honestly say I haven't for one minute ever regretted spending the money.


Edited by rajilina, 28 July 2019 - 09:22 PM.

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#49 Lucullus

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 09:29 AM

Interesting topic. Any experiences with multi-dozen-thousand $ purchases?

#50 25585

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 02:14 PM

My TV85. I have an 80mm Equinox, but the 85 is a rugged beauty. Both are portable & short. The TV 85 has been my most used since buying it last year.

 

Jury still out on my 2 Taks FC100DL & TSA120, as I also have the SW 100 & 120 Equinoxes, both very good. The Taks' use has been restricted for various reasons.




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