This is one of those types of questions that I'm sure many go through... but I'm curious. I have lots of scopes, but not all sizes and so its hard to compare. I like duality and greater if possible from a scope, so I'm always curious what would be ideal. In this case, I'm considering a smaller 150mm (6") aperture scope, of various designs, for lots of things but also for specifically solar system visual observation, namely Jupiter & Saturn for the most part, and a kiss of Venus & Mars when they're around. I have larger apertures than this. However, the goal is to consider the better design scope at 150mm aperture on a manual alt-az mount (in this case, a Twilight II) for planetary observation. Probably not at the highest magnification possible for the night, but potentially with binoviewers sometimes too. While I have larger apertures and have used them for this, and I also have smaller apertures and have used them for this, I don't have a 150mm APO nor a 150mm reflector. I have had a 150mm F10 SCT (C6) and I currently still have a 150mm F8 Achromatic Doublet Refractor (lots of CA). I'm super curious at this point, would a 150mm F6 reflector (GSO $200) do this job well (similar to the C6 did) compared to the 150mm F8 ED doublet (Skywatcher EVO, $2000). I'm really curious if the 10x price factor is worth it from the standpoint of visual observation of planets. I realize a lot of people are biased and that's why I'm asking. I'm a big fan of refractors in general. But, I can't help but consider that a much less expensive reflector could do this job for next to nothing. Then throw in the other options like a 6" SCT, 6" classical cassegrain, 6" Mak, 6" Mak-Newt, 6" ED refractor, etc, within the constraints of a 25lb capable alt-az manual mount for visual use and the potential use of binoviewers but happy going no farther than around 200x magnification visually since there won't be tracking. Is the contrast of the 150mm F8 ED refractor worth the 10x increase in cost over a 150mm F6 reflector?
Very curious to the following experience:
Alt-Az mount, manual movement
Binoviewers, going as far as 200x magnification mostly if seeing allows, but not really farther than that
Design: SCT, such as the C6 or Classical Cassegrain ($400)
Design: Reflector, such as the GSO 6" F6 newtonian ($200)
Design: Refractor, such as the Skywatcher EVO 150mm F8 ED doublet ($2000)
Overall easiest, smoothest, best visual experience?
Last question is... would you rather look at the planets in a 150mm F8 ED refractor or would you rather look at planets in a 250mm F4 reflector, assuming seeing is the same either way, and only going as far as 200x magnification, potentially with binoviewers. Part of me thinks the 250mm F4 with binoviewers will allow a brighter high contrast view potentially. But, I also have to wonder... unobstructed optics, no collimation, faster thermal allimation, high contrast refractor view?
Sell it to me!