I am waffling all over the place. Looking to talk about non-premium ED/APOs for context. Both visual and some imaging application. Mounting is not an issue at all for me at these sizes, so weight and length are not an issue here. My only issue is overall value for aperture, correction (good doublet vs lesser triplet) and the focal-ratio to help figure out FOV and for imaging the speed of it. Imaging would be mostly for galaxies and solar system bodies. Visually it would be for literally everything.
At first, I thought I would just go for a Skywatcher EVO 150mm F8 ED. Not a great piece of glass, but better than my 150mm F8 achromat. Good reports. Would probably do everything I need and would be fine visually too. I'm not super sensitive to CA. $2k shipped for me. But, why get this when I have a C8 Edge HD and an 80mm FPL53 APO? This makes me waffle.
Then, I started thinking, well, when I want to take a refractor with me, do I really want or need a 150mm? Maybe I can explore the smaller ones. I already have an 80mm APO, so I don't need something that small. I would want something in the 120~150mm range, because I don't want something close to my 80mm. I really think the 127mm and 130mm options for budget have the most bang, it seems. So this started me looking at potential "5 inch triplets" options in the same price ranges at the 150mm F8 ED doublet. While I get more aperture with the 6" doublet, why not entertain the idea of a 5" triplet?
I started looking at the Skywatcher 120mm ED (FPL53?) naturally. Supposed to be excellent for a doublet. I also looked at the AstroTech AT130EDT (FK-61?), also supposed to be pretty good. Then I looked at the ExploreScientific 127mm F7.5 FCD100 Triplet (FPL53?) and can get it in carbon fiber. Other options similar in price?
Then of course, I wonder... back to 150mm F8 ED doublet vs... the 127ish" triplets/doublets. Get the biggest cheapest ED? Or get a better corrected 5"?
Let's keep it centered around that $2k USD mark and would love to not have to replace the focuser.