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Evolution 6 vs Evolution 8 vs Used CPC 800 XLT

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#1 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 03:40 PM

Hello again all.  I have pondered and pondered about what my first telescope should be.  I believe I've got it narrowed down to three main choices.  I live in a rural area so light pollution isn't a factor for me.  Light pollution map shows me to be in a Bortle 4 sky.  I definitely know I want a GOTO mount.  I want wifi so that I can control the mount with the SkySafari app.  I will be viewing some with my grandson who's 5 going on 6 and I believe the app will be so cool for him to be able to control the telescope with some guidance from me.  I'm looking to for an all around visual scope.  No AP planned for this first scope.  I have read enough to know that there are definitely differences in a visual and AP rig.   I will list what I think about each telescope choice for me and would appreciate any feedback ya'll would be willing to give me.  Thanks in advance.

 

1.  Evolution 6

     Seems to be a great mount.  Built in battery and wifi.  I have seen good things all around about the evolution series.  Only limiting factor in this for me is the aperture size.  Me being less that experienced I'm concerned that it will not be enough. The price is in my budget and I will be buying from High point that includes a bundle with some EP's.  I know they won't be the best but they will get me started and that's what counts.  Another positive of this mount is that you can use a manual scope by releasing the clutches.  Also if in the future I want to mount a refractor to the mount I can and have a goto refactor setup.

 

2.  Evolution 8

     My personal favorite.  Same mount as above but with bigger scope.  Oh i forgot about the built in battery on both of these mounts.  Less to carry out and around.  Only problem is the price.  Slightly above budget.  I'm getting impatient to get a scope and start looking.  I could wait and save a bit longer and the price would fall in line.  

 

3.  Used CPC 800

     I haven't seen this telescope in person but in talking to the seller it was never used.  Some parts still unopened.  I did see pictures of the OTA and could see no issues in the pictures.  It was purchased as a bundle for $2400.  Asking price is $1200.  Seems to be a great deal.  Included were the power pack and EP's.  Again not high quality EP's but they will suffice for a novice such as me.  Same OTA as the Evolution 8 I believe?  Down fall to this is no way to remount the OTA or add a refractor later in life.  Also I will be adding the wifi attachment if i go this way.

 

There are several good points in favor for all these telescopes.  

 

Could someone with experience tell me the visual difference in the 6" and 8" SCT.  If the difference isn't going to be appreciable I will probably forgo the used CPC 800 in favor of the Evolution 6.  If not and I can't make myself wait I'll probably buy the CPC 800.  This rabbit hole called amateur astronomy just gets deeper and deeper the longer you look at things.

 

Again thanks for any and all responses.

 

Clear Skies to all!



#2 coopman

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 03:57 PM

Even with the 6" you will be able to see a lot, but the 8" will have 177% more light gathering ability than the 6". Everything will be brighter when viewed through the 8" and will provide more resolution as well. If you get the 6" you would likely always be thinking, "I wonder what this object would have looked like through the 8"?. Aperture is the single most important variable in telescope performance, as long as the scope is not so large that it talks you out of using it. The 8" is only a few pounds heavier than the 6". The extra aperture will probably not be as meaningful to your grandson as it will be to you. If you are reasonably healthy & can lift 14 pounds up to chest level easily, I say go for the 8".
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#3 Beeham

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:00 PM

The "unused unopened" CPC800 sounds, well, a little fishy to me.  Why would someone buy a $2400 scope only to sell it at half price?  Maybe I've become cynical, but this make me think it's either stolen or else a return-to-vendor from a retail store.  When something sounds too good to be true...well, you know.

 

Personally, I would go with the (new) 8".  Light grasp is proportional to aperture area, so the 8" has almost double the 6" in that regard.

 

That's just my $0.02.  I hope this is helpful.  Cheers!


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#4 coopman

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:02 PM

The issue with the CPC800 is that the heaviest piece is the tube assembly plus the mount (they cannot be separated), and its quite a bit of weight compared to the Evo setup.
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#5 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:11 PM

Even with the 6" you will be able to see a lot, but the 8" will have 177% more light gathering ability than the 6". Everything will be brighter when viewed through the 8" and will provide more resolution as well. If you get the 6" you would likely always be thinking, "I wonder what this object would have looked like through the 8"?. Aperture is the single most important variable in telescope performance, as long as the scope is not so large that it talks you out of using it. The 8" is only a few pounds heavier than the 6". The extra aperture will probably not be as meaningful to your grandson as it will be to you. If you are reasonably healthy & can lift 14 pounds up to chest level easily, I say go for the 8".


You’ve hit upon my biggest fear. What if??? Also I’m a young grandpa. 42 this year. The weight is not an issue at all.

#6 BGazing

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 04:12 PM

Go with the Evo 8. While I do not like the tripod and have some gripes against the mount, it packs a great punch. 

Trawl these boards and you will find that a lot of people who owned a good SCT8 regretted for selling it. New 8 inchers are apparently not bad at all on average.



#7 1983cowboy

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 05:28 PM

I downsized from a Nexstar 11 GPS to the Evo 8 a couple of years ago and haven't looked back.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the 11", I just didn't use it as often as I should have because of the weight, and the fact that the OTA could not be separated from the mount. My only tree-free observing site at home is at the end a 150 foot long driveway and I passed up too many clear nights because my back was not happy with the idea of lugging it down to the curb.

 

The Evolution 8 breaks down into manageable pieces that I can wheel down the driveway in one trip with a hand truck, and the mount is a pleasure to use - and I think the 8" hits a sweet spot for SCTs - good light gathering in a manageable package. (I had an earlier 8" Meade before the 11")

 

I think you'll enjoy the Evolution 8. 


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#8 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 05:56 PM

One more question if I can. I see people talking about wrapping there scopes in reflextic. Is that the silver rolled insulation i can pick up at Lowe’s?



#9 1983cowboy

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 06:12 PM

That's the stuff!

Reflectix plus black felt plus velcro equals easy dew shield. 



#10 Eddgie

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 07:59 PM

I would encourage another path and that would be to go with a C8 and an IOptron Az Mount Pro.

 

The reason that I don't recommend the Evo mount is that it is kind of a one trick pony, and that trick is to work with an SCT.  

 

At some point in your future, you might decide to try other telescopes and unless the scope is particularly short, you will have clearance issues with the end of the scope not being able to clear the base.

 

Also, the Az Mount Pro is much smaller and much easier to store than the Evo. 

 

It has built in GPS, Battery, and Wifi, so nothing else to buy. It also allows for simple coaxial mounting of a second scope so if you want to run a little wide field refrator on the other side, you can.  For examle, I can run a H-alph scope on one side and my Apo on the other side for solar viewing.  The aux saddle is a bit more, but if you think there will be times where you want to run a second scope, it is not that expensive to buy the aux saddle.

 

 

If you think the C8 is the only telesope you are ever interested in owning the Evo is fine, but if you do ever envision getting a nice 4" ED refractor for wide field observing, there goes you investment becuase now you would have to buy another mount.  If you start with the Az Mount Pro though, the capability to run your C8 and a wild field refractor is there when you need it.

 

So, if you think the C8 is the only scope you are intersted in owning, the EVO is good, but if you pay attention to a lot of signature lines, you will find that a lot of SCT owners also have smaller refractors for wide field observing and the Evo does not rally accomodate these other scopes.

 

Buy once, or buy twice?   Think about it before you use your credit card.


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#11 RLawson

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 08:35 PM

Evolution 8. 

I have one and it is great.

My 2 cents.



#12 RyanSem

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 08:44 PM

Evolution 8.

 

Just got one myself and it's simply sublime. It's fantastic, and if you get the 6" you'll just wish you waited to get the 8".

 

The CPC is a great scope, but it's pretty heavy and the Evolution 8 is just a bit more portable plus you get the built-in WiFi and won't be worrying about another $100 dongle to attach to the CPC. Someone in my astro group has the CPC 800 and really likes the Evolution that one of the other guys has, mostly due to it being much less bulky and lighter. 

 

I'm not worried that the CPC scope is a scam. I see people selling their scopes at half price, used or not, after it's sat for years unused in their attics. They figure they'd rather the easy, quick sell, than hold out for a couple hundred extra bucks. That being said,  if you can save up a little while longer, I'd definitely go with the Evo 8. I got one used for $900 just a little over a month ago, so cheap Evo's exist! Just need to get lucky.



#13 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 08:50 PM

I would encourage another path and that would be to go with a C8 and an IOptron Az Mount Pro.

The reason that I don't recommend the Evo mount is that it is kind of a one trick pony, and that trick is to work with an SCT.

At some point in your future, you might decide to try other telescopes and unless the scope is particularly short, you will have clearance issues with the end of the scope not being able to clear the base.

Also, the Az Mount Pro is much smaller and much easier to store than the Evo.

It has built in GPS, Battery, and Wifi, so nothing else to buy. It also allows for simple coaxial mounting of a second scope so if you want to run a little wide field refrator on the other side, you can. For examle, I can run a H-alph scope on one side and my Apo on the other side for solar viewing. The aux saddle is a bit more, but if you think there will be times where you want to run a second scope, it is not that expensive to buy the aux saddle.


If you think the C8 is the only telesope you are ever interested in owning the Evo is fine, but if you do ever envision getting a nice 4" ED refractor for wide field observing, there goes you investment becuase now you would have to buy another mount. If you start with the Az Mount Pro though, the capability to run your C8 and a wild field refractor is there when you need it.

So, if you think the C8 is the only scope you are intersted in owning, the EVO is good, but if you pay attention to a lot of signature lines, you will find that a lot of SCT owners also have smaller refractors for wide field observing and the Evo does not rally accomodate these other scopes.

Buy once, or buy twice? Think about it before you use your credit card.


Thank you for the response. I don’t know about this mount but I’m about to research. Further down the rabbit hole I go.
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#14 Michael Harris

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:18 PM

I suppose there is no real benefit to you of “piling on” but I have been into amateur astronomy since I was 12 (46 years ago) and the Evolution 8 has been my best scope ever. I have a GEM for photography, a small refractor, and had a Dob, and they all have pluses and minuses. The Evolution mount does exactly what it is advertised to do, the tube is awesome, and after adding a Telrad for less than $40 I am up and running in minutes. For example, a couple of summers ago I was able to show star party guests Jupiter, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune all within a ten minute session, and have found relatively faint NGC numbered galaxies on cue in the same circumstances. After a little practice it is easy and fun. 



#15 Jeff Lee

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:29 PM

While I think the EVO is nice, don't discount Eddie's advice in case of two things: one is you want to try a Refrector, many are too long for the EVO mount without a modification and two is that there is this thing call EAA and you will have some issues with an EVO, Focal Reducer and camera. Take a look in the specialty forums here for electronically assisted Astronomy to see what EAA is all about. I wanted the ability to do a little astro photography so the Orion version of the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ5, but the IOp AZ PRO would be a great option for just visual and EAA IMHO. I've had my C8 for nearly 20 years and it was the best astronomy purchase I've ever made.



#16 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:31 PM

Thank you for the response. I don’t know about this mount but I’m about to research. Further down the rabbit hole I go.


Can you give me some insight into the alignment process for this mount. I like the specs but this opens up new questions and more money up front but like you stated less in the end.

#17 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:37 PM

Eddgie I’m sorry but my trying to reply off my phone was messed up. The questions above about the mount are directed to you. Thank you for your time.

#18 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:38 PM

While I think the EVO is nice, don't discount Eddie's advice in case of two things: one is you want to try a Refrector, many are too long for the EVO mount without a modification and two is that there is this thing call EAA and you will have some issues with an EVO, Focal Reducer and camera. Take a look in the specialty forums here for electronically assisted Astronomy to see what EAA is all about. I wanted the ability to do a little astro photography so the Orion version of the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ5, but the IOp AZ PRO would be a great option for just visual and EAA IMHO. I've had my C8 for nearly 20 years and it was the best astronomy purchase I've ever made.


Thank you. I’m researching these new to me options now!

#19 treadmarks

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 10:41 PM

Hello, I have the 8 but have never used a 6. My take on it is that the 8 is just all-around better than the 6, the only advantage to the 6 is price.  That being said, the C6 can be perfectly adequate for a lifetime of observing depending on how much you do. But if you think you're going to be out stargazing every month or more, the 8 is definitely worth the investment and I would encourage you to step up to that.

 

Re: mounts, I'm sure there are better mounts than the Evolution out there, but the Evolution is very very good and I don't think you can go wrong with it. When you buy an Evo, you're getting a discount over buying things separately. Re: small refractors, to me those things are more fun to explore the sky with a manual mount, much more fun for that than an SCT.



#20 GoFish

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 11:04 PM

I won’t argue against the Evolution 8 because I’ve never actually seen one in the wild. Folks who have them seem to like them. 

 

But I have a lot of experience with the CPC800 and I know it is really a great scope for visual observing. The 2 arm design is rock-steady and there is no vibration while focusing. Mine has very little backlash and goto’s are surprisingly accurate. Little people bumping the OTA are unlikely to mess up the alignment, too. 

 

It is my favorite scope for outreach, despite the heavy lift needed to place it on the tripod. 

 

OTOH, I really like that the OTA can be removed from the Evolution mount. This makes for lighter lift. 

 

The question I would ask from this group is whether the 1 arm design is rigid enough for inexperienced observers to operate the focus knob without seeing the effects of vibration in the eyepiece?  If yes, then I’d say go with the Evolution 8 (not a 6 if your budget can stand the bigger OTA). 



#21 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 11:15 PM

I suppose there is no real benefit to you of “piling on” but I have been into amateur astronomy since I was 12 (46 years ago) and the Evolution 8 has been my best scope ever. I have a GEM for photography, a small refractor, and had a Dob, and they all have pluses and minuses. The Evolution mount does exactly what it is advertised to do, the tube is awesome, and after adding a Telrad for less than $40 I am up and running in minutes. For example, a couple of summers ago I was able to show star party guests Jupiter, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune all within a ten minute session, and have found relatively faint NGC numbered galaxies on cue in the same circumstances. After a little practice it is easy and fun.


Thank you for your the compelling and VERY experienced advice. The Evolution is my first choice. I am currently evaluating the ioptron mount. We will see.

#22 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 11:15 PM

I suppose there is no real benefit to you of “piling on” but I have been into amateur astronomy since I was 12 (46 years ago) and the Evolution 8 has been my best scope ever. I have a GEM for photography, a small refractor, and had a Dob, and they all have pluses and minuses. The Evolution mount does exactly what it is advertised to do, the tube is awesome, and after adding a Telrad for less than $40 I am up and running in minutes. For example, a couple of summers ago I was able to show star party guests Jupiter, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune all within a ten minute session, and have found relatively faint NGC numbered galaxies on cue in the same circumstances. After a little practice it is easy and fun.


Thank you for your the compelling and VERY experienced advice. The Evolution is my first choice. I am currently evaluating the ioptron mount. We will see.

#23 Newbie78

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 11:18 PM

I’m sorry for the double post. The interface with a mobile device is giving me fits.

#24 BGazing

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 12:34 PM

I would encourage another path and that would be to go with a C8 and an IOptron Az Mount Pro.

 

The reason that I don't recommend the Evo mount is that it is kind of a one trick pony, and that trick is to work with an SCT.  

 

At some point in your future, you might decide to try other telescopes and unless the scope is particularly short, you will have clearance issues with the end of the scope not being able to clear the base.

 

Also, the Az Mount Pro is much smaller and much easier to store than the Evo. 

 

It has built in GPS, Battery, and Wifi, so nothing else to buy. It also allows for simple coaxial mounting of a second scope so if you want to run a little wide field refrator on the other side, you can.  For examle, I can run a H-alph scope on one side and my Apo on the other side for solar viewing.  The aux saddle is a bit more, but if you think there will be times where you want to run a second scope, it is not that expensive to buy the aux saddle.

 

 

If you think the C8 is the only telesope you are ever interested in owning the Evo is fine, but if you do ever envision getting a nice 4" ED refractor for wide field observing, there goes you investment becuase now you would have to buy another mount.  If you start with the Az Mount Pro though, the capability to run your C8 and a wild field refractor is there when you need it.

 

So, if you think the C8 is the only scope you are intersted in owning, the EVO is good, but if you pay attention to a lot of signature lines, you will find that a lot of SCT owners also have smaller refractors for wide field observing and the Evo does not rally accomodate these other scopes.

 

Buy once, or buy twice?   Think about it before you use your credit card.

This is a very valid point. Evo mount is a one trick pony and I stopped using its wifi gimmick (mine was the first gen).

I am not fond of Evo tripod/mount combination. It is not great for my refractor and it is not particularly stable and ergonomic. 

Have been mulling what to do. I have UNI Berlebach with EQ5 plate and love that tripod. Ioptron AZ mount pro sadly cannot be mounted via any adapter, one is again stuck with those proprietary steel tripods.

Another option is AZ-EQ5. Works in AZ mode and, compared to Evo mount, has the same drawback like Ioptron, having to bring counterweights. But I read the reviews and remember how raw SW mounts can be and I postpone that decision...

Wish there were a great AZ goto mount i could mount on that EQ plate. 



#25 spongebob@55

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 01:37 PM

I had a 8"CPC and moved to a 8" Evolution b/c of being able to put smaller e.g. 127mm Maks, on it.   If you don't like vibration or observe in windy conditions, get the CPC.  You can buy the wifi dongle and a small battery and attach it to the arm of the CPC.  But, if there's anything wrong with it you have to ship the whole thing back to Celestron and its heavy.   The Evolution is convenient.  I went to the heavier CPC  tripod with it and it still shakes, especially with the dew shield on.  But if the mount goes bad you only ship the mount.  You can attach smaller scopes to it, but watch out for the bezel, b/c it will hit some tubes.   No attaching batteries or wires.   I also had a 6SE with the equivalent Evol like tripod and it was solid.  

Make sure you get and keep the boxes.   Just my .02




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