I'm new to the forum and looking for advice / opinions on a first telescope after owning binoculars (Nikon 8x42, so 8x Mag 42mm lens). I've done a lot of research over the past few weeks but wanted some confirmation / other perspectives on what I'm looking for, as maybe I'm completely off target.
The requirements I have set myself are:
* I live in a reasonable light-polluted area (Bortle 5-6 / yellow) in suburbia of the US Pacific North West. I'm not sure if a goto mount would be best as a result. I do like the idea of being able to find things on my own, but this may be too difficult given viewing conditions (I do have several GPS star chart apps though, so have a rough idea of where things are). I'll not be taking the scope outside of the back yard as I don't have time to drive to a darker place (I have a very young <1 yr old daughter), or it would be a very, very rare occasion - so portability isn't too much of a concern.
* Budget is about $1000-1500
* I'd like to be able to take pictures as well as viewing, but these pictures will be taken with an iPhone. Viewing / photo desire is about 75%-25% - It would be great to capture amazing images, but I'd really like to be able to *see* amazing things in real-time, even from the backyard.
* I'd really like to be able to see Jupiter / Saturn clearly, and be able to see Uranus / Neptune look like planets instead of stars. My wife would also at a minimum want to be able to see Saturn / Jupiter clearly.
* For DSO's I'm open for suggestions as to what's possible to see with what equipment
* I like the idea of a mounted telescope vs dob because it 'looks better' and would enable an EQ mount to manually track objects. I'm not sure if this would be needed for my use case though
* Should be robust enough to last a good few years
* Open to complete kit (OTA, mount et al), or individual parts suggestions. A initial full assembly just needs to be under $1500.
The brands I've been mostly looking at are Orion and Celestron. Things that I've considered as possibilities myself (again, open to discussion, people changing my mind) are the Celestron Nexstar 8SE ($1000), the Orion 8/f4.9 Newt Reflector with EQ mount ($600) or the 10 inch version for $499 and getting a different mount. I have also considered getting something like a Celestron Power seeker 127 EQ, as it's much cheaper and would enable me to try out an EQ mount and learn to collimate with something that is much better than the binoculars that I have - but isn't much investment in case I don't like it. I'm worried that something as small as a 5 inch reflector would not be enough at this point to see much from the light pollution levels near me. Again, open to suggestions about what setups others have and appreciate any pointers / advice.