I know there will be many who think getting the highest quality scope one can afford as the most important consideration when starting out (or heck, even upgrading), whether it is for visual or photography. But, in my opinion I think the mount is more important. When I started out so long ago I had no one to turn to for help. There was no internet, no local astronomy groups or even anyone I knew to ask. All I had were a few issues of Sky and Telescope for information. I went through a lot of scopes always wanting something better. The problem I always had (regardless of the quality of scope) was jittery, unstable views due to shaky, wobbly mounts sitting on top of wiggly, weak tripod legs.
Over the years of buying a lot of astronomy gear, one thing became increasingly apparent to me; The more solid the mount/tripod I had, the more enjoyable the experience was (no matter how good/bad the scope itself was). Even to this day, I'd take a rock solid platform (i.e. - mount/tripod) and a cheap scope, over an expensive apo sitting on some lousy, wobbly, shaky platform that leaves one feeling like they are viewing through a handheld scope on a fault line during an earthquake. Things like focusing, touching the scope or even a slight wind can leave the view almost impossible to enjoy, even with a high quality telescope. I wish someone had told me years ago to invest in a solid mount/tripod and worry about the scope later. It would have saved me years of aggravation and attempts at making bad mounts better. Although it did give me the benefit of honing my DIY skills.
Most online retailers put together package deals with some fairly nice scopes (and these days even inexpensive scopes have fairly good optics) sitting on the most woefully inadequate mounting platforms. Though it has gotten better since my early years of catalog shopping, the practice is still quite prevalent with the retailer making the incredible sales pitch about the scope itself, and "oh yeah, it comes with a mount too!" as if it really mattered.
Personally I think it does matter, A LOT. Maybe it's just me but knowing what I know now, I will always recommend a solid mounting platform over this or that type of scope. It all changed for me the day I got a brand new Meade 8" LX50 SCT from Astronomics many years ago. I spent all my money on the fork mounted scope, so I had no money leftover for a tripod. I built my own solid wooden structure to set it on (ala tabletop essentially), but it was solid and I spent at least a year in my backyard without any tripod at all. But it was solid.
But then one day I got lucky and came across a Meade Giant Field Tripod used and very cheap. Don't get me started on how heavy that beast was. It was rusty, pitted and really beat up, but that monolith was solid as a rock. I've long since moved on from my solid wood box or that beast of a tripod but I will never forget how much more I enjoyed my observing experience having such a stable platform. Damping time? What's that? I've gotten a few questionable mounts since that I've been able to mod to my liking, but one thing has stuck with me that I will always pass on to others...
If you are just starting out, do yourself a favor a get a solid mount first above all other considerations. The scope and any accessories are essentially useless without a stable platform to put them on. Any scope will suffice if you are just beginning. You can always upgrade. But don't be led by the hype about scopes (justified or not) until you understand that whatever you put that scope on can either keep you in this hobby for a long time or make you want to quit before you've even begun.
Those guys who do astrophotography who tell you to get a small scope and put your money into the mount have it right. But I think it's valid for visual observing as well.
Just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth. Thoughts?