I'm as open to spending money on this hobby as anyone out there... but objectively, is there anything that an ST80 or clone does that a OneSky 130mm reflector can't?
Hi BlueTrane2028, the AWB is the scope I’m switching from to go to the ST80. I’ve owned the AWB for 6 years and I’ve fallen out of love with it for a number of reasons. Here’s why I am going from the OneSky 130 to the ST80.
1) Helical focuser, I hate it. The focuser is molded into the plastic and can’t be changed. Also, it has limited travel. Also ALSO, it’s off to the side, so large eyepieces/cameras put weird side loads on the secondary.
2) The telescoping arms for the secondary make it compact, but they can never be as rigid as a solid tube. Large eyepieces/cameras flex the arms, and the amount the arms flexes changes with altitude angle.
3) The tube is like a modern cellphone - well optimized for its intended purpose, but unable to me modified (I’m not talking about the baffles, or Teflon on the focused - I did those). The red dot finder has a semi-custom shoe and is on the secondary ring so you can’t change it to a right angle finder like I like (AND another finder would weigh to much).
4) The tube is mounted to a dovetail, not rings. You can’t add rings, because the tube is only the back half. With a dovetail and a fixed focuser, putting it on an EQ mount doesn’t work.
5) No EQ ability and a fixed-position side focuser means it doesn’t work for AP. You can’t balance the tube side to side (dovetail) or back to front (short dovetail on the back half).
As an all-in-one package, the AWB is fine for visual, but I want a scope that I can grow with. The ST80 has a cottage industry of mods and upgrades so you can learn about your scope and do more types of astronomy. If I like my ST80, I’ll be able to add additional features and acquire experience and hardware that’ll serve me well on $1,000 scopes - all for a MUCH lower entry point.
Is the AWB the most scope you can get for $200? Probably. But the compromises to fit it all into there means the scope gives up expandability and modification that would grow with the user.
Edited by blastr42, 22 November 2020 - 08:31 PM.