I'm not in any hurry (and nothing is in stock anyway), but it's cloudy and might as well think about the future. Current scope is a Z61 with a 1x flattener. Camera is dslr now, but likely to change before a 2nd scope is acquired and will deal with those issues separately.
My current thinking is that the baseline for comparison is the AT115EDT + 0.8x flattener. So $1550 new, and about 13.5 lbs not counting camera and guide gear. I believe a CEM25p should be able to handle that - if not, then I'll be saving up for a mount upgrade next . So any alternative should both cost and weigh no more. The closer the cost (mostly) gets to that level, the more I would want to think about how the results would be preferable to the refractor.
6" Newtonian. Cheap, but needs an pricey coma corrector. What level of coma corrector makes for a good experience? Likely to need a focuser upgrade? (and what are we looking at there). Any other hidden costs?
6"RC. Everyone says "NO", which is probably the right answer. But *can* they be made into a good instrument? What does it actually take?
Edge HD 8. This is a whole different class of beast in many ways. Base cost and weight are similar to the refractor, reducer costs more, longer focal length system. The *idea* of the Nightowl reducer is really appealing, but that might be vaporware anyway. Very scary seeing people talk about a $1000 guide camera and all the issues with getting an OAG to fit in the system. But this is an academic exercise anyway, so if you think this is a viable option I'm happy to listen.
Some other SC?
Something else entirely?
Nothing serious yet, just hoping for some interesting and fun discussion.