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Buy once cry once, what to get that's upgradable

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#1 Rmwsg1

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:25 AM

Hello all,

Thank you in advance for any and all feedback.  I'm struggling with too many choices.  So I will start with the desired use and then move on from there.

These will not be in order.

 

-Telescope and Mount to be robust enough for offroad camping trips - Picture a Grand Wagoneer in the middle of nowhere and having to get there, i.e. not on roads.

    Telescope will be stored in a pelican or hardigg case (water and dust proof with lots of foam padding)

 

-Relatively quick setup times, say 30 minutes (this does not include temperature acclimation as I'm assuming being in vehicle/campsite it's going to be close to ambient temp).

 

-I want to see planets but more importantly I want to see Deep Space Objects - galaxies, nebula, etc.

 

-I am not currently interested in stellar photography but I would like the option of taking a few pictures of what I'm seeing with a mount for a phone camera or small travel camera...I do not have a fancy dslr or such.

    I took a cool picture of the moon yesterday in the daytime with my android and a Leupold 60mm 15-45x spotting scope on a 1980's vhs camera tripod....it was annoying but gratifying.

    Tried it at night and while I could view the moon really well with the spotting scope the camera couldn't handle the brightness.

 

-I want to buy once cry once.  So if I need to spend the majority of the budget on a manual equatorial mount (that has the option of adding a motor later) that will support a refractor or reflector of up to whatever size then I'm fine with that.

    I know that there is not 1 scope that does it all so I know I might have more than 1 scope later on and they will probably be different types but it would be great if they used the same mount.

 

-Same thing with eye pieces if the better ones are 2" vs 1.25" then I'd like the scope to take a 2" without adapters so I can buy medium to higher end eyepieces.

 

I know this is confusing lets just say I want the accessories (mount, motor, eye pieces) to be higher quality and then the scope itself is the item to be upgraded/replaced/etc,  80mm upgrade to 127mm or 6" up to 10", whatever.

I know I mentioned budget....lets start at $1,000 but keep it under $2,000.

 

Let the comments begin.

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#2 rob1986

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:48 AM

only fully upgrade-able mount I know of is sky view pro. by orion. up to 20 lbs for visual.



#3 clearwaterdave

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:54 AM

Hello and welcome to CN.,I don't like to recommend scopes because everyone's situation is different,.but I can say 2" eyepieces are not better than 1.25". There are cheap ones and better ones,.just like 1.25".,They only allow for a wider field of view at lower powers. In a way they have drawbacks,in that they are heavier,.and need a 2" diagonal which is also heavier and 2"stuff cost more. 

Also you don't need an eq mount to do point and shoot pictures.,a little practice and you will get good moon pics.,

Good luck with your choices,.


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#4 eyeoftexas

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:56 AM

For the iPhone pictures at the eyepiece, this works well:

 

https://www.celestro...rtphone-adapter



#5 LDW47

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:19 AM

Hello all,

Thank you in advance for any and all feedback.  I'm struggling with too many choices.  So I will start with the desired use and then move on from there.

These will not be in order.

 

-Telescope and Mount to be robust enough for offroad camping trips - Picture a Grand Wagoneer in the middle of nowhere and having to get there, i.e. not on roads.

    Telescope will be stored in a pelican or hardigg case (water and dust proof with lots of foam padding)

 

-Relatively quick setup times, say 30 minutes (this does not include temperature acclimation as I'm assuming being in vehicle/campsite it's going to be close to ambient temp).

 

-I want to see planets but more importantly I want to see Deep Space Objects - galaxies, nebula, etc.

 

-I am not currently interested in stellar photography but I would like the option of taking a few pictures of what I'm seeing with a mount for a phone camera or small travel camera...I do not have a fancy dslr or such.

    I took a cool picture of the moon yesterday in the daytime with my android and a Leupold 60mm 15-45x spotting scope on a 1980's vhs camera tripod....it was annoying but gratifying.

    Tried it at night and while I could view the moon really well with the spotting scope the camera couldn't handle the brightness.

 

-I want to buy once cry once.  So if I need to spend the majority of the budget on a manual equatorial mount (that has the option of adding a motor later) that will support a refractor or reflector of up to whatever size then I'm fine with that.

    I know that there is not 1 scope that does it all so I know I might have more than 1 scope later on and they will probably be different types but it would be great if they used the same mount.

 

-Same thing with eye pieces if the better ones are 2" vs 1.25" then I'd like the scope to take a 2" without adapters so I can buy medium to higher end eyepieces.

 

I know this is confusing lets just say I want the accessories (mount, motor, eye pieces) to be higher quality and then the scope itself is the item to be upgraded/replaced/etc,  80mm upgrade to 127mm or 6" up to 10", whatever.

I know I mentioned budget....lets start at $1,000 but keep it under $2,000.

 

Let the comments begin.

You never stop buying, adding to the herd, upgrading this and that, downgrading that and this, its endless and its fun !  PS: If you don’t buy 2” capabilities you have missed out either now or in the future !


Edited by LDW47, 23 February 2021 - 10:20 AM.

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#6 LDW47

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:21 AM

In this hobby there is no buy once ......... !  LOL !


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#7 astrochaser

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:06 AM

So true is your comment LDW47


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#8 DSOGabe

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:39 PM

The big question is your budget.

Depending on that I would say an 8" SCT (with a reducer for wider views) or a 4-5" refractor may work for your needs. Neither are too big or bulky so transport and set up should be quick. Explore Scientific make a couple of refractors that are decently priced. 

Since AP is not really on you agenda a good basic mount that I like is the Celestron AVX. It probably the EQ mount that is most economical and has an adequate payload rating; it be excellent for visual and good enough for short exposure photography.



#9 LDW47

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:02 PM

Research the pros and especially the cons of EQ mounts before you decide but if you definitely want tracking then .......... !


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#10 rgsalinger

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:11 PM

The last thing that I would buy is an equatorial mount. You will never get everything assembled, aligned and calibrated in 30 minutes or I'll eat my vintage San Diego Chargers hat. A C8 alt AZ is a good choice BUT I think that the best solution is a Dobsonian with all the bells and whistles.

 

One of these fits your budget more or less and they make an even cheaper one for less money. I'm sure that there are other similar offerings if you research it. 

 

These are what I would buy if: 

 

I wanted a visual scope with just an occasional short exposure shot

 

was not an expert in finding objects in the night sky,

 

wanted fast setup

 

AND

 

wanted something that fits in an SUV and can be handled by a single person without a struggle. 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#11 LDW47

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:22 PM

The last thing that I would buy is an equatorial mount. You will never get everything assembled, aligned and calibrated in 30 minutes or I'll eat my vintage San Diego Chargers hat. A C8 alt AZ is a good choice BUT I think that the best solution is a Dobsonian with all the bells and whistles.

 

One of these fits your budget more or less and they make an even cheaper one for less money. I'm sure that there are other similar offerings if you research it. 

 

These are what I would buy if: 

 

I wanted a visual scope with just an occasional short exposure shot

 

was not an expert in finding objects in the night sky,

 

wanted fast setup

 

AND

 

wanted something that fits in an SUV and can be handled by a single person without a struggle. 

 

Rgrds-Ross

And make sure you get a 2” focuser with any scope you choose, the 6-8” dobs will give wonderful views of everything in those black nite skize have to offer with minimal stress as you learn !


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#12 Rmwsg1

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:48 PM

So I was looking at a dob 8" but then I saw that for not much more I could get a 8" reflector meant to be tripod mounted and figured that if I bought an Equatorial mount for the 8" reflector I could later grab a refractor and use the same equatorial mount.  I acknowledge that there is setup time for the mount to consider.  Maybe 30 minutes wasn't realistic.

I will admit I've already ordered the smart phone mount and it's shipped so I can for the time being mount the phone to my current setup.

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Edited by Rmwsg1, 23 February 2021 - 01:48 PM.


#13 JMW

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 02:02 PM

At good alt/az mount that can handle the scope you start with and maybe handle a larger scope done the road plus the tripod can exceed your $1000 budget pretty quickly. Having the option for adding encoders and a Nexus DSC done the road is a great option. Once you have a quality alt/az mount on a good tripod you have a lot of flexibility on the scopes you can put on it.

 

For $1000 buget you may be better buying a 6-8 inch Dob with a 2 inch focuser plus a couple of decent eyepieces, Telrad and collimation tools. The Dob mount is the best value consider the stability and usability it provides for a modest cost. I bought an 8 inch f/6 newtonian tube with an 8 inch Pyres mirror and had a custom Dob base made out of birchply for stiffness with less weight for about $450. I had encoders added at the time of build but they can be added later. I upgraded the focuser to a Moonlite 2 speed but the default 2 inch focuser was usable. 

 

If you buy a refractor, small newtonian or SCT on a goto mount for $1000 you end up with a $300-400 scope and a $600-700 mount/tripod with optical performance that will probably be less than the 8 inch dob.

 

You can get a device that will hold your phone at the eyepiece at take simple short exposures of brighter objects. 


Edited by JMW, 23 February 2021 - 02:02 PM.


#14 LDW47

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 02:11 PM

So I was looking at a dob 8" but then I saw that for not much more I could get a 8" reflector meant to be tripod mounted and figured that if I bought an Equatorial mount for the 8" reflector I could later grab a refractor and use the same equatorial mount.  I acknowledge that there is setup time for the mount to consider.  Maybe 30 minutes wasn't realistic.

I will admit I've already ordered the smart phone mount and it's shipped so I can for the time being mount the phone to my current setup.

Its just not the set up time, with an EQ mount in some positions you almost have to be a contortionist to view unless you loosen the rings and rotate the tube to prevent a sore neck, lol !


Edited by LDW47, 23 February 2021 - 02:15 PM.


#15 Rmwsg1

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 10:58 AM

Everyone thank you for your recommendations.

To clarify when I spoke of buying once.  I was leaning towards the Buy 2" eyepieces like a 24 and 13mm televue knowing they can be used on any scope upgrade in the future.  Similar with a tripod, it doesn't have to be the really expensive Losmandy, but I'd like one that will last a few telescopes.  In regards to the equatorial vs alt-az, I agree with the setup time trumping future photography motor mounts options.

 

Along these lines, is there any reason not to get say a Televue pronto?  My understanding is that while it is older, it is fast and light and takes the eye pieces that will grow to a new scope later on.  Obviously I'd like a larger aperture but I don't see any tv-85s for sale.

 

Thanks again.



#16 csrlice12

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 11:24 AM

Cataract  surgery....improves contrast and clarity and brightness.


Edited by csrlice12, 04 March 2021 - 11:25 AM.

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#17 Bigal1817

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 12:51 PM

In your Wagoneer, will there be a family?  I don't mean to be nosy, but if not, you resemble a good candidate for an 8-10" Dob.  I own an 8" and will validate the often-circulated advice to buy a Dobsonian.  It will allow you to see the planets and the DSOs.  You won't need a pelican but I bought the padded bag, with some gentle and conscious packing, it'll fit safely in your vehicle.  The Apertura AD8 comes with everything you need and you'll enjoy the 2" eyepiece.  Sure, there are better eyepieces out there (I upgraded to a 35mm Panoptic) but I found the supplied 30mm GSO 2" to be much better than the standard 1.25" Plössl.  Good luck!



#18 Rmwsg1

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 01:18 PM

There will be a wife and 2 kids...I did consider a dob or Newtonian (would have to go on the room rack), I have a hardigg plotter printer case (used for making maps) which would hold a good sized Newtonian, but I didn't want to have to collimate it all the time, figured if they needed it when used normally, it would be a bigger issue after leaving the tarmac.

 

So I figured a good portable refractor and could always go up from there.



#19 Hesiod

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 02:55 PM

Bounce it too hard and will have to collimate even the refractor...
The beauty of Newtonian reflector lies in its simplicity: even a boar like myself can quickly adjust it.

Anyway, tiny telescopes like the Pronto can be quite enjoyable and very useful to improve your observing skills but also require a lot of dedication.
What is rather obvious in a 20cm telescope becomes a challenge: it may takes 20' to glimpse the faintest trace of arms whereas in the 20cm the very same galaxy would be rather easy to notice.
A mesmering ball of light could turn into a pale roundish ghost, and so on.
Mind also that these small telescopes IMHO fare much better on deep sky stuff than on planets.
So if are ready for the challenge go for the small telescope, but do not expect it will be easy...

I have sometimes set up my FL55 side by side with a 130/650 Heritage to show something to family members (which have at best a marginal interest in stargazing): never ever they told me that the views in the FL55 were "better", despite the fact that it features vastly superior optics at the star test and the whole setup was ten times more expensive that the Heritage130...

#20 Mitrovarr

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 03:20 PM

Honestly at your level of experience, you are not ready to "buy once cry once" yet. You haven't observed enough to know what you like or exactly what you want to do.

As efficient as it sounds, trying to buy lifetime equipment right out the gate is just going to result in buying the wrong lifetime equipment.
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#21 LDW47

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 04:06 PM

Honestly at your level of experience, you are not ready to "buy once cry once" yet. You haven't observed enough to know what you like or exactly what you want to do.

As efficient as it sounds, trying to buy lifetime equipment right out the gate is just going to result in buying the wrong lifetime equipment.

Well said !


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#22 Rmwsg1

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 04:11 PM

Not disagreeing with the above comments, which is why I'm asking those of experience.

Does this mean the general consensus is a dob or newtonian and just get good at collimation?

If so, is the recommended diameter 8".  Reminding that the deep sky is what I'd prefer to look at.

Thanks,



#23 sevenofnine

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 04:36 PM

If you check members signatures you'll see that most of us have at least several scopes, mounts, binoculars and too many eyepieces wink.gif  I that's in your future then I suggest getting a good travel scope for now and a DSO scope later. A good travel scope should be compact and rugged. A good DSO scope is all about aperture. A 5 inch Maksutov on a go-to mount makes a great travel scope. With a wide angle eyepiece like a 32mm plossl or better, you can see the brighter DSO's and still have plenty of power for planets using a zoom eyepiece. The mount will track whatever you're looking at so the whole family can get a peek. Very nice!  A large Dob can travel too but with the family SUV stuffed with kids and gear...I wouldn't want to do it. I would save the big Dob for star party specific outings. Good luck with your choices! waytogo.gif



#24 Hesiod

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 05:04 PM

I do not recommend a specific diameter, but can only tell that is for the most the aperture to rule the allowed/more appropriate magnification for each target.

Small aperture means low magnification , which in turn means harder time when observing the object.

A bigger aperture may be more troublesome to make ready, but will pay you back when star to observe.

 

Try just to figure that: if it takes 5' to set up the FL55 (55/300 refractor) but have to spend 45' of careful observation, often with averted vision, to figure out clearly the spiral structure of Whirlpool Galaxy, while these very same details are quite obvious even at a brief observation  in the C8, how much it matters in the end that it took me 15' to assemble, check and adjust the 8" SCT?

 

If are not sure about how big your "ideal" telescope should be, my suggestion is to try with "table-top" reflectors such as the Orion Starblast 150 (which was/is also available with a "digital setting circle" device, a nice way to learn your way in the sky) or the Skywatcher Heritage (available as 130/650* and from last year also in the 150/750 size).

 

 

 

 

*in the USA this may be also purchased from Astronomers Without Borders as "OneSky"



#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 05:35 PM

Not disagreeing with the above comments, which is why I'm asking those of experience.

Does this mean the general consensus is a dob or newtonian and just get good at collimation?

If so, is the recommended diameter 8".  Reminding that the deep sky is what I'd prefer to look at.

Thanks,

 

There's no doubt that an 8 inch Dob is a capable DSO scope, a 10 inch more capable etc, etc.

 

The thing of it is, what's most important is the overall observing experience. Some experienced observers really enjoy Dobs, some prefer other types of scopes. It's not really the views as much as it all the things that make up the overall experience,  the viewing position, the setup, the hassle and ease. 

 

I am a Dob guy but I know lots of folks who prefer SCTs.. an 8 inch Dob is a good way to start but you may find it doesn't work for. 

 

Regarding the Pronto:  I had one. It's a nice small refractor but optically, it's not an ED refractor even though it says so on the name plate. It's really an achromat so its not a buy once and be done scope. 

 

Jon


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