You're getting a lot of answers from visual observers. Visual is a _completely_ different thing than imaging. I cannot emphasize that enough.
Your eyes are inherently short exposure, the camera can do ones orders of magnitude longer. That changes _everything_.
In imaging smaller telescopes are (sometimes) used for three main reasons.
They make learning this complicated art _much_ faster/better/cheaper (in all kinds of ways). Starting with too big a scope is a _very_ common beginner mistake. Often made because they were so happy with it for visual, and simply don't grasp just how different imaging is.
They provide a wide field for large targets. You can do M31 with 480mm, but it will require either a large chip camera, or a mosaic.
They are both portable in themselves, and enable the use of smaller more portable mounts.
Most serious imagers have multiple scopes. I have refractors from 66-130mm, and an 8 inch RASA, a scope which _cannot_ be used for visual, it's strictly an imaging scope.
The Raptor was designed for imaging.
It could be used for visual, but that's not what it was designed for, and few visual observers would appreciate the imaging features, and the associated price.
Below is an image I did with a 70mm Stellarvue (imaging) scope. I'm not saying it's great, but imagers can appreciate it, and my larger scopes could not have captured that target.
Better version than the crummy ()required) CN jpg, with acquisition details, here.
Few (no?) visual observers would pay $1000 for that scope.
The Radian would be a great scope to learn imaging with.
Edited by bobzeq25, 11 April 2021 - 10:49 PM.