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Telescope Build Quality

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#1 HotRod217

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 06:31 AM

Hi all, 

 

since a few months now I am looking for a new telescope. It will be my second one and its probably going to be a Dobsonian. First I was searching for a scope that works for astrophotography and visual, but then figured out that such a scope doesn't really exist. So I thought its better to start with visual first. I want to get a high quality telescope that is way better than my 200$ refractor, so my budget is 3000$ without eyepieces and other accessories. A 10" newtonian on a Go-To Mount is not an option for visual, because of impossible eyepiece positions (as people on this forum told me). Next I thought I might get a 180 Maksutov-Cassegrain (seems to be made from high quality materials), but I really want to see a lot of deep sky objects as well, which is impossible at f/15. SCT's look kind of weird with an even shorter tube than a MCT, so I don't want to get one of those. The Orion XX14g looks like a good deal to me but the build quality doesn't seem to be that good.

So my main questions are:

How important is the build quality?

I found the website of New moon telescopes, their products seem to have very high quality, but are there cheaper options without getting a mass-produced scope?

How good are the mirrors on mass produced telescopes?

I have seen many people selling this scope, saying they didn't use it that often; why is that? maybe too heavy?

Is the XX14g worth the money?

 

Thank you, 

 

Simon


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#2 LDW47

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 07:18 AM

Hi all, 

 

since a few months now I am looking for a new telescope. It will be my second one and its probably going to be a Dobsonian. First I was searching for a scope that works for astrophotography and visual, but then figured out that such a scope doesn't really exist. So I thought its better to start with visual first. I want to get a high quality telescope that is way better than my 200$ refractor, so my budget is 3000$ without eyepieces and other accessories. A 10" newtonian on a Go-To Mount is not an option for visual, because of impossible eyepiece positions (as people on this forum told me). Next I thought I might get a 180 Maksutov-Cassegrain (seems to be made from high quality materials), but I really want to see a lot of deep sky objects as well, which is impossible at f/15. SCT's look kind of weird with an even shorter tube than a MCT, so I don't want to get one of those. The Orion XX14g looks like a good deal to me but the build quality doesn't seem to be that good.

So my main questions are:

How important is the build quality?

I found the website of New moon telescopes, their products seem to have very high quality, but are there cheaper options without getting a mass-produced scope?

How good are the mirrors on mass produced telescopes?

I have seen many people selling this scope, saying they didn't use it that often; why is that? maybe too heavy?

Is the XX14g worth the money?

 

Thank you, 

 

Simon

Anything above 8” in dob starts getting heavy ! If you look at used, nothing wrong with that, and you find a good deal grab it real quick because it will be gone in the blink of an eye ! Many have learned the hard way.



#3 PirateMike

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 07:30 AM

Have you looked at these telescopes... http://www.hubbleoptics.com/index.html

 

Heavy is a barrier to frequent use. The best telescope is the one that you use the most.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#4 rob1986

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 07:35 AM

EP positions are not that much of a problem. If you think ahead it is manageable.

 

You could also purchase parallax rings, though they are expensive. as long as the rotation is centered it should not negatively effect 2 star alignment.

 the bigger problem is weight. a ten inch GEM newt starts at 120 lbs. an 8 inch can be had for 70 or so on an EQ5



#5 Sandy Swede

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 07:58 AM

Have you looked at these telescopes... http://www.hubbleoptics.com/index.html

 

Heavy is a barrier to frequent use. The best telescope is the one that you use the most.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

If you are dead-set on a Dob, Miguel has made a great suggestion.  The 12" Hubble weighs 30 lbs and focuser is approx 50" high at zenith.  $2,000.

 

You could also get a very nice 100mm doublet (maybe even a triplet) APO for approx $2,000.  Much faster set up and lighter weight.


Edited by Sandy Swede, 12 April 2021 - 07:58 AM.

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#6 rhetfield

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:01 AM

Mirrors on a mass produced reflector will probably get you 90-95% there.

 

Mounts, finders, bearings, and focusers on a mass produced dob will probably be 80-90% of the way to where a premium scope would be.

 

The premium scopes tend to be a bit more ergonomic, lighter, prettier.  Especially since the trend on the bigger ones is to go with faster optics.  The faster optics are more sensitive to mirror quality and positioning.  Premium scopes put a lot of effort into those two areas.  People also appreciate the better bearings on them.

 

The bigger difference with newts is in premium eyepieces vs. basic ones.  I would consider devoting 1/3 - 1/2 your budget to eyepieces.  Also keep an eye on the classifieds for both premium dobs and eyepieces.



#7 LDW47

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:03 AM

If you are dead-set on a Dob, Miguel has made a great suggestion.  The 12" Hubble weighs 30 lbs and focuser is approx 50" high at zenith.  $2,000.

 

You could also get a very nice 100mm doublet (maybe even a triplet) APO for approx $2,000.  Much faster set up and lighter weight.

Why a triplet ? For AP ? The OP ?



#8 rob1986

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:06 AM

Addendum to the above:

 

I would recommend against trying to see particular objects instead of simply looking at what is there. You will aquire more skill simply taking a star chart and "wandering around".

 

faint fuzzies are simply hard to see and take experience.


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#9 Sandy Swede

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:07 AM

Why a triplet ? For AP ? The OP ?

A triplet for AP if the OP wants to do that down the road.  A triplet should have better build and optical quality vs a doublet but, of course, you will pay for it.


Edited by Sandy Swede, 12 April 2021 - 08:08 AM.


#10 LDW47

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:17 AM

A triplet for AP if the OP wants to do that down the road.  A triplet should have better build and optical quality vs a doublet but, of course, you will pay for it.

Most disregard the triplet and higher costs unless they are definitely going to do AP, not what if, it could come later on, as you know, future scopes in the collection. The $ saved could go to new ep’s, other accessories or what have you ! My old gramma always said ‘ live for today ‘ and gramma was never wrong !



#11 TOMDEY

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 08:44 AM

The biggest differential in Quality is the Primary Mirror. New Moon (Ryan) explicitly offers the midland GSO or premium Fullum option for the mirror. priced accordingly. His custom structures are all premium select hand-crafted cabinetry-grade solid hardwoods and hardware. His scopes are breezy ergonomic to set-up and then observe. You understandably are inquiring about "cheaper options" --- but that's the conundrum. Cheaper is just and only that --- cheaper.    Tom


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 09:00 AM

Have you looked at these telescopes... http://www.hubbleoptics.com/index.html

 

Heavy is a barrier to frequent use. The best telescope is the one that you use the most.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

 

Miguel:

 

Have you spent much time with a Hubble Optics Don?

 

Heavy makes setup difficult but once setup, a heavy scope is likely to be stable and free from vibration.

 

I have not viewed through a Hubble Optics scope but the reviews I've read suggest they have issues with vibration etc that accompany lightweight designs. 

 

Jon


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#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 09:08 AM

EP positions are not that much of a problem. If you think ahead it is manageable.

 

You could also purchase parallax rings, though they are expensive. as long as the rotation is centered it should not negatively effect 2 star alignment.

 the bigger problem is weight. a ten inch GEM newt starts at 120 lbs. an 8 inch can be had for 70 or so on an EQ5

 

Realistically, eyepiece position on a GEM mounted Newtonian is a really hassle.  Rotating the tube helps but it's always a concern. You're fighting with the tripod, getting the chair close enough, looking through the finders.

 

With GOTO Dobs available.. there's not much reason to go a GEM mounted Newtonian... 

 

I've owned several. In the smaller sizes, they're workable. Anything over 8 inches.. no fun.

 

Jon


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#14 rob1986

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 10:08 AM

Realistically, eyepiece position on a GEM mounted Newtonian is a really hassle.  Rotating the tube helps but it's always a concern. You're fighting with the tripod, getting the chair close enough, looking through the finders.

 

With GOTO Dobs available.. there's not much reason to go a GEM mounted Newtonian... 

 

I've owned several. In the smaller sizes, they're workable. Anything over 8 inches.. no fun.

 

Jon

hence my comment about weight. 70lbs total is about the limit for practical portability.

 

And I hadn't though about it before, but I tend to observe standing. that may account for EP position being less of an issue for me

 

Personally given his requirements I'd push orion's 8 inch goto dob. I don't think he understands how much every additional pound hits ease of setup. Anything over that and I would be concerned it would end up as a living-room ornament.


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#15 Sandy Swede

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 10:20 AM

Most disregard the triplet and higher costs unless they are definitely going to do AP, not what if, it could come later on, as you know, future scopes in the collection. The $ saved could go to new ep’s, other accessories or what have you ! My old gramma always said ‘ live for today ‘ and gramma was never wrong !

I can't get inside the head of the OP; merely pointing out an option.  If you don't think you will be doing AP anytime soon, then yes, go with a doublet and spend the extra pesos on accessories. 


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#16 DSOGabe

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 10:24 AM

Don't count out SCTs. They are good all around scopes. Most are f/10 so the FOV is a bit narrow but will still work well viewing; with a focal reducer it will open up to about f/6 and that can set you up for AP with it. The short tube design is great in that it does not strain a mount the way a longer Newt or refractor can. Plus you don't really have to extend the tripod legs too much so you're won't be laying on the ground to look up at the zenith and you'll get more stability from that as well.


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#17 RobertMaples

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 10:32 AM

Why a triplet ? For AP ? The OP ?

With a $3,000 budget, if he were to get a refractor, why wouldn't he get a triplet?



#18 RobertMaples

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 10:35 AM

...The Orion XX14g looks like a good deal to me but the build quality doesn't seem to be that good...

What doesn't seem to be that good about the build quality?



#19 PirateMike

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 11:01 AM

Miguel:

 

Have you spent much time with a Hubble Optics Don?

 

Heavy makes setup difficult but once setup, a heavy scope is likely to be stable and free from vibration.

 

I have not viewed through a Hubble Optics scope but the reviews I've read suggest they have issues with vibration etc that accompany lightweight designs. 

 

Jon

Hey Jon,

 

I haven't spent much time (zero actually, just like you) with a Hubble Optics, I was just pointing out an optional maker of dobs. The OP, as always, needs to do his own homework. So how much do you think a dob should weight?

 

Heck, I'm just starting out with visual, almost have my first setup ready, just waiting on a dew system that will be delivered this week. If I like viewing enough I'll get myself a dob too, probably an inexpensive 10" to start or just use my 8" newt.

 

I have been doing AP for a long while, the viewing will be for killing time while the imaging robot collects photons. smile.gif

 

Kitchen Scopemed.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 12 April 2021 - 11:09 AM.


#20 LDW47

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 11:08 AM

With a $3,000 budget, if he were to get a refractor, why wouldn't he get a triplet?

Just read my post #10, that will answer your query about my thoughts ! Thats it thats all folks !   PS: I guess your reasoning is spend the whole bundle whether you need to or not ? We all differ ! 



#21 sevenofnine

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 11:10 AM

To the OP;...There are a number of American made premium Dob manufacturers. From everything I've ever read on this forum, Teeter Telescopes LLC gets rave reviews from owners. Their website shows why. Good luck with your choice! waytogo.gif


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#22 sg6

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 11:35 AM

OK, Newtonians are the way to go for aperture, and a dobsonian is the way to direct more $$ into the mirror.

First why not a goto?

If the goto puts the eyepiece in a poor position so will you when looking at the same object. The eyepiece doesn't move around the OTA to a better position just because you are pushing the scope around.

 

Why is the XX14g a good deal?

Reads that the whole focus is on diameter of mirror. Forget quality of mirror, just how far from edge to edge.

 

The build quality you appear to be talking of is the structure around the optical components - primary mirror and secondary mirror. They play little part in the resulting image - well as long as they stay fairly rigid and out of the optical path.

 

New Moon 12" f/5 GSO mirror = $3917, New Moon 12" f/5 Premium mirror = $5187. That is around $1200 more so gives you an idea of what quality means.

 

Also they certainly looks solid and rigid, and the least costly, the 12" GSO, seems effectively $1000 over budget.


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#23 LDW47

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 12:20 PM

To the OP;...There are a number of American made premium Dob manufacturers. From everything I've ever read on this forum, Teeter Telescopes LLC gets rave reviews from owners. Their website shows why. Good luck with your choice! waytogo.gif

Why don’t give the OP a hint of the cost of some of these dobs, right up front, it is important !  Right ??



#24 rob1986

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 12:24 PM

OK, Newtonians are the way to go for aperture, and a dobsonian is the way to direct more $$ into the mirror.

First why not a goto?

If the goto puts the eyepiece in a poor position so will you when looking at the same object. The eyepiece doesn't move around the OTA to a better position just because you are pushing the scope around.

 

Why is the XX14g a good deal?

Reads that the whole focus is on diameter of mirror. Forget quality of mirror, just how far from edge to edge.

 

The build quality you appear to be talking of is the structure around the optical components - primary mirror and secondary mirror. They play little part in the resulting image - well as long as they stay fairly rigid and out of the optical path.

 

New Moon 12" f/5 GSO mirror = $3917, New Moon 12" f/5 Premium mirror = $5187. That is around $1200 more so gives you an idea of what quality means.

 

Also they certainly looks solid and rigid, and the least costly, the 12" GSO, seems effectively $1000 over budget.

I also read aperture fever, I think he should try 8" first.\

 

a good 8" regular dob, like orion or somesuch, is never a waste of money.


Edited by rob1986, 12 April 2021 - 12:26 PM.


#25 brentknight

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 03:48 PM

The easiest telescope to setup/move that I've ever owned is my XX14g.

 

Having said that, my situation is that I move it from the garage with a beefy hand-truck to my driveway.  If the OP needs to move this telescope down stairs or can't move it while assembled, then the XX14g is a beast.

 

Some other issues with the XX14g are that the eyepiece height from about 60° to zenith will require a small stool or ladder to reach.  The Go2 functionality requires accurate alignment to work properly.  Without both clutches engaged, the scope does not balance well and does not move well in fully manual mode.  Oh...and did I mention that it's a beast?  It weighs almost as much as two 12" tube Dobsonians.  This combination probably leaves many of these telescopes collecting dust.  And then it's hard to sell them because Orion won't support the second owner for spare parts or service.

 

Despite all this, I love my XX14g - but only after the Go2 quit working and I had the base rebuilt using better engineering and better materials.  It's untenable to recommend this telescope just to replace the base and drive motors though.

 

But my story brings up a good point about what makes up the components of a premium Dobsonian.  When I rebuilt my base, I kept the truss tube.  It's very well built and holds shape throughout a session.  Many of the lightweight truss systems will flex requiring frequent collimation.  I also kept the mirrors as they seem to preform really well with good to excellent eyepieces (and a Paracorr).  Replacing the base and going to a manual only system dropped over 70lbs.  I can now move this telescope while pointed almost to zenith with hardly any effort.  Smooth motions at all elevations is a hallmark of premium Dobsonians - I'd argue it's the most important reason to go premium.  No wiggles, no shakes, easier to balance and easier to move.  To some extent when viewing alone there is no reason for motor tracking the mount - it's nice to have, but then remember the weight of those motors alone is the weight of a 10" Dobsonian.

 

It is a shame that most mass produced Dobsonians are so many compromises.  If at all possible, I'd grab a good quality used premium any day of the week.




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