I've been using a 127mm Newtonian on a basic mount system for the last year. I want to move up to bigger (and hopefully better) for both observation and imaging. My budget if $3,000 +/- $250. Here's what I'm considering and my thoughts. Any helpful comments are appreciated. If you want to tell me I'm an idiot, then keep it to yourself. My wife has already filled that job. :-)
System 1) Celestron 8” Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (RASA) with the CGEM II Mount (40 lbs load capacity). I'll likely add something like a 55 to 80mm tracking scope and camera within a couple months. I have a Nikon D3300 for my photography work, and until I outgrow that I don't see buying a CCD or CMOS until I win the lottery or otherwise find a need rather than desire. I especially like that the RASA has a f/2 so that I can get objects brighter and tighter on the camera system.
System 2) Celestron Advanced VX 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with the new VX mount. I would add the guide scope/camera for this unit as well. While the RASA is f/2, the VX!! is f/10. Obviously, I would need a field reducer, which still puts me well within my budget. My reason for wanting the 11" is observation. Unless I'm suffering from aperture envy, I believe the larger aperture will mean more light gathering, but I'm not sure.
ISSUES: There are three basic issues I'm hoping to get some help on.
Issue 1) Assuming I use a field reducer on the 11" (taking it down to f/6.3 or so), how much difference on the size of the image will it make? I ask because, as I understand it, the lower the f-number the smaller the image will appear on the camera sensor. In other words, rather than getting a wider field, with lesser light on the sensor, how much different will the width and strength be between the two?
Issue 2) Filed of View. Assuming both units are using the same power lens, would the field of view be different for the RASA vs SCT?
Issue 3) I have some alternative choices as well, and I'll fund them by here for comment. In addition, if you have a different system then please let me know. I'm still in the research stage, so there's time to figure out what will be best for me.
Orion 10" Newtonian Astrograph mounted on the Orion Atlas mount with a nice guide scope/camera setup. This is actually about between $500 and $800 less, depending on the choice of other options.
Meade LX90 Series 12" ACF (about $100 over my budget).
Thanks in advance for your help.