Wow, thank you all very much for sharing your suggestions! I really appreciate your help and believe I understand the basis of the differences in some suggestions offered as well.
@Bkoh is correct in pointing out that I should do more observing to help me determine what are my best choices. Indeed, one of the main reasons that I am interested in getting a zoom at this time is that I thought that obtaining a zoom with the appropriate range will help me decide what fixed focal lens I get next. Based on my experience with binoculars and camera lenses I know that generally, fixed focal length lenses deliver higher quality views. So I was a bit surprised to see that the Svbony and its kin are relatively good instruments, especially given their cost.
Perhaps I will get one of these Svbony (or comparable) zooms and do a bit of research and look more closely at fixed focal options in the 15-18mm range. Which of these three zooms would be a good choice to serve in that focal range, the 8-24? I am assuming this model based on poorer performance at the end of range in both directions, which I don’t know is actually correct or not.
I am also now considering a more inexpensive Barlow. I had been thinking that a decent one would be around $100 but am now considering trying a more modestly priced one, used or new. Is this combination package of zoom, Barlow & phone mount worthy of consideration?
Is the Barlow in this combination package the same one that you are using @aeajr ? This might be a good buy if it’s the same Barlow or equivalent.
I also see this and see that they have several Barlow options. Are the 2x models functionally equivalent?
Would it instead be better to get the Svbony zoom separately and a different Barlow than the one in this combo package? I had been thinking that I would look for a used TV or Seibert or similar but maybe one of these Svbony models or a used Meade 122 or Celestron would be fine for a beginner like me.
I think the cell phone mount for pictures in the combo package is this model:
Would this work okay for taking pictures with my AWB scope?
Finally, @Bkoh is also correct about my current eyepieces. The 10mm is the weak link. My recently acquired 6.5 HD60 is so very much nicer! The view I have with the 35mm is very nice, too. I am sort of surprised how nice the views are considering it’s an ancient lens I’ve used for decades in a spotting scope. Even though I feel the stock 25mm is not quite as nice as the 35 mm, it is still a good lens for me at this time.
Once again, thank you all for giving me so many ideas!
Edited by Bener, Today, 01:33 AM.