I'm sure there are numerous threads similar to this, but I've read through several of them and and each one seems to be a bit different. (Just a suggestion to the admins, I wonder if it would be a good idea to create a category under AP specifically for AP-related equipment questions and discussions.)
I've decided I'd like to start looking for a larger refractor (roughly 5-inch) to add to the stable for imaging. So far, my list includes (in order of increasing price):
AT 130EDT (and rebranded associates, such as the Orion EON 130)
ES FCD-100 127
My target price range is up to around $3k, so realistically, the Stellarvue and the WO are more than I really want to spend, but I could make the investment if there's enough justification. I have NO DOUBT the Stellarvue us a superior scope, but is that quantifiable?
I must admit I'm partial to the appearance of the ES CF scopes, but the weight difference isn't really an issue.
So, a few questions. First, I can't find anything that says what glass is used in the AT, just that it's ED glass. Does anyone know?
Second, what factors are viewed as critical in making a decision about which one to go with? I've read good comments about all these scopes on CN. Since imaging will be its primary use, I read where someone suggested going to AstroBin and searching for images from specific scopes, and, while that sounds like an interesting exercise, my experience is there are many factors involved in how good an image is so that doesn't seem to be objective enough to use as a criteria. I was thinking focuser quality might be a big factor, but on even the lower-cost items in the list (AT and ES), the reports I've read are that the focusers are actually pretty good. It's nice the AT comes with a hard case, but if it means having to completely break down the guide scope, etc. in order to box up the imaging scope, I question how much help that really is. (For my WO-Star 71, I bought a Harbor Freight case with pick-and-pull foam that's big enough to store the scope with the guide scope attached in one unit [I do have to remove the camera]. The WO-Star comes with a soft case, but I would have to remove everything and reposition the mounting rings in order to collapse the dew shield to get it in the factory case.) Unfortunately, I'm not sure Harbor Freight makes a similar case large enough to hold a refractor of this size, unless it's a rifle case, and then I'd be worried about thickness.
I don't currently use an electronic focuser, but I suppose one thing that might eliminate some options is if an electronic focuser won't work (or won't work well) on a particular scope.
Finally, are there any other models I should add to the list to be considered?
Thanks for any information.
Edited by JohnMeggers, 21 October 2021 - 03:12 PM.