Hi. I've been doing my research for a suitable first telescope and, of course, an 8" dob is the smart move, yet, somehow, I've convinced myself a TeleVue 76 (or 85) would be the bees knees! I'm not sure if this is brilliant of me or the makings of a costly mistake. Thus, I'm hoping for some feedback (or a slap across the face.)
I'm coming at this as a casual birder and lazy binocular astronomer who appreciates good optics. I just want to see more of everything - better than I can see it now in 10x bins. I live in semi-rural Idaho with pretty dark skies in my yard (Bortle 4-5). I also enjoy camping in the Owyhees which are DARK. A big dob would be super fun here. Yet, the small refractors are wooing me with their grab-n-go-ness and their robust portability. I fear dragging a dob out of the garage, collimating it, then letting it cool for 30-60min would be a deterrent (I am lazy and always have other things I should be doing). I also fear trying to take a 8" dob camping would be a bulky, dusty hassle and possibly damage the scope. ("Camping" = miles of washboard followed by miles of off-roading.)
Thus the appeal of the sleek little refractor...
I have considered just upping my binocular game. But I can barely hold 10x steady so anything heavier or more powerful means IS or a mount. And here I began asking myself - self, how much more will you see with a proper telescope than ANY pair of binoculars? I think a lot.
So, TV-85 looks like a winner. It's a great grab-n-go with respectable all 'round performance enough to keep most amateurs occupied for years. AND easy easy to pack in the cab of my pickup as I beat down the backroads. AND I get a spotting scope out of the deal! Only down side is small aperture and high price.
TV-76 seems to tic all the same boxes AND (maybe) MORE !? It might just be handier as a spotting scope AND might be easier to hike with as I can use my carbon fiber tripod (which is better/lighter than the telepod tripod but probably too light for the 85 per CN chatter) AND I'll save ~900 over the 85 (since it costs less and I don't need a new tripod.) AND it's actually in stock right now! Down side is 9mm less aperture.
Questions: Is this making any sense? Will I hobble my nascent hobby by going 76 vs 85mm vs clumsy dob? Will I be getting a big dob anyway? And if I get a dob now, will I be getting the TV-76/85 anyway? So which first?
PS. Money is an object but I subscribe to the 'buy once cry once' philosophy...
Thanks for your help!