I'm attempting to help my mother Christmas shop for my dad and I'm getting lost in all the possibilities and options. From perusing through Star Ware, this forum, and all the other articles I've found, I think a refractor would best suit him and his needs. I see people swearing by Dobs but when questioned (and from what I know about him), his interest is primarily planetary and probably lunar viewing rather than deep space at this point. He's a huge gadget guy but there's not much flattering on the computerized mounts and I'd rather avoid those battery drains if I can get something higher quality but more work. The refractor has also been touted as good for kids with minimal temperature adjustment time and low risk of dew accumulation, which as his patience varies by mileage is probably better to start with.
From what I've gathered, the Celestron seems to be winning out in terms of what people have and are happy with in the refractor category, but the Star Ware book I have is old so all those scopes with their detailed reviews is rather dated.
These all seem to be in the budget, more or less, and I can see there's some difference with the multi-coated vs fully coated (still not entirely clear on what the difference there is), as well as focal length, but I'm rather stuck. Does anyone have any of these scopes or experience with them? Unfortunately there are no astronomy clubs in my area and the nearest in store telescope is states away.
Any help is appreciated!
(PS how much should I budget for eyepieces? I've seen very mixed reviews on the celestron eyepieces that come with the scopes. Or is that more a personal decision and I gift him my Star Ware book and tell him to have fun?)