View Full Version : Any telescope geeks out there?
So I have decided I am going to give myself a telescope for Christmas under the guise of a family gift ;) This will be my first scope since the crappy $30 refractor I had when I was 10. I think I want a reflector as I have always been fascinated with them. I am looking in the $300 range (+/- $50). I know I don’t want a Dobsonean Reflector as I would like to mount my DSLR at some point and I hear it is that much more difficult so that leaves me with a German Equatorial Mount or a fully motorized mount. (My thoughts are to get a GEM that can have a motor added later so I can spend the money up front for better glass but I can be swayed either way).
I was looking at the Celestron Astromaster 114 or 130 (even a nexstar 130) or the Orion SpaceProbe 130 but am really open to anything.
Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
I have one of these:
Amazon.com: Celestron C5, 5" (127mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain XLT Spotting Scope: Camera & Photo@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/219Q8V6496L.@@AMEPARAM@@219Q8V6496L
I use it for celestial and terrestrial observation, and my Canon 60D mounts to it nicely.
I am looking in the $300 range (+/- $50). I know I don’t want a Dobsonean Reflector as I would like to mount my DSLR at some point and I hear it is that much more difficult so that leaves me with a German Equatorial Mount or a fully motorized mount.
No telescope in your price range comes with a mount that is adequate for through the telescope photography.
You can get interesting sky photography by mounting a camera on a telescope (using a normal camera lens), but to get a system capable of actually taking decent pictures through a telescope requires an order of magnitude increase in price ($2000 is entry level). Telescope photography is very demanding of the mount. Any shakiness or inaccuracy in tracking will provide disappointing results. If astro-photography is really your interest then I suggest getting an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on the steadist fork mount you can buy.
If all you want to do is take pictures of the night sky with your camera you don't even need a telescope. Make yourself a "barn door tracker" mount for your camera instead. Cheap and very effective. Typically you can take up to 15 minute exposures with standard lenses. Telephoto lenses will either require more care in design and setup or shorter exposure times.
Cheap, equatorial mounted telescopes are one of the most frustrating things to try to use. The promise of high power viewing of planets is totally obliterated by the shakiness of the imaging. For low power viewing a dobsonian is much easier to use and gives a much more enjoyable viewing experience. I use sky hopping (navigating visually from bright objects to nearby darker objects) and it is much easier to find objects with my dobsonian than it is with my refractor on an equatorial mount. You learn how to bump a dobsonian to counteract the rotation of the Earth and it honestly is not an issue for visual use. Vibrations dampen out very quickly in a dobsonian. A cheap, tripod equatorial refractor seems to never stop shaking.
For <$350 I would get an 8" Dobsonian. This will be very simple to setup and use and is also easy to transport (a big issue unless you live in a rural area with dark skies). It also large enough to see truly dark sky objects in great detail (you most likely will never outgrow this). Refractors are great for urban use (where the planets are typically all you can see), but unless you are willing to spend a huge amount of money on one, it will be too small to see much if any deep sky objects.
Orion makes a nice, inexpensive 8" dobsonian. This is what I would buy to meet a $350 budget.
Thanks Haldor. At that price point I knew I would not be taking any long exposures but I want to get a taste for the hoby to see if I am into it before I spend any real money. Right now I use my 50D with a 300MM lens and deep sky stacker and take decent shots so anything will be a step up from that.
I have always read that it is increasingly hard to track with a dobsonean since you have to worry about 2 axis instead of one. I don't need anything super accurate but it would be nice to keep an object in view for more than a few seconds. Can you shed any light on this?
Dobsonian for a 1st scope. not good for pictures however, LOTS of power for less money. You'll need tracking mount ($$$$) for pictures and the sky is the limit on price - litteraly! DOB's are Great for "sky-hopping". I Have an 8" dob on my front porch. If you get a DOB, or any reflector, try to keep it the same temp as the outdoors. "Tube Currents" will make you think you've got a problem as your mirror gets colder/warmer to match the air around it - creating wavy images. Good luck!
As far as keeping something in view, the greater your magnification, the faster things will move. Like anything, don't blow your entire wad on this unless you find out you like it. After the novelty wore off, it has sat there on the porch for 2 years.
Dobsonian for a 1st scope. not good for pictures however, LOTS of power for less money.
Completely agree here. You will see a LOT of objects with a lowly Dob. Learn the basics. If you decide you do like the hobby, you can always upgrade down the road.
Dennis in MA
I've got a 20 yr old, sonatube-made Dobbie. Still works well. Have considered some sort of BDM for it, but logistically, it's sorta large at that point.
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