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Old 26-06-2012, 04:52 PM
Endothermic
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New scope purchase

Hello everyone,

I guess you would say I am only just getting into astronomy even though I have had a reflector for about 15 years since I never used it that much as there was a problem with the munt so only used it alt/az and could never locate anything with it so pretty much just used it to look at the moon.

Anyway I finally have some money saved and have decided to get a decent telescope which I intend to do astrophography with as well as visual viewing.

I will probably end up trying long exposures but for the most part I will just be photographing the moon and since i'll finally be able to locate things probably the planets.

I've been taking photos of the moon for the last 15 years with camera lenses as well as the 8" reflector however I messed up my reflector when I tried to collimate it and would like to get back to taking high magnification shots of the moon.

I have looked at the Meade LS/LT and Celestron NexStar series since the photography will primarily be just short exposure but have ruled those out and am looking towards dual arm fork mounts such as the Celstron CPC 800 XLT or a Meade LX 90 8".

I know a G8 equatorial mount etc is better for astrophography but I am only doing short exposures mainly and since all the shots i've previously taken were with a stationary reflector at high magnification (moon was only in view about 8 seconds before it was gone) then I see no problem with a fork mounted alt/az scope (do not intend to purchase the wedge straight off, maybe if I get more into long exposure deep field shooting) and the tracking in alt/az should if anything give better results then I got with my stationary shots which were still extremely sharp since being the moon were around 1/20 shutter speed http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4091/4...81d56923_b.jpg

I'll be using my Nikon D90 but also do so digiscoping with my other cameras and will be purchasing several CCD imagers to see how they compare.

I have read a bit about both scopes over the years and it's always the case of the fans of one will say the other is crap so I am at a loss as to which if either is better especially for my purposes.

So any input on which I should look towards or another scope if you think it is btter would be appreciated however I bluntly will not get a scope on an EQ mount. I've had terrible times over the years with my reflector and not once wa able to get it to balance correctly or stay stable enough for it to actully be usable mounted as EQ instead of alt/az so I am set on a fork mounted scope.

I am looking at spending under $3000 and am considering the CPC 800 as www.btow.com.au is advertising it for only $2525

I also read alot about problems with dew and condensation (is there an actual difference between the two in astronomy? I keep reading people saying how they use a dew shield to prevent dew then in the same sentence say they use a something or other for condensation ) but nearly everything comes from people in north america etc so do we have similar problems in australia? I'm in Newcastle and if its a cold night and I leave the camera out for a couple of hours the lens will fog up but I don't see any actual drops appears and can condensation form on the inside of a schmidt scope and if so would that cause issues?

Alnd has anyone purcahsed anything from sites such as http://www.ozscopes.com.au/ or http://www.telescopesdirect.com.au as they seem alot like other video/electronic sites that say they have something in stock but ends up taking you months before you recieve the item if at all so would like to know if its worth considering getting the scope or accessories from one of those of if i'd be likely to have problems.

I look forward to any recommendations or advice anyone may have for me.
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  #2  
Old 26-06-2012, 05:36 PM
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Larryp (Laurie)
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Hi
If you are going with a schmidt-cassegrain, you will definitely need a dew shield, as they are notorious for dewing-up their corrector plates. You may even need to heat your dew shield, as I always had to do back when I owned one.
Have you considered a nice short focus apo refractor?-great for photography, superb images and usually have an effective dew shield built in. And you can put it on an alt-az mount if you so desire.
I don't understand why you have problems with a gem though.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 26-06-2012, 06:39 PM
Endothermic
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Perhaps it was more to do with the bracket that held the tube but I could never get it ot balance no matter how i put the counter weights.

If it ever did seem to balance then as soon as I would start to slew the scope or point it at something it would become off balance or the tube would start to slide.

Maybe it's just because it was a $500 Tasco reflector so was a cheap gem mount or something (maybe there was an actual flaw with it causing the slippage, just could never get it working so figured it was just me not being able to work a gem mount since i was young and had no idea what I was doing :s) either way the years trying to get it to work as eq over alt/az soiled my thoughts on gem mounts.

I'd rather a larger apature schmidt then a refractor.

Does dew become a problem quickly? I'd probably only be using it 30 - 60mins on any given night.
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Old 26-06-2012, 06:55 PM
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whzzz28 (Nathan)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endothermic View Post

Maybe it's just because it was a $500 Tasco reflector so was a cheap gem mount or something (maybe there was an actual flaw with it causing the slippage, just could never get it working so figured it was just me not being able to work a gem mount since i was young and had no idea what I was doing :s) either way the years trying to get it to work as eq over alt/az soiled my thoughts on gem mounts.
Sounds like the tube rings weren't the right size for the scope.
If your dead-set on an alt/az then the CPC-800 is decent at that price. Its competitor (Meade LX90 8") is similar in most respects but is a little more expensive from Bintel.
If you wanted to give an EQ mount a go again then for your budget, if you want a reflector, go with a a Skywatcher EQ6Pro + 10" Newtonian bundle (BD 254 x 1200 Newt. w/EQ6PRO package) will set you back $2399 from Andrews:
http://www.andrewscom.com.au/site-section-10.htm
Just remember, if you want to do much photography then an EQ mount is much better. The alt/az mounts aren't very good at tracking very well, but are good for visual viewing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Endothermic View Post
Does dew become a problem quickly? I'd probably only be using it 30 - 60mins on any given night.
It does. Remember dew falls like rain, if your looking at items near the horizon then it will take longer to dew up than if you were looking straight up.
A dew shield is recommended, you will probably start to get dew at around 30min mark (depending on humidity).
A cheap dew shield will set you back $45 or so, more expensive ones are $100+ (they work better though).

Dew's main problem is that it fuzzies up your view and can leave marks on the glass if it contains dirt, meaning cleaning will be required.
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Old 26-06-2012, 09:47 PM
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Larryp (Laurie)
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Refractors per inch of aperture will out-perform a larger scmidt-cass or newtonian. No central obstruction gives better contrast, and no collimation to worry about.
I once owned a 6" Astro-Physics Starfire refractor, and it would show every bit of detail a C11 would show and with superior contrast.
Suggest you go along to an astronomy society and try to look through some different scopes before making a decision.
Sounds like you had a real dud with the Tasco-I agree that the tube rings may have been incorrect. Really, gems are pretty good and you will have far more scope for astrophotography in the future.
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Old 27-06-2012, 12:52 AM
Endothermic
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Hmm well after reading some more and looking at some youtube vids I may give an EQ another go. I may look at a refractor as well.

Is there much difference between the HEQ5 Pro and EQ6PRO mounts? Doing some googling about the only difference I can find is higher payload the EQ6PRO can take other then that everyone is saying the HEQ5 performs basically the same just with a lighter load?

From the looks of it i'm adding an HEQ5 with Skywatcher Black Diamoned ED 100 to the list.

I must say i'm disappointed with that andrews store as it got me exited with some of the prices of the refractors till I found out they were just adding the "Black Diamond" name onto pretty much all of the refractors and they actually arn't the ones with the ED glass

Who else makes refractors worth looking at that don't cost as much as small car? Getting pretty swayed towards an EQ and refractor now, if I could find the ED 120 for the price of the 100 somewhere then it just might win out though i'd still rather the longer focal length of the schmidt.
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Old 27-06-2012, 07:41 AM
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dannat (Daniel)
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Andrews prices are some of the cheapest in Oz, you won't find an ed120 forthe price of a 100 as you go up in refractor size the prices do not increase in a linear fashion but go up on a steep curve
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Old 27-06-2012, 11:30 AM
Endothermic
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Andrews may be cheap but I don't like their marketing. They do have the 3 Black Diamond ED Refractors but then they also stick the "Black Diamond" name onto the other non ED refactors as well which if I didn't spend an hour trying to find these scopes that don't exist could of easily bought one thinking it was a good high quality ED scope when it isn't.

Looking at the skywatch site the Black Diamond series refractors have ED glass and there are only the 3 models there are no Black Diamond scopes that do not have ED glass nor are there any Black Diamond editions of the of the other non ED glass refractors.

So looking at Andrews you see "Skywatcher Black Diamond 150 x 1200 with EQ5 heavy-duty equatorial mount $1499.00 AUD" (also if you look at the list then see SW 150 x 1000 EQ5 Package for only $999) and then go looking up these "Black Diamond" scopes since you dunno what they are and find out great they are high quality ED glass scopes and they are normally 2 - 3x that cost so I better get one quick!!! but then you realise hey... I don't see that 150x1200 model Black Diamond scope on the manufacturers site it only goes to 120x900... oh it must just be that it's an ED glass edition of the cheaper scope then..... hmmm no there's only the 3 Black Diamond scopes on the site and no "Black Diamond" better edition of the other scopes so its actually only the cheaper normal BK15012EQ6 scope but with the misleading "Black Diamond" name attached to it. They surely know there are only the 3 Black Diamond scopes so what other reason would they have to stck the name on to the normal scopes as well.

I didn't think i'd see a CPC800 XLT for $2500 either when the cheapest anywhere else was $3500 so there could be somewhere with the BD 120 clsoe to the price of the BD 100 everywhere else
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Old 27-06-2012, 02:49 PM
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Just read Andrews online catalogue, and the Black Diamond EDs are very clearly listed as EDs, and the only choice seems to be which mount you want to buy. I don't see anything misleading about their ads. When you look at the listed specs for the other refractors, it clearly states they are achromats.
I have dealt with Andrews on several occasions and have found them very good to deal with, as are most of the dealers. And their prices are usually cheapest.
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Old 29-06-2012, 09:44 PM
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I must agree with Laurie's comment. "I have dealt with Andrews on several occasions and have found them very good to deal with, as are most of the dealers. And their prices are usually cheapest." both my c9.25 & neq6 mount came from Andrews , great quality and price. Definitely recommend them.
Philip
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Old 29-06-2012, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endothermic View Post
Andrews may be cheap but I don't like their marketing. They do have the 3 Black Diamond ED Refractors but then they also stick the "Black Diamond" name onto the other non ED refactors as well which if I didn't spend an hour trying to find these scopes that don't exist could of easily bought one thinking it was a good high quality ED scope when it isn't.
I think you'll find that they've labeled *everything* Black Diamond - including f/4 imaging newts, standard f/5 newts, flex tube dobs, and maks. I don't know if this is something that Andrews have done, or if Skywatcher has labeled themselves.

By the way, I've found that the Skywatcher website can be misleading (e.g. incorrect f-numbers and focal lengths were listed on many of their scopes the last time I checked).

Anyway, I happen to quite like Andrews' approach of putting the manufacturers' entire product range on the one page
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:42 PM
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Okay after further discussion with some people i've been swayed to a GEM. Thinking maybe just a cheaper achro refactor or a reflector again to start with but now i've seen the LX80 mount has my interest.

Being relatively new I guess no one knows much about the LX80?

Decided either gonna be the LX80 or HEQ5pro.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:39 PM
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2stroke (Jay)
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Black Diamond scopes arn't all ED buddy, i think you need to learn your facts. Black diamond its just a name they use simple as that, it was given because they upgrade there product line with crayford focuser's and painted there scopes in black and white. Andrews are straight forward with there products and prices, it just idiots that don't know what there buying. Andrews are much better then bintel and have a much larger range, on top of that they have much better service then bintel.

The LX80 probably won't hit us till xmas, also atm there have being a lot of issues as always with meade. The LX800 requires a re-grease because meade have choosen sticky crap again :/ Also there has being a couple of people finding mounts not correctly assembled, loose bolts ect. There's alot more but if you do your home work you will find out, I love meade but they just can't compete against the Chinese built sky-watcher GEMS for bang for buck.

Myself and my wife have chosen to buy a HEQ5 due to limit funds this year, they offer the same high resolution stepper motors as the eq6 though there weight capacity is less. We plan to run a 8" newt with guiding gear and dlsr and a ED100 combo when targets suit the refactor best. The true key to using a HEQ5 is perfect balance though even with that we will be pushing it with the newt on it. If you have the money go a eq6, the only down side of the eq6 is the weight if you have to go moving it about.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:56 PM
Endothermic
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Black Diamond scopes arn't all ED buddy, i think you need to learn your facts. Black diamond its just a name they use simple as that,
Well I was just going by the facts I got off the websites as on both the Aus and US skywatcher website when going to the Black Diamond section there are only 3 ED refractors listed, I can not see any other scope with the Black Diamond name anywhere on either site (can see all the scopes Andrews list they just don't have Black Diamond anywhere in their name or specs) so I logically assumed that all the Black Diamond scopes are ED scopes as there are only 3 scopes listed as Black Diamond and all 3 are ED .

I'll have to see what scopes Andrews recommend and what they think about the HEQ5 vs the EQ6 for it as the extra for the EQ6 wouldn't be a problem but after reading about the LX600 I was planning on getting one of those next year (if I got really into astrophotography again and there were not to many bad reports about them) so don't want to spend more on the mount if it isn't really required.

The Guan Sheng Imaging Newtonians have caught my eye so will be interesting to find out theor opinion on the quality and reliabilty of those though i'm still pretty favourable on a 120x1000 achro refractor now too.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:29 PM
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hmm you really do have a good point there http://www.skynews.ca/PDFs/Sky-Watch...10-skynews.pdf states that they use the bd series paint scheme which is called black diamond. Well it looks like every retailer is ripping into this but the ED lets you know what your buying anyhow. My bad and my apologies, though Andrews arnt really misleading you because its still states ED or no ED and these are in the new black diamond finish.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:51 PM
Endothermic
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I noticed the Guan Sheng Imaging Reflectors have a fan for the primary mirror while the Skywatcher Imaging Reflectors do not. Would that make a big difference with prime focus imaging or only afocal?
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:35 PM
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I noticed the Guan Sheng Imaging Reflectors have a fan for the primary mirror while the Skywatcher Imaging Reflectors do not. Would that make a big difference with prime focus imaging or only afocal?
I don't know what difference it would make in a smaller optic but with my CDK17 the fans make quite a large difference. I find images are not fully sharp unless the mirror and air temp are 1C or less different in temperature.

It will assist the mirrors cooling off to ambient much faster and thats a good thing. I think it also tends to keep dew off a bit more.

Greg.
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