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Old 21-09-2020, 07:16 PM
Ashhhhh (Ash)
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Help me choose a refractor for DSO photography

Hey all,

My first post here, I'm starting out in this hobby after a long term interest.
My interest lies in photographing deep space objects primarily.

I'm after advice on a refractor. $2k would be the maximum budget.
I'd prefer a triplet or at least something corrected to avoid aberration issues.
I have a wildlife and macro photography background so I'm fairly intolerant of such things..
It will be paired with the ASI 533MC camera.

I've looked at a few options but unsure how wide is too wide.
I want it to be manageable as a beginner but long enough to allow capture of lots of interesting targets.

I've considered;
Sharpstar 76
Redcat 51
ED80
Leading contender I feel is the Zenithstar 81

Anyway, hoping to hear from you all!

Thanks,
Ash
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  #2  
Old 21-09-2020, 08:50 PM
glend (Glen)
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Forget the Skywatcher ED80, it does not colour correct very well, being a Doublet of unknown glass type (Skywatcher no longer publishes data on glass used in ED s).
The TS80 is a very good triplet, details here:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop...P-Focuser.html

I used to own one and it was a very good astrophotography scope. A reducer corrector is available as well, which increases photographic speed and provides flat field. TS also have a faster flat field 80mm, here:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop...Telescope.html

These scopes are often seen branded as Sharp star, and other brands, but are all built by Kuming United Optics for various retailers.

The Redcat is pretty small in my opinion.
The good thing about getting a scope and a reducer corrector is the focal length options it gives you, whereas a pure flat field scope is singke focal length but often faster. Of course a reducer corrector is something else to buy and that might impact your budget, but most Flat field scopes (triplets to quads, plus, etc) with good glass in the 80mm size are going to be hard to land in Australia at your price point.
Factor in GST and shipping if your buying direct. I have never had a problem with TS direct purchase, but recommend UPS shipping as they handle all the inbound charges for you.

Last edited by glend; 21-09-2020 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 21-09-2020, 08:51 PM
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The Mekon (John Briggs)
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William Optics scopes appear to have mixed reviews - some good, some not so good. If you wait for a good used ED80, it will be half the new price of that Zenithstar. Does your $2K include mount? With a used ED80 you will have enough left over for the mount.
(just noted Glen's comments - the ED80 may not have sufficient correction for you, but to get the best you will have to spend all that $2K and more)
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Old 21-09-2020, 08:55 PM
Xeteth (David)
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I'm wondering what mount you plan on using for your setup? It could very well dictate what sort of scope would be applicable and would help with recommending one. A decent chunk of your overall budget should be spent on the mount, even the best refractor in the world would be useless without an appropriate mount. You've listed some decent scopes there, although I wouldn't go the ED80 unless you mean the Esprit 80ED which is a triplet.
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:12 PM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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Ash, if you've not messed around with stellarium yet, thats a great spot to start when considering which targets will be in range, and how much detail you might expect from them. Plug in the contender scopes focal length and the 533 sensor details and it will show your field of view.


My zenithstar 81 performs really nicely for me and is definitely not holding me back as a beginner, but I don't think its perfectly corrected for CA.
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:12 PM
raymo
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Even if you already have a suitable mount, $2k is not going to get you a
chromatic aberration free refractor, unless you find a used premium model,and for that price it will be a small one. Even many triplets are not
totally CA free. It comes down in the end to whether you are zero tolerance,
or willing to accept a small amount of CA.
I personally would go for a 6 or 8" Newt, much more light gathering power, and no CA, and hugely cheaper.
raymo
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Old 22-09-2020, 05:38 AM
Ashhhhh (Ash)
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Thanks everyone!

To answer a few questions, yeah I've purchased an entire rig minus the scope (obviously) and the camera. (No stock anywhere at present)
My mount is the EQ6-R.
The budget stated is just for the scope.

I guess I should clarify that I'm not expecting perfection here, nor a premium scope for $2k.
I just want the best scope for that money.

It's interesting with the Williams Optics stuff, I've heard this mention of some being good and others not but I'm yet to read an actual review from an owner stating their specific issue?

Thanks @Glend, I'll scratch the ED80 and look at that TS80.

Thanks @jahnpahwa, I didn't know you could do that, I'll check it out!
+1 for z81!

Thanks @raymo. Yeah I hear you so let me rephrase to "reduced" or minimised CA.
I'm realistic that 2000 is a small budget in this world, I just want best bang for buck.
I don't know I want to go the newt route and all the maintenance it entails?
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  #8  
Old 22-09-2020, 06:04 AM
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xelasnave
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Hi Ash
I used a 6 inch Newtonian for years and maintenance was not an issue. Ironically I bought a 80mm Espirit ( a great scope) an still have not found the sweet spot for distance between the sensor and the reducer so between the Newtonian and the refractors my experience is the Newtonian is less trouble.
You mention "bang for your buck" well a 8 inch Newtonian scope ( f5 a ,little slower not that I notice) at $500 and a coma corrector at $300? simply can not be beat.
Why this illusion that Newtonians are hard work is beyond me and perhaps driven by folk who like to rattle on about their skill to adjust one as though that puts them on a higher level than mere mortals...I have a 6, 8 and 12 inch Newtonian and a 80mm and 115 mm triplet ..the 6,8, 80mm and115mm were just for photography and purchased in that order..a HEQ 5 manages the eight...so if you get a new 8 inch and HEQ 5 you could be in budget and get a coma corrector down the track.. forget the red cat in my view..nice but not good bang for your buck.
Look at Startrecks photos..6 inch and 8 inch Newtonian and perhaps ask him how problematic Newtonian maintenance really is...Or wait until I star imaging with my eight inch ...under a grand with coma corrector and tell me what problems you find with the optics. And think back..why was the Newtonian Telescope such a hit? It was revolutionary.
Think hard about your unfounded prejudice against Newtonians and ask can you afford such.
Edit addition...so one day you notice mould on the inside of your refractors lens..what's that cost to fix? Recoating a mirror is not much nor is buying a new mirror...
Good luck.
Alex

Last edited by xelasnave; 22-09-2020 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 22-09-2020, 07:06 AM
jahnpahwa (JP)
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The short time I've had with my newt it has been zero issues with maintenance, and newts are nowhere near as susceptible to dew. I agree that "issues" with newts seem to be overblown. I've had mine in and out of the shed, mounted and unmounted maybe 50 times since april, there has been the odd bump along the way, including a fall off a garden bench, and while i have checked collimation maybe 10 times, I've only tweaked it twice and that was secondary only and mayne a 60second job.

The downside to newts is they are generally long (600, 750mm or so for imagining 6"?) and can only get longer in focal length, reducing cant really happen. Epsilons and sharpstar imaging newts are short, but maybe out of range price wise. Refractors are maybe a bit more flexible in that sense.
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Old 22-09-2020, 07:54 AM
Ashhhhh (Ash)
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Cheers guys.
It wasn't my intention to get the Newtonian guys offside, haha.
My "prejudice" is no such thing and only comes from advice and opinions gleaned from many other sources over the course of now months of research.
Ive got another strong and contrary opinion now so iill take that onboard.


That said, im fairly committed to a refractor here. I like the self-contained nature and the portability. (at least at the focal length I can afford!)

Thanks for the comment on the Redcat, it looks nice but yeah, its very short.
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  #11  
Old 22-09-2020, 10:20 AM
Wilsil (Wilco)
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Very happy with my Skywatcher ED80.
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  #12  
Old 22-09-2020, 11:56 AM
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xa-coupe (Jeff)
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I just took delivery of a William Optics GT81 triplet It ended up somewhat over $2k (still less than $2.5k) with reducer, and so far I am extremely satisfied with it. Buy once cry once is the way I thought about it.
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  #13  
Old 22-09-2020, 03:10 PM
Xeteth (David)
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The EQ6R will have no issues handling a 80-100mm refractor so you're all set there! If you're after the best you can buy for $2k it might be worth considering a second hand scope. Most owners take good care of their equipment, particularly with pricey scopes. You could get a fairly decent 80-100mm triplet for that price range - maybe chuck up a wanted ad in the classifieds and see what's around?
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  #14  
Old 24-09-2020, 12:05 AM
TareqPhoto (Tareq)
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Yesterday i ordered my first APO refractor, but it is new and not available yet, they said it will be expected to arrive by end of Jan next year, so i have to wait, and i hope it is true what they wrote about it.
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Old 24-09-2020, 07:17 AM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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Hi Ash,
The new Stellarvue SVX 80 will perform beyond your expectations and be future proof for you long term.

https://www.stellarvue.com/svx080t-3sv/

Here are results from a mate who has one and is delighted with it -
https://www.astrobin.com/9fb0xr/
https://www.astrobin.com/full/yyf6bn/0/

I have enjoyed great success with my little SV70t and can highly recommend Stellarvue 'scopes.
I have also had a WO FLT110 which was a fine, well made good performing 'scope, but not quite in the same league.

Cheers

Andy
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