Old 22-11-2011, 11:48 AM
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Which Refractor to buy?

Hi Folks. The missus has asked me to buy myself a scope for xmas (ain't she sweet......). I want a value for money refractor for astronomical & terrestrial viewing. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
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Old 22-11-2011, 09:44 PM
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Waxing_Gibbous (Peter)
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You don't mention how much money you have to spend, but I'll presume its under 2K and you want to buy new rather than secondhand..

Under $1000 it's very hard to pass by the Skywatcher ED80.
They run around $700 New and around $400+ used depending on accessories.
The optics are crisp and virtually colour free.
In this price range, there is also the Meade 5000 80 Apo (also sold as the Explore Scientific 80 APO and the North Group 80 APO and a few others actually).

At $1000 - $1800 things get more complicated.
But all-in, my vote for best VFM scope goes to the Astro-Tech 106 APO (sold as a Sharpstar 106 from the Asian distributor). At $1500 it's outstanding value for a 4' Apochromatic scope. Very well made and you'd need to spend at least another $1500 to match it's optics.

There are, however, dozens of excellent scopes out there as well:
The William Optics (WO) 90mm & 110 Megerez, the AT90EDT, the Skywatcher f9 100mm APO, the Orion CF80ED.
It's worth confusing yourself a little and reading some of the reviews on www.cloudynights.com .

Good luck with your prezzie!
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Old 23-11-2011, 07:43 AM
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Hi Peter. Thanks for the feedback. Have been reading reviews from all over, and yes, I'm confused, hence the post. Budget is around $500. Just looking for something simple to use, reasonable vision (I know I'm limiting myself with $500), something that will make me go "WOW", not "I've wasted 500 bucks on this". Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:20 AM
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koputai (Jason)
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With $500 to spend, the temptation will be there to go out and buy a new 70mm - 80mm scope on an alt-az tripod. DON'T DO IT!!!

This type of scope will definitely lead you to think "I've wasted 500 bucks on this".

I would advise the same scope as Peter, the Skywatcher ED80, second hand, which should set you back $350 - $400. If you have a reasonable camera tripod, you can simply whack it on top of that.

It MAY come with a star diagonal and an eyepiece or two, but if not then get yourself a diagonal for $30 from Andrews, as well as a GSO 25mm Plossl ($29) and a GSO 15mm Superview ($39), also both from Andrews.

You've just spent $500 on a great scope and some decent budget eyepieces. If down the track you decide you like this caper, you can easily upgrade to better quality eyepieces.

A mate of mine was after a scope to use on his farm to keep an eye on pregnant cattle, watch the Wedgies, and have an occasional look at the stars, so I got him exactly the setup described above. It's a great package for the price.


Last edited by koputai; 23-11-2011 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Spooling
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:21 AM
Poita (Peter)
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For that money, definitely definitely get a used ED80, it is far and away your best option and a used scope is better than a new one as it usually comes with help and advice and much needed accessories, and will be miles and miles ahead of *anything* you can get new for $500.
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