Eenie meenie minee mo

Don't be shy! If you're just starting out, here's the place to ask that first question

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dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
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Eenie meenie minee mo

Post by dazcaz »

I'm looking to buy a 'scope.
I already have a Meade ETX-70 which is nice and easy but not exactly the greatest scope in the world. It's GOTO feature is the only reason I bought it.
It's OK but I want something bigger... Ooh err missus.

I have two 'scope in mind.
A) The Skywatcher Explorer 130 PM... 180 quid at Warehouse express

Or

B) The Skywatcher Explorer 200 (HEQ5)... 499 quid at the same.

Now I'm sure rthat the 200 is better. It has a bigger mirror, longer focal length and a better, more sturdy mount.

The question is.....
Is the extra money worth it?

I live a mile from the centre of Cardiff.
I have a tiny garden with high wall on two sides (sides of houses)
My garden is triangular so I only have a small area of sky to point at.

I do get great views of Orion though at this time of year.

Things that I want to be able to do.

1) Use it for long exposure photography. When I say long, perhaps up to 2 minutes. My camera's sensor starts hot pixeling after too long.

2) See and photgraph the rings of Saturn before they go side on.
2a) See the Cassini division.

3) Be able to take the scope away in our motorhome to nice dark, light pollution free places.

The smaller scope appears to fit all the criteria, but the bigger scope would do it better, especially the Cassini division. The smaller scope would fit in the motorhome easier.... Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Either would be nice for M42 (Boy it makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about!!!)

The smaller scope is easier on the pocket. Is the 8" worth the extra?
I'm reading many great reviews of the 130. it's very popular.

My head tells me to get the 130. My heart tells me to get the 200.
If I buy the 130, will I wish 3 months down the road, that I bought the 200.
If I buy the 200, will I wish that I'd bougt the 130 as it's more portable????

Sorry for the million questions, but I hate indecision
... well, I think I do :)

Which one... 130PM or 200 (HEQ5)?????

Help me.... If I keep dithering I'll end up with neither.

Darren

PS... Is a shopping list compuslory?
Just in case:
Meade ETX-70
Nikon D-100, F-801S, Various lenses longest being 400MM (600MM in digi terms), Shortest being 28MM
Canon A95 compact
A skywatcher something or other once I've decided.
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
Graham
Posts: 177
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:06 pm
Location: West Yorkshire
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Post by Graham »

Hi Darren and welcome,

Quite a few of us newbies have the 130pm and I for one am pleased with it. You can get it cheaper than 180 quid elsewhere - including delivery (try first light optics (Steve's a very helpfull contributer to this forum) or ace cameras). I think it's a good idea to invest in some better eyepieces than the ones supplied.

I'm no expert, but I'm sure a few here will add comments, the 130pm is portable but still quite heavy; I would imagine the 200 would be considerably heavier.

Cheers,

Graham
Meade LX200GPS SCT 8"
Skywatcher 130PM
10x50 Lidl Bins
zx9rsteve
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:26 am
Location: Somerset
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Post by zx9rsteve »

Hi

http://www.firstlightoptics.co.uk are selling the Explorer 130PM for only £160. Also they have the Explorer 200 on an EQ5 rather than a HEQ5 for £340. I have a 200 Explorer on an EQ5 (well, meade's equivalent mount, but it is identical - I had both for a while) and the mount is up to the job as long as there isn't a gale blowing. Also the EQ5 is much lighter to move around than the HEQ5.

Whichever, First Light Optics also offer a discount for paid-up SPA members.

As for which one.... aperature is important. But I can understand the need for portability. Maybe you should compromise with the 150. Or maybe not. I'm not really helping here am I?

Honest opinion - get the 200, worry about a portable short tube refractor or Maksutov later when the bug has bitten...
Last edited by zx9rsteve on Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
90mm F14 Maksutov
102mm F5 Refractor
127mm F8 Refractor
200mm F5 Newtonian
7x50 Binoculars
Hawk
Posts: 270
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:33 pm
Location: Ipswich, Suffolk.
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Post by Hawk »

The only thing I can add to this is Warehouse Express. If you can find it elsewhere, do it. Being a photographer and knowing many other photographers, I can honestly say I haven't heard a good word about them and when my partner used them once, they took an absolute age to deliver, delivered the wrong items, were very rude on the phone and we had to pay postage to send it back. Which meant she'd spent £16 and had nothing to show for it :evil: . And as Graham points out, they're not cheap.
Hawk (yes, that's my real 1st name)
Skywatcher Explorer 150P
Nikon D2x
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
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Post by dazcaz »

Thanks for the fast response!
I really want motors... I want to track whilst photographing, and I need motors for that....
Warehouse express... I've used them many times and had good service.
I bought many items from them all at good prices and with next day delivery.

First optics site looks good. I'll dig around later. Having an ear on 'ere might be useful :)
Ace Cameras... Do they do 'scopes???? I used to use Ace years back when I used to shoot on film (remember that?). Most of my accessories for my 801S came from ace. I didn't know they did 'scopes.
A lot of bits for my Bronica ETRS came from Ace. A good S/H dealer.
I'll dig around there too.

The 200 is getting to be an itch.... When buying computers I always say buy the biggest and best you can afford... Is it the same for 'scopes? 'Scopes won't become obsolete as soon as you take'em out the box.

I'm up in North Wales with work for a few days. I'll mull it over when looking at the stars.... Llanberris get very dark you know.... Sooo different to the city lights of Cardiff.

If ever I do make a decision, I'll let you know.

Thanks again

Darren
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
First Light Optics
Posts: 627
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Exeter
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Re: Eenie meenie minee mo

Post by First Light Optics »

Hi Darren,
dazcaz wrote:
If I buy the 130, will I wish 3 months down the road, that I bought the 200.
Yes

If I buy the 200, will I wish that I'd bougt the 130 as it's more portable????
Yes

Help me.... If I keep dithering I'll end up with neither.
For imaging, it is it is important that you have a sturdy, stable and accurate mount. The EQ3-2 is good but the HEQ5 is in a totally different class!

I suggest you opt for the Explorer 200/HEQ5, then look for a second-hand 'knockabout' grab & go scope for your hols.

Hope that helps.

Steve
CloudDodger
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Post by CloudDodger »

suggest you opt for the Explorer 200/HEQ5, then look for a second-hand 'knockabout' grab & go scope for your hols
Just taken dilivery of my Explorer 200/HEQ5 and i can recomend it excellent vlaue and it only cost 340. It is large and far from portable the above would be a excellent recomendation!
Themightyimp
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Post by Themightyimp »

CloudDodger wrote:
suggest you opt for the Explorer 200/HEQ5, then look for a second-hand 'knockabout' grab & go scope for your hols
Just taken dilivery of my Explorer 200/HEQ5 and i can recomend it excellent vlaue and it only cost 340. It is large and far from portable the above would be a excellent recomendation!
Are you sure you got the HEQ5 mount with it for that price?
If so let me know where from and i'll get it.
Skywatcher Explorer 150mm reflector
Pentax K100D DSLR
UKAndy
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:44 pm
Location: Bath
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Post by UKAndy »

Your query about Ace Camera's - I live in Bath and bought my daughter an Explorer 130PM from them a few weeks ago, but knowing next to nothing about astronomy (other than what I'd pick up on web and this excellent forum!), I decided to visit them first to get a "hands-on" experience - although they have an outlet in Bath, the one at Yate (North Bristol) is their "Astronomy specialist" shop.

As you already have a scope, you're obviously not in the same boat as I was, but the guys there were/are EXTREMELY helpful, and certainly didn't try and sell me a whole stack of other things that I thought I needed to buy. Their prices also seemed very keen...

I haven't tried long exposure astrophotography yet, but I do want to do this sometime with my EOS 300D (I don't have the skills for a TouCam conversion!). However, on this forum I've been advised that it may be tricky to obtain focus, and even I don't think the 130PM's EQ2 mount would really be up to carrying an SLR...

Although being very much new at all this, I now wish I'd had the budget for a motorised EQ5 mount (or similar)... and it would certainly have made polar aligning a damn sight easier! I can't really comment on the portability aspects, and obviously a 200/EQ5 would be a fair bit heavier than the 130/EQ2, but, even though I'm very happy with the 130PM as our first scope, If I'd had double the budget, I would certainly have looked very seriously at the 200/EQ5.

My own plan is to somehow persuade the wife that we need a second scope (a 5" refractor?) with an EQ5/6 mount (and perhaps a GOTO as well?) so that she and our daughter can see the planets better - I could then use that mount with the 130 OTA for the nebula's when our daughter's gone to bed!
moonie
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Post by moonie »

Darren
I'm a newbie and I went for a SW 130 and already I'm thinking about a bigger scope.

Go for the bigger one :D

Looking at ebay, SW scopes always fetch a good price, so if 6 months down the line you decide it's too big, flog it on ebay and go for a smaller one.
CloudDodger
Posts: 23
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Location: London
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Post by CloudDodger »

CloudDodger wrote:
Quote:
suggest you opt for the Explorer 200/HEQ5, then look for a second-hand 'knockabout' grab & go scope for your hols


Just taken dilivery of my Explorer 200/HEQ5 and i can recomend it excellent vlaue and it only cost 340. It is large and far from portable the above would be a excellent recomendation!

Are you sure you got the HEQ5 mount with it for that price?
If so let me know where from and i'll get it.
opps many appologies .. it wasnt the HEQ5! it was t EQ5

sorry again!
First Light Optics
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Post by First Light Optics »

You had me worried - I was about to put an order in myself :P
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
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Post by dazcaz »

Hello again,
Thanks for all the replies. Sorry for the delay but I've been in LLanberris in North wales with work. I got back a day ealier than planned.

Most of the advice points towards the 200. I know this makes sense.... BUT....

Where would I put a 200???? My radio shack is floor to ceiling with junk... sorry highly collectable electronic/radio based spares :)

Our spare bedroom is the same but with other stuff... it's all in bags and boxes so I have no idea what.

I think that I'll take a trip to bristol to see a 200 in the flesh so that I can gauge size.

I can afford a 130, the 200 will be a stretch...A big stretch.
This scope needs to be all things. A great motorised scope, but portable (ish)

I've been thinking (it does happen occasionally) and I reckon we could find a home for the 200 and used the Meade as our portable scope.... BUT...
We have a tiny garden, with only a small area of sky to look at. Would not a 200 on an HEQ5 be wasted on such a small patch of sky? The images of M42 would be nice though.
So I'm getting the idea that the 200 would be wasted on us as it would be difficult to take it away, yet the 130PM is more transportable.

b****r! I really hate decision making.
I think that I need to see both scopes and compare size. weight and performance. It's not a decision I can make by looking at pictures on web sites..... Unless you know better.

Any more comments and suggestions are happilly received.

Thanks again for all your input so far.

Darren

PS I've just discovered the naughty word censor... It wouldn't let me type b****r :)
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
First Light Optics
Posts: 627
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Exeter
Contact:

Post by First Light Optics »

dazcaz wrote:
Where would I put a 200???? My radio shack is floor to ceiling with junk... sorry highly collectable electronic/radio based spares
It'll be your new toy/hobby... You'll find a way 8)
zx9rsteve
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:26 am
Location: Somerset
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Post by zx9rsteve »

Hi

They really don't need that much storage space when stood on end - just a 9" square of level floor

Heres my 200mm Explorer tucked in next to a wardrobe:

Image
90mm F14 Maksutov
102mm F5 Refractor
127mm F8 Refractor
200mm F5 Newtonian
7x50 Binoculars
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