View Poll Results: Which scope should I personally get?

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  • Funny, but stick with the XT4.5 you want so badly.

    2 25.00%
  • You'll thank me later. Get the XT6 hands down.

    6 75.00%
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Thread: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

  1. #21
    OleCuss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    Quote Originally Posted by Constellasian View Post
    OleCuss, I looked at the 100mm ED-Doublet this evening and it's pretty impressive. Out of my league as far as pricing goes for the time being, but I'll keep it on my list as a second telescope. I'm guessing your experience with the reflectors was indeed probably poorly collimated ones or no cool down period as that's the first I've heard of poor experiences with reflectors. The concern I have about refractors within by <$300 price range is that the blues and reds I understand don't arrive at the eyepiece at the same time or in the same place which makes for some discoloration. Correcting that seems to be by using a higher grade lens which increases the cost quite substantially.

    I think I'll really just have to see the XT6 in person to judge how big it really is. Will probably take my wife's car out there to check it. If I really get into this hobby/interest though, there's a chance I might take my own car which is much smaller and go out on my own on a random night with just me and the scope. In that case, I'd want a much smaller scope. I do value the portable size of a scope, but it's not really a make or break. I don't need it super duper small.
    Just to be clear? I'm not bad-mouthing the reflectors at all. I've 3 Dobsonians, a Mak-Newt, several SCTs, and several refractors. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I'm not at all a devotee of just one optical design.

    And I'm pretty sure the problem with the Dobsonians was that they hadn't yet reached thermal equilibrium - I've seen enough of the problem to know that thermal equilibrium had not been reached but they could have had collimation issues which we didn't see because we headed home. Part of the problem was that we were at 7200-7300 feet and things tend to cool rapidly. It doesn't help that two of them were Orion brand and had black tubing.

    Lots of scope makers like the look of a black OTA. . . So you have sunlight hitting the OTA and because of the black finish they relatively efficiently absorb the heat and then when the Sun goes down you have relatively rapid cooling of the surrounding environment. Now you have a lot of heat to radiate and because of the rapid cooling it can take longer than expected for the system to catch up with the cooling of the environment.

    IMHO a white-colored OTA is superior to a dark-colored one. Not only does the Sun not heat it up so badly if you have it out before sundown, but you can see the thing better in the dark when you are trying to avoid bumping into the thing or to find the finderscope, etc. So when I'm thinking about a 6" Dobsonian I don't actually think of getting the Orion but rather of the Sky-Watcher version which has a white tube. Note that if you get a SkyQuest Dobsonian from Orion it will likely have been made by Synta - which also owns and supplies both Sky-Watcher and Celestron.

    I actually have a 20" mirror which I may some day build out as a Dobsonian. I'm in no great hurry in part because the thing is 4" thick. That means that unless I'm actively cooling through the day my cool-down could easily take 4 or more hours. Some day I'll likely find someone who can cut the thing down to maybe 1.5" thick and then cooling won't be so horrendous.

    If you thinking "new" and are sticking to less than $300 for your budget? Yup, I'd first think of a nice Dobsonian. You generally get your best value with a Dobsonian.

    But IMO the story doesn't really end right there.

    If your priority is planetary and Lunar work then a fast achromatic refractor is probably not a good choice for you. But if you have as your priority looking at various DSO targets then a decent achromat can make you quite happy. I have had the ETX-80 and enjoyed DSOs with that small and fast achromatic refractor. I wasn't a big fan of it on Solar System targets but some still enjoy those fast achromats even on the Solar System targets.

    Another scope to keep an eye out for? The ETX-90 is a very nice 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain and the optics are typically quite good. I got mine for $300 and I'm guessing that with some patience you might as well.

    The ETX-80 and the ETX-90 both have GoTo functionality which is really nice if you are sharing the eyepiece. Someone else can look and the scope will keep right on tracking.

    And truth be told, I've had two ETX-80s. One cost a few hundred but the other was only $25 at a garage sale. I went there to look at the bandsaw and saw the thing there.

    Buying used can be a very good thing!

    One other thing to consider? If my budget were limited to $300 and it wasn't going to get me a pretty good scope? I'd instead get a good binocular (or two). You can see a lot with a 10x50 binocular and you could also get something like a 6x30 for a kiddo to look through as well. IMHO every astronomer really should have a binocular - and you can also use them for birdwatching and lots of other things. But that's just me and there are plenty who don't see it that way.

    But you know? There are plenty of us with good telescopes who start and/or end our observing session with a binocular. You get a beautiful wide FOV and you can kind of get lost in the sky. You can see a number of globular clusters with the binocular and a number of galaxies as well.

    So you could go incredibly compact and versatile now and later get something more expensive and difficult to transport. If you take this approach you will very likely find that you still use your binoculars even when you have the scope of your dreams.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that IMHO the 2nd-most aesthetically pleasing view of the Andromeda Galaxy I've ever had was with the ETX-80 and a 25mm Plossl eyepiece. Beautifully framed and just looked stunning. I had my 10" LX-200 set up a few feet away and lots of people wanted to look through that for what I considered to be a much inferior view of the Andromeda Galaxy and they virtually ignored the ETX-80 because it was smaller. The only instrument I've had beat that view was my ED-Doublet spotting scope - and it didn't beat it by much.

    Don't under-estimate even a fast achromatic refractor on the DSOs. Yup, there are better instruments for sure, but that doesn't mean they cannot be very pleasing.
    Last edited by OleCuss; 12-30-2018 at 12:09 AM.
    Orion XX12G and XT8; 10 inch LX200GPS; Celestron NexStar 8SE; Tele Vue NP-101is (Petzval apochromat); Meade LS-8; WO GT-71; AVX and Losmandy G-11 mounts.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    I'm alright sitting on the floor with the XT4.5 if that's what I end up getting being that I'm reading a lot of reviews about exactly how tiny it is and would probably need a stand of some sort anyway. The XT4.5 is the perfect standing height for my kids. For home use when I'm not taking it out to my parent's house, I'll probably use a storage ottoman that I already own when viewing it myself. Flip the lid upside down and it's a hard surface. We'll see otherwise, I'll need to fabricate something. Should be a fun project.


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