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. #1
    Constellasian's Avatar
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    Default Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6



    I've been going back and forth between the two, watched every youtube video and pretty sure read through every review online in this forum and everywhere else. Still seeking your comments to specific to my situation.

    I went the binocular route and glad I did. I'm ready for my first scope. Was about to click the buy button on a Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ, but after a few hours of research, decided a Dobsonian is right for me. Figured from photos that these things were huge and a bit obnoxious but after reading about it, I think it'll fit my application best. I have no interest in using this scope for astrophotography whatsoever. It'll literally be used for viewing in real time and sharing with no one that isn't standing right next to me.

    I'm a lover of all things small. I live in a big City and drive a small car for easy parallel parking. Yup, a family of four and we drive a hatchback with two car seats in the back for a 2 and 5 year old. I'm one of those guys who has a collection of slim wallets. I loved the tiny cell phones and sorta hate that these things have grown to the size of tablets. As such, I'm naturally leaning towards the XT4.5 for the compact size.

    • I do plan to bring it back and forth between two cities an hour apart perhaps monthly or every other month.
    • I've got two kids as I've mentioned whom are my excuses for buying myself a new toy. Yeah, I just admitted that.
    • I'm conscious of the fact that the XT4.5 weighs about 17lbs vs the XT6 which weighs twice that. I'll be hauling it up and down a flight of stairs at home as it'll be stationed on a second floor but will be brought down one level for star gazing. More stairs when it out of the house.
    • Yup, I'm aware that there will be plenty of light pollution and Dobsonians aren't the best for that situation. I'm okay with waiting until my viewing target is well above the recommended 30 degrees and even 60 degrees for a clearer view.
    • The scope will be used for mostly just the moon and planets.


    I know myself as a tinkerer of sorts, modifying everything from cars to paintball markers, electric ice chests / bikes and whatever else I can get my hands on. No doubt, I'll be changing out eye pieces within months of owning an Orion SkyQuest XT and will find some excuse to get a better finderscope.

    Price of the two sizes are negligible since currently the price difference is only about $25 so that's not really a consideration.

    I keep hearing about how aperture is king and therefore an XT6 would be good. "Get as a big of an aperture as I can afford," is what's plastered all over the net. I get it, but I value the portability maybe more than most. XT6 is just shy of 4' long and XT4.5 is a foot shorter.

    WHY I DON'T WANT AN XT6
    Everyone says that the XT6 is just as portable as the XT4.5 but perhaps not for me. I don't have a sedan. Compact crossover is the biggest car I have. Mazda CX-5 which might sound big enough, but when you have two car seats, nothing folds down. I just measured and a 4' anything won't fit in the trunk if it's cylindrical. I might be able to get creative, but it'll be a bit of a challenge. I'm thinking there's a chance if I take it of the base, I can fit the tube in between the seats vertically off the floor. Doesn't sound like a recipe for keeping the collimation to a minimum though.

    The kids might be more turned off by a larger scope that's harder for them to handle. At that age, they want to do everything themselves which is great. Go for it. Having to stand on a stool or me carry them is just another hassle that the XT4.5 would avoid all together.

    The sheer weight of the thing. 34lbs vs 17lbs up and down stairs regularly and in and out of the car. A 34lb XT6 is manageable but I'd definitely be more conscious of it.

    WHY ELSE DO I THINK I PREFER THE XT4.5?
    I've read about a guy who kept his XT4.5 that lasted him 11 years before he got a "replacement." Sounds good to me! I'd be modifying the thing anyway with new eye pieces and maybe a new finderscope which will keep it "new feeling."

    If you're thinking I'd "upgrade" to an XT6 eventually, you're possibly right as I'd just keep one at my house and the other at my parent's house. I feel like I'd be missing out on the benefits of a smaller scope for transport and kids if I went straight to the XT6 w/out any real exposure to the XT4.5.

    Tell me I'm crazy.

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

    The only reason for the smaller scope is portability. If you can't move the 6" around like you need to, then get the 4.5". The 6" collects 78% more light than the 4", so, aside from portability, the decision is a no-brainer.
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    I haven't used either scope, so can't comment on their relative merits, other than what Kathy said about the difference in light gathering power, and that the 6" will permit more magnification of the Moon and planets than the 4.5" will. Only you can decide if portability is paramount, otherwise as Kathy said, it's a simple decision. Whichever way you go, kudos for taking the step and exposing the children to what could become a lifelong interest for them.

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

    I've found that something fitting my way of life means that I use it more (went to M43 cameras do to the smallness of most lens and I shoot more). I bought a 4" APO because they are smaller than a 5", and an 8" SCT because they are much smaller/lighter than a 9.5" or 11". I bought a Sirius AZ-EQ over an EQ6. And I use all of these "smaller" things because they fit me better. If you have rational and emotional reasons for selecting a hobby tool then for me it stands to reason you should get that one.

    You might want to consider a Meade Adventure 80 which is the same scope as the old Orion ST80 (which is much better than their current model). This is a scope that many keep even after they have larger and better scopes. Can also be used as a day nature scope. Also checks your life style. While it won't be as good on planets, it is very good on the moon and open clusters when can be seen fairly easy even in Light Pollution.
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    Either scope will work well, portability is the main question - so if that's the predominant factor you get the 4.5". My first reflector was an old Edmund Scientific equatorially mounted f/10 4.25" scope, which worked fine for a couple of years. Then I built an 8" Dob as my next scope.
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    If your prime targets will be the moon and planets then a 127 mak or a 5 inch SCT are great and much more portable than a 4.5 Dobs , a 4.5 dobs is quite small and needs a table for comfortable viewing
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    Perhaps another way to word my goal is that I'm totally okay with limiting the objects I see, but the objects that I can see, I'd like to be able to see very well. With that in mind, am I at a loss if I get the XT4.5?
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    If portability were a big factor for me (sometimes it is) and I were keeping the aperture below 6", I would get a 4" refractor instead of a reflector. Sharper optics, travels better, and no worries with collimation. Because of the central obstruction in the reflector, the refractor will gather just as much light.
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    Default Re: Convince me to steer away from an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 to an XT6

    34 lbs to me is not a lot. I'm 66 and 170 lbs and move a 8xt up and down steps as well as an 8se and also a cgem mount and tripod total weight is about 65 lbs and not to forget the counterweights and the 30 lb. OTA. Go for the 6xt, and if you're feeling Hulky go for the 8xt.

    Did you look at the Skywatcher 6. They collapse, should fit in the Mazda well.
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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
    Perhaps another way to word my goal is that I'm totally okay with limiting the objects I see, but the objects that I can see, I'd like to be able to see very well. With that in mind, am I at a loss if I get the XT4.5?
    If you want to see the targets very well, then that pretty definitively kills the idea of the XT4.5. While having a spherical mirror won't be too bad because you have relatively slow optics, I'd still expect you to have some minor deterioration in optical quality at F/7.9 when compared to what you would be getting from a parabolic mirror.

    The XT4.5 means you will see less of the target because:
    1. Poorer optical quality.
    2. Less aperture for light-gathering and that means you don't see as much of a nebulous target.
    3. Your ability to resolve small targets improves with more aperture (assuming good quality).

    Now there is a problem with all this. If you keep pursuing a Newtonian which will give you a better view and stick with slower optics for better quality - you could end up with an enormous mirror costing an immense amount of money - and have to use a spaceship to get high enough to see through the eyepiece.

    Somewhere you have to do the practical thing.

    Now, if you can afford it, I'd far rather have a good 100mm ED-Doublet spotting scope for your purposes. You'll end up with a compact and rugged scope which should transport beautifully, won't need collimation, and even though it has fast optics it should give you a great view due to the use of the ED glass. It still won't give you views as good as you'd get from the XT6, but I'd find it more convenient and I'd like the views better through the spotting scope.

    Now for a little more perspective in that vein?

    I've scopes ranging from 71mm to 12 inches. When I was able to use the eyepiece (some eye problems for the last year which should get resolved) I used the 80mm ED-Doublet spotting scope the most of all. The optics are good, there is no cool-down, transport is easy, and the view is pleasant. I've also only once seen a youngster less than about 7 years old who could enjoy and really use the eyepiece - and it was a 4 year old who was delighted with the viewing through that 80mm ED-doublet spotting scope.


    I remember a time when we were at a location where a star party was going to happen (we were not part of the club and did not set up a scope). We watched people set up and then about 1.5 hours later the Sun was down and viewing began. We were graciously allowed to view through a variety of scopes.

    The 3 reflectors through which we viewed ranged from 6" to 15". The views were literally horrible.

    Then we viewed through an 80mm ED-spotting scope and the view was beautiful. The view through the triplet apochromat was wonderful as well!

    The biggest difference was that the reflectors should be assumed to have not yet reached thermal equilibrium. They might also have been poorly collimated but the view was so bad you couldn't really tell.

    The point is that a good spotting scope needs little to no cool-down time. The way I've mine set up on a camera tripod means I can also just take it outside and be set up and observing in less than one minute. When you have little time that is a very beneficial thing!

    Well, that's my perspective. Understand that I'm not trying to bad-mouth the XT4.5 - but it simply will not give you views comparable to what you'll get from an XT6. They are likely to be very enjoyable views through the XT4.5, but the XT6 will do much more for you.
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