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  1. #1
    wingslevel's Avatar
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    Default se or cpc 8" for first scope mainly visual



    so, still trying to narrow/decide on a scope for under the Christmas tree for me! had wanted a "suv" of a scope so could do visual (90%) and photo (10%), but appears i'll mainly focus on just a good visual one for now. then possibly get a different mount/tripod for photo if want to dive into that (as if i need another "hobby"!).

    looking over the diff options and reading how the mount/tripod is really the important part since the tubes are very similar if not the same across models (taking an 8" celestron cat for example) would the extra money for the CPC XLT be "worth" the extra over the SE?

    assuming the scopes are the same? is the mount, tripod the main difference or is the software also diff aside from gps too included on the CPC?

    the weight isn't that big of a factor as i'll only be opening our backdoor and walking out to our deck or yard 10 ft away, not really transporting it and no stairs etc...

    or have i just fallen victim of the bigger/better endless chase for the ideal scope!?!

    thanks

  2. #2
    sxinias's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi,

    The views in the two telescopes, as you say, will be the same. The CPC will have a more stable platform, less vibration, thus provide a more pleasant viewing experience. It will also be heavier and more difficult to take out and set up. When you get ready to try astrophotography, you can add a wedge to the CPC while with the 8SE you will be limited to short exposure azimuth mount photography.
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    Default

    As Joe says, the CPC will be more stable. With that said, the SE series of telescopes are not junk either. The views from them will most likely be exactly the same. IF I were going with a purely visual telescope, I would probably pick the SE because of the price difference. They are on sale right now for $999.00. That would leave some astrobucks for accessories like an observing chair and some dew control devices. (you're gona need these for a SCT).

    Something you can consider if you go with the SE. If you decide to get into AP, all you need is to pick up a German Equatorial Mount, and move the optical tube from the SE mount when you want to use it for that, then back to the SE mount if your session is purely visual. This is just my opinion though and shouldn't be considered as the right thing to do for you.

    Welcome to the forum, and to astronomy! (If you are new, not implying)

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    Now where did I put that clear sky button!

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    Default

    thanks again! and yes, definately new to astronomy!

    so, sounds like w/ the cpc being nearly twice the price of the se might be better to just get the se for viewing now and if decide get into photog buy a seperate gem (trying to use the lingo, apologize if botch it up!) to swap the tube to.

    however, it appears the cpc tube can't be swapped out for a different mount since its not dovetail, correct?

    one of the big draws to me on the cpc was it seemed i could manually unlock the clutches and move the scope myself if no power or motor problems.

    also appealing since i've got 5 and 6 yr old daughters the cpc might be less succeptable to vibration from walking around, bumping into it (plus more difficult to knock over!) w/out being overly difficult to just lift and carry out the door.

    if it were an extra $300 over the se prob more appealing, not sure about double the price though.

    and again, really appreciate the info. by far the friendliest and informative forum i've been on!

  5. #5
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    Default

    I believe you are correct in saying that the OTA (optical tube assembly) can't be easily removed from the CPC series.

    As far as the 5 and 6yo walking around causing vibrations, the mount/tripod on the SE series is a little more substantial than that. Where you will see vibration on that telescope is immediately after adjusting the focus. That will dampen after a couple seconds. Again please understand that I am repeating what I have read about these particular telescopes, and I have no experience operating either one.

    I agree 100% about the double the price comment. You can easily pick up a GEM for less than double the price of a new CPC. Once you do that, you will have two very good mounts that will take care of most, if not all of your future mount requirements.

    I have a 6yo grand daughter and a 4 yo grandson. All I can say is.. you are in for an awesome time with the little ones. Especially on a warm summer night. Get a binocular as well, kids love those things. You might want to pick up a green laser pointer as well to point things out in the sky for them. DO NOT let them handle it though.

    I know you are going to have fun with your family's new found pass time. It beats the HECK out of anything thats on TV.

    Jim
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    Default

    With the 8 SE on sale now for $1000, you can almost buy two 8SEs for the price of one CPC800. That's a lot of money to have the capability to manually move the scope and GPS.
    SXINIAS

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    Default

    yeah, i agree with that! especially when i'm trying to find a second scope at the same time for the girls to have to use (prob the 114LCM) as well!

    if can get the se8 new for $1000, if could find a used CPC for around $1250 or so in good shape i'd have to consider if it was worth the extra few bucks and used or not.

    really appreciate the help!

  8. #8
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    Default

    SE Easier to Set up.
    Can move the OTA to a CG5-GT if you want to do Photography later (which is what I am going to be doing)
    GPS are easy to find for $100ish used online with a little patience. And really don't need it if only going to the backyard.
    I was going to sell my SE mount when my CG5-GT gets here (tomorrow!) but decided not to to easy to set up and use for visual only nights.
    I have a wedge for my SE I will be selling that I used to get a bit longer shots last summer.. but now have my new EQ mount for that.
    Ken H. sharing the sky with my 9yr old daughter
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  9. #9
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    Default

    Ok Wingslevel....

    Here are my thoughts..as a guy who owns an 8i (earlier model of the 8SE) as well as a CPC1100...

    First of all the Optical tube on the CPC can be de-forked rather easily..as can any of the Forked Meade Optical tubes ...its remounting it that is the hard (but not all that difficult)... BUT normally de-forking is only done for 2 reasons...1.)you want to get into some serious imaging and want to mount the OTA on a Gem..OR 2.) the darn electronics died making the mount a boat anchor... To be honest it is quite common practice that a lot guys/gals do IF they get into any serious AP..

    The 8se OTA can be removed in seconds off the mount and put back on the mount in another few seconds...

    That said...

    The CPC mount is a lot more stable then The 8SE...and it truly is not the single forked arm that is the reason ...The CPC tripod itself is stronger and heavier ..
    When I mount my 8i on my CPC tripod (direct fit btw... no mods needed) the 8i is darn stable even with 7-8 pounds of extra gear mounted on the OTA...

    The MAJOR difference is in the GEARS used in the mounts ...the 8Se uses spur gears like on a bicycles' sprockets .. the CPC uses worm gears like a cars steering gears... Spur gears are sloppy .. whereas worm gears have very little play...

    Right out of the box my CPC worked just great ..accurate gotos. as well as great tracking...although I did have to add a balancing kit to it ... My 8i as well as my Granddaughters 8SE worked so so right out of the box...

    The 8se has to be set up correctly, balanced on the dovetail (slightly off balance BTW..either front of rear end heavy) anti backlash settings played with and set by trail and error, Goto Approach set to match whichever balance you are running (front or back end heavy) .. This helps remove almost all of the slop in the gears.

    I did my Granddaughters in about an hour...took me a lot longer with my 8i because I did not have a clue what I was doing) ...BOTH of these scopes will match my CPC all night long on GoTos as well as keeping an object inthe FOV of a high power eyepiece for hours...

    Celestron must have hired an industrial designer/engineer because the carrying handle is placed absolutely positively perfectly... seriously it makes the mount feel 10 pounds lighter then it really is.. so do not be worried about the weight

    The better OTA... both are identical except for the paint..
    Better tripod...the CPC
    Better Mount (the CPC
    Better accuracy... out of the box the CPC BUT with a little tweaking the 8se will match it
    Portability/transportability ..the 8SE
    Price ...the 8SE
    POWER The CPC has no internal power supply you have to buy an external one. The 8se can run off of AA batteries BUT NOBODY DOES THAT so you still "should" buy an external power supply...
    Finder scope included...the 8se uses a Red Dot finder which usually ends up in the trash can pretty quick the CPC comes with a straight tru optical finder which most of us also replace with a RACI finder...
    GPS...The CPC has one built in it..The 8SE does not ..but you can buy one for the 8se IF you think the time it saves you every night (about 10 seconds) is worth the price ..it also does absolutely nothing for you when aligning


    For your usage the 8Se would be fine...If you get serious about imaging the cost of a good GoTo Gem mount is not a heck of lot more then a good wedge and you can use either the single armed mount for visual or the Gem for long exposure AP ...Short exposure AP can be done with either mount..

    Sorry for the long post and if I seemed to go off topic or talking in circles that was mainly caused by several long interruptions wife ,door, mailman,telephone calls....LOL

    Bob G
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  11. #10
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    Default

    Well there is some direct advice from someone that own both the SE and CPC style telescopes. I have always listened to Bob's advice, and have never been led astray. Some good input from someone who knows and uses both of the scopes in question.

    Jim
    Celestron C9.25. Atlas EQG mount. Canon 500D unmodded, Celestron ST80 guide scope, SSAG, Meade 6.3 FR, Thousand Oaks dew control with Dewnot straps. Zhumell 8/24mm Zoom, 2"Gso Superview 42mm, Meade 2"QX wide angle 30MM, Meade 1.25 EP and filter set. Tasco 10x50 Zhumell 20x80 bino and a few other odds and ends.
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