Buying a telescope, looking for some info

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Stellar_Optimist

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Hi all, I'm looking at getting back into telescope sky watching again, and I have my sights set on the Orion XX12i truss Dobsonian. Does anyone here have any experience with this scope? I've read some good reviews but would like the candid opinion of someone who uses this scope fairly regularly. Is it well built? Does it have any annoying quirks? How long can I expect the batteries to last? How often can I expect to collimate it? You know, general operational experiences.

I used to use refractors, but after several different nights testing different styles of scopes, I much prefer the Dobsonian. I plan to use the next scope I buy for a lifetime, so I'm not just moving from one stepping stone to the next. Can I get some opinions?
 
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crazyeddie

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Stellar_Optimist":31xorpuv said:
Hi all, I'm looking at getting back into telescope sky watching again, and I have my sights set on the Orion XX12i truss Dobsonian. Does anyone here have any experience with this scope? I've read some good reviews but would like the candid opinion of someone who uses this scope fairly regularly. Is it well built? Does it have any annoying quirks? How long can I expect the batteries to last? How often can I expect to collimate it? You know, general operational experiences.

I used to use refractors, but after several different nights testing different styles of scopes, I much prefer the Dobsonian. I plan to use the next scope I buy for a lifetime, so I'm not just moving from one stepping stone to the next. Can I get some opinions?
My only experience with truss tube dobsonians was owning a Starmaster 11" F/5.4. This scope you are considering is considerably bigger and bulkier. You will need to collimate it every time you set it up. I found with my Starmaster that I needed to re-collimate it when I moved it from viewing objects near the zenith to objects nearer the horizon, due to a slight sagging of the truss components. I'm not saying the Orion scope will do this, but it's a problem common to some truss-tube dobsonians. I eventually sold this scope because using it was too much of a hassle, and most of my observing is the moon and planets, where refractors are often preferable.

I think if I were you, I would also consider the Sky-Watcher collapsible truss dobsonian. They got a very good write-up in Sky and Telescope magazine, and they are much lighter and less bulky than the Orion scope of the same aperture......and the best part is, no truss assembly is required. You just unlatch the upper tube assembly and slide it forward to begin observing. They will soon be available in a GOTO motorized version, similar to Orion's. I'm thinking of buying the 8" or 10" version of the Sky-Watcher dob, myself, to compliment my 5" refractor.
 
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Stellar_Optimist

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Thanks for the advice, Eddie. The thing is, I'm not really fazed by the bulk of a telescope unless it's over 150 lbs total weight. Less than that, I still consider it to be portable as long as it breaks down into smaller pieces, which the XX12i does. It's also only 86.5 lbs total weight, which is pretty easy for me to handle. I'm looking to be able to see some of the dimmer objects beyond our solar system, around 12th magnitude, and I figured the 12" aperture would be my best balance between portability and deep-sky image resolution. I'm not looking to start astroimaging right now, so a go-to scope isn't really in my interest at the moment. I don't think I need a go-to if I'm not tracking an object for imaging purposes. Thanks for the input though!
 
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crazyeddie

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Stellar_Optimist":r1m4b416 said:
I'm not looking to start astroimaging right now, so a go-to scope isn't really in my interest at the moment. I don't think I need a go-to if I'm not tracking an object for imaging purposes. Thanks for the input though!
SkyWatcher is introducing a line of non-GOTO, auto-tracking dobs....a wonderful, and long overdue, feature. I hate "nudging" the scope over and over again, especially at high power, because it always take a few seconds for the vibrations to settle down.

Sky-Watcher is proud to introduce a revolutionary new collapsible Dobsonian series that allows automatic tracking of celestial objects without complicated set-ups and add-ons—the ultimate in portability and performance.

The elegant truss tube design was carefully engineered to combine ease of use, extreme portability and consistent performance in an affordable package. Unlike other truss tube designs, the SkyWatcher Collapsible Dobsonian does not need to be disassembled between uses. It transports as two compact pieces that can be assembled and ready to use in just seconds! It is easy to collimate once set up, and it holds its collimation throughout the evening! The patented Tension Control Handle allows users to add or reduce tension, thereby increasing or decreasing the friction between the optical tube and the sideboards.




http://www.skywatchertelescope.net/swti ... class2=109
 
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Stellar_Optimist

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A non-GOTO tracking system? That is pretty darn cool. About time somebody came out with one for a truss dob under $2500. I might have to check that out. The only thing I'm wondering about, is a 12" dob well suited for astroimaging, or can the minor chromatic aberration of the primary mirror cause problems with the clarity of the image? I guess a proper collimation could compensate for that, but I have no experience whatsoever with astroimaging.
 
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Stellar_Optimist

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Well, after much deliberation and simulation of telescope viewing with my Starry Night Pro software, I've decided the Orion XT8g GoTo 8" Dobsonian is going to be my choice of purchase. I thought a GoTo was unnecessary at first, but I figured it would be a nice feature to have tracking available rather than constantly nudging the scope. Also, if I wanted to branch into astroimaging a little, I could mount my DSLR camera on the focuser with an adapter to start out. So many options out there . . . I think I'll be happy with this one. I also figured with this lighter scope my wife will be able to use it if she wants without needing to have me set it up for her. Anyone had any problems with this telescope? Anything to look out for, or funny quirks?
 
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crazyeddie

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Stellar_Optimist":2emf5e6q said:
Well, after much deliberation and simulation of telescope viewing with my Starry Night Pro software, I've decided the Orion XT8g GoTo 8" Dobsonian is going to be my choice of purchase. I thought a GoTo was unnecessary at first, but I figured it would be a nice feature to have tracking available rather than constantly nudging the scope. Also, if I wanted to branch into astroimaging a little, I could mount my DSLR camera on the focuser with an adapter to start out. So many options out there . . . I think I'll be happy with this one. I also figured with this lighter scope my wife will be able to use it if she wants without needing to have me set it up for her. Anyone had any problems with this telescope? Anything to look out for, or funny quirks?
Since it's a brand-new model, there hasn't been much chance for anyone else to test-drive it. YOU can tell US if it's a good scope or not! ;)
 
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Stellar_Optimist

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Yeah, good point. I will most definitely do that! It looks like it has a better mirror than the XT8i and the classic model do, since it uses low thermal-expansion (probably Pyrex) rather than BK-7. Unless, of course, BK-7 has low thermal expansion properties, I really don't know for sure. I've been trying to find out what BK-7 is made from as opposed to BAK-4 glass, and I have been rather unsuccessful. Oh, well. Anyway, I will definitely be posting a review of this unit on here when I get it! Hopefully I will be the proud owner of a new XT8g in a couple weeks!

Oh, if anyone was looking for a good astronomy binocular, I can recommend the Orion GiantView 15 x 70. I posted a review on Orion's website already, it's under the name Ryan Flynn. It's an awesome spotting tool for telescope viewing or for just tooling around, looking at some wide fields like I do some nights. I actually spotted Bode's Galaxy a couple of nights ago, and I could also just make out Titan when looking at Saturn.
 
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