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Monday, March 30th, 2009
Just a comment:   I can't say enough about the optics of my 12" Dob.  Just superb!   I wish it was lighter....maybe made from aluminum or carbon fibre or fiber glass, but in terms of observing, these bargin basement Dobs, dollar for dollar, are awfully hard to beat.   If it could be done without dramatically increasing the price, a split-tube, fiber glass version would be ideal.    Snap the two ends together....check collimation....start observing.   Simplicity in the extreme.    The drawback of the solid tube is size.   I use the shipping box as a container......requiring a mini-van to transport it.   At home this is no problem.......simply carry out the base, then carry out the tube and set it in the base.   Size doesn't matter......although weight may be a problem at some point.
 
The large truss-Dobs certainly go a little deeper, but matched with the right eyepiece these old fashioned solid tube, "cheapo's" are not far behind......and much less hassle to set up and use......when time is limited, and you're in a hurry.  The truss scopes do have the advantage of smaller size when broken down.....makes for easier transport.   I have never looked through a really large Dob.....20"+ to 30".   I suspect the views would make all the hassles worthwhile.....even the stepladder needed for observing.
 
I hope the basic Dobs don't disappear from the market.   I see that Orion has stopped offering their basic XT 12.   10" is the largest basic Dob they offer.    To get 12", you have to buy their new truss-Dob or the Intelliscope version of the solid tube.   I suspect others will follow.  A shame!!!   If you want aperture on a budget, they fill the bill, with very little compromise in performance.
 
At any rate, I am totally happy with my 12".   I would recommend one without hesitation.





Comments:
On 04/15/09 at 04:57pm Mass produced scopes.......... wrote:
I have owned Newtonians of 4 1/2", 5", 6", 10" and now the 12". Part of me wants a larger aperture (15" or larger) for those few times each year when I can get out under dark skies. I hide behind my budget, but the truth is you can almost always "find" the money for something that is important to you. Owning a finely crafted Obsession or Starmaster would be the ultimate.

I just can't justify something in the $3,000 or more (maybe much more) range that will sit in the back corner of my garage 95% of the time. These scopes are definitely not grab and go....or even grab and view......so, knowing me, it would spend the majority of it's time in the garage unused.

As much as I am pleased with the views through my 12", if I could only own one of the above, I would probably settle on the 10". It's lighter and smaller. It is easier to set up, move around and transport. The views, while not quite as good as the 12", are not that far off. The 12" is just a bit too large & heavy. The 10" is a good compromise in cost (dirt cheap), size and aperture for use as an all-around, driveway or backyard observing scope. For pure observing, I haven't found tracking to be much of an advantage.

I definitely place a high value on ease of set-up and use. I would probably do more imaging, but the setup time often puts me off.....scope, camera, extension cord, table, stool, laptop, software, etc etc.



On 03/30/09 at 11:56pm Barry wrote:
I am not sure I would trade my 12" for the larger Lightbridge, but I understand why you did. There is an edge in performance for sure. For me, simplicity is king.

Discovery Telescopes has a 17.5" split tube Dob that would probably suit my desire for simplicity, but at over 3x the price of my 12", I will probably keep what I have. I was thrilled with the views through it at Hancock. M82 and M51 drew rave reviews from all who took a look.

Some day, maybe I'll go nuts and buy a 24" Starmaster or Obsession. Trouble is, by then I will be too old and feeble to climb a ladder. LOL

On 03/30/09 at 11:37pm Neil Heacock wrote:
I hear you Barry. I loved my 12" Hardin. There is a lucky new owner, but having sold it at Sean's I don't know who it is. I now have the 16" Lightbridge - which is just a larger mass produced scope. I absolutely love it for it's views. It's not as solid and doesn't hold collimation as well as the 12", but the extra light bucket power is fantastic.



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