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I bought my first telescope, a 3-inch refractor a few weeks ago. It has been a wonderful experience seeing the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn magnified and Andromeda, M33, M81 and much more for the first time.

Now I wish to get my second telescope. I was considering : Explore Scientific ED APO 102mm F/7 Bresser Maksutov Cassegrain 152mm F/12.5

I live in a high altitude region with Bortle 3 skies. I hope to see basic details on Jupiter, Saturn and Mars at high contrast and clarity and perhaps the disc of Neptune. Also occasionally deep sky objects. Portability and fast setup time are also a consideration. The MC is about 60% of the price of the APO.

In addition to my 26 & 12 mm Plossl eyepieces I plan on getting a 50mm Erfle (Field Stop 40mm) and a 6mm Plossl.

For mount, I was contemplating between Bresser Exos 2 and iOptron CEM25P.

I wish to know your experience with refractors and MCs, in general, or with these specific models. Since the MC is cheaper and has a bigger aperture, will the APO have any advantages eg.contrast? Also, what are your thoughts on the mounts?

Thank you for your answer!

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    $\begingroup$ This is not a very good question for the Stack. Ask on a forum instead. Now, I tend to think the Maksutov would be better for you - the aperture is significantly larger and, unless it's poorly made, it will outperform the refractor. Focal length is bigger so it doesn't require short focal length eyepieces. See if you can find someone with experience with this actual model. Maks tend to be excellent performers when built properly, so figure out the build quality of this thing. The ES APO is a good instrument, but there's nothing magic about refractors. Aperture is king, all else being equal. $\endgroup$ – Florin Andrei May 26 at 5:45
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I have viewed through many telescopes over the years and in doing so have met many people like yourself. To suggest a F/12.5 Maksutov will satisfy you would be the equivalent of telling someone to dive into the deep end of a swimming pool without knowing if that person can swim.

If it's bang for buck that motivated your question I think you would get the most if you just explore the capabilities of the 3 inch refractor for a while. There is a lot to be seen with that telescope and you have barely scratched the surface.

Some prefer electronic eyepieces. Have you seen what they are capable of doing? I viewed with eyepieces for fifty years before trying a Mallincam ten years ago. I haven't used an eyepieces for serious viewing since.

Take a look at the NightSkiesNetwork. It is a group that regularly broadcasts their observing sessions.

https://www.nightskiesnetwork.ca/about

I cannot think of any better advice for someone like yourself than to stick your toe in the water for a few seconds before jumping in.

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A quick description of many sortes of telescopes: Refractors are very hard to make, but they haven't got central obstruction. They have usually smaller aperture like reflector or Maksutov-Cassegrain for the same money. The best choice for a little money and big aperture is a Dobsonian because of his Alt-az mount. If you want big magnification, as I can see you want, then buy Maksutov-Cassegrain because a long focal length is rolled into the tube through many lenses and mirrors. If you want to pay a little more than for a Dobsonian and make a little bit of astrophotography, then you should buy a Newton telescope. But if you want to just dive into astrophotography, then buy refractor because a smaller aperture can be replaced with longer exposure time.

It is your choice, which telescopes to buy, but I can give you my opinion:

  • Because you want to observe planets and maybe craters, you should buy Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. But you should be aware: You couldn't observe many deep-sky objects (DSOs). So my choice will be Bresser Maksutov Cassegrain 152mm F/12.5.
  • I can't help you with mounts, but I think that they are practically the same, so I will choice Bresser Exos 2 because of budget.

My choice will be then Bresser Maksutov Cassegrain 152mm F/12.5 and Bresser Exos 2, but it is your choice of the scope and I have one real tip for you: Just follow your instinct.

P.S. Great question!

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