Achieving a middle ground between portability and price, the Sky-Watcher 12” FlexTube Dobsonian is a good choice for those interested in a large and capable telescope without a premium price tag.
The Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi 130P is a fantastic beginner or “Grab n’ go” telescope, though we do recommend the larger 150P which only costs a bit more too. Those looking for a simpler or cheaper setup should consider the Heritage 130P or 150P which are identical to their Virtuoso GTi counterparts apart from the lack of GoTo.
Whether you use a DSLR or a cooled dedicated astronomy camera, the Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED is a high-quality, compact, and capable telescope ideal for deep-sky astrophotography and a superb instrument for visual use as well.
The Explore Scientific ED80 Essentials Triplet is a poor choice for most astrophotography work compared to competing telescopes, and the scope’s triplet optical design has little correlation with high quality.
The Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED (formerly the ProED 80) is an excellent visual and astrophotography telescope, though not the fastest f/ratio or widest field option out there.
The William Optics ZenithStar 73 III is an ideal telescope for wide-field deep-sky astrophotographers, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced imager.
The William Optics ZenithStar 81 is a great telescope for beginner astrophotographers and provides excellent value for the money, though it’s a little more demanding than smaller aperture instruments and slower in focal ratio.
The William Optics ZenithStar 61 is a great starter telescope for deep-sky astrophotography and offers good value for the price.
The Celestron CPC 800 GPS is a rather bulky telescope for its aperture, but it’s packed with performance and versatility.
The Celestron CPC 925 GPS is a fairly versatile scope and is great if you don’t plan on doing much imaging.