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Finderscope v's Red Dot Finder

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Morning All,


So last night I finally managed to set up and (attempt to) use for the first time in 10 years my SW200P HEQ5. I have to admit, not using it for so long with minimal experience anyway meant it taking much longer than anticipated. 


However with the majority of the setup complete I moved onto aligning the stock 9 x 50 finderscope thta came with the telescope and used Arcturus as it was relatively bright and solitary in the twilight sky - Venus was slightly out of sight. This went well and I was good to go. 


An hour later I wanted to navigate the sky a little to get used to using the scope in general and targeted the main stars in Leo. What I struggled with was the locating the star I wanted through the finderscope as even pointing the scope in the general direction of the target, once looking through the finderscope I couldn't see the wood for the tress so to speak. Too many stars to know exactly where I was pointed.


My question is, as I'm still very much a newbie am I doing anything wrong or is it a case that I need some help with maybe a RDF or something similar? If so, is the RDF a much better tool for a beginner such as myself?


Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.


Apologies if this is posted in the wrong place.


Thanks - David

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Its a matter of personal preference I find David. You will get loads of advocates for each. I personally prefer a finderscope over red dots or telrads but I know others who prefer red dots etc.


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I'm an advocate of the 9x50 finderscope. Persevere and practice. I was astounded to see the Pinwheel/Triangulum Glalxy (M33) through mine, although it was fronm a dark site.

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Thanks for your advice guys, I thought it may be a case of personal preference.


If they are relatively cheap I may look at purchasing the RDF and see how I get on. Any ideas of the best place to source from, especially with the current situation?

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I use both a 9x50 Orion cross hair finderscope and a multi reticule rdf.

The finderscope is great for fainter deep sky objects - the wider fov gives you confirmation from nearby guide stars that you're in the right position, and you can sometimes just about see the target to pop the cross hairs on.

An rdf tends to be quick and easy for brighter objects like planets. I recommend a multi reticule one so you can choose the size and shape of the dot and wether you want to obscure the object (or not) whilst looking for it. Telrads are also very popular with newts.

Generally though - it's personal preference and accurate daytime setup that counts. 🙂

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I personally prefer a red dot as they are generally easier to align (non of those awful tri-screws)

They are more robust and lower profile (less chance of bumping them)


Also better eye relief, and no dodgy optics to worry about.


Baader Planetarium do a couple of versions, and TS do a much cheaper version of the applauded Starseeker V.



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My mount setup routine requires alignment in azimuth, then in altitude so I use a Telrad for that.  Once set, I use an 8x50 finderscope with a reticuled eyepiece.

Both are susceptible to dew, the Telrad is probably the worst.

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Same as Ron I use both, a Telrad (RDF) to get me in the correct place, then a right angled corrected 9x50 finder for fine tuning (if required).


Plenty of room on a 200P for both.

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I find a reflex probably the easiest. Although I use a Straight Through on my 127mm Mak and 150mm Newtonian.


















Edited by Nightspore
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  • 1 month later...

I must of missed this one. I use a telrad to get in the general area and a 10x60 raci. The raci was a god send from the original straight through finder. So much easier to follow star charts and not breaking my back trying to look through it.

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Straight through's are adequate for line of sight looking into the plane of the ecliptic. That's why I've kept them on my 150mm Newtonian and 127mm Mak. I've experimented with RACI's.



But in my opinion, the reflex works best for my refractors.

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Both have their merits - so I use both.


Telrad on my 200P


Straight through finder for my 130P-DS


Neither cost the earth, so you can always sell if one's not for you.


Had a RACI finder for a while, but couldn't get on with it and relegated it to being a polarscope for my EQ Platform.

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