Originally Posted by groundzero9
Do you guys have any advice on a decent dual-purpose, starter telescope? By that I mean useful for both photography and viewing. Research has pointed me towards this
for the 5" diameter, f/5 aperture, and the motorized mount. I have more interest in galaxies and nebulae than planetary objects.
In the spirit of a tech forum, I'm going to suggest something a little radical - make one.
As someone else said, that mount won't be great, and the mirror won't be very good at f/5 for that money (the faster the scope, that is to say, the lower the f/ number, the harder a mirror is to correctly figure).
Your best option, unless you can afford something in the range of a Meade LX200, is to make something.
Mel Bartels scope.exe will let you control a scope from a computer (goto functionality with software like starry night pro or TheSky). People motorise dobsonian mounts using stepper motors and rotary encoders all the time. It's a big(ish) project, but would be fun and educational.
That said, the issue with making a dobsonian is that you'll also need to buy or make a field derotator to use it for long exposure photography (ie. galaxies), but as a purely visual scope in the meantime, or for photographing bright objects like planets where exposures are short enough that field rotation is not a problem, you'll find a bigger aperture, home made scope absolutely outclasses what you can buy unless you spend a fortune.
As for making a mirror, you can either just buy one, or for more satisfaction and if you have room to do it, make it yourself.
Here's some excellent classic books on the subject:
AMATEUR TELESCOPE MAKING by ALBERT G.INGALLS
If you do decide to buy, you'll need to spend at least 10x what you suggested to get satisfactory photographic results on galaxies - these objects are very dim, and exposures need to be long, so you'll find that the mount needs to be really very good, although modern image stacking and processing techniques do help to offset that a bit.
The other thing you need to ask yourself is how dark is your observing site? Without a properly dark sky, attempting to image galaxies with a scope of any size is pretty pointless.
Sorry to be a downer on your plans - it's just I've looked into this stuff a lot, I nearly moved to a super dark site and had plans to build a really big scope a while back, it never materialised but it's still there as a long term ambition, so I know quite a bit about the constraints and limitations, but even if you intend only a fairly simple setup for astrophotography you do need to take care over light pollution, mount quality and so on, and none of that comes cheap, but if you make it yourself you can end up with very good gear for a reasonable cost.