Buying Telescope

Last Updated on 14 April 2014

The more effort you put into researching about telescopes and binoculars, the higher your chances of getting a good deal.

1.  The following 3 books are highly recommended for newcomers to amateur astronomy. Read them BEFORE you buy any telescope or binocular for astronomy.

The latest third edition should be available at major bookstores like Kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City. Or borrow it from selected Public Libraries.

Star Ware
Buy it from major bookstores or borrow it at selected Public Libraries. You can read some of the preview pages at Google Books by clicking here.

- Stargazing with Binoculars
Buy it from major bookstores of borrow it at selected Public Libraries.

2.  Always consider the Singapore second-hand market first. The main advantages are very low or zero shipping costs (e.g. self-collect) and you can inspect and test the telescope on actual stars and planets before making a decision to buy it. The best second-hand market in Singapore is SINGASTRO's buy-and-sell forum.

If you already have a particular model in mind and nobody is selling it now, post a Want To Buy (WTB) post in the same forum. Some telescope owners may have the same model and thinking of selling it.

3.  The next option is to consider overseas second-hand market. They are the Cloudy Nights Classifieds and Astromart Classifieds.

Some of them have nice extras thrown in. The database of telescopes sold and offered there can give you a good idea of how much a particular brand/model of telescope is worth. You can then compare their prices with brand new units and make decisions if they are good buys.

4.  If you must buy brand new in Singapore, only buy from a shop (online or offline) whose main business is to sell telescopes and related accessories. Which means, DO NOT buy from departmental/electronic/camera/toy stores no matter how attractive the packaging looks or how hard the salesperson there is trying to convince you to buy it. Always compare prices with at least three shops.    

Telescope Vendors in Singapore:

StarOptics Scientific
The Physical Space

Overseas Online Retailers:

Oceanside Photo & Telescope
Woodlands Hills Camera & Telescopes

You may compare prices of the same telescope sold local with overseas online retailers to have a feel of how much more you are paying if you were to buy locally. In some cases, after including overseas shipping, it may still be cheaper than buying locally. A local company may charge you higher pricing for providing local warranty, support or servicing. You have to decide for yourself if this extra cost is worth it.

5.  If you have a very low budget, continue to save up until you can afford a good telescope. Or buy a good pair of binoculars and enjoy learning and observing the skies before moving on to a telescope. Many amateur astronomers still keep at least a pair of binoculars with them after owning telescopes. Or upgrade to an even better quality binocular after owning several telescopes. The wide field of view in a widefield binocular (e.g. 6.5 degrees or higher) simply cannot be re-produced in any telescope design. And some celestial objects look best in those wide views.

Useful online articles to help you in your research:

How to Choose a Telescope - By Adrian R. Ashford
Best Beginner Telescopes - Backyard Astronomer's Guide

Buyers beware! This blog is NOT affiliated with any telescope vendor. Please do your own research and draw your own conclusions as to which vendor is worthy of your business.