Buying OTA Only and Rolling Your Own CAT with a Third Party GEM

I have "test driven" a few CAT/GEM mount combos in this guide, but remember that it is not mandatory to settle for one of these packages. Meade and Celestron also sell their CATs as bare OTAs, and most of the other makers' scopes reviewed in this chapter are also available without mounts. Discriminating CAT fanciers can pick a combination of OTA and GEM that suits particular needs and goals. Often, beginners shy away from assembling OTA mount combinations themselves, but doing so often results in a better telescope. Putting together a telescope from an OTA/GEM combo usually means paying more, but the results yielded by high-quality third-party GEMs may more than justify the extra expenditure. One thing is certain: There is no shortage of excellent German mounts in all price ranges.

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