Is autofocus a „must have“?

Hello together,

in the very next time I will buy a new Newtonian telescop. One question for me is, which focuser I shall order and I am not sure, if I shall make the capability of “autofocus with SGPro” a must have requirement of the focuser.

The main benifit of “autofocussing” would be for me the possibility to let run the system without my attendance.

As I have no experience with “autofocussing” (I am still manually focusing), I would like to ask on your opinion/experience:

An intial “manual” focussing with a bhatinov mask presumed:

Is “autofocossing” just better than doing nothing and if you want “perfect” images a “manual” focussing with a bhatinov mask from time to time is recommended anyway
is “autofocus” a feature you would never abandon?

Thanks a lot for your input, and best regards


Auto focus can get you focused better than you can do manually with a Bahtinov Mask alone. Now if you use something like Bahtinov Grabber you can likely get focused as well as auto focus can do.

Auto focus for me has the following “Pros”:

  • Focus without slewing to a bright star
  • Focus without being present
  • Focus more accurately
  • Focus in less time
  • Focus with a specific filter (Lum) and set offsets for others (Narrowband) and retain sharp focus.

Cons for auto focus:

  • Hardware is more expensive
  • There will be some learning curve.

Personally I would never want to go back to manual focus. I could if I HAD to…but I would never buy a scope that I couldn’t put a stepper focuser on.

It’s certainly not a “must have” but it’s extremely convenient and once you start down this path you’ll likely not want to give it up. Just like automated filter wheels, good mounts, optics, etc. Once you start using something that makes imaging easier it’s not something you want to let go of!


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Hi Jared,

thank you for your input.

I think I will make “autofocus” a requirment for the focuser of my next telescope. The system will be expensive (for me) anyway :smile:

Currently I am investigating the ASA OK3, if its able to send back “absolute positions” (until now without luck).

Best regards