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[Official] The Astrophotography Thread - Page 22

post #211 of 252
Agreed that getting a second hand mount is better if you're going to have a heavy OTA - also agreed that really, if you've no experience, you _need_ to visit an astro club and use peoples stuff to get a feel for the challenges in terms of mount rigidity, getting a good polar aligment (you'll need a polar alignment scope which fits in the RA axis if you're going with an equatorial mount), vibration etc.

Second hand EQ mounts should be no problem, since there's less that can be out of alignment or wrong on them (at least it's easier to tell) compared to optics.

If you can get something in the EQ5 class, that would be better.

Again, and I know you seem to be a little against the idea (and there are perfectly valid reasons to be), but I'd also look at dobs. Especially if you initially intend visual observing, then later adding on photo capability a bit at a time - for the same money, you'll get a much less problematic mount. Equatorials are great, if you can afford a nice one. A nice one unfortunately is very expensive. That said, an EQ5 will probably serve you very well.
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post #212 of 252
An 8" Dob seems quite attractive at $399 but wouldn't the collapsible ones be incredibly bulky compared to an 8" reflector on a equatorial mount?
post #213 of 252
A truss tube dob takes down to a very compact set of parts, and because the weight is largely within the alt axis, they don't need heavy balance weights. Much more portable than the same optics on an equatorial.

That said, for carrying in a car, an 8" newt on an EQ mount is not difficult to transport or set up. The real portability advantages of a dob come at bigger apertures - a 20" for example on an equatorial is basically an observatory sited scope with no portability at all (and the mount would cost a fortune or require a well equiped machine shop to fabricate and still cost quite a lot in materials), wheras a 20" truss tube dob can be portable if designed well: http://www.bbastrodesigns.com/20inch.html

Dobs definitely have the edge for portability by a long way. The advantage for you of an equatorial will be that it's easy and cheap to motorise it, however at that point if you start doing photography, you'll still need to stick to short exposures unless you have a very good equatorial mount, and for really long exposures you'd need a guidescope (which takes you up another notch in cost for the mount due to the added weight).

A dob requires a somewhat more complex motor setup (well, not mechanically, but in terms of the electronics to track RA using alt/az) and depending on how much you make yourself (and what the current options are - I'm out of the loop, you'd have to check the ATM lists and scope-drive) might cost more to motorise, but when you get to that stage, if you get serious about photography and want a guidescope, a well build dobsonian mount will cope with the added weight without a problem.
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post #214 of 252
Thread Starter 
Excellent progress here, might have to change the name to "Official" thumb.gif

I took some shots of the moon the other night when I was waiting for Saturn to come over the horizon, but it got way too cold, so I missed the window for that.

I too need to look into getting a tracking mount, or something more stable when trying to focus that 400mm lens.

My exposure shots of the sky are always horrible. They're never really focused as they should be. Focusing to infinity or beyond (especially on the lenses that don't indicate infinity) is difficult.

I wish there were some local members I could get together with to do this.
post #215 of 252
I guess now I'm torn between two extremes. One side of me says to just get the 8" Sky-Watcher Dob for inexpensive great viewing, and the other says to wait and get something like a CG-5 with a large refractor so I have something that'll work well for photography.
post #216 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaiFanatic View Post

Excellent progress here, might have to change the name to "Official" thumb.gif

I took some shots of the moon the other night when I was waiting for Saturn to come over the horizon, but it got way too cold, so I missed the window for that.

I too need to look into getting a tracking mount, or something more stable when trying to focus that 400mm lens.

My exposure shots of the sky are always horrible. They're never really focused as they should be. Focusing to infinity or beyond (especially on the lenses that don't indicate infinity) is difficult.

I wish there were some local members I could get together with to do this.

I find focusing at 480mm not too hard, just have to be smooth and take test shots to find that focus sweet spot and after that it's all dandy. What sucks after that is very short exposures without any EQ mount. I've been meaning to make a barn door mount but haven't gotten around to it yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by groundzero9 View Post

I guess now I'm torn between two extremes. One side of me says to just get the 8" Sky-Watcher Dob for inexpensive great viewing, and the other says to wait and get something like a CG-5 with a large refractor so I have something that'll work well for photography.

This is where you decide if you want to pursue astrohptography or just stick to visual for now. As a beginner I suggest you stay clear of astrohphotography as it has a steep learning curve, it's really expensive and it might just end up not being your thing so you'll be selling it 3 months after.

Get a nice dob and enjoy the skies smile.gif
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post #217 of 252
IMO dobs and AP doesn't work well even with the JMI unit. My dad attempted this w/ his 12" light bridge and after a couple months he ditched the idea for a GEM mount.

Lets run through the setup though. You visually find the DSO with an eye piece with star hopping and charts, Cool you got it sorta. Now remove the eyepeice and add your camera without jerking where you found the object. Now you have to focus the camera to the imaging plane, Now you have to FIND the DSO on the small chip taking short 5sec subs. All in the JMI's 3 min tracking window. Then you can only reset the tracker tracker it for 3 mins, but your subs can only be 20-30s because of field rotation. A DSLR won't fit into a DOB because the inward focus isn't enough so a barlow will have to be used, doubling the F5 to F10 and also doubling the focal length. You will be dropping F bombs and or pulling hair out at this point:D

So now you have a JMI $500 tracking system that could have been put in towards a real mount + a DOB that will hardly be used because its the wrong tool for the job.

I wish this mount was out when I started......If you have limited cash, a DSLR (cuz it can take longer then 15sec shots unlike a point n shot) and fast manual focus lens then this is all you need for a mount. Hell even a nifty 50 can get some nice images stopped down to F3.2 to F4 range.
http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=278-17967

If you have cash for a nice MF lens you can use under the stars and in the day. I'd HIGHLY recommend a NIkkor 180mm ED AIS, can be had for about $300 on ebay. Look for the gold band to confirm it's the ED glass model.

That lens + a modded Canon T4i and 15hrs of 5to10min subs can get you something like (different mount was used)
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post #218 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErOR View Post

I find focusing at 480mm not too hard, just have to be smooth and take test shots to find that focus sweet spot and after that it's all dandy. What sucks after that is very short exposures without any EQ mount. I've been meaning to make a barn door mount but haven't gotten around to it yet.
This is where you decide if you want to pursue astrohptography or just stick to visual for now. As a beginner I suggest you stay clear of astrohphotography as it has a steep learning curve, it's really expensive and it might just end up not being your thing so you'll be selling it 3 months after.

Get a nice dob and enjoy the skies smile.gif

I'm leaning towards the EQ mount and some sort of inexpensive refractor for now I think. I have a very strong interest Astrophotography so would like to have the option to at least start learning about it. However, an EQ5 or similar would eat up most of my funds. Any ideas on what kind of OTA I could throw on it in the meantime til I can afford something nice? Plus, I figure this way if AP doesn't work out, I'll have a steady mount to put a reflector on.
post #219 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by groundzero9 View Post

I'm leaning towards the EQ mount and some sort of inexpensive refractor for now I think. I have a very strong interest Astrophotography so would like to have the option to at least start learning about it. However, an EQ5 or similar would eat up most of my funds. Any ideas on what kind of OTA I could throw on it in the meantime til I can afford something nice? Plus, I figure this way if AP doesn't work out, I'll have a steady mount to put a reflector on.

If you go EQ an EQ5 would be great, I missed out twice on a second hand one for good money.

If you want to motorise it and do astrophotography, a nice ~100mm refractor should be ok or a Mak.

Perhaps save up for a little longer or get this mount and a cheap OTA second hand, good deals on astro forums if you're in US.

You have a DLSR or you gonna be using a webcam?
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post #220 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by groundzero9 View Post

I'm leaning towards the EQ mount and some sort of inexpensive refractor for now I think. I have a very strong interest Astrophotography so would like to have the option to at least start learning about it. However, an EQ5 or similar would eat up most of my funds. Any ideas on what kind of OTA I could throw on it in the meantime til I can afford something nice? Plus, I figure this way if AP doesn't work out, I'll have a steady mount to put a reflector on.

If you're set on photography, then perhaps start with photographing the planets (and the moon), not to mention solar observing with a full-aperture solar filter? The cameras to do this are cheap (a lot of people use webcams) - the planets are bright so only short exposures are needed, that aids you three different ways - you don't need a cooled CCD (long exposures are generally done with peltier cooled CCDs because of noise), you don't need an extremely good mount (or a guidescope), and you don't need a whole load of aperture. In fact, there's a very significant fourth reason that short exposures are good - seeing (ie. the clarity of the atmosphere due to convection currents).

Generally, lots of short exposures are taken, then heavy processing using stuff like http://www.astrostack.com/ or various other free alternatives are used to end up with a final image.

Refractors are very expensive for good ones - take a look at these eye-watering prices even for very small apertures - http://www.green-witch.com/acatalog/Takahashi_Refractors.html (that said, takahashi make _very_ good stuff). I'd look at a 6" newtonian if you just want something really cheap to put on an equatorial until you can upgrade, that will have plenty of aperture for planets and under dark skies will let you see a fair bit more on the bright globular clusters and most of the messier objects.
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