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About to place an order, reviews wanted


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Hi,

I am about to order the following for getting started with astro photo (wide-ish field with dslr)

HEQ5 PRO

SW 150 PDS w/coma corrector

ALCCD5 autoguider

70x500 guidescope

Dual saddle to mount scopes side-by-side

Various adapters

Do you think this is a good start? I have kind of blown my budget already, so anything more expensive is out of the question :/

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Don't buy anything yet! except "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards (from FLO - sponsor of this site) (usual disclaimer from me). It takes you through all the options to get you into astro imaging and points out all the (often very expensive) pitfalls. It tells you what are the "best buys" and also why they are best - it will save you money and much frustration in the long run.

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Don't buy anything yet! except "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards (from FLO - sponsor of this site) (usual disclaimer from me). It takes you through all the options to get you into astro imaging and points out all the (often very expensive) pitfalls. It tells you what are the "best buys" and also why they are best - it will save you money and much frustration in the long run.

Good advice there I reckon :)

I'm not an imager but I thought that refractors like the ED80 were the preferred tools for wide angle deep sky imaging :D

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Hi,

Thanks for the advice from all of you. Regarding small refractors versus the 150 PDS I think it is a bit between the widest and narrowest with its 750 mm focal length, if you know what I mean. It will give me quite a wide field using my DSLR (1.2 x 1.8 degrees with 1.5 arsecs/pixel), but still not so narrow that the guide and polar alignment gets _that_ much harder. I think. I'll probably buy the book anyway, but I kind of feel ready to jump this anyway. I mean, the heq5 should be a safe bet, as for the kind of cheap 150PDS.

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I understand that I should read the book, and I will. But would you say that the equipment I have listed isn't suited, and that I will make another choice if I read the book first? It would be nice to hear more about what difference it would make when it comes to the equipment. I've been in the game for some years, just not done any "die-hard" AP yet.

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If starting from scratch I would go:

HEQ5 SynTrek mount (dont need goto - see below)

SW ED80 Pro (Maybe with field flattener/reducer)

QHY5 guide camera (seems about the same as the one you suggest)

Guide through the 50mm finder scope

Laptop or notebook (you would have to add one to your list anyway)

DSLR camera (Canon preferred for Astro, body only), t-mount and adapter

Mount control via EQMOD/ASCOM and Cartes du Ceil (All free)

PHD guiding (free)

APT imaging camera control (free to start then cheap to go for the "complete" package) or Canon EOS utility (comes with canon cameras)

Not a lot different and pricewise possibly considerably cheaper when totalled up!

Edited by Bizibilder
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Your choice of equipment is generally fine, the mount in particular is a good platform for astro-imaging. Reflectors represent the best value for money in terms of aperture but there can be issues with focus although I believe that the 150PDS has a reasonably low profile and a Baader Coma Corrector will give you an additional 10mm of inwards focus travel. You do need to be sure that your proposed imaging system can achieve focus though as this most certainly is not always the case with Newtonians.

The focal length of your proposed 'scope is 750mm which would put slightly greater demands on your mount's tracking abilities than, say, a SW ED 80 Refractor which is highly recommended for people starting out in astrophotography but as long as you are aware of this then this too is not a huge issue. You mentioned you wanted a widish FOV which would again point to something like the ED 80 with its 600mm focal length reducing to 480mm with a typical focal reducer.

If you stick with your original plan, I would certainly recommend the Baader MPCC as coma is very obvious in images taken using a Newtonian.

Edited by steppenwolf
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Do you think this is a good start? I have kind of blown my budget already, so anything more expensive is out of the question :/

i don't do AP, but your remark is kind of worrying. with astronomy you need to read, read and read before making a purchase. you need to buy what you need, not what you can afford, if you cannot afford it put that money to one side and resume saving, that way you wont buy something at £3000, when what you really wanted cost £500 more, buy you didnt want to wait (and it will cost you a lot more that £500 in the future to put it right). yes you can always buy bigger and better, but you need to identify what equipment will serve your needs the best.

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Yes, that's why I bought an EQ6 Pro SynScan mount and the scope I really want will have to wait. I want to do AP and need a really solid mount - I'm sure it will be money well spent in the long run. My experience in life generally is that it's worth saving up to buy what you really want/need than to put up with second best, otherwise you always feel dissatisfied with your purchase.

Edited by Gina
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I can't comment on the rest of your gear, but contrarty to lots of blather, I think the HEQ5 is a VERY good mount for A-P.

The only caveat I have is that one should spend 3 or 4 nights "Training" it in using the PEC function. I think one can avoid a lot of expensive and uneccessary mods doing this fairly simple procedure.

Mine would track within 3-4 arcseconds following 'training'.

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I can't comment on the rest of your gear, but contrarty to lots of blather, I think the HEQ5 is a VERY good mount for A-P.

The only caveat I have is that one should spend 3 or 4 nights "Training" it in using the PEC function. I think one can avoid a lot of expensive and uneccessary mods doing this fairly simple procedure.

Mine would track within 3-4 arcseconds following 'training'.

I guess the blather in question must be down under because on this side of the orb the HEQ5 is highly regarded for AP. The only caveat is that it has a smaller payload than the 6. Personally I don't think PEC training is very relevant because even 3-4 arcsecs is not good enough for DS imaging and most of us disable it when autoguiding so as not to bombard the mount with corrections.

I thnk your setup looks good. I would use an ST80 for guiding - fast, cheap and effective - and I would go for a small apo over a Newt for simplicity, but that's just me.

Olly

ollypenrice's Photos

Edited by ollypenrice
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Hi All,

Thanks again for all your replies and suggestions. Although it might not seem like it, I have been reading a lot and done quite a lot of practical astronomy in the past years (just not AP yet, except ultra-wide-field with DSLR on tripod only).

After reading your suggestions and doing some checks on focal lengths, true fov etc I've once again landed on a different scope - the SW ED80 with the .85x reducer (as most of you suggested). This is mostly because I'm unsure about the collimation the newt (some bad experience with a el-cheapo noname newt), but also because of the reduced focal length.

Thanks all :D

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