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Noob woul like some guidance please!


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Hello again!

I've unearthed someone locally (State-side) selling his mint 2 year old Celestron 11". He is including a nice upgraded diagonal, 3 additional top shelf eyepieces, feather touch focuser, dew shield and a/c adapter - all for $2100 USD

Here's allink to the stock setup:


I realize it's a great price for equipment, but I've developed a concern. You see, I'd like to delve into AP since photography is one of my passions. I'm not a wealthy guy, but don't want to skimp either.

What do I want to photograph? Everything! Planets as well as Deep Sky. I live on the edge of a Kansas City (approx. 1/2 million) so LP 'could' be worse I guess. I have a 50 minute drive to some nice dark skies.

I've familiarized myself with the various types of scopes, mounts, prices, etc.....It seems I'm torn between the aforementioned scope or a refractor of some type ($$). It would take me a while to upgrade the CPC11 with a wedge and the appropriate camera. Oh, by the way - I currently shoot with a Sony a900 24 megapixel full frame DSLR. I'm afraid it will have to suffice for now. I'm aware of the drawbacks.

On to my quandry! Should I go ahead and purchase the CPC 11" or would something else, within that price range, be more suitable? I realize that's a tough question since I want to shoot it all.

Thanks in advance for your patience. Please direct me to a more suitable thread if I'm in the wrong room.


aka - Ponz

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Yes the CPC11 is a nice scope. You could use it for DSO AP but would have to buy 1) a wedge to track the stars without field rotation and 2) a focal reducer to bring it down from F10 to about F6.3 - at F10 your exposures would need to be very long indeed. Most of us who do DSO AP have scopes with F ratios of between about F4 to F6. These are attched to a chuncky GE mount (motorised and often GOTO). Also, to get good exposures of longer than say about 2 mins, you will need some sort of autoguiding system. Hope this helps.

Edited by reddoss
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As said before, this is a lovely scope and I wouldn't mind it myself but for imaging I would rather stay with a fast refractor or Newtonian reflector. I used to have an 8" S/C which took great images but was limited to very short exposures before smearing became apparent.

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Pretty well summed up above.

The ideal situation for AP will be a GEM mount. Also DSO and Planetary require different kit as well. Im sure you wont be disappointed in that scope but it will be a difficult (not impossible) task to develop serious astro images given the limitations you will encounter.....

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Hi John. I see your dilemma. I learned the hard way on my own years ago before i found out about these forums that could help me out.

About 4 years ago i purchased a Nexstar 8SE. When i got the urge to get into astrophotography, i realized that the mount was going to be a huge problem. So then i traded the mount for a CG-5 and purchased a small refractor for guiding with the 8SE for imaging. Then i realized that the telescope was not ideal for imaging still. Then i traded the optical tube for a 8" f/4 Newtonian, and did a lot of alterations to the mount set up and etc..

In short, for the amount of money you are going to spend on the 11", you can get a very sweet astrophotography set-up :grin:

-A sturdy EQ mount like a CG-5 costs $650. You could maybe even upgrade to a CGEM for about $1500. A fast 8" f/4 optical tube costs about $300 or $450 at optcorp.com.

-There is also the option of a good quality refractor like William Optics from agenaastro.com. That's if you're also interested in wide views, a 70mm refractor costs about $420 and a 80mm about $640.

There are many options. And good sturdy mounts like the ones mentioned here give you 1 or 2 minute exposures by themselves when they are properly aligned. And later on as you get better at imaging and processing, there is the option of adding a little extra cash for guiding scope and an autoguider possibly.

Hope i didnt confuse you more!!! :eek:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi John.

A C11 is an excellent tool for planetary imaging (I've got one). You need to use a camera that can take videos - I use an Imaging Source camera - but some modern DSLRs can be used. You could get a wedge for the fork mount to make it equatorial. I'd personally ditch the mount and get a GEM. I use an EQ6 mount with mine - the mount just about copes with the weight although I have to use an extension bar for the counterweights. So if you want to do planetary imaging the C11 is excellent. My advice would be to decide which area of imaging you want to start with first and concentrate on that. Yes you can do DSO imaging with a C11 but it requires a different set of equipment and skill set. It's the skill set that is hardest to attain. Another advantage of planetary imaging is that light pollution is very much less of a problem. The downside to planetary is that there's nothing to image if there are no planets around.

If you want to start with DSO imaging then I wouldn't start with a C11.

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