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New to Astrophotography... Please help!!!


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I currently own a zhumell 10" dobosonian and love it!! Now I actually want to get into some deep space imaging and am looking for a beginner telescope. Telescopes(dot)com is currently having a sale and was wondering if it was a good time to purchase! I was looking at the celestron NexStar series and was wondering if that was a good choice? I also own a Canon Rebel t3i camera which I plan to use for imaging.

Here are my requirements:

Preferably around 500$ (I know thats low, but keep in mind im a beginner! Im also a college student)

Will it be possible to get good images with a telescope for that price?

Thank you!

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OK - here is my advise: 6" f/5 Newton on HEQ-5 Thats perfect for getting into photography and gives you the possibility to extend later with an Autoguider. There is no point in buying equipment under

If I was getting started, I would get an HEQ5 and an ED80 refactor scope. Makes life very much easier if things work out of the box and a refractor will pretty much do that.

If all you can afford at this point is a mount, then you'd be better to get a decent mount, and you can use your SLR with lenses directly on top. If the dob is a solid tube, it should be possible to m

Before you purchase any equipment you might want to read "Making Every Photon Count." It will help you understand what kind of equipment is suitable, and hopefully help you to avoid spending money on items that are not fit for the desired purpose.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

Clear skies,

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I probably should have also said that as far as I am aware, all of the Nexstar series of scopes are mounted Alt Az (same as your Dob), which makes them unsuitable for anything other than planetary photography (in which case a modified webcam will serve you better than your DSLR), as field rotation will not permit long exposures needed for deepsky photography.

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Hi, it all depends on your requirements, are you looking for wide shots , or something a little closer up,

if you have a SLR camera, then maybe a Astrotrac would be better all that's required is a reasonable tripod and ball head, plus has the flexibility of being very mobile.

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I have the refractor recommended in the book - an ED80 in the form of the Skywatcher Evostar 80 ED DS Pro which I bought from FLO (see top of page). This I have on a Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro mount. In fact the mount is the most important part of an astrophotography setup. The HEQ5 Pro SynScan would be adequate for this scope but I've planned for the future. The camera I use is a modified DSLR - a Canon EOS 1100D.

Get that book - it tells you everything to get started :)

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I definitely plan on reading the book, i looked more into it and seems like it explains everything really well to a beginner.

On a side note, someone reccomended a celestron advanced series C6-NGT reflector telescope? Could someone let me know if something like that would be a great telescope.

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Galaxies really don't fall under wide field. Apart from a couple (M33 for starters) they really do need quite a focal length if you want to see them fairly closeup.

Have a look here http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm at the field of view calculator. You can put in any number of telescopes and camera's and then you can get a feel for the sort of field of view you will be looking at with your specific scope and camera combo.

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And to ultranova's question, i think I am looking to photograph galaxies, clusters, nebulae.... I am assuming galaxies would fall under wide field?

Same as me although I'm not so keen on clusters. However, clusters such as M13 are a good starting point - brighter than nebulae, don't need a modified camera and reasonably easy to find.

Beware though - this can be really addictive :D But it's great fun and very rewarding when you get a good result :)

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+1 for the book. Snap on your 10 inch scope, we have its twin brother, the GSO 10 inch, it moves so smoothly! :)

Before you purchase any equipment you might want to read "Making Every Photon Count." It will help you understand what kind of equipment is suitable, and hopefully help you to avoid spending money on items that are not fit for the desired purpose.

http://www.firstligh...e-richards.html

Clear skies,

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A few questions:

Is it better to buy a mount by itself and the telescope separately?

Will most telescopes fit on most mounts?

Is Celestron C6-SGT and CG-5 mount a good telescope and mount to start off with?

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OK - here is my advise:

6" f/5 Newton on HEQ-5

Thats perfect for getting into photography and gives you the possibility to extend later with an Autoguider.

There is no point in buying equipment under 500 dollars (for photography). Better save your money and wait!

Cheers,

Simon

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Originally, I posted that i preferred to be close to 500$. I realized that for astrophotography, this would be hard and what betelgeuze stated, it would be better to save.

Is there anyone who can tell me a setup that would be less than 1000$, which includes a motor driven mount and telescope, including the adapters needed for my DSLR? If you had 1000 or less to spend, what would be everything you would buy to get started?

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If I was getting started, I would get an HEQ5 and an ED80 refactor scope. Makes life very much easier if things work out of the box and a refractor will pretty much do that.

I agree with that - good choice. I have been delighted with my ED80 and the HEQ5 should be a perfectly adequate mount for it. Both are great value for money.

edited for typos

Edited by Gina
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If all you can afford at this point is a mount, then you'd be better to get a decent mount, and you can use your SLR with lenses directly on top. If the dob is a solid tube, it should be possible to mount it (tube rings and a dovetail) and use that for some imaging, although that may be a harder starting point than the ED80 due to the size and weight. You can always save for a new scope after. I think though you'd be looking at something like the NEQ6 to easily mount the 10" dob OTA, which, of course is a more expensive mount.

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Mount is most important, i have NEQ6 and am very happy with it. Go for the best mount you can and then decide on

scope from there.

I made initial mistake in getting EQ5 and had to upgrade,. wish i had asked first LOL

velvet

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John and Betelgeuze are giving great advice here. You are asking about scopes when you need to be asking about mounts. You can start with camera lenses. Short focal lengths do not need autoguiding.

The cheapest scope for both imagin and visual is the Newtonian but that could come later.

Olly

http://ollypenrice.smugmug.com/Other/Best-of-Les-Granges/22435624_WLMPTM#!i=1793644788&k=r8HTK72

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Yes indeed. I have recently started using a DSLR with lenses and quite impressed with what I can achieve. I have bought old film SLR camera lenses from ebay auctions at nice low prices for this. I use these with M42 thread to EOS (EF mount) bayonet adapter and 1100D camera. There are lots of wide DSOs out there. I have found 200mm telephoto lenses very useful. Lenses tend to be faster ie. lower focal ratio (f number) than telescopes and you can get away with shorter exposures.

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A better book is "The New CCD Astronomy" by Ron Wodashi, but I'll sum it up for you briefly here;

1, Highest priority is the mount, you must get a good performing solid mount, otherwise all your other purchases will be for nothing! People are recommending the HEQ5 but I would push you towards an EQ6 since it has a higher payload and is more future proof than the HEQ5. Trust me, once you start building your imaging kit the weight will go up and up and up; therefore you need the extra capacity.

2. Buy a refractor with a focal length of 500 to 1000mm. No collimation issues and no frustration guide at these focal length, this is where you learn to understand the demands of astrophotography.

3. Then get a good ccd camera. You can do a lot in the beginning with an unmodded DSLR, modding it will bring the extra H Alpha spectrum but nothing beats a dedicated cooled ccd camera.

4. Look out for items secondhand on the internet, astronomer treat their equipment better than their babies and there are some great deals to be had out there on the internet.

Finally, your not going to get much change out of approximately 1500 pounds by the time you have bought everything... But you will get in return a hobby that will last you a life time...

Edited by Darth Takahashi
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A better book is "The New CCD Astronomy" by Ron Wodashi, but I'll sum it up for you briefly here;

I haven't read that book - I'm concentrating on DSLR for the time being because astro CCD cameras with set point cooling are too expensive for me yet.
1, Highest priority is the mount, you must get a good performing solid mount, otherwise all your other purchases will be for nothing! People are recommending the HEQ5 but I would push you towards an EQ6 since it has a higher payload and is more future proof than the HEQ5. Trust me, once you start building your imaging kit the weight will go up and up and up; therefore you need the extra capacity.
I certainly agree there. I went the "extra mile" and went for the NEQ6 Pro wishing to be a future proof as possible. I waited longer and saved up more to achieve this but it's certainly proved to be well worth the investment as I'm already loading it up.
2. Buy a refractor with a focal length of 500 to 1000mm. No collimation issues and no frustration guide at these focal length, this is where you learn to understand the demands of astrophotography.
Agree there as well. I went for the SW 80ED DS Pro which I've found very good. FL is 600mm as is and 510mm with the matching focal reducer - this is just right for the great Andromeda Galaxy as it happens :) But I've found this scope great for a whole host of galaxies and nebulae.
3. Then get a good ccd camera. You can do a lot in the beginning with an unmodded DSLR, modding it will bring the extra H Alpha spectrum but nothing beats a dedicated cooled ccd camera.
Ideally, yes, but this is an expensive item and if you are good with your fingers, a modded DSLR does a pretty good job while you're saving up for an astro CCD camera, IMO. As posted elsewhere, I love fiddling about with things so I've gone to town and added set point cooling to my main DSLR imaging camera but this is not for everyone, I quite agree. With more available funds and less mini/micro engineering skills a proper astro CCD is the way to go without doubt. They give wonderful results in experienced hands.
4. Look out for items secondhand on the internet, astronomer treat their equipment better than their babies and there are some great deals to be had out there on the internet.
Absolutely.
Finally, your not going to get much change out of approximately 1500 pounds by the time you have bought everything... But you will get in return a hobby that will last you a life time...
Quite so! And if you want a decent observatory to put it all in you can probably double that but the enjoyment from it is like nothing else - I'm totally addicted and love it :)
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