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New to Astrophotography... Please help!!!


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Side note 3a;

Where DSLR are concerned, Canon is king, sorry Nikon users! Try to get one with live-view because it will simplify your focusing routine which is critical..! And when possible also a 14bit A/D in RAW mode.

All the brighter Nebula and Galaxies will respond well to a DSLR so your not going to be stuck for targets by choosing this route... Its also a lot easier to use a DSLR than a dedicated ccd with filters and filter-wheel + controlling software, not to mention all of the cables...

There are also new techniques now for debayering the data into the RED, GREEN and BLUE channels so that you can use all of the nice tools designed for monochrome ccd camera. There is plenty of information on the internet covering this topic also. CCD-Stack has this built-in but thats another investment? Still its free to try...

Good luck with your choices; I think there are enough people here who can guide you in the right direction. But remember MOUNT first!!! :Envy: I don't have an EQ6 myself but what I have seen is that there is a huge community out there supporting these and the EQMOD software.

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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

Sorry, a few more questions!!

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

Would I really be disappointed in EQ5? As I said, my top range was around 1000$, and NEQ6 is about 1000$ already. Considering I am in college still (only 20 years old), I feel like I have plenty of time to enjoy the EQ5 and take great images with it before I want to upgrade that mount. Am i wrong? Also, what would be a good telescope that would go for an EQ5? I have heard different things regarding focal ratios and lengths when imaging with a DSLR for DSOs. Finally, if I were to purchase a:

EQ5 mount

ED80 refractor telescope

Would I need anything else? I know I would need a t-ring+t-adapters, but anything regarding motors, power supply, filters...? Or are those two things all I need and I can take it out the day it ships and start having fun?

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Many people use the HEQ5 and are very happy with them. If you go for that you won't be able to use a big scope on it. But as long as you are aware that sometime later on you will want to upgrade, and with your present circumstances, it could be a good bet. Make sure you go for the top end version though if you want to do imaging. It's essential to have a motor driven mount to track stars across the sky. ie. HEQ5 Pro SynScan. The SynScan also includes a database of celestial objects which you could use to point your scope in the right direction. The NEQ6 Pro SynScan is much the same but bigger and can carry a lot more weight. Both will do tracking (and later on, guiding when you add this). There used to be a cheaper version called the SynTrek without the goto database but I think that's been discontinued.

You can also control the mount from a computer (which is what I do) with a special little box or cable from a USB port to the handset socket on the mount. There are several planetarium programs with a chart of the skies where you can select an object to view and then tell the mount to go to it. You will probably want a computer to do imaging anyway although you can save images onto the memory card in a DSLR. It's much easier with a computer and it doesn't need anything fancy. The software runs well enough on Windows XP and later so an old laptop, desktop or netbook will serve. I use a second hand Asus netbook mainly. For an outdoor setup (without obsevatory) you'll want something small and light so not really a desktop PC :D A netbook is ideal IMO. You can get low priced software to do a whole series of exposures automatically for you. There's also Mac and Linux software but more people use Windows.

An ED80 is ideal. These are very easy to use.

Edited by Gina
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The H in HEQ5 is important. The stepper motors allow finer autoguiding. Not to go for the H would be a mistake.

As for the Wodaski book, it does have a wealth of good information but some of the processing techniques are not at all on the ball.

Olly

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I think Ive decided on the HEQ5 Pro Synscan. I dont understand what you mean by when I add "guiding", which may be due to the fact that I am not sure what guiding means. I understand what tracking is, and thought guiding and tracking were one in the same.

What kind of telescope should I get with this mount in order to make the best of it? I would like to take fairly good images of galaxies and nebulae!

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Be careful if your looking to mount your DSLR on a Nexstar as the smaller ones don't have the clearance between the camera mount and the base of the telescope mount to allow the camera to pass through unheeded. My friend has a 5-inch and thats definitely the case with that.

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I think Ive decided on the HEQ5 Pro Synscan. I dont understand what you mean by when I add "guiding", which may be due to the fact that I am not sure what guiding means. I understand what tracking is, and thought guiding and tracking were one in the same.

What kind of telescope should I get with this mount in order to make the best of it? I would like to take fairly good images of galaxies and nebulae!

This is a fantastic thread and raises the question I'm also battling with at present. Perhaps my thoughts will help you decided what to get.

I have the book (Making Every Photon Count), I have the DSLR (Canon 1000D). I joined a club. I have a photo tripod that I've taken some untracked shots on. My interest is astrophotography with some visual thrown in. The next stage seems to be to buy some kit. :evil:

I plan to buy the HEQ5 Syntrek as this is cheaper than the full goto (£635 from FLO), does the tracking we need, and can be upgraded to full goto by purchasing Synscan V3 handset later (£155 from FLO)

My budget is similar to yours (£1000 tops)

I think the ED80's are too expensive, I agree they may be ideal but we need to consider budget.

I am looking at the Skywatcher 130PDS (£175 from FLO) or the 150PDS (£245 from FLO)

Don't forget you'll need a T-ring adapter for your camera if you don't have one already.

I was thinking today that a set of eyepieces would also be useful and was checking these out from FLO again (£129 for the set)

A collimating eyepiece is also recommended by these guys on the forums. I guess the one I have linked will do the job.

This little package comes in at £867 for the 130PDS and £1066 for the 150PDS

What does everything think about that shopping list?

Will it help fmandani and I?

Do we need to add anything else to get going?

I have considered an observatory but that will have to wait. :grin:

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I think Ive decided on the HEQ5 Pro Synscan. I dont understand what you mean by when I add "guiding", which may be due to the fact that I am not sure what guiding means. I understand what tracking is, and thought guiding and tracking were one in the same.

What kind of telescope should I get with this mount in order to make the best of it? I would like to take fairly good images of galaxies and nebulae!

I'll be honest. If you don't know what 'guiding' is put your cheque book away till you have done a lot more homework. So many people (including myself) have bought the wrong kit to start with and had a miserable time with it.

Guiding: briefly mounts cannot track the sky accurately enough by mechanical means alone so a small scope and camera, parallel with the main one, take a picture every couple of seconds or so and detect tiny errors in the position of a chosen guide star. The PC then sends a correction to the mount. This means you can track with the precision needed to get a sharp picture.

Olly

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A couple of things spring to mind with this thread. Getting hold of the book 'making every photon count', as mentioned before will help you answer so many questions as well as give you a better understanding of what you need and how it all works together. You say about the EQ5 and enjoying it before thinking about upgrading your mount. In my opinion, if you don't have adequate kit from starters you will actually enjoy very little, let alone wanting up upgrade you kit.

AP is a tricky old hobby and you will benefit more as a novice from having the best kit from the outset. Yes people have the EQ5 and create images that they are happy with, people do this on a budget. But things will go wrong, unfortunately that is the nature of the beast, ask anyone who is onvolved in AP. When it goes wrong, you want to give yourself a fighting chance of capturing decent images, not having to deal with the frustrations of kit that is really not up to the job. I do not wish to knock those who do not have the best kit, really I don't, but if you are wanting to do this hobby and do it well, then you need to start from a minimum point. That is generally considered to be an HEQ5. If it was doable to CONSISTANTLY image with an EQ5 for example and get night after night of faultless subs, then the fantastic imagers on here (Olly being one of them) would I am sure be using the cheaper stuff. Instead they are spending more on a mount than many of us spend on a second car.

It starts with the mount. You need a good one to get consistant results. Sure with an EQ5 (your example) you can get subs, but if you want to obtain first rate images, then you really need to look higher. As well as factoring in focal reducers, adaptors and possibly much more. You may need a PC to run it all at some stage for example. As well as don't forget the processing. Sometimes it's easy to stop at the data capture stage. Processing your image can take as much time again.

I'm not being negative, just what I would consider to be realistic.

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I shouldve been more clear, I actually made the mistake of saying I picked the EQ5 earlier but I definitely do want to get the HEQ5.

As for what Olly said, its completely correct. After the advice from all of you guys I realized there's no rush and its way more complicated than mounting your camera, taking a few shots, and messing around a little on photoshop. I definitely want to do my research and figure out what i want to invest my money in. Thats what it is, an investment. Even though I plan on upgrading in the future, that would be far into the future and Ill have my equipment that I choose now for a long time. Therefore, I want to get something that will truly satisfy me for years on end.

On that point, I will research more prior to purchasing my telescope. I am just milking the most information out of you guys before I get a chance to read "making every photon count" :laugh:

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I think the telescope is a poor choice. Mirrors under 6 inches are generally waste of time, just my opinion before people start to jump on me.

The simple fact is all mirror bases systems have a central obstruction that reduces contrast and is normally sized for visual observations. They do not provide a big enough illuminated field for ccd camera's let alone a DSLR. Unless of course you look at the Quattro from Skywatch which I believe starts at 8 inches nicely proving my point!

I'm just trying to save you from the agony of trying to get a none-imaging system working with a DSLR.

In the end you have to make your own choices!

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As for the Wodaski book, it does have a wealth of good information but some of the processing techniques are not at all on the ball.

Olly

I don't think a person just starting out in AP with this book would need to worry about this for at least 3 to 5 years. The techniques are good enough for beginners to intermediates... Once more advanced you can find your our way forward.

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I had a small (130mm) Newt before I got the ED80 refractor - it was pretty useless for imaging. The ED80 is in a totally different league - it's an excellent scope.

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I had a small (130mm) Newt before I got the ED80 refractor - it was pretty useless for imaging. The ED80 is in a totally different league - it's an excellent scope.

They're OK for getting people interested in the hobby but very soon you will want something better! The ED80 is the way to go, its a lot of telescope for the money, especially secondhand!

Here is a Newton designer website for those that may still have doubts; http://stellafane.or...b/newt-web.html

I had to put a 31mm minor axis diagonal in this telescope (130P) to make it work properly and thats a 25% obstruction. I doubt that the diagonal is bigger than 25mm minor axis which is the normal design goal of 20% obstruction for a visual use Newton.

Edited by Darth Takahashi
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It seems to me the Refractors and better for imaging DSOs while Reflectors are better for planetary. My questions is, would both work well with a DSLR?

Im thinking that a good setup for me from what Ive been learning would be a HEQ5 pro with ED80 refractor, and then eventually some sort of autoguider, would that work well with a DSLR?

Also, where does everyone purchase second hand things? Ive always bought my equipment from the manufacturer or sites like FLO

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Sorry, a few more questions!!

Would I really be disappointed in EQ5? As I said, my top range was around 1000$, and NEQ6 is about 1000$ already. Considering I am in college still (only 20 years old), I feel like I have plenty of time to enjoy the EQ5 and take great images with it before I want to upgrade that mount. Am i wrong? Also, what would be a good telescope that would go for an EQ5? I have heard different things regarding focal ratios and lengths when imaging with a DSLR for DSOs. Finally, if I were to purchase a:

EQ5 mount

ED80 refractor telescope

Would I need anything else? I know I would need a t-ring+t-adapters, but anything regarding motors, power supply, filters...? Or are those two things all I need and I can take it out the day it ships and start having fun?

would not go with EQ5 mount, I did first purchase, took me 6 weeks before i had to upgrade to NEQ6, please be aware. regards Velvet

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It seems to me the Refractors and better for imaging DSOs while Reflectors are better for planetary. My questions is, would both work well with a DSLR?

Too simple a conclusion;

1. Newton's (reflectors can be used for DSO and planetary) normally anything with a focal ration of F6 or higher is for planetary and F5 and lower DSO's.

2. Cassegrains, schmidt or otherwise are for planetary and the smaller DSO's but with a suitable reducer they can be fairly multi-purpose (never wide field though!!!)

3. Refractors cover everything from wide-field to planetary but a good place to start is in the range of 500mm to 1000mm; again used with reducers or barlows they can do almost everything!

The most important point for you is that a good refractor doesn't need to be collimated and will delivery a good illuminated field for a DSLR camera. Most of the stuff out there to be imaged is Huge / enormous!!! 100 / 1000 or light years across!

You will need a couple of years before you will be ready to work your way up to the long focal length telescopes and trust me they are a real pain to work with at times... You need exceptional weather conditions to get the most from them, fact.

Edited by Darth Takahashi
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I keep going back and forth in my head regarding an HEQ5 pro or NEQ6 Mount. Both are almost the same, except for their weight capacities (in which NEQ6 is better), and the more experienced ap members are saying to go for the NEQ6 as it is better for the long run. Ill have to take some time to think about it, but I think I definitely leaning towards a scope like the skywatcher E80. Seems like refractor is the way to go for my needs and it seems like a great scope for people starting off and for people who are even more intermediate astrophotographers.

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I don't think a person just starting out in AP with this book would need to worry about this for at least 3 to 5 years. The techniques are good enough for beginners to intermediates... Once more advanced you can find your our way forward.

Sure, but the Wodaski book is pretty technical and many beginners would find it impenetrable, unlike Steve's. Steve is a good communicator with a sensitive ear. Look at his posts on here. Given the 'seriousness' of the Wodaski book I would have hoped for better information on how to combine different sub exposure lengths, for example. Frankly my edition of Wodaski is risible on this. You described Wodaski's book as 'better.' I don't think it's better, I think it has a different audience, which is fine, of course.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I keep going back and forth in my head regarding an HEQ5 pro or NEQ6 Mount. Both are almost the same, except for their weight capacities (in which NEQ6 is better), and the more experienced ap members are saying to go for the NEQ6 as it is better for the long run. Ill have to take some time to think about it, but I think I definitely leaning towards a scope like the skywatcher E80. Seems like refractor is the way to go for my needs and it seems like a great scope for people starting off and for people who are even more intermediate astrophotographers.

Would have to agree with the majority here. I was in the same predicament as yourself a year ago and went for the NEQ6. I'm glad i followed the sound advice here as i can rest assured that the mount will take anything i throw at it. I haven't even started imaging with it yet and may not for a while more but when the day comes and i'm ready.... my mount will be ready too!

The NEQ6 is everything you need and more for observing and imaging and will last you practically a lifetime! It's the only mount you'll ever need to buy. Plus its just an awesome, sexy bit of kit.

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