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Ceph and Cass

Good, beginner astrophotography telescope?


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Hi all,

I apologize if this is in the wrong section of the forum, but I am new to the site so I'm not exactly sure where this belongs.

I am looking into getting a telescope for astrophotography. I have been into photography for quite some time, and I've been doing various astrophotography with my DSLR for a couple of years now. There have been several occasions where I've been out all night shooting auroras, or the milky way, or just whatever I could get with my DSLR. I'm now looking to take it to the "next level" with a telescope.

My interest is in DSOs (galaxies, nebula). I do have an interest in planets as well, but not to the extent that I do with DSOs. I've never owned a telescope before, so I've been researching them for the past several weeks trying to learn everything I can... but there's a lot to take in!! I've been referring to this forum quite a bit and trying to research people's thoughts on various telescopes... it has been very helpful thus far!

My budget for the scope and mount is in the $600 range... one scope that has caught my eye has been the Celestron Omni XLT 150 (http://www.adorama.c...CFUJlMgodhFIA6g). On Adorama, it goes for about $480, and I can get the tracking motor mount for about $100, fitting perfectly into my budget. The 6" scope seems large enough to capture some of the faint objects in the galaxy... and from what I've read, the mount itself is fairly good for astrophotography. I know I'll need a T-Ring and T-Adapter to hook up my camera, but those seem fairly cheap and aren't too much of a concern.

There are some concerns I have with it though... from what I have read, this scope isn't specifically designed for astrophotography. The way the mount is, the DSLR can't focus through the scope unless you use some sort of Barlow Lens. But, I've heard having a barlow attached with your camera isn't good for astrophotography because your camera is sticking out so much from the scope and it could cause more vibrations as it moves... not to mention it could fall out. Plus, being zoomed in so much, I imagine any vibrations are magnified in the scope when taking pictures.I would like to also get a wide frame of view for certain galaxies (like the Andromeda), but with a barlow attached, I'll just be focusing on the core of it.

I have looked into astrograph telescopes (telescopes specifically for astrophotography)... but I've had difficulty finding a scope, mount, and motor to all be at or under $600. Plus, I'm not too sure what accessories I would have to buy if I just bought a scope or what mount to get (do certain mounts work only on certain telescopes?).

So I guess my question is... are my concerns with the Celestron Omni XLT 150 valid? For those who have owned one (or something similar), is it difficult to get good photos through it? Would you have any other suggestions that could fit within a $600 budget? I realize that you get what you pay for in terms of scopes... but, unfortunately, I'm on a limited budget... and my wife wouldn't approve of me spending any more! :rolleyes:

Thanks again for any help or advice you can offer!

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Your first problem really isnt the scope its the mount. You may if you are skilled and lucky get some product out of it but if you are a skilled photographer the chances are you will not be happy with the results. You really need a better mount. cheaper ones need to be guided and the absolute minimum I would suggest is the celestron cg5gt you will then probably need something like an orion ed 80 refractor as the scope. Sorry but I reckon its pretty close to the minimum you can get away with. astrophotography goes in order of priority mount, camera, scope. sorry {welcome to sgl) look out for a second user cg5gt they are fairly common and reasonably cheap your side of the pond. look up astrophotograhy guiding and hunt through some tutorials. The cg5gt should get some good wide field astro shots just using camera and lenses

Edited by rowan46
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Can I be honest? Reading through your post tells me one thing straight away; you are not yet ready to part with a single penny (or dime or whatever) on astrophotography kit. Do a lot more reading first. I'd start with Steve Richards' book Making Every Photon Count. Lurking in your post are a number of well known misconceptions. No shame in that. A lot of what goes on in deep sky imaging is counter intuitive. Let me give you a few key pointers.

1, The telescope is the least important of the three key components. The priority order is Mount, Camera, Telescope. You may think this is crazy but I won't be the only person to respond in this way...

2, Aperture in isolation is not important. It is only important in so far as it affects focal ratio. For DS imaging you need a fast focal ratio. Putting a 2x Barlow in might get you into focus but it will quadruple your exposure times and this would be a total disaster.

3, In all your reading avoid at all costs the manufacturers' websites. Some actually lie but most just use language deceptively, implying that this or that scope-mount combination is ideal for astrophotography when, in reality, it will be useless. Terms like Periodic Error Correction, for example, are used in sentences that imply that, thanks to this feature, you will be able to take long exposures. You won't.

4, If you've been inspired by astrophotos you've seen posted on forums, be sure to have a look at the kit which has been used. You'll find that several of the very heavily advertized products are conspicuously absent and that some small, inexpensive refractors are conspicously present!

No rush. Take your time...

Olly

http://ollypenrice.s...39556&k=FGgG233

PS; See, someone beat me to it making many of the same points...

Edited by ollypenrice
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Some kind of short apochromatic refractor, the faster the better. An ED80 is the usual starting point.

But the mount is most important - you need a sturdy, motorised EQ mount, preferably one that supports guiding. GOTO is pretty essential too (you usually can't see what your photographing).

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Thanks everyone for the replies. I do realize that the mount is extremely important for astro-photography... but you can have the best mount in the world and still get bad pictures if you can't focus with your camera through the telescope :smiley: That was one of the things that concerned me when I read about this telescope. That being said... it seems like everyone has said that the mount it comes with (CG-4 equatorial) won't suffice when it comes to astro-photography pictures. That definitely helps me with future decisions! And I will continue to do research in this area... like I said, I am fairly new to the field of telescopes and mounts, and am still learning the lingo of everything and how it works.

Given the answers I've gotten so far... it seems like $600 isn't realistic for a decent astrophotography setup. Oh well. I appreciate all of the help and advice everyone has offered!

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If you get a decent mount some good wide field astro shots on a good lens are possible. Certainly some of the larger messiers, 600 dollars should get you a 2nd hand cg5 gt which will be adequate to start wide field then you can start to add the bits as you get more money your next buy will need to be the orion ed80 which is a small refractor with a proven track record in astrophotography. then you will need a guide scope and camera and the bits to tie it all together. I reckon probably a grand for second user stuff should do it

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See if u can help me

I did an adaptor for the correct distance to chip, for the field flatteherb

I'm short by 11mm

Can't find it anywhere

It has a William optics ff68(m80) on one side, and 2-24 for the six filter wheel on the other

Need a 11mm length adaptor just to extend it somehow

Either on the m80 side or the filter side

Any ideas

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Telescop express do a 3mm and 8mm T2 extension tube.

They also do a 10mm tube, and you could use a 0.5mm delrin ring on each end (helps prevent sticking - they can be a [removed word] to get off sometimes).

PS - It's sometimes cheaper on postage to buy two items separately from them.

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See if u can help me

I did an adaptor for the correct distance to chip, for the field flatteherb

I'm short by 11mm

Can't find it anywhere

It has a William optics ff68(m80) on one side, and 2-24 for the six filter wheel on the other

Need a 11mm length adaptor just to extend it somehow

Either on the m80 side or the filter side

Any ideas

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Hi All

Same sort of question as the OP. I am in the UK and have about £1000 to spend for my initial rig. I am looking at the Celestron VX Mount or the HEQ5 mount due to budget and the need to be portable - and i am not sure on the scope itself yet.

I would like to image the planets as well as DSO but i appreciate that the ideal scopes for these are probably different.

I just cannot afford the £1700 for the C8 Edge HD and vx mount that i would love to buy so i am looking to start cheap with the OTA and expect to upgrade as i go ( and needs and cash situation change)

What would you recommend to start with? I have heard an ED80 might be a good start but if someone could post a link to a good one that would be great. Unless you have any better suggestions on a cheapish OTA for imaging .

I have the loan of a canon 1100d DSLR and i am also looking at the neximage 5 for plants.

Any help greatly appreciated as the money is starting to burn a hole in my pocket and i want to get the most out of it. :grin:

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Your very first outlay should be the book 'Making Every Photon Count' that is available in the book section of the FLO website. It really is an imaging bible and will help save you time and costly mistakes.

After that - The mount. I can vouch for the HEQ5. The generally considered minimum for AP and mine works like a dream. Throws out 30 minute subs and really is a great little mount. Definitely better than I could ever have hoped for. I can not recommend them highly enough. But it does have its limitations, and it likes a nice short light refractor such as an 80ED (http://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-ota.html) very much. It's a short focal length and so places little stress on the mount.

I am sure that if you hand on for second hand, you'll be able to get them within your budget. Bear in mind though that if you want to get some serious DSO imaging, you will need to consider a guiding setup to allow you some long exposures. It's all explained in the book!

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You can usually get a HEQ5 second hand on the astro buy/sell every week, same with ED80 scopes. Make sure you get a Synscan (GOTO on own handset) version, or save a few quid and get a SynTrek version if you plan on controlling it with a laptop - the best way (you can also control the Synscan version with a laptop, so if you're not sure go for that). I'd avoid the plain version.

The Skywatcher evostar is a good performing ED80 - and the Equinox 80 is even better.

£200 over budget - and you'll end up buying other stuff too soon enough (guiding). You'll need a T ring straight away but that's only a tender.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-pro-heq5-pro.html

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I'd just like to second the idea of trying astrophotography with camera lenses first.

If you've been into photography for a while, you've probably got some good lenses. Why not buy a mount (You can get a good one second-hand for around $600) and a DSLR dovetail (see "Vixen Style Photo Dovetail" here) and start taking long-exposure tracked images.

Many deep sky objects are much larger than you think; for example, the Heart and Soul nebulae cover a field as wide as around 9 mull moons!

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Thanks Brown Dwarf. I am bidding on an heq5 at the moment and i may do just that.

I am new to photography too (at least to this degree), but i have the loan of a canon 1100d and a 55mm and 300?mm tele lenses, so i have something to get started with.

I am still waiting for the book to arrive but i felt safe getting started with the heq5.

Finding out that many of the deep sky objects take up so much area of the sky, was what really got me interested in the idea of astrophotography - I had no idea that this was the case until a year ago and i am looking forward to trying to get some images.

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