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Hi all. I am new to the forum and am looking at scopes and mounts at the moment. I am considering various skywatcher scopes. Either 150 or 200 pds reflectors or an 80ed reflector.

Observing/imaging wise I am interested in dso/widefield stuff but would also like to be able to visually observe brighter planets.

D5000 questions... I am aware it is not full frame and I am wondering about how this effects field of view and what objects I may be able to image with the above scopes?

How easy would it be to focus?

I am hoping to keep costs down a little and don't mind starting off gradually. Ideally I would like to stick to an eq 5 mount maybe without full goto/motors but would add these for imaging after familiarizing my self with the kit through visual observing. As such I am after thoughts about what the differences are in terms of tracking accuracy/smoothness between for example the heq5/6 and eq5 pro and an eq5 with motor drives bought at a later date.

Could I get away with the eq5 as a starting point say with the lighter ed refractor and wider field imaging?

Thanks in advance.

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I used to image with a 200p and the d5000. It works well. A nice wide field of view. The one thing you will find that makes life much easier is an intervalometer. This will enable you to program a run of long exposures without resorting to a laptop. The Nikons aren't/weren't well supported by camer control software. This may have changed, as I have not imaged for about 12mnths. Purely visual for me now.

For focusing, either buy or make a bahtinov mask and use the live view screen to focus on a star, easy as pie. Are you going to be guiding?

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The EQ5 and the ED80 or 150P should be OK, putting a 200P on one is up at the top end of what it can handle easily. Although many get along fine.

The Nikon I have no real knowledge of. Most use Canons for a few reasons - they can pull the IR filter out if they want to and Canon seem to supply more software and features for delving into AP.

Most DSLR's are the smaller chip so that is not a real concern.

Getting one to focus may be a problem with a reflector, it is not uncommon that a DSLR cannot be placed at prime focus. The ED80 should be OK with any necessary extn tube, you replace the diagonal with extn tube and camera.

One question is that a dSLR will have an IR cut off filter, in Canon's they chop about 70% of the Ha sprectra off, I have a Sony but Sony cannot tell me the filter characteristics (it may cut more, less or the same) what matters to you is what the Nikon does. Not worth worrying about but would be nice to have an idea.

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Johnnyaardvark..........Hi, welcome, .Ive just started to look into Day time photography using my  Skyliner 200P/D.  A T-Ting (camera) arrived this Week, but the T-Adaptor(telescope) on the focuser assembly is  too short. When I rack the focuser out, I should get a sharp focus in the live view. However it doesn't. I can withdraw the camera a mm or so further  manually and it achieves focus, so I need a longer T-Adaptor.  Interval Timer settings are inbuilt into the D5000 You would need to track at night time!  I have a Wireless remote that I will use to take the day pictures as I`d like to keep both hands on the telescope (wireless in hand). The Camera is heavy in the focuser, that may cause some imbalance issues?

Focusing isn't an issue, the camera is fitted without lens, and the D5000 lets you know, so set M on the dial. The telescope then becomes your lens and at whatever focal length it is, so for me at present 1200mm Lens! Focus my moving the focuser knobs on the telescope. Not sure of the field of view, my only rough picture so far is some twigs from a tree. They photograph aircraft at 30000+feet using the methods I'm setting up. Those pictures are amazing.

Edited by Charic

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If you already have the Nikon it will be fine with both the scopes you mention and the mount will handle both the scopes but as previously mentioned the 200p is pushing it to its absolute limit.

If you don't yet have the camera then I would swing towards a Canon for the better software. And if the cost is not a major issue I would definitely reccomend trying to push towards getting yourself a HEQ5

I don't believe there is any difference in the after-market  motors and the original PRO ones on the EQ5, but maybe someone with experience of both set-ups would be able to advise you further if I am wrong.

Adding full GOTO the EQ5 would also set you back about 300 quid.

If the EQ5 is all that is within your current budget and I was in your shoes I would pair up the ED80 with the EQ5, this is what I am currently using and the mount handles the scope fine with guide-scope and Nikon attached.

As for focusing well again there is no problem with either scope reaching focus, you can use liveview on the camera and zoom in and then adjust your focus, but for a few quid you can get a bahtinov mask that will let you set focus bang on and its simple to use.

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Thank you all for your replies. Bit of a slow response too. Actually made a more detailed reply yesterday (via my phone) but it didn't post so keeping this short as a test...

Will be back shortly via pc.

Regards

Steve

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I used to image with a 200p and the d5000. It works well. A nice wide field of view. The one thing you will find that makes life much easier is an intervalometer. This will enable you to program a run of long exposures without resorting to a laptop. The Nikons aren't/weren't well supported by camer control software. This may have changed, as I have not imaged for about 12mnths. Purely visual for me now.

For focusing, either buy or make a bahtinov mask and use the live view screen to focus on a star, easy as pie. Are you going to be guiding?

Thank you for your reply Rustysplit.

Not heard of an intervalometer will look into it but I am familiar with using the interval timer shooting mode and have done quite a bit of timelapse photography using that.

Probably a silly question but I guess the Bahtinov mask is usable on both refractors and reflectors then.

As for guiding not initially and that is related to cost and the fact that it will be a new hobby to me. As such I want to start of gradually but have a sturdy starting setup that I can get good initial use out of and then add to.  

I have [all be it limited] experience of observational astronomy over about 30 years period but also a background and degree in physics and obs astronomy. To that end I know my interest is there and am familiar with the night sky but most of my experience is naked eye observing and wider field SLR photography but untracked. That is one thing I wish to add to my experience. Tracking my SLR on a mount with or without a telescope. (I digress!)

Field of view. You say that you got on well with the 200p and the D5000. What sort of objects could you fit in? Some intial stuff I am interested in... not very original are M32 and the Pleiades. Can you get them in with a scope such as the 200P(DS)?

Also (Field of view wise) how about visually. Are there any wide field lenses that would allow the Pleiades and M32 to be viewed as a whole with the focal length of the 200? I guess my temptation with the 200 is a the faster F5 and magnification for planetary observing.

Thanks again in advance for any comments.

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The EQ5 and the ED80 or 150P should be OK, putting a 200P on one is up at the top end of what it can handle easily. Although many get along fine.

The Nikon I have no real knowledge of. Most use Canons for a few reasons - they can pull the IR filter out if they want to and Canon seem to supply more software and features for delving into AP.

Most DSLR's are the smaller chip so that is not a real concern.

Getting one to focus may be a problem with a reflector, it is not uncommon that a DSLR cannot be placed at prime focus. The ED80 should be OK with any necessary extn tube, you replace the diagonal with extn tube and camera.

One question is that a dSLR will have an IR cut off filter, in Canon's they chop about 70% of the Ha sprectra off, I have a Sony but Sony cannot tell me the filter characteristics (it may cut more, less or the same) what matters to you is what the Nikon does. Not worth worrying about but would be nice to have an idea.

Thanks Ronin,

I have been thinking as much as that re: the EQ5.

I am aware that the Nikons are a little less desirable for AP. Shame as it's  always been an aim of mine but I was attracted by the nicer glass of the Nikons when I bought into it  a few years back. I am interested in general photography (holiday snaps mostly!) so have had not complaints but in hindsight from what I have read it looks like the sensors on the Canons are more suited to longer exposures too.

As such I wish to start off with what I have  and who knows if a really want to a look at a mod cannon or cooled CCD in the future.

Re: getting one to focus with a reflector doesn't the shorter tube length of the pds help with this anyway or do people still have problems?

Thanks again.

Steve

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Only very high end telescopes will cover a full frame chip so that's not a worry. Newts need coma correctors and doublet/triplet refractors need field flatteners or reducer flatteners, though.

I think you can model chip sizes/focal lengths on the free Stellarium planetarium. I do it on SkyMap Pro. You can also find your FOV here; http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm

Camera lenses are great on tracking mounts because the short FL means that tracking/guiding doesn't have to be so accurate.

The rather costly but very nice ultra wide angle eyepieces will frame the Pleiades at 800mm FL. In a fast Newt the better quality EPs do show a clear advantage over  the cheapos but if you haven't seen the price of a TeleVue Ethos/Nagler then make sure you're sitting down when you look them up! My 26 Nagler EP just fits the main cluster at 980mm FL.

Olly

http://ollypenrice.smugmug.com/Other/Best-of-Les-Granges/22435624_WLMPTM#!i=2277139556&k=FGgG233

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If you already have the Nikon it will be fine with both the scopes you mention and the mount will handle both the scopes but as previously mentioned the 200p is pushing it to its absolute limit.

If you don't yet have the camera then I would swing towards a Canon for the better software. And if the cost is not a major issue I would definitely reccomend trying to push towards getting yourself a HEQ5

I don't believe there is any difference in the after-market  motors and the original PRO ones on the EQ5, but maybe someone with experience of both set-ups would be able to advise you further if I am wrong.

Adding full GOTO the EQ5 would also set you back about 300 quid.

If the EQ5 is all that is within your current budget and I was in your shoes I would pair up the ED80 with the EQ5, this is what I am currently using and the mount handles the scope fine with guide-scope and Nikon attached.

As for focusing well again there is no problem with either scope reaching focus, you can use liveview on the camera and zoom in and then adjust your focus, but for a few quid you can get a bahtinov mask that will let you set focus bang on and its simple to use.

Hi Helite,

from above you may gather I already own the D5000 so that is my starting point for my sensor.

It is amazing how the cost clocks up when you start looking at what is "ideal." Especially with respect to mounts. I am torn two ways... cost/heavy. That's OK for home but my seeing and direction are not great. So I will be looking at least a car journey to some  darker skies, ideally would love to be able to take equipment abroad but this may be pretty unrealistic. Would this be doable with the ED80 and it's supplied case?  The mount would be another issue as they are so heavy.

How are you getting on with the ED80? Any photo's I could see? I will probably start off unguided but may look into this in the future.

I notice from your post that you are guiding on the EQ5? I was not sure if this was only possible with the NEQ as [i think] this has a port for guiding? Or is  the only difference the load they can carry?

I also notice from your setup that you have a 200p as well. Do you use this on the EQ5 as well or do you have a second mount?

I am currently erring towards the ED80 but wonder about observing planets. I guess with lenses you can get a reasonable [close-up?!] view of brighter objects like Jupiter, Saturn? Any thoughts? 

I guess I should consider posting some of these questions in separate posts!

Thanks again for your replies.

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Hi Helite,

from above you may gather I already own the D5000 so that is my starting point for my sensor.

It is amazing how the cost clocks up when you start looking at what is "ideal." Especially with respect to mounts. I am torn two ways... cost/heavy. That's OK for home but my seeing and direction are not great. So I will be looking at least a car journey to some  darker skies, ideally would love to be able to take equipment abroad but this may be pretty unrealistic. Would this be doable with the ED80 and it's supplied case?  The mount would be another issue as they are so heavy.

How are you getting on with the ED80? Any photo's I could see? I will probably start off unguided but may look into this in the future.

I notice from your post that you are guiding on the EQ5? I was not sure if this was only possible with the NEQ as [i think] this has a port for guiding? Or is  the only difference the load they can carry?

I also notice from your setup that you have a 200p as well. Do you use this on the EQ5 as well or do you have a second mount?

I am currently erring towards the ED80 but wonder about observing planets. I guess with lenses you can get a reasonable [close-up?!] view of brighter objects like Jupiter, Saturn? Any thoughts? 

I guess I should consider posting some of these questions in separate posts!

Thanks again for your replies.

Oh well owning a Nikon aint the end of it, there is some camera control software out there, try http://digicamcontrol.com/ and also get yourself the small IR remote for it, I use mine a lot when I don't have the computer hooked up, they cost about 15 quid off Amazon and are great.

You may be able to take your 80ED on a flight but it would have to go in the hold baggage in its case I guess, Mind you I see a lot of folk flying with huge "hand luggage" nowadays. If it was in the hold I would always worry about it, It might actually be better bubble wrapping it and sticking it in a backpack and having it as hand luggage, once the dew shield is off its not that long. But as you say a mount at the other end would be an issue.

I have only managed to get my one out a few times since I have had it, the only time I had the Nikon hooked up to it I was having guiding issues so there is no images from it to show you I am afraid, they all got binned.

Yes the EQ5 has a guide port, I don't know how the accuracy compares with a HEQ5 or EQ6 compares, I would expect a little improvement over the EQ5 as well as the improved load capacity.

I use the 200p on the EQ5 as well and have had the Nikon on that, actually at one point I had a full guiding setup, st-80, synguider, Nikon, and the 200p all perched on top of the EQ5, it did work and is workable but the sensible thing to do was get a smaller scope for that mount and then upgrade to a HEQ5 or EQ6 when I get the chance.

If you are leaning towards the 80ED I would go that way for sure if you really want to hook the camera up to it, I prefer my 200p for visual compared to the 80 but you can still make out plenty detail in the planets with the 80, I did have a quick bash with the webcam on Jupiter with the 80ED and its decent enough, you can fire in the barlows to increase it in size, now I am toying with a powermate to go with it.

If you have any more questions just ask away, I aint no expert but I can definitely give you an opinion  :smiley:  

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Oh well owning a Nikon aint the end of it, there is some camera control software out there, try http://digicamcontrol.com/ and also get yourself the small IR remote for it, I use mine a lot when I don't have the computer hooked up, they cost about 15 quid off Amazon and are great.

You may be able to take your 80ED on a flight but it would have to go in the hold baggage in its case I guess, Mind you I see a lot of folk flying with huge "hand luggage" nowadays. If it was in the hold I would always worry about it, It might actually be better bubble wrapping it and sticking it in a backpack and having it as hand luggage, once the dew shield is off its not that long. But as you say a mount at the other end would be an issue.

I have only managed to get my one out a few times since I have had it, the only time I had the Nikon hooked up to it I was having guiding issues so there is no images from it to show you I am afraid, they all got binned.

Yes the EQ5 has a guide port, I don't know how the accuracy compares with a HEQ5 or EQ6 compares, I would expect a little improvement over the EQ5 as well as the improved load capacity.

I use the 200p on the EQ5 as well and have had the Nikon on that, actually at one point I had a full guiding setup, st-80, synguider, Nikon, and the 200p all perched on top of the EQ5, it did work and is workable but the sensible thing to do was get a smaller scope for that mount and then upgrade to a HEQ5 or EQ6 when I get the chance.

If you are leaning towards the 80ED I would go that way for sure if you really want to hook the camera up to it, I prefer my 200p for visual compared to the 80 but you can still make out plenty detail in the planets with the 80, I did have a quick bash with the webcam on Jupiter with the 80ED and its decent enough, you can fire in the barlows to increase it in size, now I am toying with a powermate to go with it.

If you have any more questions just ask away, I aint no expert but I can definitely give you an opinion  :smiley:  

Do love my Nikon :-)  Have had many hours use out of it. Own the IR remote already and have certainly found it useful for night time photography. Usually either use that and/or timer/shutter delay.

Thanks for the link to the digicamcontrol software. I'll have a play!

The setup you were using with the 200P sounds heavy. Any ideas how much it weighed in total? Did you have issues with prime focus?

I am still far from deciding. Looking at the HEQ5 as a possible but it would be a stretch really. FL do packages including the full goto with the HEQ5 and either the ED80 or the 200PDS. I suspect I would be hoping to go both ways at some point re: the refractor and reflector and would probably be looking at some kind of guiding in the future too so weight will be an issue.

Do you have any of your Jupiter pics from your ED80 and webcam?

Thanks again for your thoughts.

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No idea how much the whole 200p and guiding set-up weighed I am afraid, far too heavy for the EQ5 and the slightest breeze knocked it about the place.

No issues with prime focus on the standard 200p, comes in fine.

You say you are looking at the HEQ5 as a possible at a stretch, I would seriously advise you to make that stretch, or even hold off till you comfortably have the funds for it, I was in exactly your shoes and rushed in and bought the EQ5 but now am in the market for the HEQ5, if you buy the EQ5 now then chances are it will cost you more in the long run as you WILL end up upgrading to the HEQ5 or bigger. If you are even thinking about guiding already then I think you answer your own question, you will really need the HEQ5. It may be a stretch now but will pay off in the future.

Nothing I can show you of Jupiter either I am afraid, as well as the new scope I was playing with a new firefly and capture software so everything I captured was rubbish so got chucked, I am yet to get a decent image out of the 80ED but that's down to weather and patience!

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No idea how much the whole 200p and guiding set-up weighed I am afraid, far too heavy for the EQ5 and the slightest breeze knocked it about the place.

No issues with prime focus on the standard 200p, comes in fine.

You say you are looking at the HEQ5 as a possible at a stretch, I would seriously advise you to make that stretch, or even hold off till you comfortably have the funds for it, I was in exactly your shoes and rushed in and bought the EQ5 but now am in the market for the HEQ5, if you buy the EQ5 now then chances are it will cost you more in the long run as you WILL end up upgrading to the HEQ5 or bigger. If you are even thinking about guiding already then I think you answer your own question, you will really need the HEQ5. It may be a stretch now but will pay off in the future.

Nothing I can show you of Jupiter either I am afraid, as well as the new scope I was playing with a new firefly and capture software so everything I captured was rubbish so got chucked, I am yet to get a decent image out of the 80ED but that's down to weather and patience!

I'm sure you are right about the HEQ5. Cost will be a consideration though. I've not owned a scope in many years and I have kept putting it off as ultimately I want something with an equatorial mount and tracking (at least for piggy backing my DSLR) but I know I will get limited use out of it due to seeing, weather and time. On the other hand I  frequently wish I had something available when I don't. I am sure I would get many years use out of something even if intermittently. Patience as you say is important.

Had a look at the digicamcontrol software. Quite nice. A little unstable with my camera but has some nice features e.g. for timelapse although it came up with errors finding videos it had supposedly built?! Maybe a bug... something else to look into. Nice that it could take more than the 999 pictures which is the maximum in camera for interval timer shooting. On a few occasions I have had to go back and reset it so may come in useful.

Wishing you luck with the weather.

Steve

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Only very high end telescopes will cover a full frame chip so that's not a worry. Newts need coma correctors and doublet/triplet refractors need field flatteners or reducer flatteners, though.

I think you can model chip sizes/focal lengths on the free Stellarium planetarium. I do it on SkyMap Pro. You can also find your FOV here; http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm

Camera lenses are great on tracking mounts because the short FL means that tracking/guiding doesn't have to be so accurate.

The rather costly but very nice ultra wide angle eyepieces will frame the Pleiades at 800mm FL. In a fast Newt the better quality EPs do show a clear advantage over  the cheapos but if you haven't seen the price of a TeleVue Ethos/Nagler then make sure you're sitting down when you look them up! My 26 Nagler EP just fits the main cluster at 980mm FL.

Olly

http://ollypenrice.smugmug.com/Other/Best-of-Les-Granges/22435624_WLMPTM#!i=2277139556&k=FGgG233

Hi Olly,

Thank you for your response too! I am a great fan of Stellarium and had forgot about this feature. Will look at using it for showing field of view when I have more time.

As for field flatteners and coma correction. I assumed you could take pictures without these (re gaining focus) but they would be useful in terms of improving pictures. Yep... I've looked at them but had hoped they would be a later buy if my new hobby was to take off. Some of the wide field lenses look amazing. I can't get over how big the 2" ones are! The good ones are expensive. A friend of mine suggested I look out for some 2nd hand ones at some point. Probably at the cheaper end but of course I would gradually expand my eyepiece collection.

Out if interest do you/people tend to only do prime focus photography? I had assumed this was with no "lenses" apart from the telescopes main tube. I have noticed a few lenses (eyepieces) appear to have screw threads to allow for T-mount attachment. Any thoughts?

That should give you an idea of where I am at... still a lot to learn about the basics!

My relatively low-fi attempts at astrophotography (through a scope) as a kid involved a low quality refractor with a custom made machined adapter to hang a rather heavy Zenith IIE directly onto the eyepiece. Never did the cheap rack and pinion focuser any good! With and Alt-az mount I achieved a few ropy pictures of the moon and sun (through a cheap dark green filter - heavily advised against of course) Good learning though and always fun waiting for the 35mm film to be developed. Still have the Zenith!

Love your site by the way. Looks like a wonderful location with some great kit available.

Thanks again,

Steve

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