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Recommend me a telescope please?


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Hi everyone,

So I've had my telescope for about a year or two now and have came to the point where I'm wanting to upgrade it. There are few reasons why actually. Firstly I want to be able to see things in even better detail. Secondly I want some form of motorized mount instead of a manual one. And finally I want to be able to actually take pictures with my DSLR. The one I have now (Skywatcher Skyhawk 114, see link at bottom) has a huge problem. When my camera is mounted on the eyepeice, the focusing mechanism slides in so it's always going out of focus. This straight away stops me from taking any images. On top of that is the fact I don't have a motorized mount, so I can't really take any images in great detail as everything is constantly moving and simply makes the image essentially look blurry. 

So all I'm asking really is whether anyone knows any good telescopes which will be an upgrade from my current one, and are actually capable of taking fantastic images? I've seen the Skywatcher 127 which looks okay but is there anything better? I've left a few details at the bottom...

Telescope: Skywatcher Skyhawk 114 (http://www.charleseaglesandson.com/skyhawk%20114.htm)

DSLR: Nikon D3200 w/ FLO 1.25-inch T mount camera adapter

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Depends what you want to image, suggestions include

HEQ5 or NEQ6 pro (or syntrek + eqmod), ED80, Skywatcher 130PDS or 150PDS, a finder guider or ST80 + guider.

Guider camera of some sort. Coma corrector. PHD on laptop.

Edited by LouisJB
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On that one i would go afocal with a CCD or webcam. You might have to change the focuser and move the mirror to get prime focus using your DSLR. They do make a small eyepiece mount to attach a smaller point and shoot too. iOptron now makes the new tracking SkyGuider for just cameras or very light scopes or i recommend their ZEQ25GT mount which is all i use.

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I'm always trying to solve the same problem.

I think it is best to keep visual and imaging separate. So get a 200p dob for visual - it's the most popular telescope in the UK for a reason!

For imaging, why not get a HEQ5 and no scope at all? You can get the scope later. But for now you can mount the camera directly on the HEQ5 and image with camera lenses. Lenses have many advantages - better F ratio than most sanely prices scopes, shorter focal lengths so easier to work with, lighter than a scope. What lenses do you have for your DSLR?

If you get a scope that is 'good for visual/upgrade over 114mm' it is going to have lots of aperture, meaning lots of weight and focal length, which is a difficult combination to image with.

Edited by Ags
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So all I'm asking really is whether anyone knows any good telescopes which will be an upgrade from my current one, and are actually capable of taking fantastic images?.......

Do you have a budget in mind? This is a big consideration in creating fantastic images. Have you looked in the imaging section and seen the type of images that you aspire to? Your idea of fantastic may be different to mine and that may be different to someone else again.

I think you need to firstly nail the ££'s you are willing to spend. My idea of fantastic images are produced by imagers on here who have kit worth many thousands of pounds - Is this what you are willing to spend?

This is a contentious issue, as it's so subjective...... fantastic, great images, who's to say what they are.

The scope is not the most important part of an imaging rig. THE most important part is the mount. The general starting point is an HEQ5.

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the cheapest scope with imaging potential is this one

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-130p-ds-ota.html

with probably this mount but that doesn't leave you much room for expansion

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-mounts/celestron-cg-5-gt-goto.html

and you will also need this

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/coma-correctors/skywatcher-coma-corrector.html 

that really is the cheapest set up but its a way off being optimal

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I suggest reading "Every Photon Counts" by Steve Richards (avaliable at www.firstlightoptics.co.uk). It may help you decide on what sort of imaging (lunar, planetary, deep sky) you may want to do and hence help formulate a budget. Sara is absolutely right that the mount is the most important thing for imaging and the correct choice will last you years and many changes of scope (up to a point of course).

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I think another important thing is a dose of realism. You can give someone that can process data well some mediocre data and they will work magic on it and turn it into a 'wow' image. If you can not process your data, even the best from equipment worth ££'s and captured by the best the final image will do nothing more than look mediocre.

After the mount, I think that a considerable percentage of making a good image is in the processing.

Just my opinion of course :smiley:

Edited by swag72
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I think another important thing is a dose of realism. You can give someone that can process data well some mediocre data and they will work magic on it and turn it into a 'wow' image. If you can not process your data, even the best from equipment worth ££'s and captured by the best the final image will do nothing more than look mediocre.

After the mount, I think that a considerable percentage of making a good image is in the processing.

Just my opinion of course :smiley:

I think that's a fair point but you have to start somewhere and until the op starts he'll never know. 

To the op the 127 is not a good scope for deep space imaging. you really need to understand the principles behind imaging or you will choose the wrong  equipment and never reach your full potential. The book http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html as has been suggested is your first port of call before you buy any equipment. It will tell you what you need. more importantly why you need it and then how to use it. deep space photography is difficult to do well and provides a steep learning curve. Getting the wrong stuff makes a difficult thing even harder.

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Hi everyone, sorry for the delay, my budget's around £400 so I guess I'm fairly limited but still, there's gotta be something out there which can give me something decent.

When I say fantastic images I just mean images with great detail. Images where I can see the craters of the moon in detail or, although this might be a push, the rings of Saturn or the individual 'rings' of Jupiter's surface.

I'm really just an amateur when it comes to astrophotography. All I've taken is images of the sky not using my telescope (cause I can't). Any information and advice is really appreciated!

These are some of my images...

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/199364-fireworks-and-stars-images/#entry2101596

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Ok. It's much easier to get good shots of the Moon as it's so bright. Also planets don't require guiding or even tracking to get a picture of, just a way to video them for a minute or two. Even the Sun (with suitable filter!) can be imaged to show sunspots.

It's the DSO astrophotography where it get's more difficult, complex and expensive.

So maybe a 130PDS on a mount with RA motor (EQ3.2 or EQ5) might do the trick - not exactly sure how much they go for, you could keep an eye on second hand bargains. Focal length is a bit short for planets but you could probably do something with it. Would be great on the Moon.

What camera do you have. You might want allow for the usual accessories also, but other than a T adapter I'm not sure many things will be essential to image the Moon and easier targets. For planets you're probably want to use a barlow lens too, as they are _small_!

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jupiter, and  saturn and the moon are possible with the 127 slt deep space really isnt very practical and at £400 there isnt anything new I would recommend for deep space short of short lenses a tripod and deep sky stacker a second hand eq5 and 130pds is the cheapest combo I can think of to give some product but it isnt ideal. have you read the book yet you really need to before buying any astrogear

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