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I have been loving my Celestron Nexstar 8SE scope for viewing the night sky and am starting to think about getting my next scope to use for imaging.  I bought a copy of 'Making Every Photon Count' a week or two back and have just finished reading it (very well written book  :cool:) and I am now thinking about what my options are.  I have already ordered an INOVA PLB-MX Mono planetary camera to have a play with on my Nexstar to see how things go with imaging the Moon / Jupiter / Saturn & Mars.  This camera should arrive tomorrow.  I have also ordered and received a set of LRGBC Baader filters and filter wheel.  I am hoping that these items will give me a good indication to if I am going to enjoy doing this sort of thing, or if it just going to irritate me that I can't get the computer software to work  :grin:.  I spent over the odds on this camera as if I do enjoy doing this sort of imaging, this camera should be a reasonable starting point for some DSO with my new scope (see later), and if I get really serious about things, it should hopefully proved to be a good investment as a auto-guiding camera.  

So, on to what I need to get; the mount and scope.

First thing is I want some thing which is portable and pretty quick and easy to set-up.  As I have already got a filter wheel and a decent set of LRGBC Baader filters, the scope must accept a 1.25" adaptor, as I do not want to re-buy this sort of thing in 2".  My idea of a good night would be to spend 30 minutes setting up the imaging scope / camera / laptop and leave it taking some photos while I set up the 8SE next to it and spend 2 - 3 hours viewing the night sky.  I then pack up the lot and spend the next five cloudy / wet nights processing the images I have taken.  With all this in mind, this is what I have though of as being a good option which should (hopefully) keep me going for a fair while:-

Mount - iOptron ZEQ25GT.   This seems to have got some good reviews, fits the portable bracket and is not too expensive (in the grand scheme of things).  The one thing which concerns me is not all that many people seem to have one, which could be because it is fairly new and not all that well known, or it could be because it is not that good?  What do people think of this mount, and what else should I be considering?

Scope - 80mm F6 Super ED Triplet Apo 80/480 Altair Wave Series 2014.  I have seen some nice images taken with this scope, and logic would say that it was a good match for the iOptron mount.  Again, it fits the portable criteria, but I am sure that there are lots of other scopes which also do this.  Does this seem like a reasonable choice and what else should I be considering.  

So, these are my thoughts.  I am in no real rush as as I have said, I want to see how I get on with some planetary / luna imaging over the next few weeks before I take the next step; assuming we get some breaks in the clouds that is.  Do my initial choices seem reasonable and how would you do this different, assuming a max budget of £2k (looking to buy new, not second hand).  

All views / comments welcomed.


Dave :)

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