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After spending some time getting to grips with widefield imaging using my DSLR on a fixed tripod I now want to take the next step and get myself a tracking mount for longer exposures. I've been recommended the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ MD. For £150 (plus a few quid for an adaptor plate) this would give me a basic tracking mount and a bonus reflector to go with it. Does this sound like a reasonable plan?

Obviously I'm not going to be able to get precise polar alignment without a polar scope, but can anyone give me any guidance on what length of subs I might be able to take at 17mm and 50mm with this setup please?

Any thoughts or tips would be appreciated.

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you will probably have to mount your camera either piggy back or directly to the mount as prime focus without good pa is not going to give you anything better than you are getting. They tell me I should expect about 2 minutes with my eq1 but thats with a polar scope and a better motor I doubt you will get that but a minute should be doable and maybe a bit more if you drift align.  the eq2 has the reputation of being a fairly inaccurate tracking mount and I read somewhere that although bigger than the eq1 it's less accurate. If you really want to step up you are better stepping up to an eq5 and ra motor.

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I personally would not consider the Celestrom Astro Master 130 for AP, It has a lot of plastic fittings and the mount in not very stable, ( I know because my son has one).

It will not really take the weight of a DSLR camera without a lot of shake. A better bet , if you want to go along the Newtonian line , would be a SW Explorer  either the new 130 Pds or the better 150 pds , both are optimised for AP, Both scopes are getting some good reviews on several Forums

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I have the 130EQ and do a lot of piggy back photography with my EOS 300D.

The last image I took a couple of weeks ago was a wide field shot at 75mm which make it to an equilavent of 120mm digital at 45 second exposures. This was of the M81 / M82 area and after taking 20 lights along with the normal darks and bias images I was very pleased as to what I had recorded.

For the lower areas of the sky, pleaides and beehive cluster I was shooting at around 20 seconds, all with the best manual Polar Alignment I could manage plus the MD is no where near precise.

Basically any tracking you can make will increase your exposure times.

If you still want to do wide field (piggy back) then for it's cheap price it can be done. I'm still experimenting and looking to see how far I really can push things.

You can find here how I got on with my last attempts.

At the end of the day you get what you pay for, but often or not budget equipment can actually produce more than people think. More money will give you better results.

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Good to hear from a couple people who have used one, and thanks for the example images.

I'll either go for the 130EQ MD as a learner scope/tracking mount or invest a bit more in a better mount for widefield only imaging (for the time being). As a flat dweller I need something luggable. I'll weigh it up and make a decision.

Edited by Knight of Clear Skies
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I'm not into AP but for visual purposes I've found the 130EQ  maxed out on the CG3 (EQ2) mount and is a  bit wobbly - certainly for my preferences. It can be helped a bit with a bit of DIY though. I'd be inclined to go for something better specified.

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