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Imaging upgrade, where to start?


cygrus
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Hi,

I currently do imaging with a Skywatcher ED80 and a modified Canon 1000D, mounted to a HEQ5-pro. I would like to take my imaging to "the next level", but I really can't get my head around where to start. I guess most would say "mount first!", and I agree, but I would like to keep the total weight down, and the mount runs very nice for my current setup. Because of that I would like to keep the mount and either buy new optics or a ccd. I guess my total budget is around 1k GBP. I'm looking at better (and true) APOs around that limit, or a Atik 314L+ - ish. I don't bother shooting mono and upgrade with filters later.

Any advice?

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I would suppose that a good apo triplet should improve the images, the ED80 is a doublet.

The improvement there would be subtle and perhaps not so obvious.

A cooled ccd is the other, colour or mono is up to you.

Eventually I suspect that a guide set up is the other, it should increase exposure times somewhat. You don't mention that aspect.

I suspect the ccd would, or should, give more immediate improvements - Atik 420, 320 or 314. Well after the learning curve is completed.

But the final image is still limited by the scope.

I would likely go for a scope, then later ccd.

Which scope is another question.

I mentioned a TS/APM 81mm somewhere that looked as if it had all the bells and whistles for imaging, think it was about the £1k mark but you would have the search it out.

Edited by ronin
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I've had the same setup as you and if you're achieving 10 minutes subs the biggest difference you'll notice is with a camera upgrade. The mount is capable, the telescope is also very capable. You could pick up a decent second hand Mono Atik 314 or Atik 16HR easily for that budget. Don't discount an older camera if you want to pursue OSC - QHY8's QHY8L's are often for sale within the budget you state.

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Yup.. I've same equipment & been down that path.

My choice would be CCD mono + filters.

For a scope upgrade? 80ED is a cracking scope so out of my collection I'd say the Esprit would be next step up. Might be the GT81 but Jury's still out as I'm still waiting for reducer. At the moment the stars look pinched.

So a second hand 314l+ & filters would be in reach for your budget I reckon. Best upgrade I made from the 1000D.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I know that normally we say mount, mount, mount - But the HEQ5 is very capable and with an ED80 it's hardly being taxed. You are already guiding, so that is good. If your HEQ5 is doing fine and you have no big scope upgrade thoughts then I'd stick with it. 

The ED80 is the basis for many people's rig, so I'd stick with that as well.

I reckon that your natural upgrade path from here would be a cooled CCD - The Atik 314L+ is a good camera and the Sony 285 chip is excellent. If you are happy with the field of view that will give you, then that would be my choice. Do check firstly on a fov calculator such as this one http://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/ You can put in your scope and a couple of camera's and get an idea of the field of view you'd get with a 314L+. Be warned, compared to the DSLR it is SMALL.

A mono camera for me would also be the way to go - far more versatile than a OSC. Ha and narrowband being the obvious advantages. If you feel the fov is just too small then you could consider the 8300 chip. Atik do the 383 and they do come up second hand from time to time. 

Hope that helps :smiley:

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Thanks for all the answers. It pretty much sums up most om my thoughts so far aswell. I'm aware of the quite small FOV I would get with most cameras within the budget. The 314 would give approx 1 degree diagonally. Should fit a lot of objects in there. The 460 would give me ~1.35 degress and the 383 2 degrees. For a comparison my 1000D gives med 2.4 degrees. Regarding the pixel resolution, the 1000D gives me 2.25 arcec/pixel, which is ok I guess since I don't have the best sky. The 314 would give 2.55 arcsec/pixel, still ok I think.

I'll be looking around for some second hand CCDs then :)

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I agree with Sara,

Unless your going to spend eq8 money, you wont notie any difference to be honest even then it wont make your images better as such just increase your options and guiding quality.

The Scope is fine you might need to tweak the focuser if your adding extra weight as they can be prone to slip unless setup right.

Do you have the matched reducer, thats worth getting if you dont.

look into guiding with a finder guider. (plenty of options here)

consider a cooled ccd, ideally mono as its more versatile, and just mono Ha imaging is a perfeclty valid route and you can always add extra data further down the line as you gear expands.

Edited by Earl
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Another vote for a cooled mono CCD, the gulf between that and a DSLR, even modded, is huge. With NB you can still image through LP and moderate moonlight that would wipe out DSLR imaging. And we don't get many clear nights as it is.

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If you're starting with an ED80 + HEQ5, I'd suggest an upgrade path something like this.

  1. DSLR -> OSC camera
  2. Observatory
  3. HEQ5 -> Avalon Linear
  4. ED80 -> MN190
  5. OSC -> Mono + filter wheel
  6. Guider to OAG
  7. Image processing rig -> 27inch IPS monitor + PixInsight + Photoshop
  8. Narrow band filters
  9. Avalon -> EQ8
  10. MN190 -> 12 inch Truss RC
  11. Add FSQ85 for widefeld
  12. CCD -> Atik 11000
  13. Filters -> 2 inch

... keep going until you run out of money :grin:

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