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New mount


xs2man
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Hey guys,

So after only a few weeks with my Celestron 114EQ, I have decided that this is, most certainly, a hobby for me.  So I am looking to upgrade my equipment.

So, to start with, I am thinking about upgrading my mount.  I do, at least eventually, want a GOTO (or similar).  However, I am unsure what OTA I would like to put on it, whether I want a 8" or 10" (reflector suitable for imaging).  So I want a mount that would take upto a 250p OTA.  And doesn't necessarily NEED to have the GOTO immediately.  I would prefer to upgrade in stages, as I don't really just want to drop £1k so soon after getting into this.

I am happy to look at second hand to reduce costs, but I haven't yet got the post count to see the classifieds.  

Would an EQ5 support a 250p?  Is the PRO version just the same but with the GOTO?  Would I actually be best just to buy the thing as a GOTO initially?  Or is the upgrade kit good enough?

Any other suggestions?  I don't particularly want to spend over £300 just now, unless a cracking deal is lined up.

I am also in Scotland, and I see a lot of gear is in England (obviously due to population locations), and I am willing to travel to the North of England at least, possibly as far South as Scunthorpe as I do have friends there.  But postage may be preferred if it is on offer.

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If you want to image with a 250P then you'll need *at least* a NEQ6, some would say even that was marginal, an AZ-EQ6 might be better or better stil something at the EQ8 level Which means somewhere between £1k and £3k.

I know people *have* imaged with a 200 P-DS on an EQ5, but these have years of experience and have fettled their equipment to a T.

In fact, don't buy anything until you've purchased a copy of "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards (Our own steppenwolf), available from FLO and have read it at least twice.

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A 250 will definitely require an NEQ6 or larger but in my own experience, an NEQ6 would actually be fine. Please don't even consider an EQ5 for this!

I started with a non-GoTo EQ6 and subsequently  upgraded it - I would have been better off starting from scratch with GoTo but it simply wasn't available in 2004! Please note that the motors in a basic EQ6 are not the same as those in a SynTrek or full SynScan GoTo version. You could save yourself £106 by buying the SynTrek version (non-GoTo) and using your PC to control the mount using EQMod. Earlier (black) second hand EQ6s like the one I started off with are marginal for imaging as the motors and control board are pretty basic and you would have to develop your own circuitry for autoguiding.

For AP, the mount is the most important component, don't skimp on it or you will be very disappointed and frustrated with the results!

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+1 for reading "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards, I have read it 3 times even though I'm only an observer, the information on mounts is particularly helpful.

I bought the SW AZ EQ6 after reading it, completely blew my budget on the mount (secondhand) but it has been well worth it.  Review here: - http://www.firstlightoptics.com/user/Sky-Watcher_AZ-EQ6_GT_part_1.pdf

You will find that all the mods to the older versions of the EQ6 are already done on the AZ EQ6 have a look at some of the tutorials on here : - https://www.youtube.com/user/astronomyshed/videos

I would not be in too much of a rush & be sure you are buying the right equipment first time around.

Clear Skies,

Fondofchips.

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Yes, I am not in too much of a rush to be perfectly honest.  Although I would have preferred to get the mount sooner rather than later.  I guess a 250P might be a bit much anyway, but if I'm spending money, I might as well spend it right.  Because who knows what I'll think 6-12 months after purchasing a 200P.

I guess I'll have to sell a set of wheels, and my xbox now to make up the difference, lol.  Is the AZ/EQ6 worth the extra £300 over the EQ6 though?  I mean, I could only sell the wheels and get to the EQ6 Pro, lol.

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Yes, I am not in too much of a rush to be perfectly honest.  Although I would have preferred to get the mount sooner rather than later.  I guess a 250P might be a bit much anyway, but if I'm spending money, I might as well spend it right.  Because who knows what I'll think 6-12 months after purchasing a 200P.

I guess I'll have to sell a set of wheels, and my xbox now to make up the difference, lol.  Is the AZ/EQ6 worth the extra £300 over the EQ6 though?  I mean, I could only sell the wheels and get to the EQ6 Pro, lol.

Yes it is and a lot more.

A.G

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You appear to be choosing a future imaging scope on a what are really nice largish visual scopes - 200/250 newtonians.

Big newtonians are not easy, the focal length is long and they are like sails in a breeze.

If imaging is what the intention is then look at a dedicated imaging scenario but the overlap (visual/imaging) is not a much as it seems.

Even if you do not want goto immediatly I think you may get little option, any mount of any size all seem to be goto by default.

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Imaging will likely be the main intended use, admittedly, as I can get my geek on for such things.  But I do want a capable visual set-up too for sure, as I'm not sure if I always want to be out taking pictures.  Just now I am primarily using my set-up for visual, but looking forward, I do see more imaging coming in.  What ratio that may end up being, I cannot say.  Perhaps 50/50?

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Imaging will likely be the main intended use, admittedly, as I can get my geek on for such things.  But I do want a capable visual set-up too for sure, as I'm not sure if I always want to be out taking pictures.  Just now I am primarily using my set-up for visual, but looking forward, I do see more imaging coming in.  What ratio that may end up being, I cannot say.  Perhaps 50/50?

If you want to image with a 250p you may need a true heavy duty mount. These are not cheap. The 250p has a focal length of 1250mm. Quite long for imaging and  needing spot on tracking and guiding, ignoring the shear physical size of this scope what are you going to image with and what are your targets? At 1250mm of FL you'd need a DSLR size  sensor to get even a small  portion of the large DSOs on the sensor , distant galaxies and planetary nebulae will be fine if the camera can record the signal adequately other wise a full frame CCD will soon relieve you of a lot of your savings.

Perhaps you ought to rethink the whole lot. A large DOB for observing and a small wide field ED or APO on an affordable EQ mount  for imaging.

A.G

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To be fair, I was only really considering the possibility of a 250p over a 200p.  I won't need to go that high if the costs are all of a sudden going to sky-rocket.

Now, say I want to just work with one mount, an EQ5 with GOTO capabilities, what would be the largest scope I could realistically get on that for visual?  I'm assuming it would be fine for the likes of this : http://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-outfit.html, so that would allow me, presumably, something decent for imaging, with tracking.

But I also assume it would be okay with this : http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-ota.html?

My thinking being that I could get one set-up just now, (likely the 200p with EQ5 Pro), and add the evostar at a later date if that would be a suitable upgrade for imaging purposes?  I'm not keen on having two set-ups, i.e. Big DOB and smaller set-up for imaging, as I realistically have no good place to have even one sitting around.  If I could have it all in one, that would be great, but if the cost increases substantially, I could split the scopes, so long as they run on a reasonable mount.

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Oh yeah.  For now at least, imaging will be done with a Sony A200 DSLR.  That may well be upgraded in the future, or swapped out for a dedicated Astro Imaging modified Canon, or whatever may provide the best results for me once I have the hang of other things.  But for now it'll be the ageing Sony I'll be using.

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For visual use, the 200P could be used on an EQ5 and an 80mm ED refractor would also work to some extent for imaging on the same mount in the future but in both cases, you would be working right on the edge of the acceptable performance of the mount - for the 200P, you will most likely find that wobble when focusing and just touching the optical tube becomes a pain and for imaging, by the time you have loaded the mount with an 80mm refractor, camera and auto-guiding equipment you will be on the margin of ensuring accurate tracking for long exposure photography.

Bottom line is that It can be done but you will be making a difficult task even more fraught by using the minimum mount.

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For imaging, do you need a big scope? I really don't think so. It can be cheaper and better to have a big Dob for visual and a small refractor for imaging on a less expensive HEQ5. Have you looked at deep sky images taken with small refractors?

Olly

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To be fair, I was only really considering the possibility of a 250p over a 200p.  I won't need to go that high if the costs are all of a sudden going to sky-rocket.

Now, say I want to just work with one mount, an EQ5 with GOTO capabilities, what would be the largest scope I could realistically get on that for visual?  I'm assuming it would be fine for the likes of this : http://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-outfit.html, so that would allow me, presumably, something decent for imaging, with tracking.

But I also assume it would be okay with this : http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-200p-ota.html?

My thinking being that I could get one set-up just now, (likely the 200p with EQ5 Pro), and add the evostar at a later date if that would be a suitable upgrade for imaging purposes?  I'm not keen on having two set-ups, i.e. Big DOB and smaller set-up for imaging, as I realistically have no good place to have even one sitting around.  If I could have it all in one, that would be great, but if the cost increases substantially, I could split the scopes, so long as they run on a reasonable mount.

It will handle the SW ED 80 and associated gear with ease, same would be true for a 130 PDS or even a 150 PDS. Smaller Apos will be fine subject to weight  as some of these little ones are really heavy.

A.G

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For visual use, the 200P could be used on an EQ5 and an 80mm ED refractor would also work to some extent for imaging on the same mount in the future but in both cases, you would be working right on the edge of the acceptable performance of the mount - for the 200P, you will most likely find that wobble when focusing and just touching the optical tube becomes a pain and for imaging, by the time you have loaded the mount with an 80mm refractor, camera and auto-guiding equipment you will be on the margin of ensuring accurate tracking for long exposure photography.

Bottom line is that It can be done but you will be making a difficult task even more fraught by using the minimum mount.

I was picking these two out as they both come as a package with the EQ5 Pro mounts from FLO, so I figured they wouldn't be putting out a package that is right on the edge of usability.

Perhaps I shall have a re-think then.  I definitely want a new mount first, as my current scope, small as it may be, can show something semi-reasonable.  But, the wobble you are saying I might get with a 200p on the EQ5 is present in my current set-up, and is realistically what I am trying to eliminate.  Perhaps I will consider smaller 'scopes then rather than a larger mount, at least initially.  If I buy second hand, then there shouldn't be much more depreciation from my ownership (barring dropping the thing or something).

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+1 for small imaging scope on as big a mount as you can affored for the imaging side of things.

Look at some of SGL member Uranium235's images with the tiny 130ds. Short focal length imaging just makes things a whole lot easier when starting out, and well, even when not starting out.

I've dabbled with imaging over several years using focal lengths from just 18mm to 1422mm (unguided insanely enough!). All I can say is I get similar levels of tracking accuracy from my 18-55mm lens on a fixed tripod, compared to my C8 reduced to 1422mm focal length on a tuned and belt modded NEQ6 pro, attached to a concrete pier, set in almost a cubic metre of concrete in the ground! 

You're in the right place for great advice, I bought my first 'attempted' imaging rig without asking on here first, and that was a mistake.

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+1 for small imaging scope on as big a mount as you can affored for the imaging side of things.

Look at some of SGL member Uranium235's images with the tiny 130ds. Short focal length imaging just makes things a whole lot easier when starting out, and well, even when not starting out.

I've dabbled with imaging over several years using focal lengths from just 18mm to 1422mm (unguided insanely enough!). All I can say is I get similar levels of tracking accuracy from my 18-55mm lens on a fixed tripod, compared to my C8 reduced to 1422mm focal length on a tuned and belt modded NEQ6 pro, attached to a concrete pier, set in almost a cubic metre of concrete in the ground! 

You're in the right place for great advice, I bought my first 'attempted' imaging rig without asking on here first, and that was a mistake.

Just had a look at some of his images.  They are VERY good, I must admit.  And probably easily as good as I am hoping for.  So I can see that I perhaps don't need the large scope for imaging, but I would like good visual too.  Which was why I was thinking of the 200p.  I did also think about the Quattro F4 200p, but that might be a bit overkill for a noob like me.

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Yes, how silly of me.  I missed the x on the end.

While I do like the idea of a big Dob for visual, I also am aware that the only place I have suitable to position one would be facing North only, and so would negate half the sky, which at this time of year at least, seems to be the most interesting.

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I have been (attempting) imaging for must be 25 years now slowly upgrading to my present set up losmandy gm8 flt 110 scope guide scope good spec ccd cameras and dslr and sill struggle to get round stars over 3 mins and can only use half of them if I,m lucky this is using a small scope on a 2.5k mount you start getting bigger I think every thing gets bigger incuding problems

Just my thoughts on subject steve

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