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Probably Celestron Advanced VX, but which scope?


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Have some funds available to look at getting into (lower end of) astrophotography.

Looking at Celestron Advanced VX mount, but various suppliers are doing with an 8" Newt for a good price - but the Celestron scope doesn't dome with a fine focuser, where-as the SW 200PDS does, but total price would be more.

Looking to start down the Astro Photography route, primarily with DSO as a priority over planets and lunar (though will do these too if the scope suits, but not first choice)

Would also like to be able to use it for visual too.

Depending on location (home or local dark sky sites) may be guided or just allowing the scope to track, but from what I've read the VX will do both, and tracks well if set up carefully.

So, proverbial question, what set-up do people recommend. Budget, probably up to about £1500, allowing some funds to be kept aside for DSLR, Guidescope and Camera, power pack, reducers, coma correctors, etc if needed.

Thanks for reading

Chris

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Hi

The AVX is a good mount :) However, if you want to get into imaging then maybe take one step at a time. Firstly, do a lot of reading and research around the principles and practice of AP. Second, make sure you have lots of money!

I wouldn't personally recommend starting with a big scope. Rather, get a small refractor - ED80 or similar. Guiding is a lot easier with shorter focal lengths. Small refractors are also more portable and pretty much work out the box. Also, I'd suggest getting a separate scope for visual. Simplest guiding with a short refractor is with a 9x50 finder-guider plus adaptor plus a guide cam such as the qhy5l-ii.

Hope that helps

Louise

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Hi Chris,

Louise raises a good point about having a seperate visual scope. I enjoy both imaging and visual, so when I get a good clear Moonless night I have to make a choice. This can be a little frustrating if you don't have a seperate setup for each. 

I'm sure you could scrape both with your budget. Just a rough example:

- Celestron AVX mount - 700 pounds

- Skywatcher 130pds - 160 pounds

- Skywatcher coma corrector - 100 pounds

- Modded DLSR - say 200 pounds 

- second hand QHY5 (they come up often) 110 pounds

- 9x50 finder plus adaptor, guessing about 70 quid.

- Skyliner 200p Dobsonian for visual - 290

Total = 1630 pounds (ok, a little over budget)

A 130pds with coma corrector will be the cheapest high performing astrograph you could get  :)

EDIT: nearly forgot a T-ring for attaching the camera to the coma corrector, in the case of the skywatcher coma corrector its the M48 ring - 20 quid.

Edited by starfox
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I agree with Louise that the AVX is a good EQ mount. When I bought mine last summer a lot of folks were expressing a “wait and see attitude” however I’ve noticed recently more and more people are singing its praises. Keep in mind it’s an entry level mount but in my opinion offers excellent performance for the money. I started with the Celestron 8SE (8" SCT on an Alt/Az Goto mount) but soon realized I’d need to upgrade to an EQ if I wanted to have any real chance at deep sky photography so I got the AVX and have been happy with it so far.

I also agree with Louise that a good 80 mm refractor is a great place to start if you’re interested in imaging DSO’s. Back around Christmas, I stumbled over a great deal on the Explore Scientific 80mm ED APO triplet refractor. Picked it up for $503.00 because it was being discontinued and offered without the normally included finderscope and hard carry case. Based on my limited success so far, I’d say if you can pick one up for that price you can’t go wrong. There are two models – the ES-ED0806-01 - which is the one I got and then the TED model. Apparently the optics are identical on both scopes but I believe the TED model was an earlier version that required removing the dew shield and flipping it end for end to switch from “storage mode” to “user-mode”. Also the collimation screws were harder to access on the TED. Finally the newer model has a good rack and pinion focuser with tension adjustment and focus lock. There are a lot of choices out there but if you were interested in the ES scope be careful regarding the model numbers as the various web-sites seem to get them confused. The easiest way to tell the difference is the newer model has the larger diameter dew shield as pictured here:  http://www.highpointscientific.com/explore-scientific-80-mm-essential-ed-triplet-refractor-ota-with-accessories-es-ed0806-01

The earlier model looks like the one in this review however, the optics are supposedly the same on both scopes:

http://telescopes.toptenreviews.com/beginner-astrophotography-telescopes/explore-scientific-80mm-ed-apo-triplet-refractor-review.html

Lastly, I’ve found is it’s the add-ons that will nickel and dime you to death. The cost of finders, cameras (especially), and all the myriad other useful and often necessary items add up fast so good planning before each purchase will help you build a system that will perform as you expect. It’s those rash and uninformed purchases that really put a damper on things when attempting to build a system with the capabilities you’re after on a budget...

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Hi

Yep, the 130pds is also a good imaging scope :)

I've been looking to get an ES ED80 myself - need to upgrade from my ST-80! I'd like to see some images from the ES. At the moment it's a toss-up between that and the Evostar 80ED - or maybe even the 130pds :).

Louise

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Hi Chris,

I splashed out on the VX mount early last year, and amazingly the mount was cheaper with a Celestron 8 inch Netwonian as a package than it was to buy on it's own (that was Rother Valley Optics at the time - great price).

The mount is awesome, you would  not be disappointed, and the scope is just terrific - much much better than people think.

I managed to secure a brand new Canon E100D DSLR for £199 which was on offer at Amazon at the time (yep, if you search the offers are there), and also have a Celestron Starsense just arrived (again which is just great).

Am just deciding whether to order a QHY 5ii CCd for guiding, or a ZWO ASI120mm - still m aking m y mind up.

However, if you can find a VX Mount and scope deal like I did, go for it - even if you don't want the scope you can always sell it on :)

Cheers

Graham

 
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Hi

Yep, the 130pds is also a good imaging scope :)

I've been looking to get an ES ED80 myself - need to upgrade from my ST-80! I'd like to see some images from the ES. At the moment it's a toss-up between that and the Evostar 80ED - or maybe even the 130pds :).

Louise

Hi Louise,

I have a few images taken with the ES80mm in my gallery here  http://stargazerslounge.com/gallery/member/37916-scorpius/  but they’re nothing to write home about believe me. Don’t judge the scope based on those as I just started thinking about astrophotography last May and have only had a chance to use it twice for imaging. The solar system images were taken with the Celestron 8” SCT and the Neximage 5 so no need to look at those unless you just want to... :smiley:

Since I’d already spent myself silly when I started thinking about a faster scope, keeping cost down was a top priority and it seemed like the Explore Scientific 80mm APO refractor offered a lot of bang for the buck. To be honest, my opinion is no matter how great the scope - until one learns how to use it - along with all the accessories and software – realistic goals should be set until the necessary skills to realize its full potential are obtained. In other words, don’t set the bar too high until you’ve given yourself a chance.

And when I say you, I don’t mean you - I mean me!

Regards,

Scorpius

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Hi Louise,

I have a few images taken with the ES80mm in my gallery here  http://stargazerslounge.com/gallery/member/37916-scorpius/  but they’re nothing to write home about believe me. Don’t judge the scope based on those as I just started thinking about astrophotography last May and have only had a chance to use it twice for imaging. The solar system images were taken with the Celestron 8” SCT and the Neximage 5 so no need to look at those unless you just want to... :smiley:

Since I’d already spent myself silly when I started thinking about a faster scope, keeping cost down was a top priority and it seemed like the Explore Scientific 80mm APO refractor offered a lot of bang for the buck. To be honest, my opinion is no matter how great the scope - until one learns how to use it - along with all the accessories and software – realistic goals should be set until the necessary skills to realize its full potential are obtained. In other words, don’t set the bar too high until you’ve given yourself a chance.

And when I say you, I don’t mean you - I mean me!

Regards,

Scorpius

Hiya

I've been imaging for just over a year now - mostly with my 150pds but also with an ST-80. I decided I wanted to improve on the ST-80 and have been mulling over that decision for some months now. I'm actually leaning towards the 130pds today! (It might be the ES-80 tomorrow!). But the 130pds is very cheap and will be similar to the 150pds. The purpose is to have something portable. I can't decide! Maybe next week I'll be certain!

Thanks

Louise

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