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Hi guys, I have just started observing/imaging with a DSLR 300 mm 2.8 lens I realise I,m only scratching the surface but fancy a telescope/ mount. The mount I will get will probably be the HEQ5 syncscan but I have no idea what telescope so far all I have been looking at is refractors as they have a relativly fast f number. My budget is roughly a £1000 for the mount and scope so if the mount costs me £750 that will leave me with £250 for a scope, or and its a big or would the EQ3 suffice? which would give me £500 for a scope. Really would like any suggestions to scopes as I think most would agree on the HEQ5 not the EQ3

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From my limited knowledge gained from a mere 5 months of addiction to astrophotography (I assume you'll be interested in AP as you've already started imaging) I would say that the HEQ5 is the way to go. I started with a EQ5 mount (between the EQ3 and HEQ5 in load carrying ability I believe). The difference between the EQ5 and HEQ5 is massive and I can see why people advise to go straight for the HEQ5 if you're ever going to try astrophotography. The HEQ5 is a much more solid platform than the EQ5 and although I've never used an EQ3 you'd have to assume that its even less stable than the EQ5. When doing unguided 60s exposures with my EQ5 I would have to discard at least 50% (often more like 70%) of my subs due to star trails whereas now I can expect to keep the majority with the HEQ5.

I don't know much about refractors but if you were to go for a reflector the Skywatcher 150PDS would be a good choice. http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reflectors/skywatcher-explorer-150p-ds-ota.html This is an f/5 scope so plenty fast enough for imaging DSOs and the focuser is specifically designed to enable easy attachment of a DSLR.

If you have a laptop and you don't mind taking it outside with you're scope every evening you could save yourself about £100 and just go for the HEQ5 Syntrek. Its identical to the Synscan except for a simplified handset that doesn't provide GOTO functionality but with a few bits of free software and a special USB cable http://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-cables-leads-accessories/hitecastro-eqdir-adapter.html you can use you're laptop to do the GOTO stuff and control you're mount. If you get serious about astrophotography you're more than likely going to need you're laptop by you're side anyway. The £100 saved by going for the Syntrek could then be put towards a coma corrector http://www.firstlightoptics.com/coma-correctors/skywatcher-coma-corrector.html.

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Hi brrttpaul,

Definitely not an EQ3. Unless you go for second hand, a HEQ5 will cost you £650:-http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-heq5-syntrek.html

a SW ED 80 will cost you £350:-http://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-ds-pro-ota.html

You will have to purchase a guide scope and a guide camera, if you want to do long exposure imaging, which will be another £300 for QHY5 and a ST80. Start saving a bit more

I and a lot of other people who reply to this thread may well recommend this:- http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

What do you class a s a fast f number? f/5 or f/2???? If you think f/7 is fast you also need to add a field flattener/  focal reducer, that's another couple of hundred quid:-) http://www.firstlightoptics.com/reducersflatteners/skywatcher-85x-reducer-flattener-for-ed80.html

Ian

Edited by Uplooker
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Thanks for the information, I have "make every photon count" and TBH the SW ED 80 was the one I was looking at, I am not sure exactly what a flattener is and is that all itis for to reduce the focal length?. The HEQ5 I knew myself deep down is the way to go but still not sure to get the non goto or the synscan, didnt even think about using a laptop and free software but that is a possibility. You have both been a great help and thank you for taking the trouble to reply. Many thanks

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With a diagonal I think it will be the right way up - the lens swaps Up/Down but then the diagonal does the same, but Left/Right is swapped. Not sure what the eyepiece does to it all.

Say this as looking at something last week and I think it was the right way up, that was a 90mm refractor, diagonal and eyepiece.

Half suspect that it scope will be a bit powerful for general viewing, things sweep across the field of view pretty quick.

Edited by ronin
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A flattener ensures a flat field across the field of view. This keeps stars at the edge round rather than being elongated by distortion. A reducer changes the f number and field of view is increased. So a reducer/flattener does both. They can be very problematic, so check that there is a specific one designed for use with the scope you intend to buy. By reducing the f number you don't need exposures as long as without it. As others have said, the mount is key to imaging. I can recommend the HEQ5Pro. Scopes by Orion, Skywatcher, William Optics, Altair Astro etc are all decent and very similar. The ED80 is very popular, which says a lot. Good luck and start selling your organs, remortgaging the house etc now as imaging tends to end up being a never ending money pit. Ask my wife:)

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I'm finding the Synscan handset very useful in getting to know how the mount and scope operate. I intend to use EQMOD etc. in the near future but for now it's one less set of things to worry about.

I'll also be taking the scope out and about to darker skies in due course, and I won't necessarily (yet) be taking the laptop along. Hence I decided to go for the SynScan rather than the SynTrek in the end.

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I am hoping to make the meeting on the 20th of Febuary with the south wales group on here and seeing first hand the pros and cons, I know deep down I wont be going overboard with a telescope just something to observe and take some photos, this is why I keep umming and arring over it. I have seen reviews of the EQ5 which are good just less payload (think it was 7Kilo) I,m pretty sure I will never go over that but again you never know its such an addictive hobby

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Hi

I'd definitely recommend the Heq5 Syntrek (or Synscan) or the Celestron AVX as decent AP mounts (I have both!). As for scope you might consider the 130pds - only £159 from FLO - 650mm fl and F5. An alternative to an ED80 would be a much cheaper achromat. They are optically not so good but you can still do quite a lot with them without having to fork out such a large sum. You can get short, relatively fast achros. Without guiding, you want to be as fast as possible, I'd say. Guiding is best but costs extra. Ideally you need a coma corrector for use with a newt, or a field flattener with a refractor but you can do without correction to start. I don't think you could use most astronomical telescopes for terrestrial very conveniently though they might work in principle. You've given yourself a budget of around £1000 but realistically it will cost more - AP can be a money pit! On the plus side, you can start with your quoted budget and see how things go. The trouble with AP in the UK is the lack of clear skies. Let's face it, our weather is not terribly predictable and especially if you're in the west of the UK, you can expect a lot of cloud and rain :(.

Louise

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I have the HEQ5Pro / 80ED and can tell you it's a combination that works very well.  Whilst a focal reducer/field flattener is a very nice addition to the rig, it's not absolutely essential to get nice images.  I use an 80ED + 66ED (as a guide scope) on a heavy duty (Geoptik) dual mounting bar and the HEQ5pro handles it all very well.

The going price for a secondhand HEQ5Pro is around £450, so this might be an option worth considering.

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