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jrastro

Best scope and mount for imaging under £300

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This is roughly what I've spent this year, I won't include bad calls like a cheap x5 barlow...:

Secondhand Skywatcher 150PL with EQ3 mount & tripod - £180

Second hand EQ5 tripod - £40

Second hand Eos 10D - £30

Second hand microsoft lifecam - £20

IR filter, camera adaptors , memory card, remote controls  & spare battery ~ £60

RA drive from my scrap box - free, but you can buy one second hand for about £50

So nearer £400, but here are some results I'm pleased with. Not in the top league yet, but I learn more every time I get a night's imaging:

Moon

M27 Readjusted

Saturn 27 May astra

Jupiter And Io 29 april

Plato

post-43529-0-27368600-1444059055_thumb.j

And this one was taken using the Eos with a Prinz Galaxy 400mm lens you can find going for about £40 S/h:

post-43529-0-19933200-1444059216_thumb.j

Edited by Stub Mandrel

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I think you'd have to watch what comes up on the used market for a while and see what you can get.  If you have a DSLR and lenses then you might find an EQ5 Pro or EQ3-2 Pro within your budget.  That might get you started with some wide field imaging.

Personally though I'd be tempted just to spend it on as big a dob as you could get and forget about imaging until you have more cash available.

James

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That is a possibility but is it not correct that the mount is a bit light for AP?

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There are people that will find a way to do anything, but i think this is going to beat them.....you will need a GoTo mount EQ Type.....

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I think you'd have to watch what comes up on the used market for a while and see what you can get.  If you have a DSLR and lenses then you might find an EQ5 Pro or EQ3-2 Pro within your budget.  That might get you started with some wide field imaging.

Personally though I'd be tempted just to spend it on as big a dob as you could get and forget about imaging until you have more cash available.

James

I already own a big dob but it is so heavy that an eq mount for it would cost a fortune. The dob is great for visual work though!

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The 150PL is rather slow for DSO imaging. The mounts mentioned are a bit light for AP unless  you use them for wide-field (DSLR with short telephoto should work well enough). For guiding bigger scopes (short frac for preferences, or something like the 130P if you hunger for aperture and don't mind collimating the scope), an HEQ5 is usually suggested as minimum (but that is beyond your stated budget)

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I could also use a 2.5 inch achromat (classic Zeiss!) but I hear it cant be used for imaging

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The 150PL is rather slow for DSO imaging. The mounts mentioned are a bit light for AP unless  you use them for wide-field (DSLR with short telephoto should work well enough). For guiding bigger scopes (short frac for preferences, or something like the 130P if you hunger for aperture and don't mind collimating the scope), an HEQ5 is usually suggested as minimum (but that is beyond your stated budget)

Precisely my thinking.

James

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I picked up my 2nd hand EQ3-2 for £120, then paid another £20 for a polar scope. Images like this are possible at around the £400 mark for mount + modded camera + camera lens, if you can find them on the market.

20156584654_65a50260e5_c.jpg

(200mm f4 SMC Takumar lens - cost me £22.)

 15147147820_89347b3d5e_c.jpg

(135mm f3.5 Super-Takumar lens - £18 on eBay.)

At the budget end of imaging old camera lenses offer a lot of value.

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I'd agree the 150PL isn't the best choice for DSOs BUT I would argue the EQ3 mount on an EQ5 tripod is not the car-crash that it's often made out to be.

I won't pretend you will get top-rank results, but why wait years or even not bother at all just because you have to start with a small mount.

I took 41 30 second unguided subs of part of the Pleiades using the 150PL, EQ3 mount and EQ5 tripod. 19 subs had bloated stars due to the thin cloud, but no trailing. 20 subs were usable. Just TWO subs were unusable because of star trailing. Unfortunately the bright moon limited how much detail I could get, but I think the shot below proves you CAN get worhwhile results with a lighter mount and tripod if you take care.

My advice is have a go with what your budget will stand and start enjoying yourself now - whatever results you get will be better than nothing and will inspire you to try harder!

post-43529-0-79643800-1444060071_thumb.j

(Apologies the above were 30--second subs not 1 minute)

Edited by Stub Mandrel

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+1 for camera and lens setup, you can start with a kit lens at 18mm on a fixed tripod and later upgrade to a Star adventurer or EQ3-2 for focal lengths up to 200mm with very good results as KoCS has shown.

Alan

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I am looking for a scope astrophotography not just the camera.

p.s does anyone know how to change my profile photo?

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I picked up my 2nd hand EQ3-2 for £120, then paid another £20 for a polar scope. Images like this are possible at around the £400 mark for mount + modded camera + camera lens, if you can find them on the market.

20156584654_65a50260e5_c.jpg

(200mm f4 SMC Takumar lens - cost me £22.)

 15147147820_89347b3d5e_c.jpg

(135mm f3.5 Super-Takumar lens - £18 on eBay.)

At the budget end of imaging old camera lenses offer a lot of value.

This has to be the way to go. Your budget simply isn't a telescopic astrophoto budget. If you keep the FL down you don't need a particularly accurate mount. A basic motorized EQ will work well at short focal lengths.

Olly

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ok thanks Olly. By the way you are my AP after seeing your images in AN!

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I know it's a bit left-field and probably not what you had in mind but if you have a DSLR and a reasonable tripod have you thought of THIS system and it'll still leave you a few quid for an intervalometer.

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The above suggestion with a old model Canon second hand would get you started.

It is suprising what you can make to mount stuff on if you do not have any budget left for a tripod.

You a;ready have a dob base, you could probably use the skywatcher dove tail bracket and fit that to your dob base and then put the Star Adventurer on that. Though I am not familiar with the dob you have.

Edited by happy-kat

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