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Hi All

I’m a complete novice thinking of purchasing my first telescope for both viewing the night sky and astrophotography. I have a good telescope for birdwatching that I occasionally use to look at the sky, this has given me a taste for exploring what’s up there but I really need something more suitable to take me deeper.   

I am very lucky to live in a part of Northumberland with little light pollution, so I intend to do most of my observing from the back garden. However, I may want to transport the telescope from time to time in my van.

I already do a lot of landscape astrophotography and I own DSLR gear for that purpose. As I already have an interest in photography I am sure that I will want to try my hand at prime focus photography through whichever telescope I end up purchasing, I would be particularly keen to try photographing some deep sky objects if possible.

I have spent the last few days online researching which telescope might help me step into the world of star gazing/astrophotography and I am thinking along the lines of a skywatcher 200PDS with a HEQ5 mount.   

Everyone here will have more experience than me so I thought I’d ask whether this would be a suitable set up for my requirements as a complete novice looking to teach myself about the sky and bung a DSLR on it now and then ?! It costs a lot of money and so will involve some saving up before I can purchase, I did consider cheaper set ups but my mate told me if I was keen to use a DSLR then I should save my money for something more suitable or I might end up frustrated. I hope the 200PDS is suitable ?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice you can offer.

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Welcome

As you want to do both and you already will have camera tripod and various lenses for the photography itch get a skywatcher star adventurer.

Then for the observing itch a nice telescope on an easy to use for observing altaz mount such as a AtAz 4 with 150p

You do not need a telescope to image DSO. Camera prime lenses can be extremely good. 

Just my initial thoughts, you will get lots of replies I expect.

Edited by happy-kat

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1 hour ago, happy-kat said:

Welcome

As you want to do both and you already will have camera tripod and various lenses for the photography itch get a skywatcher star adventurer.

Then for the observing itch a nice telescope on an easy to use for observing altaz mount such as a AtAz 4 with 150p

You do not need a telescope to image DSO. Camera prime lenses can be extremely good. 

Just my initial thoughts, you will get lots of replies I expect.

Thanks happy-kat, that looks very interesting, I didn’t know these things existed !

My current astrophotography is all wide angle landscapey stuff, milky way, aurora, star trails etc and I use 14 or 24mm prime lenses with a canon 6D, I also have a canon 300mm f4 prime lens I use for wildlife.

I wonder how that mount would cope with a 300mm for long exposure stuff of DSO ?

How would the end results from that mount + the 300mm compare to prime focus through a 200PDS for DSO ?   

The mount  + 150p is a cheaper option than my 200PDS idea so that certainly appeals......  I think I need to look into this some more !

 

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This is the discusion thread on sstar adventurer.

link here

This blog my a member who uses vintage lenses on an EQ3 is interesting to read, go right to the bottom of the page and work up.

link here

This member uses a HEQ5 with camera lenses

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/281720-veil-200mm-from-august/

This is a popular combo HEQ5 and 130PDS (so is the ED80) lots of fabulous images if you work through that topic

link here

The bigger the telescope the more wind vunerable to shakes and therefore wasted subs. There is a book called Making Ever Photon Count which is a starts popular read before spending any money to make the best choise for your situation as you can see above lots of avenues to suit lots of people.

Edit: There is a website where you can put telescope camera combos in to see for different targets what the framing would be. A link below but not the one I had thoguht of.

link here

Edited by happy-kat

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Thanks for all the advice.

I thought long and hard about this, bought the book, did more research, some more thinking and in the end decided to head down the HEQ5 + 130 PDS route.

I got a 130 PDS at a nice price from another SGL member (thanks Matt) and a nice HEQ5 Pro from ebay. The HEQ5 is proper mint but came with a monster 200 PDS attached (the guy wouldn't split it). I only wanted the mount so figured I'd just sell the 200PDS on. I have since reconsidered and will be keeping both scopes for now :icon_biggrin:.

I've had the 130 PDS out a couple of times so far and I love it. I even managed a dodgy photograph of the orion nebula last night, it's a load of rubbish tbh but my first ever pic of a DSO so I was chuffed to bits ! Operating the HEQ5 is clearly going to take some learning but I was prepared for that, so no bother.

Really looking forward to the next few months getting to grips with it all, and no doubt I'll be back on here asking lots of daft newbie questions.

Cheers

 

 

 

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I'll keep things general rather that get into the specifically of kit for now.

 

Get a copy of making every photo count, and read that.  I'll think you'll get through it in no time and understand fast what kit will be suited to you.

 

When talking about Astrophotography. The mount of king.  If your camera is wobbling you'll get camera shake that that will ruin your images.  Now, for landscape you will already know this.  For Astrophotography, we're talking about long exposures of 2-3 mins or more.  (Ask about for tweaking taking 60 min sub) add to that, that the sky is a moving target and you'll appreciate the challange.  Keeping a camera stable, whilst taking long exposures of a moving target.  Nasty problem right ;).  So getting the biggest strongest sturdiest mount that you can will pay you back in the long term.

 

Things like the star adventurer are great, when you are trying for higher magnifications (i.e. 500mm lens or more) you'll most likely be at the point where you'll be wanting a telescope, and a guider too.

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Spaced Out, looks like you got a good deal there and a great setup. Could cuold look for a manaul altaz mount to stick the 200P-ds on while the other gear is busy imaging and get some observing time in too.

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7 hours ago, happy-kat said:

Spaced Out, looks like you got a good deal there and a great setup. Could cuold look for a manaul altaz mount to stick the 200P-ds on while the other gear is busy imaging and get some observing time in too.

Yeah sounds like a good plan for sure ! Tbh I've just blown all of my savings on this gear and fancy a couple more eyepieces too so might be a little while before I am able to afford other stuff. I'm sure over time I'll find my groove tho and get properly set up with what I need.

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