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Galen Gilmore

Basic astrophotography setup?

31 posts in this topic

Hi all,

I want to try and do astrophotography, but that is not quite possible on a dob. I also have a limited budget. What kind of basic astrophotography EQ mounts, refractors, ect. are out there? I'm not looking for spectacular results, mabye just enough to start resolving the wings and color in the Orion Nebula, or dust lanes in andromeda.

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Posted (edited)

EQ5 and tracking motors and ed80 ,that would be a good start but if you could get a HEQ5 it would be better ive seen them go for £400 2/hand in good order and the ed80 go for £250 ish. charl. ps dont know what that would be in dollars.

Edited by xtreemchaos
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One of the various DSLR star trackers is the easiest / cheapest, thing to start with, I use a Skywatcher Star Adventurer, it can carry a small scope or up to 300mm camera lens and can do great images of Larger DSOs.

Dave

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56 minutes ago, xtreemchaos said:

EQ5 and tracking motors and ed80 ,that would be a good start but if you could get a HEQ5 it would be better ive seen them go for £400 2/hand in good order and the ed80 go for £250 ish. charl. ps dont know what that would be in dollars.

The prices you listed would be $500 and $313. Which is a bit out of my price range. I'm looking to spend only $550-600 (£439-479)

i havnt been able to find out how much the tracking motors for an EQ5 or an EQ3?

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1 hour ago, Davey-T said:

One of the various DSLR star trackers is the easiest / cheapest, thing to start with, I use a Skywatcher Star Adventurer, it can carry a small scope or up to 300mm camera lens and can do great images of Larger DSOs.

Dave

I didn't think about that, that is worth looking into.

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EQ3 with a £60-£70 RA motor is the cheapest way to start.

 

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

EQ3 with a £60-£70 RA motor is the cheapest way to start.

 

Hmmm, ok. That's also an option.

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Posted (edited)

Will depend on how basic you intend to be now and any future aspirations.

I used to visit a small astro show down in the West of England, they used to produce good results with an EQ5 and WO Megrez 72 scopes as the basic equipment. Not sure what the EQ5 equivalent is in the US and the Megrez 72 is no longer produced but there are alternatives in both areas.

As a really small scope option WO are bringing out a new Zenith Star 60 (maybe 61) soon, limited supply. There is a flattener available for it, cost is simply advertised as starting with a "3", so maybe $399, flattener will be extra. OK not big and it will be widefield, but a thought.

The catch here is that if you get the small option, 70/72/60mm scope and EQ5, then just about any upgrade means everything need upgrading. Or the upgrrade is limited. But staying simple is no great problem as AP can get very costly.

You will want a goto equitorial mount, that allows for a guide setup to be added. Also the motors tend to be better.

Edited by ronin

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The two options already mentioned, the Star adventurer and EQ3-2 are fine for unguided exposures of around 2 mins at focal lengths up to around 300 mm and both are similar in price once you factor in motors and a polar scope for the EQ3. The SA has the advantage of portability while the EQ3 can handle a 150 mm newt for visual.

Alan

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I vote star tracker and a modded DSLR. Can be used for awesome widefields of Milky Way and constellations and bumped up to longer focal lengths with bigger lenses quite cheaply. If I was starting out again, this is where I would start for sure.

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A limited budget and deep sky imaging in the same sentence leads to a simple conclusion - widefield imaging. Short focal length instruments place the least demands on a tracking mount and whilst it is true that they are not upgradeable, you can at least make a good start in imaging. A DSLR camera, camera lens up to 200mm and something like the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer would be a great way to get started.

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Posted (edited)

I started ap with the tpo 6inch astrograph and the Celestron AVX with the canon rebel sl1. the sl1 is the worlds lightest dslr but from experience I know you can put a 25 pound set up on that mount. And for proscessing I used photoshop cs2 which is free. I know am using a CCD narrowband setup and am getting great results. My experience either astrograph was great I never had any problems. I know other people who use the scope it comeback with a very good crayford focuser. A scope like that for only $300 is unbeatable! I love it! You can not go wrong with it. Here are some images I took with this setup:

 

IMG_4218.JPG

IMG_4219.JPG

IMG_5508.JPG

Edited by Jake127
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20 minutes ago, Jake127 said:

I started ap with the tpo 6inch astrograph and the Celestron AVX with the canon rebel sl1. the sl1 is the worlds lightest dslr but from experience I know you can put a 25 pound set up on that mount. And for proscessing I used photoshop cs2 which is free. I know am using a CCD narrowband setup and am getting great results. My experience either astrograph was great I never had any problems. I know other people who use the scope it comeback with a very good crayford focuser. A scope like that for only $300 is unbeatable! I love it! You can not go wrong with it. Here are some images I took with this setup:

 

IMG_4218.JPG

IMG_4219.JPG

IMG_5508.JPG

Hi jake,

very nice imaging with a light setup, but the AVX mount is still a bit expensive for my tastes.

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6 hours ago, steppenwolf said:

A limited budget and deep sky imaging in the same sentence leads to a simple conclusion - widefield imaging. Short focal length instruments place the least demands on a tracking mount and whilst it is true that they are not upgradeable, you can at least make a good start in imaging. A DSLR camera, camera lens up to 200mm and something like the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer would be a great way to get started.

 

7 hours ago, MattJenko said:

I vote star tracker and a modded DSLR. Can be used for awesome widefields of Milky Way and constellations and bumped up to longer focal lengths with bigger lenses quite cheaply. If I was starting out again, this is where I would start for sure.

 

On April 16, 2017 at 13:03, Alien 13 said:

The two options already mentioned, the Star adventurer and EQ3-2 are fine for unguided exposures of around 2 mins at focal lengths up to around 300 mm and both are similar in price once you factor in motors and a polar scope for the EQ3. The SA has the advantage of portability while the EQ3 can handle a 150 mm newt for visual.

Alan

 

On April 15, 2017 at 12:52, Davey-T said:

One of the various DSLR star trackers is the easiest / cheapest, thing to start with, I use a Skywatcher Star Adventurer, it can carry a small scope or up to 300mm camera lens and can do great images of Larger DSOs.

Dave

You guys all mention the skywatcher star adventurer, what is a similar US equivalent?

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9 hours ago, Galen Gilmore said:

 

 

 

You guys all mention the skywatcher star adventurer, what is a similar US equivalent?

It should be available in the USA, try High Point Scientific.

iOptron do a similar thing.

Dave

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Have you not checked the second hand market. You can pick up some good kit at a much lower price.

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Posted (edited)

Quote

iOptron do a similar thing.

If you are referring to the iOptron Skytracker Dave, it doesn't guide.  I have one and only tried it out once so far, but managed to get about 3.5mins unguided on a 28 - 200mm lens, but at approx 100mm zoom.  Quite simple to use, but I want mine for travelling abroad, I would suggest the Skywatcher Star Adventurer is more substantial, I have found it on sale in the USA:

Quote

You guys all mention the skywatcher star adventurer, what is a similar US equivalent?

http://www.skywatcherusa.com/product/star-adventurer-photo-package/

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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10 hours ago, Galen Gilmore said:

You guys all mention the skywatcher star adventurer, what is a similar US equivalent?

We mention this because of its low price, however, perhaps more readily available in the USA the Vixen Polarie Star Tracker or iOptron Skytracker would also be suitable, the Vixen being my favoured choice especially as it now has an add-on that will allow for a increased payload.

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1 hour ago, carastro said:

If you are referring to the iOptron Skytracker Dave, it doesn't guide.  I have one and only tried it out once so far, but managed to get about 3.5mins unguided on a 28 - 200mm lens, but at approx 100mm zoom.  Quite simple to use, but I want mine for travelling abroad, I would suggest the Skywatcher Star Adventurer is more substantial, I have found it on sale in the USA:

http://www.skywatcherusa.com/product/star-adventurer-photo-package/

Carole 

Do you have to buy the base for the skywatcher for it to properly function like an EQ mount, or will any ball head work?

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1 minute ago, Galen Gilmore said:

Do you have to buy the base for the skywatcher for it to properly function like an EQ mount, or will any ball head work?

It's best if you can find it as a kit complete with the EQ wedge and dovetail bar, you can use it without a ball head it just limits the framing options.

Dave

58f8acce3d30c_SW-S-Adventurer-300mm-lens.jpg.4a96261ee9508438e520b1d3dc1a9107.jpg

 

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You will need to buy a sturdy tripod (most people use a manfrotto tripod), and there are a number of optional attachments you can buy.  

I have attached a link to a UK site which shows various options.  I am not sure what actually comes in the package that I linked to you, you may have to speak to the retailer. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-star-adventurer-astronomy-bundle.html

 

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12 minutes ago, carastro said:

You will need to buy a sturdy tripod (most people use a manfrotto tripod), and there are a number of optional attachments you can buy.  

I have attached a link to a UK site which shows various options.  I am not sure what actually comes in the package that I linked to you, you may have to speak to the retailer. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-star-adventurer-astronomy-bundle.html

 

I have a sturdy tripod as my dad is a professional photographer, so that is covered.

Also the Meade LX70 is on sale for $249 (I think that's around £210?)

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Looking at the $ prices for all the bits it may well work out cheaper to import the complete kit from the UK.

Dave

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Quote

Also the Meade LX70 is on sale for $249 (I think that's around £210?)

If you're looking at the cheap refractor, it has a manual equatorial mount and definitely not suitable for astrophotography.  The larger Mak cassegrain also is not suitable as it is F12 and far too slow and difficult. 

Carole 

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2 hours ago, carastro said:

If you're looking at the cheap refractor, it has a manual equatorial mount and definitely not suitable for astrophotography.  The larger Mak cassegrain also is not suitable as it is F12 and far too slow and difficult. 

Carole 

I'm just looking at the mount by itself with the added motors and polar scope.

https://www.optcorp.com/meade-lx70-german-equatorial-mount.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw2-bHBRDEh6qk5b6yqKIBEiQAFUz29iBcjts0SP4pEsjv22MBUp5TH-Lva5ID0qxe2qeDJokaAtk-8P8HAQ

https://www.optcorp.com/meade-lx70-dual-axis-motor-drive.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw2-bHBRDEh6qk5b6yqKIBEiQAFUz29mQFa_KSzsulIRcQTkbk-9FRmtLzcMotfOg5pcpvCxsaArX48P8HAQ

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