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Hello all,

I have been taking photographs from a static tripod for awhile now with varying success, mostly landscape shots using a wide angle. I now have an unexpected £300 to potentially spend on an EQ mount but am struggling to understand if that is the best way to progress to the next level.

For Christmas my girlfriend bought me the Opektra 500mm (with 2x teleconverter) so I could hopefully take some pictures of planets (It's not a great piece of glass basically a cheap telescope with a t-mount fixed at f/8 with manual focus, but it's okay for what it is).

I immediately found it virtually impossible to get anything to stay in the FoV with my tripods as (obviously) the slightest movement on such a small object threw it out, the best I was able to manage is the attached image.

From the research I have done it appears that a mount is more important than a telescope in some respects, as I need something that can hold the weight of my camera and track over a longer exposure.

I have a Nikon D300 and the following lenses in addition to the Optekra;

  • Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
  • Nikkor 70-200mm f/4.5-5.6
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
  • Nikkor 35mm f/1.8

There is a live view function on the D300 but no video. Any suggestions on what equipment to progress to gratefully received (as are any links to good guides, I'm not adverse to reading but am struggling to find anything around next steps that don't involved spending thousands on a telescope and a mount) but also if I am better off just continuing to save and can improve my existing kit in the meantime I would really love to learn how!

Many thanks in advance for any help.

Jupiter.jpg

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Thanks for responding so quickly Tuomo,

 

You're right this seems ideal, especially for stars! 

Two follow up questions:

  • Can this also be used for planet tracking? (this is probably a silly question but as planets have a faster relative movement to Earth than stars I assume the tracking has to account for both Earth spin and planetary orbit?)
  • Looking at reviews many seem to say there are several advantages to getting the Mini Wifi version with very similar performances, would you have a view on this?

 

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Since you mention "scope" I would say that you are looking at a "normal" equitorial mount, and it musy have motors and really goto is better - the bits inside tend to be higher specification.

The question is "What can you get away with and remain on safe ground?"

Several years ago I visited the SWAF, the imagers there used EQ5 goto's and the Megrez 72's with DSLR as their rigs, results were good. So seems safe to point you at similar setup. The Megrez 72's are not produced but there are alternatives. Thinking the WO Zenithstar 71 and the Altair of the about the same size = 70mm to 72mm, not sure which.

An EQ5 is not as lightweight as people suggest, I have one, but they are lighter then the HEQ5 which I also have. There is the EQ3-2 but it is the tripod that lets that down. maybe there is a pier/piller mount for it.

The mounts by iOptron appear light in weight for the capacity they claim to hold, I looked at a SmartEQ and dismissed the idea, again it may be the tripod as it is not substantial and they sell larger ones as an option. iOptron did at one time have a package of the SmartEQ+ZS71 as an intro to imaging option.

Not sure about he Bresser/ES/Meade mounts, likely good but a bit unknown or at least unreported.

Suppose realistically the EQ5+scope is the way to go as the mount is able to be expanded on in terms of equipment and load. Think (not sure) that the EQ5 goto is around £550 at present. One option id get that and attach DSLR and go getting wide field images, and get familiar with the stacking and darks aspect. Then after a few months add a scope. Splits the cost. Basically it is not really dark these nights and will be so until around the end of July.

Your reply has appeared: Planets track at a rate so close to siderial that it is not worth considering over the time of the imaging run.

Wifi, is another matter. On many it seems an "add on" and they can be poorly implimented. Good idea these days but the equipment is based on technology that was out well before Wifi, 20 years. I think iOptron have possibly done more concerning wifi but cannot think of any that it is a fully integrated system.

 

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Guest Tuomo
21 minutes ago, antmac said:

Thanks for responding so quickly Tuomo,

 

You're right this seems ideal, especially for stars! 

Two follow up questions:

  • Can this also be used for planet tracking? (this is probably a silly question but as planets have a faster relative movement to Earth than stars I assume the tracking has to account for both Earth spin and planetary orbit?)
  • Looking at reviews many seem to say there are several advantages to getting the Mini Wifi version with very similar performances, would you have a view on this?

 

I cant help you with the hardware, but yes, you can track planets with that. Theres a speed dial. BTW, usually you take high FPS video files for planets. You then chop that video to single frames and then stack best frames together and do one single frame.

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The skywatcher star adventurer is your perfect option for use with a camera and lense...even a small scope but wouldn't say a DSLR is good for planets..it will do the job but a purpose planetary cam will do the job far better but obviously throu a scope..

Your better option is for nebula,globular clusters and even galaxies..the star adventurer will give you a few minutes of exposure rather than a few seconds.seen some amazing images taken with that setup..

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