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...and your simple lenses are stranger than you think

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    • By Ed Galea
      About 50 years ago, I was a keen amateur astronomer in Melbourne Australia, and I'd like to get back into astronomy and astrophotography, but boy have things changed in 50 years!  I'd like to eventually target DSO, the larger planets and the moon.  As I now live in London and suffer from Bortle 8 skies I think things will be challenging but keen to see what can be achieved.  Also, I think whatever equipment I end up investing in will also need to be reasonably portable.
      As I'm also a keen photographer, I don't mind investing in gear that can also be used for regular photography.  My plan is to start small and (rapidly) build up my equipment as my expertise and appetite for challenges grows.  So I'm thinking I'll take the following steps:
      1) Purchase a DSLR/mirrorless (full frame if possible) camera and a good zoom lens.  Play with this for a while and practice imaging and post processing.  But I'd like to be able to also use the camera on the telescope I end up purchasing (see (3)).  Also will need a good tripod but will need to be suitable for (2).
      2) purchase an equatorial mount for the rig to try out longer exposures. 
      3) Invest in a reasonable telescope and tracking mount - probably a refractor around 100mm to 120mm for the main scope.  Utilse the camera from (1).
      4) Invest in an astrocamera.    
      I know I'm asking for a lot, but I want to be able to target DSO, the larger planets and the moon.  I appreciate that to achieve this will be a challenge and a compromise (small f numbers for DSO, larger f numbers for planets) but I think this should be possible with the right combination of main scope and tracker scope and accessories.   I also need the kit to be reasonably portable.
      Right now I'm exploring options for Step 1 i.e. camera, lens and tripod.  I'm prepared to spend about UK£2000.  All ideas and comments welcome! 
    • By Corpze
      Hi, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding what components my "optical test rig" has, and how to clamp the camera/laser with.

      I found some new bits and pieces which makes it very simple to build your own rig
    • By Corpze
      Hi - I just wanna share my latest build - based on Starlight Express optical rig in which they align their camerachip / housings before the ship them out - And i was inspired to build my own.
      I am very keen to be able to do so much adjustments and tuning to my gear during the day as possible - and this is another method of doing just that, and in this case the aligning of camera tilt which can be a royal PITA during the dark and -20 degree C.

      So, here is the SX article on what i was going to build: SX Article

      Note: I haven't reciieved my new camera yet so the video does not contain the actual adjustment, but as soon as i get my new camera - I will show just how it works!

    • By Quetzalcoatl72
      Looking for a wide angle lens for scenery and milkyway shots as well as one where I can take large close ups(microphotography) of crystal structure for my mineral collecting hobby and the odd insect I find. 
      Would it be possible to get a 2 in one? if so can you recommend any for my canon 600d? if not then would anyone suggest both? no more than 250 each new or used
      Also as a side note, my camera is modded so pictures have an orange tint to them, I have the AA filter that was removed and either I want to put it back or maybe theres another option, like a correction filter of some kind so I can take normal pictures? I think it is a baader correction filter installed, not sure what that is exactly as i've had it for several years.
    • By JemC
      I have recently acquired a Vixen Polarie with the intension of doing some wide field imaging, 
      I will be using my modified Canon 600D with it, Currently the only lens i have are a standard kit Canon 18-55mm and a old carl Zeiss Jenna 50mm , so i am looking at purchasing alternative lens to use,
      The ones i am looking at for now are the following,
      Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM
       Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L II USM
       Samyang 135mm f2 ED UMC
       Samyang 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 IF ED UMC 
       Sigma 150mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM Macro
       Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX
      So my question is, has anyone used any of these ( other than the Samyang 135mm f2 ) for wide field and if so how did you find them, would you recommend any of them?
      from the ones listed (other than the Samyang 135mm f2 ) would you say there are better ones to look at or any other i should consider?
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