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Newbie seeking advice on camera and lens for DSO, planets and moon WITH camera suitable for eventual telescope useBy 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 Mikey wrighty
I am a complete nooby. And I’m trying to get going (on a budget) with what I have available. I am trying to use my dslr canon 2000d with Nina and sharpcap. Unfortunately after downloading the drivers etc it’s still not connecting to either. Please help!
many thanks, Mike.
*Moved to correct forum*
Hi, I'm new to this whole auto guiding thing so bare with me!
So I have a iOptron SkyGuider Pro with a WO Zenithstar 61 and recently bought a ZWO ASI120MM Mini and guide scope to have a go at auto guiding. I followed tutorials online step by step (installing drivers, and changing the settings in PHD etc.) and managed to connect the camera and mount in PHD, start looping exposures and select a star. But when I start the calibration, it counts to 'west step 61' and comes up with "RA Calibration Failed: star did not move enough"
I have tried reinstalling all drivers/software, using a different laptop and solutions other people have found do not help. Guide scope is focused and it's not trying to track a hot pixel.
The star is supposed to move up and down as the mount moves during the calibration although nothing happens. So this makes me think there is something wrong with the mount or the ST4 cable from the camera to the mount. Cable securely clicks into both ends. I have heard the term "backlash" with mounts and not sure if this could be the cause? Not sure what this means or if this is possible with a star tracker?
I can't seem to manually control the mount in PHD although I'm not sure what I'm doing. I can however, manually press the buttons on the mount itself and it moves fine.
I've attached pictures of my setup along with the 'Guide Log' that people often ask for - PHD2_GuideLog_2021-08-23_225305.txt
(Also, the total weight on the mount is 4.7kg and the max payload is 5kg for imaging so this should be fine?)
Any Ideas? Let me know if you guys need anything else.
iOptron Skyguider Pro
WO Zenithstar 61 ii
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI120MM Mini
Guide Scope: 32mm F4 (focal length - 125mm)
No questions but thought my experience with PA using Sharpcap and a Canon 800D might be of help to some.
Although I thought I was nailing Polar Alignment with a polar scope on my Fornax Lightrack, I could not get longer subs than 150secs. I considered buying a Polemaster but I thought was a bit pricey, so looked at a small guide scope and a webcam solution with Sharpcap which was a good bit cheaper.
Researching Sharpcap and DSLRs, I read that PA might be possible with my WO ZS73 (430mm) main scope. I needed to install the ASCOM platform and then the DSLR Camera Setup for Ascom and, of course, Sharpcap. Sharpcap recognised my 800D camera and I completed an "Excellent" PA within minutes. On the first night I managed 180sec subs and experimented with 240sec - all nice round stars. How far can I go? I had done a manual PA first which was a fair bit off from the Sharpcap PA, so not as nailed on as I thought!
I'd rather not be using a laptop but I can't argue against the results.
I hope that might be useful for some.