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Revilo

Standard set up for imaging under £1200

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Hello again,

ive done some thinking and I’ve decided that I want to save  some funds for getting a good set up for AP as this is what I really want to do. My budget will probably be £1000-£1200 saving £50 or so every month towards the kit. ( better to do that then blow all your money and be bank rupt for the rest of the year :) ) Even if it takes a year or longer I know it’s going to be worth it in the long run. Anyway, I have been doing some reading on here and using Every Photon Counts ( need to re read it as I still dont understand it properly) people are saying that the HEQ5 is the bare minimum for AP.  I’ve seen this on FLO https://www.firstlightoptics.com/pro-series/skywatcher-evostar-80ed-pro-heq5-pro.html which looks like a good set up or is there anything different you would recommend? I still have to get a camera which I’m most likely going to get first so this isn’t included in the budget. My primary targets is DSOs ( obviously :) ) I was thinking of getting the 130pds on that mount but I would like to hear you suggestions on maybe getting a different Mount or scope. I’m thinking of  maybe going second hand if possible.

Thanks fo the help

Olly.

Edited by Revilo

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Olly,

I can highly recommend the Skywatcher HEQ5 and Evostar 80ED as an excellent starting point for astrophotography. Get yourself a nice little Canon DSLR and you will be almost ready. Be prepared for frustration and plenty of head-scratching, but when it works, the satisfaction is fabulous. You will need various other bits and pieces to get it up and running; power, dew heaters, a Bahtinov mask, plenty of batteries for the camera, ideally an intervalometer and a ton of patience! You will no doubt end up wanting to connect a computer to everything so that you can control the mount, camera and use auto-guiding - but that is all a little further down your adventure! The 130pds wouldn't be necessary straight away, there is plenty to do with the 80ED first.

Good luck,

Gav.

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The book "every photon counts" would be a good starting point and it will not break the bank.

I would look at the ground up. You need to decide on the type of scopes you may want and make sure you mount is up to the job. I started with a eq5 pro that was second hand a good value. whilst is was a great grab and go it was not as stable as my neq6 that I have now.

Edited by spillage

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36 minutes ago, PhotoGav said:

Olly,

I can highly recommend the Skywatcher HEQ5 and Evostar 80ED as an excellent starting point for astrophotography. Get yourself a nice little Canon DSLR and you will be almost ready. Be prepared for frustration and plenty of head-scratching, but when it works, the satisfaction is fabulous. You will need various other bits and pieces to get it up and running; power, dew heaters, a Bahtinov mask, plenty of batteries for the camera, ideally an intervalometer and a ton of patience! You will no doubt end up wanting to connect a computer to everything so that you can control the mount, camera and use auto-guiding - but that is all a little further down your adventure! The 130pds wouldn't be necessary straight away, there is plenty to do with the 80ED first.

Good luck,

Gav.

Hi gav,

thanks :) I don’t want to get anything too complicated while I start out. I need to do some more research by the time I make the plunge. Will note down those other things to get .

 

olly

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I'd go as far as to say everyone thinking of going down the astrophography route should look at a setup like that..more of less perfect but I'd also include the reducer/flattener..

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4 minutes ago, newbie alert said:

I'd go as far as to say everyone thinking of going down the astrophography route should look at a setup like that..more of less perfect but I'd also include the reducer/flattener..

Good shout re the reducer/flattener. You’ll need a DSLR T-ring adapter too. At this point it is possibly apposite to warn you that astrophotography is a continual desire to spend money on kit, more kit and just one more gizmo that will make all the difference. Oh, and then some more kit. You have been warned! We haven’t even touched on processing all the data you generate yet...!

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Hi. Perhaps the best advice would be to be associated with an astro club. That way, you have hands on evidence upon which to base decisions. You'll also be able to witness an imaging session and get to use any communal gear they have before you have amassed your budget. HTH.

edit: forgot one of the most important aspects: Cloudy nights in the bar. A round of drinks will buy you many a private invitation!

Edited by alacant
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37 minutes ago, PhotoGav said:

Good shout re the reducer/flattener. You’ll need a DSLR T-ring adapter too. At this point it is possibly apposite to warn you that astrophotography is a continual desire to spend money on kit, more kit and just one more gizmo that will make all the difference. Oh, and then some more kit. You have been warned! We haven’t even touched on processing all the data you generate yet...!

I have realised this after reading many posts about AP haha :) luckily There are some decent free programs ( i hope) that I can use. Have just looked at your link, makes me want to get into it even more nice images.

Edited by Revilo

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Olly

Welcome from land down under

As stated, Skywatcher HEQ5 with a ED80 is logical choice

I have Skywatcher EQ5, which uses cables supplied for external drive, and works out slightly cheaper than the HEQ5

I actually finished up with the EQ5, as when went to purchase, the astronomy shop was not able to supply an HEQ5, and be a couple of months for next consignment to arrive, and took the EQ5 instead

Have a Skywatcher ED80 as a package

We already had a Canon 600 DSLR camera, and purchased T-ring for camera

The other expense is working out which software you going to use for processing your images

There is free shareware programs, and Pixinsight seems to most peoples choice for processing

You can also add a solar filter to a ED80 as per attached image

 

 

 

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

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5 minutes ago, cletrac1922 said:

Olly

Welcome from land down under

As stated, Skywatcher HEQ5 with a ED80 is logical choice

I have Skywatcher EQ5, which uses cables supplied for external drive, and works out slightly cheaper than the HEQ5

I actually finished up with the EQ5, as when went to purchase, the astronomy shop was not able to supply an HEQ5, and be a couple of months for next consignment to arrive, and took the EQ5 instead

Have a Skywatcher ED80 as a package

We already had a Canon 600 DSLR camera, and purchased T-ring for camera

The other expense is working out which software you going to use for processing your images

There is free shareware programs, and Pixinsight seems to most peoples choice for processing

You can also add a solar filter to a ED80 as per attached image

 

 

 

Skywatcher ED80.jpg

Hi,

Looks like a nice set of kit :) nice to know about the solar filter. May I ask how heavy it is if possible? ( the mount)

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Contrary to popular belief Making Every Photon Count says you can get started using an EQ3* as many have demonstrated, but If I was starting with your budget and what I know now,  I would dive in with a HEQ5, 130P-DS + Coma corrector and a DSLR :icon_biggrin:

 

*P. 49 "My advice would be to buy an absolute minimum of an EQ3 mount"

Edited by Stub Mandrel
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Another vote for the 130 PDS its just so much faster than the ED80 and cheaper...

Alan

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25 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Contrary to popular belief Making Every Photon Count says you can get started using an EQ3* as many have demonstrated, but If I was starting with your budget and what I know now,  I would dive in with a HEQ5, 130P-DS + Coma corrector and a DSLR :icon_biggrin:

 

*P. 49 "My advice would be to buy an absolute minimum of an EQ3 mount"

I was thinking of getting a 130pds and have seen the images that have been taken with it on here look really good,  and it’s a lot cheaper. Just wanted to know what people’s thoughts were. 

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Hello, welcome to the money pit :-)

You will likely need to consider a solution for guiding too. There are adapters to convert the standard finderscope to take a guide cam - and of course, the guide camera itself

Maybe a good start would be to forget the 'scope for now, get the best mount you can, and top it with a DSLR. You can jump right in then, and see which scope suits you after a while?

Have fun!

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39 minutes ago, Yawning Angel said:

Hello, welcome to the money pit :-)

You will likely need to consider a solution for guiding too. There are adapters to convert the standard finderscope to take a guide cam - and of course, the guide camera itself

Maybe a good start would be to forget the 'scope for now, get the best mount you can, and top it with a DSLR. You can jump right in then, and see which scope suits you after a while?

Have fun!

Thanks that’s what my initial plan was going to be :) 

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On ‎8‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 07:20, Revilo said:

Hi,

Looks like a nice set of kit :) nice to know about the solar filter. May I ask how heavy it is if possible? ( the mount)

Olli

EQ5 weighs 36.5 lbs fully assembled (16.5kgs) and the counterweights weigh 11.5lbs together (5.2kgs)

I use single half thickness counterweight, as fine balances nicely with the ED80, and less stress on drive motors

John

 

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I agree with the advice you've had on what to go for, but would like to add that you should consider buying second-hand. Most of my kit is second-hand and was received in excellent condition (astronomers tend to look after their stuff) and you'll get a lot more for your money.

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