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Gavin1234

Urgent help needed Astrophotography scope

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Hi, I know nothing about this stuff so please excuse my ignorance. It’s my wife’s birthday in a few days and I know she wants to get into Astrophotography. I’d like to surprise her with a telescope but I have no idea what I’m looking at. My wife is a keen photographer already and has done some research on Astrophotography but I haven’t been paying attention.

she has a few DSLR cameras but I think the one she uses the most is a cannon 80D.

as I said she has done some research but she will be a beginner In terms of both telescopes and astronomy. I think her interest is more in photography than astronomy. So I want to get her something that is easy and simple to use/setup, the auto alignment of the skyprodigy would be very appealing. I know she wants to take pictures of the moon and planets e.g. Saturn. Picture quality will be very important and as I said it will be used more for photographs than viewing. I am really hoping to buy a complete setup e.g. scope, mount, tripod and computer all in one rather than have to shop around for different parts (as I mentioned I have no idea what I’m doing).

I’ve been out to a shop that sells telescopes and my thoughts so far are (I’m I Sydney Australia so these prices are in AUD).

celestron skyprodigy 130 - $1,300

celestron 4se - $1,000

celestron 130 SLT - $899

celestron 130 Astro fi - $999

the guy was very keen on selling me that brand. So any advice on the above options or recommendations for a better option would really help me out. All of those are within my budget I’m not too concerned about price as long as it’s below 1400 AUD I want to get her the best one for that price.

 

thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Edit: I have done a lot of reading and videos on the net, so it’s not as though I’ve made no effort. However, this seems like such a complex area and given the limited time I have I think my safest bet it to take the advice of people who know more than me I.e. you guys.

Edited by Gavin1234

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Having only been into this for a very short time (read: since Christmas) I can tell you that I quickly learned the mount is probably the most important bit of kit for astrophotography. Invest wisely. 

Scope wise, I'm not really in a position to help as I only have limited experience with reflectors at the moment.

Software; Most of this is free. 

Planetarium.
Stellarium = Free.
Cartes du Ciel = Free. 

Stacking.
Deep Sky Stacker = Free.
Registax = Free.
PIPP = Free.

Guiding.
PHD2 = Free.

Post-processing.
Windows = Photoshop. Not Free. 
Linux = Gimp. Free.

Hope this helps.
Pete.

Edited by Redscouse

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From what I can see, none of the scopes you mention are really suitable for astrophotography.  As previously mentioned, the most important component in astrophotography is the mount.  This isn't something to buy in a hurry.  I would start slowly with a decent tracking mount so that she can use her existing camera and lenses to take long exposure images and learn the basic techniques.

http://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/product/star-adventurer-motorised-mount/

http://www.telescopes-astronomy.com.au/skytracker_ioptron_camera_mount_photography.htm

http://www.frontieroptics.com.au/iOptron SkyTracker PRO.htm

I would also get her a good book on the subject

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Astrophotography-Practical-Amateur-Astronomy/dp/0521700817

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

http://www.astropix.com/bgda/bgda.html

 

I hope this helps

 

Edited by michaelmorris

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Welcome.

As far as I know the 130 slt won't even reach focus with a DSLR.

The 4SE is quite small aperture for the Moon and planets (which aren't great for a few years certainly in the northern hemisphere) but the mount is not good for DSO as it moves in tiny left right up down movements so tracks an object but not it's rotation so long exposure imaging is restricted by field rotation. Plus the 4SE isn't really a DSO orientated telescope.

Edited by happy-kat

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Thanks so much for the advice. Unfortunately I’ve left this really late so I don’t have any time for reading up a lot. I’m basically in a situation where I need to go and buy her a telescope tomorrow.

i guess I could simplify the question by asking: if you only had $1,400 AUD to spend and you wanted to buy a telescope complete with computerised mount, tripod etc Specifically for Astrophotography, that wasn’t too complicated to use, what would you buy? 

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Give her the money she can then take her time to do a bit more research :icon_biggrin:

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6 minutes ago, Gavin1234 said:

Thanks so much for the advice. Unfortunately I’ve left this really late so I don’t have any time for reading up a lot. I’m basically in a situation where I need to go and buy her a telescope tomorrow.

i guess I could simplify the question by asking: if you only had $1,400 AUD to spend and you wanted to buy a telescope complete with computerised mount, tripod etc Specifically for Astrophotography, that wasn’t too complicated to use, what would you buy? 

First answer would be 'don't do it'! Give her a card with an IOU in it for the scope and do some more research.

If determined to do it, then I would say one of these two...

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series/celestron-nexstar-5se.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series/celestron-nexstar-6se.html

The bigger scope will give more resolution on planets and the moon.

Notes....

These will be fine for Lunar and planetary imaging but NOT great for deep sky astrophotography which generally needs and Equatorial mount and a faster scope.

You will need an adaptor to attach the camera to the scope

DSLRs aren't always the best cameras for imaging the moon and planets, you generally need smaller sensors and higher frame rates to take videos of these objects for stacking, but it is perfectly possible with a DSLR.

Good luck!

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14 minutes ago, lardy said:

Give her the money she can then take her time to do a bit more research :icon_biggrin:

+1. 

There are many avenues in this hobby. Give her the money/take her the store. Let her choose herself is probably the best advice given here today. 

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As already stated the mount is the most important item. Astrophotography is like terrestrial action photography with a long lens in the dark. It is one of the most technically complex pursuits imaginable.

The equipment and techniques needed to image the planets is quite different to those needed for galaxies, nebulae etc (also known as DSOs or Deep Sky Objects).

Planets are usually imaged with a video camera rather than a still camera like a DSLR. They require a long focal length scope with minimal chromatic aberration. If that is where her interests lie then you should budget for a good Astro video camera as well.

Bintel is a good reputable dealer in Sydney. But the previous posters are right. Don’t buy it yourself, let her choose or chances are you’ll get it wrong and get in the way of getting the gear she really needs. Sometimes even secondhand is the best option.

Your best bet Now is to get her a good introductory book on astrophotography.

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 you can get the 130pds in oz  named differently than here in the uk ,note the  2" dual speed focuser https://www.opticscentral.com.au/skywatcher-black-diamond-130-650-photo-reflector-telescope-ota-only.html?___SID=U#.WpvGw-jFLIU

https://www.opticscentral.com.au/saxon-heq5-pro-goto-mount.html?___SID=U#.WpvH9ejFLIU 

works out at about 1000 aus dollars 

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41 minutes ago, bottletopburly said:

 you can get the 130pds in oz  named differently than here in the uk ,note the  2" dual speed focuser https://www.opticscentral.com.au/skywatcher-black-diamond-130-650-photo-reflector-telescope-ota-only.html?___SID=U#.WpvGw-jFLIU

https://www.opticscentral.com.au/saxon-heq5-pro-goto-mount.html?___SID=U#.WpvH9ejFLIU 

works out at about 1000 aus dollars 

I have this setup. It works great. For me. 
One mans blessing is another mans curse etc; Don't do it. 

Let me add a little weight to the argument.
My wife bought me the 130P on an EQ2 mount for Christmas. We are now in March and the only thing I still use from that setup is the red dot finder! I have since bought another mount, two three scopes, a complete set of eyepieces along with a plethora of other extra bits I never knew I needed. 

Moral of the story. Let her choose. It will cost less in the long run and she will probably get it right first time as she knows a little about photography already. 

Edited by Redscouse

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Can I just add to the 'don't do it' brigade? Put the time and effort into making the IOU voucher really nice (get some images from the web, present it really nicely- you know the stuff) then spend time discussing what she wants to achieve, then start building up a setup.

Edited by Whistlin Bob
Typo...
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Wise words from everyone here..... as much as I understand that for her birthday you want to get her a great astrophotography setup...... don't do it. Instead get her a couple of books ordered..... explain to her that you didn't realise the full complexity of it all and that she needs to make the decision about a scope  herself.

If she's a keen photographer then I assume she'll have some decent long focal length lens's...... in her position  I would get a good mount such as an HEQ5. Using the DSLR and a long lens you will be surprised at the deep sky images that are possible...... planets not I'm afraid.

There's so much to learn and it's so different from daytime photography..... get the wrong stuff from the start and you risk her losing interest as it will be far more difficult than it need be.

 

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Yup, agree with all the above.  But if you REALLY want to get something for tomorrow, the HEQ5 (make sure it has a guide port) and Skywatcher 130PDS (Ozzie versions in the thread above), would be the best choice.  Would set you back around £900 in English money.

Carole 

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The trouble is, if you do buy something and it's not what she would have wanted......:eek:

Peter

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I’ll just get her a new vacuum cleaner and an iou 😅. Then work on this for next year..

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21 minutes ago, Gavin1234 said:

I think I’ll just get her a new vacuum cleaner

You Sir, are a very brave man! ;) 

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Hmmm, not sure about the vacuum cleaner, think that might go down like a lead balloon.  Hopefully aussie humour.

Carole 

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Make sure the vacuum cleaner doesnt have any sharp edges, for when she throws it at you :D

If it were me I would go the IOU route but with brochures/pictures, even notes from you about the pro&con of the various options that you have looked at, ie. some extra personal touch not just a plain iou

 

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Yep, thinking some more : deffo a 'togetherness' purchase,

much too serious money and options and depth for us to give a quick answer

PS:-  IOU + your considerations/suggestions   AND a username/login to here   all set up and ready for her   :)

 

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19 minutes ago, carastro said:

Hmmm, not sure about the vacuum cleaner

Unless it is for hoovering up photons, to mix up the synonyms ;) 

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43 minutes ago, carastro said:

Hmmm, not sure about the vacuum cleaner, think that might go down like a lead balloon.  Hopefully aussie humour.

Carole 

Yep just humour, I’m too young to die.

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Call the store, let them know you're coming. Take her for a walk/meal and just happen to 'pop' into the shop where the store assistant hands her an IOU. Everyone's a winner! :)

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7 minutes ago, Redscouse said:

Call the store, let them know you're coming. Take her for a walk/meal and just happen to 'pop' into the shop where the store assistant hands her an IOU. Everyone's a winner! :)

Great idea, one thing I realised is that women like the sentiment more than the gift itself. 

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5 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

Great idea, one thing I realised is that women like the sentiment more than the gift itself. 

Exactly. When the store hand over the IOU it shows forethought and planning. 25 years of marriage (sorry, 23 years together, 13 of them married.) teaches me to pay attention to the small details and the bigger stuff takes care of itself. <-- and the irony steeped in that corrected sentence makes me laugh out loud! :)

Just my pearls of wisdom. ;) 

Edited by Redscouse

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