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camsham76

Beginners setup - wildlife photography background

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Posted (edited)

I’m coming to astronomy/astrophotography from a wildlife photography background but as a parent of two young children my time during daylight hours is going to be limited for the next decade! I have a Canon 6D (full frame), Canon 650D (APS-C) and some decent L lenses (400mm f5.6 L, 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II plus the 24-105 f4 IS kit lens).

So my question is, does it make sense to buy something like the Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro to start with (with perhaps a modestly priced scope for visual observation)  and stick to my photography kit for imaging?

If I invest in a good astro equatorial mount which I can add a telescope of some variety to, can I directly mount my 400mm f5.6 Canon L lens and take galaxy/nebula images? Is there some big difference between the Wildlife lenses and the refractor telescopes of similar focal length? I assume I would be looking at taking relatively short exposures with that set-up as I wouldn’t have the benefit of autoguiding…?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Edited by camsham76
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You could go with a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer, an iOptron SkyTracker Pro, or a Vixen Polarie style tracking mount instead of a full blown equatorial mount for starters.  Canon's L series lenses should work well for a start, in particular the 400mm f5.6.  You would have to get at least an ED scope to match the Canon 400mm for image quality.

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I'd second Louis D. Those lenses will be capable of some excellent photos and will be a good place to start. You could go with a Star Adventurer, or heavier with an HEQ5 or up (mounting the lens won't be a problem). The larger options are pricier (and bulkier) but are good for visual use as well and also allow you to mount  a larger scope for imaging should you decide to acquire one.

It really depends how you see your interest developing. If it's likely to be mostly photographic and you think you might one day want to use a bigger imaging scope then an equatorial mount makes sense. On the other hand, a Star Adventurer will handle all your current gear (which is very capable) and a Dobsonian makes a very cost effective visual scope.

Billy.

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The 70-200mm L IS II is an excellent lens for widefield, you should be able to use it wide open.
Paired with the 6D will make a very nice widefield setup.

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Thanks for the responses.

Would I need an autoguider to work with the mounts?

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You might have just saved me quite a bit of cash... Cheers!  I'll start researching those DSLR mounts.

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My impression is that at shorter focal lengths camera lenses are more prone to coma (stretched stars in the corners) or at least you can't get field flatteners to get rid of the effect.

For longer focal lengths scopes tend to do more with less glass, by being longer.

Finally, scopes are designed to work best at full aperture, most camera lenses are sharpest when stopped down to the middle of their range.

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55 minutes ago, camsham76 said:

Thanks for the responses.

Would I need an autoguider to work with the mounts?

Sorry... I've done some research on what people have suggested and I think I understand why this question is moot.  :-)

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This is my setup albeit with a CCD rather than a DSLR.

Main lens is a Samyang 135mm f/2 used wide open, mount is an HEQ5 Pro with belt mod and Lacerta stand alone guider.
This is all good for 900second plus subs with an Atik 383L mono CCD.
atiksamyang2.thumb.jpg.fc949887e120ef2245a16473ead561b2.jpg

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Wow... that's a serious looking setup, wxsatuser! 

I'm liking what I've read about the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer but it also has an autoguider port so I'm a bit confused about the need for that.... The autoguider is needed for either longer exposures (like 900 seconds!) or longer focal lengths, right? If I want to use my 400mm f5.6 L am I likely to want/need an autoguider or is that the sort of thing I'd add much later? The Skywatcher+my wildlife kit is a way cheaper route than what I had been planning so I have some wiggle-room.

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Posted (edited)

It depends, autoguiding is really useful for long exposures but you may find you can do reasonably well with short exposures.
One to two minutes with a 6D and fast glass should make a good impression.

You can start  without guiding and get your feet wet and then if the bug bits add guiding later.

If it was me I would use the 70-200mm wide open.
You will be surprised at how big many DSO's are and many will fit on focal lengths from 70 to 200mm.

 

Edited by wxsatuser
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I have used a 200 mm F/2.8 L lens to great effect combined with my EOS 550D. It is astro-modded, so more sensitive in H-alpha, but on M31 that should not differ much from what your unmodded camera can do. I used a simple EQ3-2 mount, and use that with or without autoguider. Your 70-200 F/2.8 should give similar results

Orion07012018LPremBGcal.jpg.0f1b9829700289fe109af187079703ef.thumb.jpg.c08d69922bacb218fa12d3aa0af58e48.jpgM31-07012018-3_2.thumb.jpg.93eb4eb842a465e5b092560d621c973d.jpgRosette08012018LPremBGcal.thumb.jpg.8fd0087100646362ac475a880f9e724f.jpg

 

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7 hours ago, camsham76 said:

Thanks, but I've already pulled the trigger... Doh!

Let us know how your adventures in astro imaging progresses.  I've been curious about getting one of those mini-eq mounts for DSLR astrophotography.  All of my telescope mounts are non-tracking alt-az, so they're only useful for solar system object imaging.

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Hi camsham76,  usually in these first steps in astrophotography threads someone recommends this book as an introduction Making Every Photon Count,  you will have fun getting up to speed with software, I expect you already use Photoshop and you may find some of the astro related software useful elsewhere.  Have a look at  APT for controlling your canon.  

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Thanks Luis D and Mick J... I will post back when I've gotten some time with it and some dark skies. I'll also take a look at that book. 

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Posted (edited)

Hi all. Instead of starting a new topic, I thought I would hijack this one, with a related enquiry.

I’m also thinking of dipping my toe in the water from wildlife to Astro. I however am a Nikon shooter and have an unmodded D800, the holy trinity f2.8’s; 14-24mm. 24-70mm, and 70-200mm plus an f4 500mm. 

I was considering just going with something like an iOptron Skyguider Pro initially on my Gitzo cf tripod, possibly down the track throwing on a small QhyCCD guider to learn how to use PHD2. The thinking being that not using a go-to mount would help me learn the skies better and give me the portability to take the rig out to the desert (I live most of the year in Saudi Arabia).

Given above, I think i have widefield covered (within the restrictions of photo optics) but was wondering if the 500mm would be too large for the Skyguider Pro? I’m presuming so and therefore thought about the William Optics 61mm, which gives me an increased FL over my 70-200mm. 

Thoughts, recommendations?

 

Regards

Alan Schenk

Dhahran (and Oxfordshire)

Edited by Albion
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You may get away with a 500mm as I think the mount has a counterweight.

Check to see it's actual weight limits.

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On 5/16/2018 at 05:04, Albion said:

Given above, I think i have widefield covered (within the restrictions of photo optics) but was wondering if the 500mm would be too large for the Skyguider Pro? I’m presuming so and therefore thought about the William Optics 61mm, which gives me an increased FL over my 70-200mm. 

The specs for this mount indicate an 11 pound (5 kg) payload exclusive of the counterweight when properly balanced.  Assuming 7 pounds for the lens and 2 pounds for the camera, you're going to be close, but probably doable.  You'll also need to account for the weight of a ball head mount to aim the camera somewhere.

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If you’re interested in astrophotography then definitely get Making Every Photon Counts. 

I like to think I am a reasonably competent daytime photographer. I even get asked to do the odd wedding for people. 

Having been researching Astro for about 18 months now and have still not taken a single photo (albeit I have had a fair amount of life to deal with). You basically have to unlearn everything you know about photography and re-learn a whole new way of working.

The book goes through every step very concisely and it’ll save you hours of faffing around. 

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