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RomanAU

help on whether I should buy a discounted telescope or not

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Hi everyone,

 

I have joined the forum in the hopes that someone can point me in the right direction to  either go forward with an impulse buy, or avoid doing it.

So, looks like tomorrow starts a sale of sorts for a beginners telescope (this one).  It's a "National Geographic 76/700 EQ Newtonian Reflector Telescope" but to be honest that doesn't say much to me.

I am an amateur photographer and for some time now I have wanted to try a bit of astrophotography. I just want to know if it is a good opportunity to grab, or maybe I should better not. When you  look at it, it is not a lot of money (I'll have to add a Nikon F adapter) to see whether I keep looking at the stars or the telescope goes to collect dust in the garage. There are some specs in the page, but not knowing about the physics of a telescope, I can only assume 700mm focal length should be about twice what I have in my camera right now (albeit a lot slower than my f6 lens), so maybe it's good?

Anyway, for a bit of context, I would like to see the moon, maybe Mars or Venus, and whatever else I can catch and get a good picture of. If I can look at something farther, say Jupiter, that's better, but my main goal right now is to learn whether I like astrophotography or not.

Any help is more than welcome.

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The general view that I see reflected on SGL - and as a learner I've read loads here - is that if you want a satisfying telescope experience to steer clear of any 'National Geographic' telescope.  I think many serious astronomers are surprised that such a respected organisation puts their name to something so inferior in terms of what you pay for the build quality you get and the probable longevity of the object.  For a similar sum of money you might be able to buy a Skywatcher 100P Heritage (I'm sure you can Google that one yourself :-D) or maybe even a second-hand Skywatcher 130P both on Dobsonian mounts which you will probably find a bit easier to use as a learner and will get a much better viewing experience from.  After asking for help on SGL I got a Dobsonian.

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You need to spend more money for successful astro' photography, a start can be made on the Moon and wide field images of the Milky Way using your current equipment.

Dave

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2 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

using your current equipment

i.e. no telescope needed.  Davey-T is quite right even I have taken some nice astro pics of the moon and widefield stars with just a camera and tripod.

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Posted (edited)

Yes it's around f-9 that one and you'd need a 3mm eyepiece to achieve 233x magnification (not realistic). But the overriding thing against that one is that you want to do AP and that scope doesn't have a motor - so your pics are going to be very limited. You really need to track objects electronically, and you seem interested mostly in planets which are bright and near. For that, a long focal length will give you sharp, contrasty pics. The atmosphere will affect most images so you need to take lots of them (thousands) and merge only the good ones together and process the results (eg with Photoshop). The good shots will come in very short moments of astmospheric stability which do occur from time to time.

I'd recommend either a long focal length refractor or maksutov cassegraine - you'll get 1200-1500mm focal length at around f-10 to f-12 which is fine. You'll need to mount it on a good tracking/goto mount like the Skywatcher HEQ5 - but you can get some reasonable starter mounts like an EQ5 with tracking motors only, if you just want to dabble. Or the Skywatcher Star Adventurer. A webcam can be used for imaging, or get one of the popular solar system astro cameras. A good book to buy is "Making Every Photon Count" by Steve Richards. I don't know your budget - but I'd up it to around a grand for a realistic start using well chosen second hand gear. Your dslr would be better deployed with a fast lens to image deep sky, wide field objects. Hope that helps. :)

Edited by brantuk
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Posted (edited)

Hi RomanAU, welcome to SGL.  Always buy from a respected astronomy supplier, such as the forum sponsers, SGL, who will give you good advice and great service.  Do not buy from high street stores, it will only dissappoint.

Edited by rwilkey
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I'd avoid it.

My 127mm Mak Nexstar GoTo is quite effective for imaging planets, for its size.  It recorded some detail of Jupiter's cloud belts + the Great Red Spot, also Saturn's rings, etc. There are plenty of alternatives, but buying anything inferior to this is likely to lead to frustration, disappointment and a sense that you wasted your money.  How much did your photographic gear cost? 😀

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2 hours ago, RomanAU said:

Hi everyone,

 

I have joined the forum in the hopes that someone can point me in the right direction to  either go forward with an impulse buy, or avoid doing it.

So, looks like tomorrow starts a sale of sorts for a beginners telescope (this one).  It's a "National Geographic 76/700 EQ Newtonian Reflector Telescope" but to be honest that doesn't say much to me.

I am an amateur photographer and for some time now I have wanted to try a bit of astrophotography. I just want to know if it is a good opportunity to grab, or maybe I should better not. When you  look at it, it is not a lot of money (I'll have to add a Nikon F adapter) to see whether I keep looking at the stars or the telescope goes to collect dust in the garage. There are some specs in the page, but not knowing about the physics of a telescope, I can only assume 700mm focal length should be about twice what I have in my camera right now (albeit a lot slower than my f6 lens), so maybe it's good?

Anyway, for a bit of context, I would like to see the moon, maybe Mars or Venus, and whatever else I can catch and get a good picture of. If I can look at something farther, say Jupiter, that's better, but my main goal right now is to learn whether I like astrophotography or not.

Any help is more than welcome.

Hello Roman, and welcome.

If this is to be your first venture into astronomy, know that imaging with a camera and telescope is far more complex an undertaking, compared to visual observations with eyepieces.  When observing with the eye, the eye doesn't mind the bumps, shakes and wiggles of a poorly-mounted telescope.  But a camera simply will not tolerate a shaky mount.  The images would be blurred, at best.  A camera requires rigidity, which in turn requires a firm support for the telescope.   Astrophotography is all about the mount, and motorised at least...

https://www.ozscopes.com.au/skywatcher-eq5-mount-with-steel-tripod.html

The motor-drive, and for the RA-axis of the EQ-5... https://www.ozscopes.com.au/skywatcher-single-axis-ra-motor-for-eq5-mount.html

The telescope itself need not be large... https://www.myastroshop.com.au/products/details-item.asp?id=MAS-069A

That telescope is configured for use with a DSLR-camera.

Those three items would be the barest bones, and just to begin dabbling in astrophotography.  

I have this much simpler set-up: a 150mm f/5 Newtonian on an alt-azimuth mount; no motors, just my hands to operate it.  Doesn't that sound positively dismal...

673865769_6f5r.jpg.1d9c8a0e65f17eb505460792c9aefccd.jpg

I've taken a small digital-camera, held up to the eyepiece with my hands, and snapped these shots, on the fly...

sampler.thumb.jpg.fa8e4bbbd4a32f157a4ac68569d8ca0f.jpg

You can see Jupiter, there, at bottom-right, along with its moons.  Such is called afocal-photography, and is much simpler than imaging with a DSLR-camera attached to the focusser in place of an eyepiece.  I would suggest beginning with afocal shots, like those, with a telescope, and combined with visual observations primarily...

https://www.ozscopes.com.au/skywatcher-90mm-eq2-refractor-telescope.html

https://www.ozscopes.com.au/saxon-velocity-130-650-eq2-reflector-telescope.html

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Roman, from the AU, make the assumption you from Oz

Have found that National Geographic scrape the bottom of the barrel when comes to scopes

They carry 6" Skywatcher Dobs, and an assortment of other lesser know brands

Depending on where you are, if in Oz, then would not go past Bintel

If further north, then talk to the guys at Sirius Optics, or AstroAnarchy

Also suggest, rock up to local astronomy club, and talk to members there, and see their setup, before rushing out and buying something not you liking in the end

Most clubs also have loan scopes as well

Nexstar 127, these days seem to be a good entry scope, for viewing and imaging

John

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Guys, 

Thank you so much for the information. As a true beginner, I appreciate the loads of information you have poured in here. I won't be getting this telescope, after all I've read.

My longest photo lens right now is a 300 (on a crop sensor), so I might as well get a 2x teleconverter and get about 900 out of it (after the 1.5 crop factor). That should be good, I believe, for a start. Plus, I will get other uses out of the teleconverter. Then I'll see if it is worth to get a good beginners telescope.

celetrac1922, I'm from Melbourne, but I travel to Sydney regularly, so I might go to Bintel next time I'm there.

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Posted (edited)

300mm is about the maximum for a fixed tripod on bright targets only a matter of seconds before you get elongated stars.

I use my 300mm on a Skywatcher Star Adventurer and can achieve consistent 90 second exposures.

Be aware that the 2xtc doesn't auto focus with the 300mm on most Canon cameras, the 1.4 is a better bet but neither is much use for astro' photography.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T

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1 hour ago, RomanAU said:

Guys, 

Thank you so much for the information. As a true beginner, I appreciate the loads of information you have poured in here. I won't be getting this telescope, after all I've read.

My longest photo lens right now is a 300 (on a crop sensor), so I might as well get a 2x teleconverter and get about 900 out of it (after the 1.5 crop factor). That should be good, I believe, for a start. Plus, I will get other uses out of the teleconverter. Then I'll see if it is worth to get a good beginners telescope.

celetrac1922, I'm from Melbourne, but I travel to Sydney regularly, so I might go to Bintel next time I'm there.

Roman

Mate of mine has an observatory on Philip Island

We meet 12 months ago at Star Stuff 1, at Byron

U make it up this far, welcome to come along to one of our club meets

Details on here 

 

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I would never buy a telescope like the one mentioned, you would get more satisfaction throwing your money down a drain.

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You can attach your camera to the mount(EQ-2) within the entry-level kits suggested... 

eq2_2c.jpg

...and motorise its RA-axis with a simple 9V-battery motor-drive...

https://www.ozscopes.com.au/celestron-motor-drive-for-astromasters.html

Now, I have the very same "Celestron" motor-drive, and it came with two brackets; one for the EQ-1, and another for the EQ-2.

Here is the same exact motor-drive, but it is indicated for only the EQ-1.  It could be that it does not include the bracket for mounting it on an EQ-2, I do not know...

https://www.ozscopes.com.au/skywatcher-motor-drive-for-eq1-mount.html

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