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Major

How to get into imaging?

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Hi all.

It's been a while since my last visit here. I do observe every now and then, but would love to get into astrophotography. As it's the case with absolute newbies, I don't have any gear at all for this purpose, except for Nikon D810.

I tried to go out with it last night. It was paired with N50mm 1.8G, on mini tripod nicked from spotting scope. Conditions were terrible, strong winds, clouds coming and going, light pollution and rain.

I still managed to get few subs, however I'm not exactly happy with result. My processing also killed it. Total of 17 subs, 6", f/2.8, ISO 640, 13 lights, 4 darks, manually stacked in PS.

45818081885_f3200ddc16_h.jpgOrion by Tom Major

Now I would like to switch to a bit more serious gear. I thought about getting mount first - SW HEQ5PRO, but can I attach DSLR to it before I get scope for imaging?  What would be the best way of gradually progressing from DSLR to refractor? Obviously the main factor is the cost and other half not killing me after finding out about my spending on toys (again), so I'd be buying all gear separately - mount, scope, guider etc...

Cheers

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I would suggest your first action should be to get a copy of this book. It will save you time, money and heartache in the long run.

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2 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

I would suggest your first action should be to get a copy of this book. It will save you time, money and heartache in the long run.

Agreed. The problem with AP is that much of it is highly counter-intuitive. There is also a great deal of misleading advertising material out there. Best to start with a sound primer.

Olly

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Another one for making your first step making every photon count, also id like to say your picture is actually good and you have managed to capture some of the nebulosity there! keep going and all the very best.

Scott

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If you already have a camera and lenses all you need to get going is a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer,  not a lot of money and they come up second hand regularly.

A thread here on imaging with the SWSA

Dave

 

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Thank you all for input. 

 

I totally forgot about about the book mentioned here, even though I know it’s very good and valuable. I will get it this week, work permitting. 

@scotttumsh thank you for kind  comment . 

@Davey-T that looks very interesting. Results certainly caught my eye and I’ll look more into it. With that mount I’d be able to start within a week or two if all goes according to plan, cheers for that. 

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On 14/01/2019 at 13:23, Davey-T said:

If you already have a camera and lenses all you need to get going is a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer,  not a lot of money and they come up second hand regularly.

A thread here on imaging with the SWSA

Dave

 

This is very sound advice! I am well into imaging with heavy mounts, telescopes and mono Cams, and I still want to get one of these along with a couple of nice lenses at some point. So I don't think you can go wrong starting here..

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How to get into imaging?

Sell a kidney 😈 ..... It's such a slippery slope...

Steve

Edited by sloz1664
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I’m hoping my mrs won’t need hers, she has two healthy kidneys I could monetise 😀😂

 

@jjosefsenit really is, I’ve read this thread and still think what to do next. In  the meantime I’ll have few additional hours at work so have plenty of time to consider my options - with current workload I’m not sure when I’ll be able to go shopping 😀. I like the simplicity of this little unit and possibility to use manual lenses with adapter. 

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I’m a bit further down the path than you and over the last year or so have just about acquired everything I need. 

First thing I did was bought the best mount I could afford - actually I went slightly over budget but wanted to be sure I wouldn’t need to upgrade that any time soon. 

I’ve then spent my time slowly picking up other bits, mainly secondhand. Still not a cheap endeavour but more viable than buying everything new. 

All in, minus the scope and lenses which I already had I’m probably at about £3k but I have a solid mount (SW AZ EQ6 GT), decent camera (Starlight Xpress SX674 mono), Starlight Xpress Filter wheel with Baader filters, Altair Astro 60mm guidescope and an Altair Astro AR0130 mono guide cam. This I think should last me a good while into my AP journey and whilst a lot of money does mean I don’t think I’ll need to replace / upgrade anything for a good while. No point spending twice imo. 

I have also read the book 3 times, downloaded and started to get to grips with the various software packages I’ll need to use and watched and read endless tutorials. 

Now I have it all together it’s been nothing but clouds :) 

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On 14/01/2019 at 12:11, Major said:

I thought about getting mount first

Hi. Good idea; you already have the rest of the equipment you need to begin. Whilst reading maybe one way to begin, IMHO there's nothing which beats hands on. Going along to an astro club meeting and seeing the equipment being used is difficult to beat.

HTH.

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@dannybgoode I am looking at this mount EQ6-R PRO. For this moment it is way out of budget, but with 20kg payload for imaging I could use 200P or invest in Quattro. Alternatively, I could use 200P for time being while saving up for triplet. Truth be told, the more I read, the more ideas I have and more money I need :D.

@alacant I looked for astro clubs in my area and found fairly few, once my situation with work is finally resolved (I'm moving onto nightshift soon, just don't know the start date or shift pattern yet) I will visit some. Star parties and observing sessions are one thing, but I'd be very interested in lectures as well.

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@Major - the mount is everything. Imo (and the reason I blew the budget on that) is that even a just about adequate mount will be £700-800 and it’s highly likely you’ll want a higher load capacity pretty quickly. 

To me it’s a waste spending that much for something that isn’t going to see me through the next few years. 

The EQ6R is a lovely mount. I just really like how easy it is to put the AZ EQ6 into AZ mode for a spot of visual work. 

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Note that you can indeed mount a DSLR to an astro mount, all you need is the requisite mounting plate -- usually either a "Vixen" or "Losmandy" dovetail bar, depending on what the Mount of Your Dreams has. I spent $40 on a Vixen dovetail and a couple of 1/4"-20 bolts, and was able to slot my DSLR right on in.

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+1 for “Making Every Photon Count”, the first bit of kit you should buy before embarking on the Astrophotography journey.

If you wish to progress to using a telescope and taking extended exposures, then buying a telescope mount first is a sound move as you can easily mount your DSLR on it and start to take extended unguided exposures which will give you some impressive constellation images.

It’s just my opinion, but I have been very impressed with the Skywatcher HEQ5 pro mount, it performs well above it’s price bracket, second hand units can be had for £400-£500, and come up quite regularly.

True, that’s a substantial outlay, but it would serve you well for many years as your skills and equipment collection builds.

That’s a great image of Orion, by the way, nicely framed and focussed, you should have seen my first attempts with a SLR.....

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Thank you for remarks about my Orion. I guess it could be ok for first attempt, but I really want more 😀. Then again, with my rig it was quite difficult, mainly due to wind. Here it is minus Tx that I used to release shutter. 

 

Thank you you all for chipping in. Guess the next step is mount and the book 😊

image.jpeg

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11 hours ago, Major said:

Thank you you all for chipping in. Guess the next step is mount and the book

Definitely get the book. I’m on my third read through and, other than a few lunar shots, I’ve yet to take a ‘proper’ image but I understand what the process will be so much better. 

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