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Hey StarGazersLounge Forums,

I am an amateur in astrophotography and have so far taken photos of the Moon and some planets with my camera. However, I am looking for a major upgrade in order to take astrophotography to a professional level as I have long been passionate about astronomy. My overarching aim with astrophotography is to take high quality photos of many planets and continue my interest with the universe.

I would be very grateful if anyone could recommend the best set up regardless of the price at the moment as I will work from there. This includes a camera, mount and eyepiece for the Celestron 8se etc so I can get a good idea of what I need to get some amazing planetary shots. By the way, for the camera, I am considering the Sony a7r iii (good choice?) for astrophotography and nature photography as well. Any form of advice would be much appreciated.

George

 

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Welcome. If you are considering a Sony them familiarise yourself with whether the model you are considering has the star eating phenomenon and if it is the right sort of camera for your planetary aims.

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Thanks very much. I have already checked on this problem and this model is Sony's latest mirrorless camera so it has fixed it. Really excited to start professional imaging so do you have any other recommendations for cameras and equipment?

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Thanks for the reply. I do not at all intend to go into a profession of astrophotography but astronomy is more than just a simple hobby. My aim would be to get the best planetary and Moon shots possible with my telescope. For example, a Moon image like the attached and a high quality Mars image. 

hog7cgr0vq701.jpg

Edited by probedroid
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Hi George,

For Planets you can end up "quite" cheep as you need simple Goto Mount, (you may get away with AZ Goto mount, but EQ is better), also you will need HighSpeed astrocam, something like ASi224 or a bit more expensive.

Planetary imaging, is usually "lucky" imaging, then you record short video at as High Frames per second as your setup allows, later process and stack only around 20% best of the frames collected (using PIPP and Autostackertt or Registrax).

So any DSLR is Not the best camera for this type of AP. Sony is probably able to record around 40FPS max (do not remember specs) and probably has no Cropped Mode option, in comparison, - ASI around 250FPS in Cropped Mode in other terms, Region of Interest, - there you simply choose the area around the planet and Record video Cropped, so you do not waste time/speed/ on the dark area around the planet which has no data.

As per DSO - I mean Nebulas and larger Galaxies (like M51 and etc),

You will need a bit better quality Mount and it MUST be EQ one, AZ will not give ability to make Long exposures, you can try using Wedge on AZ mount, but EQ will perform mostly better...

So  something Like Skywatcher NEQ6 or CEM60 level for a start....

And even these mounts, will struggle to guide at Focal Length your scope has, not sure if your scope has a dedicated Focal Reducer to around F7, which will help a lot in terms of guiding and will increase the Field Of View.

As per Sony for DSO, - I am almost sure the sensor of A7R iii will handle this task properly and will produce quite nice images of Nebulas like Orion or Rosette, - but not sure about the Software which is able to control Sony for AP properly.

And I am not sure how "WeatherProof" this camera is... A bit of humidity, dew and? You should try searching for the guys who tested it already on the ground... I do recall someone wrote, his Sony was much more sensitive to humidity and he had to fix it straight after the first night out... Sorry.. I do not remember the model... As I am a "Canon Boy".

Plus,  this camera is quite expensive, - will you use it for any other things in the daily life? or just AP? If only for AP, you should better consider dedicated Cooled Astro Camera. 

P.S. what is the current mount you've got and what is the current camera?

I just think, if it is a Standard AZ mount which comes with NEXSTAR 8SE, you could use it for Planetary with camera like ASI224, and for DSO, you can try using  current Camera + Lens, something like Samyang 135mm

Edited by RolandKol
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Some good advice above. I assume you already own a C8 SE - it's not clear.  The C8 is great for planetary imaging but the mount is lousy. You can use the 6/8 SE mount for planetary imaging if you must, but a proper imaging mount will be so much better and more pleasant to use.  Planetary camera - I use an ASI120MC - I have a ASI224MC & infrared pass & cut filters on order.

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