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Not new, but trying to nurture an old hobby

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Five years ago I escalated my astrophotography habit to the point that i had an NEQ6, Skywatcher CF 10” Quattro, Atik 383L+ mono, William Optics Star 71, Lakeside auto focuser, EFW2 with Baader LRGB and 5nm Astrodon narrowband filters. Also got a Sony a7rii. Never really got the hang of the SW scope, so mostly used the star 71. Got some fun shots using narrowband filters - i almost exclusively image from inside M25. I had no fixed imaging set-up and one day about 3-4 years ago i just stopped. I suspect it was to do with the time commitment and the headache of set-up and breakdowns at terrible hours.

I now have a Keter shed i’ve modded to remove the roof and my set-up is now static, so at least i can now sleep while the rig is doing its thing. However, now i’m trying to kick start my habit from scratch i’m not entirely sure why i have the gear that i do.  The only thing i’ve been able to determine is that the Atik and star 71 are undersampling..apparently.. And cmos are all the rage.

Want to make a success of my energy to start this again, but don’t want to make life hard for myself. Any advice from people that have been through the same low energy or are familiar with my equipment on how to maximise the enjoyment return? You now have my gear, what do you do? (change scope, change camera to cmos etc). 

Once had a passion for this, now trying to maintain the spark that has returned.

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Any particular side of the M25, just curiosity.

I would check that everything you have still works if you haven't already done so. If something has gone to the great observatory in the sky, then you consider replacing that first. Also means that you have something to start from or use or build on. Keep it simple and use the Star 71 - is it the Mk1 or !! ?

If all is operating I would suggest you consider the camera as being the one to replace. Yes CMOS has taken over. But there are differences and you will have to learn or appreciate those. The one that is in a way biggest is that you do not need 600 second exposures, you will likely find that 120 or 180 second exposures will do as good. You may still need a similar total capture time.

Seems however that the now old CMOS exposures are still suggested and really no reason. I suggest that if you replace the camera you plan on some relearning and expect changes.

The Star 71 was a little tempermental it seems, so check the quality of the stars in images. Just thinking something may have moved and it needs some attention. The Mk1 of 5 elements was sensitive.

No idea about the Skywatcher, seems big for imaging. So really your decision on that.

Clubs would be the next aspect but we are not allowed out at night, it would seem.

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Hi and welcome to SGL, wouldn't worry about mathematical under sampling, I have a couple of Star 71s with 8300 CCD sensor cameras and they work perfectly alright, CMOS come with their own problems not least of which is clogging up your hard drive with lots of short exposures.

Certainly wouldn't be rushing to spend any money.

Coincidently I have Keter shed converted to ROR and am just inside the M25 near the Dartford crossing.


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I'm on the west side - near Ruislip. 

Everything seems to be working and i'll get another chance tonight to do some imaging.  Must be the Mk1 star - got it in 2013 or '14 or so. Attached is a raw image out of the camera - seems like it might be ok to get going (300s lum - longer subs seemed to saturate).

Sounds like a CMOS set-up wouldn't necessarily result in a faster or easier workflow for the same quality image?

Think i saw your original Keter post Dave, which motivated me to make and covert my own. Not as progressed as you yet though - i have to lift mine off. Will work towards rolling it over the next couple months. 


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