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I've yet to see good reviews about DFO.. Mainly complaints about people not getting their mount back for months.

Anyway, I can vouch for the CEM25. Cracking little mount. I can pick mount and tripod (no counterweight or scope obviously) up with one hand. Very accurate gotos and the guiding is as good as it was with my heavy duty AZEQ6. Fragile? I wouldn't say so. Mine actually fell off the tripod when I undone the locking clamp and it's fine despite damaging the GPS module! I would say that if you were to lock down the RA axis and pick the mount up and ram the counterweight bar into a doorway then yeah, you might damage the worm gear. Its spring loaded and designed to slip up the main gear if theres excessive load so if you locked it down with no play in the spring it may cause damage to the brass worm. I usually leave my scope attached and transport the rig to and from the garden carefully but I ALWAYS remove the counterweight and bar before doing so and always have one hand under the mount.

It would also manage your 130PDS BTW.

Edited by david_taurus83
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Hi I agree, the Heq5 Pro is the better mount but is still rather heavy. How about an EQ3 Pro - fairly light with the supplied Al tripod. It can go on an eq5/heq5 tripod but then gets quite heavy

You might want to read this thread: https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/350628-dark-frame-experience/   I would use the WO since nothing is more portable than a small refractor and it will travel

If you live in London, then its going to be narrowband imaging only im afraid (if you want any hope of a good image). Keep the star adventurer, buy a fast lens (eg: like the samyang detailed abov

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Personally think the money would be much better spent on a guide camera than on getting the mount tuned. A guided untuned mount will outperform a tuned mount by a long way.

You can also use a guide camera to polar align in 2 minutes. Will save you so much time, especially if you're only going to be out for a few hours.

Another option is the AZEQ5, I know it's more than the HEQ5, but it's more portable. I had no problem keeping it setup with the counter weight attached, and taking it in and out of the house in one piece.

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An ordinary entry-level guided mount will out perform pretty well any unguided one if we consider encoder-guided mounts to be guided. As SamAndrew says above, guiding will vastly out-perform tuning.

Olly

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1 hour ago, Uranium235 said:

Hang on.... stop right there...lol.

No camera modification on Earth (apart from increasing the pixel size) can influence the maxiumum length of an unguided sub... that is determined by both the mount and the focal length of the optics. With a 130pds, you would be lucky to get 30s unguided without trailing (@ 1x1bin). You might be able to get longer unguided @650mm, but that takes a lot of fiddling.

Just wanted to clear up that bit of mis-information  ;)

Hi, DFO do mount mods, not camera mods....or am I missing something?

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24 minutes ago, SamAndrew said:

Personally think the money would be much better spent on a guide camera than on getting the mount tuned. A guided untuned mount will outperform a tuned mount by a long way.

You can also use a guide camera to polar align in 2 minutes. Will save you so much time, especially if you're only going to be out for a few hours.

Another option is the AZEQ5, I know it's more than the HEQ5, but it's more portable. I had no problem keeping it setup with the counter weight attached, and taking it in and out of the house in one piece.

 

1 hour ago, david_taurus83 said:

I've yet to see good reviews about DFO.. Mainly complaints about people not getting their mount back for months.

Anyway, I can vouch for the CEM25. Cracking little mount. I can pick mount and tripod (no counterweight or scope obviously) up with one hand. Very accurate gotos and the guiding is as good as it was with my heavy duty AZEQ6. Fragile? I wouldn't say so. Mine actually fell off the tripod when I undone the locking clamp and it's fine despite damaging the GPS module! I would say that if you were to lock down the RA axis and pick the mount up and ram the counterweight bar into a doorway then yeah, you might damage the worm gear. Its spring loaded and designed to slip up the main gear if theres excessive load so if you locked it down with no play in the spring it may cause damage to the brass worm. I usually leave my scope attached and transport the rig to and from the garden carefully but I ALWAYS remove the counterweight and bar before doing so and always have one hand under the mount.

It would also manage your 130PDS BTW.

Thanks Dave, interesting advice....I think I'm edging away from DFO if I'm honest...following a telecon early last week I emailed them and still no reply so perhaps that is a sign of things to come!

The CEM25 is now in the running...what is the largest scope I could get on that? (weight wise I guess).

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38 minutes ago, SamAndrew said:

Personally think the money would be much better spent on a guide camera than on getting the mount tuned. A guided untuned mount will outperform a tuned mount by a long way.

You can also use a guide camera to polar align in 2 minutes. Will save you so much time, especially if you're only going to be out for a few hours.

Another option is the AZEQ5, I know it's more than the HEQ5, but it's more portable. I had no problem keeping it setup with the counter weight attached, and taking it in and out of the house in one piece.

Hi Sam,

My reason for avoiding guiding was, if I was to take the set-up out and about I didn't want to be messing about with a laptop etc. Is there a guiding solution that would negate the need for all too much extra kit?

I want to enjoy imaging in a fairly basic way and all the extra set-up would, I think, get in the way of that.

Edited by Seleckta
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2 hours ago, Uranium235 said:

Hang on.... stop right there...lol.

No camera modification on Earth (apart from increasing the pixel size) can influence the maxiumum length of an unguided sub... that is determined by both the mount and the focal length of the optics. With a 130pds, you would be lucky to get 30s unguided without trailing (@ 1x1bin). You might be able to get longer unguided @650mm, but that takes a lot of fiddling.

Just wanted to clear up that bit of mis-information  ;)

Rob, the mod is to the mount, not the camera. However, it seems that a Canon 200D in a 130P would be imaging at 1.17 arcsecs per pixel if I have that right. This would require a periodic error of 0.6 arcseconds over the duration of the sub. Is there is any experienced imager on this forum who would believe that? Such a claim is absurd. This mount modifier should stop talking about this scope or that and simply state the periodic error in arcseconds which he is prepared to guarantee. Bear in mind, Lucas Mesu claims 4 arcseconds peak to peak for his stunning 200 Mount. And let's have no talk of round stars! You'll get round stars as long as your tracking errors in RA and Dec are about the same but you'll still have lost resolution.

On another matter, if we look at the OP's very promising M42 we see that it is heavily black clipped:clipped2.JPG.d488bc3ae6fbe818796fbfce5d42360c.JPG

The histogram pedestal is jammed up against the left hand edge of the frame meaning that all the faint signal to its left has been discarded. Don't throw away what you catch while out under the stars! A healthy histogram looks like this:

600769176_HEALTHYHISTOGRAM.JPG.19cc63131f248a31373e3e4c311266bc.JPG

Be careful not to bring in the black point too far. Make sure you leave a bit of flat line to the left before the histogram peak begins to rise.

Olly

Edit: a standalone guider can be had but, honestly, even a tiny laptop is a great help when imaging.

Don't think about the largest scope you can get away with. Think first about the tracking accuracy you can achieve. Guided this might be between 0.5 and 1." Double that and that is your finest possible imaging resolution.  There is nothing to be gained from a longer focal length and all you will do is lose field of view.

 

Edited by ollypenrice
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On 29/05/2020 at 20:36, Seleckta said:

I bow deepy to the experience and knowledge on this forum....

Hi, I am looking for crystal clear answers to a cloudy question.

Almost total Noob to AP but I am lucky enough to have a budget of £1500 for a basic AP set up. I already have a WO61 and a SW Star Adventurer and use a Canon 200d.

I have done so much research on this that I am almost tempted to give up because....questions around mounts asked on this forum are often (always) answered with 'get an HEQ5 Pro' and, in this case I am not after that model.

I live in London, do not have a car and am likely to be found turning the light out around 10! 

My set up needs to be portable otherwise I will just get bored of lugging it about.

I'll take my Star adventurer and WO61 (on a weighted camera tripod) with me on hols etc. With the proper mount and 130pds more for back garden use.

I have been looking at an EQM 35 Pro (with mods done by Dark Frame Optics) and a SW 130pds.

I may or may not get a guide scope (apparently no need at the level I want to be at and after modding by DFO).

Looking at larger scopes and working on the 50% AP weight limit to go up to any decent sized scope beyond the 130pds would realistically need an 5Pro or EQ6 which is about as grab and go as a herd of excited elephants.

At present I am exceedingly unlikely to be out with whatever set-up I have more than 10-15 times a year and even then for no more than a couple of hours per session.

So my questions:

  1. EQM35 Pro (DFO modded) / 130pds / WO61...good combo? 
  2. Could I attach my Star Adventurer to the tripod of the EQM35?
  3. Is the 130pds the biggest OTA I could get on a modded EQM35 pro?

It would be great if HEQ5 Pro was not any part of an answer!

Image attached is from my third (out of 5) outing with the SW Star Adventurer...not world beating but (so far) the best photograph I have ever taken.

 

1. Yes from what I have seen that will work ok, but a HEQ5 pro would work better. It will depend on the pixel size though and the image scale. I see improvements down to 50% of my image scale. So for my esprit 100 and ASI1600mm pro, I like to keep guiding at less than 0.7 RMS or I know I am losing detail. I also know that my seeing is often the limiting factor in this respect and not the tracking on me AZ EQ6 pro. If you can keep your exposure to 30s or less then you have a chance with the EQM35 but for long exposures I would get a HEQ5 pro unless you have a camera with huge pixels that is.

2, Yes with an adaptor avaliable from FLO unter the Staradventurer section.

3. Yes you certainly will not be able to go any higher in terms of weight or focal length with that mount.

Edited by Adam J
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32 minutes ago, Seleckta said:

Hi Sam,

My reason for avoiding guiding was, if I was to take the set-up out and about I didn't want to be messing about with a laptop etc. Is there a guiding solution that would negate the need for all too much extra kit?

I want to enjoy imaging in a fairly basic way and all the extra set-up would, I think, get in the way of that.

Hi

The Synguider II is an option - there are other makes. I've not personally used one but I'm sure others on SGL have. Of course, this time of the year there ate not so many deep sky imagers about 🙂 

Louise

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

Rob, the mod is to the mount, not the camera. However, it seems that a Canon 200D in a 130P would be imaging at 1.17 arcsecs per pixel if I have that right. This would require a periodic error of 0.6 arcseconds over the duration of the sub. Is there is any experienced imager on this forum who would believe that? Such a claim is absurd. This mount modifier should stop talking about this scope or that and simply state the periodic error in arcseconds which he is prepared to guarantee. Bear in mind, Lucas Mesu claims 4 arcseconds peak to peak for his stunning 200 Mount. And let's have no talk of round stars! You'll get round stars as long as your tracking errors in RA and Dec are about the same but you'll still have lost resolution.

On another matter, if we look at the OP's very promising M42 we see that it is heavily black clipped:clipped2.JPG.d488bc3ae6fbe818796fbfce5d42360c.JPG

The histogram pedestal is jammed up against the left hand edge of the frame meaning that all the faint signal to its left has been discarded. Don't throw away what you catch while out under the stars! A healthy histogram looks like this:

600769176_HEALTHYHISTOGRAM.JPG.19cc63131f248a31373e3e4c311266bc.JPG

Be careful not to bring in the black point too far. Make sure you leave a bit of flat line to the left before the histogram peak begins to rise.

Olly

Edit: a standalone guider can be had but, honestly, even a tiny laptop is a great help when imaging.

Don't think about the largest scope you can get away with. Think first about the tracking accuracy you can achieve. Guided this might be between 0.5 and 1." Double that and that is your finest possible imaging resolution.  There is nothing to be gained from a longer focal length and all you will do is lose field of view.

 

Thanks Olly, 

After digesting all the various points of view I'm now thinking of just getting a proper tripod and guide set up for my Star Adventurer / WO 61 and see how far I can take it from there!

 

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2 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

Rob, the mod is to the mount, not the camera. However, it seems that a Canon 200D in a 130P would be imaging at 1.17 arcsecs per pixel if I have that right. This would require a periodic error of 0.6 arcseconds over the duration of the sub. Is there is any experienced imager on this forum who would believe that? Such a claim is absurd. This mount modifier should stop talking about this scope or that and simply state the periodic error in arcseconds which he is prepared to guarantee. Bear in mind, Lucas Mesu claims 4 arcseconds peak to peak for his stunning 200 Mount. And let's have no talk of round stars! You'll get round stars as long as your tracking errors in RA and Dec are about the same but you'll still have lost resolution.

 

Ahh, my bad didnt see it was mount related - but even so trying to gain 4min+ just through modifications to a stock mount seems... optimistic at best.  You really have to shell out some cash if you want top notch unguided imaging.... if I remember rightly one of our (now sadly departed) members (Per) used to do everything unguided - but he had everything modelled right down to the finest detail. 

Quite right on the histogram, I personally leave a gap of 20 - as even though that "gap" looks like there is nothing in it - it can actually contain faint nebulosity or dust that would otherwise get clipped.

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1 hour ago, Uranium235 said:

Ahh, my bad didnt see it was mount related - but even so trying to gain 4min+ just through modifications to a stock mount seems... optimistic at best.  You really have to shell out some cash if you want top notch unguided imaging.... if I remember rightly one of our (now sadly departed) members (Per) used to do everything unguided - but he had everything modelled right down to the finest detail. 

Quite right on the histogram, I personally leave a gap of 20 - as even though that "gap" looks like there is nothing in it - it can actually contain faint nebulosity or dust that would otherwise get clipped.

Per used a 10 Micron with quasi-absolute encoder guiding and a sky model. I'm sure about this because it was in our robotic shed which he designed! He didn't guide on a star but there was a feedback loop between his mount encoders and the drives and the sky model corrected for changes in atmospheric refraction due to altitude. I have a pretty good idea of what he would have said about the DFO website...

Olly

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I've got an azeq5 and recently acquired an azgti. The small azgti is meant to be mounted on a photo tripod with a fluid video head instead of a proper wedge. What I mean is that it's really lightweight and extremely portable and just about handles my 80 ed guiding below 2arcsec s.

But... When I went to a dark site this last weekend, I was wondering which mount to take with me. When you factor in the dslr, the telescope, the power tank, the laptop, a couple of extra batteries, chargers, guidescope, guide camera,... etch etch, it struck me that the bigger mount was not the limiting factor "bulk-wise". 🤔

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opps my mistake this was not the topic I was thinking about so comment not relevant and confusing. Sorry

Edited by happy-kat
wrong thread, comment not relevant
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