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Astrophotography - My wallet is crying


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I started this hobby about two months ago when I bought a Sky-Watcher Mercury refractor. I thought to myself, it probably works fine for the basic stuff right?   Well,  yes and no.  It's just that the basic stuff werent good enough so I ended up buying a 150P EQ3-2.  Well, it's a lot better for sure, but still I wasn't happy. So I thought, hey. Photography sounds a lot more like what I should be doing!   Well, I was told the 150P isnt good for AP and I could just forget about the EQ3-2 sooo ugh.. I needed to start over.. Again. So I ordered myself a EQ6-R, 72ED and all the extra bells and whistles. 

I was told I needed deep pockets when I started with astrophotography but little did I know...  £6500 later(yes, in two months), I still havent taken a single DSO photo and I'm still looking for more ways to throw money at it😂 

 

Luckily, I'm just waiting for my EQ6-R mount and the guide scope now and I'll be ready to start the hobby for real.

 

Kids, the moral of the story... Run while you still have your savings😂

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54 minutes ago, Pryce said:

I needed to start over.. Again. So I ordered myself a EQ6-R, 72ED and all the extra bells and whistles.

EQ6-R and 72ED? No, no, that's no good, what you really need is....<insert name of even better mount and telescope here>.

:D

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15 minutes ago, RobertI said:

EQ6-R and 72ED? No, no, that's no good, what you really need is....<insert name of even better mount and telescope here>.

:D

Yup... The 72ED is just to begin with, as I realized longer focal lenghts isn't that great to start with. I'm switching out the 150P for a 130(or 150)PDS and I'm getting a 250(or 300)PDS as well 😵  Luckily I don't need to upgrade the mount until I'm running a double Esprit 150 setup .......(a boy can dream right?!😧) 🤣

Edited by Pryce
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You probably want a cooled mono cmos cam too, and a 8 position filterwheel, and L R G B Ha Oiii and Sii filter and a flattener and something to help with cable management like the pocket powerbox and a bigger scope, because let's face it an EQ6R with an ED72... and other dovetails and rings and a cardboard box to live in after your wife trows you out the door...

Edited by Miguel1983
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5 hours ago, Miguel1983 said:

You probably want a cooled mono cmos cam too, and a 8 position filterwheel, and L R G B Ha Oiii and Sii filter and a flattener and something to help with cable management like the pocket powerbox and a bigger scope, because let's face it an EQ6R with an ED72... and other dovetails and rings and a cardboard box to live in after your wife trows you out the door...

Honestly I prefer true color images!  So I'd probably get a cooled color camera first.  But I do want to give SHO a go eventually! That said, I already have clip in Ha, SII and OIII filters for my canon cameras!  

I have a flattener already as well as a baader coma corrector for when i get the PDS scopes.   

 

"Luckily" I am unmarried 🤣

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6 hours ago, Pryce said:

Honestly I prefer true color images!  So I'd probably get a cooled color camera first.  But I do want to give SHO a go eventually! That said, I already have clip in Ha, SII and OIII filters for my canon cameras!  

I have a flattener already as well as a baader coma corrector for when i get the PDS scopes.   

 

"Luckily" I am unmarried 🤣

Don't get me wrong, i think DSLR's are a great way to get in to the hobby, they have that accessible and familiar feeling, but on a hot summer night, let's just say, that made me cry more than my wallet....

Luckily for you winter is coming....

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Indeed,   i plan to keep my DSLRs as a grab and go option, but like I said I'm going to upgrade to a cooled color camera!  And eventually a cooled mono camera 😁  Though, I think I'll mainly stick to true color.  I just want to give SHO a shot 

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I feel your pain but with a house purchase on the horizon and covid being...well covid I've had to limit myself somewhat.

I've settled for little upgrades to keep me going but have promised myself that I can have a pier in the garden at the new place which will host a new imaging rig.

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On 28/09/2020 at 14:15, Pryce said:

I started this hobby about two months ago when I bought a Sky-Watcher Mercury refractor. I thought to myself, it probably works fine for the basic stuff right?   Well,  yes and no.  It's just that the basic stuff werent good enough so I ended up buying a 150P EQ3-2.  Well, it's a lot better for sure, but still I wasn't happy. So I thought, hey. Photography sounds a lot more like what I should be doing!   Well, I was told the 150P isnt good for AP and I could just forget about the EQ3-2 sooo ugh.. I needed to start over.. Again. So I ordered myself a EQ6-R, 72ED and all the extra bells and whistles. 

I was told I needed deep pockets when I started with astrophotography but little did I know...  £6500 later(yes, in two months), I still havent taken a single DSO photo and I'm still looking for more ways to throw money at it😂 

 

Luckily, I'm just waiting for my EQ6-R mount and the guide scope now and I'll be ready to start the hobby for real.

 

Kids, the moral of the story... Run while you still have your savings😂

He he.

I can relate to this 😁 But when you start to get decent images (which you eventually will) it is very rewarding. Buying the  EQ6-R was a good choice IMHO. If I were you I would skip a dedicated OSC and go straight for a mono camera with filter wheel. 

I just started in this hobby a few years back myself, and the biggest challenge has been to learn to use the equipment with the very few clear nights per year (in the dark season) I get in my location.

 

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We get into astrophotography to take trophy images of distant galaxies, huge nebulas, spectacular double star systems, wide-field milky-way panoramas, Jupiter storms, Saturn's rings etc. etc. etc.

But then we realize that the real achievements in astrophotography are accurate polar alignment, sub-arcsecond guiding RMS, pristine focus, optically-matched accessories, plate-solving, narrow-band bandwidth in nanometers, Goto dexterity and a fluency with terms like Right Ascension, backlash, Kappa-Sigma clipping, apparent magnitude etc. etc. etc. 

It eventually occurs to you that you have been collecting lots of expensive equipment but you haven't actually taken a photography in years.

Crazy!

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18 minutes ago, Padraic M said:

It eventually occurs to you that you have been collecting lots of expensive equipment but you haven't actually taken a photography in years.

Crazy!

Hey, if it makes you happy, who is to say that it's wrong? :)

James

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5 hours ago, JamesF said:

Hey, if it makes you happy, who is to say that it's wrong? :)

James

Indeed.  Back when I wad playing airsoft and collecting militaria I found myself owning insanely expencive equipment(Night Vision, ballistic helmets and armor etc.) That was "too expencive to use in a game".  But it made me happy to just have it and learn about it 😅 

 

I get a lot of the same feeling from this hobby.  And it's not about the hours you spend in the eye piece or the quality of photos you produce.  It's about the journey of learning and growing, so even if you spend a lot of money on equipment you don't physically use all that much, you've spent hours and hours learning. Which in my opinion makes it worth it in the end!

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Luckily for us. We have UKABS which is a godsend if like me. You don't have deep pockets .

It has been an expensive journey for me in 30 yrs.

I have enjoyed owning expensive gear and then selling it on and buying better equipment. I am now at a stage in my life, where I am happy with my current collection of telescopes and telescope mounts, cameras etc.

I would love to buy a full frame CCD-CMOS camera. But I know it would be a waste of money, living under Cloudy - Grey UK skies. 

 

 

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I agree with most things said here - I just made a hole in my wallet as big as yours but only got one camera for it😱.

One thing, why are you planning to buy a 250 or 300 mm Newton? Maybe your mount could hold them up visually but I think most people would tell you that it can't handle them for imaging (although I have never tried myself).

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10 hours ago, Padraic M said:

But then we realize that the real achievements in astrophotography are accurate polar alignment, sub-arcsecond guiding RMS, pristine focus, optically-matched accessories, plate-solving, narrow-band bandwidth in nanometers, Goto dexterity and a fluency with terms like Right Ascension, backlash, Kappa-Sigma clipping, apparent magnitude etc. etc. etc. 

So true 

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1 hour ago, gorann said:

I agree with most things said here - I just made a hole in my wallet as big as yours but only got one camera for it😱.

One thing, why are you planning to buy a 250 or 300 mm Newton? Maybe your mount could hold them up visually but I think most people would tell you that it can't handle them for imaging (although I have never tried myself).

Well, for the most part I'd like a telescope with a longer focal length for the smaller targets while also having a large apeture for DSO observing.

The EQ6-R has a listed payload capacity of 20kg(for astrophotography). The 250PDS weighs 14,4kg and the 300PDS at 25kg. Yes, I know 25kg is a tad too much, which is why I'm most likely to get a 250.  I have seen people in the EQ6-R owners club thread say that they've sucessfully used both the 250 and the 300 though.

However, I have been looking into some dedicated astro photography cameras with a smaller FOV for the smaller targets. But I'm far from making a commitment on one of those as I don't really know enough about them yet!  I guess because of my background in photography I'm biased towards DSLRs

Edit: I guess I could use a 2x barlow with my 150, but that'd also double the f/ratio and quadruple the length of the subs I need to gather the same information(as far as I understand)

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26 minutes ago, SamAndrew said:

Add an observatory to the list - I don't think anyone buys an EQ6, and then puts up with setting it up every night for long. 

Oh trust me it is!  I just need to move first 😂

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4 hours ago, Pryce said:

Well, for the most part I'd like a telescope with a longer focal length for the smaller targets while also having a large apeture for DSO observing.

The EQ6-R has a listed payload capacity of 20kg(for astrophotography). The 250PDS weighs 14,4kg and the 300PDS at 25kg. Yes, I know 25kg is a tad too much, which is why I'm most likely to get a 250.  I have seen people in the EQ6-R owners club thread say that they've sucessfully used both the 250 and the 300 though.

However, I have been looking into some dedicated astro photography cameras with a smaller FOV for the smaller targets. But I'm far from making a commitment on one of those as I don't really know enough about them yet!  I guess because of my background in photography I'm biased towards DSLRs

Edit: I guess I could use a 2x barlow with my 150, but that'd also double the f/ratio and quadruple the length of the subs I need to gather the same information(as far as I understand)

Those weights are what SW may be listing but it also depends on what type of telescope you put on it. Newtons are light for their size but that means they act like sails so any wind will be a big problem. I think your mount could handle 14 kg of refractor so maybe even an Esprit 150, but a 14 kg Newton would be a challenge. Maybe some Newton owners that have tried it and could comment.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 01/10/2020 at 17:36, Pryce said:

Are there any decent refractors for photography with a long focal length in the same-ish price range though?

Not in that price range. The Celestron Edge SCTs have long focal lengths, are relatively light and can be adapted to a short focal length with Hyperstar. I have seen great images from them (Mars in particular). I don't own one, so my comments are not from experience but an Edge is something I am considering for the future.

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Yeah I've figured!  I'll try to go for a 250PDS and see of that works.   If its too heavy/big for imaging I'll save up for a Evostar 150ED or a Esprit 150 and just keep the 250 newt for visual use. 

 

I'd rather not go for a SCT since that would require a whole other set of accessories that I'd need to buy 😅  But who knows.  I'm still young!

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Your story sounds very similar to mine. 9yrs ago I bought a cheap scope for just observing (SW 130 EQ 2) Not great but fine to start with for a beginner. Then I joined SGL 🙄 & decided I needed better EPs, then decided I needed a bigger/better scope so I bought the SW200p & HQ5.

That fed the bug for a while until I realised AP was the road I wanted to go down 🙄 At the time I didn't really have the funds for the ideal kit so I bought the aftermarket motors for the EQ5 & modified an old Xbox webcam for planetary imaging. I did get some ok ish images but nowhere near what I wanted (my expectations were far too high) so I bought a canon eos 350d. That also wasn't ideal so bought the eos 750D . 

To cut a long story short I ended up becoming completely disheartened realising there was no cheap way of doing it so I just gave up & sold everything.

It'd still been in the back of my mind over the last 6yrs & due to a change in circumstances & hours of research, I've decided to give it another shot.

I'll be buying a couple of things per month & should be up & running by February. This time I'm going to do things properly & also not jump in at the deep end. My mount arrived last week, I'll be pairing it with the WO Zenithstar 73 ll & a modified eos 2000D. The scope is nice, light & managable & the mount more than capable of taking its weight plus imaging kit. Guiding can wait until I've mastered the basics, PA, Platesolving, framing & focus, flats, darks & the capture software (NINA) Hopefully this time around I have a bit more success.

Good luck to you & hopefully we'll both be producing some descent images soon.

P.S        

Below is my new mount. It's the  Explore Scientific  EXOS-2 PMC Eight Goto. It's a seemingly very solid, good quality piece of gear & it will probably take me until next Feb to work out how to use it, learn ASCOM & get everything talking to each other 😒IMG_20201017_145832_9.thumb.jpg.16db78eb548e0d29b504360240fbd291.jpg

 

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