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What is the cheapest set up for (modest) deep sky imaging?

Yesterday was cold and clear  and after an hour or so of visual the corrector plate of my Mak fogged up. I brought it inside to defog but then the beast warmed up and was almost useless for half an hour before it cooled down again. While waiting I decided to try a quick imaging session of Cassiopeia. Recalling this recent post by Vin

I put on a 50mm Yongnuo lens on my camera and shot 20 frames of 5mins secs each from a tripod at Cassiopeia, which I then stacked in DSS. Thus is the result:

Cass.thumb.jpg.f1a2cfe26e4ed71dc7ebfdda51c1930d.jpg

 

Considering the cost of the gear I'm happy how it turned out. I can clearly see the ET cluster :) The lens looks OK in the centre but there is vignetting and coma at the edges. I should have taken flats.

This got me thinking how a little budget gear can go a long way: a basic camera (I used EOS 250D but I'm sure a 10 year old camera would have performed similarly), lens (£50 Chinese Canon clone) and tripod (£20 amazon basics) and the sky is yours! 

Clear skies!

 

Nikolay

Edited by Nik271
corrected 5mins to 5 secs
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That's great Nikolay - lovely wide field shot and I think you've even snagged the double cluster in the top right.  Good shout on NGC 457 - definitely stands out, like Vin's one.  It's always enjoyable seeing the bigger picture and targets in their surroundings.

52 minutes ago, Nik271 said:

shot 20 frames of 5mins

Was this 5 seconds rather than minutes?  Just wondering as the description mentions a regular tripod and no tracking!

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That's a lovely shot @Nik271 - your focus was better than mine.

I'm really liking this light & wide approach for the reasons you mention.  Its quick, easy to set up & strip down.  For evenings where you can't set up a whole rig to go deep (for whatever reason, usually clouds later :) ) it still gets you out & engaging w the sky - and the anticipation of what you might capture.

I'm going to keep experimenting w some old lenses for the time being!

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4 hours ago, geeklee said:

That's great Nikolay - lovely wide field shot and I think you've even snagged the double cluster in the top right.  Good shout on NGC 457 - definitely stands out, like Vin's one.  It's always enjoyable seeing the bigger picture and targets in their surroundings.

Was this 5 seconds rather than minutes?  Just wondering as the description mentions a regular tripod and no tracking!

Well spotted, indeed it was just 5 seconds. I tried a bit longer first but the stars were trailing. 5 seconds is too short for the dim objects but for star clusters it works fine with stacking.

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Good to see your image. I'm all for cheap and using.

I built a manual barn door tracker for around £25 and use a 40mm lens on a 1100d and can do reliable 3 minute exposures.

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40 minutes ago, Nik271 said:

I tried a bit longer first but the stars were trailing. 5 seconds is too short for the dim objects but for star clusters it works fine with stacking.

Absolutely, it worked a treat 🙂

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10 hours ago, happy-kat said:

Good to see your image. I'm all for cheap and using.

I built a manual barn door tracker for around £25 and use a 40mm lens on a 1100d and can do reliable 3 minute exposures.

Why more folk don’t build a barn door tracker escapes me. If one keeps working on polar alignment, and tracking speed, some amazing results can be had.

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