Jump to content

 

1825338873_SNRPN2021banner.jpg.68bf12c7791f26559c66cf7bce79fe3d.jpg

 

What are some good cheap options for a telescope mount for astrophotography?


Recommended Posts

And here's an example of static mount imaging, Forest Tanaka

https://youtu.be/e0JSTF8SGi4

There's a member on here who uses a static mount with a telescope Mercury 705 and captures targets.

Expand using what you already have and learn new tools like deep sky stacker and gimp or siril and gimp if on a mac.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Lotinsh said:

Thanks a lot for advice! This has been very helpful, at the moment once I finally get dark nights (I live in north side so at the moment I don't have any night) I'll try to take a photo of milky way, @rickwayne The photo's you showed look amazing! I hope I some day can take a photo like that. As for now, Jupiter and Saturn are visible, so I might try to take aa pic of that, as I won't need anything more than I have, I'm soon going to my dad's house, he lives in the country side, so there might be darker. As far as I remember he might have a go-to mount with a telescope he has, maybe it's  good enough and I can take a pic of something hopefully. It's not a solution though as the telescope isn't his and I'm not sure if the mount is capable of that. Anyways, thanks for advice, I love this site, why is everyone here so friendly?

@Lotinsh I've been interested in Astronomy since I was about 9yrs old ( So thats 40 years now 😱😱....writing that down makes me feel very old 😂) and a member on here for over 8 years. I've probably learned more in those 8yrs than the previous 40 although I did jump in & out of the hobby for many years.

Imo this is the best Astronomy forum online, its also the friendliest and I was made to feel very welcome from day one. The wealth of knowledge on here is immense & I've never been afraid to ask any question no matter how simple it sounded. 

One thing I'll also add though & thats not to get too hung up on not having a GOTO mount for the moment. Although having one for the photography side of the hobby obviously has the benefit of getting straight to the target you want to image so you dont 'waste' precious clear sky time trying to find it with just your finderscope. 

Getting to learn the constellations, where they are & whats located in & around them (Galaxies, nebula, clusters etc) on your own without technology to do it for you is a great way of familiarising yourself with the night sky. With GOTO been so popular these days less & less people are learning there way around by relying just on memory alone & learnt experience. Also once you start to get into astrophotography having a good knowledge of whats there opens up many more objects to image that you wouldnt have previously thought about.
If you just use GOTO when your locating an object your missing out on so much more thats out there. I started as a visual amateur astronomer & had no need for a GOTO system, I just used a planisphere ( https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/david-chandler-night-sky-planisphere.html ) and star hopped until I found the target I was looking for & during those star hops came across other objects that I would never have seen if I had a GOTO system. I benefitted greatly from searching the sky myself & it was much more rewarding. The reward comes from finding other objects while trying to locate the target you originally wanted to see. There are visual amateurs these days that just go straight to buying a GOTO . They simply have a list with the targets they want to see, press a few buttons & are straight there. I think people are missing out doing it this way.

Edited by nephilim
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take a look at what may be done with the humble EQ3 in this thread:

 

I have been having a lot of fun with my second-hand EQ3-2 mount. Sticking to short subs, you can get pretty decent results. Of course, the bigger, stronger mounts make life a lot easier, but with results like these

M42USM3expcropsat1curves.jpg.692c8e9704f2408b6fb14431dd4e2314.thumb.jpg.8931e2d1775a98a2aed1d325e58f1f89.jpg

M33Combined3.thumb.jpg.046161e274a6c3145b62c7678a6c4b22.jpg\

M31avgsat.thumb.jpg.75cbbd80275ad5fed0c6a5897d00f9df.jpg

NEOWISE100mm600s20200715-2.thumb.jpg.6dc2d8d33f97ecfe80ba3a8a744e5d56.jpg

I won't complain. Not prize-winners, but not too shabby either.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

If you already own a reasonably decent laptop (for processing the photos) , a DSLR , a lens and a tripod, then a simple star tracker (plus an intervalometer if one's not built in to your camera) for around £250 will allow you to try your hand with some pictures, but if you don't already have the photo kit, or the laptop , the cost will obviously be much higher. Second hand kit will reduce costs, but good equipment holds its value well, so you would still be looking at something around £500 , probably more. And that is using a camera lens, not a telescope ...

Very valid advice from Nephilim and others... My journey was similar to yours - bought a Celestron 130EQ for my daughter and we had lots of challenges before we managed to view interesting objects in the sky :) But in that process I learnt how to operate the scope and also learnt a lot about the other aspects of this hobby. And when a friend was selling his HEQ5 Pro last year, I bought it off him, added a ZWO ASI224MC and started my journey into the imaging side of astronomy. Very satifying indeed wherein I can enjoy the small joys of capturing the easier objects! All in all I must have spent a little over £1000 for all the equipment (I had an old laptop so didnt have to invest in that). My signature has a link to this AP journey of mine.

Edited by AstroMuni
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

Take a look at what may be done with the humble EQ3 in this thread:

 

I have been having a lot of fun with my second-hand EQ3-2 mount. Sticking to short subs, you can get pretty decent results. Of course, the bigger, stronger mounts make life a lot easier, but with results like these

M42USM3expcropsat1curves.jpg.692c8e9704f2408b6fb14431dd4e2314.thumb.jpg.8931e2d1775a98a2aed1d325e58f1f89.jpg

M33Combined3.thumb.jpg.046161e274a6c3145b62c7678a6c4b22.jpg\

M31avgsat.thumb.jpg.75cbbd80275ad5fed0c6a5897d00f9df.jpg

NEOWISE100mm600s20200715-2.thumb.jpg.6dc2d8d33f97ecfe80ba3a8a744e5d56.jpg

I won't complain. Not prize-winners, but not too shabby either.

@michael.h.f.wilkinson 'Pretty half decent results....' Who are you kidding, those are superb for an EQ3-2, if you were to tell me they were taken using an EQ6 R Pro I would happily believe you. I'd be over the moon with those. It just goes to show what can be achieved when you have good skills & patience  using fairly budget equipment.

Although seeing these good quality images taken with that sort of equipment is where I went wrong a few years ago.

I'd originally started out with visual kit but quickly wanted to jump into imaging (as I've seen many on here try & do the same), I couldn't afford to buy suitable gear all over again (even if I'd sold my visual set up), I had a SW 200p & a standard EQ5 mount. I'd seen another SGL member imaging with identical gear as me with a few added modifications, achieving similar results to you.

I bought the after market motors & all the other kit needed to modify both my mount & Canon 350d (right near the bottom of Canons entry level DSLR's) I can't remember exactly how much it all cost but it was a few hundred ££'s. What I didn't have though was the patience & skill required to use it all properly as I was still at the stage of wanting instant good images (I'd yet to realise there's no quick fix with this 😂)

Anyway I'm rambling, so long story shortish. I gave up completely for several years & put AP on hold until I could afford the right kit & do it properly. That time has finally arrived after a lot of saving & waiting so once we start getting astronomical darkness I can finally make a start.

Very well done with your images though, they're very inspiring 🙂

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, nephilim said:

@michael.h.f.wilkinson 'Pretty half decent results....' Who are you kidding, those are superb for an EQ3-2, if you were to tell me they were taken using an EQ6 R Pro I would happily believe you. I'd be over the moon with those. It just goes to show what can be achieved when you have good skills & patience  using fairly budget equipment.

Although seeing these good quality images taken with that sort of equipment is where I went wrong a few years ago.

I'd originally started out with visual kit but quickly wanted to jump into imaging (as I've seen many on here try & do the same), I couldn't afford to buy suitable gear all over again (even if I'd sold my visual set up), I had a SW 200p & a standard EQ5 mount. I'd seen another SGL member imaging with identical gear as me with a few added modifications, achieving similar results to you.

I bought the after market motors & all the other kit needed to modify both my mount & Canon 350d (right near the bottom of Canons entry level DSLR's) I can't remember exactly how much it all cost but it was a few hundred ££'s. What I didn't have though was the patience & skill required to use it all properly as I was still at the stage of wanting instant good images (I'd yet to realise there's no quick fix with this 😂)

Anyway I'm rambling, so long story shortish. I gave up completely for several years & put AP on hold until I could afford the right kit & do it properly. That time has finally arrived after a lot of saving & waiting so once we start getting astronomical darkness I can finally make a start.

Very well done with your images though, they're very inspiring 🙂

The camera used for most of the shots was a modified Canon EOS 550D, with APM 80mm F/6 triplet and 0.8x reducer. The comet was shot with a Canon EOS 80D and Sigma 50-100 mm zoom at 100 mm and F/1.8. The key is gathering many short subs (60 s, as a rule) and adding loads of them together. Of course, fewer, longer subs means far less processing time, and less readout noise, but if you have simple kit, you have to pay for that in processing time.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

> Anyways, thanks for advice, I love this site, why is everyone here so friendly?

Right? Overall there seem to be fewer jerks in astro forums than in many other Internet  places. I use Pentax DSLRs and so hang out on the Pentax astro forum and it's the same way: Friendly,  supportive,  never a spiteful word, and people  seem  eager to deploy their expertise to teach you without any attitude.

Edited by rickwayne
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

The camera used for most of the shots was a modified Canon EOS 550D, with APM 80mm F/6 triplet and 0.8x reducer. The comet was shot with a Canon EOS 80D and Sigma 50-100 mm zoom at 100 mm and F/1.8. The key is gathering many short subs (60 s, as a rule) and adding loads of them together. Of course, fewer, longer subs means far less processing time, and less readout noise, but if you have simple kit, you have to pay for that in processing time.

 

@michael.h.f.wilkinson  It has certainly paid off for you . I think that modifying a DSLR for AP gives you a very good head start if your not going down the dedicated cooled camera route, it shows that you can get very food results with much shorter sub lengths.

I've literally counted the pennies, scrimped & saved over the last 9 months to buy my new kit & have started with the Samyang 135ED f/2  ( reading the very long thread on here & asking a few owners of this lens countless questions swayed my decision making greatly) I love widefield images & this lens will frame the likes of the entire Cygnus Loop, M20 & M8, M42 including the flame & Horsehead without the need for a mosaic. Plus with the shorter focal length it'll be much more forgiving when it comes to guiding. It's paired with the ZWO ASI 533MC-Pro. My guide set up is the SW EvoGuide ED50 & ASI 120MM-S. These are both sat side by side  on a dual mount which then sits on the Explore Scientific EXO2 PMC-8 GOTO. This mount was great value & has a max weight capacity of 12.7kg. The EXOS-2 is very much overkill for my current imaging setup but it gives me a great choice for scopes for when I want to get proficient enough for galaxies etc (I've got my eye on the WO GT81 IV Triplet for this coming winter) All this is controlled with the ZWO Asiair Pro.

Next on the never ending steep learning curve is post processing. I'll be using PS to start with but once I have a half decent image I'll be looking at the Pixinsight free trial, I've watched hours of Pixinsight tutorials & believe it to be much more comprehensive than PS. This  has all suddenly started to become very exciting 🙂

 

IMG_20210623_021040_3.jpg

IMG_20210623_021118_3.jpg

IMG_20210623_020750_4.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

WRT to PixInsight over Photoshop: Oh, yes,  absolutely.  If you wanted a complex part made out of plastic, you could certainly whittle it with  an X-Acto  knife, and you probably wouldn't have to study up to do it. However,  investing the time in learning to run a 3D printer is going to  yield a better product with less fuss.

However I am going to make a pitch for Astro Pixel Processor here. Much easier to learn, according to people whose opinion I respect, and for many of us it has all the needed tools.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, happy-kat said:

There are the field flattener options for the evoguide as well.

@happy-kat I'd actually thought about getting the ED50 FF a while ago but I was saving for my main kit & its really easy to start getting distracted & spending those savings on other Astro related gear.

I've had another look at it now after you mentioned it & I think it would be a nice thing to have as it's a slightly longer focal length than my Samyang @135mm. It would be a bit better suited to objects that would be slightly too small for the Samyang. 

it's also pretty compatible with my ASI 533 resolution wise. I'm going to have a look at Telescopius shortly & see how some potential targets would look.

thanks for reminding me of this again 🙂

Edited by nephilim
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I just saw that this topic has been 'liked' & showing up in my notifications again.

I thought I may as well add a bit to it as it's been a few months since I finally got all my kit together. 

I've posted this just to show what can be achieved by a total newbie to the hobby & that it is worthwhile having a bit of patience to wait & save for the best you can afford (I'll also add that I'm not the most patient of people & saving isn't something I'm very good at 🙄 if I can do it anyone can.

It's taken me a total of around 11 months from starting to finally having an image that I'm happy enough to post.

I've spent most of the last year researching as much as I could, it was hard not to just shorten this period & take shortcuts & buy less expensive gear or forgo certain parts altogether but realised I wouldn't be happy so filled my time with AP & processing tutorials.

I also decided that I may as well jump in at the deep end with processing so chose PI as my main calibrating & processing software. I had no prior experience using PI, Photoshop or any of the other myriad of programs & as I'd heard PI was one of the best out there I decided I'd give it a go. The fact they give you a fully functioning 45 day free trial of it also swayed my decision, although you definitely need the 45 days to even start getting your head around it.

Previously in this thread I mentioned that imaging is only 50% of the AP process & post processing the other 50%. I'd like to change that now to 9% spent actual imaging (setting up, taking the images etc) and 91% spent processing 😂😂 There are an enormous amount of PI tutorials on YouTube aimed at the novice user, some are very well done others more suited to someone who has an astrophysics or engineering PHD (preferably both 😬), it's up to the individual to trawl through them & find which style suit you best (I can give my preferences, which are the ones that explain it to you as if you were 5yrs old 🙄 Just DM me)

This image was taken using my signature equipment (with the Optolong L-eXtreme dual narrowband filter) with 50x180 second light frames & 30 Dark frames, no flats were taken as I've only just got my head around these, as mentioned all calibration, stacking etc & processing were done in PI. My sky at home is rated approx Bortle 4/3. I also decided to process in the Hubble Palette as I really like how some objects look with it.

Finally, I'd like to apologise to anyone whose seen this image 1000 times as I've posted it in a few threads 😬 I hope this gives anyone whose only just starting with AP & finding it all a little overwhelming a bit of hope that it can be done. If I can do it then I'm convinced anyone can.

Steve.

HubblestarsIC1396.thumb.png.9dad90e9f90fb3422341812c2927a599.png

 

 

 

 

Edited by nephilim
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, nephilim said:

Previously in this thread I mentioned that imaging is only 50% of the AP process & post processing the other 50%. I'd like to change that now to 9% spent actual imaging (set up, taking the images etc) and 91% spent processing

Welcome to the club :)

The process of setting up and learning to get that first set of images is a steep curve but once done, its more or less a repeat of doing the same steps. But in the case of post processing there are many more variables and the learning curve is far steeper as there is a lot of jargon to be understood too.

Edited by AstroMuni
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a fantastic image and I'm probably in about the same boat as you and dived in head first with PI etc at the start of they year. I'm patiently waiting for dark and clear skies to start having another go but I'd be massively pleased with that image!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice image.

You've discovered the dark science is more deep than just taking the images.  This is where a lot of people (myself included) fall and end up getting disappointed and disheartened by the end results.  The learning curve for the software tools, and the methods to pull the data that is in the stacked images (which we often can't see) is a dark art.  I remember taking 30 or so images of a galaxy and being frustrated at my attempts to make it look anything half way decent and giving up, only for a friend who is more experienced in this field, take the lights / darks etc and present me with the image I wanted.  The data was all there, but just beyond my ability at the time to pull it out.

Personally I think you have cracked it :)   

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@scotty38 @malc-c @AstroMuni Thanks 🙂.

Another thing I love about this forum is the amazing amount of support & good feedback/ advice available from fellow SGL member's, I've never had a negative or nasty comment in the 9 years I've been a member, only constructive criticism which I've always found very helpful as seeing it through another's eyes you spot things you normally wouldn't have.

Before I joined the forum back in 2012, I only knew the basics (which were very basic 😂) I could navigate around the night sky etc but that was about it.

Without the help I've received on here I wouldn't even know where to start & there's no way I'd have started out even attempting AP. Plus there's always new things to learn & always will be.

It took around 40hrs of YouTube tutorials to get to the image I've posted. This was all crammed into one weekend, but after it I had learnt about workflows, the order of doing the basic processes & just enough to produce a fairly presentable image. Ive barely scratched the surface though 😬 Focus isn't perfect in this image, the stars are suffering from slight bloating with halos around the brighter ones, there's gradient in there which can be dealt with in future images by taking flat frames & there's walking noise that can be dealt with by dithering, my next images will hopefully be guided so I can go longer to 5 minutes plus (depending on the target). I think we're our own worst critics'.

Back to the OP @Lotinsh You say you have a PC already so I'd very much recommend downloading the free 45 day trial of PixInsight (there's no obligation to buy afterwards) and have a go at practicing some processing for yourself. I'm sure there are plenty of members on here that will share their unprocessed Master Light frame (Just ask in the 'getting started with imaging' section). The Master light is the final image your left with after calibration/ stacking etc has been done & is the image you work on to pull out all that integration time to produce your final image. 

I'll happily send you the file for the image I've posted above & a link to the tutorial I used to produce it, it really is very straightforward .As I've mentioned, there are countless PixInsight beginner tutorials  to help you & it would give you a massive head start when it comes to doing your own. You can even take some short untracked images of your own with the equipment you have, calibrate them & again use the free PI trial to process them.

Do be warned though, the second you produce your first image, no matter what the quality, you WILL be hooked & once you go down that rabbit hole I'm afraid you'll be trapped & .there's no way out 😂😂

Steve

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.