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Ballhead or L-bracket (Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Pro)

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So I was suggested whether to use either the ballhead and the adapter that comes with my SA Pro, or use the counterweight tool to photograph something and I can't seem to put my finger on what to actually use.

Here is what I want to capture with the camera and specifications.

Target:  The Heart Nebula (IC 1805)

Camera:  Canon 600D

Lens:  Canon EF 75-300mm Lens f/4-5.6 III

Single exposure time:  20 seconds

Focal length:  135mm

ISO:  800

Total length of exposure that is wanted:  At least 1 hour

Now what should I use, either the ball head or the counterweight tool, plus how can I move the counterweight tool or make the camera point to a certain object like IC 1805 for example when the counterweight is in use instead since it only can just screw onto the camera and that's it.



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One advantage of the L bracket is that it allows you to use the Polar Scope without removing the camera.  

In terms of 'how do you point the camera in at the target when using the L Bracket', the two degrees of movement available will always allow you to point the camera in any direction. However, you might consider mounting the ball head on the L Bracket as well to simplify that element of centering the target.  

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I would reserve the ball head adapter for wide field views with a short focal length like 14mm. For deepspace with longer focal lengths, I would 100% reccomend the L-bracket. 

The instructions state the importance of having the right orientation of the polar scope during polar alignment, but after this has been completed you can actually loosen the RA clutch and rotate the axis.

Naturally, you can also rotate the declination axis so in order to frame a target you will need to rotate the camera in these two directions. You won't be able to choose the position where your camera sits (ie sit camera at the 12 o'clock position and point towards target) like with a ball head mount because the current position of the target you're imaging will dictate what position your camera sits in. 

Check out the below video on YouTube where Martin talks through setup of the SWSA using the L-bracket. If you jump to 16:17, Martin shows you how to frame your target after polar alignment by rotating both the axis at the same time. 


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Use the counterbalance and a lens tripod ring. The declination head on the SWSA Pro is rotatable if you unlock the clutch beneath the circular head, so you get the target in frame using the two clutches on RA and Dec. Then rotate the camera in the lens tripod ring for good framing.


Then it will be out of polar alignment, and good luck finding the target without go-to. But there's no gain without pain, as astromasochists like to say. . 



Edited by 900SL
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A RDF on a hot shoe bracket can be invaluable for centering on the target. 

  1. First align the RDF by using it to line up on a bright star. 
  2. Take a 5 second image and work out how far the star is from the centre of the image 
  3. Adjust the RDF so that it's lined up wth the centre of the image. 
  4. Line up the RDF against the star again and confirm that it is properly at the centre of the image 


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