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Imaging scope recommendations


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Currently imaging with an Evostar 80ED with 0.85 reducer/flattened and an ASI 1600mm pro. EQ6- R mount.
Happy with the FOV but thinking about upgrading the scope. Mainly interested in larger targets such as nebulae. Backyard is Bortle 4. Budget is up to £3000. 
Any recommendations?

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I can recommend Stella Mira 90mm triplet. Slightly wider FOV but good quality and excellent for imaging. A significant step up over the ED80. Alternatively, as you already have a good mount, you could keep the ED80 and get something with a slightly longer FL for galaxies etc? Maybe a 100 - 115mm triplet?

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On 14/11/2022 at 16:40, Clarkey said:

I can recommend Stella Mira 90mm triplet. Slightly wider FOV but good quality and excellent for imaging. A significant step up over the ED80. Alternatively, as you already have a good mount, you could keep the ED80 and get something with a slightly longer FL for galaxies etc? Maybe a 100 - 115mm triplet?

Thankyou so much for your reply. Apologies for the delayed response. A fellow Cumbrian I see! 

Hadn't looked at the Stella Mira. Looks like very good value for a triplet and I will definitely consider. I see you own one. My only issue would be that I have 1.25" filters and with the 0.8 reducer/flattener at f4.8 I would presumably get vignetting with these? 

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On 14/11/2022 at 20:01, The Lazy Astronomer said:

That's a healthy budget - you could double up and get 2x Stellamira 90mm's!! (The additional flatteners would take you very slightly over the budget). Alternatively, the Esprit 100 or 120 are good choices.

Hmm. Dual rig probably a bit complicated for me as a relative beginner :) The Esprit 100 is on my short list so the recommendation is helpful. Have you used one yourself?

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25 minutes ago, pfarrell267 said:

My only issue would be that I have 1.25" filters and with the 0.8 reducer/flattener at f4.8 I would presumably get vignetting with these? 

I use the 1600mm pro with unmounted 31mm filters - so marginally bigger but probably only a mm or two. According to 'Astronomy Tools' the minimum filter size would be around 26mm. So in theory 1.25 inch should be Ok. If you were interested I'm sure you could ask the question on SGL, there are a few with the SM90. Or check with FLO.

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7 minutes ago, Clarkey said:

I use the 1600mm pro with unmounted 31mm filters - so marginally bigger but probably only a mm or two. According to 'Astronomy Tools' the minimum filter size would be around 26mm. So in theory 1.25 inch should be Ok. If you were interested I'm sure you could ask the question on SGL, there are a few with the SM90. Or check with FLO.

Thanks for that. I'm very tempted. How do you find the focuser? And do you have any information on the imaging circle in case of future camera upgrades?

I'm much newer to Cumbria than you are. Just 3 years for me. Moved over from Leeds. Skies better; weather worse :)

 

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3 minutes ago, pfarrell267 said:

I'm very tempted. How do you find the focuser? And do you have any information on the imaging circle in case of future camera upgrades

The focuser on mine is very good. Most of my other imaging scopes I have changed for Baader Steeltrack but not this one. Nice and smooth R&P with a good rotator and virtually zero backlash.

The imaging circle for the SM90 is quoted as being up to APS-C, so ok with an IMX571. I have not tried mine with it - it is set up with the mono kit, but I have no reason to doubt it would be OK.

I have had quite a few scopes and this was certainly the best out of the box. I have not needed to modify or adjust anything. Honestly cannot fault it.

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2 hours ago, pfarrell267 said:

Hmm. Dual rig probably a bit complicated for me as a relative beginner :) The Esprit 100 is on my short list so the recommendation is helpful. Have you used one yourself?

Yeah, and as Clarkey pointed out, l didn't even consider all the other mounting hardware needed either. 

I have the Esprit 100, which I bought on the strength of its reputation and have not been disappointed. The optics seem quality to me and the focuser is solid, the flattener gives nice round stars across the sensor and the 550mm focal length allows pretty good framing on most nebulae (I use a 4/3 sensor) - it's just an easy plug and play imaging system that works with a minimum of fuss in my experience. 

You can also use 1.25" filters with it (l do) provided you can get them close to the sensor, and the filters have 26 - 27mm clear aperture.

The only negative point is the tube rings are rubbish, they just don't clamp the tube tight enough and it slides easily in the rings. It can be remedied simply by shimming the rings though - I just used a couple of layers of paper.

Another neutral point: it is a heavy beast! I weighed mine the other day, and fully loaded with all imaging and guiding equipment, it was pushing 10kg.

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21 hours ago, The Lazy Astronomer said:

Yeah, and as Clarkey pointed out, l didn't even consider all the other mounting hardware needed either. 

I have the Esprit 100, which I bought on the strength of its reputation and have not been disappointed. The optics seem quality to me and the focuser is solid, the flattener gives nice round stars across the sensor and the 550mm focal length allows pretty good framing on most nebulae (I use a 4/3 sensor) - it's just an easy plug and play imaging system that works with a minimum of fuss in my experience. 

You can also use 1.25" filters with it (l do) provided you can get them close to the sensor, and the filters have 26 - 27mm clear aperture.

The only negative point is the tube rings are rubbish, they just don't clamp the tube tight enough and it slides easily in the rings. It can be remedied simply by shimming the rings though - I just used a couple of layers of paper.

Another neutral point: it is a heavy beast! I weighed mine the other day, and fully loaded with all imaging and guiding equipment, it was pushing 10kg.

Thanks again. I think will probably go for the Esprit 100 with Flattener. A bit more expensive but my mount can handle the weight, and the extra aperture over the SM90 is probably going to be useful. And it does, as you say, have a very good reputation. 

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1 hour ago, pfarrell267 said:

I think will probably go for the Esprit 100 with Flattener.

I don't think you will be disappointed. I was debating the Esprit 100 when the SM90 came out and I got it at the initial reduced price of £1300 so it was a bit of a no brainer to me. My only worry with the Esprit is there are quite a few stories relating to pinched optics in cold weather. There is obviously an issue with the lens cell which can be a problem. I'm not sure how common the problem is though.

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I have the esprit 120 and absolutely love it, came with a dedicated flattener resulting in pin sharp stars accross the whole field and other accessories all packaged in an amazing heavy duty flight case. The optics are fantastic and can accommodate a full frame camera/sensor (i use a modded canon 6d at moment) however I can't comment on the focuser as mine is fitted with a moonlite focuser. 

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