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My photography experience over the years has been a mix of stock, art and equestrian photography. I have just scooped up an old telescope for a great price and need help figuring out how to make it play nicely with my existing equipment. I realize I will need to make some purchases, but I don't even know where to start. None of my equipment is state of the art, but it should hopefully be adequate to get started once I get all the appropriate accessories. 

While the concept of astrophotography does interest me, I'm actually looking at this as a way to possibly get some bird and other wildlife shots from some distance.

I am so uneducated on this that I don't even know how to mount the telescope to a tripod, let alone the camera body.

I have 2 Nikon bodies. A D7000 (DX-type lens mount) and a D200 (F-type lens mount). The telescope I got is a "The Discoverer Bausch & Lomb zoom 60 mm telescope".  I know that I will need a T-mount. I think I know that will mount to the camera like a standard lens? What happens in all of this is like another language to me. I am asking for some very, very basic guidance. Does the telescope mount directly to the T-mount, in line with the camera body? Which T-mount do I buy to get that telescope onto one or the other of the camera bodies?

It came with a Vivitar 28mm 1:28 mm lens. That lens is ø 49 and both bodies are ø 52.  So, I know I would need an adaptor for the body to accommodate that lens, but I'm doubtful that the wide angle has anything to do with the telescope. If someone could confirm that, I'd appreciate it. 

I don't see how to know what the lens size is for the telescope. It might be necessary to get a step-up/down ring in addition to the T-mount, but I can't even see how to determine if that's the case.

Which body is a better choice? 

What other accessories will I need?

What questions am I not even thinking about yet?

I hope that if this is not a good place to get some answers to these questions, someone here may be able to direct me to the right source.

Thank you, whoever you are, to anyone who is patient enough to go through some super basic tips for me.

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12 hours ago, riffmax said:

I know that I will need a T-mount. I think I know that will mount to the camera like a standard lens

The T-ring will convert the connection type for your camera to a T-2 thread. You can then use a combination of t-2 extension tubes and adaptors to connect your camera to an astronomical telescope. However, you haven't got an astronomical telescope with standard sizes to connect to, you've got a spotting scope that doesn't look like it is supposed to have the ability to change eyepieces. Is there an eyepiece already installed in the telescope? 

The instruction manual gives some part numbers for connecting an SLR to the telescope so if you can get hold of a #22-3030 Telephoto Camera Mount then maybe that gives you a t-2 thread to connect a t-ring to. However, ideally you mount a camera to a telescope instead of an eyepiece. With this telescope I don't think that is possible and so the results may not be ideal.

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As Ricochet said, its a fixed eyepiece spotting scope, but all is not lost. Have you thought of getting a mobile phone adapter for it? You should get some great pictures of the moon and in a similar sized spotting scope, using the zoom, we got a great picture of Jupiter and three of it's moons. All the best.

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Yes, as mentioned, a mobile phone adapter will fit on to the eyepiece and you will be able to take photos of the Moon and planets or birds and wildlife during the day with your phone.  Anything much else will need a completely different set of equipment.    🙂

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Thanks for the replies...and the link to the manual. I wasn't able to find that. 

So I'm okay with exploring the phone adapter. I'll come back if I have any difficulties finding information on that.

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There are several of the #22-3030 Telephoto Camera Mounts on ebay but they are all in the US so would incur import VAT but ebay usually handle that and would likely still be cheaper than a good quality phone mount. You’d still need a T-mount adapter for your camera but if you don’t mind waiting a while they can be had quite cheaply direct from China via ebay again.


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  • 2 weeks later...

You have received some good advice here but there is still a lot to know about this topic.  I have a suggestion that could supercharge your learning experience with face-to-face contact and regular lab time.  Find and join at least one of your local Astronomy clubs!  As you attend events and interact with other astronomers, your knowledge and experiences will be augmented with the wisdom and skills of the club’s membership.  

It seems like you have much to learn about telescopes and the fundamentals of astrophotography. (As do I!) You are right about your equipment. That Nikon gear is suitable for astrophotography when used with, or without, a telescope!  As others have suggested, any telescope can take real astrophotos if the user is resourceful enough.  But there is still much to learn. Online learning is great because you can control the pace and timing of the process but the value of in-person exposure to other astronomers and their equipment is significant.  

Have you investigated your local astronomy club scene?  Florida is reputed to be a hotbed of activity for amateur astronomers.  Don’t delay.  B2CDAA83-81E4-426E-8651-5884F2C2BE65.thumb.jpeg.e0b77dd65f06e4e5cd5e7cea71d4c56c.jpegJoin up, gear up, and then stay up all night taking fascinating pictures!

Edited by Celerondon
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