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I got a telescope for Christmas and I really like to observe things with my own eyes but I also like to show people the things I saw but as you might imagine, it's really difficult to take a picture with my phone and bare hands. My question is if I should wait with astrophotography or if I could already start with a phone adapter for example. I also don't know if I should spend money on a phone adapter or if I should wait sometime and start with a dedicated astrophotography camera.

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There's no definitve answer, what scope did you get for xmas? there's no harm starting with a phone adaptor, they're fairly inexpensive. Photography got me into the hobby, so there's no prerequisite to do visual astronomy first.

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1 hour ago, Stanneman said:

I also don't know if I should spend money on a phone adapter or if I should wait sometime and start with a dedicated astrophotography camera.

Think forward. The phone adapter is a dead-end. And you should not use money on a dedicated astro-camera untill you have a mount or a star tracker. I'd go for an old Canon DSLR, either a 600D, 450D or similar. You get those for a fistfull of dollars. And when you get a motorized mount, you're set for some very decent long-exposure pictures with that camera. Untill then, you have to respect the "500-rule", and limit exposure time according to focal lenght. With time and skills, you can get very decent pictures in this way to with a DSLR, but it's labour intensive. Result depends on aperture and focal lenght. If the scope is long and thin; go for the planets and the moon. If it's short and stubby, try galaxie hunting and the most prominent nebulas. Most of us started with a fixed mount and an old DSLR, me included.

Edited by Rallemikken
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1 hour ago, Stanneman said:

I got a telescope for Christmas and I really like to observe things with my own eyes but I also like to show people the things I saw but as you might imagine, it's really difficult to take a picture with my phone and bare hands. My question is if I should wait with astrophotography or if I could already start with a phone adapter for example. I also don't know if I should spend money on a phone adapter or if I should wait sometime and start with a dedicated astrophotography camera.

Speaking from a financial perspective, all I can say is just say No.

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39 minutes ago, 900SL said:

Speaking from a financial perspective, all I can say is just say No

Couldn't agree more. AP is very addictive. If you get hooked, you might as well get a bucket full of cash and throw it to the wind. Same effect.ūü§£

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1 hour ago, SamAndrew said:

There's no definitve answer, what scope did you get for xmas? there's no harm starting with a phone adaptor, they're fairly inexpensive. Photography got me into the hobby, so there's no prerequisite to do visual astronomy first.

I got the omegon N 150/750 EQ3

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It's going to be difficult with that setup. You can get an image through an eyepiece just by holding you phone over it, I've done it on lots of setups. Anything more serious or detailed, you'll likely need a whole new setup (mount at bare minimum). Moon shots, some basic planets you can likely get a result with what you have by getting a camera to fit to the scope. A DSLR will give a large field of view so won't be ideal for this type of imaging, though it will be suitable for the moon.

A DSLR on a star tracker or even a diy barn door tracker is usually the best way to start for DSO imaging. The shorter focal length is more forgiving.

Edited by Elp
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26 minutes ago, Stanneman said:

omegon N 150/750 EQ3

This mount can be expanded with a motor i RA:   https://www.omegon.eu/drive-motors/omegon-tracking-motor-for-150-750-eq-3-mount/p,21598

Maybe 100£. Depends on the quality of the kit, but with a good polar alignment you should get 30+ seconds exposures. With a 6" f/5 newtonian on a mount with the same functionality as a StarTracker and a DSLR, you have a very good starting point. More than enaugh to get you hooked, and crawing for more......

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46 minutes ago, Clarkey said:

you might as well get a bucket full of cash and throw it to the wind. Same effect.ūü§£

Preferably coins. Easier to salvage, when you've realize what you've done.....

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11 hours ago, Stanneman said:

I also like to show people the things I saw but as you might imagine, it's really difficult to take a picture with my phone and bare hands.

Lets get serious: Do you have a relative, friend or family member that owns a 10-15 year old Canon, Nikon or Pentax DSLR that you can borrow? If so, buy a T-ring and adapter, and get started! Do you have cash under your pillow, spend it on the motor kit. It will give your imaging abilities a big push for a modest amount of money. You will need either a computer or an intervalometer (connected to the camera) to automate the imaging, but that should not cost you much. If the mirrors in the scope are decent, and you decide that this is fun, the first thing you want to replace will most likely be the mount itself. A 6" newtonian is not a bad scope, as a fact I have one myself, and as I speak, it's rigged with my trusted old Canon 600D, waiting for a glimse of clear skies to image the Orion nebula (which sits low at my altitude).

 

Edited by Rallemikken
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I have a skywatcher 150P with RA motor drive and I can get quite pleasing images from my scope. Looks like your optics are very similar to mine but I have an EQ 3-2 mount which looks to be sturdier than the EQ3 that comes with yours. I'd definitely not spend any money on a camera before you have followed @Rallemikken's advice and tried it out using something borrowed. I think you should be able to get 20 - 30 s  exposures with some patience and luck. 

Have a look at my gallery  - all taken with my Skywatcher 150P (750mm focal length) - either using a astro-modded Canon 600D or a Nikon D3200.

 

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4 hours ago, KevinPSJ said:

I have a skywatcher 150P with RA motor drive and I can get quite pleasing images from my scope. Looks like your optics are very similar to mine but I have an EQ 3-2 mount which looks to be sturdier than the EQ3 that comes with yours. I'd definitely not spend any money on a camera before you have followed @Rallemikken's advice and tried it out using something borrowed. I think you should be able to get 20 - 30 s  exposures with some patience and luck. 

 

This will be the issue.  IMO the OP's  EQ3 mount is not up to the job for anything other than using a webcam to record images of the moon which can then be processed in software. Hanging even a Canon D400 off the side of the scope on that mount will require some precise balancing and still weather conditions.  The £125 for a battery powered motor drive, which, on reading the spec, is to aid visual observing with no mention of its suitability for imaging.

My advice would be to look at getting a MS Lifecam webcam which can easily be modified / adapted to replace a standard eyepiece.  These can be picked up for around £30 - £50.  Google will throw up details of the camera and some sites give in depth info and examples.  Whilst  this site  the author used an C8 (so the OP shouldn't expect to get quite the same results) it still gives details of the camera specification and how to modify it.

If the OP really wants to dip their toe deeper into imaging then they should look at upgrading the mount, to something like a Skywatcher EQ3 or better still the EQ5 with the synscan goto system.  They can then use a second hand canon Dslr with their scope and have the mount computer controlled.  But that will require quite a substantial investment. 

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The OP only got this telescope at Christmas and already he's being advised to ditch it and spend more money buying something bigger and better.  It would be far more useful for him to spend some time getting used to the kit he's got then spending 15 quid on a smartphone adaptor and seeing what results he can get with his current set up, even if it's just a few snaps of the moon or the Orion nebula.  Skywatcher do a very basic adaptor - Skywatcher SmartPhoto Smartphone Camera Adaptor - Rother Valley Optics Ltd

Graeme

 

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39 minutes ago, jacko61 said:

 It would be far more useful for him to spend some time getting used to the kit he's got then spending 15 quid on a smartphone adaptor and seeing what results he can get with his current set up, even if it's just a few snaps of the moon or the Orion nebula. 

 

Well if the OP is able to follow Gary Honis instruction to convert an MS webcam for use with a telescope they can have a partially stripped MS HD Lifecam I have on my desk for the cost of the postage.  If he / she would care to drop me a PM we can go from there

P1019818.JPG.18fd998c30b9536c36c9e76538034e5f.JPG

Mars01_04_2012.png.cc79a17149bd647375cb12d78c8356cd.png

The above was taken using stacked Barlows and my 200P, with the result video processed using free software.

The camera is fully functional, just needs the final stage to convert it to fit the focuser

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...It would be far more useful for him to spend some time getting used to the kit he's got then spending 15 quid on a smartphone adaptor and seeing what results he can get with his current set up...

I agree. My first scope was a very similar set up, albeit with the EQ3-2. It was amazing what I could see with it. The OP's setup is a very respectable one and should give them years of enjoyment, so no need to rush out and replace it at significant expense. 

I retro fitted the pertinent motor drive to my mount and had some quite satisfactory results with a mobile phone adapter for exactly the same reasons as the OP - to have something to show friends and family what I could see. 

As with all astrophotography, you do need some control over the camera, so it will depend on which phone and whether there are any camera apps available that extend the level of user control. Mine was a Samsung Galaxy which offered some manual control as standard and there's a Open Camera app for other Android phones. 

I'm pretty sure there's an app for Apple phones too.

Phones won't show what a DSLR or astronomy camera could do, but they'll provide a decent image similar to what our eyes would see through an eyepiece. 

A phone adapter costs about £20, a modest expense to provide the OP what they want, the ability to share what they see. 

It will also encourage them to get to know their set up well and to try to use it to is best extent. 

And simply making a drawing of what you can see is also a very cheap way of getting to know the night sky and having something to show others. 

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I think it tends to be said because the majority of us have been there and done it, so when the inevitable question comes along we recommend a "better" path, but not everyone has the means to follow said path. I always try to say try with what you already have, as this usually won't hurt a bit. If you don't try, you don't learn or experience.

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24 minutes ago, Elp said:

I think it tends to be said because the majority of us have been there and done it, so when the inevitable question comes along we recommend a "better" path, but not everyone has the means to follow said path.

That's so true.  But I also think there is a lot of expectation with people getting into the hobby when they see images on the web, in these forums and in books and magazines.  I remember my first attempt taking images of one of the bright galaxies with my 200P / EQ5 and D400..... I was really disappointed with the results.  It looked nothing like  the images others had posted... then you realise that they were using dedicated astro cameras which go far beyond the ability of my humble DSLR. 

As mentioned elsewhere, having posted the question on here I upgraded to an HEQ5 mount, and I shoved it in an observatory.  I still kept the Dslr as most of the decent cooled entry level cameras at the time were more than what I had spend on the entire mount/scope combo.  Some time ago I asked a friend of mine if given the opportunity to image to his current standards (he has had several images on the cover of Astronomy Now) if he would have gone the same route where he kept upgrading, or dived straight in.  He couldn't give me a direct answer, because for each occasion he discovered the limitations of each item, be that the mount, scope or camera, and it was educational.  It was good grounding to learn the imaging processes and put him in a great position for the equipment he now has ( 10" Ritchey-Chretien on an EQ8 with a QSI 683 ).    Equally we have a member in our society who has had his Jupiter and Saturn images published in mainstream media and TV, and they put some of the 1970's images taken by Voyager to shame !... but again, he's got a 14" CAT on an very expensive and precise mount.  People seem to think that they will get the same using the latest camera in their iPhone when held up to the eyepiece of a £200 scope.

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I always find it funny (annoying) when an amatuer visually looks at say a planet and has a "is that it" expression on them, what were they expecting, a bridge view from the USS Enterprise?

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Does your Omegon 150 have a 1.25" focuser? If so it will be difficult to find a coma corrector (not sure one exists on the market) that is more or less required to have good sharpness in the images for wider fields of view such as with DSLRs.

I would suggest not pouring too much money on this particular setup for astrophotography, but buying something that can get you started for a not so obscene amount of money while still sticking with the scope for now.

Idea: get a simple tracking motor and a planetary type camera that works better with the small focuser. You can take nice images of the Moon, planets and some of the brightest DSOs that fit the field of view. If one day you upgrade to a different setup you can keep using the same camera as an autoguider or a lunar/planetary camera so you waste a little money as possible.

Be warned though that astrophotography twists your idea of "expensive" into really deranged numbers if you get hooked. No upper limit in spending, but most dedicated imagers will end up spending several thousand ‚ā¨/$/¬£ really quickly...

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I would suggest getting a planetary-type camera that will fit your focuser.  You can buy alleged planetary cameras on ebay for a few pounds, and if the bug bites, you can upgrade it to a proper one from ZWO, etc.  A RA drive for the mount would be very useful. A Barlow lens will be needed for planetary imaging with this scope, but you might have received one already with the kit.

A good quality planetary camera will also work for deep-space imaging, and EEVA (q.v.) imaging, subject to the limitations of the small chip and small field of view, and the limitations of your mount.

These suggestions could cost as much as the scope and mount did in the first place. You have been warned...

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If it's just planetary then with practice members have imaged by manually tracking the planet as it's very fast framed videos like exposure measured in milli seconds as the planet drifts through the field of view between adjusting where the telescope points, sounds very hard to me.

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On 06/03/2023 at 19:54, Stanneman said:

I got a telescope for Christmas and I really like to observe things with my own eyes but I also like to show people the things I saw but as you might imagine, it's really difficult to take a picture with my phone and bare hands. My question is if I should wait with astrophotography or if I could already start with a phone adapter for example. I also don't know if I should spend money on a phone adapter or if I should wait sometime and start with a dedicated astrophotography camera.

I am going to say, jump in and get a phone adapter. Nothing better than being able to show people what you have seen and for £15 - £20 on something you can use over and over, it's perfect. I started with a Dob and one of the first things I bought was a phone adapter, I still have it and I still use it. Enjoy the journey and let's see those pictures. All the best.

Just to add, you can also use the phone adapter on a set of binoculars 

Edited by M40
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1 hour ago, Elp said:

I always find it funny (annoying) when an amatuer visually looks at say a planet and has a "is that it" expression on them, what were they expecting, a bridge view from the USS Enterprise?

Yup... that's exactly my point, even when a camera is attached to the scope.   The only difference was when I showed some friends why I used a camera rather then looking through the eyepiece.  Having been asked the question I pointed the scope at the Orion nebula with a wide field eyepiece.  They were a little disappointed at the greenish smudge around a few bright stars grouped together...  I removed the eyepiece set up the D400 and took a 60 second exposure... the resulting image on the screen was more in keeping with their expectation as it looked the same as images in a book.  But then the Nebular is possibly the brightest DSO, so i pointed the scope at Bodes Galaxy, started guiding and took a 5 minute exposure - which being a single sub looked nothing like the images in the book, and under the relatively decent  night sky for a town location, could hardly see anything when viewed visually !

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