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Imaging with Sony a6000

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Hi everyone, first post so please be kind! 

I have an old Skywatcher 130/650 reflector on an EQ2 mount which I've been using for casual observing for some years, but I now want to seriously get into AP.

I bought a T-ring and 1.25" adapter for my a6000 recently but have since found out that this setup is not suited to AP. I was looking to upgrade my scope anyway so wanted to know what is the best thing to go for with the a6000 specifically in mind.

I know the a6000 isn't the best camera for AP but it's all I've got right now. My budget is £4-500 which has to include the tripod and mount as I'm giving away my whole setup to my brother in law as it's not worth selling and would rather see it go to him. 

I have no real preference with regard to what I image (planets or nebulae etc), I would rather go with what will get the best results with my existing camera. 

Thanks for you help!

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If you can do more than 30s exposures with it, I'd get a decent lens and star tracker rather than a scope. A scope setup for reliable AP would cost you more in the region of 1-2k.

BUT instead of a star tracker, get an azgti and convert it to EQ mode, or better yet a Skywatcher GTI which has it all in one retail package, the goto for either mount will aid you no end (trust me).

BUT before you do all that, just try with the camera and lens. You'll be surprised what you can do with hundreds of 5-10s exposures at short focal length all stacked up, tracking helps though so you don't have to recentre every few minutes.

Edited by Elp
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Thanks for that Elp. 

I was actually looking at a package that FLO do for the Skywatcher 127 mak with the GTi mount. 

I have tried using just the camera on a tripod with mixed results but I'm not a camera whizz and have no experience of using any imaging software so will need to swot up on it. 

I wanted a scope anyway so my kids can enjoy using it and wanted something portable that I can take camping with us. Would love to just buy a new camera and lens package but I know I'll find myself yearning for a scope and can't afford both sadly. 

Thanks for your advice!


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The 127 mak is a decent scope from what I've read, but it's a long focal length, so unless your star alignment is spot on you might find it frustrating getting it to point at things dead centre (sometimes gotos can be off so some adjustment is necessary depending on the mount, especially if you're using a high power eyepiece). A scope around 500mm or less would be better, I've got a z61 which is only 360mm FL, but the views have been amazing, even if Saturn was only a 2mm ball and ring, it was still sharp enough to see the main cassini ring division.

Regarding scope, the heritage dobsonian comes highly recommended and it's on its own alt az mount so easy to find objects rather than using an equatorial system.

Regarding lens, take a look at the Samyang 135mm owners forum, the lens is so good it makes me question keeping my refractor. I even use 50 year old lenses which are relatively cheap (Takumars) to good effect. You will need to brush up on post processing skills, I'd say 60-70pc of the effort of making a good image comes from that rather than the actual image acquisition.

Taking images of solar system objects and DSOs are two different processes which usually require their own specific equipment to get the best results.

Edited by Elp
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Free: Siril for pre processing then finish in GIMP.

Paid: Pixinsight (though I don't use it). Photoshop.

If you know one of the image editors, the skills are fairly transferrable between PS and GIMP.

Lots of tutorials out there on all.



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Ian Morison* has a blog called "Astronomy Digest" which covers a lot of basic details for imaging, processing and all aspects. 

What's particularly useful is that he's covered imaging with the Sony A5000, so the A6000 will be very similar. 


An external Intervalometer will be very useful (about £12-£15 on ebay) and, with this, the best setting to use is to shoot Manual using Bulb mode on BRK-C.  This is intended to be used as a Bracket Mode , but the main advantage is that the combination means that it doesn't take a Dark Frame image after each shot. 

Here's an image of  C2022 E3 ZTF that I took using the A5000 camera and a 72mm F/6 scope.   (24x 13s exposures stacked in DSS). It's  not the best by a long way, but it shows what's easily possible. 

No photo description available.


* formerly Gresham Professor of Astronomy, worked at Jodrell Bank, great speaker and very knowledgeable. 

Edited by Gfamily
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I agree with the advice you've had so far. There are multiple options for you and which one is best, only you can decide.

A couple of things to consider in your search for what to pair with your camera. 

The first thing is that it's a camera and the fixed size of the sensor affects the angle of view that you'll get with whatever you attach it to. It's not like changing an eyepiece to change the angle of view.

The 2nd thing is that the other parameter in angle of view is the optical component's focal length. 

These 2 aspects constrain the angle of view that you'll get with the combination. 

I once tried to image Mars with an APS-C camera and a Skywatcher 200PDS with a focal length of 1,000 mm. I got a microscopic dot. I learnt a lot from that embarrassing incident. 

I can get the whole of M45, the Pleiades in the frame with my 72ED, 432mm f.l.  refractor, but only part of it with the same camera and the 200PDS, 1,000 mm f.l. reflector.

Similarly I can get the whole of the Moon with the 432mm f.l. refractor, but only part of it with the 1,000mm f.l. reflector. 

So, you're question of what's the best for your camera is highly dependent on what images you'd like to see. 

The 127 is a Maksutov-Cassegraine design, which has a longer focal length and suited more to planetary astronomy than deep sky. It requires good alignment from the mount at the start to ensure your objects don't drift across the frame while you're imaging. 

But I've seen gorgeous images of constellations and associated Deep Sky Objects taken with a camera and good lens on a tracker mount. 

I have a Sony a5000 and I love it and I use the right optical component depending on what object I want to image and that, my friend, only you can decide what will interest you more

BTW,  Ian Morison is a good friend of mine, I've learnt so much from him. I totally support the advice to read his Astronomy Digest

Edited by Stickey
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Some brilliant replies here guys, thanks!

So I think I've decided to go down the telephoto lens/star tracker route and do without scope for now. 

The Ian Morison article is brilliant and very helpful. I am looking at buying the Sony 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 OSS lens he recommends in that article (found one used for £149). Can anyone offer any additional insight into using this lens and what objects it's best for imaging wise?

I'd also like a mount I can use with my existing camera tripod although it's quite a cheap generic one I got as a package when I bought the camera. I'd ideally like a setup I can easily add a scope to in the future without buying extra mounts and tripods. 

Thanks once again. 


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Use the Telescopius website to check your framing on targets.

From my experience a standard photographic tripod is only good for testing, they are far too spindly for stability when doing AP. For portability I bought a leofoto carbon fibre tripod, it holds my 6.5Kg refractor setup well, though market prices have sent the price of such things through the roof now, it wasn't so bad when I bought mine.

For simplicity a SW GTI might be your best avenue to explore for a starter mount, it is however limited to a 5kg payload just like the AZGTI I mainly use. If you want something more future proof for a heavier telescope payload you'd have to spend more than 1k unless if you can find one used.

Edited by Elp
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Thanks Elp.

I've decided to keep my 130 SW reflector for now (bro-in-law understands!). Which means I can use the tripod as well. 

I've just purchased a used Sony 55-210mm lens from a camera retailer through ebay, yet to arrive. Also bought a SvBony zoom EP as my current EPs are a bit woeful.

That just leaves a new motor for my EQ mount (and a new T-bolt!) and I think I should be all set up (still have old motor but can't get it to work).

Thanks for all your advice!

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