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NEW ASTROTRAC TT320X-AG


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Take a look at this....

Astrophotography Made Easy - Home

All for £399 including the polar scope (already ordered mine!)

Even more beautiful than the last one (cheaper too) and with a guide port to boot - could be the perfect thing to take on honeymoon to Switzerland in August... and Julie too!

...and to think I nearly jumped at a second hand one on here a week ago, or so....

Damian

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...and to think I nearly jumped at a second hand one on here a week ago, or so....

Damian

I think that's the one I bought Damian!! Mind you, seems as good as new and the last thing I want to do with an Astrotrac is start autoguiding!

All their kit has come right down in price. £400 is much more realistic. I was playing my "new used" version this week end and it is a great piece of kit

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I have to agree with you Martin, I wonder why they have gone down the route of an AG option ? To me this kit was all about getting away from the laptops, wires and guiding headaches and doing some widefield imaging from remote dark skies. Fair enough being able to autoguide will allow deeper longer exposures but what about keeping it simple? The original astrotrac is a great piece of kit, 400 GBP is a good deal.

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I have to agree with you Martin, I wonder why they have gone down the route of an AG option ? To me this kit was all about getting away from the laptops, wires and guiding headaches and doing some widefield imaging from remote dark skies. Fair enough being able to autoguide will allow deeper longer exposures but what about keeping it simple? The original astrotrac is a great piece of kit, 400 GBP is a good deal.

400 quid is a good price even without the guideport. You can always ignore it!

D

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The new Astrotrac TT320X AG was officially released 15th April. We had intended to announce it here on SGL on that date but there were difficulties downloading the product images :)

We now have all the new Astrotrac products listed on our website HERE.

We were also fortunate enough to have a TT320 AG with us at SGL-5 where Kevin (Beyondvision) used it for his 'Astrophotography with an Astrotrac' talk.

I think most will agree that whilst the original Astrotrac was highly regarded it was considered expensive so fell short of its full potential. With these new significantly reduced prices it is bound to sell well so we have ordered a quantity of 'all' the new products so they will be available off-the-shelf.

Delivery is expected over the next 2-3 weeks.

HTH,

Steve :D

Astrotrac_TT320X_AG_thumb.jpgAstrotrac_wedge_thumb.jpgAstrotrac_TH3010_Head_thumb.jpgastrotrac_travel_system_thumb.jpg

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Blimey... that's cheap, but so was the original one when first launched.

Hope the Chinese electronics hold up..Why would you guide through it? Doesn't that defeat the whole principle? If your going to guide then you better buy the Astrotrac wedge and HD tripod also, if your doing that you might as well buy a HEQ5 Pro

Just my pennies worth...

Guy..

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Guy, you are assuming the original didn't already have Chinese electronics....

Besides, the HEQ5 you mention and your own Celestron CPC both use Chinese electronics.

The Auto-guider port surprised us too but it doesn't detract from the original Astrotrac design and purpose and if those using long focal-length telescopes want to enhance its already excellent tracking performance via the guide-port then that is a good thing.

Well, we think it is :D

Steve

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I'm wondering about the idea of autoguiding in one direction.

I suppose you have two scopes on top (or one scope and one camera+lens), one for imaging and one with a guide camera and autoguider. I can see that guiding in RA would compensate for variations in the tracking of the astrotrac's motor, but would it in any way relax the need for "perfect" polar alignment for longer focal lengths or exposures?

Your alignment will need to be just as good won't it? Any drift in declination can't be corrected... have I understood it correctly?

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Yes, that is my understanding too. I will be chatting with Richard (of Astrotrac) when he returns from NEAF in the US so will have more details then. We shall also make one available to SGL for review.

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At the end of the day more for features for less money has to be good whether you itend to use them or not. The polar scope is so much better than the usual lower end mount fare and with good polar alignment the need for correction in dec will be less of an issue. The correction for periodic error in RA will help those who are pushing the boundaries of the Astrotrac by using long focal length scopes.

It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. From 10mm wide angle lens DSLR needing minimal polar alignment to large long focal length telescope requiring drift alignment and guiding teathered to a PC.

A great bit of British engineering hopefully now with a good price point.

Regards

Kevin

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Guy, you are assuming the original didn't already have Chinese electronics....

Besides, the HEQ5 you mention and your own Celestron CPC both use Chinese electronics.

The Auto-guider port surprised us too but it doesn't detract from the original Astrotrac design and purpose and if those using long focal-length telescopes want to enhance its already excellent tracking performance via the guide-port then that is a good thing.

Well, we think it is :D

Steve

Did I not say it would be Made in China one day ... whether he does or someone else will.. :)

Richard should get that beautiful little wedge made there also... it needs to be cheaper.. :D

Guy..

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Did I not say it would be Made in China one day ... whether he does or someone else will.. :D

Richard should get that beautiful little wedge made there also... it needs to be cheaper.. :)

Guy..

Looking on the website, both the wedge and the head have come down in price to £279 including VAT. They were nearer £400 before... I've got the wedge, but I wonder if the head will improve things for my megrez72 on there.

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Oops!

I have confused things by saying they will be made in China. This new model will initially be manufactured here in the UK in Astrotrac's own workshops. The electronics are also sourced here in the UK. The only exception is the long screw mechanism which is specially-made in the US.

Apologies for the error :D

Steve

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Thanks for that Steve

I've also spoken to AstroTrac and (as FLO's own AstroTrac page states), the product is manufactured here in their UK Bristol office (apart from the US sourced screw)...

So a great piece of kit still made here - makes a change doesn't it!

Looking forward to getting mine in the near future...

Damian

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Next question!

So to go on a hefty Manfrotto tripod.....

either the Manfrotto 405 geared head or the slightly cheaper/lighter/more capacity AstroTac wedge.... your thoughts please!

damian

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Get the metal Astrotrac one. Mine was on a Manfrotto geared 410 head and the camera on a Manfrotto 488RC2 Ball Head, the Achilles' heel was the geared head, so a wedge would defiantly helped with longer than 200mm scopes.

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Thanks for the thoughts guys..... the Astrotrac wedge it is then (slightly cheaper/lighter and with more load capacity than the Manfrotto 405 geared head).

Next the 'top part!'

For now I'm going to keep it as simple as possible - just the Nikon D3 and the 24-70 f2.8 (that's over 2Kg's though)

In the future though I'd look to add say the 70-22 f2.8 VRII or a 300mm f4. (1.5-2Kg's)

I've just purchased a second hand LVI guider for the future (now the AstroTrac has this guide port) and think this matched up to a small WO scope or the Tak FS60 (would be very nice ;)) So that's another 2-3Kgs...

So, for the top head, how about the Manfrotto 468MGRC3 HYDROSTATIC BALL HEAD REL.RC3...?

tripods, heads, monopods, light stands, camera supports, lighting supports, professional tripod 468MGRC3 - HYDROSTATIC BALL HEAD REL.RC3

Pretty light (0.8Kg) and a 16Kg capacity (more than enough), I could get a nice aluminium bar made up to take the camera and scope/LVI side by side.... before you say it, I'm not looking at getting the AstroTrac head and counter weight bar....!

I've found a good deal on of these units for around £155.

I suppose all I'd need then is a power tank - any recommendations on that front(?) with 2 cigarette lighter outs ( for the Astrotrac and LVI).

post-16760-133877442345_thumb.jpg

Edited by TakMan
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And to think of all the grief I took for saying it cost too much... :-)

New one = spot one!...nice job! (he says after just getting an EQ3-2 with full autoguide capability on a mount for less than this costs)

...lol

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That's a good point Nick - but not helpful!

It does break down into lightweight and manageable parts, and the head could be swapped out for a lighter one (that I have around somewhere!)

I can also use the Manfrotto head though for other photography and also attach to the top of the FSQ106 when I want to piggy back the DSLR....

"Quality is remembered long after the price" as the saying goes....

The LVI could have all sorts of uses in the future though if I end up swapping over the self-guiding SBIG (especially as I run on a Mac)...

And the little Tak FS60 purchase(?), well, 'just because' - it'd look nice with the 'others'... ;-)

Anyone else...!?

Damian

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Thanks for the thoughts guys..... the Astrotrac wedge it is then (slightly cheaper/lighter and with more load capacity than the Manfrotto 405 geared head).

Next the 'top part!'

For now I'm going to keep it as simple as possible - just the Nikon D3 and the 24-70 f2.8 (that's over 2Kg's though)

In the future though I'd look to add say the 70-22 f2.8 VRII or a 300mm f4. (1.5-2Kg's)

I've just purchased a second hand LVI guider for the future (now the AstroTrac has this guide port) and think this matched up to a small WO scope or the Tak FS60 (would be very nice ;)) So that's another 2-3Kgs...

So, for the top head, how about the Manfrotto 468MGRC3 HYDROSTATIC BALL HEAD REL.RC3...?

tripods, heads, monopods, light stands, camera supports, lighting supports, professional tripod 468MGRC3 - HYDROSTATIC BALL HEAD REL.RC3

Pretty light (0.8Kg) and a 16Kg capacity (more than enough), I could get a nice aluminium bar made up to take the camera and scope/LVI side by side.... before you say it, I'm not looking at getting the AstroTrac head and counter weight bar....!

I've found a good deal on of these units for around £155.

I suppose all I'd need then is a power tank - any recommendations on that front(?) with 2 cigarette lighter outs ( for the Astrotrac and LVI).

I've got the same ball head but with a different plate on top. It is good quality and locks rock solid, but I would say that with a small scope (or long lens) on top it is quite tricky making fine adjustments to frame your shot. Even though the tension is adjustable, I either have it too loose (and have to find my target again) or I have it too tight and move the whole tripod instead of just the ball!

So usually I have the 410 geared head on top of the astrotrac. You are a bit constrained in the directiones you can point, but once there you can make fine adjustments really easily. The combination of a Rigel quickfinder on the scope and the geared head means I can find things and frame my shot much more effectively than before. I wish I could mount the Rigel on the camera hot shoe!

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Tak FS60 is a very nice scope.. and Manfrotto is quality...

LVI, I'll take the 5th amendment on that one

I do like this new Astrotrac though, price point is spot on, and the autoguider port makes it a real win win.. for travel imaging

Edited by NickH
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