Jump to content


A scope for astrophotography

Recommended Posts

I was about to buy a Celestron NextStar 6SE as a gift for my brother. He's into photography, and I figured I could lure him into astronomy via astrophotography. Seems like a great scope for the price, and portable too, which was the only requirement I got out of my brother when I asked. But I've been advised that equatorial is the only way to go for imaging...

I may have to persuade him that portability is a relative thing, I guess. With that in mind, can I get some suggestions about what to go for, given the implied budget?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

A long focal length fork or arm mounted SCT is the last thing you want when trying to learn deep sky imaging - in my opinion, I heartlily stress.

A small apo refractor on an HEQ5 is the way to start, according to those who advised me. I ignored them but learned the hard way and now agree. For planetary and lunar and you can use a fast frame rate camera (webcam upwards) and here the SCT on altaz would do quite well. Many people I know have failed to get wedge mounted SCTs to work in practice for deep sky. I found mine a nightmare.


Edited by ollypenrice
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 5SE comes with a wedge, but I'm leaning towards Olly's advice in that I'm looking at some kind of 80ED to go on a CG-5 GT. I suspect my bro would like some kind of ultra portable astro-trac set up, but then he'll needing a richer brother for that...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An 80ED on a CG5/HEQ5 would be an excellent start into imaging. My first proper setup was the Equinox 80 with ST80 on an NEQ6, you wouldnt really need a mount that big to start with but I new I wouldnt be content with just an 80ED which held true as within few months of getting it I got the Equinox 120 aswell.

The wedge is a horrible place to start AP with and I totally agree with Olly in every respect. I very nearly bought a Meade 10" LX200 on a wedge as my first setup but was advised to stay away and go for a beefy EQ mount. If your not set on the 6SE then I would suggest going the EQ route aswell.

I've just started on my AstroTrac journey, have a look at my AstroTrac reviews, part 1 and 2 are in the review section, part 3 will be first light which hopefully wont be too long in the offing. A complete setup including tripod and mounting equipment cost me about £700 and then obviously you have the camera equipment and lenses on top.

If he is really serious about getting into AP a good start would be a decent tripod and a camera and just mess about with some 30 second, 60 second exposures. Thats what I did, you can also try the star trails photo which always impresses when done right. I now use a Sigma 170-500mm APO lens which hopefully should replace a small 80ED scope, I'm not sure what the quality of the image will be but I have some I can compare with when I get out there with it. The 300D with that lens at 500mm gives a really nice fov to get the flame and horsehead nebulas in Orion, so fingers crossed. I'm also going to adapt a rear lens cover and stick a 1.25" EP holder on the back of it and see how it operates as a visual instrument aswell. Would be very handy for on holiday having a decent camera lens that doubles up as a portable scope.

Whichever way you choose to go I wish you luck and hope that you find the right setup for you the first time. I've been through three now and its only now that I feel truely happy with what I am using.

Edited by simon84
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.