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What to do with £800??


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Good evening all,

I am hoping that some of you could give me some advice on a predicament that I have got myself into.

I currently have a skywatcher dob 200p with the basic azimuth mount that came with it and have used it on and off for the past year and taken a few basic short exposure shots of the moon and planets with my dslr camera (canon eos 500d).

I am now wanting to start taking the more advanced pics of dso's etc and so know that I will need to buy a goto mount.

I believe that I have two options which are to either buy a decent mount like the heq5 which will set me back £800 or alternatively sell my dob and and buy a new scope that comes with a mount.

Please can you guys and gals give me your opinion on the above and suggest the best route for reaching my target of putting my camera to good use? Please appreciate my limit is around £800 although I would love to be able to spend more. :)

Jon

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To be honest you will need more than just a mount to do deep sky astrophotography. You will need a coma corrector as above and an autoguider of some kind. In my view to invest in an 800 pound mount and then not autoguide it does not make sense. You would be paying 80 percent of the price for 30 percent of the performance.

An HEQ5 would be pretty marginal for imaging with an 8 inch Newt and guidescope. Someone may have tried it and chip in. I would say, no don't risk the potential bad investment and go for an HEQ6.

Other options? I just bought a used Canon EF200L prime lens for my Canon and CCD cameras for 500 pounds from London Camera Exchange. This can image the sky at f3.2 at an optical quality that is pretty stunning and well ahead of budget scopes. The super fast speed and moderate focal length would mean you could get more signal onto the chip without trailing than you could with a scope on an unguided system.

If you already have some good lenses (primes are best) then the most accurate unguided mount might be the Astrotrac. You might squeeze a prime and an Astrotrac out of your budget by shopping around.

http://www.astrotrac.com/Default.aspx?p=tt320x-ag

An unguided 8 inch Newt on an HEQ5 will be very likely to leave you feeling extremely fed up.

Lastly, the poor UK weather seems seems to be provoking the sale of some complete imaging setups at the moment. I would also look in that direction.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I think I'd look into getting the HEQ5 s/h, sell the 200P, and get a short tube wide field appo like an 80mm ED or a 72mm Meg and maybe an s/h ST80 to guide with.

Then you need a guide cam - something like an LE mod'ed SPC900 with PHD would fit the bill . (or some similar setup approaching those ideas). :)

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Get an HEQ5 mount - if you have a laptop available, forget the PRO version and just get the Syntrek plus an EQDIR adapter. Together with free software (ASCOM, EQMOD, CdC) this will save you a few pounds and give you far better GOTO than the handset, especially for photography. I never use my PRO version handset (in fact it has been with FLO for a while now getting fixed). Cost £642.58

Sell the dobsonian and get an 80ED scope (eg Skywatcher 80ED, Equinox 80, William Optics Megrez 72). These are about £100-150 more than your dobsonian, so if you buy and sell second hand, this should come in almost exactly on your budget.

You will want to budget another £200 later on for a guidecamera + scope (a 9x50 finderscope works, or an ST80), but you can start without them and add them later. A QHY5 on a 9x50 finderscope works perfectly for me. Similarly, you may want a reducer/flattener in the future which will run another £150.

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Yes, the suggestions above regarding EQ5s and small refractors are exactly what I would do myself but after a prevoious thread became stormy I didn't want to be the first to say that! However, I might put autopguiding higher up the list. Swings and roundabouts.

Olly

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I agree with the others - HEQ5 Pro, small refractor and guider.

However if you want to keep the 200p - get the NEQ6 Syntrek (about £800 new from FLO with an EQDIR lead to control it from a PC) - not an HEQ5 which, in my experience, has difficulty handling a 200p, guider and camera. If you can't get one secondhand, you'll have to save up for the guider!

Steve

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Thanks all for all the advice on my thread so far.

I really like the idea of the astrosTrac and think that this could be an easier setup for me.

Am I right in thinking that all I need to do is buy all that is in the below link and a decent 200mm lense for my camera would be enough to take some decent pictures?

Also just wanted to highlight that I have a canon eos 500d.... Is this up to the job?

Thanks again,

Jon

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I am not an astrotrac expert though several have visited my place so I would not want to take responsibility, so to speak, for exactly what you need. A good astro dealer will guide you there, or an owner on this forum. But I have seen convincing results.

The 500D is a big hitter in DSLR terms but are you aware of the mods often carried out for astro imaging? Standard DSLRs are filtered to exclude the light of ionized hydrogen and this is the light in which emission nebulae mostly shine. The filter can be removed (by professionals or brave amateurs...) but this complicates daytime use.

Clusters, galaxies and reflection nebulae do not absolutely need the mod but some objects really do. I would read up on this.

Re lenses, the longer the focal length the better your tracking has to be. Astrotrac seem to imply an upper limit of 200mm in their ad. Bear that in mind.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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