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Choosing a scope


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I am mainly interested in photography and do a lot of bird photography using a Canon 50D. I am considering a scope that will allow digiscoping and also allow me to take some photos of the moon etc and maybe some amateur astronomy. I have been looking at the Celestron Regal 80F -ED. The reviews and sample photos from birding forums have been very good. From an astronomy point of view how much can I expect to see through it and what quality of photos can I expect. It is pretty much at the top of my budget at around £500.

John.

Edited by chkm8
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It's possible to use a camera and normal lenses to take photos for DSOs. What is key is tracking as astronomy requires accurate tracking whilst the camera sensor is picking up light. Without this you'll be limited to short exposures as stars move.

For Lunar I think you'd probably want more focal length to get magnification and bring out the detail.

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It's possible to use a camera and normal lenses to take photos for DSOs. What is key is tracking as astronomy requires accurate tracking whilst the camera sensor is picking up light. Without this you'll be limited to short exposures as stars move.

For Lunar I think you'd probably want more focal length to get magnification and bring out the detail.

Thanks for the advice. Given the £500 budget is there any other scope that could be used or adjusted to allow birding photos and some astronomy.

JOhn.

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As NickK say it is the mount that is important in astrophotography. For wildlife you have the sun shining, for astrophotography you want it as dark as possible. As in cannot see the scope and mount because it is so dark.

To photograph a bird the setting is something like 1/125 or 1/250 second. For astrophotography it is 600 seconds and you take 20 of these to stack on one another.

A good ED scope as you have mentioned should be good to start with. Note the "START WITH". Triplet apo would be more a normal option.

To be stable and track you would need an HEQ5 at least, EQ6 better with at least RA+Dec motors. The mount will have to be very accurately polar alignd. Better and eventually necessary if serious the mount needs to be a goto with a guide scope and guide camera, laptop required to process the guide data from the guider.

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If the Celestron is the ED80 variant also sold under many other brand names like Skywatcher then it is both a consumate digiscoper and fine deep sky imaging instrument. But, and this is a big 'but,' the sky moves and you need long exposures, so you need a tracking mount which, alone, will blow your budget. The HEQ5 is the widely accepted minimum. See the FLO site from the top of the page.

The only way to do non-tracking astro imaging is with a good sized Dobsonian reflector and webcam. You are limited to the moon and planets with these and the big Dob has no birding applications whatever. If webcamming the solar system through a fast frame camera the 'tracking' can be retrospective in that the software will align and stack the images after the video capture.

An 80mm scope does give a good view of wide fields and a decent taste of the planets but more aperture is preferable. This, over budget by by 75 pounds and needing an eyepiece, would be a better visual astro scope and still good for digiscoping:

IKHARUS Telescope and Accessories from Ian King Imaging

But the classic is this one, ready to go and under budget. To beat it at this aperture you have to pay a fortune;

Pro Series - Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro Outfit

Olly

ollypenrice's Photos

Apologies, we are crossing in the post here.

Edited by ollypenrice
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I'm no expert, but I think you'll find it hard to combine both functions in one scope due to the two very different requirements. I would be inclined to split the budget and look at purchasing two scopes. The bear minimum for astronomy use on a casual basis would be something like an explorer 150P on a EQ3-2 driven mount, typically costing around £350. Ideally you will be better results if you invested in the EQ5, HEQ5 mount and larger aperture scopes, but then these will be outside your budget.

Even at this price, that doesn't leave much for your spotting scope, and just glancing at some prices of ED scopes suggest that you will need to increase your budget accordingly...

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One other thing... do spotting scopes correct the image (ie right way up and left to right) ? - Most astronomical telescopes don't have the additional lenses / mirrors to do this and so images are often inverted or back to front - may not matter in the overall scheme of things when taking a picture... but worth thinking about if using one for visual work

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Thanks guys for the replies lots of food for thought. I will probably have to reconsider the budget and maybe hold back a mth or 2. Have to say the Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro Outfit looks an interesting option.

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Thanks guys for the replies lots of food for thought. I will probably have to reconsider the budget and maybe hold back a mth or 2. Have to say the Skywatcher Evostar 80ED DS-Pro Outfit looks an interesting option.

If you were to buy this for birding you would probably want a cheap erecting prism to correct the image orientation. In no form of telescopic imaging do you shoot through either one of these or a diagonal. You shoot straight through. Just put your birding camera in upside down!

For imaging in astronomy I would greatly prefer an ED80 to a Newtonian for a number of practical reasons but both will do the job.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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