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66SD + Modded D60 + Byers Cam-Trak = good idea?

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#1 bykhed


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Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:13 PM

After giving up on AP in frustration, I've decided to go the simple® route and try my hand at widefield. My planned setup is:

- Modded Canon D60
- WO Zenithstar 66SD
- Byers Cam-Trak mount

For those unfamiliar with the Cam-Trak, it's a very accurate, tiny GEM for camera tracking and can carry a 10 lb load. It is rumored to have < 10 arc-seconds of PE. More here:

Because the 66SD is so light, the Cam-Trak will be able to carry it with the D60 camera attached. I realize that my exposure times will be limited at 388mm focal length, but it was the cheapest route ($250 for the 66SD vs. $1000 for a nice Canon lens).

Does this make sense? Is 388mm too long a focal length for unguided imaging?



#2 Nils_Lars


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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:04 AM

I think thats an excellent idea and should result in some great widefields.

3 free things I can suggest to help if your not already doing them is , Polar alignment(drift if you can) , Bahtinov mask (if you cut your own) , Deep Sky Stacker.

Hope to see some shots from you soon.

#3 templec



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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:56 AM

I think you'll find 388mm is fairly forgiving...so you should get some decent unguided images - particularly if the PE is that low and you can get pretty good polar alignment (as Erik mentioned). I have a WO ZS66 myself, and I will offer this one little warning to you - when you attach a camera to it, it will be EXTREMELY back-heavy. The 66 comes with a foot for mounting on a tripod, but it is not in the center-of-gravity when a camera is attached. You will also need something to convert the SCT-style threads on the scope to a 2" push-in. I use this.

This sounds like a neat little setup! :)
- Craig

#4 tiggere


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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:56 AM

Hey I have a better idea on the bahtinov mask...cutting them can be a pain it the you know what...d/l your mask...then do one of two thinks...find a GRAPHICS (<---this is important) place and have the print it for you on tranparency film...or do what I did and print it yourself on a laser printer on transparency film...there's one thing to keep in mind...if you convert this file to another format it WILL change the scale of the vector graphic...thats why the graphics shop would be a good choice...if you must convert then I would recommend playing around with different scales on plain white paper prior to printing on the film...

#5 JohnH



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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:46 AM

I let a friend use my Hasselblad with my 50 mm FLE, a 100mm f/3.5, my 250mm APO and 250mm regular and his own 500 f/8 and the results were pretty good up to around 15 min with the 250mm and around 10 min for the 500mm.

He found that it was important to get a good weight balance using the heavier lens (the 500mm is some 5 lbs and the 250mm are about 1.25 lbs)

#6 bykhed


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Posted 06 January 2010 - 12:48 PM

Thanks for the encouragement & ideas! I figured that the whole thing will be long and back-heavy, so I'll need to do some kind of creative mounting setup. Fortunately I've been doing some metalwork and have the necessary tools/supplies to make a custom mounting plate. I'll post a photo here once all the pieces arrive and are together. Then, hopefully, I'll post some amazing astro photos!



#7 UniversalMaster


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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:11 PM

Nice mount! Where can you buy this?


#8 bykhed


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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:11 PM

Ed Byers made the Cam-Trak many years ago (I'd guess about 20 years) so they're only available on the used market. You can find them on the other website classifieds from time to time.


#9 astrokido


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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:37 PM

Nice mount! Where can you buy this?


An ad in the wanted classifieds on CN and AM could bring some lightly-used Byers Cams out of the closet. They're top-notch mechanical quality Ed Byers is known for.

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