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iOptron SkyTracker

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#51 Chris817

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:52 PM

So far it's worked great for me. Had a little trouble the first time out getting it polar aligned, but after the app came out for android, it's been great. With my Canon T3 I was able to do a 300 second exposure at 300mm with an ISO of 400 on M51 from the light polluted skies south of Cleveland, Oh.

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#52 munchmeister

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:02 AM

Wow. Nice image. 5 minutes sub speaks pretty well for this little tracker. And a 300mm lens is probably pretty heavy, loaded on to your DSLR.

Any details on this image? # of subs, photoshop, DSS details?

#53 Chris817

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:44 PM

Thanks. This is just one single image and no Photoshopping, still learning PS and how to stack. It didn't seem too loaded down either, handled my camera with the lens pretty well.

#54 YuriyT

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 02:11 PM

Hi, I've recorder the guiding curve of my sample, see details on the graph below.

Amplitude of (quasi) periodic guiding error is +/-50". This means that for long exposures focal length should be below 50 or even 35 mm (it depends on the pixel size also).

It's a pity that guiding error is so high, SkyTracker is really nice piece of engineering, small and lightweight.

Posted Image

Other "unboxing" images could be found in related set on Flickr.

#55 bilgebay

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 02:35 PM

Thank you for sharing this Yuriyt.

I would love to see the same curve for Vixen Polarie!

#56 ZakAttack

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 09:27 PM

I used the SkyTracker for the first time on April 13th. I had no problems setting it up and using it. The polar scope with illuminated reticle was very easy to use. I left it attached the whole time and periodically checked the positioning. Since the ball-head I ordered hadn't arrived, I mounted a borrowed pan-head mount to the Sky Tracker and then attached a Canon XSi (450D) to it. I took a lot of constellation pictures in somewhat light-polluted skies. It is nice not having star-trails in my pictures!

Here is a snippet of a picture of the Beehive Cluster in Cancer I took with my Canon EFS 18-55mm zoom lens. The settings were: Aperture 4.0, Focal Length 27mm, ISO 400, Time = 60 seconds.

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#57 ZakAttack

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 10:10 PM

Here is a pic of the Big Dipper I took with the same lens. The settings were: Aperture 4.0, Focal Length 27mm, ISO 400, Time = 240 seconds (4 minutes).

Dean

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#58 Mkofski

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 10:28 PM

Dean,

Nice shots. These are single exposures?

#59 ZakAttack

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 11:32 PM

Yes, they are single exposures.

Dean

#60 Patrick

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 12:14 AM

YuriyT,

What was your process for capturing your PE curves? What software did you use, etc? I'd like to measure mine.

Patrick

#61 kyang

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

Hello,

I have got several nice photos with SkyTracker/Canon T3i /50mm. When I try on the 200mm lens, I found my cheapy tripod is just too weak to hold the system steady.

Any suggested tripods which are in the reasonable price range (~$100) ?
Thanks.

-Kai

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#62 Raginar

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:45 PM

I imagine you could use PEMPRO. Just set it up and use your DSLR in MaximDL.

#63 munchmeister

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:45 PM

Do a search at B&H Photo for Manfrotto tripods, get one with leg angles that can be individually set for a wider, more stable stance and uneven terrain. Forget the center bracket tripods. Oben, Slik, Vanguard, Benro are some good brands, too and have some decent 'pods for ~ $100. I use a Slik carbon fiber and a Manfrotto 055XBPRO.

#64 carver2011

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 05:01 PM

YuriyT,

What was your process for capturing your PE curves? What software did you use, etc? I'd like to measure mine.

Patrick


Yuriyt I would also like to know your method for measuring the tracking error. I have seen excellent results using the SkyTracker with lens as large as 180mm. Seeing your setup would be of great help. Thank you.
Ed

#65 Patrick

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:01 PM

I would also like to know your method for measuring the tracking error.



I'm seriously racking my brain trying to figure out a way to physically measure the tracking error. In the past I've measured PE on various mounts using a telescope and a CCD camera. I'm not sure what to use since I'm pretty sure that the iOptron won't be able to hold my AT66ED refractor. I also don't think the DSLR in Live View mode will work because it just doesn't pick up on stars that well, and even if it did, how will I interface with PEMPro? Also, the longest lens I have is only 70mm.

If you're out there Yuryt, I'd be very interested to know how you did it.

EDIT: It just occurred to me that perhaps I could mount my 9x50 finder guidescope on the Sky Tracker along with my Lodestar guide cam. Still, the focal length is not that long, but it might be just long enough.

Thanks,

Patrick

#66 MrFancypants

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 08:01 AM

Hello,

I have got several nice photos with SkyTracker/Canon T3i /50mm. When I try on the 200mm lens, I found my cheapy tripod is just too weak to hold the system steady

Any suggested tripods which are in the reasonable price range (~$100) ?
Thanks.

-Kai


I bought the Dolica GX650B204 Proline on Amazon and I am extremely happy with it. It cost $84 Canadian. I haven't tried it with the iOptron but it is rated at 17lbs.

#67 Psion

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:03 AM

I've tested the Polarie and the SkyTracker on an artificial star and I have not so bad results.

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#68 Cotts

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

I'd like to revive this thread and talk about the Periodic Error of my Sky Tracker. See photo below with a 105mm lens on a 60Da, with the Sky Tracker purposely mis-aligned by 30 degrees or so, drive engaged and 25 minute exposure. The P.E. is easily seen in this full frame pic where the field of view is 12deg x 8deg. My pics with the 105mm lens at 2 minutes ALL show the P.E. as elongated stars. If you can see the P.E. in this picture it will manifest itself as an equal amplitude elongation of stars when the unit is properly polar aligned....

Am I expecting too much? With a 105mm lens am I limited to 30 second or less subs?

I would like to do 2-minute subs with a 105mm lens... I doubt I would try any longer lens.

N.B. With a wide lens, 18mm, I shot a 10 minute pic and there was no evidence of star elongation - which stands to reason at that image scale. But is the Sky Tracker only suited to wide fields?

Dave

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#69 Astropetev

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:24 AM

That Orion shot looks promising (early in this thread) although 30 second subs are pretty short. It may be due to the compression but the stars look slightly out of focus. If so, with perfect focus even more impressive! But like another respondent I would like to be able to go up to 5 minutes or more at the longer focal lengths (no problem at 40mm or shorter).

I use a modded EQ3-2 at the moment when flying overseas, and although I have to severely limit my other luggage due to the weight (over 10Kg with battery pack), it's been round the world with me. And guided is good for long exposures at 400 mm focal length. If I had to replace it I'd probably go for the iOptron SmartEQ PRO - 7Kg all up, guided and GOTO.

On the other hand, if iOptron add a guide port to the skyTracker, then I'd probably reach for my wallet :-)

Cheers,
Peter.

http://www.madpc.co.uk/~peterv

#70 derangedhermit

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:39 PM

I've tested the Polarie and the SkyTracker on an artificial star and I have not so bad results.

How long was the exposure? The Polarie looks much smoother when looking at the lines on-edge.

#71 derangedhermit

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:01 PM

I'd like to revive this thread and talk about the Periodic Error of my Sky Tracker. See photo below with a 105mm lens on a 60Da, with the Sky Tracker purposely mis-aligned by 30 degrees or so, drive engaged and 25 minute exposure. The P.E. is easily seen in this full frame pic where the field of view is 12deg x 8deg. My pics with the 105mm lens at 2 minutes ALL show the P.E. as elongated stars. If you can see the P.E. in this picture it will manifest itself as an equal amplitude elongation of stars when the unit is properly polar aligned....

Am I expecting too much? With a 105mm lens am I limited to 30 second or less subs?

I would like to do 2-minute subs with a 105mm lens... I doubt I would try any longer lens.

N.B. With a wide lens, 18mm, I shot a 10 minute pic and there was no evidence of star elongation - which stands to reason at that image scale. But is the Sky Tracker only suited to wide fields?

Dave

Dave, looking at that image, even at 2 minutes you're still going to be throwing away a lot of subs.

This thing looks pretty much ideal except for the error in tracking rate. The spec says "DC servo motor". If that's true (closed-loop feedback) then I assume that it is meeting its design specs.

The Polarie looks better to me, although I agree with the cons v the iOptron that have been mentioned. With polar scope, that's $550+ US. Now we're in a price range where stronger EQ mounts are entering the picture.

#72 DzmitryK

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:23 PM

Hello,
I'd like to share my experience.
With the help of EQAlign 2.2 software, I measured PE of my tracker using 135 mm lens and QHY-5 camera (7.9"/pix). I got +/-20" periodic error and the period of about 512 sec. Here is the graph (horizontal/vertical axis are in sec and arcsec respectively; Blue line represents RA, yellow - DEC drift):

Posted Image


I also made a number of sample shots with 135 mm lens, and was able to get perfectly round stars using exposures up to 120 sec. The tracker also performed satisfactory at 180 sec - I got approximately 50/50 ratio of good images and images with slightly elongated stars. And no good images were obtained using 300 sec exposures. Here are the links to crops of the sample shots in 100% scale (120, 180 and 300 sec).

120 s

180 s

300 s

Unfortunately, I also had an unexpected problem with my tracker: it stopped to work after 8 hours of use in total. It was sent back for repairing, and, as I was informed, the problem was in the defective gear motor. The motor was changed. Hope it will not happen again.

#73 astroSc0rch

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:02 PM

looks like they have a new model

here

i'm new to this discussion - it looks to me like the topic initially involved an iOpteron SkyTracker with a white body - now there are two models on their website, a white body and a black body...

#74 cloe

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 08:23 AM

one shot of the milkyway(approx,200sec.)using a Sigma 10-20mm lens.Sky was a bit hazy due to thunderstorms.
Used photoshop to bring out contrast,colors etc.
Fun piece of equipment :cool:

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#75 munchmeister

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 03:53 PM

one shot of the milkyway(approx,200sec.)using a Sigma 10-20mm lens.Sky was a bit hazy due to thunderstorms.
Used photoshop to bring out contrast,colors etc.
Fun piece of equipment :cool:

Very nice. What was your ISO setting?






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