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New to AstroPhotography -- Need Help

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#1 armond


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:21 PM

Hi all,

I have decided to venture into Astrophotography and learn the basics. Now I don't have a camera (dslr or point & shoot) so I will need to get one. Aside from that, will any of my telescopes (mentioned in my signature) work for astrophotography? Note that I do not have an EQ mount. Should I purchase a scope/mount dedicated to astrophotography? Last question is what supplies will I need to get into beginner stuff. I want to start taking good quality images of nebula and galaxies. Forgive me if that is not beginner stuff. I'm still new and cannot tell what is what. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you

#2 Mike7Mak



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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

Well 'good quality images' is open to interpretation but generally speaking an EQ mount, of the highest quality you can afford, is pretty much a prerequisite. Several of the scopes in your sig would work but the 'easiest' to get started with is probably the Vixen 100 ED. An autoguide system is also nearly essential for 'quality' results.

I personally recommend starting out with an entry level b/w astrocam, especially if you have no experience processing digital images. But whatever you do read read read. Astrophotography is a fairly complex and demanding dicipline. Every step and piece of equipment, besides potentially expensive, involves a learning curve that can be daunting at times.

#3 quantumphysicist


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

If you can't afford an EQ mount I think building a wedge might help. It is possible to make one completely adjustable How to build a wedge for a celestron 8se
There are special alignment and rate options in the 8se handset from what I understand.

#4 armond


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:53 PM

Thanks all. I think I can afford EQ on the lower end. What are some good starter EQ's for beginners?

#5 nemo129



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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:44 PM

Knowing your budget would help, but the Orion Atlas, the Celestron CGEM come to mind as well as the iOptron iEQ45. Less expensive, the Celestron CG5, iOptron iEQ30 or the Orion Sirius. If you can find a good used deal, that would help, but be careful to make sure your purchase from someone with a good reputation or better yet a local purchase so you can go look at the mount. If you have a experienced friend who could go along, all the better.

#6 armond


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:30 PM

Sweet. Thanks for all your help. I will visit the local telescope store to see if they have those mounts in stock.

Thanks all!

#7 Phil Sherman

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:21 AM

You have a lot to learn and a good deal of equipment to buy. You should expect to spend at least a year learning how to process images so you might want to start out using a DSLR attached to the scope on your Celestron mount. Canon cameras are best for astro imaging and some of the older ones are available for only a few hundred dollars. You should be able to take 15-30 second images using the camera's lenses and possibly longer ones at the meridian. ImagesPlus is a great processing program for both DSLR and astro cameras whose software produces .FIT files. Another way to ease into the AP field is to get a used B/W camera such as a DSI I, II, III Pro to start out. If the AP bug really bites you, this camera can be used as a guide camera when you upgrade to a better one.

Alt-Az mounts, what you have, are the wrong type of mount for AP. A wedge is the least expensive way to convert your mount to an equatorial one but that combination isn't the easiest to work with. Expect to spend at least $1500 for an equatorial mount that's AP capable with your existing OTAs. Equatorial mounts in this class should be loaded to 50-60% of their rated capacity when used for AP. Heavier loads are possible but make imaging much tougher.


#8 jsines


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

The first thing I'd do is buy the DSLR and a t-adapter/ring, and then use what's in your signature to learn about taking shots, stacking, and processing. I'd do this knowing you're not going to end up with quality results, but to learn the process. Processing the images is half of the work involved in astrophotography. Going out and buying an expensive mount/scope/dslr is going to put you in the same situation in terms of processing, stacking, etc. If you don't have the process down, you'll get *BLEEP* pictures from more expensive equipment or the equipment you have.

Once you have the process down, then you'll be able to know more about what you want, like refractor versus reflector, equipment size, mount capacity needs, etc.

#9 armond


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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

Thanks all. I'm strongly considering the Celestron CGEM mount as that seems to fit my budget well. As for DSLR, I still need to do a bit research to see what Canon DSLR model I could purchase. In the mean time, I will roam these forums and see how much I can soak up.

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