Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:55 PM
Sold the Starfinder (which was an awesome scope for the money then) to fund a now "classic" Meade 10" LX200 with a Superwedge and some photography equipment. I only had this setup for about 3 or 4 years and sold it so I could get married (I know, you don't even have to mention it).
So....here I am many many moons later and want to get back into the game. This time I want to purchase some pretty nice equipment. I've been looking at the Astro Tech 10" and 12" Astrographs (not set on these just been looking) and some mounts they could be used on. Thinking an AT65EDQ or maybe even one of the slightly larger triplets as a piggy back. Also eyeballing the newer line of Meade LX600 and 800 scopes. I completely understand a nice mount is worth it's weight in gold. There are some amazing photos here on the board. Always wanted to get into the astrophoto world but never got a chance to. Now it looks like I can finally make that leap.
Feel free to add constructive feedback and I hope to learn from all you old timers Are the SBIG 8300 line of cameras worth the money or is there something on the market for less that will do the same?
Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:30 AM
If you can afford it... go for an Astro Physics mount! They are proven performers. I can't so I use an Orion Atlas EQ-G. Meade are not highly suggested mounts in the current run of equipment. (I think I said that in a nice way)
The AT65EDQ is a great little widefield scope(very biased owner of one)
Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:12 AM
Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:26 AM
Jerry - Welcome to the imaging forum here. However you choose to approach imaging, it's good to be patient an decide on an initial system that is well balance and will work easily and reliably. You've read already I imagine that folks (like me) often try to evangelize the importance of the mount in the mix. My easy explanation is that a good scope on a poor (in any way) mount you'll have a tough time getting keepers. A decent scope on a good mount(one that can easily handle it and tracks well) you'll get a lot more keepers.
In a way that is just the tip of the iceberg though. In ways it's not that easy.
Processing images is another world. Processing good data I feel very different than trying to process bad or marginal data and the things you go through to try and make bad data look good don't necessarily apply to processing good data. After a point you might feel that getting the images is the easy part if you have a well tempered setup!, and spend more time eeking out the fine detail.
Just want to add that with larger mirrored optics you have an additional level of challenge and that is critical collimation of the imaging optics. There is visually good enough and then there is imaging 'required'. You may also have to let the optics equalize somewhat to the outside temps if seeting up new each time. The smaller refractors don't have these issues.
Also want to mention that one of the most important feature that takes good optics and makes it a good imaging scope is the focuser - one of the many small things in the system that can cause huge difficulties if not up to the task.
In ways it is all about overall quality, but nothing can exceed what the mount can do. If the mount can't or won't... or is unreliable, even if the rest of your gear the best most expensive made won't save you.
As to the 8300 chipeed CCD's - I bought the initial release version of the monochrome... the original 'ST' with the 8 position wheel and have loved it. I am in a moderate temp zone and it rarely gets warm at night to where i can't cool the camera to -20, but then the sub-exposure look really good even at -10 and higher (when calibrated with darks and flats). there are a lot of companies that use the chip, so you'll want to maybe spreadsheet it out to look for differences... IMO the FLI is the top tier and possibly the Orion may be on the lower end? Monochrome imaging IMO gets better results (more detailed, less grainy, sharper small features) on many things but adds some expense.
If you are considering color or 'OSC' (One Shot Color) then I'll let other talk about that.
Imaging is IMO very different than the visual only part of the hobby - big scopes are great for visual, are difficult for imaging - especially learning imaging. (I tried for a short time)
Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:53 PM
Are the AP mounts and payload estimates accurate? Or do we still follow the rule, "If the payload cap is 90lbs, plan for 45lbs? Is it really that big of a deal to have say.....75lbs on a 90lb mount? I'm not saying this is the direction I'm headed, just trying to get the right direction sorted out. Is an AP900 good enough for a C14HD with an attached AT65EDQ? Do we figure counterweights? Are the equatorial wedge setups still somewhat reliable or did those kind of fade away into the abyss? I've been out of the game a little while but still remember what the early 90's had to offer. Digital imaging was for those that had no budget and the "standard" was a wedge and an Olympus OM type 35mm. The Orion EQG is fairly priced but I would also like something I can grow into.
The camera choices are extremely hard to make. Mono, Color ect...lots of nice equipment there. I remember seeing a while back a MEADE DSI ProII or III? Are those still sold? I will continue reading and researching so I don't hound you all to death lol.