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Looking for Input: Starlapse vs. AstroTrac

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#1 austin.grant


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

Hey everyone. I'm looking to downsize my current astrophoto operation, and get into something more mobile and widefield. I've narrowed the mounts down, I think, to the Starlapse and the AstroTrac. I'm partial to the Starlapse, as it has a great panning, timelapse feature that I know I'd use in my terrestrial photos. The AstroTrac, on the other hand seems to be much lighter and with probably less tracking error.

Price isn't a huge concern, I'm more interested in a system that I'll love and use often. Any comments or suggestions on how I should proceed?



#2 Doug D.

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:42 PM

Austin, maybe I'm not understanding the panning feature correctly, but couldn't the Astrotrac just be positioned parallel to the ground in order to get panning for time-lapse? However, I can appreciate the StarLapse would be more versatile because it allows pan-tilt at multiple speeds.

You might also want to consider the Vixen Polarie if your goal is to image with dSLR at wide angles. You can't beat the portability and simplicity of the Polarie and it looks like the Polarie polar scope would afford you some nice performance (3-5 min exposures) with wide angle shots.

One "limitation" of the Astrotrac is ~2 hours tracking time before it needs to be "rewound" to starting position. Polarie keeps going until the power runs out.

Might boil down to difference between how important portability and simplicity are relative to more sophisticated panning options?

In any event, the astro images on your site are wonderful..... I'll be pleased to see what you can manage with one of these portable mounts given your skill set...!! :bow:

#3 austin.grant


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

Thanks Doug. My DSLR gear is much too heavy for me to feel comfortable with the specs of the Polarie. It's certainly a great tool, but I don't think it's exactly what I'm looking for.

I like the Starlapse for the reasons you stated...versatility. The 2-hour limit of the AstroTrac isn't a deal breaker, but it would make long-term timelapse a real chore. I find myself doing significantly more "traditional" photography these days, so a setup that lends itself to both is high on my list.

That said, it's main use will be astrophotos. If one is able to produce significantly better tracking, I'd like to hear about it.

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