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Picking out a telescope - beginner + astrophoto

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#1 Kunal

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

now i know thats an oxymoron. beginner and astrophotography in the same sentence.

for the longest time, i have just been observing with naked eye. and i'd say i have about average knowledge now of what to see, when to see, how to see, what is the name of what, etc.

for maybe 3 years now, i kept doing research and had confirmed 99% that when i do buy a telescope, i will buy the orion xt6. meets my budget and lets me see what i want to see and maybe more. should keep me occupied for atleast a couple of years.

in these years, i bought a dslr and now am very much into photography as well. recently, i got to club these 2 hobbies buy trying to take photographs of a meteor shower, and after about 400 shots, i got 1 which had a streak in it. it felt awesome!!!

but now i read that dob might not be the best suited to photography, so i did research again from scratch (not as in depth this time, keeping busy with work). and i've come up with these 2 which meet my budget and it looks like a Dslr can fit on it to click at times too.

1. Orion StarBlast 6
http://www.amazon.co...p/B00463ZK3O...

2. Orion StarMax 90mm http://www.amazon.co...?ie=UTF8&amp...

my budget is about $300 tops.

can somebody tell me how big a drop down are these from the 6" dob. and which one of these could be a good fit. so far i'm leaning towards the starmax because of the ability to hook onto a tripod.

thanks in advance.

PS: i am in india. and getting a telescope means either paying twice the amount or asking someone in US to get it for me. and i can't ask somebody or some friend to get a large size package. so i got to keep that in mind too. but that shouldn't be the decider. i can wait more and maybe get it myself during one of my trips to CA.

#2 MikeBOKC

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:53 AM

The Starblast 6 gives you more aperture than the Mak. Both would be equally useful for quick point and shoot photos, but honestly the 6 inch Dob would be equally suited for that. For anything beyond in AP yuo pretty much have to have an equatorial tracking mout, which is way beyond your stated budget. I would say either of the 6 inchers wuold be good for starters.

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

At $300, get the dob. AP is just not feasable at $300, more like $3000 just to get your toes wet. At $300, all you'll be able to do is put the camera up to the lens and click; and you can do that with the dob. That 6" dob will show you things the refractor could only dream about. For AP, the mount is the most important piece of equipment. Minimum for AP is the CG5...and just the mount itself is well over your budget. The 6" dob is f8, so most eyepieces will work well in it, you will not need premium eyepieces (thought they won't hurt either). Plossels will give great views with that scope. Paradigms will work well too. I'd really get the dob and enjoy it and wait to see if AP is for you down the road when, hopefully, finances will allow you to do AP.

#4 PaulEK

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:35 PM

I don't know... If you're a scrounger like me, getting into AP may not cost quite as much, depending on what you want to do. As long as the mount has motorized tracking in right ascension, you can piggy-back your camera. I took some decent shots back in the film days, with lower ISOs that required longer exposures, using a Celestron Firstscope 80 (an 80mm refractor on a CG-3 EQ mount).

I'm not recommending this scope, since I haven't used it, but it's one example I found in the OP's price range. And it's even new! (I've never bought a new scope or mount; I hadn't realized that till I thought about it.)

#5 PaulEK

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:51 PM

On further thought, that scope is probably already heavy for that mount, so adding a camera might not work. But it might; has anyone used it?

I'll look around for other ideas.

#6 PaulEK

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:55 PM

Huh! Right at the top of refractor ads here on CN is this. $275, if you live nearby. You'd have to add a motor later.

#7 Kunal

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:20 AM

thanks so much everyone for your input.

i can put my dslr up against the dob lens and click, right?

what the max exposure in seconds i can do without any blurring? say for orion nebula / saturn / jupiter, 30 secs?

#8 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:58 AM

If you want to shoot through a lens, you're better off using a point-and-shoot as you can get the lens right up INSIDE the eyecup of a lens. Using a DSLR (okay, using ANY camera) means trying to focus by hand on a little dot (MAXIMUM size 7mm), but with the DSLR you really can't get quite as close, and you're dealing with a MUCH larger lens than with a point-and-shoot.

As far as a scope is concerned, definitely get the dob. You can always buy a good equatorial mount later and attach the dob to it with rings.

#9 RogerRZ

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

thanks so much everyone for your input.

i can put my dslr up against the dob lens and click, right?

what the max exposure in seconds i can do without any blurring? say for orion nebula / saturn / jupiter, 30 secs?


I would guess around or less than one second, depending on the magnification.

What you're attempting to do, while not completely impossible, will be very difficult.

If you want to do astrophotography, and stay within your budget, your best bet would be a "barn door tracker". Google it, and you will find numerous examples, both of construction and results, some of which are quite impressive.

In my case, astrophotography has been frustrating, challenging, and rewarding, in that order. (also expensive, but only because I decided to exchange some of the frustrating part for money--overmounting, autoguiding, observatory).

#10 gdd

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

How about no telescope, just use a camera lens? A Polarie, a Orion MiniEQ, or a homebuilt barndoor tracker will let you take photos of a lot of large scale objects. Even a fixed tripod will work for wide angle lenses up to 28mm or so for 15-20 second exposures - you can still stack with DSS.



Gale

#11 Kunal

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:09 AM

when i think about what GDD proposed here, i guess my primary interest is viewing and secondary is photography.

so i guess i will stick to the xt6.

now if i can ask another question - how big a difference is it between xt4.5 and xt6. i understand bigger aperture means better but would it be that big a drop? and how would the xt4.5 stand against the initial 2 scopes i mentioned - starmax 90 and starblast 6.

what would be the difference in height/weight too? i ask because i might need to ask a friend or somebody to carry this for my on flight from US to India. and getting the xt4.5 might be easier for them.

#12 csrlice12

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:47 AM

If somebody's going to be carrying it in luggage for you, a dob is NOT the way to go....I'd go for a shorter, wide-field and enjoy DSO viewing, or a 5 - 7" SCT or Mak OTA, and get a tripod/mount there in India, the other option on the tripod mount might be to bring over the mount in the luggage and put on wooden tripod legs yourself..

#13 DHurst

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

Stop and save up some $. Do some reading here. LEarn and save. If anything this hobby will teach you patience. Start practicing it now! You'll be much happier you did so when you acquire something that will meet all your goals and that you won't instantly want to get rid of.






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