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Moving on From The Meade LPI

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#1 vomit

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:31 PM

Greetings all. I wanted to post this here and get some feedback. I recently sold my 8" LX-90 and moved onto the 10" LX200ACF. I have used the Meade LPI in the past with some success on the Moon and planets. I would like to upgrade the camera as well. Here is what I am thinking:

a) Will mostly be used for Lunar and planetary images
B) Will probably not upgrade with a wedge and/or polar alignment
c) Would like to try some Deep sky imaging
d) Don't want to spend over $400-$500
e) I have really dark skies

I figured some of the experts in here could help a brother out. Any and all feedback is appreciated.

#2 Mike7Mak

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:47 PM

Well it's a little over the $500 cap but as a step up from the LPI I'd seriously look at the Atik Titan, either one shot color or mono. There are very few cameras that do both planets and dso imaging, but from its specs I think the Titan is a reasonable compromise for doing both.

If planets are the primary interest I'd get the one shot color, long exposure dso go mono and invest in a filter wheel later. Long exposures however can be problematic without a polar mount.

#3 Raginar

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

I'm surprised Mike didn't offer up a DSI :).

That would be my next step up. For a little more, you could maybe find a used Orion Starshoot Mono III or a DSI III around ~650.

A regular DSI can be had between 1-200 bucks and a DSI II just a tad more than that. If you get two of them, you could be guiding too! :)

#4 Mike7Mak

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

I'm surprised Mike didn't offer up a DSI :).

Lol, to be honest the DSIs are a cheap way to go if money is the main concern (and you can find one for sale) but the lack of cooling makes them not my first choice nowadays. I'm pretty sure they can't match the Titan's 15 fps framerate either.

I stuck with the DSIs because I also have 2 Outback cooler units. Getting consistant darks without some form of temp regulation is quite the chore, especially the models without a temp sensor, and usually ends up with dark capture interspersed with the imaging run for best results.

#5 vomit

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Thanks for the info. guys. As you can infer I am a rookie especially when it comes to astrophotography. As noted, I am not trying to break the bank. What I really could use, is a class on astrophotography. Some hands on. As easy as the LPI supposedly was/is, I feel I am lacking some understanding. Again, my primary goal with my scope is visual, but I would like to get more into the imaging side, now that I have a larger scope and much darker skies. Thanks.

#6 jgraham

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

Hmmmmm, in the past I would have suggested an Imaging Source camera and that would still be my first choice for lunar and planetary imaging and you can do very basic deepsky imaging with them. However, the chip is a bit small for a 10" SCT. Based on my experiences of the past year I'd take a hard look at a modern DSLR, anything from the Canon XSi (450D) and later. I've been using a Canon T2i (550D) with Backyard EOS and I have found it to be extremely capable in both the lunar and planetary and deepsky imaging roles. I paid $495 for my T2i (body only) which fits nicely within your budget.

#7 Raginar

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

Vomit,

Another option would be to get a widefield scope of some type and piggyback her on your LX90. It'd be a bit more friendly to the smaller chips you're looking at getting, and you can re-purpose it as a guidescope.

Don't you hate AP? The cost just keeps going up!

And John has a good point, you could get a T2i or similar Canon DSLR for the cost you listed. It would actually work better (due to image scale) than the small chip CCDs we've been suggesting too.

#8 vomit

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

Thanks for the heads up guys. I may look into the DSLR angle....after I get my new LX200 first light, and tweaked a bit. Been cloudy for 8 days straight. Not even funny. Using a DSLR makes me a little worried about the learning curve, especially post-processing, etc. Are there any tutorials on YouTube? That would be a great idea for one of you good folks......to help out a noob like myself!

#9 Phil Sherman

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:55 AM

Mike Unsold's ImagesPlus is a great image processing program for DSLR users. It does all of the preprocessing (raw conversion, calibration, alignment, stacking) and has just about all of the image enhancement capabilities of any other image processing program. All of the preprocessing can be done using the program's automated processing capability or you can do each step yourself. IP will also process FITS images from any astro camera.

I garnered most of my basic image processing knowledge from Ron Wodawski's book, "The New CCD Astronomy" which, I believe, is now available as an electronic book. There's very little in the book that doesn't apply to DSLR imaging as well as CCD astro cameras.

Phil






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