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New astrophotographer, need advice on camera

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#1 rbf3999

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 11:19 AM

Hello everyone. I just got back into astronomy and purchased a Meade LX200GPS 10" on a fork mount. Not particularly thrilled about having to purchase wedge now, because of cost, so I'm going to give astrophotography a go on my fork. Now there are endless examples of photos done with different cameras and stacking, so that seems like a good avenue for me. I've been beating my head on a wall trying to find exactly what i want, so I figured I'd ask the experts.

So my simple question is this: Given that another 2 grand for a camera after paying 1800 for a scope is out of the question, so assuming Mallincam is out...what is my next best/bang for the buck/quality for the money solution to being able to display live video, take mid to high resolution single shots, and have adaptability to a laptop for processing and capture? I'm familiar with Registax and have done some work there, but I just need to know about the camera...

Thanks guys...

#2 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 11:43 AM

Quite simply you are not going to be able to track very long with that mount and its native configuration. You will have to get the focal ratio way down before it will become feasible. And to do that you will need a small chip camera that won’t show the effects of coma.

You are not going to be able to get a really small chip, with high resolution, and high sensitivity. You can get two of those three things but not all three at once.

My only advice is give up on high resolution and get something that is just ultra-sensitive. You won’t be able to track for a long time anyway so anything in the 8-30 second range will work for your equipment.

Also get something that is full spectrum or can be modified. You will need all of the light you can get.

How much are you willing to spend? If you want something for $200 it might be hard to accomplish. If you are willing to go up to $500 then it opens the doors up a lot.

On a side note. I am just curious about what made you choose the LX200. Not saying there is anything wrong with that choice. I just want to get an idea of what you were looking for in a scope.

#3 rbf3999

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:03 PM

The LX200GPS 10" seemed a great choice given the quality, and size for the price. It tracks excellently, keeping target dead center for over 30 minutes, so keeping my target IN the frame won't be a problem. I know about the equatorial tracking concepts, but I just don't want to invest right now in that. So, your post didn't mention any kind of cameras that you'd recommend. My price range is simply bang for the buck. I cannot afford to pay more for my camera than I did for my scope, so I'm looking to stay below that. Any recommendations would be awesome, so I can at least look and see if it works for what I want. Thank you.

#4 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:05 PM

rbf,

I know you are not thrilled about the wedge (and the extra cost), however it is a must have for AP - however for Video astronomy you MIGHT be able to get away with it. Still, I have a superwedge for my 10" LX200, and I am here to say it is the way to go for AP, polar alignment and of course the added mass you get for damping/stability.

You have a great all around telescope and it will give you years of happiness! I know, I have had mine for 21+ years and it is still going strong.

I also agree high resolution shots are out at the lower end. Have you considered the lower end MallinCams? How tight is your budget? Are you willing to save up and go for the big spending later on?

#5 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:13 PM

Why not:

* Mallincam VSS+
* Mallincam Jr EX
* Canon 60 Da. Yes I know this is not a "Video Camera", but it is an excellent DSLR AND can double as a "regular" camera. Plus you can take some great piggy back images too. And the Canon 60 Da is made for astronomy. I love it.

#6 Dwight J

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:25 PM

Take a look at this camera. It is intended as a guiderbut it does have imaging capabilities and can be had in mono or color. It has a fairly high QE and is very small so it won't hit the base when pointing up using alt/az. I have ordered this camera, the color version, to try out mostly as a guider but I will see how it does as an imager - it may give the Lodestar a run at half the cost and be a capable solar system imager to boot. Here is a link to the camera: http://qhyccd.com/en...qhy5-ii-series/

#7 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:28 PM

Why not:

* Mallincam VSS+
* Mallincam Jr EX


Your LX200 can track for a long time but it won't correct for field rotation without a wedge, right?

I would second one of the two cameras above. The 60Da won't work because of coma(If you use a focal reducer) or field rotation problems(if you don't have a wedge).

If you want something really cheap then you could just get an inexpensive m4/3s camera with a crop mode that would allow you to use an aggressive focal reducer. You could get a GX1 for $275 brand new from Amazon. That is really cheap and the equivalent of a Canon T2i in the micro four thirds format.

http://www.amazon.co...B00604YTFM/r...

#8 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:42 PM

This is also an incredibly good deal for a camera.

Panasonic G5 + 14-42mm lens for $359 brand new or only $409 with the 45-150mm lens as well.

http://www.amazon.co...p/B008MB71IS...

#9 rbf3999

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:59 PM

Outstanding!!!!! Thank you all so much for the good information. It meant a lot to me to hear what some of you would recommend...it gives me other avenues to try. I'll post pics here whenever I get some with whatever I get :)

#10 rbf3999

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 02:52 PM

I've decided to go with the Mallincam, Jr., and the video capture device as well. I'm thinking this will give me something to play with while I save the big $$$ for a better kit :) Thanks all for your advice. Images to come soon!

#11 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:25 PM

Mallincam Jr is a great choice rbf3999.

BTW - I still like my Canon 60 Da and I have not experienced Coma with the reducer...

#12 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:18 AM

Mallincam Jr is a great choice rbf3999.

BTW - I still like my Canon 60 Da and I have not experienced Coma with the reducer...


Which reducer are you using?






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