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Mount or CCD Purchase ... Thoughts Please.

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#1 hytham

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:15 PM

A friend of mine and I are having a nice little discussion regarding what is most important as it relates to spending.

My thoughts:

Immediate:
1a) Buy an ICX694 camera to get my feet wet with CCD monochrome imaging sacrificing the FOV, sensitivity, but gaining resolution - I already have the filter wheel and filters to accommodate the small chip.

OR

1b) Have my T3i camera modified by the folks at CentralDS to take advantage of the FOV offered by the FSQ. This will save quite a bit of cash in both the short and long term.

AND

2) Spend the money on a quality mount (AP900, 1100 or MX).


6-8 months:
1) Buy the ML16803. Purchase a new filter wheel (cfw2-7) and filters (Astrodon 50mm Round [LRGB, HA])


#####################################################################################################

His thoughts:

Immediate
1) Buy the ML16803 with filter wheel and filters, forget about the mount, the DSLR cooling and the CCD. Use my CGEM-DX mount.

6-8 months
2) Buy the mount


#####################################################################################################

It makes the most sense to buy the quality mount first and then focus on acquiring the CCD. I think his thoughts make sense if I end up hypertuning my DX mount, but he disagrees with that as well.

Your thoughts?

Thank you,

-H

#2 vpcirc

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:24 PM

I'll quote Mr. Wodaski
"Of all the important components -- mount, telescope,
and camera -- the mount is the primary key to success.
Give me a superb mount, an average camera, and an
average telescope, and I can give you good images.
Granted, I can improve those images by getting a better
camera and/or a better telescope. But without an ade-
quate mount, you can’t take good images at all. Perfect
optics and a perfect camera would simply record the
shortcomings of any mount perfectly"

#3 DaemonGPF

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:34 PM

I couldn't agree more. This is coming from someone who started out going the opposite route and trying to make mediocre mounts comply with demand. Hard, expensive lesson to learn.

I'm in the boat right now myself replacing my primary imaging rig. I can tell you that probably 3/4 of what I intend to spend is going towards the mount without hesitation. I'd rather have a big boy mount, with a low end, small ED refractor any day of the week, thanks.

#4 DaemonGPF

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:47 PM

Just to qualify my statement above a bit more - that "3/4 of budget" might result in me getting a wooden monopod to glue my digicam on to if I irritate the almighty "CFO" any further with my recent computer hardware upgrades/purchases LOL. So take that with a grain of salt.

:grin:

Seriously though, mount, mount, mount. No matter what. 9 out of 10 dentists, er, astrophotographers will agree.

#5 vpcirc

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:01 PM

With the new line of encoder mounts coming out there are some great deals on AP 900, 1200's and MX's to be found on various classified sites. There hasn't been a better time to pick up a quality used mount.

#6 Madratter

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:02 PM

This one doesn't. And I have the poor mount, a Celestron CG-5. But with some care, I have taken subs as long as 10m.

I definitely want to replace the mount, but I am learning plenty and having a good time with my camera. I purchased a STF-8300m and that was a huge difference over what I was getting with my unmodded Canon 50d.

I have a pretty good idea of what a perfect mount would do for me, and although I would throw out less frames, in my case it would not lead to pictures as much better as the difference in those cameras.

My two cents.

#7 zytrahus

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:04 PM

I agree with most statements but is the DX such a bad mount?

I think I'd do what your friend suggested on this one. It's not like you are running a bad mount. Your imaging scale with this camera and scope (especially if you are using the QE reducer) is going to be fairly large. You should have no problem getting pinpoint stars.

Then later (6 months isn't that long) buy a better mount.

I think it's probably the most cost effective way to approach the problem. If you buy another camera now you'll lose some money reselling it and all the adopters you need for the TAK (probably different than the ones on the 16803).

Not like you are hesitating between one or the other since you know in 6-8 months you'll have both. So yeah I'll get the camera now and get a better mount later - but again I am assuming the DX can handle the 106.. I've seen people do it with a EQ-G so I don't see why not. The way I see it, it's waiting 6 months to get a better mount Vs. spending money now on camera + accessories which you'll sell in 6 months while loosing some money.

#8 chicot

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:10 PM

Go with the mount. Any of the 3 you've suggested would likely be the last mount you're ever likely to need.

#9 orion69

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:23 PM

Did you try to image with Takahashi FSQ-106EDXIII and CGEM DX?
Can we see the images?

#10 hytham

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:31 PM

One point I had not mentioned is that I do not plan on performing any LONG focal length imaging as that is a nightmare I do not want to tackle at this time ... I am considering the sale of the EdgeHD. I didn't get into this hobby to do planetary imaging. I am the wide field nebula kind of guy

At the short focal lengths (I do have the reducer for the FSQ - 387mm @F3.65), guiding is much easier and with a hypertuned mount it should not be as stressed under guiding for those focal lengths.

What other classified sites exists outside of Astromart and CN where I can see what is available on the used market? I was going to buy new, but definitely open to used if the right one comes along.

#11 hytham

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:32 PM

Did you try to image with Takahashi FSQ-106EDXIII and CGEM DX?
Can we see the images?


I just got the FSQ out of the box yesterday and wouldn't you know it ... 22cm of snow (9").

Waiting on the rings and ADM plates to arrive which should be here this week. BUT we all know how weather likes to have fun....

#12 psu_13

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:34 PM

The DX is by no means unusable. But if you know you are going to spend the money anyway, you can't lose by starting out with the mount. It makes everything so much easier.

#13 EdmontonAB

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:36 PM

If you get a great mount, you won't have a "nightmare" that you don't want to tackle. :question:

#14 hytham

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:41 PM

If you get a great mount, you won't have a "nightmare" that you don't want to tackle. :question:


Unfortunately the nightmare I'm referring to is MN seeing. When I do planetary even at F10 Jupiter is moving all over the place and nearly impossible to keep in the FOV. Stable seeing is so very rare.

#15 orion69

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:44 PM

I suggest you don't buy anything for a while and try Tak with CGEM DX. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
If not, then you have other options...
But frankly if your DX is working correctly you can shoot very nice images with Tak.
If you plan to buy heavier scope in near future then I would suggest new mount.

#16 vpcirc

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:52 PM

Nothing is easy to shoot at F10. Mount precision directly effects resolution. The more stable the mount and tracking performance the better the overall quality of the image. I'm not suggesting for a second you can't image with a DX, but after learning from the school of expensive bad decisions, I would never go back to a lower end mount. Imaging is just so much easier with a quality mount.

#17 hytham

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:02 PM

My girlfriend's advice: "Quit being such a p***y and buy it all."

#18 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:21 PM

theres an encoder option available for the cg5... but i would upgrade..

#19 DaemonGPF

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:44 PM

This one doesn't. And I have the poor mount, a Celestron CG-5. But with some care, I have taken subs as long as 10m.

I definitely want to replace the mount, but I am learning plenty and having a good time with my camera. I purchased a STF-8300m and that was a huge difference over what I was getting with my unmodded Canon 50d.

I have a pretty good idea of what a perfect mount would do for me, and although I would throw out less frames, in my case it would not lead to pictures as much better as the difference in those cameras.

My two cents.


You might be surprised..

For what it's worth, I also started AP with a CG-5 and had it for quite a long time, battling with its "personality traits". After overhauling it and making some adjustments I was able to reach 120 sec unguided with a modest loss of subs, and 20 min subs guided with a 400mm fl, and a marginal loss of subs.

The next two mounts I owned - a Nexstar 8GPS and a CGEM, once dialed in, I never had to toss a sub ever. The tracking was so much more precise that the data captured by ANY camera I used was that much better.

But, I don't think the question or point was "can you image with a lesser mount and good camera?" as we all know the answer is yes. I think the question was what would be a more beneficial approach.

#20 northwolfwu

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:41 PM

IMHO, the most important gear is mount, which must be strong and stable.
The second is camera. For DSO, mono CCD is preferred, you can improve SNR and image efficiency. Even in heavy light pollution area, you can use narrow band to shoot. Even with normal telecope, you can get reasonable result.
The last is scope. I prefer the scope with built-in flattener, which has long back focus. You can add OAG, rotator and other things, and it makes it simple.

#21 fetoma

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:46 PM

I'd go with your friends "thoughts".

#22 WadeH237

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:38 PM

I completely agree with the conventional wisdom that the mount is (by far) the most important component. I would place the camera a distant second, and the telescope a very distant third priority.

Usually, I suggest to someone starting out that they get a CGEM/Atlas class mount, an 80mm refractor, and either a DSLR or entry level CCD. The key with a setup like this is keeping the focal length reasonable. Look for under 1000mm.

In your case, you have a mount in the CGEM that can easily handle both the weight and focal length of the FSQ. This combination puts you very much into "wide field" territory. This setup will be good for large nebulae, star fields and open clusters.

So for you, I would make a different recommendation than I usually do: Get a camera. To get the most out of your setup, you would want a mono camera with at least LRGB and Ha filters. It would be good if the filter wheel supports more filters so that you could add SII and OIII for narrow band work (you can get great bi-color images, too, so the SII is lower priority than the OIII).

One other thing is that you will want to have some budget to get an off-axis guider setup going.

This would be a nice rig, and you would probably be happy with it for years. Once you are ready for a much longer focal length and a bigger financial commitment, then you could get a premium mount.

So while as I said above, a capable mount is key, your mount is already a reasonable match for your scope. I did just fine for 10 years with a CGE and focal lengths around 1800mm or less (and at 1300mm, which I used a lot, the CGE was more than capable). I finally upgraded to an AP mount when I wanted to go longer.

Anyway, just my two cents...

-Wade

#23 hytham

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:49 PM

Great, thank you everyone. I appreciate all the input and have made a decision.

With the larger FOV, shorter FL and the natural undersampling of the FSQ, it's making sense to go with the camera first at this point in time as the demand on the mount will be significantly less. I'm going to hypertune the DX to get the most I can out of it and in a few short months I'll have my dream mount delivered to my door.

Thanks again for all the advice, it's greatly appreciated.

Now on to the next decisions ... yay!

#24 scirocco1

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:06 AM

I've been in this situation. I had a EQ6 mount and a DSLR, thought of buying a Losmandy G11 or Fornax 51 but in the end I bought an Atik 383L+ and I'm very happy (still getting round stars with the EQ6). On my next bigger scope I will get a better mount.

#25 SL63 AMG

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:54 AM

...I would never go back to a lower end mount. Imaging is just so much easier with a quality mount.


I couldn't agree more. I was fortunate and discovered early all the great advice of everyone on this forum who recommended buying the mount first, the rest will come later.

I bought an ASA DDM85X-SL mount "first", and a cheap AT12RC. It was sufficient for learning. Now, two years later, I have a great camera and optics. But having had the mount for two years has afforded me the experience of how to use it well enough to get the most out of the new camera and optics.

Buy the best mount you can afford and start saving for better camera and optics.

In the mean time, join an astronomical club or society. Perhaps someone would lend you a camera to try. If you lived close to me, I'd let you try my ML8300 and CFW2-7!






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