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75 minute guided exposure iOtpron ZEQ25

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#1 Astronewb

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:59 AM

Uhuh, 75 minutes, but certainly not on purpose. I was imaging the other night, and I started a session to capture some data of M101. Wanted to take 15, five minute images, but wound up with a 75 minute exposure instead due to an intervalometer failure:

Posted Image
4245secs on M101..oops by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

I was imaging with a AT6RC/CCDT67, so about 1000mm f/l, and guiding with a Lodestar/Borg50mm and PHD. All I did with the RAW image was pull the exposure down 2 stops in View NX so it wouldn't be so bright, then converted it to Jpeg.

The 4245 second accidental exposure shows me three good things.

1. The little 10 pound ZEQ25 'Z-Balanced' mount is a real performer with excellent tracking.

2. The light pollution in my Orange zone is not as bad as I thought it was.

3. The Heat Reduction mod on my Spencer modded D5100 seems to be working.

It also means I lost 75 minutes of perfectly good sky...:(

Clear skies all,

Paul

#2 Footbag

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:12 AM

Holy moly! That is some nice performance. Some elongation, but if that mount can handle 10m exposures at that FL it's a performer. Looking at your exposure, I'd bet it could handle around 25m. I'd love to see what that could do with an 8" SCT.

Also, I see you have the Spencer Heat Reduction mod. Can you tell me anything about it? What kind of change in temp are you seeing? What exactly is the mod? There are a lot of people in the DSLR forum that would love to hear about it.

#3 zjc26138

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:20 AM

That's very impressive. I hope iOptron comes out with a beefier version of the ZEQ. Maybe something that can handle 50-60lbs.

#4 Astronewb

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:29 AM

Holy moly! That is some nice performance. Some elongation, but if that mount can handle 10m exposures at that FL it's a performer. Looking at your exposure, I'd bet it could handle around 25m. I'd love to see what that could do with an 8" SCT.

Also, I see you have the Spencer Heat Reduction mod. Can you tell me anything about it? What kind of change in temp are you seeing? What exactly is the mod? There are a lot of people in the DSLR forum that would love to hear about it.


Lol...I wondered if I was imaging at about 400mm if the image would have been even 'betterer'...)

Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about the Spencer Heat reduction mod. I had it done with my Full Spectrum + Ha mod. Couldn't tell you if it's passive, electronic or what? And I also can't provide a 'before and after' image, because I sent him a new in the box D5100 body to mod for me.

I can tell you that I'm very happy with the camera as it is, it's pretty noise free compared to my previous unmodded D3100, and it gathers a heck of lot more Ha.

Best,

Paul

#5 Astronewb

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:39 AM

That's very impressive. I hope iOptron comes out with a beefier version of the ZEQ. Maybe something that can handle 50-60lbs.


Yes, I agree, I'm blown away by that 'mistake'.

If I were a company holding the patent on the Z-Balanced design, I'd be tooling up for a 20 pound version with a theoretical payload of 50-60 pounds. And what the heck, I'd put Renishaw encoders on it, just so idiots like me could image for 2 hrs per exposure @ ISO 100............:)

This is what the PHD graph looked like during the session:

Posted Image
zeq25_may6_at6rc by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

That's not an unusual graph, it looks like that almost every session. Guide rate in the mount set to 1.0, and PHD settings almost 'out of the box' except for bumping up the DEC aggression setting.

I converted the PHD log file in PecPrep and it shows a guided PE of under 2 arc-seconds, peak to peak, and an average PE of .8 arc seconds.

Now we wait to see how long it takes for iOptron to tool up...and for the other manufacturers to figure out how to copy the design without infringing on patents...lol.

Regards,

Paul

#6 psandelle

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:55 AM

Wow, really nice that it tracks so smoothly. At least you got something out of your mistake - I set up a 90 minute set of subs and tilted the laptop screen down and didn't realize it put it into sleep mode, and came back to have nuthin'!

The second the "45" version comes out (with encoders); I'm on it.

Paul

#7 corpusse

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:39 AM

Wow.

#8 tjugo

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:59 AM

Paul,

Impressive! For subs of +20m your polar alignment must be very very good, I bet that's the reason you have slightly elongated stars.

Cheers,

Jose

#9 budman1961

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:11 AM

Wow.......that ZEQ is a real performer!

#10 Astronewb

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

Paul,

Impressive! For subs of +20m your polar alignment must be very very good, I bet that's the reason you have slightly elongated stars.

Cheers,

Jose


Thanks Jose, I agree, this particular setup was just a polar align using the polar scope, followed by a One Star align to establish a pointing model. No drift align, no fine tuning of the polar offset, nothing else.

Regards,

Paul

#11 core

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:52 PM

Paul,

Nicely done! - I've been looking at the ZEQ for a portable low-latitude 'travel' mount. However, imo for a 75min exposure on a dSLR/D5100 it's an awfully low level of photons/signal captured - I am guesstimating f/ratio is around f/6.6; how about iso? I'd have expected sky-fog to be reached well before 75min of exposure, especially from a suburban setting - in my backyard anything over ~5min @iso1600/f/5/broadband is basically a washout.

#12 Astronewb

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:39 PM

Peter, the ota was a AT6RC with a CCDT 67 reducer, so about f6@1000mm. ISO was 400, and I'm fortunate enough to live in a orange zone.

Big plus, no moon. The image was a lot brighter, but I dropped the exposure 2 stops in Nikon View NX before I converted it to a jpeg.

The histogram was basically full...:)

Best,

Paul

#13 cuivienor

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:16 AM

Those mounts are really impressive - I'm a convert to iOptron these days.

By the way Paul your image once lightly treated with some "light pollution dark frames" and levels still looks much better than anything I've been able to achieve! :)

Cheers,

Yannick

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#14 Astronewb

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:30 AM

Those mounts are really impressive - I'm a convert to iOptron these days.

By the way Paul your image once lightly treated with some "light pollution dark frames" and levels still looks much better than anything I've been able to achieve!


Wow Yannick, I never thought to try to process that sub...you did a nice job on it...:) That 75 minutes of data was supposed to be added to this data:

Posted Image
M101 w/AAT6RC by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Now I really wish it had been broken up into smaller exposures...:( Oh well.

Thanks for the nice comment, clear skies to you in Japan.

Paul

#15 AstroWave77

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:08 PM

I need some input.
I need a mount for my C8 for visual and imaging.
It's either a HEQ5Pro or the ZEQ25.
I like the portability of the IOptron but am uncertain if it's solid enough for astrophotography.
Any thoughts?

#16 psandelle

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:15 PM

The C8's 12.5 lbs (or, the new ones are, according to Celestron) and the AT6RC is supposedly 12.9 lbs (according to Astronomics). Paul got very, very nice 75 MINUTE! exposes (yeah, field rotation, but that's not the mount's fault, that's Paul's...shame on you Paul!). So, yeah, seems very solid for AP for that scope. Granted, how much other junk you add to it may make your mileage vary.

#17 Jesus Munoz

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 11:09 PM

Amazing PHD graph! It looks like my EM-200 on steady nights.

#18 orion69

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:26 AM

Amazing PHD graph! It looks like my EM-200 on steady nights.


That's because he's guiding with 50/250 scope, you have to convert that to imaging FL. It doesn't say too much about quality of guiding... ;)

#19 Astronewb

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:18 AM

That's because he's guiding with 50/250 scope, you have to convert that to imaging FL. It doesn't say too much about quality of guiding...



Really....??

#20 Footbag

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:27 AM

I think you have to multiply your RMS by your pixel scale. For a true read on on the mounts PE, you would want to run PEMpro. There is also a program I just found called PHDLAb. I never played with it live, but it looks like it has similar features to PEMPro, but works in conjunction with PHD.


Some limited info on RMS and FL here...


#21 orion69

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

That's because he's guiding with 50/250 scope, you have to convert that to imaging FL. It doesn't say too much about quality of guiding...



Really....??


Yes.
If you try to guide with OAG you'll notice that PHD graph is not so nice but stars will be tighter...

#22 AstroWave77

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:50 AM

Hi:
Further to my inquiry of yesterday about HEQ5Pro vs ZEQ25 I make the following comment.
IOPTRON offers a choice of a 5Kg. tripod and a 8Kg. one. I think the heavier 8Kg. one is to compensate for the lighter mount when using a larger telescope. If so, then the lighter mount argument becomes irrelevant, doesn't it?
Regards,
AstroWave77

#23 Astronewb

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:58 AM

Yes.
If you try to guide with OAG you'll notice that PHD graph is not so nice but stars will be tighter...


Ah...I agree with you, OAG is much better for accurate tracking/guiding, since the guider and imaging camera are using the same fov.

I don't have a Off Axis Guider, so I have to make do with the little 50mm Borg and Lodestar. But even with that combination, the stars are pretty tight...:) Here's 3 hrs of fine minute exposures, not one sub lost due to trailing, with a 90mm Stellarvue on the ZEQ25:

Posted Image
NGC 7023 the Iris Nebula 3hrs.. by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

If you look at the larger resolution images, you can see the quality of the stars, but excuse my processing...:)

Best,

paul

#24 Astronewb

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:08 AM

Hi:
Further to my inquiry of yesterday about HEQ5Pro vs ZEQ25 I make the following comment.
IOPTRON offers a choice of a 5Kg. tripod and a 8Kg. one. I think the heavier 8Kg. one is to compensate for the lighter mount when using a larger telescope. If so, then the lighter mount argument becomes irrelevant, doesn't it?
Regards,
AstroWave77


Hi, just for reference, I do all my imaging off the 1.5" tripod. The 2" tripod would be overkill, and would definitely detract from the portability of the mount.

But, if you think you need the extra heft of the 2" tripod, then I guess psychologically, it's the best choice.

Regards,

Paul

#25 psandelle

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:20 AM

Paul,

I think people are forgetting that (with the polar scope) this is a $850 mount. I have one of the first iEQ30's (more bucks) and if I had to buy a mount right now for what I do, I'd get the ZEQ25 and save money and get equally nice stars. It's an excellent mount from everything you've shown and said, with an excellent polar scope, bells, whistles and still only $850. That's pretty good to me.

I'm waiting for the iEQ45 version of the Z (whatever weight class it ends up being) with the encoders. I've been so happy with my mount and the iOptron customer service, that I'd be willing to give that a try.

If I were going all-out, I'd get an ASA mount...but then I'd also get an observatory. On the Big Island, up near the summit. If one is going to really invest, might as well go whole-hog.

I've toyed with getting a future Mach 1 (the Ferrari of small portable mounts), but I'd like to try the bigger, encoder'd Z. If this ZEQ25 is any indication, should be really great bang-for-the-buck.

Paul






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