Upgrade Skyview Pro or go to the AVX
Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:07 PM
As the subject line indicates, I have a manual SVP that I would like to upgrade for astrophotography. Am I better off getting the goto upgrade for my 80mm Orion refractor or just upgrading the whole mount? It looks like the AVX has PEC and I don't think the SVP will give me that option.
My experience is primarily using my 10"dob for visual only. I'm trying to get my feet wet without spending a fortune (I know that thought doesn't fit with AP).
Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:37 PM
Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:46 PM
Welcome aboard! I use a Skyview Pro for 90+% of my astrophotography. I have the TrueTrack motors and it tracks very well. I have put some really heavy imaging setups on it and the mount doesn't shudder.
I did a polish and tune to the mount using a dremel and Militec-1 grease. The tuning took me a few hours but the difference is HUMUNGOUS! It is so silky smooth that it almost feels like it is floating on an air bearing. The Skyview Pro is a great mount for astrophotography as long as you're not trying to throw something massive like a 14" F/6 Newtonian on it.
I can shoot you a link with examples of what I've done using the Skyview Pro. The site here doesn't like large photos so I'd rather just send the link to you via IM if you want me to. Trust me it's a great mount for AP. You will be surprised at how well it performs once you tune it.
Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:07 PM
I have a Canon XSi, which is at the lower end of what could be modified for AP. I was thinking of using that camera and the 80ED. My "interest" is ultimately to photograph DSOs, I know there is a learning curve.
I was looking for the motors to do tracking for the SVP and see there are now 2 sets, the basic 2 motor set for ~$150-200 and a goto set for about $500 (I've also been looking at a few posts on tweaking the SVP). At the same time, I see that there is the new AVX mount by Orion which has some pretty good reviews and includes PEC in the $800 range. Before I found this mount, I was also looking at the Ioptron iEQ30 in the $1300 range. Today, with plans of using the 80ED, any of these mounts should be sufficient. They all allegedly have enough capacity that I can upgrade OTA at least some.
I know that AP is going to get more expensive in the future, but I'm still going to try it on the less expensive, meaning I'd like to keep it under $1000-1500. In an ideal world someday, I'd like to put the 10" on a mount, but that's another order of magnitude of cost. Hope this helps give some information to help.
Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:25 PM
Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:41 AM
Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:22 PM
Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:19 AM
For unguided astrophotography, it has been a failure. To start out as cheaply as possible, I mounted a Canon 350D with a 300 mm lens, that I already owned, on the SkyView Pro. With the best polar alignment I could achieve, exposures were limited to 90 seconds before star trails become obvious. For longer exposures, an autoguider is a necessity.
The motors and hand controller for the SkyView Pro cost $150. Shoestring Astronomy sells a kit to add an ST-4 port to the controller. Part number is GPKIT-EQ and price is only $8. The bad news is that you have to open up the controller and solder the connector wires to the controller circuit board. Orion sells autoguiders from $350 to $420.
I would not invest in GoTo for the SkyView Pro. For the price of the upgrade, you can buy a leftover Celestron CG-5GT. It is a 30 pound capacity GoTo mount while the SkyView Pro's capacity is only 20 pounds. If you can afford its $800 price, the AVX is a still better choice. It is significantly better than the CG-5GT and vastly better than the SkyView Pro. No matter which option you pick, you should plan on buying an autoguider.