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Good scope for both viewing and video?

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#26 mclewis1

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:28 AM

Thanks for the explanation.  So is there any point to installing a Hyperstar into an Edge?  Or, which would be better, a non-Edge SCT with Hyperstar or an Edge with a reducer?  

The choice between a regular SCT and an EdgeHD would depend on budget and just how critical you are about visual work.

 

A regular SCT with both a focal reducer and a Hyperstar would be the most flexible and budget friendly setup for video. The EdgeHD with a reducer or two would be a better choice for those who also want to do highly critical visual work. Regular SCTs are however certainly no slouches visually either, especially with a f6.3 reducer/corrector. 

 

Using a C8 as an example you get a great range of focal lengths (and as Dr. Who mentioned just a great combination on an AVX mount). The f4 setup would likely be a stacked (f6.3 and .5x) reducer combination, a Meade f3.3 reducer, or something like the MFR-5 with spacers. The following numbers are approximate ...

 

Barlow (f20) - 4000mm planets, detailed lunar or solar

Native (f10) - 2000mm planets (moons), lunar or solar, small planetaries

Reducer (f6) - 1200mm smaller galaxies, planetaries, globulars

Reducer (f4) - 800mm popular nebulae, galaxies, large globulars, open clusters. This (and with the f6 reducer) create the most popular image scales with a 1/2" sensor camera.

Hyperstar (f2) - 400mm large extended nebulae, large galaxies 

 

The value of the Hyperstar becomes apparent when you are planning on doing a lot of wider field work and don't have a small refractor or telephoto lens. 

 

Personally if I was going to concentrate on EAA type of viewing and imaging I would look for a used but known good optically C8, and get an f6.3 SCT reducer. I'd use the money I saved to buy a better video/imaging camera and additional focal reducer. I'd look around for a bit more aggressive focal reducer to get f ratio down a bit more. After some experience with that type of setup I'd look to see if a Hyperstar makes sense. With C8s you won't have to worry about a fastar compatible secondary mirror even if you choose an older scope, there is always the Starizona adapter kit for those scopes that don't come with one (this isn't an option for a Meade 8").

 

For me it would be a tough decision between the Hyperstar and a separate 80mm refractor ... it would probably come down to how critical I was of the images I was getting and how much visual work I wanted to do.


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#27 dr.who

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:56 AM

Ask and ye shall receive mi lord Ron ;) ...

 

there are two advantages in my mind and experience to the Edge series over the standard SCT for visual an VEAA. One huge and, to me, almost mandatory and one nice to have but not mandatory.  The nice to have is the near refractor views to the edge of the field the scope provides once thermally equalized(TE). No curvature or bloating. Nice pinpoint stars with good color. The must have is the cooling vents that allow you to mount TEMPest active cooling fans from Deep Space Products in them. This by far makes it worth the extra cost.

 

They cut cool down time from hours to under an hour on my 8" and from hours to just over an hour on my old 11". The Lymax system is a nice alternative for regular SCT's but what I didn't like about it was I had to pull the diagonal and visual back, put the Lymax in, run it, then put everything back several times a night as temperatures dropped. With the TEMPest system you leave them running while you are observing so TE is maintained the entire viewing session. 



#28 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:15 PM

Nytecam,

 

Hyperstar is not an "unnecessary distraction".  It is an option well worth considering for video astronomy.  Take a look at the link I posted above and you will see what f/2 can show in very short exposures.   Pretty tough to get to f/2 any other way.

 

Regards,

Curtis



#29 mclewis1

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:53 PM

The EdgeHDs are wonderful scopes but the EdgeHD optics are of no benefit for the majority of cameras used for EAA. The generally smaller sensors used don't require a large flat imaging circle.

 

If you are viewing solar system objects and doing critical imaging small temp changes will make a difference, but for viewing most DSOs (visual or electronically) it won't matter. Yes the initial cool down is faster with the built in vents and fans but as mentioned an SCT cooler also works well for that. Managing small temp changes over the course of an evening isn't something most folks doing EAA need to worry about.

 

I do think the EdgeHD scopes are great, and if you've got the money go for it. But if you are limited by your budget and really want to get the most out of EAA type of viewing I believe you'll get a better bang for your buck by balancing the amount you spend between the optics and the camera (spending a bit less on the optics and a bit more on the camera and reducer vs. putting an entry level camera on a great scope).

 

If however EAA is just a small part of your requirements and you are looking for a single all round scope for all disciplines then the EdgeHD scopes should be one of your top considerations.


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#30 Relativist

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 03:58 PM

Personally, I like Newtonians, like the following:

 

https://www.astronom...escopes_c4.aspx

 

or

 

http://www.optcorp.c...rer/tpo?cat=270

 

Also, I like to buy used, so what I did last year doing a similar search is get a used CGEM and a used AT8IN. I've seen others use a CG5 and AVX to drive the AT8IN, so I felt comfortable with the CGEM, and I was considering buying or building a 12" or larger Serrurier truss later. If I were to do it all over again, I'd get the CGEM DX right off the bat (used of course), so that I have the room to upgrade scopes if I wanted to without the worry of any limitations. With your scope budget a used CGEM DX and AT8IN should be attainable. Otherwise if your not thinking of expanding in aperture or want larger aperture up front you could buy one of the larger TPO reflectors, 10" or 12" and still be close to your budget with a used CGEM DX depending on price. (P.S. when I asked Astronomics about the availability of their 10" or 12" they said they were developing something to replace them, if your interested in those you may want to ask them about that)

 

In terms of usage, I'm currently able to carry my scope out of the garage in two pieces easily, but I've determined that it's safer and easier if I built a scopy buggy/cart of some type so there is no lifting involved. (why take a chance) So the added weight of the DX would mean 3 pieces, and/or building such a cart sooner. In addition a GEM mounted reflector will sometimes ackward viewing positions for visual depending where the object is. I've found though for most bright objects (planets on the ecliptic) the positions are usually good.

 

All that said, most of the guys I see on NSN broadcasting every day have SCTs... there's several good reasons why. Whatever scope you get, go for as much aperture as you think you can handle/afford at first is usually a good idea and also a mount that will handle that eventual scope. What this means is, if you can handle/afford an 11" non Edge vs 8" Edge, that's a serious consideration IMO.



#31 sprinter

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 06:54 PM

  Here's a link to some of the things I have seen with a 4" ed refractor and an 8" Meade SCT.  

 

http://stargazerslou.../36930-hilodon/

Don, could you compare the various attributes of each of those scopes?

 

So far it sounds like the 8" SCT is a favorite all-around solution.  What about smaller refractors like the 80mm ED that Dr. Who suggested awhile back?  I'm sure that aperture is still important, but maybe not as much as some other considerations?

 

Thanks for all the helpful replies so far.  I'm just trying to absorb all this stuff that's so new to me.


Edited by sprinter, 16 August 2014 - 06:55 PM.


#32 nytecam

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:50 AM

 

  Here's a link to some of the things I have seen with a 4" ed refractor and an 8" Meade SCT.  

 

http://stargazerslou.../36930-hilodon/

Don, could you compare the various attributes of each of those scopes?

 

So far it sounds like the 8" SCT is a favorite all-around solution.  What about smaller refractors like the 80mm ED that Dr. Who suggested awhile back?  I'm sure that aperture is still important, but maybe not as much as some other considerations?

 

Thanks for all the helpful replies so far.  I'm just trying to absorb all this stuff that's so new to me.

 

To my knowledge [correct me if wrong] but no generally available refractor or ED is corrected to bring near-IR [and  UV] to a common focus as visible light that these refractors are designed for.  From my spectro tests small Sony sensors used in video and CCD camera have extended sensitivity to near-IR [it's quoted in Sony data] and needs a IR block [or IR/UV block] filter to avoid image bloat with refractors. 

 

This in turn kills camera sensitivity needing a longer exposures or more aperture.  Reflective optics like Newtonians and SCT do a better job in bringing this extended radiation to a common focus.  The weak link is the glass focal reducer, if used, but the 'bloat factor' via the FR is relatively small.  In these terms the perfect option is a fast FR-free Newt but in life there are compremises.  ;)


Edited by nytecam, 17 August 2014 - 02:54 AM.


#33 mclewis1

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 10:56 AM

Maurice,

 

Yes, it's a good point to remind folks about the IR focus issue with refractors. For folks starting out I don't think it makes a lot of difference but as someone gains experience they usually start questioning the quality of the image being viewed and smaller tighter star images are certainly one of the goals. For most folks starting out I think practicing getting a good accurate focus is going to help more than initially worrying about the IR bloat.

 

I've found refractors work surprisingly well for EAA, they seem to me to "punch above their weight" a bit when compared to similarly sized SCT/MCTs. I don't have much experience with using Newtonian reflectors for EAA so I can't compare them. To me this difference with refractors appears to be due to enhanced contrast. I'm always surprised by the images (how well nebulae stand out ) through my 4.5" refractor. I use a 2" .5x reducer and usually a Lumicon Deep Sky filter as well. The filter is providing the IR cut. In my setup it is mounted after the focal reducer.

 

I also have a 1.25" UV/IR cut filter that I've tried on my refractors. It does tighten the stars up a little bit, especially on longer exposures. I don't find that it makes much of a negative impact (reducing what can be seen). In general I find that the additional contrast benefits of the refractors more than make up for any reduction in sensitivity from the UV/IR filter ... but the Deep Sky filter is different, it certainly requires a bit longer exposures (for the benefit of keeping the background a bit darker).

 

I'd encourage anyone with any size refractor to try it for EAA (and don't forget the focal reducer but be aware that many scopes may not have enough in focus travel). We're usually conditioned to choose a larger aperture scope for visual work but for EAA improved speed and contrast generally trump even moderate increases in aperture.


Edited by mclewis1, 17 August 2014 - 10:57 AM.


#34 Dom543

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 10:43 PM

In my EAA experience, the objects that do get negatively affected by IR cut filters are galaxies.

--Dom

#35 Don Rudny

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:35 AM

 

 

  Here's a link to some of the things I have seen with a 4" ed refractor and an 8" Meade SCT.  

 

http://stargazerslou.../36930-hilodon/

Don, could you compare the various attributes of each of those scopes?

 

So far it sounds like the 8" SCT is a favorite all-around solution.  What about smaller refractors like the 80mm ED that Dr. Who suggested awhile back?  I'm sure that aperture is still important, but maybe not as much as some other considerations?

 

Thanks for all the helpful replies so far.  I'm just trying to absorb all this stuff that's so new to me.

 

To my knowledge [correct me if wrong] but no generally available refractor or ED is corrected to bring near-IR [and  UV] to a common focus as visible light that these refractors are designed for.  From my spectro tests small Sony sensors used in video and CCD camera have extended sensitivity to near-IR [it's quoted in Sony data] and needs a IR block [or IR/UV block] filter to avoid image bloat with refractors. 

 

This in turn kills camera sensitivity needing a longer exposures or more aperture.  Reflective optics like Newtonians and SCT do a better job in bringing this extended radiation to a common focus.  The weak link is the glass focal reducer, if used, but the 'bloat factor' via the FR is relatively small.  In these terms the perfect option is a fast FR-free Newt but in life there are compremises.  ;)

 

Sorry I didn't get back sooner, but I've been out of town on business.  I think some of the others have hit on some of the points I would have.  As Mark outlined nicely, the 8" SCT has great flexibility in focal length.  I have used my 4" with a Baader UV/IR cut filter and really didn't see much difference in the star bloat.  Perhaps it's because we're dealing with relatively short exposures with these highly sensitive cams.  I also think the 8" gives more detail in the nebulae than my 4".  I guess aperture still rules. Visually I like both, but there's something about the sharpness of the refractor that makes it my favorite.

 

i can tell you that I like having both, but if I had to buy one first, it would be the 8" SCT.  You can't beat it's versatility.  I also have an 80mm refractor, and I only use it for wide field EAA, visual, and finding.

 

Hope this helps some.


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#36 Relativist

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:45 PM

I'd also agree with the 8" SCT recommendation except you also want visual, so I am of the opinion that aperture is very important for that. So if it makes sense for you physically & financially you may want to consider the CGEM & 11" SCT combination (possibly non edge).
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#37 sprinter

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:16 PM

I'd also agree with the 8" SCT recommendation except you also want visual, so I am of the opinion that aperture is very important for that. So if it makes sense for you physically & financially you may want to consider the CGEM & 11" SCT combination (possibly non edge).

Great idea, but over budget :(

 

Another approach I've thought of was to get a 6 or 8" fast Newt on an AVX.  (Celestron has a 6" f5 on an AVX for price of the AVX alone, sort of a free Newt and the 8 isn't too much more).  Anybody here ever used a GEM mounted Newt for visual?  I've heard that it's awkward but I could always get a C8 or even a dob if it didn't work out for visual.  Heck, for that matter, someone suggested that once hooked on VA, I may find little interest in visual.  Don't know about that, but I'm sure that happens to a lot of folks.

 

Thanks again for all the excellent help. 


Edited by sprinter, 18 August 2014 - 05:34 PM.


#38 mclewis1

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:48 PM

My first "serious" scope was a gem mounted Newtonian (Cave 10" f5  on a lightweight german mount).

 

That type of setup does put the eyepiece in some strange positions. Back in the day the way that was handled was with rotating rings so the ota could be rotated bringing the eyepiece back to a better position.

 

With an EAA type of setup the orientation of the eyepiece makes very little difference (you do have to keep an eye on the cabling though).

 

A fast (f4) 6 or 8" Newtonian on an AVS or similar mount would make a great EAA type of setup ... easy on the budget too. You'd need to invest in a few Barlows (a 2x, 3x and 5x) if you wanted to get the same type of focal length ranges that an SCT offers. What you'd save with no focal reducer you'd spend on a Barlow or two.


Edited by mclewis1, 18 August 2014 - 05:50 PM.


#39 Relativist

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:35 PM

Are you opposed to buying used? Otherwise:

http://www.astromart...ified_id=863840

or,

http://www.astromart...ified_id=789712

Are those in budget?

If your thinking reflector, like I said I'd go with a used CGEM and 10" f/4 or a CGEM DX and 12" f/4 if budget allows.

#40 sprinter

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:20 AM

Are you opposed to buying used? Otherwise:

http://www.astromart...ified_id=863840

or,

http://www.astromart...ified_id=789712

Are those in budget?

If your thinking reflector, like I said I'd go with a used CGEM and 10" f/4 or a CGEM DX and 12" f/4 if budget allows.

Hmm.  Tempting.  I sure wouldn't want to be lugging something like that around very much, but if I kept it in one place, aligned...

 

Question:  I see that Celestron sells the 11" on an AVX mount.  Is that stretching the weight capability too much for video?  I can't see me getting into long-time AP stuff.



#41 mclewis1

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:34 AM

The C11 CG-5 or AVX combination is borderline. It works for many folks for visual work. Others have found it lacking enough stability for comfortable use. If someone already had good experience with a gem style mount and knew exactly what they were getting into the C11/AVX might be a great choice, but for someone starting out I would stay far away from it.

 

You need to be good at setting it up (good balance is very important). It also helps to take any steps you can to reduce shake (anti vibration pads, extra weight low down on the tripod, improved focusing (motorized, 10:1 reduction, larger diameter knob, etc.). 

 

For a good, comfortable and often used EAA setup I would strongly suggest that you not go with the largest aperture scope you can. A 6 or 8" scope on a AVX or similar mount is a very easy to setup and use configuration that will give you many years of great views both visually and electrically assisted. You really have to watch for the scope size burnout where you get to a point of not feeling like lugging out your setup on clear nights. Astronomy should always feel like fun, not a task. IMHO there's not much more fun than an easy to use 6 or 8" scope on a goto mount.

 

When astronomy stays fun a moderately sized scope won't be your last but I'll bet you'll want to keep a scope like this around even if you move up to larger model.


Edited by mclewis1, 19 August 2014 - 09:35 AM.

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#42 ensign

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 12:13 PM

I have used a Mallincam VSS+ with a standard C8 and a .63 reducer/corrector stacked with another .5 reducer, and find this to be an excellent combination.  Used C8s can easily be had for around $400.  I tried to use the C8 both with a reducer and without as a visual scope but was never happy with the views which always seemed soft to me.  This was likely due to the field curvature and coma inherent in these scopes - despite the presence of the reducer/corrector.  While not an issue with the Mallincam for video, it was very much an issue for visual.

 

I picked up an Edge 9.25 for visual only work and I am very pleased with its performance.  The Edge has slightly superior views to the scope it replaced - a 10" Dob.  One of the reasons for replacing the 10" was portability.  Since portability is not an issue for you, a 10" or larger Dob for visual might be a good and relatively inexpensive option for visual.  They certainly give the best bang for the buck as far as $/aperture is concerned.



#43 sprinter

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 01:53 PM

I have used a Mallincam VSS+ with a standard C8 and a .63 reducer/corrector stacked with another .5 reducer, and find this to be an excellent combination.  Used C8s can easily be had for around $400.  I tried to use the C8 both with a reducer and without as a visual scope but was never happy with the views which always seemed soft to me.  This was likely due to the field curvature and coma inherent in these scopes - despite the presence of the reducer/corrector.  While not an issue with the Mallincam for video, it was very much an issue for visual.

 

I picked up an Edge 9.25 for visual only work and I am very pleased with its performance.  The Edge has slightly superior views to the scope it replaced - a 10" Dob.  One of the reasons for replacing the 10" was portability.  Since portability is not an issue for you, a 10" or larger Dob for visual might be a good and relatively inexpensive option for visual.  They certainly give the best bang for the buck as far as $/aperture is concerned.

Before discovering this video thing, I was going to get a 10" dob.  With video in the picture, I need to decide between a single-scope solution or two scopes.  I think I'm favoring a single scope setup as long as it can compete with a 8 or 10" dob for visual.  Reasons are that two scopes means maintaining two scopes, the cost of two medium quality scopes could be similar to a good SCT/EQ, and I would have a nice goto for visual which is really appealing to me.  

 

Mike, regarding the 925 Edge, there seems to be some disagreement over the value of Edge optics for visual use.  Some say it's wasted for visual, others say it's helpful.  What is your view on that? Also, why aren't you using the Edge for video?  Is it because of the reducers?  Even if the cost of proper Edge reducers is high, I'm thinking that maybe ordinary reducers could be fine for small format video and still have the Edge quality for visual without reducers.  Would that be a reasonable approach?  Since Edges are so popular for imaging, I'm thinking it may be worth the extra cost for resale value. 



#44 DarkSkysRFun

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 03:04 PM

iam in same boat. looking for a eaa scope. iam probley pushing toward a triplet or a doublet. in the 80 to 120mm range.. 

here is a video of the iris neb. its raw. its not the best. iam still learning myself. but thought i share.. gives ideas .. this was done with a scb 2000 and a 35mm cam lens.. shown below.. i made the adpt form a 2" to 1.25" ep adtp and took the ring off the cam and mounted it to the reducer.. works good .. also done from city limits. dark area. but still from inside the bubble.. 

 

 

http://youtu.be/ZnTOnY-exB4

Attached Files


Edited by DarkSkysRFun, 28 August 2014 - 03:09 PM.


#45 ensign

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 12:43 PM

 

I have used a Mallincam VSS+ with a standard C8 and a .63 reducer/corrector stacked with another .5 reducer, and find this to be an excellent combination.  Used C8s can easily be had for around $400.  I tried to use the C8 both with a reducer and without as a visual scope but was never happy with the views which always seemed soft to me.  This was likely due to the field curvature and coma inherent in these scopes - despite the presence of the reducer/corrector.  While not an issue with the Mallincam for video, it was very much an issue for visual.

 

I picked up an Edge 9.25 for visual only work and I am very pleased with its performance.  The Edge has slightly superior views to the scope it replaced - a 10" Dob.  One of the reasons for replacing the 10" was portability.  Since portability is not an issue for you, a 10" or larger Dob for visual might be a good and relatively inexpensive option for visual.  They certainly give the best bang for the buck as far as $/aperture is concerned.

Before discovering this video thing, I was going to get a 10" dob.  With video in the picture, I need to decide between a single-scope solution or two scopes.  I think I'm favoring a single scope setup as long as it can compete with a 8 or 10" dob for visual.  Reasons are that two scopes means maintaining two scopes, the cost of two medium quality scopes could be similar to a good SCT/EQ, and I would have a nice goto for visual which is really appealing to me.  

 

Mike, regarding the 925 Edge, there seems to be some disagreement over the value of Edge optics for visual use.  Some say it's wasted for visual, others say it's helpful.  What is your view on that? Also, why aren't you using the Edge for video?  Is it because of the reducers?  Even if the cost of proper Edge reducers is high, I'm thinking that maybe ordinary reducers could be fine for small format video and still have the Edge quality for visual without reducers.  Would that be a reasonable approach?  Since Edges are so popular for imaging, I'm thinking it may be worth the extra cost for resale value. 

 

Ron, I am mainly a visual observer and in my opinion, the Edge optics are significantly better than the non-edge for visual. This opinion is shared by virtually everyone I know who has actually used the Edge for visual.  I have picked out detail with this scope that I couldn't with my 10" Dob (and very definitely not with the C8/reducer combination) - and I had a very decent Dob.

 

There are two reasons that I'm not using the Edge for video - one is the availability of reducers, although Mallincam claim their reducers will work OK.  The other reason is the sheer heft of the 9.25.  At 22 pounds it's nearing the limit of my Minitower mount.  Rather than invest in a heftier mount, say a EQ6 or equivalent, it was more economical to get a used C8 ($1600 v. $400).  I was always more than happy with the C8/Mallincam combination.


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