I am not sure which forum to post this under so I will try it here. I just purchased an Explore Scientific essential (white tube) ed102 Triplet APO Refractor. I will be imaging using a Canon T3i DSLR. I still need to purchase the mount, guidescope, guider, and flattener. Here are a couple packages I had in mind. Which one of these would you go for, or do you have any other recommendations? All three of these include me purchasing an Orion Sirius Eq-g. With me trying to conserve money, would an Atlas be worth the extra few $$? I don't have any near plans to change out the scope once I get my AP setup started.
Option 1: -Explore Scientific ed102 (11 lbs) -Canon T3i (1.5 lbs) -Astro Tech Field Flattener (.5 lbs) -Orion Magnificent Mini Autoguider 50mm guidescope/autoguider package (1.4 lbs) -Orion Sirius EQ-G Mount (30lb Capacity, 15-20lb max for imaging) Total weight: 14.4lbs on Sirius Mount.
Option 2: Same as option 1, but Orion ST80 Autoguiding package instead of 50mm mini autoguiding package. (4.5 lbs instead of 1.4) New Total Weight: 17.5 lbs on Orion Sirius Eq-G
Option 3: -Same as option 1, but with AT72ed Refractor and Orion Autoguider (5.5 lbs) This would add weight and cost, but would give me a nice widefield doublet apo to complement the ES 102. The AT flattener will work for either scope. New Total Weight: 18.5-19.5 lbs depending on rings/dovetail mounted to Orion Sirius (could it support this weight for imaging?)
I'll tell you what I was told regarding mounts and astrophotography: the weight of all your equipment should not exceed 50% of the total maximum mount rating.
I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. -Walt Whitman ES f/7 102mm ED triplet APO CF iOptron f/12 150mm MCT Meade f/10 203mm SCT OTA, f/6.3 reducer Celestron AVX mount Orion f/12.1 127mm MCT / Celestron SE mount Astro-Tech f/6.5 AT65EDQ Astrograph Orion SSAG/mini guide scope Orion SSAIO camera Baader Hyperion III 8-24mm zoom ES82 4.7mm, 18mm WO Binoviewer Stardust chair
The 50mm mini-guider is all you'd need for that scope. You'll see no difference in performance over the ST80. The mini just makes things easier to balance due to less weight. Also, get the mini with the helical focuser, it's a lot easier to manage than the older / cheaper one with parafocal rings.
As for the Atlas ... Yes, it should be worth the extra cost to step up to it.
* ES127mm CF Refractor w/ Moonlite Stepper * Meade SN-6 w/ Moonlite DC Servo * AT6RC with Rigel Stepper * (Mono) Hyperion Zoom Mark III and a bunch of ES82's, Meade SWA's, and (T) Ortho eyepieces * (Stereo) WO Binoviewers * Orion 9x50 Guidescope | Orion 80mm ST Guidescope * QHY8L | Orion SSCI IV | Nikon D90 | Orion SSAG * CGEM | AT Voyager * ATFF | Orion Imaging LPF * http://www.sfaa-astronomy.org