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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: panhard]
      #5393793 - 08/29/12 06:58 PM

My wife and I just bought 2 scopes in the last 2 months. We got a Meade LT8" and a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm. I didn't buy them for astrophotography, but I did get the adapters to hook up my camera to them. No, I am not taking "big time" photos with them. But I am getting "decent" photos that we can put in our album or put on our wall for the "I saw it" feeling.

We have a sun photo that is nothing compared to what I see in the Solar forum here all the time. But the difference is it is a photo of the filaments and sunspots we saw on that day, one of the first good days of viewing with the telescope. It is printed on metallic paper and is hanging on our wall.

I know that both mounts are not well suited for AP, so if I want to seriously get into it, I'll probably get a GEM or two. But so far we are happy with what we have.

Same with the venus transit and the recent annular eclipse. They mean something to me because I took them.

So really it just depends on the person and the motivation. Even though it can be expensive, it's still much easier to get into these days and there's tons of information to help. I found a "Solar Primer" pdf that made it really easy to get my first sun pictures. Personally I've only invested $50 in my AP gear. A T-Adapter for my camera and a remote cable release. If I really want better pictures then I can get a $1600 GEM for my 8" SCT and a $400 GEM for my solar telescope. We'll see. For now I'm enjoying it immensely!

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Reged: 07/01/12

Loc: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Peru
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5394822 - 08/30/12 12:05 PM


I would bet I have seen a dozen recent posts here in the beginner forum saying, in essence, "I want to get into AP soon" or "scope would be for visual and first but AP later." I wonder if many of these folks realize the major investment in time, equipment, money and frustration involved in astrophotography at any level beyond sticking an iphone up to the eyepiece? I recognize and respect the skills of a number of advanced astrophotographers, and I realize that for some it is an ultimate destination in this hobby, but I worry that most true beginners are missing out on the fundamental joy of astronomy by leapfrogging into AP before they really learn the sky or their equipment on the visual side. I am a strictly visual observer, and I have a hard time understanding the attraction of sitting behind a laptop for seven hours while a $20,000 scope/mount/camera rig absorbs photons from a faint fuzzy, but each to their own. I also doubt the need for one more pic of M51; it's not like it's going to sprout horns some night. But that aside, I would say to beginners, give it at least one (and preferably two) years in visual mode before you even think of snapping a shutter. You're going to miss the core of astronomy otherwise.

I think you make a good point here in that if one is constantly taking photos, they miss being in the moment. There can be balance between observing and being able to show what you've seen to other people. I am a newbie at astronomy and have about 4 years in serious photography. Instead of rushing out to buy an imager etc, CN posts like yours reminded me to master the equipment I already have. So I say thank you for reminding us newbies to take it one step at a time!

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Reged: 08/29/12

Loc: Northern Canada
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5395549 - 08/30/12 08:12 PM

I think it's imperative to learn as many techniques as possible, sketching, viewing, electronic viewing and AP. As a long term member of an astronomy club questions about these topics are asked all the time. It"s nice to have hands on answers for these individuals.

That said I believe AP should start with unguided solar system shots, this method is cost friendly relative to the camera, has extensive printed and posted information and requires less costly equipment purchases.

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Post Laureate

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: rico10]
      #5400173 - 09/02/12 08:49 PM

I have never had much desire to do AP (thank goodness!). I do not believe that I would have the patience and perseverance to do it. I certainly do appreciate the wonderful photos of those that have become accomplished at it.

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Reged: 10/25/09

Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: panhard]
      #5403979 - 09/04/12 10:00 PM

i just purchased a ioptron twinstar. and had trouble bending to look thru finderscope. when i called the company i bought it from; guy told me i dont really need to buy a diff. finderscopea and i actually dont need one at all, cos i have a gps on my telescope. is this true? do i really need a finderscope or not?
thanks for any help u can give me.

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Reged: 09/01/12

Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: daysone]
      #5404095 - 09/04/12 11:03 PM

I'm not really a beginner, been toying around with smaller scopes and the sky for 25 years. Still, I don't have the financial resources to throw at a good AP setup. I plan on building up slowly, getting a solid mount which will be useful for visual as well as AP. The cost of imagers alone has me cringing.

That said, I like going low-tech sometimes. I had fun with my little Meade ETX-70 and doing rear-projection during the annular eclipse and the venus transit. Nothing wrong with beginners getting into the act, as long as they have realistic expectations and receive constructive advice from the seasoned vets.

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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Columbus, OH
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jwestervelt]
      #5404574 - 09/05/12 09:53 AM

I always make it a point to balance my time being behind the eyepiece and the DSLR camera. AP can be quite rewarding when everything comes together, but to me there is no substitute to seeing something live in real time with your own eyes. It makes me feel more connected to the cosmos. Plus the simplicity of visual observing makes it a nice relaxing hobby.

I started only AP two years ago and have gone through three SCTs, three refractors, two DSLRs, two planetary imagers, three focal reducers, a hyperstar with two adapters, two barlows, two focus masks, one tele-extender, three EF lenses, two LP filters, and two cases with three pluck foam insert changes from all the upgrades Iíve done! Itís been a lot of trial and error and LOTS of frustrations and fixes but I am finally making decent images. There have been as many successful images as failures, making stupid mistakes out in the field that cost me lots of lost time (i.e. leaving the bahtinov mask on the scope!) So that is something you want to consider if you are willing to invest the time as well as LOTS of $$$ and you still wont be anywhere near someone like Robert Gendler. But one you reach the summit of that learning curve your non-astronomy friends will really WOW! at your uploaded images at Facebook or Flickr.

my gallery

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Reged: 09/09/12

Loc: Near St Louis
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5413189 - 09/10/12 12:06 PM

Just a thought, but the appeal of AP in the beginner may be explained by the ability to share astronomy with people that they can't drag to the eyepiece....You see the same phenomenon in SCUBA diving - with pictures you can show something of the diving experience to the nondiving masses......

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Reged: 04/11/12

Loc: Ireland
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: JohnMurphyRN]
      #5414714 - 09/11/12 07:41 AM

Seen the ring nebula for the first time the other night,thought it was an out of focus star at first, then realised and just laughed at my stupidity cos all the other stars around it were in focus....

Simple things....

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