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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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MikeBOKC
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Why Oh Why AP for beginners?
      #5377136 - 08/20/12 08:51 AM

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.

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UmaDog
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377140 - 08/20/12 08:55 AM

Each to his own, I'd say. There's a challenge in taking good astrophotos and I can appreciate that, even if I don't want to do it myself. Also, AP is more tolerant of light pollution than is visual observing. I agree that this must be one of the most asked questions by beginners.

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Tori
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Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377145 - 08/20/12 08:59 AM

For some the fun is in the satisfaction of looking at objects they found by star hoping. For some, they just want to look and don't want to find objects so they rely exclusively on gotos. When some people go to the grand canyon they snap a picture at a bunch of locations and they're done. Some people are so awed they forget their camera and just look for hours. For the former, I'm sure a professional photographer already captured the scene at sunrise or sunset and made it look 100x better.

Some people have a hard time looking through an eyepiece, seeing almost nothing, some people get so immersed looking through a tiny little hole that they lose themselves in space.

For some it's the journey, for others the destination. In my humble opinion, neither is wrong.


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galexand
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Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Bloomington Indiana
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5377195 - 08/20/12 09:52 AM

Another way AP messes up beginners is that people see some of the Hubble-esque Ring Nebula (i.e.) amateur photos that are being produced these days, and then they put their eye up to the eyepiece and all they see is a tiny circle that is slightly brighter at the edges. Potential for epic disappointment.

I was thinking maybe the iphone style photos would be a good remedy to this, to get people understanding how it truly looks through the eyepiece. But I happened to stumble upon the sketch forum here, and one of the recent ones I saw just absolutely beautifully got across exactly what a good globular looks like through the EP, I was blown away.

It's all about expectations.


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JoeM101
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5377197 - 08/20/12 09:53 AM

While i do agree with the OP, i'm sure there's a certain satisfaction that comes from getting that shot yourself, who knows you may just be the first to catch a supernova in that pic! how cool would that be, fame / fortune? perhaps not but... either way, i do believe that one should familiarize themselves with the night sky and get really comfortable with the whole experience before undertaking AP and throwing tons of cash into that bottomless pit before they are sure that's what they want to do

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377206 - 08/20/12 10:02 AM

Quote:

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?




And what's wrong with sticking an iPhone up to the eyepiece?

My colleague Dennis di Cicco, one of the world's greatest astrophotographers, points out that he got a better picture of the Moon holding a cell phone to the eyepiece of the 60-mm refractor that he started astronomy with than he ever did after years of effort using film cameras with the same telescope.

Electronic imaging has made astrophotography into a genuine beginner's hobby for the first time. It's true that most beginners grossly underestimate the time, effort, and money required for close-ups of faint fuzzies. But beginners can take better planetary images than the best professionals could 50 years ago.

Obviously beginners need to be warned that astrophotography isn't just a matter of pushing the button and hoping for the best. But I don't think the aspiration to astrophotography hurts anybody at all. Either they give up once they realize how hard it's going to be or they persist. Or, like me, stay halfway between ...

But somebody who wants to do visual observing won't let astrophotography get in his way. As it happens, all the really good astrophotographers I know -- and I know many -- are also great visual observers.


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Maverick199
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5377224 - 08/20/12 10:17 AM Attachment (509 downloads)

Quote:


But somebody who wants to do visual observing won't let astrophotography get in his way. As it happens, all the really good astrophotographers I know -- and I know many -- are also great visual observers.




+1. You need to have some experience visually before one plunges into AP. Knowledge of the sky, conditions for taking AP is essential.

I would agree with Mike's post had it been a few years back but today, technology has evolved so much, even a beginner can take up astrophotography by means of equipment available and modestly priced at that. For eg., a C6-SGT. Now you may not be able to take images like those taken by dedicated imagers, but enough to satiate one's appetite. It all will depend finally on how an individually settles down with his/her results.

Btw, a galaxy may not change or grow horns, but what is indeed fascinating is the fact that the image isn't the same each time. There are differences, be it in detail or color. No two pictures of the same image would look the same.

I took this image of M 42 with a modest investment of around $2500. For me this was enough to satisfy my need for AP. Bear in mind, I live in heavy light pollution in middle of the city and therefore exposures were short.


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Tim2723
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Loc: Northern New Jersey
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5377240 - 08/20/12 10:26 AM

I think the truth lies in the very basic realization that we have two separate hobbies that overlap in that they both involve telescopes. Astrophotography has never appealed to me from the very beginning. I have never taken a photo through a telescope and have no desire to even try. I do respect the work of those who excel at it, and we certainly have our share of world-class astrophotographers here at CN.

There are many who have taken magnificent images yet can say nothing about their subjects. I don't think astronomy need be a prerequisite for astrophotography or vise versa. Indeed, one of our most valuable contributors does neither. He doesn't even own a telescope but has as much invested in his library as many astrophotographers in their equipment.


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oldtimer
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5377287 - 08/20/12 10:53 AM

A $2500 modest investmet? My wife would kill me!

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oldtimer
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Loc: Lake County Illinois
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377291 - 08/20/12 10:55 AM

Yes there seems to be a real misunderstanding as to how great a jump it is from visable observing to taking great astrophotos. I mean this not only from a dollar perspective but also in an experience perspective.

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Tori
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Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: oldtimer]
      #5377297 - 08/20/12 10:59 AM

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5377315 - 08/20/12 11:13 AM

Quote:

The image isn't the same each time. There are differences, be it in detail or color. No two pictures of the same image would look the same.




Indeed! Astrophotography is a fine art. It requires many of the same skills as terrestrial photography -- framing, composition, control of color -- and many skills of its own.

The general public has the misconception that astrophotos are realistic. That's true in a sense, but they also involve a huge amount of interpretation.

To take one example, Pillars of Creation opened up whole new vistas. Its choice of false colors to represent different element emissions, and the accentuation of the Eagle Nebula's 3-D appearance, created a new art form. As revolutionary to astrophotography as Michelangelo was to sculpture.


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Pharquart
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5377338 - 08/20/12 11:26 AM

I'm pretty sure that most of the beginners asking about AP don't realize what's involved. Most think (as I did a while back) that you can just snap a photo through the eyepiece, or if you want to get really good, buy a DSLR and mount it to the telescope (prime focus). The images we see from amateurs look so amazingly awesome, rivaling the best we've seen from the Hubble, that we want do do it, too. We figure it must be pretty easy.

Why do people want to do it? As many have said above, some really don't. For me, I dabbled in AP because I wanted to see the gorgeous colors and detail that I just can't get visually with my modest equipment and poor viewing location. So why not just download some Hubble pics and look at those? Same reason every tourist takes a picture of Niagara Falls, or Old Faithful, or the Grand Canyon. How many people have photographed the Eiffel Tower? All of these look pretty much the same as they have for many years. Yet people take their own pictures because, well, I don't know why. You want one you created yourself, I guess. Something about which you can say, "Yes, that's a photo I took myself" to the interested coworker walking by.

I quickly learned that the cost and learning curve of good AP was beyond my desire. I still dabble in it, both through a telescope as well as just a regular camera lens, because I like making pretty pictures.

Brian


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5377352 - 08/20/12 11:33 AM

I have come to recognize that Astrophotography and Visual astronomy are really two different hobbies. Still, I do cringe when I see "and AP later", AP is not just a casual add on, it's a serious commitment, not so much of money but of time...

I think it is worth explaining the effort required and the commitment of time and resources that astrophotography requires... it's good to know what you are in for, if one thinks you setup the scope and start snapping away a bit of dissuasion is probably very useful. And if one has what it takes to tackle astrophotography, a bit of dissuasion is not a road block.

Jon


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Tim2723
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Reged: 02/19/04

Loc: Northern New Jersey
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5377354 - 08/20/12 11:34 AM

Quote:

Why do people want to do it? As many have said above, some really don't. For me, I dabbled in AP because I wanted to see the gorgeous colors and detail that I just can't get visually with my modest equipment and poor viewing location. So why not just download some Hubble pics and look at those? Same reason every tourist takes a picture of Niagara Falls, or Old Faithful, or the Grand Canyon. How many people have photographed the Eiffel Tower? All of these look pretty much the same as they have for many years. Yet people take their own pictures because, well, I don't know why. You want one you created yourself, I guess. Something about which you can say, "Yes, that's a photo I took myself" to the interested coworker walking by.




And that, Brian, is ample justification for the hobby.


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panhard
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Loc: Markham Ontario Canada
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5377367 - 08/20/12 11:41 AM

Quote:

I have come to recognize that Astrophotography and Visual astronomy are really two different hobbies. Still, I do cringe when I see "and AP later", AP is not just a casual add on, it's a serious commitment, not so much of money but of time...

I think it is worth explaining the effort required and the commitment of time and resources that astrophotography requires... it's good to know what you are in for, if one thinks you setup the scope and start snapping away a bit of dissuasion is probably very useful. And if one has what it takes to tackle astrophotography, a bit of dissuasion is not a road block.

Jon


+1

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killdabuddha
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Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377386 - 08/20/12 11:50 AM

Quote:

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.




Isn't it to be able to see what they're not seein? Seriously, tho, I can understand wantin to personally tease out the detail of what my eyes can't capture, if only that darned Hubble didn't already do it better than I ever could. Irony upon irony.


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Tori
sage


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Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tim2723]
      #5377388 - 08/20/12 11:51 AM

Quote:

And that, Brian, is ample justification for the hobby.




This is not a critism at all for your statement, please don't take it as such. Your statement got me thinking... Why does anyone need any justification for a hobby?

If people want to do it, they should. If they're grossly underestimating the effort required that's their problem, but it doesn't mean they're making a mistake.


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5377409 - 08/20/12 12:03 PM

I'm baffled by such "controversy."

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FarrOut
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5377449 - 08/20/12 12:22 PM

I've been trying to do AP for four years.
Admittedly I get out once a month at most.
I've had two pretty nice rigs. A NexStar11GPS and currently A Sirius mount with an AT6RC.
I have a total of about 5 images that are recognizable.

I will retire at the end of the year and hope to be able to spend more time on the endeavor, but I'm the first to tell you it's extremely frustrating and requires a lot of patience.

I know a guy that does only visual.
He loves to tell me 'You image, I imagine'.


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killdabuddha
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5377457 - 08/20/12 12:27 PM

Quote:



I know a guy that does only visual.
He loves to tell me 'You image, I imagine'.




Beautiful! "Suffice to say, what we behold is censored by our eyes."

(And, "I know a girl from a tribe so primitive, she can call me up without no telephone.")


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MrJones
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5377528 - 08/20/12 12:59 PM

Quote:

I'm baffled by such "controversy."




Same. People do AP for the same reasons anyone does photography. And I don't know anyone that does AP that doesn't also enjoy visual astronomy.


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Maverick199
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5377595 - 08/20/12 01:41 PM

Quote:

I've been trying to do AP for four years.
Admittedly I get out once a month at most.
I've had two pretty nice rigs. A NexStar11GPS and currently A Sirius mount with an AT6RC.
I have a total of about 5 images that are recognizable.

I will retire at the end of the year and hope to be able to spend more time on the endeavor, but I'm the first to tell you it's extremely frustrating and requires a lot of patience.




You have a much more versatile and should I say adequate equipment for imaging and I am pretty certain your skies or access to darker sites would be much more than mine, unless your sky condition is the limiting factor. I have as I said earlier minimal equipment and have dozens of good images from a severely light polluted and heavily populated city. No reason why you should feel frustrated in my honest opinion unless you are trying to attain perfection.

Quote:

I know a guy that does only visual.
He loves to tell me 'You image, I imagine'.




I would love to tell him, "You imagine, I will transform your imagination into an image".


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DonR
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Loc: Georgia, USA
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377632 - 08/20/12 01:57 PM

Quote:


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?





Be careful about sticking that iPhone up to the eyepiece - that's how many of us got started. My foray into astrophotography started innocently, with a telescope and primitive digital camera that I already had. That zero initial investment didn't pay off with great images, but neither were they disappointing or frustrating. Each one was uniquely mine, and the more problems I have had to solve to achieve better images, the more I have enjoyed the challenge.

Solving some of those problems has involved spending money. I have taken those financial steps one at a time, attempting to determine what expenditure would advance my capabilities without leading me into a dead end. I think most of my choices have been good ones, and none of them have been financially burdensome. For the money I've spent over several years, I could have purchased a premium large dobsonian, a nice apo triplet refractor or a decent mass-produced Ritchey-Chretien reflector, but I wouldn't be able to see nearly as much detail with them as I can in my images, without leaving my suburban back yard. And then there's the color ...

I believe in maximizing the benefits of expenditures where possible. A capable GEM, a premium focuser, a first class set of collimation tools - these are all investments that will pay dividends for visual astronomy even if the astrophotography bug fades away. Some beginners will heed the cautions and some won't. Some who don't will stick with astrophotography and some won't. I would caution anyone against jumping into the deep end of astrophotography without spending some time with visual astronomy, but I would also caution anyone who struggles with visual astronomy against concluding that astrophotography is out of the question. I know the night sky pretty well, having spent a couple of years with a 10" dob, star-hopping and just browsing. But it turns out that isn't very important in astrophotography. As Jon pointed out, astrophotography and visual astronomy really are two different hobbies.

To expand on what Tori wrote, astrophotography is about both the journey and the destination for me. The technical challenges, the creative possibilities and the satisfaction of achieving a unique and pleasing image, even if it only pleases me, are all things I enjoy. Knowing that there will always be room for improvement is part of what keeps me going.


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RTLR 12
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: DonR]
      #5377715 - 08/20/12 02:44 PM

I bought a DSI camera for $100 about 3 months after I bought my 8SE. I was told you can't do AP with an 8SE. The first night I got some very good shots of Jupiter. The second night out I got the Orion Nebulae and started the processing learning curve. I moved on to a CG-5 with the C8 and an 80mm guide scope. I was also told you can't AP with this set up. I'm glad people know that they can't do things, but don't tell me what I can and can not do. I know better. I'll decide that for myself.

Stan


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JoeM101
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #5377857 - 08/20/12 03:54 PM

i agree with Tori, there really is no justifying it, the only thing we need to justify is plunking down thousands to support said hobby unless of course we have no one else to justify it to... i, for one, will probably eventually dabble with AP, when i can afford to, for now, i just love getting out there and gazing at the wonders above.. visual all the way... but if i could, i would slap down 10 G's and put together a little rig like a TMB130, with Losmandy G11 and a decent CCD..

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jgraham
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5377884 - 08/20/12 04:07 PM Attachment (160 downloads)

I must say that I get a huge kick out of all this talk of how expensive imaging is. After looking at what some eyepieces cost visual can be pretty darned expensive as well. Like most things, just because it can be expensive doesn't mean it has to be. Way back when we used to build our own cameras (and scopes) and develop our own film which engrained a strong sense of do it yourself and not being affraid to experiment just for the joy of it. That for me is the huge loss, somewhere along the line we lost the joy of learning something new. Just because someone else doesn't 'get it' should never slow us down.

One of these days I'll dig up some pictures of my old imaging gear, but just as a more modern example this is what I learned one this time around (my 4th trip though imaging)....


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jgraham
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5377895 - 08/20/12 04:12 PM Attachment (127 downloads)

I still have an absolute blast with simple kit when I'm in the mood for some fun. Never, ever, ever let anyone tell you what can and can't be done...

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jgraham
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5377904 - 08/20/12 04:14 PM Attachment (177 downloads)

And what you can do today with a modern DSLR is simply amazing. The key is patience, taking things one step at a time, and enjoy the ride. After a year with my little StarBlast DS-2000 gig I eventually put this puppy together. It served me well for many years...

Edited by jgraham (08/20/12 04:19 PM)


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jgraham
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5377910 - 08/20/12 04:19 PM Attachment (147 downloads)

And yes, I still love to get in some serious eyepiece time. In fact, I really enjoy how the imaging and visual expeiences enhance each other. Taking my own images and seeing that objects look like before they are processed beyond all recognition has been a great help. Plus, my source images make the best darned star maps ever.

Each should enjoy their little slice of heaven, in this case my homebuilt 16.5" f/6.7 Newtonian. I had this out a couple of nights ago trying to spot the central star in M57, pesky little bugger...


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jerwin
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5377955 - 08/20/12 04:39 PM

The main problem with AP is it just sounds soooooo much easier than it is. You don't realize visually how imperfect tracking is, and I didn't realize just how quickly the sky is moving until I did AP. Yeah from the beginning of a viewing session to the end the sky is completely different, but seeing star trails after just a few seconds of imaging for me really showed me how dramatic it was.

It is extremely costly which a lot of people getting into it don't realize, and difficult to product something good. My problem was I did planetary stuff first which was easy. Just record a few thousand frames let registax do most of the work, a little Photoshop and poof Saturn or Jupiter. I like showing them off to my coworkers who are amazed at the kind of pictures I'm able to produce. DSO's are another nightmare and unfortunately the next "logical" step from planetary.

I do regret not taking more time on the visual side, mainly because I wish my bank account had more time to rebound after the scope purchase. I've now spend more on AP than my scope, with images worth bragging about. I'm too proud and too deep into hardware now to give up without getting some results, so that's where I stand. I buy almost everything second hand and Iím still buying the cheaper stuff. Canít bring myself to spend thousands on a camera. But thatís probably the difference between someone that has pictures worth bragging about and me. They made the investment were I want the shortcut.
I donít fault anyone for wanting to get into it, but I caution everyone I see post about it. More on the unknown costs that will be associated with it. Itís not my job to tell another adult what they should or shouldnít be doing. Someone can buy a 16Ē dob and try to turn it into a canonÖwho am I to judge?

Jim


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TopherTheME
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #5378035 - 08/20/12 05:22 PM

Quote:

I bought a DSI camera for $100 about 3 months after I bought my 8SE. I was told you can't do AP with an 8SE. The first night I got some very good shots of Jupiter. The second night out I got the Orion Nebulae and started the processing learning curve. I moved on to a CG-5 with the C8 and an 80mm guide scope. I was also told you can't AP with this set up. I'm glad people know that they can't do things, but don't tell me what I can and can not do. I know better. I'll decide that for myself.

Stan




My thoughts exactly. I jumped into a AP shortly after my first scope when I was a beginner (still am). I shot the moon and bright objects through my dob and later on bought a EQ-1 and Orion ST80 for $150. It wasn't a great AP setup but it allowed me to take 1min exposures at 400mm with little to no star trails.

I personally don't find AP all that difficult and never really did when I started (although I'm not all the way up the learning curve). It just takes a little bit of time and patience. I think just because some people are incapable of doing things, they automatically think other people are incapable of them as well.

Picture of M101 from the second time I ever used my CG-5.


Edited by TopherTheME (08/20/12 05:29 PM)


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Jb32828
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: TopherTheME]
      #5378227 - 08/20/12 07:33 PM

Anyone who thinks "it cant be done on inexpensive rig X" really oughta find jgraham's old threads on his AP efforts with his ETX, of which I still have bookmarked in my browser.

Because of the proliferation of the DSLR camera at prices that make them available to the masses, many beginners who buy their first scopes already have a DSLR. I did. Its not a real stretch to imagine taking pictures of what they are viewing in their first scopes.

Here is the rub though. The marketing machine that steers people to the SCT for that combination of aperture with a goto computer, has also convinced people that simply adding your DSLR enables one to take astrophotos. To an extent, yes. The reality is that its cool to get that novelty first picture out of an SCT, but past that, the long focal length combined with either a fork mount without a wedge, or an SE type mount, isnt conducive to getting one to the next level of imaging. It requires at the best case a wedge; at the worst case a new mount...then you get the welcome excercise when you realize there is a lot more to getting nice round stars in a long focal length instrument than just buying equipment.

Unfortunately For me, I went through this excercise; more fortunate for me was that I took the advice of buying used gear to start. When I figured out all of this, I didnt take much of a loss at all when I rebult my rig. So now I happily move along with an imaging rig, and an eyeballs rig. My equipment allows me to do imaging work that I would place in the "very good " category, allowing me to enjoy my hobby from home, while my eyeballs use a dob that gets me deep enough at a dark sky site that I will have my hands full for many years working to finish my Messier pin and move on to the Herschels.

Lastly, lets not forget that while it takes at least a GEM, a scope and a camera, the quality of an image isnt solely dependant on the amount of money spent...a lot of image quality depends on the technique and experience level of the person operating the camera and processing the image.

Edited by Jb32828 (08/20/12 07:35 PM)


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BSJ
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5378278 - 08/20/12 08:11 PM

Oh the marketing machine! The dealers and the magazines would all go out of business if they didn't have an infinite supply of people trying to upgrade their equipment, one piece at a time, just to get that one bit better than the last shot.

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Tim2723
The Moon Guy
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5378340 - 08/20/12 08:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:

And that, Brian, is ample justification for the hobby.




This is not a critism at all for your statement, please don't take it as such. Your statement got me thinking... Why does anyone need any justification for a hobby?

If people want to do it, they should. If they're grossly underestimating the effort required that's their problem, but it doesn't mean they're making a mistake.




Don't worry, I understand what you mean, and you got it. We don't need justification. It's a 'because it's there' kind of thing.


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BlueGrass
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5378631 - 08/21/12 12:20 AM

You make some good points Jason. There is a very, very steep learning curve that takes hold when you become dedicated to imaging. Some say becoming obsessed. Either way, there is a point initially where you get a fairly decent image that you wouldn't mind framing and putting on the wall. It's at this point where you consider moving into longer FL, or fainter / smaller objects with an eye to moving from the DSLR into the cooled CCD realm. Oh, and yes, the $6,000+ mount begins to look more of a requirement and less of a dream.... and yep, that $3000 APO is a must too .... and for mid-range and higher equipment costs, these are just the entry level costs. Also for cooled CCDs with filter wheels and filters, factor in at least another $3000+... for starters.

But, that's the path many of the dedicated imagers have taken and there's a reason for it. Many imagers have produced some excellent work with an Atlas, a Canon DSLR and an 8" imaging Newtonian or a short FL refractor. You're limited though in what objects you can capture. Moving into longer FL, longer exposure, guided LRGB imaging requires a corresponding step up in equipment and technical understanding. The post processing work also becomes more complex and involved.

I don't make these statements to discourage anyone from wanting to learn about and getting involved with AP. For myself, I'm approaching my 4th year of dedicated imaging and I'm just now beginning to apply a great deal of what I've read and learned to my work. Sometimes, the complexity of what we attempt can be overwhelming. It's at this point where you simply stop and begin learning anew, hopefully applying what you've previously learned to the new requirements.

Most amateurs are visual only, with some dabbling occasionally with imaging. They'd rather spend the majority of their time enjoying the wonders of the night sky. I encourage everyone to initially follow that path. What you'll learn about the night sky will aid you immeasurably if you decide to take a more active interest in imaging. Dedicated imagers are just that. Rarely do we look through an eyepiece and if we do, it usually has a cross-hair reticule inside ....


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Tim2723
The Moon Guy
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5378638 - 08/21/12 12:25 AM

Just goes to show how multi-faceted the hobby is. I'm strictly visual and could spend my time looking at pictures of the Moon that far exceed anything I'll ever see at the eyepiece. Yet I spend thousands of dollars to stand in the dark and look. It's no more or less crazy or sane, just a different facet.

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festa_freak
member


Reged: 12/22/11

Loc: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5379108 - 08/21/12 10:36 AM

I was thinking this way. I was considering a dob (xt10i) but I wanted future expandability into beginner AP. I saw posts about what could be done with a Nexstar 8SE and I almost got that. Really, the only thing that prevented me from getting it were reviews about it being unstable for even visual observing and the fact that it needs a power pack for any reasonable amount of observing.

I did end up getting an XT10i, I ordered it in May and am still waiting for it (yes, I am patient).


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GOLGO13
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: festa_freak]
      #5379123 - 08/21/12 10:47 AM

Quote:

I was thinking this way. I was considering a dob (xt10i) but I wanted future expandability into beginner AP. I saw posts about what could be done with a Nexstar 8SE and I almost got that. Really, the only thing that prevented me from getting it were reviews about it being unstable for even visual observing and the fact that it needs a power pack for any reasonable amount of observing.

I did end up getting an XT10i, I ordered it in May and am still waiting for it (yes, I am patient).




Where did you order it from? It looks like I could order one today and get it shipped in two days from Orion's website. I'd call the people up or cancel that order and get it from Orion directly.

Good luck!


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Paco_Grande
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5379271 - 08/21/12 12:20 PM

Quote:

...

Most amateurs are visual only, with some dabbling occasionally with imaging. They'd rather spend the majority of their time enjoying the wonders of the night sky. I encourage everyone to initially follow that path. ...




That seems excellent advice to me. Also, comments regarding equipment needs can be very misleading. "You need a GEM to do AP" - that sort of thing. It's a matter of degree...

There's a fellow in the imaging section who's done some very nice mosaics of the moon using an 8" manual dob and a $200 NexImage 5. So who said you can't do AP with a dob?

I also think one reason us noobs get to thinking of AP is that it's an expression of our excitement, that we want to share that excitement with others. Pictures is one way to do that.

So, get a nice viewing scope, add a camera like the Neximage, shoot the moon. That's a good intro to modern AP, pretty cheap to do, too. See just how good a picture you can get with your setup, get good at it. Then go from there.


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csrlice12
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: festa_freak]
      #5379373 - 08/21/12 01:11 PM

Quote:

I was thinking this way. I was considering a dob (xt10i) but I wanted future expandability into beginner AP. I saw posts about what could be done with a Nexstar 8SE and I almost got that. Really, the only thing that prevented me from getting it were reviews about it being unstable for even visual observing and the fact that it needs a power pack for any reasonable amount of observing.

I did end up getting an XT10i, I ordered it in May and am still waiting for it (yes, I am patient).




The only power my 10XTi uses is a 9v battery for the hand controller. I keep a spare battery in my kit.


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Raginar
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5379460 - 08/21/12 01:57 PM

Quote:

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.




I dunno, I've seen some fairly fantastic pictures from guys running a DSI and a CG-5 with some random widefield refractor on it. I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.

John Graham comes to mind as someone who produces wonderful images with a relatively modest equipment setup (OK, he has two identical setups... but still). It's expectations; I think you can do some amazing things with very little.

As for visual first: what about those of us with light pollution to deal with? The things I see through my mono camera with a few minutes of exposure completely demolish what I can see visually through the same equipment. Star hopping is fine when you can see your guide stars.. I unfortunately am lucky to have nights down to magnitude 5 or 6.

The other option people forget is video. It's almost a hybrid between visual and AP. Not so pretty pictures compared to AP, but a few that blows out what you'll see through a Nagler in a 16" dob. The views I got through my mallincam prior to moving on to mono imaging were staggering; it revitalized my interest in astronomy to the point I built a ROR .

I think that people planning from the start for AP is not a 'bad' thing. It keeps them from buying the cheaper equipment when they realize they could possibly be interested in more.

Clear skies


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379498 - 08/21/12 02:24 PM

Quote:

I think that people planning from the start for AP is not a 'bad' thing. It keeps them from buying the cheaper equipment when they realize they could possibly be interested in more.




I think the important thing is that people have realistic expectations.... $1500 buys a decent 80mm apo on a CG-5 ASGT and some sort of camera. It would be a good first astrophotography rig but very limited for visual astronomy. $500 will buy a scope that is much more capable for visual observation...

Reasonable expectations.... knowing a bit about what "and A-P" later means... A mistake many make is to try to choose a scope that can do it all, i.e. the first scope will be the last scope. Only when one has experience can one choose the right scope..

Jon


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sg6
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Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379515 - 08/21/12 02:45 PM

I find it difficult at times to say "Get realistic!!"
The number that want to look at planets, look at DSO's and do AP and all on a budget of less then some spend on one eyepiece is truely amazing.

Many will start by saying "I have been looking at and researching the subject ....."

It seems that the presumption is what is good for visual is good for AP is assumed. Trying to explain that many who are semi-serious about AP will use an 80mm apo on an EQ6 mount fails to register. Then comes the camera, always a DSLR weighing in at around 1Kg and "obviously" 18Mp is better then 14Mp. Pointing out that the AP side will use a mono camera with 2Mp also fails to register.

One forum had someone asking about attaching a DSLR to an ETX-80 for long exposure DSO imaging a day or two back.

Will agree with whoever earlier said that Visual and AP should be considered as 2 separate and preferably non-intermixable aspects. Trouble I often see is many getting a manual Dob then asking about imaging. No matter what is said some defender of the Dobsonian comes along with the one half decent shot of the moon taken by chance in the previous year and says "Here's proof that you can image with a Dob."

Yes Hubble has helped astronomy, but those images make people think "Superglue the DSLR to the scope and I can get better then them."

We have a TV slot once a year here, Stargazing Live, people saw an image of Jupiter through a scope and every retailer sold out of scopes. What wasn't pointed out was that the scope in use was an Astro-Physics 6" triplet refractor. Not quite your starter scope.


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csrlice12
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: sg6]
      #5379522 - 08/21/12 02:51 PM

"The number that want to look at planets, look at DSO's and do AP and all on a budget of less then some spend on one eyepiece is truely amazing."

It's because we are spoiled. We think that technology has come so far we can do anything for cheap nowadays. The universe has its own ways of dashing our beliefs....


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jerwin
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379535 - 08/21/12 03:00 PM

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim


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Jb32828
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Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Orlando, FL USA
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jerwin]
      #5379773 - 08/21/12 05:31 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim




Jim nothing is a waste of your time that brings you a sense of self accomplishment and lets you kind of get away from the world for a while while doing it.

Personally, I am of the mindset that there is no reason I couldn't have an APOD; however, I refuse to let the fact that I don't diminish the sense of accomplishment that my images bring me. Don't let all of the noise dampen your enthusiasm...equipment is not the be all and end all of the imagng hobby. I made the point on the imagng forum that while we get stuck in these debates over what equiment works "best" I think we tend to forget that technique and the experience of the imager have a lot to do with the finished images, both in acquisitin and processing. Betcha Jerry Lodriguss could post some absolutely incredible images whether he was using his Tak or someone else's achromat on an eq-4 mount; he would pick a target the equipment is capable of, and his experience at both ends would certainly make for his usual expected outstanding work.


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Jb32828
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5379791 - 08/21/12 05:40 PM

Oh I think I should add that while my Dad is a professional photographer who happens to photograph Indy/Nascar events, he started off many years ago as an enthusiast, much like the beginners here who ask about AP. he started off with a humble film based rig...now, many years later, his camera equiment dwarfs the entirety of my entire astronomy investment by tens of thousands of dollars - Im pretty sure his camera body alone cost more than what I have in all of my astro gear. All of it acquired a piece at a time, to accomodate shooting a particular target. Sounds pretty familiar doesn't it?

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Tori
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379869 - 08/21/12 06:47 PM

Quote:

Quote:

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.




I dunno, I've seen some fairly fantastic pictures from guys running a DSI and a CG-5 with some random widefield refractor on it. I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I wonder at all these posts that imply anyone said AP couldn't possibly be done cheaply. Particularly those that think I said it.

Someone called 2500 a modest equipment figure. I agreed with him that 2500 is modest compared with most astro photographers I know and most I see posting on here.

I can go outside tonight and take an astro photo with a piece of photo paper and a box and a pin and a couple pieces of tape. That's not the point. The point is that 2500 isn't a lot to spend in the AP hobby. Not that you must spend 2500.


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dw310
member


Reged: 08/10/10

Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5380007 - 08/21/12 08:45 PM

I'm one of the (fairly) newbies who was researching a scope several months ago, also hoping it could serve for AP some day. Here's why:

1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.

2. There are very cool objects in the sky that are far better defined by a stack of long exposure images than through visual observing. I may wanna do that some day.

3. I have a long standing hobby in photography with tons of DSLR equipment and lenses. So if I decide to do AP, a good chunk of the expense has already been paid.

4. I respect that AP is tough. What I don't like is how long the astrophographer spends tweaking at the computer. I may never take AP seriously for that reason alone. But I have suitable equipment if I ever want to try.

5. My scope is fine for visual also, so no harm done that it can also take some decent pics, if it is ever put to that task.

6. I may never take an astro pic. I just like looking up above. (Truth is, I don't even care what I'm looking at most of the time; I'm just mesmerized by what is out there.) But as I make fairly substantial investments (for me) into this hobby, I want to keep my options open. I want equipment that is versatile and can last a lifetime.

So I have my AP capable WO FLT110 which may (or may not) spend it's life doing visual only. So far I have been really pleased with it. I am so thankful for all the articulate posts on this site. I have learned so much reading them. The advice given to me as I was deciding on my purchase was invaluable. Many thanks to all of you, again, for your generosity.


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sixela
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5380480 - 08/22/12 04:37 AM

Quote:


1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.



Fallacy #1: there is one thing that is "good stuff" and better than anything cheaper at _everything_ you're considering. Even if you want to do astrophotography, I'd have to ask you what discipline you're thinking of (planetary and long exposure imaging are also different hobbies _from each other_), and in all cases I'd have to ask you what seeing you normally expect, what sensor you're planning to use, and in the case of long exposure imaging what kinds of targets you're thinking of, before I could even begin to narrow down what's "best".

And in the case of beginners that want to do "AP later", what would end up best could very likely be much worse for what they want to do before "later", i.e. visual observation of a fairly wide range of targets.

One scope doesn't have to do it all. Most of the time, once you're dabbling with visual observation and a few disciplines in astrophotography, it's not uncommon for people to have two, three or four scopes, each with its particular set of purposes.

Quote:

2. There are very cool objects in the sky that are far better defined by a stack of long exposure images than through visual observing. I may wanna do that some day.



If all you think is that you "may" wanna a do it, then I would suggest ignoring it. You don't have enough experience to pick the correct AP platform anyway (I'm not trying to be condescending). Sometimes a $300 Dob and two years of observing is the best money saver even if you end up as an astrophotographer, if only because you'll know more thoroughly what you want to do and buy exactly what you need when you buy that $2500 setup. Although if you already _know_ that you're going to end up doing _only_ AP, that money might be better spent on an small refractor or 150mm Newt on an EQ3 (which you'll resell or reuse as e.g. a white light solar telescope for those sunny moments in which you feel the need to rip yourself from the keyboard after being fed up processing your AP images). I see you actually made that choice, and given your obvious interest in photography it's not unreasonable, but I'd at least consider looking through a larger cheapo Dob at a dark site to see if you don't want to complement it with something else (once you have an AP setup with an autoguider, a cheaper but larger visual scope will also allow you to do something less frustrating than looking at your gear in angst while it takes that 30 minutes sub).

Quote:

3. I have a long standing hobby in photography with tons of DSLR equipment and lenses. So if I decide to do AP, a good chunk of the expense has already been paid.



Actually, if you have tons of lenses I assume some are tele lenses, and then I'd suggest a small mount and using the DSLR plus lenses you already have for wide field AP. You'll get the correct feel for what a certain focal length's image scale is and learn everything there is to know about the image processing that way (and produce stunning images). But of course, that 110mm refractor is also just such a tele lens now that you have it ;-).

Quote:

What I don't like is how long the astrophographer spends tweaking at the computer.



I'm not sure AP is for you. AP serves to eke out detail in very low contrast features (usually taken in environments where the light pollution or sky glow dominates the raw images) or to beat the seeing by combining the best features out of hundreds of images (for planetary imaging). The reason that photos look a lot better than they used to when I started the hobby is in large part due to processing.

Quote:

5. My scope is fine for visual also, so no harm done that it can also take some decent pics, if it is ever put to that task.



Give me an ETX-70 and I'll gladly observe with it. But the question is usually: with a given budget, what is the best compromise?

Quote:

But as I make fairly substantial investments (for me) into this hobby, I want to keep my options open. I want equipment that is versatile and can last a lifetime.




That equipment is a figment of your imagination: every equipment pegs you in a corner. You still have all your options open even after realising that, since nothing says you _have_ to do it all with one scope. The assumption that if you manage to do it all with one scope it's going to end up being "cheaper" is often unjustified.


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Maverick199
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5380513 - 08/22/12 05:46 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.




I dunno, I've seen some fairly fantastic pictures from guys running a DSI and a CG-5 with some random widefield refractor on it. I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I wonder at all these posts that imply anyone said AP couldn't possibly be done cheaply. Particularly those that think I said it.

Someone called 2500 a modest equipment figure. I agreed with him that 2500 is modest compared with most astro photographers I know and most I see posting on here.

I can go outside tonight and take an astro photo with a piece of photo paper and a box and a pin and a couple pieces of tape. That's not the point. The point is that 2500 isn't a lot to spend in the AP hobby. Not that you must spend 2500.




I made that point and as you stated, compared to many AP'er's, 2500 indeed is a modest investment and not necessarily means one MUST spend at least 2500. Some can do it for even less.

Recently, I recall seeing some stunning widefield images of the Sagittarius region taken as follows:-

Samir Kharusi: Placing a DSLR on a rock and shooting 10 secs exposures.

Jerry Lodriguss: DSLR and a Fixed Tripod shooting 8 secs exposures.

They should be available at the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forums though Samir's may be a few pages back.

While granted you need dark skies to obtain such stunning images, even with expensive equipment, one still requires decent to dark sites to image anyway.

End of the day, like Sixela mentioned, talent and the art of processing plays a role.

In my case, I am limited to eternal light pollution and even if I could afford, I wouldn't buy anything more than what I have today simply because I wouldn't be able to get more than 2 minutes exposure at best before the subs look washed out. For the same reason I didn't buy an autoguider.

For those blessed with dark skies or access to dark skies, half the job is already done. The other half is entirely based on your passion.


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dw310
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5380571 - 08/22/12 07:06 AM

sixela-
You are way beyond my astro skills/knowledge as you reply to my post. I don't understand what you are talking about in several comments--not because you are unclear, but because your knowledge of the technology is way beyond mine.

Does that mean I can't buy a 110 refractor and enjoy it? Of course not. Will it do everything for AP or visual that a scope could do? Of course not. That was not a goal of mine as I purchased my first refractor. I wanted it to be portable enough for me to set up fairly easily, nice quality that can last a lifetime (I still have my original SLR from 1972) and capable of AP, if I ever decide to try that. And as you mention, and as I stated in my post, I may never do AP. But maybe I will. We'll see.

I didn't want a dob as snow is usually on the ground 5-6 months out of the year where I live. I was led to believe most of those cheaper dobs have particle board bases, so that was not for me.

My bottom line question is, what's wrong with me getting a 110mm refractor as my first refractor that can also do AP? If I never do AP, what did I sacrifice by getting an AP capable scope? I get great views. I'm enjoying it very much.


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Fortune07
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5380590 - 08/22/12 07:30 AM

For me it's the thrill and wonder of capturing photons that have been traveling for longer than man has been on this earth. Those photons are my little piece of the Universe. My images are MY images, while they may never look like Hubble, they are a product of my time and effort, and there are a lot worse things to spend time on. As far as I know imaging is not a compition, if it is, I give up you win.

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amicus sidera
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5380665 - 08/22/12 08:58 AM

Quote:

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.




My feelings precisely.

While astrophotography is a fine pursuit, if one has the skies, equipment and inclination for it, it seems to me that beginners are being hammered with the idea that such work is a logical outgrowth of one's interest in astronomy - and it is not. The commercial media devote, and have devoted for years, large amounts of space to displaying astrophotos taken by experts in the field, with expensive equipment; the subtext has always been that this is what all serious amateurs are involved in, or should aspire to.

Note that a goodly percentage of the advertisements in these same media outlets are for astrophotography gear, or instruments that are astrophoto-capable... economic imperatives dictate that fresh fodder be brought in incontinuously to feed the astronomical economy. After all, if a neophyte simply purchased as visual-only telescope of modest aperture, a guidebook and a set of charts, and was happy with that for years (which circumstance was the norm not so very long ago), what would be the profit in that, save for the initial outlay? Very little, and we can't have that, now can we?


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festa_freak
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5380812 - 08/22/12 10:30 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I was thinking this way. I was considering a dob (xt10i) but I wanted future expandability into beginner AP. I saw posts about what could be done with a Nexstar 8SE and I almost got that. Really, the only thing that prevented me from getting it were reviews about it being unstable for even visual observing and the fact that it needs a power pack for any reasonable amount of observing.

I did end up getting an XT10i, I ordered it in May and am still waiting for it (yes, I am patient).




Where did you order it from? It looks like I could order one today and get it shipped in two days from Orion's website. I'd call the people up or cancel that order and get it from Orion directly.

Good luck!




Well I'm from Canada so shipping charges would be huge. I got it from Canadian Telescopes which is located in BC.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5380871 - 08/22/12 10:58 AM

Quote:


My bottom line question is, what's wrong with me getting a 110mm refractor as my first refractor that can also do AP? If I never do AP, what did I sacrifice by getting an AP capable scope? I get great views. I'm enjoying it very much.




There are certainly many, many good choices as a first scope. And investing in a quality refractor has a lot going for it, particularly in a location where snow and cold dominate the scene for many months of the year.

But every scope has compromises, that is why most observers have more than one telescope. If ones primary goal were viewing faint galaxies, resolving globular clusters, seeing fine details in planetary nebulae, getting the best possible planetary views, then choosing a scope with astrophotography in mind would result in a scope that was less capable in terms of it's visual prowess.

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: sixela]
      #5380875 - 08/22/12 11:01 AM

Quote:

Quote:


1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.




Fallacy ...




Agreed. This is indeed the fundamental mistake that many beginners make, and it's a big one.

All-purpose scopes do exist, and they do have their uses, notably as travel scopes. But one thing that they strikingly fail to do is save money. Quite the contrary!

Beginners who try to start with all-purpose scopes are likely to cheat themselves on both ends. They will end up with scopes that are too small to yield really impressive visual images and are also too unstable to take really high-quality astrophotos.

Moreover, in the grand scheme of astrophotography, optical tubes are the cheapest part. So trying to economize there is penny wise and pound foolish.

Remember, a telescope is a camera lens -- neither more nor less. So building a system around a single telescope is like trying to build a DSLR system around a single lens and multiple bodies.

Almost all serious astronomers own two or more telescopes, for extremely good reasons. Not only is it cheaper, you also get better results than you possibly could with a single scope, no matter how expensive.


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WaterMasterAdministrator
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: festa_freak]
      #5380904 - 08/22/12 11:17 AM

One of the reasons for having a 'Beginners' forum is so that folks that are new to the hobby, or are perhaps just considering getting into the hobby can ask 'beginner' level questions. It is no wonder that so many ask questions about AP (Hubble, marketing, inexpensive DSLR's, whatever).

Threads like this one can be helpful to point out the widely varying opinions of the larger amateur astronomy community. And certainly, personal preference plays a large role in those opinions. In general I don't really understand the point of the OP. Every time a new member asks that question here it gets the same wide ranging opinions. That's a good thing. For every dedicated visual observer that discourages, there's a dedicated AP'er with counter arguments.

The purpose of this forum is to provide a place where those questions can be asked, over and over again. It is incumbent upon those experienced members who enjoy offering advice to beginners to offer our opinions and experience, and then congratulate the beginner when they finally do make a choice (even if it's not what we recommended).

Kind of like raising kids...


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Raginar
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jerwin]
      #5381013 - 08/22/12 12:25 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim




Jim, I feel the same way. Most the pictures I post get ignored; the 'beginners' are discussing things I'm not quite ready for. Maybe we need a new forum for 'real' imaging beginners? :P


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csrlice12
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5381181 - 08/22/12 02:25 PM

On the other hand, you can easily spend over $2500 on this hobby and have a setup NOT capable of AP (outside of holding your cell phone up to the eyepiece). It's all relative to what you want the equipment for. I do agree, that, in the long run, we'll all end up with more than one scope. My second one (Celestron 102XLT)is waiting at the scope store for Christmas.

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bigdeal
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5381338 - 08/22/12 04:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim




Jim, I feel the same way. Most the pictures I post get ignored; the 'beginners' are discussing things I'm not quite ready for. Maybe we need a new forum for 'real' imaging beginners? :P




I'd comment on your images, but as a beginner myself I never feel qualified to offer anything of value...


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dw310
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5381611 - 08/22/12 07:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:


1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.




Fallacy ...




Agreed. This is indeed the fundamental mistake that many beginners make, and it's a big one.

All-purpose scopes do exist, and they do have their uses, notably as travel scopes. But one thing that they strikingly fail to do is save money. Quite the contrary!

Beginners who try to start with all-purpose scopes are likely to cheat themselves on both ends. They will end up with scopes that are too small to yield really impressive visual images and are also too unstable to take really high-quality astrophotos.

Moreover, in the grand scheme of astrophotography, optical tubes are the cheapest part. So trying to economize there is penny wise and pound foolish.

Remember, a telescope is a camera lens -- neither more nor less. So building a system around a single telescope is like trying to build a DSLR system around a single lens and multiple bodies.

Almost all serious astronomers own two or more telescopes, for extremely good reasons. Not only is it cheaper, you also get better results than you possibly could with a single scope, no matter how expensive.




Well, if you are suggesting I have started out with too small an aperture, I looked at larger refractors (achros), but there was a portability issue. The CGEM is heavy enough, but adding a heavier scope would likely mean I would use it much less. I just know myself on that one; weight and portability matters.

I'm also fairly new to the hobby: 2 years. So I had (and have) a small Newtonian as my first scope. After two years I got a refractor. Why? Just cuz. I wanted one. Nothing more and nothing less. Check me out in another few years, and I'll probably have a 3rd scope. I can't afford to buy an entire stable of scopes right now, nor would I know what to do with them. I still have so much to learn. You gotta start somewhere in this hobby, and this is how I started.

I'm not sure where you are going when you suggest I am "building a system around a single telescope." Who said this was my last scope? I am not building anything around the WO FLT. I don't even have the DSLR adaptor for it yet, nor do I have any immediate plans to buy one. (Though I am now looking for a nice wide field eyepiece, so recommendations accepted.)

The WO FLT may not be the best AP scope out there. It also may not be the best visual scope out there. I'm sure it has its particularities. Actually, it seems that all scopes do. But, in my opinion and limited experience, it is a nice, first refractor for me. I'm enjoying it a lot. I did my first 2 star alignment at a recent star party, and then slewed it right to Saturn. It was awesome!

Yep, I'm a newbie. I am easily thrilled. I have yet to take a star chart to a star party. Why? Because I really don't care what I am looking at. It just cool to look "out there." (Though when I found Saturn is was an amazing moment.)

And again, I so appreciate your comments and opinions, because they are molding mine.


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WaterMasterAdministrator
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5381979 - 08/22/12 11:23 PM

Quote:

Yep, I'm a newbie. I am easily thrilled. I have yet to take a star chart to a star party. Why? Because I really don't care what I am looking at. It just cool to look "out there." (Though when I found Saturn is was an amazing moment.)




And that, after all, is what it's all about.


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jerwin
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5381984 - 08/22/12 11:29 PM

Quote:

(Though when I found Saturn is was an amazing moment.)




Saturn started it all for me. Now she's behind trees as soon as it's dark and I have to stay up until 2:30 ish for Jupiter to make it over another tree. Guess I'll sleep when it's cloudy.


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Rachel W
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5382083 - 08/23/12 01:42 AM

Really liked your comment - life is too short to spend time judging others preferences.

Rachel


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Rachel W
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5382095 - 08/23/12 02:03 AM

Quote:

I'm baffled by such "controversy."




Indeed . . . makes no sense to me, but I'm OK if others get some sort of meaning out of the questions and various opinions. It's what generally passes for conversation in this day and age, and again it's fine as long as it isn't intended to modify someone's behavior. I'm certainly equally as hookable on some subjects and I'm not being critical here -

I am just saying, "Comment if you will as long as it is intended for the purposes of enjoyable conversational exploration. When it comes to doing what people want to do, I'm OK with it so long as I'm not expected to foot the bill or stand in as the responsible party incumbered with the responsibilities to be a friendly and helpful neighbor in consequence." Though I'd never shy aware from being helpful should common sense dictate . . . I guess the rub is, "What's common sense?" AND away we go . . . LOL

Take care,

Rachel


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Tim2723
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Rachel W]
      #5382133 - 08/23/12 03:10 AM

Sometimes we let our expertise get in the way of having fun. From time to time it seems like I enjoyed all this a lot more before there was an Internet to tell me I'm wrong.

Oh, and an unwritten rule: The first time you see Saturn with your own eyes it's perfectly OK to stand all alone in the dark and cry.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5382266 - 08/23/12 08:04 AM

Quote:


The WO FLT may not be the best AP scope out there. It also may not be the best visual scope out there. I'm sure it has its particularities. Actually, it seems that all scopes do. But, in my opinion and limited experience, it is a nice, first refractor for me. I'm enjoying it a lot. I did my first 2 star alignment at a recent star party, and then slewed it right to Saturn. It was awesome!




If you are enjoying your scope, that is what counts.

My concern is that when people include Astrophotography in the requirements, it really does change the equation dramatically. One of my favorite scopes in my TeleVue NP-101, it's an expensive scope, close to $4000 new, but it is well suited for astrophotography and for visual observation, does as well as a 4 inch telescope can do...

But there is no doubt in my mind, that if I want the best planetary views, if I want to see the faintest galaxies, see nebulae in their full detail, split the tightest double stars, resolve globular clusters, do all those things that we do, that my Asian 10 inch Dob does a significantly better job than the 4 inch apo refractor. A 8 inch Newtonian, an 8 inch SCT would also be better than my 4 inch apo at such things.

So, this is kind of an awkward situation, buying a scope that is well suited for astrophotography means that the scope will be compromised in terms of it's visual capabilities... So, in general, my gut feeling is that it is best to start out with a scope that is optimized for visual observation, get one's feet wet, learn about telescopes, find ones way around the sky. Then when one is more familiar with the hobby, that's a time to make a decision based on experience.

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5382425 - 08/23/12 10:11 AM

Quote:

Quote:


The WO FLT may not be the best AP scope out there. It also may not be the best visual scope ... but I'm enjoying it a lot. I did my first 2 star alignment at a recent star party, and then slewed it right to Saturn. It was awesome!




If you are enjoying your scope, that is what counts.




Amen!

Quote:

In general, my gut feeling is that it is best to start out with a scope that is optimized for visual observation, get one's feet wet, learn about telescopes, find ones way around the sky. Then when one is more familiar with the hobby, that's a time to make a decision based on experience.




Exactly. But every rule has many exceptions.


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samhyperion
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5382542 - 08/23/12 11:04 AM

We can go on discussing the "pros" and "cons" for the rest of the year! However, the simple fact is I look forward to getting my scope out at the end of the week, twiddle around, look "out there" and if I can, get a few photos ( even though, I am just starting out, and get lot of frustrating photos! ). As with every hobby, it is important to have perseverence and oodles of optimism. I do numismatics also (coin collecting), and I am always optimistic that I will get a "new" coin for my collection, anywhere I travel! I imagine how that coin must have landed in my collection.
So, at the end of the day, instead of flopping in front of tv to watch a documentary on planets, it gives me more pleasure to imagine what it is "out there".
So, the key is "imagination" and lots of patience, as with any other hobby!!

clear skies!


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Dwight J
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: samhyperion]
      #5383519 - 08/23/12 08:57 PM Attachment (106 downloads)

Why not start simpler and gradually move up in complexity. When I started with film I began with camera and tripod with the normal lens, then piggyback with the normal lens, then with telephoto with guiding (manual guiding back then) before I laid out further investment in prime focus AP. By the time I was ready I understood much of what was required to do prime focus and I had a nice bunch of wide angle photos to boot. Just to show what can be done with today's DSLR's I have included a shot I took last week at the Saskatchewan Star Party using a Canon T3 (unmodded), a cable release, and a photo tripod. No tracking or guiding but a 30 sec exposure at ISO 6400 @ F5.6 and the lens that came with the camera set to it's widest setting about 18mm. I did crop it a bit to fit the size requirements and applied a slight curve in photoshop. Meteors and aurora can be had with this set up as well. Including interesting foregrounds with sky scenes can keep you busy for a long time and they are still "astrophotos"

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shrevestan
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5383527 - 08/23/12 09:03 PM

Guess it depends on the personality type of the individual. I jumped in as a complete noob with the intent of doing astrophotography with a side of visual viewing. There is a huge learning curve but I'm finding it more rewarding than frustrating even though I've had some spectacular failures. I'd rather start with everything I need and grow into it rather than constantly grow out of equipment.

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Odell
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5383815 - 08/24/12 12:34 AM

I probably shouldn't pipe up here as I am 4 months into this hobby. I bought my Meade LX200 with the very idea of visual/AP. I thought that it was necessary to be involved in AP if one was to be fully engaged in Astronomy.

Of course the Florida clouds rolled in about the same time the UPS truck did so I've spent a lot of time reading various forums, manuals, and scouring how to's just to see what AP involved. I have to admit after reading as much material as I have, I will not be taking any pictures for quite a while.

But, I will never forget first light with my new equipment an hour before dusk. Sitting alone in a large open field expectantly watching the sky darken and the first alignment star to appear, a very bright meteor appeared ever so briefly cutting brightly across the dusky background. I sat back in my chair and couldn't remember feeling that kind of peace in a long time. It was at that moment I became fully engaged.


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panhard
It's All Good
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Odell]
      #5383949 - 08/24/12 04:03 AM

Odell Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

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Maverick199
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: panhard]
      #5384294 - 08/24/12 10:37 AM

Welcome to CN Odell.

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shrevestan
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Reged: 04/19/12

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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5384834 - 08/24/12 04:06 PM

Welcome Odell! Hope Isaac leaves you alone and the skies clear soon.

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Odell
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5389962 - 08/27/12 03:30 PM

Thanks for the welcome (didn't mean to kill the thread).

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MikeBOKC
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Odell]
      #5390121 - 08/27/12 05:12 PM

Actually I think you sustained it!

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panhard
It's All Good
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Odell]
      #5390194 - 08/27/12 06:07 PM

Quote:

I probably shouldn't pipe up here as I am 4 months into this hobby. I bought my Meade LX200 with the very idea of visual/AP. I thought that it was necessary to be involved in AP if one was to be fully engaged in Astronomy.

Of course the Florida clouds rolled in about the same time the UPS truck did so I've spent a lot of time reading various forums, manuals, and scouring how to's just to see what AP involved. I have to admit after reading as much material as I have, I will not be taking any pictures for quite a while.

But, I will never forget first light with my new equipment an hour before dusk. Sitting alone in a large open field expectantly watching the sky darken and the first alignment star to appear, a very bright meteor appeared ever so briefly cutting brightly across the dusky background. I sat back in my chair and couldn't remember feeling that kind of peace in a long time. It was at that moment I became fully engaged.




Excellent post Odell!


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Kevdog
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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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offthegridinperu
member


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

Quote:

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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rico10
member


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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coopman
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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daysone
journeyman
*****

Reged: 10/25/09

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

hello,
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.
debbie


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jwestervelt
member


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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JoeR
Pooh-Bah
*****

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
http://www.flickr.com/photos/axnyslie


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JohnMurphyRN
sage
*****

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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TheThingy
member


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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