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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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nine44
sage
*****

Reged: 01/19/13

Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: terry59]
      #6168014 - 10/31/13 09:28 AM

I would recommend going to Astrobin and looking at images categorized by mount. The OP is trying to decide between a couple of affordable mounts to get started.

The AVX has a good AP reputation and is a great place to start. If one has a recently dead uncle and only has one opportunity in life to buy a mount, then by all means--buy the very best. If you are growing into this hobby like I am, the AVX will serve you just fine.

When you come to a place where the AVX feels constraining, then it will sell for 80% of its purchase price and you can put that toward something nicer.

To the OPs original question (before the purists crashed the party)--I would prefer the AVX to the LX80 as Meade is at an uncertain point in their history, and I would be concerned about support going forward. The AVX has a 2 year warranty and Celestron seems to be doing OK.


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: nine44]
      #6168029 - 10/31/13 09:38 AM

I'm not surprised Casey is happy with his AVX since he appears to be using it with an AT65EDQ. That is a relatively short focal length scope.

On the other hand, try running it with a C8 at 1260mm (old C8 with f/6.3 reducer) or 1400 (Edge with f/7 reducer) and it is a different kettle of fish.

What you are going to use on the mount matters a great deal.


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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Madratter]
      #6168150 - 10/31/13 10:36 AM

I agree. And selling your mount is a PITA, shipping tends to be nearly 150 bucks or more so your loss is nearly 50% by the time you make it happen.

I'd go with a used GM8. Terry has good success with his.


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: nine44]
      #6168250 - 10/31/13 11:20 AM

Quote:


To the OPs original question (before the purists crashed the party)--I would prefer the AVX to the LX80 as Meade is at an uncertain point in their history, and I would be concerned about support going forward. The AVX has a 2 year warranty and Celestron seems to be doing OK.




As much as I hate to say it. This is good advice.


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proteus5
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/24/10

Loc: Southern New Jersey
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #6168449 - 10/31/13 12:58 PM

I've never really found my Atlas all that heavy. More awkward to carry than heavy when the head is separate from the tripod. I found it much easier to carry if I leave it attached, put my shoulder under the polar scope end, grab two legs (tripod is at lowest setting) lift with my legs, lean the weight to my shoulder to balance and off I go. Of course this is with the scope and counterweights removed. I carry it through the house, out the back door, down three steps, then about 75 feet into the yard. I'm average size 5'9" 200 lbs 50 years old. All this aside I wouldn't want to carry it down from a 4th floor apartment. But just wanted to say that I've heard about the weight even before I bought it, but didn't find it all that bad at all.

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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: proteus5]
      #6168485 - 10/31/13 01:15 PM

Travis, unless the LX85 takes off... sounds like that upgrade might fix all the problems much as Meade has fixed the LX800 to the 850.

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: nine44]
      #6168495 - 10/31/13 01:20 PM

Nine,

Question for you. Where does the AVX get its great reputation for imaging? I see 5 images on Astrobin related to that mount.

It sounds like people tend to buy into the hope that it's good at imaging than actually doing any imaging with it.

Proof is in the pudding. On the flip side, Bob Long seems to have some luck with it (and with a C8), I'd send him a PM on Astrobin and see what he says.


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nodalpoint
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/03/13

Loc: FEMA camp
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Raginar]
      #6168577 - 10/31/13 01:55 PM

Quote:


It sounds like people tend to buy into the hope that it's good at imaging than actually doing any imaging with it.





I use mine every chance I get when it's not raining or snowing, so I really have no idea what you are trying to say but it's statements like the above make it so I don't even feel I want to post anything on this forum because I'm not using the "right" equipment.


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shawnhar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: mamamia]
      #6168774 - 10/31/13 03:45 PM

Quote:

I'm putting together a AP setup, my ES 102mm ED triplet is on the way, this is the new essential series which comes with barebones with upgraded focuser.

I am looking at a EQ mount and considering AVX, LX80, IOptron IEQ30.
However it seems like iOptron has various issues and hard to work with mount, I don't want to be running to ACE hardware buying nuts and screws to become a mount mechanic.

I'm planning to use
1. CCD Camera
2. Filters
3. SSAG Mini Autoguider
4. Focal Reducers

Appreciate if anyone can provide their thoughts to make a decision between AVX and LX80. While I am considering iOPtron but hesitant due to their quality control issues.



Atlas would be my vote hands down, you can get them used in the classifieds for a grand, same price as the LX80, new at 1500 and is a much better mount for what you want to do than the 3 you listed.
Atlas weighs in at 76 pounds for the head and tripod, LX80 is 66 lbs. The mount is more important than the camera, filters and scope you are going to put on it of you want to do astrophotoghraphy.
Not that it can't be done, I imaged for over a year with an unguided fork mount from 1987, but moving to the Atlas class mount was truly wonderful. The number of subs I had to throw away due to bad stars literally went to none. The mount just works, like a champ.


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nine44
sage
*****

Reged: 01/19/13

Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Raginar]
      #6168909 - 10/31/13 05:07 PM

Quote:

Nine,

Question for you. Where does the AVX get its great reputation for imaging? I see 5 images on Astrobin related to that mount.

It sounds like people tend to buy into the hope that it's good at imaging than actually doing any imaging with it.

Proof is in the pudding. On the flip side, Bob Long seems to have some luck with it (and with a C8), I'd send him a PM on Astrobin and see what he says.




I've interacted with quite a few folks here on CN and elsewhere who have gotten some really nice results with the AVX. My own personal experience says that I can get PHD graphs that are quite good. Perhaps the AVX isn't as good without an autoguider. I don't know.

Now--let's define "nice results." As a newbie, I consider "nice results" to be something that blows my friends and family away, but probably not APOD quality.

The original OP (posting in "Beginning Imaging" forum) is clearly interested in entering the AP hobby, not yet mastering it. And from the mounts he mentions, it's clear he's not sitting on top of a pile of cash. Seems like some of the responses are clearly out of touch with this fact.

I'm so happy for those that can buy a Mach 1 out of the gate. For the rest of us, we have to grow into this hobby and manage making our mortgage payments in the process.


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Stelios
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/04/03

Loc: West Hills, CA
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: nine44]
      #6168944 - 10/31/13 05:25 PM

Quote:

I'm so happy for those that can buy a Mach 1 out of the gate. For the rest of us, we have to grow into this hobby and manage making our mortgage payments in the process.




I'd like to add to this, that some of us are getting up there in years and are a bit creaky in the joints, so mounts like the Atlas and CGEM (41 lbs for the head) are impractical unless we get an observatory--which is even less practical. I would love more muscles or a place for an observatory, but neither is in the cards.

It would be nice if we could get people to answer the question in terms of *roughly equivalent* mounts to what is suggested. For example, if someone asks about an AVX, I'd think that a Sirius, a CG-5 or EQ-5, a ZEQ25, an iEQ30 or a GM-8 would be reasonable alternatives to talk about in the sense of *approximate* finances and weight class (though some might be too expensive and others not up to par). Ranking choices between those would be more helpful than knowing of greater mounts that are out of the competition class.

And yes, I accept that this limits me, perhaps severely. But it doesn't stop me from wanting to become very good *within* my limits.


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terry59
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: nine44]
      #6169100 - 10/31/13 07:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Nine,

Question for you. Where does the AVX get its great reputation for imaging? I see 5 images on Astrobin related to that mount.

It sounds like people tend to buy into the hope that it's good at imaging than actually doing any imaging with it.

Proof is in the pudding. On the flip side, Bob Long seems to have some luck with it (and with a C8), I'd send him a PM on Astrobin and see what he says.




I've interacted with quite a few folks here on CN and elsewhere who have gotten some really nice results with the AVX. My own personal experience says that I can get PHD graphs that are quite good. Perhaps the AVX isn't as good without an autoguider. I don't know.

Now--let's define "nice results." As a newbie, I consider "nice results" to be something that blows my friends and family away, but probably not APOD quality.

The original OP (posting in "Beginning Imaging" forum) is clearly interested in entering the AP hobby, not yet mastering it. And from the mounts he mentions, it's clear he's not sitting on top of a pile of cash. Seems like some of the responses are clearly out of touch with this fact.

I'm so happy for those that can buy a Mach 1 out of the gate. For the rest of us, we have to grow into this hobby and manage making our mortgage payments in the process.




One problem is understanding intent. The title here is long exposure AP. What does the OP mean by that? Another problem is performance expectations. Also, there is way too much "sound bite" advise.

These threads always offend someone in some way. This is the internet and further complicates getting ones view taken as it was meant.

I strive ( and fail miserably) to discuss the physical aspects of mounts and potential limitations. My goal is to help people make informed decisions on their purchases because this stuff is expensive and depreciation hurts if a wrong choice is made.

I strongly believe that great AP can be done with smaller mounts and certainly a Mach 1 or better isn't necessary. This hobby requires trades no matter what gear and a new person probably won't know exactly where their main interest lies up front. I know I didn't.

Sometimes I get frustrated with all of this but watching someone gain understanding and make choices based on knowledge keeps me plugging along.



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Stelios
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/04/03

Loc: West Hills, CA
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: terry59]
      #6169208 - 10/31/13 08:37 PM

Terry, let me say that I am not in the slightest bit offended. I think you are extremely helpful, highly tolerant of ignorant newcomers, and I find your advice and cautions to have been extremely informative and helpful.

I just wanted to explain that in many cases 'the spirit is willing but the wallet and/or flesh is weak.'

Put another way, I don't mind hearing about the great things to be done with mounts I can't afford (physically or financially) as long as I also hear what's the best mount I *can* afford. I can admire Lamborghinis, but in the end I live in a Camry/Prius world...


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Stelios]
      #6169215 - 10/31/13 08:43 PM

Quote:

but in the end I live in a Camry/Prius world...




which is after all a long step up from a Pinto, Vega, or Gremlin.


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Raginar]
      #6169926 - 11/01/13 10:05 AM

Quote:

Travis, unless the LX85 takes off... sounds like that upgrade might fix all the problems much as Meade has fixed the LX800 to the 850.




I hope that is true. However, I have gone out with an LX850 three times and struck out all three times. The issues were not always the mounts fault. However, two of them were completely the mounts fault. I am not convinced the LX850 is any better than the LX800.

You can have the biggest and best equipment in the world. If it wonít even startup then you are better off with something else. Throwing money at equipment will only get you so far. If you have a $10,000 mount and you are not able to align it properly then you are worse off than someone with a $500 mount who gets it dead on every time.


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Stelios]
      #6169934 - 11/01/13 10:08 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I'm so happy for those that can buy a Mach 1 out of the gate. For the rest of us, we have to grow into this hobby and manage making our mortgage payments in the process.




I'd like to add to this, that some of us are getting up there in years and are a bit creaky in the joints, so mounts like the Atlas and CGEM (41 lbs for the head) are impractical unless we get an observatory--which is even less practical. I would love more muscles or a place for an observatory, but neither is in the cards.

It would be nice if we could get people to answer the question in terms of *roughly equivalent* mounts to what is suggested. For example, if someone asks about an AVX, I'd think that a Sirius, a CG-5 or EQ-5, a ZEQ25, an iEQ30 or a GM-8 would be reasonable alternatives to talk about in the sense of *approximate* finances and weight class (though some might be too expensive and others not up to par). Ranking choices between those would be more helpful than knowing of greater mounts that are out of the competition class.

And yes, I accept that this limits me, perhaps severely. But it doesn't stop me from wanting to become very good *within* my limits.




Well said.


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #6170137 - 11/01/13 12:22 PM

I think folks should calm down a bit - don't know if I'm considered a 'purist' or any of the other acerbic tags but my 2 cents was at the start, so my 3rd cent here.

It is always more difficult to advise responsibly someone who bought a scope FIRST and then said I want to do long exposure imaging but can't necessarily buy what they might benefit from most with remaining disposable income.

What I find funny is the comment about IOptron, have you looked at where your other choices are made? Guess what. I'll add that maybe your scope was made there too.

As a general plea I'd ask folks not to 'bash' by country of origin. There are far too many people here that would be on the sidelines if you were to somehow cut out the offerings from China. And frankly all the lower end gear. So try being thankful they understand our expectation that we get it all for a song and dance if that, and they are trying in a market nobody else is, and IMO there is a LOT of really nice toys for us - THANKS TO THEM. Without them almost no-one would be here. And too I'd ask not to be acerbic about A-P and SB, ASA, 10 micron who are delivering fantastic products to us which are truly 'hands off' but they want to be paid for all that attention to detail.

In the lower end and mid range mount range if you want to do A-P you are going to become more intimate with the mount. Maybe a little more than you desire, but I do not see that as a bad thing if it will give the results you are after. Read up all you can in the mounts forum. It is these mounts that provide for most of the activity, and there is a lot of great information there. This post may have been better placed there?

But to responsibly from experience say something is or is not up to task is just being honest. I think and hope folks appreciate that anyone is willing outside the sales and marketing staff at so and so to take the time.

Imaging is largely about the mount and not the scope, or even the imaging device. Call it non intuitive or whatever else you like but think about it. The mount holds and points the scope and imager. Any, and I mean ANY issue a mount has will show up in the image - no way out of it. This is why I say it's backwards here. By and large once you get your imaging / optics 'set' you just focus and don't expect a lot of variance, and that is a somewhat safe assumption. The mount, possibly same can be said, polar align and invoke auto-guiding and then... well a lot can show up, and it can be very different seeming, though the cause(s) may be an invisible common denominator.

Sure you can hypertune and toss bad subs and get a good or even great image. But the fact remains that it is an imaging system and the mount is the most important part of that system. So the mounts forum is where I'd spend my time, and I'd read everything I could going back as far as possible.

Don't be fooled by all the pretty pictures. It takes a lot to make them or even one. We are lucky here to have the great folks (me included) that do give advice. Maybe there should be another forum for 'ADVICE I WANTED TO HEAR' but there isn't.

But there is a tremendous amount of experience and 'real world hands on' here and in the mounts forum that is free, from enthusiastic folks that love this hobby and desire to share from their often hard came by experience.

Heuristically there are a lot of mounts. First sieve 'cost' filters out some. Second sieve 'telescope type /weight' filers some. Third sieve 'long exposure imaging'... (I'm going to assume you don't mean that the way we do by long meaning over 10 minutes) a far more difficult sieve to pass. Fourth sieve 'easily portable' may further limit...

What makes even a bit more difficult is all the marketing and 'paper whipping' jargon and euphemistic specifications and as I mentioned expectations. No doubt there are folks that want your $$ and that should not come as a surprise.

To me that is where forums like this are worth their weight in photons. Much is possible, it just might be a little more effort than you thought, and you have a lot of well meaning help.


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Stelios
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/04/03

Loc: West Hills, CA
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Madratter]
      #6170252 - 11/01/13 01:20 PM

Quote:

Quote:

but in the end I live in a Camry/Prius world...




which is after all a long step up from a Pinto, Vega, or Gremlin.




Yes. I don't really think you can do AP on a Gremlin budget. Not unless you exclude the cost of camera, laptop, adequate computer and processing software. People who *have* all those to begin with, are probably not Gremlin drivers unless it is by choice...


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #6170259 - 11/01/13 01:27 PM

Quote:


Imaging is largely about the mount and not the scope, or even the imaging device. Call it non intuitive or whatever else you like but think about it. The mount holds and points the scope and imager. Any, and I mean ANY issue a mount has will show up in the image - no way out of it. This is why I say it's backwards here. By and large once you get your imaging / optics 'set' you just focus and don't expect a lot of variance, and that is a somewhat safe assumption. The mount, possibly same can be said, polar align and invoke auto-guiding and then... well a lot can show up, and it can be very different seeming, though the cause(s) may be an invisible common denominator.

Sure you can hypertune and toss bad subs and get a good or even great image. But the fact remains that it is an imaging system and the mount is the most important part of that system. So the mounts forum is where I'd spend my time, and I'd read everything I could going back as far as possible.





This is the only part of your post that I disagree with. All of the components matter. The focal ratio of the scope affects your imaging duration and your focal length. Your focal length and imaging duration affect how visible tracking errors are.

Tracking errors are affected by the balance of your system, Periodic Error, Polar Alignment, temperature, humidity, and whether you guide or not.

Guiding is affected by the flexure in your system, the focal ratio of the guide scope, and how far the guide star is from your object of interest.

And that is a simplified version of what is really going on. I could never name absolutely everything that is a factor.

The mount really only affects your tracking motion and the Periodic Error. Those can be huge portions of your overall error if they are bad or they might be insignificant if they are good. If all of the other components can compensate for the Periodic Error then it might not be an issue at all.

For instance if you have a really fast scope with a super sensitive camera you might be taking very short subs that make periodic error insignificant. You also might have a guiding system or mount that is very accurate and means that your Periodic error can be corrected.

To say that the mount is all that matters and the more you spend on it the better your results will be is misleading. That is putting a band aide on a wound that might actually need stiches and antibiotics. Sure you can cover up the wound and pretend it is going away. However, in the end when you pull the Band-Aid off the wound will still be there.

The best thing is to analyze exactly what all of your issues are and attempt to correct each one of them. If your subs are really long then try to determine if you can make them shorter. If your periodic error is very high then attempt to alleviate it with guiding if that is less expensive than buying a new mount.

So many people go right for the most expensive mount and think their problems are all solved when in reality they may have only corrected one issue that really didnít need to be corrected. Then they forgot about everything else that really did need to be corrected.


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: EQ Mount for Long Exposure AP new [Re: Stelios]
      #6170262 - 11/01/13 01:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

but in the end I live in a Camry/Prius world...




which is after all a long step up from a Pinto, Vega, or Gremlin.




Yes. I don't really think you can do AP on a Gremlin budget. Not unless you exclude the cost of camera, laptop, adequate computer and processing software. People who *have* all those to begin with, are probably not Gremlin drivers unless it is by choice...




Forget a Gremlin budget. Too rich for my blood. I do it all on a mid-range bicycle budget.


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