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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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laidman
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Jeju City, Jeju Island, South ...
Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: Patrick]
      #5304783 - 07/06/12 02:22 AM

Dan, the SmartEQ does look like an Interesting proposition. I'll have to look at it a little more closely and see if some of the issues that were brought up on the thread to which you linked get resolved.

My current tripod setup consists of a Manfrotto 190XPROB with a 488RC2 ball head. The head is prone to a little settling after the camera is framed, so that might lead to some frustration. That and it is only rated for a 5kg load, so I'd need something else to support pretty much anything I'd get, even that light SmartEQ mount.
It also seems that people recommend only loading up the mount/tripod to half of its rated capacity for imaging...
The 055XPROB that Astrotrac offers is pretty similar to what I have but able to carry 7kg and extend a little higher. That's why I figured I'd go with the pier and get a stable platform from the start.

But Hikari, you recommend the Astrotrac without the pier? Just to make it lighter and more convenient, or from a quality standpoint? Is it not worth it?

Thermos,you make an interesting point, but unfortunately my situation in Korea means I don't have a lot of the space and tools necessary to muck around too much modifying things. That and while I am pretty technically proficient, much of what goes on on these forum is well over my head!

Patrick, you're right, I do want to have my cake and eat it, too!
Regarding autoguiding, my understanding is that I'd need a plate that would let me mount both my camera and then a secondary small scope and camera at the opposite end (something like the Orion Awesome Autoguider). Then run everything to a laptop. (Any smartphone/tablet applications out for autoguiding yet??) Is that correct?
As for focal lengths, yours is a good suggestion. It is surprising what people are able to image at 200mm, so maybe that's a good place to stick to for now...
There is a site to which I've been a few times that is just along the side of an inland highway up towards the mountain where I am, but the catch is that even if I don't have to walk anywhere, I don't have a car, only a motorcycle. Either that, or take the bus. That's the other reason I'd like to keep things portable!

Thanks so much everyone for chiming in and voicing your opinions on all the possible options out there!

Cheers,

Mike


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Hikari
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Maine, USA
Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: laidman]
      #5305088 - 07/06/12 09:56 AM

Quote:

But Hikari, you recommend the Astrotrac without the pier? Just to make it lighter and more convenient, or from a quality standpoint? Is it not worth it?




Weight and size and the ability to travel with it. I have my Astrotrac on a Gitzo tripod with a Manfrotto 410 gear head and a Velbon ball head to mount the camera. The gear head is great for alignment; I am not sure I would want to align the Astrotac on a ball head. Also, you could also buy a nicer tripod for the money and the tripod would have more uses than a pier and can be more easily setup on uneven ground.

My Astrotrac replaced my Takahashi Sky Patrol--it is lighter and more compact than the Sky Patrol. GEMs are large and require a counter weight. It seems you are moving this with a motorcycle. You can put the Astrotrac and camera gear comfortably in a back pack and strap the tripod to your bike.

If you were moving everything by car and not carrying anything more than a few meters, then you really have no limit to the type of mount. I have a Takahashi EM-2S and it is a fine mount. I just don't take it anywhere with me.

I don't think the Astrotrac is limited to 200mm. Folks have used telescopes with it with much longer focal lengths. I am just starting my Astrotrac adventures. I have easily mounted a medium-format digital camera on my Astrotrac and made five minute exposures with a 120mm with no signs of tracking error and I was not really trying too hard. I hope to try a 300mm lens this summer if I get more than (or perhaps less than) cloudy skies. I think folks that have never used an Astrotrac can't imagine how such a small light mount can be so good.

P.S. I am not using the auto-guiding feature.

Edited by Hikari (07/06/12 10:58 AM)


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: Hikari]
      #5305149 - 07/06/12 10:37 AM

Quote:

Regarding autoguiding, my understanding is that I'd need a plate that would let me mount both my camera and then a secondary small scope and camera at the opposite end (something like the Orion Awesome Autoguider).




The Awesome Autoguider package uses a ShortTube 80 scope which will add quite a bit of weight and bulk to your setup. I'd recommend using the Magnificent Mini Autoguider which is based on a 50mm finder scope. MUCH smaller and lightweight, yet still plenty accurate for the kind of imaging you're looking at.

-Dan


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laidman
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Jeju City, Jeju Island, South ...
Re: Portable astrophotography mount new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5306148 - 07/06/12 11:01 PM

You make a good point Hikari. I'm thinking now of just trying the Astrotrac with my 190XPROB tripod. Whenever I do timelapse I have a bungee that I attach to the bottom of the centre column and then stick under a heavy rock or whatever I can find underneath the centre of theropod. I'm thinking that with that setup I should be stable enough to support the Astrotrac.

The 055XPROB that is offered in the Astrotrac travel package has a maximum supported weight of 7 kg versus the 5 kg of my tripod, but whatever...I'll cross that bridge if it seems too flimsy! I'm also thinking of going with the wedge versus the 410 geared head, and then the Astrotrac with polar scope, as well.

It's nice to hear that you're having such a good experience with it.

Is,a carbon fibre tripod recommended versus aluminum? I know carbon fibre is stiffer. Is it also less vibration prone?

Dan, I did mean the smaller of the two autoguiders, the 50mm unit. I couldn't be bothered to check the name...I just knew it had "awesome" or "magnificent" or something unexpected in it!


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avarakin
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
Re: Portable astrophotography mount new [Re: laidman]
      #5307389 - 07/07/12 09:34 PM

I am using a CG3 mount which came with Astromaster 130 for imaging with 50mm lens and it works pretty well. The whole thing, including tripod, weighs around #15 I guess.
I recently got a 135mm lens and it would be interesting to see how it works on this mount. The mount does not have polar scope, but it is quite easy to align using parallax method.

I modified the drive on my mount to use multi turn potentiometer instead of a single turn one.

I am also thinking of modifying it for autoguiding, should be pretty easy using astrogene guiding box. Once this is done, this could be a pretty nice air portable imaging rig.

Here is the mount and the scope:
http://www.hayneedle.com/sale/celestronpackageastromaster114eqreflectortelescope.cfm

If you decide to go this route, make sure you buy a set with Mount Drive option - most are sold without it.

Alex


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laidman
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Jeju City, Jeju Island, South ...
Re: Portable astrophotography mount new [Re: avarakin]
      #5467889 - 10/13/12 08:55 AM Attachment (63 downloads)

Hi everyone.
Sorry for dragging this post to the top again.
I had some unexpected stuff happen over the summer, so I never had a chance to update on what I went with...
I went with the Astrotrac, along with the polar scope and the Astrotrac mount. It's a very nice piece of kit and very easy to align!
Anyway, here are a couple of pics from my first real night out (well very early morning) out with it. Now that I'm back in korea, the not-awesome skies as well as work, etc. really do their best to get in the way!

The Orion shot is 10 75 second shots stacked in DSS with some darks and biases, from a school field right next to my apartment. I was surprised at how dark it was, and am looking forward to going out to a much, much darker site to which I've gone a few times before.
Canon 40D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 at f/4, ISO 800.
Canan 40D


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laidman
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Jeju City, Jeju Island, South ...
Re: Portable astrophotography mount new [Re: laidman]
      #5467894 - 10/13/12 09:01 AM Attachment (67 downloads)

And this second shot is of Jupiter and three of its moons (I think Io was being eclipsed when I took this shot), as well as a comet that surprised me when I saw it on the LCD! If anyone can tell me what it was or where to found out was it was it would be appreciated!

Taken with a Canon 40D, Sigma 150-500mm at 500mm with a Kenko Pro 300 2x teleconverter (for a total of 1600mm equivalent!) for 60 seconds. I was impressed the Astrotrac tracked that well at that focal length! I look forward to being out again when I can do a more thorough polar alignment and see what I can come up with.

Again, thanks to everyone for their help on selecting a mount.


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: themos]
      #5467953 - 10/13/12 09:55 AM

1 arcsec RMS?!?! I see the PECPrep graph but I don't understand how 1" RMS is possible when the peak-to-peak is about +/- 10"

But getting +/- 10" peak-to-peak out of an EQ-1 is still fantastic. Wonder where I can get a Japan one. Or better, one with a full declination worm gear, not just a tangent arm.


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Jared
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/11/05

Loc: Piedmont, California, U.S.
Re: Portable astrophotography mount new [Re: laidman]
      #5468039 - 10/13/12 10:47 AM

No bright comets near Jupiter, I'm afraid. it's a reflection.

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themos
member


Reged: 04/01/08

Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5471122 - 10/15/12 09:09 AM

I guess the peak-to-peak value is that high because of a single spike whereas the RMS value captures the more common, typical oscillations.

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JWW
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: Arizona or Mexico hard to tell
Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: themos]
      #5744120 - 03/19/13 10:10 PM

How about a Kenko SkyMemo? Talk about a super light setup and excellent build quality.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1591

-JWW:


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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Portable astrophotogrhy mount new [Re: JWW]
      #5746475 - 03/20/13 10:27 PM

+1 for the Skymemo....I love mine.
It's a little pricey but excellent quality.


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