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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330675 - 01/23/14 01:20 PM

Quote:

Software is another matter. One thing at a time. Which software depends on many things.

Sequence Generator Pro has been getting a lot of attention lately for image acquisition as it does almost all the automation stuff and is very cheap for it's capabilities.

For image processing the current hotest trending program is Pixinsight. Nasty user interface, but once you get around it the results you can produce using that software are nothing short of stunning.

Personally, I don't use Sequence Generator Pro because I had already invested in MaximDL/CCDAutopilot Combo. Also, MaximDL is the program supported by most other programs as it has been around for ages and has sort of become the defacto standard for scripting and automation. I would still recommend SGP though, simply because it would do more than you would ever want to do for the first few years and is far more affordable than MaximDL.

MaximDL contains processing, but very few people use it for processing as the results are far superior with PixInsight.




Thanks for the software tips. I think I might start another topic on that one, once the time comes. I've had my eye on Nebulosity 3, PHD, and PixInsight for a while. All of them sound good, but taking a quick look at SGP, I'll have to do more evaluating. Would rather not get into the software in this thread though...as you said, it's another matter, one thing at a time!


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6330694 - 01/23/14 01:28 PM

Quote:

Before you get too much money wrapped up in imaging, you might consider looking for a used Celestron CGE and something like a used triplet refractor like a Stellarvue or William Optics in the 110-120mm aperture. Get a good guide scope like a Borg mini 50 in solid rings, not guide rings, a good guide camera, hook up your MkIII with a laptop and Nebulosity for acquisition and PHD Guiding to keep the mount in place and see if you like imaging.

Then there's processing the images. To begin with, Deep Sky Stacker for pre-processing and I'm guessing that you already have Photoshop. Look online for tutorials on processing and make some pictures!

Once you find out that imaging is just too cool, then you can look at Mach 1s or MXs, Ritcheys, Hyperstars, etc, etc. Mid sized refractors take nice images and are very forgiving and a great platform to learn this part of the hobby.

David




Aye, very true about getting too much money wrapped up too early. I am pretty serious about astrophotography. I've been drooling over telescopes for years, and I'm finally in a position where I will actually have enough time to dedicate to it on a regular basis to actually make something out of it.

The price tags on these mounts is a little daunting, though...$8000 for just the mount, more for the 'pod, and even more for the controller? Little scary. I'm hoping more people throw in their ideas on the mount front. The more information I have to work with, the better decision I can make in the long run when I finally go for it. I don't want to dump a fortune into the mount if I don't really have to. As I mentioned earlier, I have access to very dark skies within an hour or two, and I'm ok going with lesser gear than a 14" SCT or RC if it will get me up and running a bit sooner with less total cost.

As for the telescope, I think I'm going to stick with my 600mm f/4 L II lens for now. It's a stellar lens. Great center and midframe performance. Corners are not as good as a dedicated optical assembly for astrophotography...but I can live with that for now. I have plenty to learn and master before I start obsessing too much over a flat field and all that jazz.

I actually have and use Deep Sky Stacker. I've tried to do some non-tracked astrophotography for a while now. Did not have much success for a while, but recently I've had some luck. DSS has been valuable at times, but its tools to tweak the final result are a bit cumbersome. I've actually managed to extract some pretty decent results with just Photoshop, manual layer alignment, and SmartObject Median-mode stacking. I think software is another topic for another day though, but I plan to start a thread much like this one on the subject when I get around to dealing with choosing software and learning how to use it.


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wargrafix
sage


Reged: 04/10/13

Loc: Trinidad
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6330709 - 01/23/14 01:33 PM

The thing about this forum is that when you have an issue, you think that all hope is lost, someone will jump in and propose a solution which brings everything back to good and sometimes even better than you were expecting. I remember my CG5 mount no response error and everyone helped and solved it.

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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6330716 - 01/23/14 01:36 PM

Quote:

This is an interesting thread, with lots of good advice. For what it's worth, here are my thoughts:

There's been lots of mention of Hyperstar. You already have a 600mm F/4 APO refractor in that Canon lens. Hyperstar isn't going to get you anything significant that you can't do with that lens.





That's what I'm realizing. I mean, f/2 imaging would be pretty amazing, but I know f/4 is nothing to sneeze at.

Quote:


You've mentioned the AT6RC scope at $400. I think that's a great idea. I've got one and it's lots of fun to use - one of the better bargains in astrophotography. It's 1360mm focal length is a nice next step from your 600mm lens.





I took a closer look at the AT6RC. It's 1360mm focal length isn't all that much longer than my 600mm with a 2x teleconverter. With the 2x TC, I have a 1200mm f/8 telescope, which from a relative aperture standpoint is actually a bit better than the AT6RC, which is f/9. I think the 600mm lens can hold me in pretty good stead for a good long while, until I have nothing left to do but obsess over how pinpoint my pinpoint stars are, and where in the field they start going cometary.

Quote:


The 3 most important things in astrophotography are the mount, the mount and the mount. You are on the right track thinking about the Mach1. You should also look at the AP1100 (the Mach1's bigger brother), the Paramount MX and the 10Micron GM1000hps. Any of these mounts will serve you quite well.





The AP1100 and Paramount MX are two others that have been mentioned before as well. I think the 1100 is ultimately out of my price range, once all the various bits and pieces are factored in...the price is well over $10,000. It's on the list, but not at the top. The Paramount MX looks pretty nice. I'd say that with your recommendation and the priors, it's currently got the second spot on my list. Maybe tied with the forthcoming iOpteron CME60.

Quote:


That said, the are many successful astrophotographers that are perfectly happy with CGEMs, Atlases, etc. If you have budget constraints and are not sure that you are committed to the hobby (it can be hard to know until you actually try it), they make good entry level imaging mounts. And they can easily carry your Canon lens and DSLR.





I'd really like to see the kind of results people get with CGEMS, Atlases, etc. I read those names a fair bit on these forums, I suspect because they are more accessible from a price standpoint. I know I've seen some pretty decent results online from people who use those mounts. I'm a stickler or quality, and I generally like to buy things once and have the full benefit of their flexibility and longevity. However, as reality usually has its way, I inevitably end up getting one or two lesser products before I finally land on "the one" that will tide me over for decades. I may well need to do that in the case of astrophotography as well. The CGEM DX is still on the list...maybe after the iOpteron CEM60. I've written the CGE Pro off the list...154lb is just too much weight to be lugging around Colorado.

Quote:


Some of us get pretty carried away when we're spending other people's money. It's really easy to recommend premium mounts when we're not the ones footing the bill. To be sure, you do get what you pay for with them. And if you end up getting bitten by the astro imaging bug, you can save money by jumping in at the deep end instead of buying cheaper equipment first and upgrading.

Of the mounts listed here, the only one I would tend to avoid is the CGE Pro. This is not anything against the mount. I've used them and they are fine mounts. But for your stated goals, they are big and heavy (really huge, in fact). For the extra money, you'd be better off getting a premium mount with a bit less capacity, given what you are trying to do.

I hope that this is helpful,
-Wade




Yes, very helpful stuff! Thanks! I appreciate your honesty about getting carried away, and I appreciate the honest opinions.


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6330722 - 01/23/14 01:40 PM

Quote:

Quote:


OOH! How in the world did you get an SBIG mounted on there!? SBIG cams are on the top of my list once I get the mount and scope. If I can mount an SBIG right to the 600mm f/4, wow, I'd be one ecstatically happy dude!




There are other ways to mount a CCD to a Canon EF lens but SBIG are one of the few that make it really easy. SBIG EOS Lens Adapter.




Sweet! I admit, I didn't dig through their entire site. I guess I had a bit of sticker shock at some of the prices for the CCD's I gravitated towards. I didn't even look at the accessories at all, I just put SBIG on my astrocam brands list, alongside the QHY11, QHY22, and QHY23 (less sticker shock, but they still appear to be excellent CCDs.)

It seems there are EF adapters for some of the older QHY cams, but the 22 and 23 don't seem to be listed. I am not sure if they are compatible or not. The cam is down the road a ways, and I'll probably start a thread on that, too, when the time comes.


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Hilmi
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6330732 - 01/23/14 01:44 PM

Quote:

Some of us get pretty carried away when we're spending other people's money.




Or saving other peoples money. We learn from our mistakes so others don't have to repeat them. As has been said by others on the forum, it is possible to get good results with a lesser mount, but with a premium mount if you don't it's unlikely to be from the mount. The original poster has clearly indicated he had a healthy budget by implication, why not get the best. The argument about if you change your mind doesnt hold either, because I've been looking at posts and a 3 year old Mach 1 GTO sells for minimal loss in value. if you buy second hand, you can probably sell it off for almost the same amount you pay for it.

That sure beats going through 3 mounts till you reach "The One True Love" mount. I'd say it's a bargain. If a person can afford it and has the money to spend, I will always recommend a top tier mount.


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6330761 - 01/23/14 01:56 PM

Quote:

I'd be interested in how well the camera lens does as an astrograph. Astrophotography is a significantly harsher critic than daylight photography, so remember to remain calm, no matter what you see.

The AP Mach 1 GTO is a lifetime travel mount- you'll want to get an accessory for it called RAPAS for quick setup.

Please keep in mind what you are proposing is an extreme learning curve. Good astrophotos require taking lots of bad astrophotos. What you have learned in daylight will not help you. At all.

If you get a really good mount from the start, you will at least avoid the brutal lesson on how there just is no substitute for a good mount. Some things to keep in mind:

Many of the really interesting DSOs are enormous- on the order of 6 full moons across if you are talking about the andromeda galaxy or the rosette nebula. Photographing things like the Horsehead, M42, or the Pleiades are likewise all wide-field imaging targets. This is good, since low magnifications are forgiving while you learn to hyper-dial in alignment, and you can simply forego guiding.

Don't expect success early- what you are embarking on is very, very, very difficult. People who master this are about as numerous as people who have flown in space- don't expect this to be easy.

-Rich




Thank you for the insights. I really appreciate them. I have no illusions that corner performance on my 600mm will be good...it will have some slight CA, and will stretch just a bit. It is excellent center and midframe, though. I also suspect that you don't usually use the entire field with astrophotography? There has to be some cropping involved, yes?

I also am pretty prepared to get started with astrophotography. I have actually been doing some non-tracked astrophotography with my EF 100mm f/2.8 and EF 600mm f/4 lenses. I started around the beginning of summer, and only managed to get images I felt were barely good enough to share online this past December. Took about six months to get things figured out enough without tracking to get a barely acceptable result...so I am prepared for what's ahead.

I'm pretty careful and methodical when I decide to do something. I've been digging around, researching gear, learning what's different between astrophotography and normal photography, learning about all the various software tools, how to do guiding, etc. for the last two years. I still don't even have a mount or a scope. :P I'm ok with it taking a while. I don't expect to become a world-class astrophotographer by summer this year.

That said, I do have aspirations to become a world-class astrophotographer in the end. It doesn't really matter to me if that takes years...when I decide to do something, I invest the money, the time, and the effort to master it. I started bird, wildlife, and landscape photography four years ago, and only felt that I began to get the kind of results I really wanted the latter part of last year. I don't expect to master it for years more, as I still see the gap between my work and the pros that inspire me. When it comes to astrophotography, I'll fly in space, one way or another.

I have a good deal of theoretical knowledge under my belt as well. I understand the nuances of polar alignment...I purchased a Celestron AstroMaster newtonian beginner scope in December, just for the purpose of learning. I already have experience with Polaris alignment, NCP alignment, and declination drift refinement. Still need to work on dec. drift...I gather that's where the bulk of fine tuning your alignment comes into play, and that it can be quite time consuming to really dial in really good alignment (5-10 minutes without drift). I returned the AstroMaster...I can't imagine how that thing could be called a beginners device. It was actually horrible to use. Painfully horrible to use. The lack of GOTO makes everything orders of magnitude more difficult...and the whole assembly has multiple stop points where some part of the assembly catches something somewhere preventing you from tracking further. It also seemed to have a slight error that, even after carefully aligning on NCP, would still result in a couple minutes misalignment when trying to dial in a well-known object in RA/Dec. After all the frustrations with that scope, I suspect a GOTO will be a pure dream, and the only thing I'll really have to work at is declination drift.

I guess my only real concern is I spend the right amount of money on the right product up front. I like to find the perfect product that will last me forever, and just buy something once. The risk with that is you end up finding something you think is perfect, when it's not, and spend a LOT of money on something that ultimately sits on a shelf. I'm really hoping to avoid that...and with all of the advice you wonderful people have offered, I think I'll be able to pick up the right device. Sounds like the AP Mach1GTO is it, but I'm all ears for anyone and everyone else's advice! I want to hear everyone's opinions before I make a decision (and I have plenty of time, I won't be ordering anything for a few months yet.)


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gary-sue69
sage
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Reged: 07/19/07

Loc: Maybee MI.
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330764 - 01/23/14 01:57 PM

if I recall correctly, you said you do not have a lot of time to do AP processing. Mallincam has 2 cameras you might be interested in. Mallincam extreme ex which takes live color video images that you can share online or at star parties. you can 'stack' those to create a photo. or Mallincam universe which is made for AP work but can be used for video as well.

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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330771 - 01/23/14 01:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Some of us get pretty carried away when we're spending other people's money.




Or saving other peoples money. We learn from our mistakes so others don't have to repeat them. As has been said by others on the forum, it is possible to get good results with a lesser mount, but with a premium mount if you don't it's unlikely to be from the mount. The original poster has clearly indicated he had a healthy budget by implication, why not get the best. The argument about if you change your mind doesnt hold either, because I've been looking at posts and a 3 year old Mach 1 GTO sells for minimal loss in value. if you buy second hand, you can probably sell it off for almost the same amount you pay for it.

That sure beats going through 3 mounts till you reach "The One True Love" mount. I'd say it's a bargain. If a person can afford it and has the money to spend, I will always recommend a top tier mount.




I do appreciate all your advice. BTW, what are the top places to find used astronomy gear like the Mach1? I guess I should start looking out for that really good deal from that really good seller so I can nab it when the opportunity comes along (and I have the funds.)


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6330775 - 01/23/14 01:59 PM

Another mount option to consider are Takahashi EM 200 or NJP. The EM200 can carry a C11 and the NJP can carry a C14. They are pricey when new but are more often seen available on the used market. An advantage over Astrophysics (albeit a very small one) is that Tak mounts are available without waiting on a list. The Ioptron CM 60 is worth a look too as is the EQ8 ( soon to be sold by Orion) and these are in the $4000 range.
As has been said many times, spend as much money on a mount as you can. It will save you money in the long run as you won't have to upgrade when you can't get a lower cost mount to perform and hours of frustrated tinkering to get it working. I learned this lesson the hard (read expensive) way.


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Jon Rista]
      #6330782 - 01/23/14 02:03 PM

Quote:


As for the telescope, I think I'm going to stick with my 600mm f/4 L II lens for now. It's a stellar lens. Great center and midframe performance.




"Big" Canon glass has been put up against astro APOs before and fared well. Samir Kharusi put the Canon 600 up against a Televue APO years ago. Link is still here.

No one in their right mind buys a Canon super for astro primarily but, seeing as how you already have the 600, your course is clear. I used the 600/4 and the 300/2.8 for my first foray into serious AP and got thrilling results. My problems were all about flex and tracking, not about Canon optics not being up to the job.

My two "errors," as I see it all in retrospect:

1/ Not going with a premium mount in the first place.
2/ Trying a DSLR before a mono CCD.

It's hard to know just how far one is going to want to go when starting out though.

If you feel sure you want to get into AP in a big way . . . the mount should be your first priority.
You should start thinking about how you are going to mount that 600mm and how you are going to guide it.


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Jon Rista
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/14

Loc: Colorado
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: gary-sue69]
      #6330786 - 01/23/14 02:05 PM

Quote:

if I recall correctly, you said you do not have a lot of time to do AP processing. Mallincam has 2 cameras you might be interested in. Mallincam extreme ex which takes live color video images that you can share online or at star parties. you can 'stack' those to create a photo. or Mallincam universe which is made for AP work but can be used for video as well.




Hmm, good point. I am honestly not sure whether to call the time I have a little, normal, or a lot. I figure I can spend a few hours a night once or twice a week on average doing astroimaging. Relative to the kind of time I used to have, that's a lot! However, relative to some of the astrophotographers I follow, who often seem to spend multiple nights imaging the same objects for grand total exposure times in the realm of 8, 12, 15 hours...on top of the travel time to get to and from their dark sky site, etc. It seems like I don't really have all that much time for astrophotography.

I suspect there will be a few times a year where I could spend several nights in a row imaging some selected DSO. I certainly hope so, at least, but in a weekly basis, maybe a few hours a night two nights a week.

Anyway, I'll check out Mallincam! Sounds a bit like planetary imaging with a webcam sensor? Does that work well for DSO imaging?


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Hilmi
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Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Dwight J]
      #6330790 - 01/23/14 02:06 PM

Two best known places are cloudynights classifieds and astromart. Both sites provide a rating system for sellers and that will give you the chance to learn from other peoples interactions with the seller.

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Chuckwagon
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Orem, Utah, USA
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330796 - 01/23/14 02:10 PM

Jon,

Glad to see you got plenty of responses to your questions. Now I'm going to suggest a course that diverges from much of what has been offered so far. I think, since you are leaning toward using your 600mm lens for the time being, that you should consider getting a ZEQ25GT mount for a starter. You can easily mount your camera and lens on one, and you can add a side-by-side mount to carry a guider setup, and still be under the weight limit for the mount. I'm using one with a 400mm 2.8 lens (12 lbs) and a side-by-side guider setup, and my total payload is 21 lbs.

The reason I make this suggestion is that it will work with your gear, is a much less expensive starting point, and is easily transported. And, most importantly, you can begin the learning curve of image acquisition and processing now, while continuing to save for your dream setup. The mount is inexpensive enough that when you are ready for your next step, you can either sell it or keep and not have too much loss, while gaining all the experience needed to better decide what you want most.

You may end up deciding you really want the ability to go deep, and will need a big scope and mount to do it, regardless of transportability. Or you may find you love staying on the lighter wider field end of things, and won't need to spend so much. Getting what is a comparatively modest mount now is sort of the baby steps approach. But I suspect you're gonna catch the bug even worse as you go, and you'll find yourself the owner of several mounts and OTA setups covering many possible scenarios.

Also, for you image acquisition, look at APT - Astro Photography Tool. It's excellent, and Ivo, the developer, is constantly working on adding features.

Have fun with your decision making, I'm sure you're getting plenty to consider.

Charles


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Hilmi
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Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6330799 - 01/23/14 02:12 PM

Quote:


No one in their right mind buys a Canon super for astro primarily




Hey, are you saying I'm a bit kuckoo? That's exactly what I did when I got the brand new 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM II.

I also did another review Dr. Samir comparing the TV60is with a Canon lens. The lens performed very well.


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Tonk
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Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330853 - 01/23/14 02:39 PM

Quote:

What you have learned in daylight will not help you. At all.




+1 This is an important hard truth about photography vs. astrophotography


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dawziecat
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330855 - 01/23/14 02:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:


No one in their right mind buys a Canon super for astro primarily








Oh, oh.

Sorry, Hilmi, but this is gonn'a hurt.

In Canon language, "The Super Telephotos" are:

1/ 300/f.8
2/ 400/4 DO
3/ 400/2.8
4/ 500/4
5/ 600/4
6/ 800/5.6

Let's not even "go there" with the legendary, oft talked about but very seldom seen, and long discontinued, 1200/5.6.

Zooms are not admitted to the "Canon Super" roster. The 300/2.8 is sometimes admitted to the Super Club as the baby. Sometimes it is slighted.

Source? EF Lenswork III "The Eyes of EOS," Canon Inc. Lens Product Group, 2003, pp. 68ff

The word "super" appears in the description of all the above lenses, except, the 300/2.8. These are the only lenses Canon themselves describe as "super."

Lenswork III is now available online although the page numbers do not agree with my print version.


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gary-sue69
sage
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Reged: 07/19/07

Loc: Maybee MI.
Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6330873 - 01/23/14 02:51 PM

I have been using a mallincam for 10 yrs. I started out with a mallincam hyper plus which could not be controlled by computer it had to be manually adjusted. the integration on all the new ones can be adjusted by computer. the mallincam works great for dso. It works well with planets and the sun. and it comes with free software to operate it. to see what it can do, go to night skies network online. most of the people on there use mallincams, but some use different kinds. it is free and you can see what they are viewing, plus if you login (free), you can ask questions about their equipment and experiences. it is a great place for information. you can shop for used astronomy equipment at cloudy nights (free) and astromart (small fee).

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6330884 - 01/23/14 02:58 PM

Cropping in Astrophotogaphy is from your system not being able to get more of the field. Typically, the problem is insufficient field and you are really trying to use the corners. Look at the sky. Look how big the moon looks. Imagine something 6 moon across as your subject (3°), and you'll see what I am getting at. This is why Astro Physics, TEC, and Tak astrographs are made to support detectors in the 90mm diagonal class- people are trying to get big, bright, fields of view.

Keep an open mind, and realize you will never, ever, feel like you have mastered astrophotography. Your only hope is to have photos you look at and realize what you should have done to get a better result, but other people will think look pretty nice.

-Rich


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orlyandico
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Re: Buying a telescope...how important is the mount? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6331235 - 01/23/14 06:50 PM

1) you can find a Mach1 or AP900 by putting a "want" ad in Astromart. You'll probably get a few responses within a week. Buy used, and you'll have no value loss if you have to sell out (there is a bit of value loss if you buy new and resell).

2) I know someone who owns a Mach1 and a ZEQ25. And the ZEQ25 gets far more sky time. This is because the Mach1, even though it's lighter than the CGEM or EQ6 class, is still quite large and bulky (30lb for the head, another 20lb for counterweights, plus a tripod...) compared to under 15lb for a ZEQ25 and tripod.

The CEM60 is.. interesting. The encoder version is $4000, IMHO not worth the savings over the tried-and-true Mach1. The non-encoder version is around $2500 and boasts CGE Pro-class performance. But it's too new and there are none floating about. It is also Chinese. That means depreciation will be huge if you resell. And, nothing against the Chinese, but the best astro gear doesn't come from China, whether telescopes or mounts.

I'm actually looking at the ZEQ25 myself.. because the Mach1 (for all it being the smallest AP mount) is still a handful - meaning setting it up is still a deliberate process that takes 30 minutes to an hour (not including the transport or driving time!)

Trouble is the Mach1's mechanical perfection has got me spoiled that I'm not sure I want another China mount. Something like the Takahashi P2Z would be perfect as a portable mount, except they are long discontinued.


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