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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6111727 - 10/01/13 06:51 PM

Quote:

Last night I tried 300 second unguided subs. I was using just the camera (no computer) and had it set to save files as jpg's. Not great, but pretty good for 5 unguided. The were taken with a 66mm WO APO so the fl was rather short. Stars were not perfect but now I can move on to try guiding with PHD.

Mike




Very nice.... I think we are ready to move on. Though, now that I am officially furloughed until who knows when, buying an auto guider will have to wait. Unguided for the time being for me.


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gramaglia
super member


Reged: 04/02/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Seanem44]
      #6111774 - 10/01/13 07:09 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

Sean I just took your single frame Jpeg and used a dynamic background extraction to eliminate most of the gradient. With more frames and in Fits or other more deeper file format you should be able to eliminate most if not all of your problem.

Great job on setting up your mount. awesome tracking for 3 minutes unguided

Edited by gramaglia (10/01/13 07:11 PM)


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boandpokey
sage
*****

Reged: 07/25/13

Loc: Auburndale, Fl
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: gramaglia]
      #6111928 - 10/01/13 08:41 PM

Tried again to align mount with polar scope but clouds intervened. So I got gps on set time. And since venus was clear decided to solar system align..... mount chose uranus and neptune... why is that?

Edited by boandpokey (10/01/13 08:50 PM)


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Ryuno
sage


Reged: 05/09/13

Loc: Tokyo
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: boandpokey]
      #6112028 - 10/01/13 09:39 PM

A question for the members who are doing visual observations with the ZEQ25.

I am intending to use the mount for visual with both the CN-212 (19lbs, 29in tube length) and the Mewlon 250 (27lbs, 29in tube length). Is this mount reasonably stable at higher magnifications? How much will I suffer from vibrations with these scopes? Asked in another way: Can I reasonably do visual observations with this combo?

Thanks
Heinz


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DesertCrawler
member
*****

Reged: 05/30/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Ryuno]
      #6112112 - 10/01/13 10:19 PM

Quote:

A question for the members who are doing visual observations with the ZEQ25.

I am intending to use the mount for visual with both the CN-212 (19lbs, 29in tube length) and the Mewlon 250 (27lbs, 29in tube length). Is this mount reasonably stable at higher magnifications? How much will I suffer from vibrations with these scopes? Asked in another way: Can I reasonably do visual observations with this combo?

Thanks
Heinz




I believe the answer to be yes.

Here is my setup. I have been using a C9.25 which weighs about 22.5 lbs with a complete visual chain including a Crayford focuser. Adding a barlow ups the weight some more. There is certainly vibration, but it is quite stable if the mount is tuned well. A Rigel focuser motor works well for a more hands off approach and that does reduce vibrations significantly during focusing. I am using the tripod with 1.5" legs but would prefer to have the 2" legs. I do not use any rubber pucks, just the tripod on concrete.

Before the mount was all dialed in, I had occasion to observe during light breeze. That wasn't much fun. Now that the mount is behaving correctly, I think even that situation would be tolerable. I am even taking a stab at some imaging.

Somewhat related, tapping one's toes while awaiting a sequence of DSLR exposures is not conducive to trail-free images, I found. Go figure.

I hope that helps.


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Ryuno
sage


Reged: 05/09/13

Loc: Tokyo
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: DesertCrawler]
      #6112150 - 10/01/13 10:38 PM

Quote:

I am using the tripod with 1.5" legs but would prefer to have the 2" legs.




Thanks for the reply. Why would you rather have the 2" legs? I am asking myself, where the weakest point is, in the joints of the mount itself or in the legs? if the former, then exchanging the legs wouldn't make much difference. I have just ordered a ZEQ for the Mewlon. I might be able to still change my order.

Heinz


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Bill McNeal
sage


Reged: 10/07/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Ryuno]
      #6112289 - 10/02/13 12:08 AM

Thanks for sharing the great pictures. Keep them coming!

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Shalamar
member


Reged: 07/21/08

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Bill McNeal]
      #6112322 - 10/02/13 12:33 AM

A couple months ago, I was in the market for an EQ mount, and after some reading, I bought a ZEQ. I haven't had much chance to use it, unfortunately, but I have managed a few pictures.

This was my very first attempt at Deep sky Astrophotgraphy.



Not a great picture. It's a 5 minute exposure on a Canon 60D. A test shot to see what I could do. I'm still trying to learn how to best align the mount, and a guide scope is in the planning. I've been reading the thread here, and I've since gotten better... I just need more clear skies..


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Bill McNeal
sage


Reged: 10/07/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Shalamar]
      #6112330 - 10/02/13 12:41 AM

Thanks for sharing Shalamar. Very nice first image.

Gramaglia, is your processing method the solution to imaging in LP skies? There's hope for us urbanites after all!


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Shalamar]
      #6112362 - 10/02/13 01:21 AM

Great first pic!

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gramaglia
super member


Reged: 04/02/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Bill McNeal]
      #6112376 - 10/02/13 01:36 AM

Bill, using background extra methods to clean gradients due to LP is a very good method to deal with LP. It will never substitute for dark skies. I live in Mexico in a city of 500k people about 500 yards from the city center, it might not be the LP of NYC or LA but worse than most suburbs of those cities.
The best line of defense against LP is narrowband ( perfect for all Nebulas).
Second is depending on the severity of your LP a broadband LP filter : from a mild Hutech or Orion imaging LP filter to a sharper one like the astronomiks CLS filter (which I prefer for my situation). That's pretty much needed to image galaxies that emit in a full spectrum. Along with the CLS filter if not interested in RGB or using an OSC or DSLR, I found the use of IR pass filters to be very useful in imaging galaxies.
Finally regardless of the method you choose to mitigate LP if in a severely light polluted area you will have some gradients in your images. I use pixinsight but most if not all decent image processing software have a similar feature.
In short for:
Nebulas I use narrow band filters, mostly in the format Ha-Oiii-34%ha+Oiii gives very similar color balance to RGB images.
For galaxies I use NIR - CLS - CLS that tend to provide color balances that deviate a lot from RGB but allows for much greater collection of details (longer exposures before saturation - specially in Near infrared)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/94707096@N07/
all the images on my flickr page were taken with a AT72ed with .8x reducer/flattener on ZEQ25 and a QHY22 camera
all 5 minutes subs except for core of Andromeda which was 60s. About 10-12 frames per filter. Most images need more exposures, I will add to them next year when they reappear.


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DesertCrawler
member
*****

Reged: 05/30/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Ryuno]
      #6112675 - 10/02/13 09:23 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I am using the tripod with 1.5" legs but would prefer to have the 2" legs.




Thanks for the reply. Why would you rather have the 2" legs? I am asking myself, where the weakest point is, in the joints of the mount itself or in the legs? if the former, then exchanging the legs wouldn't make much difference. I have just ordered a ZEQ for the Mewlon. I might be able to still change my order.

Heinz




That is a great question and I really do not have a rational answer. I suppose I reason that the 2" legs must be stiffer and if one is going to load the mount up to the maximum, stiffer legs are probably better.

If you are carrying your tripod around with you on your back, you may prefer to save the weight. I think you will be fine with the 1.5" legs if reduced package weight is your goal.

These are a few images from a night or two ago (cropped and scaled down so there is some loss) and represent my first serious attempt at taking imaging DSOs. The result is less than modest but here they are anyway.

The first is just a 20 second unguided shot.



The second is a handful of stacked images of varying duration, all lights, no flats or darks, with little or no real processing applied, and certainly no good processing. That's the next thing to learn.



I have a long way to go, these are just to prove to myself I could make the DSLR image sensor react to some photons and hopefully to show you that the 1.5" leg tripod can take images while bearing a hefty load.


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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: gramaglia]
      #6112717 - 10/02/13 09:43 AM

Quote:

Sean I just took your single frame Jpeg and used a dynamic background extraction to eliminate most of the gradient. With more frames and in Fits or other more deeper file format you should be able to eliminate most if not all of your problem.

Great job on setting up your mount. awesome tracking for 3 minutes unguided




Wow! Looks awesome. Enjoyed your write up too! Looks like its time to save for a narrowband. In my 17.72 skies I need it bad. Will 3 minute exposures be good to go with one? Is it that big a difference? Thanks.


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gramaglia
super member


Reged: 04/02/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seanem44]
      #6113233 - 10/02/13 02:10 PM

Caveat I have never used a DSLR for imaging or an OSC. Started with meade DSI Pro II(monochrome) to learn the ropes and then moved on to my current QHY22 (monochrome).

Sean from your profile shows that you one use a DSLR. It uses a bayer matrix therefore the use of narrowband filters while still useable will be severely limited. Only 1 pixel out of 4 will be a red pixel and if the camera is unmodded the red pixel (hydrogen alpha) will also be not too sensitive. I would personally think a broadband LP filter for imaging will work better. But most of all I would invest in a image processing software with a good gradient removal algorithm. These go from reasonably cheap like startools at around 60$ to 100's for professional ones. I never personally used startools, apparently very easy to learn to use and you can download a free trial period one.
Same with Pixinsight, the one I use, also as a free trial and you google harry's astronomy shed videos they will show you a step by step processing of an image with pixinsight. you can also look for madratter's excellent tutorial here on cloudynights.


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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: gramaglia]
      #6113245 - 10/02/13 02:14 PM

Quote:

Caveat I have never used a DSLR for imaging or an OSC. Started with meade DSI Pro II(monochrome) to learn the ropes and then moved on to my current QHY22 (monochrome).

Sean from your profile shows that you one use a DSLR. It uses a bayer matrix therefore the use of narrowband filters while still useable will be severely limited. Only 1 pixel out of 4 will be a red pixel and if the camera is unmodded the red pixel (hydrogen alpha) will also be not too sensitive. I would personally think a broadband LP filter for imaging will work better. But most of all I would invest in a image processing software with a good gradient removal algorithm. These go from reasonably cheap like startools at around 60$ to 100's for professional ones. I never personally used startools, apparently very easy to learn to use and you can download a free trial period one.
Same with Pixinsight, the one I use, also as a free trial and you google harry's astronomy shed videos they will show you a step by step processing of an image with pixinsight. you can also look for madratter's excellent tutorial here on cloudynights.




Yep. Unmodded D800. I'll see if I can pick up an Orion sky glow then.


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Ryuno
sage


Reged: 05/09/13

Loc: Tokyo
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seanem44]
      #6113347 - 10/02/13 03:15 PM

I am having difficulties with the GoTo function. I do the following: Menu - Select and Slew - Solar System - Jupiter. And nothing happens. Object other than Solar System are no problem.
Any ideas?

Heinz


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Ryuno
sage


Reged: 05/09/13

Loc: Tokyo
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: DesertCrawler]
      #6113355 - 10/02/13 03:17 PM

Thank you very much for the pictures. I guess it is time to try imaging myself.

Heinz


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Ryuno]
      #6113465 - 10/02/13 04:13 PM

Hines,

The only solar system objec5 I've tries is the Sun. That worked fine. As soon as I can get out again I'll try some planets.

Mike


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DesertCrawler
member
*****

Reged: 05/30/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Ryuno]
      #6113488 - 10/02/13 04:22 PM

Quote:

I am having difficulties with the GoTo function. I do the following: Menu - Select and Slew - Solar System - Jupiter. And nothing happens. Object other than Solar System are no problem.
Any ideas?

Heinz




If whatever you are attempting to slew to is below the horizon the mount simply does nothing. I would prefer some sort of feedback.

If the object is above the horizon and this is still happening, I would look at the setup options such as location, time of day, and time zone offset.


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boandpokey
sage
*****

Reged: 07/25/13

Loc: Auburndale, Fl
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: John Miele]
      #6113556 - 10/02/13 04:53 PM

Quote:

Hermie,

Here's a little bit more...

1. The knob that was loose on the spreader plate attachment rod had a set screw that just needed to be tightened. A couple turns and it's good to go.

2. I marked my tension adjuster knobs with permanent marker to help keep track of how much I turn it.

3. I followed Paul's excellent tutorial on marking the "zero" position of the mount. When I was done I noticed the CW shaft was not pointing straight down at all. So I loosened the three CW shaft set screws and rotated the shaft until it pointed straight down. This might not really matter but it looks more "right" so to speak...

Hope to get second light late tonight...

John




where is Pauls tutorial?? on the you tube videos?


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