Recently, while perusing the Mallincam web site, I happened on a video presentation given by Rod Mollise at the 2013 Almost Heaven Star Party. In that presentation, he made a passing reference to the CloudyNights forum, so, after watching the video, I did a Google search, ended up here, and decided to become a member.
I do not presently own, nor have I ever owned, a telescope. But, I have desired one for years. Actually, years and years would probably be more accurate. But, work, a plethora of other hobbies ... eg. fly fishing, golf, writing, photography, with a few other odds and ends thrown in ... not to mention the time and financial constraints of doing justice to this whole astronomy thing the way I wanted to do it, meant it just wasn't in the stars for me. Excuse the pun, please. So, you might ask, what the heck was I doing on the Mallincam web site?
Well, the financial constraints were finally out of the picture ... in a limited sort of way ... so, I had decided it was time and had finally made the choice of scope, mount and accessories I was going to purchase. But, I hadn't completely decided on the camera I was going to purchase to use with the hyperstar system. Then, the whole video thing caught my attention.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the first post I happened unto here at CloudyNights was one by JJMack entitled "Why isn't the Edge HD 1100 the best thing for me?" Heck, I could have written that post! Right down to the budget, astrophotography, and accessories he wanted... except for one tiny detail: I wasn't looking for anyone to dissuade me from what I had chosen! I knew what I wanted. No question about it. Or, thought I did. But, of course, after reading the comments on his post I am now lost! Back at square one again!
I had almost made the order. Indeed, if the whole camera thing hadn't been still up in the air, I most likely would have. The Celestron 1100 EdgeHD with the CGEM DX mount seemed perfect. I was even more convinced after listening to the video by Eric, the product development manager for Celestron, filmed at the 2011 CES! After seeing that video, I can't believe that mount would be as totally unacceptable for astrophotography as most of the posters seem to suggest!
If you haven't already figured it out, I guess I should tell you that as far as this hobby is concerned, I am totally 'out in the sticks' or maybe boondocks would be a better word. Lots of dark skies ... no problem there ... but, no access to astronomy clubs, star parties, etc. All my info has to come from magazines, books, and the Internet. So, now I'm learning about mounts. And, boy, is it ever a learning experience! There definitely seems to be a pathetic lack of industry standards. The CGEM DX I intended to purchase is rated for 50 pounds ... and doing a rough calculation for what I would have on it ... minus the counterweights which I guess have to be added in ... puts it over 50 pounds ... not by much, but definitely over. So, how can a Celestron product development manager give the impression it would be a great system for astrophotography? Who in their right mind would overload it? Or, are those counterweights not taken into consideration?
Now, I have noticed that some posters on here seem to think an AP mount ... the gold standard of mounts? ... rated for 45 pounds could definitely be loaded beyond that amount. Other posters seem to agree with me that it would be folly to disregard any payload limit recommendations by manufacturers. But, then others seem to think that for the AP's they are only guidelines! What?! Heck, it seems a couple of posters would have resorted to fisticuffs on the matter if they had been within arms length of one another ... especially since one of the posters is a Meade owner and Meade seems to be held in low regard by some on here.
So, since I am definitely interested in astrophotography, I guess I have to keep saving until I can afford a mount with at least a 90+ pound rating. And, even then hope it actually means 90 pounds and not closer to 1/3 or 2/3 of that amount. But, looking at some of the prices (old prices... new ones don't seem to be available yet) of the AP mounts, maybe I should take up golf again ... or check around and see if there are any synchronized swimming teams for old men. A few nose pieces, bathing caps, and swim trunks wouldn't cost much.
Seriously, though, this is tough slogging. I definitely want to photograph as well as view the celestial objects. I think I read a comment on here where someone said "why would I want to take an astrophoto of something that someone has already photographed before, anyway?" Wow! Amazing! If everyone thought that way about photography, there would be very few cameras. Who would go to the Grand Canyon or view the New York skyline for the first time and not want to take a photo? When I first took up photography, I had a darkroom and developed my own negatives ... both B&W and color ... and made my own prints. So, I'm old ... but, I have entered the digital age. I own a full frame Nikon D810 and a ASP-C (crop sensor) Nikon D300. And, I'm pretty good at Photoshop ... if I do say so myself. So, anything astrophotography might throw at me doesn't phase me in the slightest. The tougher the challenge, the better. But, I don't want to do it if, right up front, the equipment puts me at a disadvantage. So, I guess my quest begins for the very best ... yet cheapest ... GoTo mount to allow me to achieve my dream with that Celestron 1100 Edge HD. Any suggestions? By the way, I'd like to use both the D810 and the D300 to make some of those images, but also purchase a CCD camera for the Hyperstar as well.
I apologize for the length of this post. Next one will be shorter ... I hope.
I decided to post this here. But, perhaps it should be in the equipment forum. Under Mounts. What do you think?
Anyway, hello ... and thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide.
Edited by BeltofOrion, 11 January 2016 - 09:56 PM.