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I need a scope recommendation

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33 replies to this topic

#26 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:43 AM

Back to the original question about an OTA that covers FF. I would always suggest a non-zoom camera lens at the longest focal length that is useful to you in your daytime interests. Larger/longer than that go to mirror scopes. E.g. the Celestron Edge HD series. They bring in their own headaches as regards tracking (because of very long focal lengths) but for the price of a Tak or an AP refractor you can purchase even a a C11 or a C14 Edge HD! Throw in a Hyperstar and enjoy 675mm focal length at f1.9. Bonus: excellent visual scopes, excellent OTAs for planetary imaging. Hence my suggestion: prime camera lenses up to the limit of your daytime interests, thereafter go mirror.



#27 droe

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:41 PM

My vote would be the Explore Scientific 102 mm ED Essential Refractor. Its a great all-round scope and could be a nice visual scope too.



#28 bobzeq25

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:37 AM

As all too common people here, people are suggesting the best scope for an experienced imager.  What someone "trying to get into astrophotography" needs is quite different.

 

Samir is an idol of mine, yet the idea of recommending Hyperstar to anyone as a first AP scope boggles the mind.  A beginner has enough to worry about without dealing with that.  The fact that he said his budget was $1000 is almost irrelevant.

 

Someone else recommends an 8 inch F3.9 Newtonian.  Here's what a seller of the similar Skywatcher 8 inch F4 Quattro says.

 

"NB: Fast Newtonians are best suited to experienced astronomers. They require precise collimation and a Coma Corrector to reach their full potential. If you are unsure whether one will suit your requirements please contact us before placing an order smiley"

 

https://www.firstlig...-newtonian.html

 

This issue has been discussed many many times, there's a host of experience here to draw upon, and there are expert books on the subject.  It's all pretty consistent.  What someone trying to get into astrophotography needs is a short refractor.   Lighter, shorter, faster, are all virtues.

 

Here's Craig Starks recommendation for a first AP scope.  The style in which he says it shows he's been to this rodeo before.  <grin>

 

"As light as possible.

 

 

 

 

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

No, seriously."


Edited by bobzeq25, 20 March 2017 - 02:27 AM.


#29 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:42 AM

Hi! My recommendation was

" I would always suggest a non-zoom camera lens at the longest focal length that is useful to you in your daytime interests." 

The C11/C14 Hyperstar was just a counter to Tak or AP refractors...

e.g. a Nikon 180mm f2.8 that will certainly beat any astro scope at $1000 on FF


Edited by Samir Kharusi, 20 March 2017 - 10:48 AM.

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#30 nathang123

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:47 AM

As all too common people here, people are suggesting the best scope for an experienced imager.  What someone "trying to get into astrophotography" needs is quite different.

 

Samir is an idol of mine, yet the idea of recommending Hyperstar to anyone as a first AP scope boggles the mind.  A beginner has enough to worry about without dealing with that.  The fact that he said his budget was $1000 is almost irrelevant.

 

Someone else recommends an 8 inch F3.9 Newtonian.  Here's what a seller of the similar Skywatcher 8 inch F4 Quattro says.

 

"NB: Fast Newtonians are best suited to experienced astronomers. They require precise collimation and a Coma Corrector to reach their full potential. If you are unsure whether one will suit your requirements please contact us before placing an order smiley"

 

https://www.firstlig...-newtonian.html

 

This issue has been discussed many many times, there's a host of experience here to draw upon, and there are expert books on the subject.  It's all pretty consistent.  What someone trying to get into astrophotography needs is a short refractor.   Lighter, shorter, faster, are all virtues.

 

Here's Craig Starks recommendation for a first AP scope.  The style in which he says it shows he's been to this rodeo before.  <grin>

 

"As light as possible.

 

 

 

 

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

No, seriously."

Really, I do understand your reasoning (hence my strongly caveated recommendation). Yours is a good recommendation to somebody who isn't familiar with much of anything when it comes to mechanics of gathering photons and has no equipment yet, or one who wants to stick with a small easy to transport mount & scope, etc. etc. But the OP can do this already: https://uploads.tapa...6d0fa936069.jpg He currently has a fairly massive EQ-G mount. As light as possible went out the window already, IMO, and he definitely knows what he's doing with a camera (i.e. he's pretty experienced at imaging). My assumption would be that using a slightly more complex mirror scope would not be a terribly steep learning curve for a guy already educated and equipped to produce what he has (whereas it might be for a guy that got a Canon Rebel to take pics of his dog and decided he wants to take a shot at stars, and I would consequently not recommend these things). I had a similar background and found nothing even slightly daunting about a simple collimation, even on the first day. Putting the <25 pounds of scope onto the same mount he purchased never seemed overwhelming. I've had FAR more troubles with light pollution and atmospheric conditions than any of the things we're yakking about right now.

To Samir's point, I totally agree. I find a small refractor to have a great deal of overlap with a prime telephoto DSLR lens, except it would not be at all reasonable to use the scope for terrestrial photography. A person with a $3300 (on release) camera body will quite often have such a thing (and typically of high quality, since 36 megapixels can make lenses that are close to average look absolutely terrible), and should have no trouble attaching it to an equatorial mount and taking decent shots at any time. They will also be able to do this with minimal vignetting. So if practicality and ease of use outweighs all other considerations for a beginner (as appears to be the opinions of the experts), that would be the prudent way to go instead of a tiny dedicated refractor. There are multiple lenses on B&H in the sub-$1k range (or perhaps in the OP's lens kit) that will compete very well with low aperture refractors and will continue to be useful during the day.

In any case, we aren't talking about a high quality 140mm APO here... if reaching farther than a telephoto lens, desiring good optical performance, and working within a lower budget (i.e. ruling out nice APOs), it's perfectly reasonable to skip straight to a scope with mirrors. I don't understand why people try to reject this out of hand as some ridiculous recommendation (and it's even harder for me to understand given my own experience with 80mm refractors vs. similarly priced reflectors). It's not remotely ridiculous, so long as the purchaser understands the implications of that jump before they make a purchase that overwhelms them. Everyone is different... let's inform the OP as to what he may be getting into with each option, but please don't act like people are crazy because they have a slightly different bar for what is "reasonable" or "easy". Once he is adequately informed, he can weigh the pros and cons as the pertain to him.



#31 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 02:21 AM

 

As all too common people here, people are suggesting the best scope for an experienced imager.  What someone "trying to get into astrophotography" needs is quite different.

 

Samir is an idol of mine, yet the idea of recommending Hyperstar to anyone as a first AP scope boggles the mind.  A beginner has enough to worry about without dealing with that.  The fact that he said his budget was $1000 is almost irrelevant.

 

Someone else recommends an 8 inch F3.9 Newtonian.  Here's what a seller of the similar Skywatcher 8 inch F4 Quattro says.

 

"NB: Fast Newtonians are best suited to experienced astronomers. They require precise collimation and a Coma Corrector to reach their full potential. If you are unsure whether one will suit your requirements please contact us before placing an order smiley"

 

https://www.firstlig...-newtonian.html

 

This issue has been discussed many many times, there's a host of experience here to draw upon, and there are expert books on the subject.  It's all pretty consistent.  What someone trying to get into astrophotography needs is a short refractor.   Lighter, shorter, faster, are all virtues.

 

Here's Craig Starks recommendation for a first AP scope.  The style in which he says it shows he's been to this rodeo before.  <grin>

 

"As light as possible.

 

 

 

 

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

No, seriously."

Really, I do understand your reasoning (hence my strongly caveated recommendation). Yours is a good recommendation to somebody who isn't familiar with much of anything when it comes to mechanics of gathering photons and has no equipment yet, or one who wants to stick with a small easy to transport mount & scope, etc. etc. But the OP can do this already: https://uploads.tapa...6d0fa936069.jpg He currently has a fairly massive EQ-G mount. As light as possible went out the window already, IMO, and he definitely knows what he's doing with a camera (i.e. he's pretty experienced at imaging). My assumption would be that using a slightly more complex mirror scope would not be a terribly steep learning curve for a guy already educated and equipped to produce what he has (whereas it might be for a guy that got a Canon Rebel to take pics of his dog and decided he wants to take a shot at stars, and I would consequently not recommend these things). I had a similar background and found nothing even slightly daunting about a simple collimation, even on the first day. Putting the <25 pounds of scope onto the same mount he purchased never seemed overwhelming. I've had FAR more troubles with light pollution and atmospheric conditions than any of the things we're yakking about right now.

To Samir's point, I totally agree. I find a small refractor to have a great deal of overlap with a prime telephoto DSLR lens, except it would not be at all reasonable to use the scope for terrestrial photography. A person with a $3300 (on release) camera body will quite often have such a thing (and typically of high quality, since 36 megapixels can make lenses that are close to average look absolutely terrible), and should have no trouble attaching it to an equatorial mount and taking decent shots at any time. They will also be able to do this with minimal vignetting. So if practicality and ease of use outweighs all other considerations for a beginner (as appears to be the opinions of the experts), that would be the prudent way to go instead of a tiny dedicated refractor. There are multiple lenses on B&H in the sub-$1k range (or perhaps in the OP's lens kit) that will compete very well with low aperture refractors and will continue to be useful during the day.

In any case, we aren't talking about a high quality 140mm APO here... if reaching farther than a telephoto lens, desiring good optical performance, and working within a lower budget (i.e. ruling out nice APOs), it's perfectly reasonable to skip straight to a scope with mirrors. I don't understand why people try to reject this out of hand as some ridiculous recommendation (and it's even harder for me to understand given my own experience with 80mm refractors vs. similarly priced reflectors). It's not remotely ridiculous, so long as the purchaser understands the implications of that jump before they make a purchase that overwhelms them. Everyone is different... let's inform the OP as to what he may be getting into with each option, but please don't act like people are crazy because they have a slightly different bar for what is "reasonable" or "easy". Once he is adequately informed, he can weigh the pros and cons as the pertain to him.

 

To me, the issue is not which scope is better, but which is better for learning AP.  I'd say the first year is all about learning.  It's not my personal judgment that's driving my posts, I'm simply relaying the experience of a long line of people who've tried this and the recommendations of a long line of experts. 

 

If the OP goes with a lighter shorter smaller scope, I believe it's highly likely that:

 

He'll have more fun.  Make better images.  And, most of all, learn the complicated art of AP faster. 


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 March 2017 - 03:25 AM.


#32 nathang123

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:33 PM

To me, the issue is not which scope is better, but which is better for learning AP.  I'd say the first year is all about learning.  It's not my personal judgment that's driving my posts, I'm simply relaying the experience of a long line of people who've tried this and the recommendations of a long line of experts. 

 

 

If the OP goes with a lighter shorter smaller scope, I believe it's highly likely that:

 

He'll have more fun.  Make better images.  And, most of all, learn the complicated art of AP faster. 

 

I know that's your position... but to address my point, why not a 300 mm f/4 prime telephoto (or something similar) instead? Physically small, faster, optically similar (sharpness) and almost no vignetting in comparison, probably as light, within price range, and just tons more utility. I'm VERY hung up on the similarity between telephoto lenses and low end refractors when dealing with a full frame DSLR body. I simply do not see the justification for purchasing a dedicated small refractor, since he's not going to be working with a smaller CCD sensor area or worrying about eyepieces. I really think that people may be guiding him to a choice that doesn't really make sense, given his parameters. What am I missing?



#33 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:45 PM

 

To me, the issue is not which scope is better, but which is better for learning AP.  I'd say the first year is all about learning.  It's not my personal judgment that's driving my posts, I'm simply relaying the experience of a long line of people who've tried this and the recommendations of a long line of experts. 

 

 

If the OP goes with a lighter shorter smaller scope, I believe it's highly likely that:

 

He'll have more fun.  Make better images.  And, most of all, learn the complicated art of AP faster. 

 

I know that's your position... but to address my point, why not a 300 mm f/4 prime telephoto (or something similar) instead? Physically small, faster, optically similar (sharpness) and almost no vignetting in comparison, probably as light, within price range, and just tons more utility. I'm VERY hung up on the similarity between telephoto lenses and low end refractors when dealing with a full frame DSLR body. I simply do not see the justification for purchasing a dedicated small refractor, since he's not going to be working with a smaller CCD sensor area or worrying about eyepieces. I really think that people may be guiding him to a choice that doesn't really make sense, given his parameters. What am I missing?

 

Not much missing there.  I frequently recommend people start with a camera lens.

 

I did, however consider one when I bought my Stellarvue SV70T.  335mm reduced.  Decided that the Stellarvue was a better choice for me than a Nikon 300mm F4 telephoto.  With my chips, APS-C and a smaller CCD, I thought I'd get better stars, based on my experiences with telephotos and lateral chromatic aberration.  Based on my results, I think I was right.

 

But, since the OP already has the 300mm F4, and a full frame, that looks like the better way to go for him as a learning tool.  Second choice would be the small refractor.  We're doomed to disagree on whether or not it "makes sense".


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 March 2017 - 01:50 PM.


#34 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:34 AM

The pity is that most people beginning in astrophotography tend to think of scopes as an essential, even if they are birders and already have enormous teles in their daytime kits. I always try to point them to this page. Nice bonus from camera lenses is that subs can be quite short (1 minute at f2.8, or 2 minutes at f4) and one does not have to delve into autoguiding so early in the game, a major jump up in complication.


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