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Simple, low (or no) cost camera mount...

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12 replies to this topic

#1 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 09:56 AM

I'm going to start imaging using just the camera and it's own (75mm-300mm) lens for the time being. given that it offers a wider FOV than my scope, it will be more forgiving of errors while learn AP. But I needed to figure out a way to mount my DSLR Canon 30D camera and lens to my scope. 

 

I wanted something that would allow me to easily mount and remove the camera and I was going to buy a dovetail saddle and bar, but I'm cheap, yet creative.

 

I already had a spare finderscope shoe, and I thought since the camera and lens isn't as large nor as heavy as my scope, it should work as a mount. So I attached the finderscope shoe to the handle of my AR102. 

 

Then I found a scrap steel bar at work that almost fit into the finderscope shoe. It was the perfect width and thickness, but I needed to use a bench grinder and angle the sides so it would slide in and out of the finderscope shoe. Mission accomplished.

 

camera-mount.jpg

 

But then I had to find a way to mount the camera to the steel bar. Easy enough to do as the camera body has a 1/4-20 threaded mounting hole. I drilled the hole with a countersink so the screw sits flush underneath. 

 

I still had the issue of keeping the camera lined up square to the scope without the weight of the lens making the camera get misaligned during slews or odd angles. I initially thought I'd need scope rings to align the camera, but with the lens giving me a much wider FOV than the scope, I didn't need that kind of precision alignment. So I cut a piece of scrap PVC to fit under the lens as a cradle and then mounted it to the steel bar from underneath. 

 

camera-dovetail.jpg

 

camera-dovetail-side.jpg

 

Below you can see how I mounted the finderscope shoe to the handle of my AR102 with the camera sitting next to the scope, and then the camera easily mounted into the dovetail. Holds perfect and allows me to easily mount it and remove it. And it cost me nothing but a little time (like less than a half hour total). 

 

scope-camera-shoe.jpg

 

camera-on-scope.jpg


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 16 March 2017 - 10:00 AM.

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#2 thompeters65

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:40 AM

Nice!!
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#3 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:46 AM

Nice!!

Thanks. I just wanted to share it so others who might be trying to figure out a way to mount their cameras, but don't want to spend even more money on an already expensive hobby! ;) That, and I'm cheap. :D


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#4 thompeters65

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:02 PM

What do you think of your Bresser EXOS-2GT mount? I just bought one and the weather has been so crappy I have not had a chance to use it yet!



#5 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:33 PM

What do you think of your Bresser EXOS-2GT mount? I just bought one and the weather has been so crappy I have not had a chance to use it yet!

I really haven't had much of a chance to use mine either. The snow was gone, the mud in the yard was drying out, but still miserably cold. Last night we had more snow. Still waiting on warmer temps and a clear yard and skies! But I love the mount. Solid, reliably accurate GoTo and tracking from what I can tell visually for the few short times I've used it. Haven't had the chance for AP with it yet, but I like it a lot and I'm anxious to get it out regularly. 



#6 halx

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:16 PM

Well done! Every amateur astronomer should possess or at least have access to some basic metal working tools.
Do you think the PVC support is really helping with anything? Usually, if the lens needs such a support it has a tripod mount somewhere in the middle. An artificial support may actually interfere with the natural "self-alignment" of the lens and camera body.



#7 thompeters65

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 06:48 AM

Mark, I see WI weather isn't much different than here in west MI!! The Permacloud has been with us for months. And our yards seem very much the same. :O The reviews I read all give the mount at least a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I will be using my auto guider and PHD2. Also I'll be using my Canon 6D and 100-400 zoom for imaging. I'm still saving up for a 8" reflector. :))

#8 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 02:40 PM

Well done! Every amateur astronomer should possess or at least have access to some basic metal working tools.
Do you think the PVC support is really helping with anything? Usually, if the lens needs such a support it has a tripod mount somewhere in the middle. An artificial support may actually interfere with the natural "self-alignment" of the lens and camera body.

The camera and lens is only attached to the dovetail bar at the far end, into the 1/4-20 camera body itself and nowhere else. Even when the 1/4-20 bolt is tight, because the lens is long when extended, when the mount is at odd angles, the weight of the lens can make it move from alignment. The only thing the PVC cradle is doing is keeping the camera and lens from moving from side to side, and not really being used as a support for the lens at all. It happens to fit snug to the lens because it's the same diameter, but it's not attached to it. 

 

It's a long zoom lens, not a long fixed telephoto camera lens so there is no other attachment. The sliding part of the zoom lens is still free to zoom in or out. It just can't move side to side now, not matter how the mount/scope it's attached to is oriented. 


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 18 March 2017 - 02:42 PM.


#9 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 02:51 PM

Mark, I see WI weather isn't much different than here in west MI!! The Permacloud has been with us for months. And our yards seem very much the same. :O The reviews I read all give the mount at least a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I will be using my auto guider and PHD2. Also I'll be using my Canon 6D and 100-400 zoom for imaging. I'm still saving up for a 8" reflector. smile.gif)

Yes, this winter has been long. Lots of snow, and as is typical, when the weather is warm enough to want to take my scope out, that of course means it's cloudy (trapping the heat) and usually some more snow involved. And when it's nice and clear out, that means only one thing, it is bitter cold. Some people don't mind the cold, but I do this for enjoyment, and freezing outside in the dark is not my idea of fun. 

 

Beginning of March offered me some hope...warmer temps, a bit of rain melted almost all the snow and with the thaw, my muddy yard started drying out. Made me happy, until we got hit with more snow and freezing temps again. March 18th today and we're to have a high of 32 today...in the teens tonight and even if it were warm enough the snow in my yard doesn't give me anywhere to put my scope anyway. 

 

The EXOS-2GT is almost the same mount as the LXD75 and many have used it for shorter exposure imaging. I'd imagine using the ST-4 port and guiding would increase exposure times. I'll just be using my camera and lens for now and even when using my scope at prime focus, I'll still be starting out with 30-60 second, unguided exposures. I'm just learning this, so I'm in no rush. Except to get my scope outdoors that is!!! 


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 18 March 2017 - 03:56 PM.

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#10 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:19 AM

My experience has been that any mount will track noticeably better with a lighter load. Personally I would be tempted to remove the telescope and its clamps, drill a counter-sunk hole in the bottom plate for the 1/4" screw to hold the camera directly onto the mount (perhaps cradle too). Something to keep in mind if you find the length of your subs too limited.



#11 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:36 AM

My experience has been that any mount will track noticeably better with a lighter load. Personally I would be tempted to remove the telescope and its clamps, drill a counter-sunk hole in the bottom plate for the 1/4" screw to hold the camera directly onto the mount (perhaps cradle too). Something to keep in mind if you find the length of your subs too limited.

Yes there will be times I might just mount the camera by itself. However I also want to use my scope visually, perhaps even while imaging with the camera (of course not actually touching the scope while imaging...just looking through the EP). But I also will use the scope and camera at prime focus, so for most of the time the scope and camera will be in use together. 



#12 szg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:34 AM

I use Arca Swiss DSLR accessories for my DSLR lens & for piggy back setup. Many cheap and reliable manufacturer form China and some how flexible than Vixen dovetail.


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#13 dmcnally

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:11 PM

Nice job.  I used to have a 170-500mm zoom lens.  The lens came with a collar that had a 1/4-20 bolt hole in the bottom that I could mount to a dovetail bar.

 

collar-2.jpg

 

It's similar to this, which you can buy on eBay for ~$10.

 

collar.jpg

 

The collars on eBay have different inside diameters, so anybody buying one needs to make sure they get the correct size.

 

Dave

 


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