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15 replies to this topic

#1 stargazerdood

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 10:56 PM

My wife and I are going to dabble in astrophotography. We have done this before on a limited scale with an Orion 8 in newt on a Skyview Pro piggyback and with a webcam for lunar and planetary imaging. For now I am interested in wide field imaging using a motor driven mount, guide scope, and a dslr. Were going to start with a used camera. We are getting a canon t3i. I plan on interfacing into a laptop with byeos. I'm going to purchase a LX70 and dual axis drive system. Not sure on the guide scope but am thinking along the lines of an Orion mini 50mm with an illuminated reticle. If anyone has a similar setup I would love to see pics of how the camera and guide scope are attached to the mount. I think I may make something out of wood. Suggestions on the mounting and a guide scope, or just the plan in general are appreciated. Thanks in advance.



#2 fewayne

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:49 PM

Why an illuminated reticle? If you're using computer support anyway, why not put a camera on the 50mm, and autoguide? (Heck, you might be able to repurpose your old imaging webcam.)

 

Does your 8" newt have a finderscope shoe? The Orion Mini comes with a mount that slots into one (at least mine did). You could always pull the guiding camera and slap in an eyepiece if you wanted to use the 50 as a visual finder.



#3 stargazerdood

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:24 PM

I had some health issues so I had to sell the orion. This setup will only have the drive motors and hand controller with no st4 port. I dont mind manual guiding to start with. Eventually I will have a full computerized scope.



#4 Patrick

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 11:40 PM

I had some health issues so I had to sell the orion. This setup will only have the drive motors and hand controller with no st4 port. I dont mind manual guiding to start with. Eventually I will have a full computerized scope.

What are you using for a telescope?

 

Patrick



#5 stargazerdood

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 10:58 AM

Patrick, thanks for the reply. For now I am not using a telescope. I'm just going to do some wide angle photography. This fall I plan on purchasing a small mak-cas or refractor for ap. I would like to get a mount big enough to accomodate such in the future. I am on a budget so for now I am staying small. Once I get back in the groove and up to speed I will start purchasing some better higher end gear.



#6 fewayne

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 02:28 PM

You could probably cobble up something to mount the Mini 50 to the camera's hot shoe. Or you could look for a cheap used achromatic refractor (not something you'd photograph through!), mount that on the LX-70, and then mount your camera piggyback on that using 1/4-20 threaded holes in the mounting rings. The refractor would be your guidescope.

 

Alternatively, you could get something like an iOptron SkyTracker camera mount, which would let you start photographing right away, for around the same outlay as the LX-70 (but without needing a guidescope or clock drive add-on). And for wide-angle work up to maybe 200mm, those are plenty good enough. I'm an iOptron fanboi but there are other excellent makes.

 

The advantage to using the LX-70 is that you can eventually hang a telescope on it, but if you're going to be shooting with a DSLR, I suspect that mount's weight limit will frustrate you (rule of thumb is to halve the mfr's weight claim for astrophotography).



#7 stargazerdood

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:03 PM

Fewayne, thanks for the reply. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the LX70 and dual axis drive and plan on doing what you have suggested. I'm going to get a smallish refractor and use it as a guidescope. I figure this setup will get me using the software and learning processing. Ive been looking at the camera mounts and I about went that route but figured with the lx70 I can also just set it up and observe with a small sct or mak. I plan on slowly expanding my kit and am going to learn more about the photography. Does your iOptron SkyTracker get a regular workout? M ymain thing for now is portability. I'm staying small for now and the LX70 can serve multiple purposes. The skytrackers look pretty cool and the entry investment isn't that large. How well do they work as far as the tracking? Accurate? Gear sure has changed lol.



#8 stargazerdood

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:05 PM

Fewayne I think I got the answer. The little skytracker seems to be an amazing piece of kit.



#9 bobzeq25

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 10:07 PM

Fewayne I think I got the answer. The little skytracker seems to be an amazing piece of kit.

Yes, it is.  I have a big setup, still use my Skytracker V2 sometimes.  It's a really great way to get into this hobby.  There's a lot to learn.

 

I do suggest you get the new Pro model, a significant improvement.

 

This book will really help, even if you don't use every part of it immediately.

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470906



#10 stargazerdood

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 10:56 PM


This book will really help, even if you don't use every part of it immediately.

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470906

Thanks! I always like to expand my library. SO much to learn over.



#11 fewayne

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:20 PM

I teach Ski Patrol trauma care, one of my former students (now an instructor himself) likes to tell the tale of when he was a student, overwhelmed by the curriculum (it's a 1300-page textbook). He muttered to me "Geez, how long does it take before you feel like you've 'got' this?" As a (then) 30-year Patroller, I answered simply "Well, I'll let you know."

 

I don't own a SkyTracker -- my friend the Finn does, and I've borrowed it from time to time. When the time came, I decided to leapfrog to a CEM25P instead, and have never regretted that. Not nearly as portable, but WAY easier to get pointed at my target, and a lot more capable. I'm still nowhere near skilled enough to plumb even the full capabilities of a SkyTracker, but...I'll let you know.



#12 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 03:55 AM

IMHO when somebody starts off in astrophotography it's important to have nice successes early. For DSOs the way to assure early success is to use fast camera lenses, NO autoguiding, no scopes. I suspect that the OP and partner already dabble in daytime photography and already own some camera lenses. Look at the budget available and buy the longest prime lens (not zoom) that is f2.8 or faster that you have wished for in your daytime photography. An excellent start could be a 200mm f2.8. Or a 100mm f2.8 macro USM (if you are a Canon fan). These lenses give decent stars even on a full 35mm format camera, wide open. Take 100 subexposures of one-minute each, unguided. Discard the frames showing trailing and stack the rest. Satisfaction guaranteed. Shoot lunar/planetary videos using the Newt and learn how to process those. Again, satisfaction guaranteed. Trying to start off with too-long focal lengths at slow f-ratios (e.g. a small scope working at f6 or so) requires autoguiding even on a $10k mount. A needlessly frustrating launch...


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#13 fewayne

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Posted 24 July 2018 - 10:41 AM

IMHO when somebody starts off in astrophotography it's important to have nice successes early. For DSOs the way to assure early success is to use fast camera lenses, NO autoguiding, no scopes.

 

[...]

 

Discard the frames showing trailing and stack the rest. Satisfaction guaranteed.

I heartily concur with this overall approach. Just to be clear (esp. for the OP), you are assuming a tracker or EQ mount of some sort, right? Because 1 minute at 100mm untracked and discard all the frames showing trailing would leave, let's see, nothin' from nothin', times nothin', carry the nothin'...zero frames for stacking. :-)

 

That setup will leave plenty of cash in the bank vs. going for a scope, autoguiding, and the like right away, and will give you plenty of good data for learning processing. Taking the frames is only half the battle.

 

That's not a metaphor, that's an estimate: Seriously, that's about how much of our learning time most of us spend on imaging vs. processing. (So far. I'll let you know.)



#14 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 03:45 AM

Correct. I assumed some kind of tracking mount wink.gif  However, all is not lost. You can start dabbling without a tracking mount. With very wide lenses one can even start with plonking the DSLR on the ground:

48722031.jpg

 

 

Or get a bit more technical using a fixed tripod:

48728836.jpg

 

Step-by-step instructions here.



#15 markm75c

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 01:02 PM

IMHO when somebody starts off in astrophotography it's important to have nice successes early. For DSOs the way to assure early success is to use fast camera lenses, NO autoguiding, no scopes. I suspect that the OP and partner already dabble in daytime photography and already own some camera lenses. Look at the budget available and buy the longest prime lens (not zoom) that is f2.8 or faster that you have wished for in your daytime photography. An excellent start could be a 200mm f2.8. Or a 100mm f2.8 macro USM (if you are a Canon fan). These lenses give decent stars even on a full 35mm format camera, wide open. Take 100 subexposures of one-minute each, unguided. Discard the frames showing trailing and stack the rest. Satisfaction guaranteed. Shoot lunar/planetary videos using the Newt and learn how to process those. Again, satisfaction guaranteed. Trying to start off with too-long focal lengths at slow f-ratios (e.g. a small scope working at f6 or so) requires autoguiding even on a $10k mount. A needlessly frustrating launch...

Trying not to hijack but this is a similar search im doing for myself.. same type of question.. in my case a 6D canon coming.. seeking a few lenses to take deep shots of things like starfields, nebulae etc  I have a 8se scope and alt/az for now, but plan on getting an EQ mount (avx) later.. im confused if you piggy back the scope and can get nebulae shots or t-ring into the f/10 but use a reducer to f/6.3 etc.. i also have a 9x50 finderscope that could prove useful.. I may get an 80mm refractor later, but for now i'm just trying to finalize lenses to get going (i have a 14mm rokino f2.8 coming for tripod milkway shots).  This might help the OP as well.

 

I'm gathering from this that a 200mm lens (economical less expensive?) would do the trick, but in what arrangement.  I may be limited to 60 second exposures for now on the alt/az or multiple ones i guess (needed anyway, i think, ? still a newbie in that regard).


Edited by markm75c, 30 July 2018 - 01:02 PM.


#16 Samir Kharusi

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 04:56 AM

Frankly in these days of excellent phone cameras, we are left with using the DSLRs only for those super special shots that we may end up printing big. Consequently I have given up the use of zooms on interchangeable-lens DSLRs altogether. Primes invariably deliver better prints, be it daytime or night time astro images. Hence my lens kit goes a factor 2x between primes: 14mm, 28mm, 50mm, 100mm, 200mm, 400mm. Beyond 400mm it is far more cost effective to use mirror scopes. For astrophotos you often waste money by purchasing fast, short lenses. You will normally find that for star fields you have to close down the lens, and to the same f-stop that a slower, cheaper lens from the same brand requires. E.g. both the Canon 28mm/1.8 and the Canon 28mm/2.8 have to be closed down to f5.6 for decent starfields and both the 50mm/1.4 and the 50mm/1.8 have to be closed down to f4. Hence your lens package can end up quite reasonably priced and still deliver images superior to any zoom. Regret to inform you that an alt-az mount is a recipe for endless frustration, even with a wedge. The sooner you switch to a GEM the quicker your satisfaction. Alt-az can work reasonably well in accomplished hands using 30 sec subs, i.e. at f2. This is Hyperstar territory.




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