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What Is Your Best And Worst Purchases For Astrophotography?

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175 replies to this topic

#1 lynnelkriver

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:37 PM

I'm recently retired and have more time for things.... I'm curious what your best and worst purchases are for astrophotography?  So much to choose from.... telescopes, cameras, filters, software, barlows, autofocus, software, powered usb hubs.......and more!

 

Here is my situation:  Fortunate to have recently upgraded with new mount (Mach1), CMOS camera (ASI294MC), and scope (C9.25 Edge HD) all on a JMI wheely so I can wheel it out of my garage to the outside.

 

My answer is:........ (drum roll please)...    Best investment: It's a tie between the new mount (Mach1, absolutely love it), and the JMI wheely bar (without it I doubt I'd be getting the equipment out much in cold Minnesota).  Worst investment:  Why did I buy the Mars filter?  No clue!

 

What are yours?  Scott

 

 


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#2 Gipht

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:55 PM

Well the worst for me was my first mount which was an economy mount.  My best for the money was likely the guide camera and guide scope which really opened up the longer exposures.



#3 Hubbletrouble

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:57 PM

Polemaster.....no doubt...best money spent on Astro gear. Getting a rock solid polar alignement has made the biggest difference in my imaging...


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#4 jgraham

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:09 PM

Having thought about it for a bit I'd have to say that my best investment was my Atlas mount. I use a wide variety of cameras and scopes, but the one constant seems to be the mount.

 

I'm still pondering the worst. I can't recall any really bad investments (yet).

 

Further thought is necessary...


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#5 NorthField

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:17 PM

Easy... worst and best

Easy Grip iPhone Adapter ( ha!! )

Worst, cuz well, duh

Best, it was the last straw

#6 17.5Dob

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:20 PM

Best ?

#1: Orion Atlas mount, "It's all about the mount,'bout the mount..."
#2 Polemaster: Two minute PA

#3: iOptron SkyTracker mount. It's what got me "re-hooked" on AP 5 yrs ago and still get's used constantly to this day


Worst ?
Orion 8" f3.9 "Astrograph".... CN  terms of service will not let me post my true feelings about it.......


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#7 Erik30

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:37 PM

Best:   SkyTracker and the Polemaster.

Worst: Celestron C6R mounted on a CG5 and using a Meade DSI camera.....  



#8 Dynan

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:02 PM

Best Equipment: CGX mount (only really appreciated until after pier mounted)

Best: (Non Equipment) Nebulosity



#9 Todd N

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:05 AM

Best: Vixen GPDX mount(Huge leap in performance over standard low end mounts)

          Tau-Ceti X-Y finder(Great for positioning guide stars)

          Lumicon OIII visual filter

 

Worst: Cooled video astronomy camera which will go nameless(It works theoretically fine but I don't want to slam the company). I bought it thinking it would be an easier way to image but the images are poor resolution wise and the grabbed frames even worse.

 

Taurus-Tech Tracker III off axis guider. Despite it's virtues, the worse vignetting of any OAG/reducer I have tried.



#10 Gary Imm

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:18 AM

Best:  Polemaster.  

Worst:  Any of several high quality expensive reducers I have purchased for my refractors.  If you are passionate about pin-point stars, the wider faster field is not worth the compromised star integrity, at least for me.


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#11 rockstarbill

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:21 AM

Worst: CMOS Camera.

Best: CCD Camera.


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#12 rockstarbill

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:22 AM

Best:  Polemaster.  

Worst:  Any of several high quality expensive reducers I have purchased for my refractors.  If you are passionate about pin-point stars, the wider faster field is not worth the compromised star integrity, at least for me.

If the TOA-35 Reducer (based on your sig) did not produce, then you likely did something wrong with that TOA130. 



#13 ks__observer

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:45 AM

Worst: CMOS Camera.

Best: CCD Camera.

Why?



#14 rockstarbill

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:45 AM

Why?

Which? 



#15 mohitk

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:00 AM

Worst: CMOS Camera.

Best: CCD Camera.

I am thinking of getting into AP and am looking at CMOS cameras (currently ASI1600MM Pro for imaging). I would love to hear how bad CMOS cameras are compared to CCD cameras in your experience (worst to best can be a big chasm!). I haven't bought that equipment yet, so any information would be invaluable! Thank you so much!


Edited by mohitk, 24 January 2019 - 01:01 AM.


#16 rockstarbill

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:10 AM

I am thinking of getting into AP and am looking at CMOS cameras (currently ASI1600MM Pro for imaging). I would love to hear how bad CMOS cameras are compared to CCD cameras in your experience (worst to best can be a big chasm!). I haven't bought that equipment yet, so any information would be invaluable! Thank you so much!

The 1600 IMO is an abomination. Not because of anything ZWO did wrong or QHY did wrong, rather Panasonic refuses to coat that sensor. Now, you will have an army of people show up in this thread to call me names, call me a bad imager, and other things to try and counter my point, but hear me out:

 

1. I am not a bad imager. I dont think bad imagers have their images framed and hanging up at places like Astro-Physics.

2. I have watched this concept purported by people here, that the Panasonic camera only has issues on some rare images you take, be completely disproven in every single season of imaging.

3. While I completely agree it is cheap, I dont think peoples time is cheap.

4. You can buy a very good KAF-8300 camera these days, and if you buy a well made one (QSI, FLI) you will end up with a very good camera that will not show that same issue. The used market has been wrecked over this discourse, thus its a buyers FEAST at the moment.

 

The 1600 camera is nothing but baseless hype. It is a TERRIBLE camera, IMO. Others will surely show up to talk about how wrong I am, etc. etc.... I still disagree.

 

Now, if you want to be highly selective about what you image, and what is in your FOV -- you can make that sensor work for you. Dither your tail off though, because the coating is not the ONLY issue with that sensor, its the biggest. The headache of processing data from the 1600 is REAL. I hope the people I know have moved far away from that camera, to never return, will chime in and share their experiences. Those are the ones you actually want to hear from.


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#17 ks__observer

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:21 AM

When you say coat sensor, are you referring to the microlens issue?



#18 rockstarbill

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:27 AM

When you say coat sensor, are you referring to the microlens issue?

As one knock against it, with many more... yes.



#19 ks__observer

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:30 AM

I love my ASI-1600 smile.gif


Edited by ks__observer, 24 January 2019 - 01:31 AM.

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#20 rockstarbill

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:41 AM

I love my ASI-1600 smile.gif

I love my FLI ML16200, QSI583, and QSI6120. 


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#21 ChrisWhite

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 07:12 AM

Best ?

#1: Orion Atlas mount, "It's all about the mount,'bout the mount..."
#2 Polemaster: Two minute PA
#3: iOptron SkyTracker mount. It's what got me "re-hooked" on AP 5 yrs ago and still get's used constantly to this day


Worst ?
Orion 8" f3.9 "Astrograph".... CN terms of service will not let me post my true feelings about it.......


I really wish your newt experience had not been with that Orion.... as now you seem to hate newts. Its like saying that refractors suck because you used an ST80. Now, I can see where you are coming from in this thread, but I think your newt issues were compounded by your scope also being a lemon. No offence intended Dave.

My best purchases: ONTC Newt, QSI 6120 and CEM60.

My worst: ASI 1600, WO 71, Star Adventurer.
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#22 terry59

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 07:14 AM

The 1600 IMO is an abomination. Not because of anything ZWO did wrong or QHY did wrong, rather Panasonic refuses to coat that sensor. Now, you will have an army of people show up in this thread to call me names, call me a bad imager, and other things to try and counter my point, but hear me out:

 

1. I am not a bad imager. I dont think bad imagers have their images framed and hanging up at places like Astro-Physics.

2. I have watched this concept purported by people here, that the Panasonic camera only has issues on some rare images you take, be completely disproven in every single season of imaging.

3. While I completely agree it is cheap, I dont think peoples time is cheap.

4. You can buy a very good KAF-8300 camera these days, and if you buy a well made one (QSI, FLI) you will end up with a very good camera that will not show that same issue. The used market has been wrecked over this discourse, thus its a buyers FEAST at the moment.

 

The 1600 camera is nothing but baseless hype. It is a TERRIBLE camera, IMO. Others will surely show up to talk about how wrong I am, etc. etc.... I still disagree.

 

Now, if you want to be highly selective about what you image, and what is in your FOV -- you can make that sensor work for you. Dither your tail off though, because the coating is not the ONLY issue with that sensor, its the biggest. The headache of processing data from the 1600 is REAL. I hope the people I know have moved far away from that camera, to never return, will chime in and share their experiences. Those are the ones you actually want to hear from.

Bill is spot on. Cloudy Nights serves as an echo chamber where the most garrulous are not the people one wants to listen to

 

I enjoy processing data people put up here and find repeatedly that the 1600 data is 'muddy' and the resulting image less inspiring than CCD data

 

grin.gif


Edited by terry59, 24 January 2019 - 07:16 AM.

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#23 ChrisWhite

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 07:17 AM

Bill is spot on. Cloudy Nights serves as an echo chamber where the most garrulous are not the people one wants to listen to

I enjoy processing data people put up here and find repeatedly that the 1600 data is 'muddy' and the resulting image less inspiring than CCD data

grin.gif


+1
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#24 Gary Imm

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 10:52 AM

If the TOA-35 Reducer (based on your sig) did not produce, then you likely did something wrong with that TOA130. 

Bill - For my Tak-130, I have the less expensive ($710 vs. $1190) TOA/FS reducer.  It's not bad, just not worth the cost IMHO.

Perhaps I would be satisfied with the TOA-35 - I may give that a try.

 

Gary



#25 lynnelkriver

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 10:57 AM

Good to hear the feedback.  I'm early on into astrophotography and have much to learn and hope to get lots of mileage from the ASI294MC.... but after hearing the CCD/CMOS comparison (Thanks Rockstarbill, Terry and Chris) it has me thinking that when I'm ready to make further improvements to look seriously into CCD cameras.  I continue to be amazed at all the software and hardware advances in this hobby through the years!  Scott


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