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Please advice entry level ED APO to get started with AP

astrophotography imaging optics refractor equipment
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#1 orionbay

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:41 PM

Hi! I want to get started with DSO AP and want to get a small scope (~80mm aperture and ~400mm total length). It would be nice to be able to take in on a plane in a backpack, and also to use it as a ultra long camera lens for terrestrial viewing (eg birds and far distant objects).

I have a very limited experience with telescopes in general, I got a 8" SCT a month ago. I'm at a very beginner level and have never seen a refractor.

Because I'm very new to this hobby, I'm not ready to spend a lot of money on it. I expect to fit under $950 including 0.8 FR.

After doing some research, I limited my search to just 3 options (though other options welcome):

  • FCD1 Explore Scientific ED80: on sale for $584, with a FR will be $709. Has a cheaper FCD1 glass that I'm very concerned will upset me and deliver bad photos. And I read that crayford focuser is worse than rack and pinion.
  • FCD100 Explore Scientific ED80: on sale for $809, with FR $929. Has a very good FCD100 glass
  • William Optics GT7: FR package for $928.00. Has a very good FPL53 glass, though smaller FL (which may be bad?)

I cut off some other options like Orion and Meade, because they didn't make the budget, and $950 is really as big stretch as I ready to do to get started.

I also looked at classifieds, but didn't find anything nice at this time unfortunately.

 

Please advice me which will be a good choice, and I also wanted to know how big of a difference will be between FCD1 and the other two, because if it's manageable (and won't require spending many additional hours in photoshop fixing CA), I would really prefer to save and spend more on an EQ mount!


Edited by orionbay, 23 January 2019 - 09:45 PM.


#2 Auburn80

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:40 PM

You didnt mention a mount until the end. Do you have one now? I'm on a phone so can't see your sig.

#3 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:08 PM

There is a general trend you'll find in many products, that when you're buying things closer to the left-hand side of the price/performance curve, even small increases in spending bring significant benefits. After a while, as you work up the curve, you'll reach a subjective "sweet spot". As you keep going, you'll start to see diminishing returns on your investment because all of the easy & obvious improvements have been made.

 

At the sub-grand price range, these telescopes are built from very similar materials, with similar levels of quality control in similar factories by similarly skilled labor. I'd probably shoot for the ES FCD100 because I know of several folks who have had good luck with like-sized instruments from Explore Scientific. While the glass and focuser of the FCD1 are not necessarily deal breakers, spending slightly more money would pull you a little farther from the razor's edge. I am not, however, speaking from experience with the FCD100. I also know nothing about any modern WO products. To add more fuel to the analysis, there's also the well regarded AT80EDT (with a matching reducer) and a modest Cloudy Nights member discount. (No this is not an advertisement and, no I don't work for Astronomics).

 

For those who are interested, orionbay's mount thread is here.



#4 scadvice

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:18 PM

If the William Optics scope your talking about is this one.

 

https://williamoptic...-for-star-party

 

IMO - The WO are very nice scopes... you wouldn't be disappointed. The other two... I have no experience with.

 

Disclamer: I like William Optics scopes and I think they are very high quality as you may realize by looking at my signature...



#5 Lookitup

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 02:59 AM

there's a new WILLIAM OPTICS Z73 on Amart for 475 + shipping no FR. cs Pete



#6 orionbay

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 04:05 AM

there's a new WILLIAM OPTICS Z73 on Amart for 475 + shipping no FR. cs Pete

WO Zenistar is a doublet, I expect it to perform worse that the ones I selected, with some CA. Is that right?



#7 sg6

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 04:12 AM

The ES FCD100 should out perform the ES FCD1, simply better glass and from postings it does. So the FCD100 over the FCD1

 

The WO I assume is the GT71 ?

 

Like a previous post I like the WO's - have 3 of them. So a bit bias.

 

Will depend on mount and future and camera, although there is not a great deal of difference in size.

 

Sense says the ES FCD100 waytogo.gif , but I would likely give up 7mm of aperture for another WO. << Yes, I have a hole between my ZS61mm and GT81mm that the GT71 would fill nicely lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

 

Starting from zero I would probably go for the ES FCD100 item.



#8 orionbay

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 04:23 AM

You didnt mention a mount until the end. Do you have one now? I'm on a phone so can't see your sig.

I only have an Alt-Az Celestron SE. I plan to start learning with it, with short exposures, and at the same time think about getting a good EQ


Edited by orionbay, 24 January 2019 - 04:24 AM.

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#9 orionbay

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 04:25 AM

The ES FCD100 should out perform the ES FCD1, simply better glass and from postings it does. So the FCD100 over the FCD1

 

The WO I assume is the GT71 ?

 

Like a previous post I like the WO's - have 3 of them. So a bit bias.

 

Will depend on mount and future and camera, although there is not a great deal of difference in size.

 

Sense says the ES FCD100 waytogo.gif , but I would likely give up 7mm of aperture for another WO. << Yes, I have a hole between my ZS61mm and GT81mm that the GT71 would fill nicely lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

 

Starting from zero I would probably go for the ES FCD100 item.

WO are nice and stylish, my wife will definitely love them by their looks grin.gif  Sadly looks are not the main criteria when choosing a gear



#10 knight_parn

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 05:09 AM

I only have an Alt-Az Celestron SE. I plan to start learning with it, with short exposures, and at the same time think about getting a good EQ

Your Alt-Az mount would only work with luna imaging. If you were planning for DSO imaging, expect to spend another grand on a decent EQ tracking mount. For a 80mm triplet, SW HEQ5 Pro would suffice.


Edited by knight_parn, 24 January 2019 - 05:10 AM.


#11 orionbay

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 05:10 AM

Your Alt-Az mount would only work with luna imaging. If you were planning for DSO imaging, expect to spend another grand on a decent mount. For a 80mm triplet, SW HEQ5 Pro would suffice.

Yes I know and doing a research right now. Probably will go for AVX or Atlas. I just want to get a refractor first, learn how to use it for a few weeks/months, and then with extended knowledge get an EQ Mount

Edited by orionbay, 24 January 2019 - 05:11 AM.


#12 SeattleScott

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 02:26 PM

Your Alt-Az mount would only work with luna imaging. If you were planning for DSO imaging, expect to spend another grand on a decent EQ tracking mount. For a 80mm triplet, SW HEQ5 Pro would suffice.


The Nexstar SE mount works just fine for DSO. I have seen people produce some nice images. Yes, more EAA than long exposure AP. But you can definitely capture images of DSO with this mount. Just not magazine quality, but you understand that. In the process you will learn a lot about imaging and what you want long term. I think this is a great approach.

Scott
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#13 orionbay

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 09:43 PM

I have a concern about Explore Scientific ED80. After a very short search I found:

  • The Finder Scope Base won't fit for many different focusers, and is commonly replaced with rings
  • There are some balancing issues because of the dovetail-to-tube spacing described here https://darkartsastr...al-series-ed80/
  • Some issues with dovetail plate quality, causing it to move side-by-side in the middle of imaging, also fixed with rings

If it's true, then the replacement of the L leg with the rings is a must, and it will drive the cost up ~$150.

Can the owners of this scope please comment?

 

Also I wanted to ask how noticeable is the difference btw 80mm and 70mm of aperture, and 480mm and 420mm FL? In terms of light gathering and magnification? I plan to use it primarily for AP, with some observing too.

ES is the only 80mm triplet (from my selection) that I can afford, and the alternatives from WO and Stellarvue are smaller (70mm).


Edited by orionbay, 26 January 2019 - 05:04 AM.



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