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NEW to astrophotography, EQUIPMENT ADVICE!

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#1 wgioia717


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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:20 AM

Hey guys, I'm very new to astrophotography and also to this website.  I'm very interested in getting started.  I've been doing a lot of research over the past two months and I am currently planning to get my setup up and running within the next several months.  Needless to say there are so many options and a dizzying array of equipment.  My interests are in photographing deep space objects and galaxies.  The first purchase I made towards that end was a Canon rebel T7i DSLR.  These are the scopes I have been considering


1. William optics zenithstar 73 or 81 - I think I understand the difference in the optics, but is there any reason why one would choose one or the other?

2. Explore Scientific ED 80

3. Meade 70mm astrograph


I would likely get a skywatcher HEQ mount for the first two.  For the third option, there is a package that I can buy that comes with the LX 85 mount, which would likely be a bit cheaper overall.  Also, from what I understand you do not need a field flattener with this quad scope, but the tradeoff is some chromatic aberration and difficulty with collimation.  I'm also planning to use a guidescope and camera for autoguiding.  I find this to be a very fascinating and exciting hobby.  Any advice you guys have is greatly appreciated!



#2 SeymoreStars



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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:51 AM

Put your money where your "mount" is.


I know this advice is not sexy, sorry.

Edited by sink45ny, 19 August 2019 - 09:20 AM.

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#3 rgsalinger


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Posted 19 August 2019 - 11:39 AM

Moved here from equipment to get a better response.


#4 GoFish



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Posted 19 August 2019 - 11:51 AM

I think options 1 and 2 make sense. Can’t comment about option 3 b/c I’m unfamiliar with Meade’s offerings. 


If you can afford to spend a little more, put it into upgrading the mount. Experienced imagers on CN usually describe the HEQ5 as a sufficient, but entry level mount. I have one and like it, but I am very inexperienced. 


The AT line of refractors offered by our site sponsor consistently receive positive reviews and might offer a better price/performance. 





#5 Stelios



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Posted 19 August 2019 - 11:57 AM

Take the scopes, put the focal lengths into the Astronomy.Tools (imaging mode) field of view calculators, and try different objects. You’ll see the main difference. The short F/L scopes are for wide field objects. They will not be much use for medium-size or small objects, They will be easier to learn on, and although they’ll benefit from it, won’t really require guiding. 


Forget “packages.” As already mentioned, the mount is by *far* the most important thing—it’s hard to understand that for a beginner, but please take it on faith for now. HEQ5 is the minimum (iOptron CEM25EC is another lightweight possibility). The LX 85 is not in the same class.

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#6 Astro_Sholo


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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:56 PM

I use the WOZ61 on a CEM25P for widefield images and love it.  For guiding William Optics offers a 50mm guide scope which compliments the main scope pretty well.  If you're planning to shoot widefield I think you'd be happy getting either of the william optics scopes (though I haven't used the either two).  From personal experience of piecing together a rig over the last year and spending money on gear that just didn't get me the result I was looking for, I would recommend spending your money on a system that will save you the hassle of having to deal with small issues that wouldn't be present with better gear (eg. chromatic abberation or oblong stars in the corners)

#7 TelescopeGreg


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Posted 19 August 2019 - 06:16 PM

What Stelios said.


Remember that the packages put together by the main telescope vendors are generally aimed at visual astronomy, or perhaps planetary.  They size the mount for that.  DSO AP requires a much more substantial mount.


They also never tell you that.

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#8 LosMan


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Posted 18 December 2019 - 03:57 PM

For guiding William Optics offers a 50mm guide scope which compliments the main scope pretty well. 

I'm curious how you mounted your WO guide scope onto your z61. And, which guide scope did you get? Just the plain one or the new one with the slide base? 

#9 fewayne


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Posted 18 December 2019 - 10:15 PM

Good advice there. Maybe I'll let somebody else recommend the books, but just this one time. :-)


I'm curious about the 70mm Meade, in that you cite chromatic aberration and a need for collimation. It's described as apochromatic, which would seem to obviate the first problem, and it's a refractor, for which collimation is rarely if ever needed after the factory. What am I missing?

#10 geneva_min


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Posted 18 December 2019 - 11:41 PM

Welcome to the obsession.  


I’m less than 2 years in but I can say from my limited experience that Stelios’ advice is spot on.  There are a thousand different choices you’ll be making and no package setup will check all the boxes.  If you’re serious about this then invest in individual high quality components and build your rig based on each personal challenge / concept.  I initially bought a canon T6i much like you and paired it with a WO Z73, budget mount, and various supporting actors.  Only the WO scope remains.  Everything else has been upgraded.  

#11 hiMike


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Posted 19 December 2019 - 06:37 PM

I picked up a used T3i on craigslist for $180 (with a lens for daytime stuff). Going that route could save you $450 which could then go towards your mount. People have taken astounding images with the T3i, to the point where I didn't even think twice about getting the T3i instead of a T7i or even more expensive mirrorless.


Also, the Skywatcher EQ6-r is on sale right now. You may want to pursue that while its hot. That's a mount you would not need to upgrade until you were ready to spend ~$5k on the mount alone (not including tripod).

Here is the forum sponsor, however I've seen installment plans on other websites such as amazon.


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