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Astrophotography Upgrades

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#1 Stachelrodt

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 09:49 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I am new here, been reading a lot and can not explain how much this forum has helped me

 

So here I am with a super newb question, or survey I should say

 

I currently own a Celestron 8se with star sense a power tank, lenses, and a t ring adapter for my sony a7. In addition I have a manfrotto cf tripod and an iOptron skytracker pro, a 24mm f1.8 rokinon that I use for photos. I am comfortable with my telescope, camera, deep sky stacker, and Adobe suite. Knowing well that I still have to practice in those areas as well I have still made the decision to slowly start to collect more hardware as I grow into this hobby. So here in lies my question.

 

I had originally planned to look at Williams Optics line of small refactors, 61, 71 and the Redcat grabbed my attention for various reasons, weight, price, ease of use. I was also going to plan for a GEM as I know well that alt az is no way to photography the sky. The mount here is of less concern to me. Recently I had been reading about DSO photography and I surely have a desire to snap some of these targets. Along that path the hyperstar mod for the Celestron line come up and has peaked my interest. 

 

Would it be just as reasonable an option to mod my SE into a f2 astrograph, purchase an astrophotography specific camera and go to town with what I have? Will I see a noticeable difference in photos I take currently with the same alt az mount with short exposure times? Or should I just go for the GEM with one of many tried and true scopes, using my dslr until further fund are available.

 

I am fully aware that with all new equipment comes new learning so I am not afraid to learn how to best use the new stuff, just wondering if in anyone's opinion a hyperstar is worth investing in to "tide me over"(and also get me through a horribly cold NY winter) until more funds are free or if without a GEM it defeats the purpose of it being modified

 

 

 

 



#2 TikiTom

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 10:09 PM

Welcome to CN.  

This will be the place to get answers to any questions you have.... 



#3 Gipht

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 11:03 PM

There has been quite a discussion here recently on what is a good path for someone beginning astro-photography.  When you have a few minutes, give this a read:   https://www.cloudyni...ontrarian-view/.    Some of this discussion will be overly technical, but there is a wide variety of opinions on the subject.

 

With your current setup, I would take a few pictures of the moon, if you haven't already.   I have personally not seen a hyperstar setup used with an alt-az mount so cannot comment on that option.

 

The first priority in AP is getting a decent equatorial mount.  It is a difficult step to take because of the expense involved, perhaps $1500.

 

Welcome, and hope you enjoy your stay here.



#4 bobzeq25

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 01:01 AM

Hello everyone,

 

I am new here, been reading a lot and can not explain how much this forum has helped me

 

So here I am with a super newb question, or survey I should say

 

I currently own a Celestron 8se with star sense a power tank, lenses, and a t ring adapter for my sony a7. In addition I have a manfrotto cf tripod and an iOptron skytracker pro, a 24mm f1.8 rokinon that I use for photos. I am comfortable with my telescope, camera, deep sky stacker, and Adobe suite. Knowing well that I still have to practice in those areas as well I have still made the decision to slowly start to collect more hardware as I grow into this hobby. So here in lies my question.

 

I had originally planned to look at Williams Optics line of small refactors, 61, 71 and the Redcat grabbed my attention for various reasons, weight, price, ease of use. I was also going to plan for a GEM as I know well that alt az is no way to photography the sky. The mount here is of less concern to me. Recently I had been reading about DSO photography and I surely have a desire to snap some of these targets. Along that path the hyperstar mod for the Celestron line come up and has peaked my interest. 

 

Would it be just as reasonable an option to mod my SE into a f2 astrograph, purchase an astrophotography specific camera and go to town with what I have? Will I see a noticeable difference in photos I take currently with the same alt az mount with short exposure times? Or should I just go for the GEM with one of many tried and true scopes, using my dslr until further fund are available.

 

I am fully aware that with all new equipment comes new learning so I am not afraid to learn how to best use the new stuff, just wondering if in anyone's opinion a hyperstar is worth investing in to "tide me over"(and also get me through a horribly cold NY winter) until more funds are free or if without a GEM it defeats the purpose of it being modified

You'll get something.  And something may be enough for you.

 

But you'll spend a lot of your time fiddling with the setup.  Which interferes with learning astrophotography of DSOs.  It's not the best setup to start out with, and build a solid foundation, if getting something is not enough for you.

 

One thing to emphasize.  You said the mount is not a big concern for you.  It's actually _the_ most important part of a DSO astrophotography setup.  DSO AP works because you gather a lot of data over a long time with a very patient camera, and process it intensively on a computer.  But move the target over a few of those .005mm pixels during subexposures, and the magic disappears.  The best scope and the best camera can do little if the mount doesn't keep them precisely on the target.  1/1000 of an inch error and your image is toast.

 

In practice, modestly priced mounts can't do the job alone, if you're at all serious.  They need a second scope and camera to track a guidestar, correcting the mounts errors.  It's called autoguiding.

 

Scroll down to the picture of the very expert author of the book below.  That setup may appear peculiar, but it's optimized for learning AP of DSOs.  It's a 70mm doublet refractor, about $500, on a Sirius mount, about $1200.  With that total budget, that's the proper allocation of funds.

 

http://www.astropix....bgda/index.html

 

The book starts out with just a camera and a lens.  That's also a great way to get into this complicated and challenging hobby.  That and a camera tracker is a low budget way (maybe $600 if you have a suitable DSLR) to start, learn many of the techniques, make some nice images, and decide if this is something you want to pursue seriously.  If it is, you will now have a solid foundation to build on.

 

Here's a good thread about starting out.  Perhaps a bit lengthy, but there's a lot of good stuff.

 

https://www.cloudyni...the-guardrails/


Edited by bobzeq25, 12 September 2019 - 01:59 AM.


#5 sg6

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 02:00 AM

I would suspect that on paper you would get something that reads that it does AP. However I would equally expect that it does not do it very well and/or give you assorted amounts of grief and problems in getting results.

 

Additionally there is still the cost of in effect converting your present equipment to do something else.

 

You could end up spending as much and have problems.

 

Will say on AP decide where it is you want to go with it. There is simple unguided small scope AP that can be "relatively" inexpensive = EQ5+ZS71/Redcat+Flattener+DSLR+Intervalometer. Set exposure to 40 seconds plus 20 sec wait and collect 60 of them and stack. You could maybe add an OAG later as they are minimum weight. A dedicated AP camera will be less weight then a DSLR. Then you stop there.

 

It is when the bigger scopes come in, longer exposures, mono and other additions get incorportaed that the upgrades are required.



#6 eshy76

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 02:34 AM

Hi there and welcome - this is the part of your post that stood out to me:

"The mount here is of less concern to me."

Alert! The mount is probably the most crucial part of any astrophotography setup. Do not skimp on the mount or take that decision lightly - you can have a super telescope or camera, but if your mount tracks or guides badly then...that can't be fixed in post processing.

I would say, if you're sure you want to do this, and as already advised to you by others above, get the best equatorial mount you can within your budget first, then slowly upgrade your other equipment.

The WO refractors are great (I have the Z73) and an astro cam will be a sound purchase...but a reliable mount should be the first priority.

Just my opinion, of course.

#7 ThatsMyCoffee

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:09 AM

I concur with the above opinions.  The mount cannot be skipped over.

 

A low budget camera and even telescope can go a long way!  But if the mount isn't working well, the images won't be good.


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#8 Stachelrodt

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 11:23 AM

I am fully aware that the mount is imperative. Was just curious as the hyperstar installment is about half of the cost of a new mount, wondering if it would be a decent precursor idea, this discussion has convinced me that a GEM is first and foremost my concern at the moment.

 

As my backyard does not have a view of polaris the Nexstar mount is serving me well in viewing objects, just a bit down the road polaris is completely visible and is where i tend to take any longer exposures. The winter is cold here ha, being able to run usb cables and view from inside was an idea I had in mind with the alt az setup giving me all winter to plan for a GEM in spring


Edited by Stachelrodt, 12 September 2019 - 11:30 AM.

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#9 Jeff Struve

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 12:14 PM

My 2 cents on a Hyperstar... They are for imaging only... you can't do visual thru them... so keep that in mind when spending $$$ on wide field AP...  a small refractor can do visual, imaging, work as a great grab n go, and work as a guide scope... a Hyperstar can be used on 1 model and size scope and for imaging only.

 

My personal opinion is that the Nexstar would be somewhat problematic for AP... I think better success would be your 8SE on a better mount than trying to get a faster scope on a Nexstar...

 

again... my 2 cents.

 

Jeff



#10 ThatsMyCoffee

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 04:05 AM

 

As my backyard does not have a view of polaris...

 

How much of the view is obstructed?  The iPolar scope by iOptron can deal with partial obstructions.  As much as 50%, I think.  And doesn't need to see Polaris to get you aligned.



#11 Stelios

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 12:34 PM

As others mentioned, the mount is very important, and *for that reason*, your thinking may make sense. If you can't afford to get something like an EQ6-Pro (the ideal intermediate mount for a C8 like the one on the 8SE), you *can* try using your 8SE + Hyperstar on the 8SE. At a focal length of 400 images are more forgiving, and the tracking issues of the 8SE *may* be possible to overcome.

 

On the other hand, you need to consider that you may end up unsatisfied with those images, in which case you will still need to get a better mount.

 

But the good part of starting with the Hyperstar upgrade is that once you get an EQ6-Pro (down the line), you will now have three scopes in one: 400mm with the Hyperstar for widefield, 1260mm with an F/6.3 reducer for galaxies and such, and 2000mm which you could use for small planetary nebulae (you will need to crop a lot as the field won't be flat, but they are small). You could also Barlow the 8SE for planetary photography (even without the mount upgrade). 


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