You were getting 90 second subs with no trailing on that mount? Was that with or without guiding? That is darn good if you are not guiding. If you do guide, then an HEQ 5 might work for you since you are using the shorter astrograph. For short duration imaging. But if you really get into it, you WILL eventually want to upgrade.
For imaging, there are two general approaches that folks take. One approach is do your research, buy exactly what you need and buy it once. In the short term this is expensive, but in the long term you will certainly save money. This approach REALLY assumes that you KNOW what you want to do and you are dedicated enough to the hobby to make the investment worthwhile. If this is the case, then for sure it makes sense to save and buy the best gear, once.
The second approach is to buy what you can afford at the time, learn all you can with it (and there is a LOT to learn) and accept the fact you will eventually grow out of that gear and want to upgrade. The advantage is that for a smaller investment up front, you get exposed to the glory that is imaging, have the opportunity to learn what it is you REALLY want to do/image) and then once you are ready, you plunk down the real cash to upgrade and optimize your rig. But you may spend significantly more money over the long haul, depending on the number of iterations you go through. I have taken the second approach and not regretted it, BUT that is really a personal choice. You might decide that short duration stuff and postcard quality images are enough to make you happy(as I pretty much have) in which case you bought your mount for a lifetime anyway.
There is no one way to go about this. The bigger trick is to be able to make time to get out with WHATEVER gear you have and learn all you can learn.
BTW, I started out small with two young children and my gear grew as they did. Now they are old enough to be using the initial gear that I started with 10 years ago or so, so Nothing is ever wasted:-)
No guiding. I don't have a guide scope or anything. I don't have any of the photos anymore as the only reason I took them was to try and catch M51 and failed. So I tossed them.
Thread here......if you care. haha
At the 1 min you can certainly tell the amount of skyglow in that photo. So I'll be getting a filter here pretty quick.
Actually, I have this one. Cheap but might be somewhat useful.
My other big hobby is ham radio. So you're 100% accurate about the two ways to approach an expensive hobby. I've employed both from time to time.
Part of me is trying to determine how capable my scope is for AP. If the scope itself isn't that capable I don't want to throw a grand + at a mount to drive it.
I'd get a William Optics 61mm APO doublet, field flattener, iOptron Skyguider Pro; all those BRAND NEW is $1100. And I won't buy it new. I'll just wait out and jump on a used set of parts. And I'll be set for quite a few different objects to photograph.
I'll keep my setup as is for viewing the planets and moon. Especially considering viewing nebula and galaxies aren't THAT impressive compared to images.
Now if my scope IS capable and can pull double duty, viewing and AP, I'll have no problems buying a solid mount for it. I'll get an HEQ5 (6) or equiv for 7-800 and do some DSO work with my Newt for a while and have a solid platform to get a larger WO 81 or 123 or something like that and future proof myself, I'm OK with that.
I'm kind of in the middle.
I like things that I can double duty with. Sorta like kitchen stuff, I don't like uni-taskers. They take up space and money. Thanks Alton Brown.
On the other side of the same hand, I really liked knowing what things CAN do, not what limitations they have based on biased opinions.
Back to ham radio, I shouldn't have been able to talk to Australia from Michigan with 100 watts and a wire in my backyard at 12' at the current solar cycle. But I have made the trip, 9,900 miles.
I've since put up a 40' tower and a big antenna and has made that effort significantly easier.
I know that is more of a Socratic method answer, but as you aptly pointed out, I need to figure out what I really want to do. I also need to determine what my current equipment is capable of with some properly spec'ed support equipment.
Edited by Ryan1776, 16 September 2019 - 12:22 PM.