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Celestron EQ130/w Nikon D3100 Focusing Issues

beginner dslr Celestron
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#1 Rince

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 05:23 AM

Hi all,

 

I am new to the forums, I hope I am posting this to the right section.

 

Lately, I am getting more into astrophotography and thinking of getting new gear. But, before I would spend thousands of dollars on new equipment, I thought it would be wise to first "master" my current beginner setup. I think if I could do acceptable images with my current beginner rig, I could move to more sophisticated gear with a much more solid foundation. Plus it would gives me more time to see if this hobby is really for me. My current equipment is:

 

- Celestron Astromaster EQ130

- Nikon D3100

 

I know this is a very beginner setup (the EQ130 is narrowly beating department store telescopes, and the D3100 is Nikon's cheapest DSLR), but I know for a fact that good images can be achieved with them. Digging around on Astro Bin I could find a lot of examples:

https://www.astrobin...ging_telescopes

https://www.astrobin...imaging_cameras

 

Encouraged by these findings, I jumped into astrophotography, only to get no results at all. I was unable achieve focus on anything; even the moon was a blurry blob, no matter how much I tried. After some digging around, I found out that my telescope was built only for visual observation, but this could be remedied with a Barlow lens. So, I bought one and installed it in front of the T-mount for a 1.5 magnification increase, which did the trick, and I was finally able to get some rough results on the moon: https://www.cloudyni...bum/12151-moon/. My deep sky shots (my camera only allows me a maximum of 30 seconds exposures), however, still came out completely black, which baffled me. I tried lots of focus variations and thought at least I should be able to see star trails, but all I had was pure black. It is evident that I am doing something wrong, but I don't know what; hence, my asking for help here. smile.gif

 

I ask for help to achieve these short term goals of mine:

1. To improve the sharpness of my moon shots. They are way too blurry even for a beginner gear like mine; there must be a way to get a better focus.

2. To start seeing some stars on longer exposure, deep sky shots.

 

Thank you for your help! I am happy to be part of this community. smile.gif

 

Additional information:

- I am under a suburban sky, with the Orion nebula and Pleiades clearly visible. So, I believe it should be possible to get at least a faint glimpse of them at few-second exposures.

- I achieved my crappy focus on the moon by putting it on live view, zooming in on a detailed, cratered region and adjusting the focus knob. The images in my gallery are the best selected from about a hundred shots.

- The moon was about midway to it zenith at the time I took the images; so some atmospheric distortion is certainly there.


Edited by Rince, 17 November 2019 - 05:33 AM.

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#2 Rince

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 05:07 PM

Moved here from the DSLR section of astrophotography. Thank you johnsoda!



#3 Rince

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 01:54 PM

I was looking for ways to improve my image quality when I stumbled upon a tutorial of image stacking moon shots (before, it didn't occur to me that stacking can be beneficial for bright objects, such as the moon). So, I gave it a shot and, low and behold, it vastly improved my image quality:

 

https://www.astrobin.com/cxgyfk/C/

 

I have also done a collimation of my reflector; so hopefully that will result in further improvement regarding image quality. We'll see.




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