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Wanna get started with AP

astrophotography beginner
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#1 Astro Babak

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:49 AM

Hello all,

 

I started my journey last year and have been a visual observer the whole time. I've got an 8" Dob which has kept me quite happy. However, I've been edging towards the astrophotography side.

 

I'd like to start with a light rig and then upgrade to a heavier rig. Thinking of getting started with Rokinon 135mm which would give me a good wide-angle frame and upgrade to William Optics RedCat51 or Zenithstar 61 APO later down the road. Now the question is, should I go with a celestial tracker like iOptron SkyGuider Pro, which would be more budget-friendly, or wait and invest on a heavier mount like iOptron CEM25 or Skywatcher EQ5? 

 

Any help on this front will be appreciated.

 

Regards,

Babak 



#2 cst4

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:12 PM

Unless you just know you want to dive head first into the AP hobby, then my recommendation is go for the iOptron SkyGuider Pro.  It should hold your Rokinon or the two WO scopes you mentioned just fine and can provide great results.  You're on the right track starting off with a quality widefield lens or scope... frames more targets and easier on tracking.  That mount and one of those scopes can provide years of fun and great photos.  It may be all you ever need or want, but even if in the future you decide you want a bigger scope and bigger mount then the Skyguider would still serve as a wonderful grab and go option when you don't want to lug out a big EQ mount.


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#3 Huangdi

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:16 PM

If you intend to go no further than 80mm with your future scopes, take a look at the iExos100. Beats every other mount in that price class by a mile from what I've seen

#4 Slslinde

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:21 PM

Put money into a Orion Atlas or Skywatcher EQ6R Mount if you can



#5 scadvice

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:37 PM

I have this as a grab and go and it makes an excellent starter rig.

 

  • iOptron SkyGuider Pro
  • William Optics RedCat51

The right Rokinon 135mm are a little over half the price of the RedCat so your paying more to start with it in the long run. But it is a nice lens I understand. 

 

I fiddled with the regular camera lens at first, some were fine others were not. When I was tired of getting bad images from poor optic's I bought the WhiteCat51 (Mostly the same as the RedCat) and this was my first image with it. Disclaimer: I've been imaging with a larger scope before this so is not my first. Just my first on the SkyGuider Pro & WhiteCat setup.

 

M42HH_2_lin_a_final_rd==.jpg

 

We can suggest other options but sticking to what your looking at and on a tight budget you will not go wrong with your first two options but note that your third the WO ZS 61mm will need a flattener to get full benefit.

 

The iOptron CEM25P is an excellent starter. I started with one and it was great. As for scopes the WO Doublets are fine  but Triplets are generally better. Both require flatteners for good imaging. 

 

The SkyWatcher EQ5 I understand is thought highly of so nothing wrong going with one of those.

 

 

I believe your thinking is on the right path. 

 

If your budget is flexible enough from high to low on equipment. 

 

Mounts:

 

EQ5

CEM25P

SkyGuider Pro

 

Optic's:

 

RedCat51

WO ZS 61mm 

Rokinon 135mm

 

 

The easiest to start with is the SkyGuider Pro with any of those optic's. The SkyGuider Pro requires a tripod to also be purchased and you want a solid one so your looking at another 100 bucks and up on that. Though the easiest, it is also the most limiting.

 

If you were to pin me down to one of these setups I would have to go with the iOptron CEM25P and the WO ZS 61mm and a flattener. In the long run it will keep you happy for quite awhile. I think with the SkyGuider you would be happy too but looking to upgrade in a shorter period of time.


Edited by scadvice, 14 January 2020 - 01:34 PM.

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#6 bobzeq25

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:49 PM

Hello all,

 

I started my journey last year and have been a visual observer the whole time. I've got an 8" Dob which has kept me quite happy. However, I've been edging towards the astrophotography side.

 

I'd like to start with a light rig and then upgrade to a heavier rig. Thinking of getting started with Rokinon 135mm which would give me a good wide-angle frame and upgrade to William Optics RedCat51 or Zenithstar 61 APO later down the road. Now the question is, should I go with a celestial tracker like iOptron SkyGuider Pro, which would be more budget-friendly, or wait and invest on a heavier mount like iOptron CEM25 or Skywatcher EQ5? 

 

Any help on this front will be appreciated.

 

Regards,

Babak 

All those choices are good.  Read the opinions here, then make up your own mind.  Do know that the mount is the most important thing.



#7 Ranger Tim

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:47 PM

Most that want to begin imaging on camera lenses that are shorter than 300mm don't fully realize they are not going to be able to isolate DSO's. If you are content with wide field the 135 will be fine. If you want to shoot and isolate, not so much...

 

The 135mm is a tool in the box, but not always easy to get a good sample free of CA. The WO and other refractors do this type of shooting well. Point sources of light are unforgiving. That said, I do shoot with a lens periodically. Stop them down with filter ring adapters to eliminate weird diffraction effects.



#8 mmalik

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 12:38 AM

I'd like to start with a light rig and then upgrade to a heavier rig. Thinking of getting started with Rokinon 135mm which would give me a good wide-angle frame and upgrade to William Optics RedCat51 or Zenithstar 61 APO later down the road. Now the question is, should I go with a celestial tracker like iOptron SkyGuider Pro, which would be more budget-friendly, or wait and invest on a heavier mount like iOptron CEM25 or Skywatcher EQ5?

I lay out the pathway here.... Regards



#9 the Elf

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 06:30 AM

As you are not the first and not the last seeking help to get started I wrote this article.

 

http://elf-of-lothlo...ingStarted.html

 

Hope it helps! 


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#10 Astro Babak

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 05:47 PM

Thank you all very much for your inputs, I have certainly learnt a lot from this discussion and your experiences. Another question that comes to mind is with regards to dithering. The camera that I plan to use, a Canon 70D, has quite a lot of hot/cold pixels. Based on my research, dithering and corrective frames (dark, bias, flat) are used to compensate for the "bad" pixels. 

 

So now, how big of a deal is dithering? Can I use a mount that does not support dithering and still get rid of my "bad" pixels? 

 

If I remember correctly, SkyGuider Pro supports dithering on the RA axis (when using PHD2 and a guide scope) but not DEC, so I guess that's better than nothing. Trying to make sure I get a mount which I can get the most out of it without upgrading. 

 

Thanks,

Babak



#11 scadvice

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 06:55 PM

If at all possible you want to dither. Walking noise can happen without doing so. Here is an example. I lightened the image to show the pattern more easily.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • m51WNsample.jpg


#12 the Elf

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 01:55 PM

Get a mount with two motorized axes. It helps dither and it stops the stars from drifting. A one axis tracker only works well when extremely well polar aligned and I doubt one axis dither will help at all. If you are absolutely sure you want to stay below 200mm of focal length a small travel mount is fine. If you want to for one single DSO in the image you need about 400mm focal length for a typical APS-C DSLR and that will weigh 3 or 4 kg. That is too much for small mounts. Also stay away from the popular AVX. You can save yourself from a lot of frustration when you start with a mount in the $1500+ class. I recommend the SkyWatcher EQ6-R out of my own experience. From what I read here there are other mounts in the same price range that perform well. If you are on a very limited budget now get the iOptron smart EQ and a very small telescope or a lens. It works like a real mount, it has got Goto and guiding in both axes. Here is an example setup:

https://www.youtube....h?v=Qb1ceFM-DkQ

After a year or so sell it and get a larger one or keep it for travel only. Be prepared to sell stuff and replace it with a more expensive version while you grow in skill and expectation.



#13 Astro Babak

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 10:55 AM

Thank you Steve and The Elf for the info. 




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