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#1 Mjcain13

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:39 PM

Hello, this is my first day on Cloudy Nights. Currently, I have an Celestron 8SE. I would really like to start taking picture of Deep Space Objects, which obviously the 8SE isn’t great at. I am looking at getting an equatorial Mount with a refractor.

My issue is do I spend more money and get a nicer refractor or spend a little less on the refractor and get a guide scope and guide camera to help tracking. I am trying to spending roughly 1000 for whatever option I go with, so not the best but I figured it would be a good starting point. I currently have a asi 178 camera.

Any advice? Thank you for any help.

#2 coopman

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:01 PM

Welcome to CN. I am visual only, but others will be along shortly to give you some recommendations.

#3 MalVeauX

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:07 PM

Hello, this is my first day on Cloudy Nights. Currently, I have an Celestron 8SE. I would really like to start taking picture of Deep Space Objects, which obviously the 8SE isn’t great at. I am looking at getting an equatorial Mount with a refractor.

My issue is do I spend more money and get a nicer refractor or spend a little less on the refractor and get a guide scope and guide camera to help tracking. I am trying to spending roughly 1000 for whatever option I go with, so not the best but I figured it would be a good starting point. I currently have a asi 178 camera.

Any advice? Thank you for any help.

Your budget will need to be spent mostly on the mount. And a guidescope + guide camera would be ideal. Then simply add a small fast ED refractor, like a 72mm F6 or something like that.

 

You're looking at about $1500~1800 minimum to do this without getting bottom of the barrel options.

 

I would target a Skywatcher HEQ5 or Orion Sirius as a minimum for this endevour. If budget is seriously not going to budge, then a used AVX is likely as low as I would even consider going in any serious manner for imaging. From there, a used guidescope 50~60mm and any basic monochrome sensor as a guide camera, used to save money maybe, like the ASI120MM series. And you can either get mounting rings (Farpoint makes great inexpensive stuff for this) and a dovetail to attach to a small fast ED refractor, like an AT72EDII or the AT60ED or similar, used to save money. And you can choose what camera to image with for the primary scope (be it a CMOS camera or a dSLR/mSLR, etc, bigger sensors will be a lot easier to use at first). Plus you need dew management (heat strips).

 

I would take your budget and simply save up so that you only buy once, and not just compromise on almost everything just to cram it all into $1k and end up having a very poor system that you will end up spending more money over time to replace after realizing its major limits.

 

Very best,



#4 sg6

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:10 PM

I suggest the refractor primarily.

It is the refractor that gives you the actual images so a not good refractot means a not good image.

 

Also guiding is often talked of and people seem to be more concerned with who can get the longest single exposure but modern CMOS sensors can do a good jo with a 45-60 second exposure. Which if you take the time to get good polar alignment you should manage. If effect why guide. Maybe why guide immediatly.

 

Also get the imaging sorted before adding a guide scope and system.

 

However it is all more dependant on the mount so work out weight of scope+camera+flattener+couple of other bits, then add in rings and guide scope and guide camera. Add it all up, add say 5-10% for missed bits, then double that weight and buy a mount capable of that final value (at least).


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#5 coopman

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:13 PM

I've seen it said here that for imaging, the weight on the mount should not exceed 1/2 of the mount's rated maximum capacity.  I've seen some really nice images posted here that were taken with 60-80mm triplets.  You should ideally get a triplet for A/P.   



#6 Mjcain13

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:18 PM

Great notes, I should had been more clear. My plan is to spend good money on a mount. Total, I am thinking of spending 2500 (~1,500 on the mount and 1,000 on the rest). My thought is to not get a guide scope and guide camera until a later time, since it seems like you can take decent pictures without that.

#7 SeattleScott

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:22 PM

If you are going to go unguided you could just slap a focal reducer on your 8SE and have a go at it. Will work for 20-30 second exposures. You aren’t going to get much better than that without really precise polar alignment anyway. Learn the basics and figure out what you want for a more serious AP rig while you save a little more for autoguider.

Scott

#8 MalVeauX

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:26 PM

Great notes, I should had been more clear. My plan is to spend good money on a mount. Total, I am thinking of spending 2500 (~1,500 on the mount and 1,000 on the rest). My thought is to not get a guide scope and guide camera until a later time, since it seems like you can take decent pictures without that.

$2500 is a very good way to get into this.

 

Do not skip on guiding. You want that now. Guiding makes up for your $1500 mount's inability to do long exposure with a short scope and big sensor for even just 30~60 seconds. That's crippling. You want to be able to expose for 3~4 minutes so that you are not gimped. Guiding does that. So don't skip it.

 

For the total budget, $1500 on mount is good (there's your EQ5/EQ6/SIrius/Atlas/CEM40 etc which is great), and $1k will easily get you a good short fast ED frac (60~80mm F6 ED) and a little guide scope (50mm~60mm) with mounting hardware and a small mono sensor guiding camera. All within budget without going used. Room for dew management still there too.

 

Very best,



#9 sunnyday

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 03:30 PM

welcome to cn.band2.sml.gif


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#10 Mjcain13

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 05:30 PM

This is awesome information! So nice to be able get advice on this stuff! Thank you all very much!

#11 dr.who

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:11 AM

Skip the guide scope. AP is a very complex part of the hobby. Trying to do too much too fast adds even more complexity out of the gate and is a recipe for disaster. Adding a guide scope and cam before you master the basics of AP will just lead to frustration. Learn your new mount, your new scope, your new camera (even if you are a fantastic terrestrial photographer AP is still different enough that you need to relearn a bunch of things), and your software. 

 

DO NOT try and image with your SCT! Even with a focal reducer you are still at about 1,300mm focal length which is a really tough way to start. People do it, and people will flood in here saying how easy it is. It isn't. There is a reason why so many of us here recommend the scope for a person starting out in AP is a 80ish mm APO refractor. It isn't because we all have stock in the companies that make them. It is because we have been there, done that, got the tee shirt.

 

Add a bit more to your budget. Get the Skywatcher EQ6-R. It is a good mount to start with and grow into. It will serve you well. It also works with EQMOD which is a free but powerful AP tool. Get a DSLR and BYEOS. BYEOS isn't free but it is inexpensive and another great bit of AP software. Lastly is the scope. I would recommend the Explore Scientific 80mm FCD 100 APO. If it is out of your price range then look at the FCD1 version. It is a great scope with great glass (both have good glass but the FCD 100 is better) plus ES has amazing customer support and a lifetime transferable warranty.


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#12 nimitz69

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:53 PM

with that budget get a EQ6-R Pro (~1,500) and a good apo triplet and you’ll be set.  You don’t need to worry about guiding right now, plenty of other stuff to learn first, then add guiding later



#13 Stelios

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 01:46 PM

I strongly disagree with the "skip guiding" advice. Guiding is *not* expensive--a 50mm Orion guidescope is $79 and the ASI120MM-mini is $149. 

 

I am *not* advocating guiding from day one. Obviously you need to learn the basics of your mount, polar alignment (but a guidescope will help with that, as you can use Sharpcap Pro), connecting your camera to a computer and getting it to take pictures (BTW the ASI178 has a very small FOV, you are better off with a DSLR). 

 

But after all this, which will take about a week, maybe two if you are moving very slowly, you will run into issues with star trails and star bloat--and guiding is an immediate answer. 

 

But the difference between doublet and triplet? It will take years before your images are perfected enough and you are skilled enough in processing that an ED doublet is your bottleneck. And when it happens, a used refractor fetches a greater percentage of its value (about 80%) than almost anything else except possibly a premium mount. 

 

I will take a guided ED scope over an unguided triplet any day (super-expensive mounts excepted). Not close.



#14 dr.who

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:45 PM

Stellios - I agree that guiding isn’t expensive. What I do say is that guiding adds complexity to an already complex part of the hobby i.e. AP. Better to spend once on an APO and defer the purchase of a guider than spend twice and ultimately more by first buying an ED Achro then losing 50%+ of what was paid for it reselling it then spending a second time down the road on an APO. Better to just get the APO and get the guider later...



#15 Stelios

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:22 PM

Stellios - I agree that guiding isn’t expensive. What I do say is that guiding adds complexity to an already complex part of the hobby i.e. AP. Better to spend once on an APO and defer the purchase of a guider than spend twice and ultimately more by first buying an ED Achro then losing 50%+ of what was paid for it reselling it then spending a second time down the road on an APO. Better to just get the APO and get the guider later...

Don't see losing 50% on the reselling of an ED refractor. I resold mine (a Celestron ED80) after 7 years for 80% of original price, and I was doing the buyer a favor. 

 

There's a big difference in ED vs. triplet prices. The main advantage of triplets is that they tend to be F/6 or faster. This is also a bit of a minus for the ubiquitous 80mm, as the image scale is smaller so one is forced into the larger objects, which dry up after a while. 

 

There's another reason to not buy a triplet up front. A newbie buyer will likely buy the cheapest triplet (a triplet is a triplet, right? Wrong...). If I'd bought a triplet in 2013, it would not have been the same quality that I bought now, when I'm committed to the hobby and know to look for stuff like matching reducers and flatteners, quality focusers and smooth rotators, good mounting rings. 



#16 Gray

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:28 PM

Just checked host site.  AT115EDT is in stock.  AT80EDT is not.  Go triplet for AP and buy from Astronomics is my advice.  



#17 dr.who

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:39 PM

Don't see losing 50% on the reselling of an ED refractor. I resold mine (a Celestron ED80) after 7 years for 80% of original price, and I was doing the buyer a favor. 

 

There's a big difference in ED vs. triplet prices. The main advantage of triplets is that they tend to be F/6 or faster. This is also a bit of a minus for the ubiquitous 80mm, as the image scale is smaller so one is forced into the larger objects, which dry up after a while. 

 

There's another reason to not buy a triplet up front. A newbie buyer will likely buy the cheapest triplet (a triplet is a triplet, right? Wrong...). If I'd bought a triplet in 2013, it would not have been the same quality that I bought now, when I'm committed to the hobby and know to look for stuff like matching reducers and flatteners, quality focusers and smooth rotators, good mounting rings. 

Wow! Well done! I have never seen that. All I have seen with APO's they tend to lose about 30-40% of their value. And the acrhro's I see/have sold it was more like 50%. Premium scopes being the exception. Astro Physics scopes either hold their value or appreciate if they are rare, the more common ones take a small hit, TEC's take a small hit, and Tak's take a bigger hit.



#18 Mjcain13

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:44 PM

This all is helpful. I will say I still haven’t mastered visual. I would like to be better before going full speed into AP.

I have bought the slightly cheaper option before and have regretted it. For instance, I bought the 8SE instead of the evolution and I have come to regret it because of how poor the mount is on the 8SE.

I think I will save a bit more and get the triplet and guide scope all at once, so in two years I’m not having to buy something better. I am more worried about my asi 178 as I haven’t been too impressed with it. I managed to get some clear skis tonight, and I tried to take a picture of Venus tonight with no success.

#19 FTLAUDSKY

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 01:05 AM

Mount mount mount. Spend up for the mount. They are a pain to ship so not as easy to sell later. Buy a 72-120 apo if possible. Alternatively, ED scopes today are good and if you get a smaller one it can end up being a widefield scope or even guide scope when you get aperture fever. Guide scope and camera will be needed eventually, but you can add them once your all setup. You will also need a FF/FR for the main scope. You will also need a laptop and processing software. Astrophotography is a slippery slope and addicting. I started with a $600 budget. Upp'd it to $1000 and fast forward a few months later and I was at like $3k with a DSLR. It has never stopped and I stopped keeping track of costs. Wait till you get aperature fever (happens to everyone).


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