So far, I've been imaging with just a canon 600D and a 300mm cheap crap telephoto lens on an iOptron skyguider pro. This setup has served me well, and I have finally produced an image I was really happy with (the horsehead/flame nebulas) after 20 hours of total exposure time from the city. I don't intend to completely replace this setup, but I have money to upgrade now and time to dedicate to learning to use a bigger mount.
As the winter milky way begins to disappear and we enter galaxy season, I want to really get in on the higher FL action. I'm thinking I will start my shopping cart with the Celestron AVX mount, as it seems a very popular but not too expensive EQ mount for imaging, and appears cheaply on the classifieds here as well. To complient this I would like a scope which is >500mm in focal length to allow me to image things that were out of reach before. There do, however seem to be a lot of options for such a scope in the $2-700 range (which is where I'd like to stay, if possible, with the cheaper being much preferred), so I thought I'd ask this wonderful forum for recommendations on telescopes that I should consider.
What do I want to use this scope to image? Hopefully:
-Globulars and tight open clusters
-Galaxies, such as m81, m101, etc, or at least groups of them like Markarian's chain or the Leo Triplet
-Other targets too small or detailed to shoot at 300mm like M27 and the Helix Nebula.
-Solar system objects/comets are on the wishlist, but very low-priority at the moment.
-I have another similar scope that I use for visual already, so this is 100% a dedicated imaging setup.
Here are some of the scopes I've found in my own research, however anything larger I could find would go over the 50% payload threshold of the AVX:
It seems that, while the newtonians can have a better price/aperture ratio, they tend to be pushing the 50% weight threshold of the 30lb. capacity of the AVX, even at only 6". Maybe refractors are the way to go, although they are more expensive and slower. Do you think I'm better off just saving up and holding off for a bigger mount/bigger refractor? Or are there other mounts in that range with a similar price point, but greater payload to handle a larger newtonian? OK, time for me to stop asking so many questions all in one thread. Thank you all in advance for helping a novice out!