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Help with calcs for higher magnification cameras for LS80

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#1 statfreak

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 01:21 AM

I've been trying to figure out the best cameras to use with my scope and more importantly, to understand how to do the calculations, particularly with regard to getting a detailed zoom on an RoI. I have read several threads here and links to the calculation page everyone uses.

 

I'm also asking for folks to verify that I'm doing these calculations correctly and for any advice that comes to mind.

 

To Start:

 

My scope:

LS80, 560mm, F7
Solar diameter on a CCD sensor:  6.4mm
H-alpha critical sampling is F#/2.8.     F7/2.8 = 2.5µm  (smallest possible resolution)
6.4mm/2.5 µm = 2560 pixel minimum to capture the entire disk at native critical sampling.

 

 

For full disk, one choice would be the ASI183.

ZWO ASI183   5496x3672. Pixel size is 2.4µm.  $699.00
6.4mm/2.4µm = 2667 pixels, so the sun fits.  Excellent match to critical size, slightly oversampled. But only 19FPS in full frame. Slow frame rate should be okay for full disk. However, manufacturer states that this is not a good H-alpha camera as it exhibits a grid-pattern noise. They do state that a flat frame will help. They recommend the 1600 or the 174.

 

 

So I look at the ASI174 and it's not a match for full disk. Okay. But it's a fast imager. Soo...

 

My next step is to think about magnified images, but I am not sure how to figure out the best camera for magnified AoI detail. I did the following calculations for the ASI1600 vs ASI174.

 

Here's what I came to after trying different magnifications:

 

ZWO ASI174    1936x1216. pixel size 5.86µm. 164FPS.  $599.00  (I like the FPS)

2.25x barlow, scope becomes 1260mm F15.75. Solar disk 14.4mm. Critical = 5.625µm. Good match, slightly oversampled. Solar disk = 14.4mm/5.86µm = 2457 pixels full disk. That yields 49.49% of the disk at max height (1216 pixels). That would be about 1/4 of the sun. That seems to be a start for more detailed images.

 

ZWO ASI1600    4656x3520. Pixel size 3.8µm. 23FPS full frame.  $999.00  (slow at FF, unknown cropped)
1.5x barlow, scope becomes 840mm F10.5. Solar disk 9.6mm. Critical 3.75µm. Excellent match.
Disk 9.6mm/3.8µm = 2526. No problem for full disk. With all those pixels, is zooming a good option?...

 

 

Q1: Am I headed in the right direction here? Am I doing this right?

 

Q2: So if I have enough pixels and a good match for critical sampling on the ASI1600, which, of these choices would be better and why?

       ASI183 vs ASI1600 for full disk?

       ASI174 vs ASI1600 for magnification?

       Would either be a good choice at all for magnified RoI imaging? Should I go with the ASI1600 over the ASI183 for full disk because of the manufacturer caution? Both have slow frame rates but I'm thinking that that would be alright for full disk.

 

Q3: I guess part of what I'm wondering is if people generally digitally zoom in using fewer pixels for Areas of Interest (AoI) or if they try to find a camera/barlow/reducer combo that puts the smaller AOI on the entire sensor. If that's the case, what's the best way of going about figuring out the best camera match, considering frame rate as well?

 

Q4: Does it really matter whether the sensor size is 5.86um vs 3.8um if I match the scope's focal length to the camera? If so, why/how?


Edited by statfreak, 03 June 2020 - 01:26 AM.


#2 MalVeauX

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:39 AM

 

Q1: Am I headed in the right direction here? Am I doing this right?

 

Q2: So if I have enough pixels and a good match for critical sampling on the ASI1600, which, of these choices would be better and why?

       ASI183 vs ASI1600 for full disk?

       ASI174 vs ASI1600 for magnification?

       Would either be a good choice at all for magnified RoI imaging? Should I go with the ASI1600 over the ASI183 for full disk because of the manufacturer caution? Both have slow frame rates but I'm thinking that that would be alright for full disk.

 

Q3: I guess part of what I'm wondering is if people generally digitally zoom in using fewer pixels for Areas of Interest (AoI) or if they try to find a camera/barlow/reducer combo that puts the smaller AOI on the entire sensor. If that's the case, what's the best way of going about figuring out the best camera match, considering frame rate as well?

 

Q4: Does it really matter whether the sensor size is 5.86um vs 3.8um if I match the scope's focal length to the camera? If so, why/how?

Heya,

 

You're headed in the right direction. Recall that your blocking filter is limiter here for full discs and overall FOV, make sure you consider it (smaller obviously will not allow full discs with a larger sensor that is bigger, etc). If you're in that 10mm to 15mm diameter blocking filter range, or more, you're in good shape.

 

Keep in mind that achieving critical sampling is an attempt to get the most angular resolution possible for the wavelength, it makes the assumption that seeing is perfect and that you're at the limit of the airy disc. This is pretty much rarely the case, even with lucky imaging under great seeing conditions. My point is, while it's good to know about it, don't worry if you're not exactly there. The way it works, it's a minimum value, if critical sampling occurs at X, it's X or greater, so over-sampling still achieves it, just at the cost of light and no more resolution is gained, but at least you're not losing it potentially (well, more gain means more potential noise maybe some loss in dynamic range, etc so there is some loss in over-sampling in that way). Under-sampling loses data, but again, this all assumes perfect seeing conditions. When seeing is really poor, I wouldn't mind under-sampling a little bit to at least have something to work with. So don't stress too much. Just know where the values are and if you can get there, great, if seeing supports it, great, if not, it's ok to undersample a bit if it means getting results for that day.

 

Note, if you're imaging at critical sampling with a full disc FOV, there's no benefit to increasing magnification/zoom or whatever, you will not get more resolution. You can just crop your image to a specific detail if you want and display it. Or if you were wanting to sequence a single structure with ROI enabled just to focus on that one spot at the highest FPS possible, the resolution is still the same, the FOV changes, but resolution is the same. So no worries about using ROI and cropping or any of that. If you're at the critical sampling like these values below, there's no more resolution to gain no matter what you're doing with ROI/cropping/zooming.

 

80mm and F7 on your scope.

656nm will critical sample at F22 with 5.86um pixels

656nm will critical sample at F14.2 with 3.8um pixels

656nm will critical sample at F9 with 2.4um pixels

 

F22 and F14 are very easy for your F7 scope to achieve with a 3x or 2x barlow. F9 is much more difficult. You'd need a 1.3x, or just 1.5x (which exists) and oversample a bit.

 

So, FOV?

 

The IMX174 with your 80mm F7 at F22 will not give a full disc without mosaic. 0.39 degree x 0.24 degree. It would be a 6 panel mosaic or more. Too much risk to miss something. Not worth attempting full discs with at critical sampling. Better for just the major features. It will do a full disc, under-sampled at F7 at 1.16 degree x 0.73 degree, but its very undersampled (but will still work).

 

The IMX183 with your 80mm F7 at F7 will give a full disc with room to spare, 1.35 degree x 0.9 degree. Lots of room. A bit under-sampled. If you take it to F10.5 with a 1.5x barlow, you're still getting a full disc at 0.9 degree by 0.6 degree. This would work. That's the benefit of tiny 2.4um pixels. The issue is, as you pointed out, some people have seen grid artifact with this and ZWO themselves have posted on their forum that due to now knowing why that they don't recommend it for solar like this. The IMX178 also has this, yet they didn't say that about the IMX178 oddly. Less people are using the IMX183 because its newer. People still buy the IMX178 all the time for this though.

 

The 1600MM with your 80mm F7 at F14 will give a full disc FOV. The problem? The blocking filter! The sensor is 17.7mm x 13.4mm, the solar disc will approximately put a disc on that sensor that is 10~11 mm. So technically it will fit, but only with a 15mm blocking filter. If your blocking filter is 10mm or 12mm it may just be too small and you get vignetting. So a 15mm blocking filter will work, or larger. This would be the best match overall. Sadly the most expensive. Yes, the FPS is slower at full pixel array, but for a full disc that's ok at this image scale.

 

To answer your questions above in a summary, if you're matching image scales based on the pixel pitch, frequency (656nm) and focal-ratio at their critical sampling levels, the resolution is the same. So there's no advantage to one or the other in that way. The advantages come in the form of tech like quantum efficiency and sensitivity. When the pixels at the critical sampling image scale are equivalent the pixels are receiving approximately the relative same amount of light in a period of time, so there's no exposure advantage, but some sensors are more efficient but none of these sensors are significantly efficient enough more than another to matter. The bigger differences is FOV difference, FPS difference and all that relative to your blocking sensor size and what you're trying to do.

 

Overall, I'd go 1600MM if money isn't the issue as long as you have a 15mm blocking filter or larger. It would be the optimal setup for your kit.

 

If you have a 12mm or less blocking filter, well, otherwise, the others all have some kind of significant compromise for "doing everything" with one camera such as accepting undersampling (significant) for full discs, or risking grid artifact problems, etc.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 03 June 2020 - 07:49 AM.

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#3 statfreak

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 04:34 PM

Thank you for your help Marty. I have the B1800 so no issues there and I'm not worried about the money.

 

 

...

To answer your questions above in a summary, if you're matching image scales based on the pixel pitch, frequency (656nm) and focal-ratio at their critical sampling levels, the resolution is the same. So there's no advantage to one or the other in that way.

...

 

If I understand this correctly then there is no way to get a small portion of the sun optically onto a full sensor (optical magnification instead of digital) that will put greater detail into the image (higher pixel resolution) than I'd get with a properly matched CCD that can image the entire disk digitally cropped because I've already matched the smallest optical resolution to a single pixel. I was hoping there was a way to do this but I get it (I think).

 

Does the fact that the ASI1600 has a lot of pixels matter in potential detail loss when I'm looking for higher magnification? Again, if I understand correctly, it doesn't because each pixel is already recording the smallest optical resolution possible.

 

Do you know how fast the frame rate gets on the 1600 at different crops? 23FPS is okay for full disk but very slow. Won't I need a much higher FPS to capture small RoI details in magnified images?

 

Finally, do I need to spend the extra money for the cooled version?

 

 

 

...

 

80mm and F7 on your scope.

656nm will critical sample at F22 with 5.86um pixels

656nm will critical sample at F14.2 with 3.8um pixels

656nm will critical sample at F9 with 2.4um pixels

 

F22 and F14 are very easy for your F7 scope to achieve with a 3x or 2x barlow. F9 is much more difficult. You'd need a 1.3x, or just 1.5x (which exists) and oversample a bit.

 

...

Can you explain how you got those pixel sizes?

The simple formula F/2.8 (for 656nm) doesn't match those numbers.

 

Thanks again for all of your help.



#4 MalVeauX

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 05:10 PM

If I understand this correctly then there is no way to get a small portion of the sun optically onto a full sensor (optical magnification instead of digital) that will put greater detail into the image (higher pixel resolution) than I'd get with a properly matched CCD that can image the entire disk digitally cropped because I've already matched the smallest optical resolution to a single pixel. I was hoping there was a way to do this but I get it (I think).

 

Does the fact that the ASI1600 has a lot of pixels matter in potential detail loss when I'm looking for higher magnification? Again, if I understand correctly, it doesn't because each pixel is already recording the smallest optical resolution possible.

 

Do you know how fast the frame rate gets on the 1600 at different crops? 23FPS is okay for full disk but very slow. Won't I need a much higher FPS to capture small RoI details in magnified images?

 

Finally, do I need to spend the extra money for the cooled version?

 

Can you explain how you got those pixel sizes?

Heya,

 

Resolution is recorded within limits, the limits are your aperture (diffraction and angular resolution limits), seeing conditions and the airy disc relative to your focal ratio, the pixel pitch and the wavelength being recorded. You can magnify an image all day, but if it is beyond the critical sampling point of the relative combination of these factors, it does nothing but stretches light and dims it, no more resolution is obtained. Some systems will do this and result in a small FOV, because the image scale is course (small) and so it's common to resize them or magnify them more, but there's no increase in detail/resolution, because after the critical sampling point, there's nothing more obtained from a static system like that. If you want to increase detail and resolution, you'd have to have an increase in aperture and then also critically sample based on the new parameters. It's very common in solar photography to undersample when it comes to full disc imaging. Very, very few people are imaging full discs at the critical sampling point, which is why when you view them they are typically not something you can zoom in on via your display and appreciate finer and finer detail. They're generally captured at course image scales and under-sampled, so they can look great as a full disc, but will not hold up to magnification due to the limits of critical sampling with smaller apertures at course image scales. To create a full disc at finer image scales and higher angular resolution from larger aperture takes mosaics to perform currently due to hardware limitations, these do stand up to magnification, but require extraordinary seeing conditions over a period of time and a lot of work to combine and process naturally. When imaging the full disc at the critical sampling limit of the system, there's no more resolution to gain, even though its a full disc, so a magnified view of an area or crop of an area will be the same resolution. That said, if you're under-sampling full discs but doing critical sampled highly magnified collections, you can of course gain resolution at the limit of critical sampling there (this is more common of most people imaging that are not concerned with critical sampling a full disc).

 

Your next question, number of pixels is irrelevant to angular resolution, it merely influences FOV and data throughput.

 

I do not know the exact FPS value because your system will be the bottleneck generally; most USB buses on laptops do not operate at their peak potential. The actual FPS observed will be based on the RAM of your system receiving data from the camera, as a buffer to writing to a medium such as a HDD or a SSD or flash/RAM depending on  your setup. Lots of things can slow this down that are not because of the camera but because the system is sharing too much of the bus or cannot cope with the data throghput (this is common). That said, as you shave off pixels in the full array, data throughput will increase and it can become significant as you reduce down to a few pixels. You're comparing a large sensor (M43's size) to something much tinier (a 1" sensor or less) and when you count the pixels, it's in the millions, so as you can imagine, as you shave things down via ROI of course the data throughput is less and so FPS can be faster potentially.

 

Cooled version offers no advantage for short exposure. Cooled cameras have the advantage with long exposure as it keeps noise characteristic of a hot sensor in a more controlled setting with respect to noise. When you're using fast but short exposures, this is not going to change anything so there's actually no compelling data driven reason to use a cooled camera for this purpose other than anecdotal impulse from an end-user. You're better off shielding your camera and filters from direct sunlight regardless of what you're using. But if you want it cooled so it can double up as a night time DSO long exposure sensor, then it makes sense to get cooled if you can. For solar system in general it doesn't help anything.

 

Everyone can choose their particular approach to critical sampling. I calculate it via this approach (see the equation and reasoning) (not Nyquist): http://www.wilmslowa...tm#CCD_Sampling

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 03 June 2020 - 06:18 PM.

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#5 bigdob24

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 05:29 PM

“I'm not worried about the money”

 

Thats very important in this hobby, I’m looking forward to seeing your captures.

BD



#6 statfreak

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 07:46 PM

“I'm not worried about the money”

 

Thats very important in this hobby, I’m looking forward to seeing your captures.

BD

It's not a bottomless pit but the difference between a $600 and a $1200 camera is not an issue. Now if we're talking about $15k for a Tak or a 0.3A quantum, then.. ohhh... ummm... uh...(and so muttering, looks off into the distance.)

 

Seriously, it will be a while because I can't image where I currently live. If coronavirus issues fade then it will happen when I either move to a new location with a back yard or can set up in a park in a lengthy and leisurely manner. But I'm soaking up as much of an understanding as I can now and again, while money isn't a major concern, I don't want to make expensive mistakes buying the wrong equipment. I'm hoping the park option becomes available sooner rather than later.



#7 statfreak

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Posted 03 June 2020 - 08:02 PM

Marty, thanks again for all that information. I have an MSI GE75 raider with an i9 processor, USB 3.1 ports into 3TB of SSD, 32GB RAM and an RTX2070 full speed (desktop) video card. If this thing won't cough up the throughput, I'm not sure what would. On the flip side, it eats batteries for breakfast.

 

If I get into imaging, I would expect to buy a quark and a 150mm-ish refractor for high mag images. It's just that for the upcoming future, I want to be able to coax as much out of my LS80 as I can without going too far down the rabbit hole. It does sound like the ASI1600 would be the choice, unless there's a better one from another manufacturer that I don't know about.

 

 

 

Changing the topic, I'm eyeing either the HEQ5 or the EQ6R. Again, it's not the money, it's the weight -- and my back. Assuming that I lean towards the HEQ5, will it hold that larger 150mm scope I might buy in a couple of years? Is there a better choice out there? For example, do I really need an EQ with fast frame lucky imaging techniques? What about something like an iOptron Alt az on a "portable" pier-type mount? 


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#8 hopskipson

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 08:58 AM

I don’t think this is high jacking the topic. I’m curious about the cooled or pro version of the 183 and 1600. They mention 256 mb of on board buffering RAM. Does this help video frame rate or reduce dropped frames during capture? Also, Marty do you see the grid pattern on your 183?
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#9 MalVeauX

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 08:15 PM

I don’t think this is high jacking the topic. I’m curious about the cooled or pro version of the 183 and 1600. They mention 256 mb of on board buffering RAM. Does this help video frame rate or reduce dropped frames during capture? Also, Marty do you see the grid pattern on your 183?

I will say I have seen the grid pattern with my own IMX178 and my own IMX183. But I've also seen it vanish based on focus. I cannot explain it. I found it odd that it would show up when focus was not critically spot on. But when focus was on, it vanished usually. As for the RAM buffer, I use the IMX183 at full resolution often (lunar work, full pixel array, no ROI) and I get 25 FPS with no dropped frames on my old i5 laptop. If the USB bus is not shared and being split amongst things, the main two components that matter are RAM and write speed to disc, so SSD. The camera will unload its memory (fast RAM) to system RAM and then to disc. 256Mb is like just barely 10~11 frames of buffer, so it has to be able to handle nearly 50% load onto system RAM and being written to SSD without saturating write speed of camera RAM to system RAM to disc. Unfortunately there's no good documented advantage to a cooled version of the camera(s) for high speed FPS short exposure work (unless you pull double duty and use it for long exposure where it matters for noise properties).

 

Here's a 60mm aperture F10 solar scope with the IMX183 (original image size, not resized, nothing):

 

https://astrob.in/full/tgnlyj/0/?real=

 

But because the grid shows up sometimes, and I cannot explain it, its hard to recommend the IMX178 and IMX183 because there's no explanation right now (despite it working for me usually).

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 04 June 2020 - 08:19 PM.

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#10 hopskipson

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 10:11 PM

I will say I have seen the grid pattern with my own IMX178 and my own IMX183. But I've also seen it vanish based on focus. I cannot explain it. I found it odd that it would show up when focus was not critically spot on. But when focus was on, it vanished usually. As for the RAM buffer, I use the IMX183 at full resolution often (lunar work, full pixel array, no ROI) and I get 25 FPS with no dropped frames on my old i5 laptop. If the USB bus is not shared and being split amongst things, the main two components that matter are RAM and write speed to disc, so SSD. The camera will unload its memory (fast RAM) to system RAM and then to disc. 256Mb is like just barely 10~11 frames of buffer, so it has to be able to handle nearly 50% load onto system RAM and being written to SSD without saturating write speed of camera RAM to system RAM to disc. Unfortunately there's no good documented advantage to a cooled version of the camera(s) for high speed FPS short exposure work (unless you pull double duty and use it for long exposure where it matters for noise properties).

Here's a 60mm aperture F10 solar scope with the IMX183 (original image size, not resized, nothing):

https://astrob.in/full/tgnlyj/0/?real=

But because the grid shows up sometimes, and I cannot explain it, its hard to recommend the IMX178 and IMX183 because there's no explanation right now (despite it working for me usually).

Very best,


Thanks again for the clarification and your experience with your camera. I’m looking to get a 183 at some point and possibly doing EEA so I will be getting the cooled version.

#11 statfreak

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 10:40 PM

Changing the topic, I'm eyeing either the HEQ5 or the EQ6R. Again, it's not the money, it's the weight -- and my back. Assuming that I lean towards the HEQ5, will it hold that larger 150mm scope I might buy in a couple of years? Is there a better choice out there? For example, do I really need an EQ with fast frame lucky imaging techniques? What about something like an iOptron Alt az on a "portable" pier-type mount? 

 

So slightly hijacking my own thread, what is a good mount choice for the LS80 DS with an imager? I want the stability but weight is an issue because of my age and health. Those iOptron mounts on those low-to-the-ground pier type supports look rather cool and I've seen imagers here post pictures of gear like that. It does seem like it would be less strenuous to set up than one of the above EQs. I suppose that they would rule out 60 minute video captures but what about regular imaging? Or should I stick with the GEMs?



#12 rigel123

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 05:50 AM

So slightly hijacking my own thread, what is a good mount choice for the LS80 DS with an imager? I want the stability but weight is an issue because of my age and health. Those iOptron mounts on those low-to-the-ground pier type supports look rather cool and I've seen imagers here post pictures of gear like that. It does seem like it would be less strenuous to set up than one of the above EQs. I suppose that they would rule out 60 minute video captures but what about regular imaging? Or should I stick with the GEMs?

My iOptron CEM 25P is rated for a payload of 27 lbs and only weighs 10 lbs.  It is so much easier to handle than my Atlas which is why I got it as I’m not getting any younger either!


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#13 Volvonium

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 12:49 AM

So slightly hijacking my own thread, what is a good mount choice for the LS80 DS with an imager? I want the stability but weight is an issue because of my age and health. Those iOptron mounts on those low-to-the-ground pier type supports look rather cool and I've seen imagers here post pictures of gear like that. It does seem like it would be less strenuous to set up than one of the above EQs. I suppose that they would rule out 60 minute video captures but what about regular imaging? Or should I stick with the GEMs?

David, the iOptron alt az mounts can be good performers and my MiniTower II / Pro does a commendable job tracking the sun; I've left mine tracking the sun for a half day and it stayed within the FOV, with minimal shift in position.  With that said, I have had to do a few tweaks and adjustments to tighten my mount up to get it functioning the way I want it.  Loads of useful information in the Mounts subforum by "biz" (Graham), the resident expert on all things MiniTower and AZ Mount Pro.  Leveling and balancing is critical to getting good tracking, but I suspect that's with any GoTo mount.  

 

The older MTII/MTPro can be used with a wedge in an EQ mode, whereas the newer AZ Mount Pro loses this option...but benefits from a user friendly calibration routine, stepper motors, and a couple other changes.  These mounts seem to be highly polarizing, where many either love them or hate them. I've greatly enjoyed mine for its portability, significant weight capacity (~30lbs), and relatively simple design.  I sometimes don't even bother leveling it if I take it out for a visual session.  I successfully took my first 30 second AP exposures with an MTII a few weeks ago and I'm working towards acclimating myself with AP in order to eventually do some h-alpha imaging.  As you know, I'm very comfortable with tweaking things and experimentation, so the MTII has been a good fit for me; YMMV. 

 

There are a lot very competent EQ mounts out there that simply work without fiddling and if you are moving towards imaging, that may very well be the best option, albeit field rotation is less of an issue on solar system objects.  


Edited by Volvonium, 06 June 2020 - 12:50 AM.


#14 statfreak

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 01:47 PM

Thanks Volvonium. The simplicity and weight of those mounts was what attracted me to them and I was also thinking that field rotation might not me much of an issue with solar unless doing time lapse videos.

 

Still, the EQ mount option is probably my best choice. So it might come back to whether or not an HEQ5 is sturdy enough. It certainly is for an LS80 DS but if I get a quark and a 150mm refractor down the road, would it be enough? I don't want to have to purchase twice but I also don't want to have to deal with 77lbs of EQ6R mount weight if I don't have to.




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