Been a lurker for a while, but this is my first post to CN. Hi
So, I've long been interested in viewing celestial objects with my own eyes and also astrophotography but only recently been able to start acquiring the gear needed to do this. This includes my first telescope. I'm on a 114mm Newtonian Reflector (National Geographic-branded, but produced by Kenko). I know, I know. But it's what I could afford at the time. I got a lingering payment I've been waiting on and after doing some research have just ordered the Sky Watcher 127mm 1500mmFL Maksutov-Cassegrain and am beyond excited to receive it in a few days, but that's neither here nor there. I live smack dab in the middle of Tokyo, so the only objects visible to me are the moon, planets, and maybe 3 stars. So, a Cassegrain it is, for the time being.
Here's the deal. I understand photography very well. I earned my living from it for years. I have a good camera and I know how to use it. Well, terrestrially, anyway. I understand that photography and astrophotography are quite different beasts, just as DSO and SSO astrophotography are different beasts still. I also understand that most people choose to use webcams or webcam-like devices and stack their images using programs like AS2/3! and Registax and form their images that way. I will acquire that gear soon enough, but in the meantime, this is my setup:
Type: Newtonian Reflector
Focal Length: 500mm
State of collimation: possibly in need, but I don't fully know how to tell (I've owned it for a month, but I have to carry it around frequently to be able to use it and as I live in Tokyo and have a tiny room, I have to shift it constantly to reach my clothing)
9.7mm included-in-the-kit eyepiece
26mm included-in-the-kit eyepiece
18 dollar cheap off-brand 2X barlow lens
When I photograph the moon, I have my A7RII connected to the 2X barlow, along with its little extender tube slid into the eyepiece slot and I focus using the focus wheels of the telescope. My issue is that no matter how minutely I focus, I cannot get a clear focus on the thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm getting as clear of a focus as is possible, it just isn't enough. I have standards, y'know? When shrunk, the images look fine enough, but when expanded, it is blatantly obvious that they are blurry. I do understand that atmoshperic disturbance is one of the culprits, but I assumed that was just the oddly blurry and somewhat darker aspects along the edges. (though that could be the scope in need of collimation?) I guess my main question is: could this be due to the cheap barlow I'm using? I'm not unwilling to invest in a more expensive one, but I don't want to spend that money unless that is the actual issue. The price of everything in Japan is like 2-5 times higher, depending on the product. Scopes that cost 200 dollars in the West cost 800 here. It's insane, so it's usually cheaper for me to purchase things from the US and ship them here and pay international shipping and import tax and still get out better. I have some hope that my new MCT will be able to get a better focus, if for no other reason than being honed in closer on the objects (500mm vs 1500mm focal length).
Full resolution images of some of my photos for you to better judge the issue:
Bear in mind these images have been edited(feel free to criticize, but I've only been doing astrophotography for 3 weeks and I'll find my rhythm on the editing) all to hell and sharpened as much as can be without it being blatantly evident to the untrained eye. And yet, if you zoom in, you'll see what I'm talking about.
mmm...It's my barlow, isn't it?