Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

New To Astrophotography Equipment Setup

astrophotography beginner equipment
  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Shawn56

Shawn56

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2020

Posted 10 July 2020 - 02:22 PM

Hello Everyone, 
I am new to astrophotography, I have ha d a passion for photography and space since I was a child, and now finally find myself with the time and income to support a hobby I have always wanted to start, and share it with my kids. I have been doing a lot of research and have been putting a few different builds together but I figured it would be a good idea to reach out to the community and get some input before I pull the trigger on any purchases. Thank you in advance for anyone willing to help a newbie out! 
 

Below is the equipment I have in mind certainly open to any suggestion and feedback for any other recommended products. 

Mount: SKY-WATCHER EQ6-R PRO EQUATORIAL GO-TO MOUNT - $1,595 
 

Telescope: SKY-WATCHER 100MM ESPRIT ED TRIPLET APO REFRACTOR - $2,499

Camera: SKY-WATCHER STARLIGHT XPRESS TRIUS SX-42 MONOCHROME CAMERA KIT - $3,595.00

I also own a Sony A7RIII That I was debating using as the camera to start off with, and perhaps getting a more expensive mount for future upgrade potential. Sadly I cant find any sony adapters in stock anywhere, I would have to use a canon adapter and then a canon-sky-watcher adapter. 

Guide lens and camera - still needing recommendation 

I know the mount is an extremely important piece, so any input on the mount would be greatly appreciated. 

 



#2 bjulihn

bjulihn

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 241
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Langley, BC. Canada

Posted 10 July 2020 - 03:10 PM

Hi Shawn56;

 

Welcome to the AP Club! It looks like you are zeroing in on some nice equipment to get started. It would help if you would tell us a little more about yourself, your astronomy experience level, your interests, and your location. Are you in the city or a suburban location? Do you have a location shielded from streetlights? How accessible are darker skies locations? Will you be setting up at home mostly? Are you reasonably physically strong or is setting up a heavy mount likely to get old in a hurry? What about your imaging interests? Are you mostly thinking of DSO's (Deep Sky Objects) or are you more interested in planetary imaging?

 

The Esprit 100 should be a good focal length for starting out. You haven't said anything about purchasing a flattener or reducer/flattener. Please be aware that you will want one. The stars will be be sharp in the center but tail away toward the edges without one. I'm not sure which flatteners work well with that scope.

 

I have no personal knowledge of Trius SX-42 camera, though I did see it positively reviewed on Trevor Jones "Astro-Backyard". I believe it comes with the Lodestar guide camera and a filter wheel which is great. Just need to add filters to that combination.

 

This is a challenging and delightful journey. If you've never setup an equatorial mount before it would be helpful to find a club or someone who has for your first time out. In fact, finding a club nearby would be of immense help in getting through some of the early challenges. There is so much to learn!

 

Brad



#3 Shawn56

Shawn56

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2020

Posted 10 July 2020 - 03:32 PM

Thanks for the welcome!  

It has been about 15 years since I have done anything with astronomy, and it would be my first time using an equatorial mount, so I have an absolute ton of research ahead of me, but learning a new subject is one of the best parts of picking up a new hobby! I plan on photographing mostly DSO's, primarily nebula as they have always fascinated me and the kids. Thanks for pointing out the flattener, It completely slipped my mind. 

Currently live on the outskirts of San Antonio Texas, Bortle Class 6, but have area withing a few miles that are bortle class 2-3. I would primarily be imaging at home in the backyard. thankfully the majority of my neighbors dont' have backyard porch lights, but will still be dealing with a decent amount of light pollution. 

 

Size of the equipment should not be a major factor. but definitely need to be transportable for the times we want to get to darker skies. 

One of my main concerns is the mount, I definitely want to make sure to get the best mount for the money with the potential for upgrading.  



#4 Stargezzer

Stargezzer

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 766
  • Joined: 13 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Catalina Mountains AZ

Posted 10 July 2020 - 04:11 PM

Shawn, find a club and checkout some of the equipment options,setup procedures and operational requirements. You might look for a mentor in your area. There are a lot of pros out there and I have found most of them are very eager to help. This can be an exacting hobby and can be frustrating even to seasoned pros. Image acquisition is only the start....processing is another animal altogether Get your feet wet before you jump into the deep end of the pool.



#5 N5SE

N5SE

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 49
  • Joined: 06 May 2020

Posted 10 July 2020 - 04:31 PM

Hi Shawn,

 

In terms of astrophotography you're probably getting one of the best mounts, since its belt driven it has very low periodic error. With guiding you should achieve sub arc second periodic error.

 

You will find that to shoot a variety of targets you will require OTAs (optical tube assemblies) of various focal lengths. Obviously with reducers and barlow lenses you can vary the length of one telescope.

 

You can calculate the height and width of the captured frame with the following equation:

 

( (135.3 * Camera sensor dimensions in mm ) / Focal length of telescope ) / 25.4 = FOV in Arc minutes

 

Divide the above number gives you FOV in degrees.

 

Now astronomy tools has a nice calculator of the above that allows you to visually see various objects with your camera and telescope setup. Select imaging mode.

 

You will see with your combination it will be great for some targets (Such as the Carinae Nebula) but not the best combo for other targets (Like faint galaxies).

 

If you wanted an all round scope (if one exists) I would be aiming for a 900mm - 1200mm focal length or so. Otherwise be prepared to get several scopes.

 

-N5SE


Edited by N5SE, 10 July 2020 - 04:32 PM.

  • Shawn56 likes this

#6 aaube

aaube

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 354
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Trois-Rivieres, Canada

Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:18 PM

You have chosen a great setup.  The Esprit 100 is a good match for the eq6, fairly light and wide.  A forgiving combinaison.

Good choice too with the Camera.  Great combo with the wheel and the oag, it will be a treat.

 

It looks like you have done a lot of reading/research so what follows, you probably have already seen.

Here goes anyway;

 

-While the Esprit is a good scope, i did find it dovetail bar to be lacking.  It's too short and i did not like

the way it fitted in the saddle.  Replacing it could be a good idea.

-If you ever want to automate focusing, or at least make it so you don't have to touch the scope, the Esprit's focuser is a good one,

just put a motor on it and you're good to go.

-Not sure about dew in your area, in mine it's a must, so a dew strip might be needed.

-as a follow up to the last item, if a dew strip is needed, the controller that drives it could be replaced by

a Power Box.  They have several versions.  These things makes power management and wiring a breeze

and it makes for a tidier system.  Expensive but a big plus if you go portable.

-last but not least, filters...  Your choice of camera speaks for itself.

The only thing i could tell you is that If your budget allows, get a good set from the start.

It will hurt only once!

 

Regards,

 

Alain

 


  • Shawn56 likes this

#7 Shawn56

Shawn56

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2020

Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:26 PM

You have chosen a great setup.  The Esprit 100 is a good match for the eq6, fairly light and wide.  A forgiving combinaison.

Good choice too with the Camera.  Great combo with the wheel and the oag, it will be a treat.

 

It looks like you have done a lot of reading/research so what follows, you probably have already seen.

Here goes anyway;

 

-While the Esprit is a good scope, i did find it dovetail bar to be lacking.  It's too short and i did not like

the way it fitted in the saddle.  Replacing it could be a good idea.

-If you ever want to automate focusing, or at least make it so you don't have to touch the scope, the Esprit's focuser is a good one,

just put a motor on it and you're good to go.

-Not sure about dew in your area, in mine it's a must, so a dew strip might be needed.

-as a follow up to the last item, if a dew strip is needed, the controller that drives it could be replaced by

a Power Box.  They have several versions.  These things makes power management and wiring a breeze

and it makes for a tidier system.  Expensive but a big plus if you go portable.

-last but not least, filters...  Your choice of camera speaks for itself.

The only thing i could tell you is that If your budget allows, get a good set from the start.

It will hurt only once!

 

Regards,

 

Alain

Thank you for all the tips, and definitely for the focuser. I was going to manually focus, but an autofocuser for less than $400 seems like it will save a lot of time/sanity. Added one to the list, sadly looks like all the ones for the esprit line are sold out everywhere. 



#8 idclimber

idclimber

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 757
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2016
  • Loc: McCall Idaho

Posted 11 July 2020 - 01:16 AM

You might want to give Optec a call. I believe this model will fit on your scope. Their focusers are a bit more expensive than some, but they are really nice one piece units. They also allow you to manually focus if you desire. 

 

https://optecinc.us/products/19988



#9 Phil Sherman

Phil Sherman

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,224
  • Joined: 07 Dec 2010
  • Loc: Cleveland, Ohio

Posted 11 July 2020 - 04:02 PM

"ImagesPlus", now a free download from Mike Unsold's web site, will give you a good start with image processing. There's also a lot of videos on his site describing how to use many of the image processing features of the program.

 

An old but great book I used to learn about astrophotography is Ron Wodowski's "The new CCD Astronomy". It may still be available in print form and I believe that Ron still has it available as an e-book from his web site. The sections on using specific programs are definitely obselete but the rest of the information in the book is still relevant.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: astrophotography, beginner, equipment



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics