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My set up, and questions for improvement

astrophotography beginner dslr
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#1 WahooMike

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 06:22 PM

Hello all!

 

AP Newbie here. LOL. Wanted to get some feedback from everyone before continuing to improve my set up. Much of what I have I had already purchased to shoot professional sports photography, my bread and butter for the past 24 years. For those with solid experience, please let me know if I'm on the right track, or if I need to switch gears. Here's the list of my current equipment, and some future considerations.

 

CURRENT EQUIP- Stuff I already had.

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - APS-H crop sensor (1.3) - the only real drawback to this body is the size and weight. 
  • Manfrotto Tripod 3021BN with 3-way pan/tilt head, quick release.
  • Canon 85mm f/1.8.
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.
  • Macbook Pro Retina (2012 version).

CURRENT EQUIP - Stuff I recently purchased for AP.

  • Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • Rokinon 14mm f/2.8
  • iOptron Skyguider Pro w/ iPolar Electronic Polar Scope.
  • William Optics Alt/Az Mount (to replace the SkyGuider Pro's cheap plastic version).

CONSIDERING - Comments/Suggestions welcome.

  • William Optics Redcat 51, Updated Version (by end of year).
  • Canon EOS Ra (probably after the new year).
  • Used Windows 10 Laptop (because iOptron apparently can't get their iPolar software to work well with MacOS).

(1) I believe my current Canon will do an excellent job until I can afford to move into full frame/mirrorless, dedicated Astro camera.

 

(2) I've heard the Redcat 51 is an excellent option for the 250mm range (325mm with my crop sensor). Thoughts?

 

(3) My biggest concern is installing the iPolar Electronic Polar Scope to the Skyguider Pro. Anyone here have experience with using this setup? Is the polar alignment accuracy worth it? I still have to install it, and probably pick up a Windows 10 laptop real cheap just to run the software, because I've heard they still have problems with their MacOS polar alignment software.

 

Thanks for your help and guidance

 

Clear skies!

 

Mike

 

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#2 t-ara-fan

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 06:53 PM

Looks like a good setup.

 

  • The 1D MK IV is getting a little old, but not too bad. Newer sensors have less noise.
  • Put the ALT/AZ base of the tracker right on the tripod. Get rid of the 3-way pan/tilt head.
  • You have a great set of lenses.  The RedCat has a 250mm FL is is 2 stops slower than your 200mm telephoto lens. Not much point in buying that IMHO.
  • The Win10 laptop will let you run iPolar and your choise of APT or BackyardEOS. Those a great programs that let you focus looking at your laptop screen, and acts like an intervalometer to take your photos.

 

I recommend getting some kind of dew control. Either a couple of pocket warms tied to the lens with rubber bands, or an actual electronic dew heater strap.

 

I am sure you know the value of spare batteries and memory cards.

 

If you buy a used laptop, pay attention to the battery life if you will use the battery.  Six hours would be nice. Do you take photos where there is AC power so you can charge the laptop?

 

A red dot finder that attaches to your hotshoe is very very handy.  It is surprisingly hard to point a telephoto lens at an astronomical target.  You can start at 70mm, find your target, then zoom in. You have to refocus if you change the zoom.


Edited by t-ara-fan, 01 August 2020 - 06:56 PM.

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#3 futuneral

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 07:08 PM

What is that little gremlin in the back?! :)

 

Re the setup - if at all possible, I'd remove that sophisticated head from the tripod and installed the tracker directly on to it. It just adds to potential flexture and wobbling and serves no real purpose in this setup. 

One additional accessory that could be useful is a heavy duty ball head you can mount on top of the tracker if you decide to do some wide-angle / nightscape images. It'll allow you to level the horizon.


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#4 WahooMike

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 07:54 PM

Looks like a good setup.

 

  • The 1D MK IV is getting a little old, but not too bad. Newer sensors have less noise.
  • Put the ALT/AZ base of the tracker right on the tripod. Get rid of the 3-way pan/tilt head.
  • You have a great set of lenses.  The RedCat has a 250mm FL is is 2 stops slower than your 200mm telephoto lens. Not much point in buying that IMHO.
  • The Win10 laptop will let you run iPolar and your choise of APT or BackyardEOS. Those a great programs that let you focus looking at your laptop screen, and acts like an intervalometer to take your photos.

 

I recommend getting some kind of dew control. Either a couple of pocket warms tied to the lens with rubber bands, or an actual electronic dew heater strap.

 

I am sure you know the value of spare batteries and memory cards.

 

If you buy a used laptop, pay attention to the battery life if you will use the battery.  Six hours would be nice. Do you take photos where there is AC power so you can charge the laptop?

 

A red dot finder that attaches to your hotshoe is very very handy.  It is surprisingly hard to point a telephoto lens at an astronomical target.  You can start at 70mm, find your target, then zoom in. You have to refocus if you change the zoom.

 

Thanks so much for the insight.

 

I could remove the pan-tilt head, but should I? Hear me out. The great thing about that head is that it's just as stable as not having one, and it already has two levels built into the head and a hex quick release plate with 3/8 inch screw. The William Optics head is perfect for fine tuning the polar alignment. But the pan/tilt head allows me to level the mount and rotate the head a little more without moving the entire tripod or messing with the length of the tripod legs. Knowing that, would you still consider removing the pan-tilt? If the concern is stability, that pan-tilt head is extremely stable - all steel construction. When it's tightened down, it's not moving. It's made for large videography set ups.

 

I have an electronic dew heater strap and dew shield already for my Celestron SCT, so I can just use those. As for battery power, I have the Celestron Power Tank that gives me every kind of power connection and all the power I would need. I've got more memory cards then I'll ever need. 

 

Even though my 70-200 has a higher aperture, I've heard that the Redcat 51 achieves a much sharper image as it's a refractor telescope made specifically for this kind of imaging. And a prime lens is always better than a zoom, regardless of aperture. Just for a moment, let's pretend I don't have a 70-200mm. Would the Redcat 51 be a good addition to my set up? The Redcat will get me 325mm with the EOS-1D as opposed to a maximum of 260mm with the zoom lens. I do have a 2x extender, but that's a lot of extra glass and doubles the f-stop. Maybe it could be used with the zoom to get a maximum of 520mm at f/5.6, but I wonder how clean those images would actually be since it's not prime. I'll certainly give it a try. It's going to be a few months before I can consider the Redcat, anyway.

 

Lastly, I didn't mention that I have a remote shutter release and tripod vibration pads. Got the vibration pads for the SCT, but they're just as useful for the DSLR set up.

 

Thank you so much for replying and providing some insight.

 

Clear skies!

 

Mike



#5 44maurer

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:09 PM

The Canon Ra is pretty expensive, I’m not familiar with it, but have you considered a cooled CMOS camera?


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#6 WahooMike

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:10 PM

What is that little gremlin in the back?! smile.gif

 

Re the setup - if at all possible, I'd remove that sophisticated head from the tripod and installed the tracker directly on to it. It just adds to potential flexture and wobbling and serves no real purpose in this setup. 

One additional accessory that could be useful is a heavy duty ball head you can mount on top of the tracker if you decide to do some wide-angle / nightscape images. It'll allow you to level the horizon.

Hahaha. That little Gremlin in the back is just a little Chihuahua statue. I have a real Chihuahua somewhere, probably sleeping in one of his four beds.

 

The one thing I do like about that pan-tilt head is that it has a hex quick release plate and two levels that can get the mount precisely leveled, regardless of terrain. As for concern with wobble or flex, it's extremely sturdy. It's made for large video equipment, so when it's tightened down, it's not moving anywhere. I like the ability to rotate the head horizontally without rotating the entire tripod. 

 

I like your idea about the ball head. I'm looking into that, specifically when I do only wide angle stuff. 

 

Thank you!

 

Mike


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#7 kyle528

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:13 PM

Thanks so much for the insight.

 

I could remove the pan-tilt head, but should I? Hear me out. The great thing about that head is that it's just as stable as not having one, and it already has two levels built into the head and a hex quick release plate with 3/8 inch screw. The William Optics head is perfect for fine tuning the polar alignment. But the pan/tilt head allows me to level the mount and rotate the head a little more without moving the entire tripod or messing with the length of the tripod legs. Knowing that, would you still consider removing the pan-tilt? If the concern is stability, that pan-tilt head is extremely stable - all steel construction. When it's tightened down, it's not moving. It's made for large videography set ups.

 

I have an electronic dew heater strap and dew shield already for my Celestron SCT, so I can just use those. As for battery power, I have the Celestron Power Tank that gives me every kind of power connection and all the power I would need. I've got more memory cards then I'll ever need. 

 

Even though my 70-200 has a higher aperture, I've heard that the Redcat 51 achieves a much sharper image as it's a refractor telescope made specifically for this kind of imaging. And a prime lens is always better than a zoom, regardless of aperture. Just for a moment, let's pretend I don't have a 70-200mm. Would the Redcat 51 be a good addition to my set up? The Redcat will get me 325mm with the EOS-1D as opposed to a maximum of 260mm with the zoom lens. I do have a 2x extender, but that's a lot of extra glass and doubles the f-stop. Maybe it could be used with the zoom to get a maximum of 520mm at f/5.6, but I wonder how clean those images would actually be since it's not prime. I'll certainly give it a try. It's going to be a few months before I can consider the Redcat, anyway.

 

Lastly, I didn't mention that I have a remote shutter release and tripod vibration pads. Got the vibration pads for the SCT, but they're just as useful for the DSLR set up.

 

Thank you so much for replying and providing some insight.

 

Clear skies!

 

Mike

In reality, it might not matter all that much at the focal lengths you have, but rest assured it is indeed moving. Flexure can be tough to understand and diagnose sometimes, the things you would think would never move, do. And often times much more than you would think. When your camera is at 0 degrees (straight up with counterweight pointed down) that head will be flexing differently than when the camera is at 90 degrees. When we are talking about tracking a target accurately onto a single pixel, the most minute movement makes a big difference. Try it with the pan head, try it without, see if it makes a difference. I would imagine that you'll see an improvement by ditching it, but in the grand scheme of things, with a small setup like this, there may be no noticeable difference.  Also, you don't need to get too carried away with leveling the mount. You want it reasonably level for stability obviously, but level doesn't affect the tracking accuracy of an equatorial mount. 


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#8 idclimber

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:22 PM

Instead of getting another laptop you could look for one of the Windows mini computers. Then you remote into it with your current laptop. This is especially nice if you let the system collect photons while going inside or to sleep. 


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#9 WahooMike

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:55 PM

In reality, it might not matter all that much at the focal lengths you have, but rest assured it is indeed moving. Flexure can be tough to understand and diagnose sometimes, the things you would think would never move, do. And often times much more than you would think. When your camera is at 0 degrees (straight up with counterweight pointed down) that head will be flexing differently than when the camera is at 90 degrees. When we are talking about tracking a target accurately onto a single pixel, the most minute movement makes a big difference. Try it with the pan head, try it without, see if it makes a difference. I would imagine that you'll see an improvement by ditching it, but in the grand scheme of things, with a small setup like this, there may be no noticeable difference.  Also, you don't need to get too carried away with leveling the mount. You want it reasonably level for stability obviously, but level doesn't affect the tracking accuracy of an equatorial mount. 

Thanks, I greatly appreciate the input. I might just need to get another tripod so I can have use pan/tilt and quick release for other camera operations. It's quite handy for setting up landscape shots and non-guided shorter exposure shots like a comet, or quick wide angle night sky images of 30 seconds or less.


Edited by WahooMike, 01 August 2020 - 08:56 PM.


#10 44maurer

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:19 PM

The tripod ioptron sells for this is pretty nice and fairly compact.


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#11 WahooMike

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:25 PM

The tripod ioptron sells for this is pretty nice and fairly compact.

 

Are you referring to the $80 version, 1.25" legs? Or the $200 1.75" legs? I think my Manfrotto is 1.25", but it's stable as a rock. It's steel, not carbon fiber like some other portable tripods. I've heard to stick with steel, even though it's heavier. I don't plan on backpacking too far when doing this stuff.

 

Thank you!



#12 44maurer

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:39 PM

Are you referring to the $80 version, 1.25" legs? Or the $200 1.75" legs? I think my Manfrotto is 1.25", but it's stable as a rock. It's steel, not carbon fiber like some other portable tripods. I've heard to stick with steel, even though it's heavier. I don't plan on backpacking too far when doing this stuff.

 

Thank you!

Neither, this is the one that I purchased.  I was trying to stay compact in this setup. https://www.highpoin...m25-mounts-3501



#13 awong101

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:24 PM

Thanks so much for the insight.

 

I could remove the pan-tilt head, but should I? Hear me out. The great thing about that head is that it's just as stable as not having one, and it already has two levels built into the head and a hex quick release plate with 3/8 inch screw. The William Optics head is perfect for fine tuning the polar alignment. But the pan/tilt head allows me to level the mount and rotate the head a little more without moving the entire tripod or messing with the length of the tripod legs. Knowing that, would you still consider removing the pan-tilt? If the concern is stability, that pan-tilt head is extremely stable - all steel construction. When it's tightened down, it's not moving. It's made for large videography set ups.

 

I have an electronic dew heater strap and dew shield already for my Celestron SCT, so I can just use those. As for battery power, I have the Celestron Power Tank that gives me every kind of power connection and all the power I would need. I've got more memory cards then I'll ever need. 

 

Even though my 70-200 has a higher aperture, I've heard that the Redcat 51 achieves a much sharper image as it's a refractor telescope made specifically for this kind of imaging. And a prime lens is always better than a zoom, regardless of aperture. Just for a moment, let's pretend I don't have a 70-200mm. Would the Redcat 51 be a good addition to my set up? The Redcat will get me 325mm with the EOS-1D as opposed to a maximum of 260mm with the zoom lens. I do have a 2x extender, but that's a lot of extra glass and doubles the f-stop. Maybe it could be used with the zoom to get a maximum of 520mm at f/5.6, but I wonder how clean those images would actually be since it's not prime. I'll certainly give it a try. It's going to be a few months before I can consider the Redcat, anyway.

 

Lastly, I didn't mention that I have a remote shutter release and tripod vibration pads. Got the vibration pads for the SCT, but they're just as useful for the DSLR set up.

 

Thank you so much for replying and providing some insight.

 

Clear skies!

 

Mike

Following this thread because I am learning to get into astrophotography myself, only that I am starting with far less equipment than you so it sort of gives me a blank canvas as far as equipment is concerned.

 

I've been reading which lens are good for astrophotography. I don't think I'm ready for an actual telescope yet. Instead of your 70-200mm f/2.8, I decided to go with the Rokinon 135mm f/2.0. My goal is to improve my skills and eventually get something like a Redcat (I think our paths are very similar).

 

I picked the Rokinon 135mm f/2.0 because it appears to be one of the most popular lens out there, and its gotten great reviews!

 

So, instead of your 70-200mm f/2.8, I'm splitting that into:

Rokinon 135mm f/2.0

William Optics Redcat 51 (towards the end of the year hopefully) 


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#14 44maurer

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 11:57 PM

Neither, this is the one that I purchased.  I was trying to stay compact in this setup. https://www.highpoin...m25-mounts-3501

This is without extending...the tripod is 18”, fully extended is 28”

40936C65 DC85 483D B059 4B29251899F9

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#15 futuneral

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 03:30 AM

This is without extending...the tripod is 18”, fully extended is 28”

Wait, I wanna know more about that contraption behind the camera. Is that a cooler?



#16 44maurer

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 09:46 AM

Wait, I wanna know more about that contraption behind the camera. Is that a cooler?

Yes, l bought it from another CN’er https://www.cloudyni...ler-with-cable/

 

Last night was the first time I tried it out. I’ve not checked out the pix yet, but it was indicating cooling to -12 and was pretty hot out last night.


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#17 WahooMike

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 12:02 PM

This is without extending...the tripod is 18”, fully extended is 28”

Gotcha. Thanks. I was about to ask about that cooler as well, but saw your response above. Does that help keep the sensor inside the camera cooler? Does it help at all with hot pixels?

 

I actually had to switch my counterweight bracket the other direction to get more head clearance for my larger camera. I'm set up more like Trevor from AstroBackyard, and many others. I do like that configuration better as I don't use a ball head and it helps prevent interference with the screws when rotating the DEC mounting plate and DEC bracket. Peter Zelinka describes the issue in this video at the 1:45 minute mark (https://youtu.be/298oVKdi278?t=101). Sure, the camera has a lower center of gravity with the short end at the top, but does it really matter as long as counterweight is balanced? Trevor (Astrobackyard) doesn't seem to have an issue with the long end being 'up'. Even iOptron has an instruction video showing to install with long side up. 

 

Was there any particular reason why you chose the short end? With a ball mount maybe it makes more sense that way. Without a ball mount, I kind of like using the longer end to get a lot more clearance with rotation.

 

Mike



#18 WahooMike

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 12:32 PM

Following this thread because I am learning to get into astrophotography myself, only that I am starting with far less equipment than you so it sort of gives me a blank canvas as far as equipment is concerned.

 

I've been reading which lens are good for astrophotography. I don't think I'm ready for an actual telescope yet. Instead of your 70-200mm f/2.8, I decided to go with the Rokinon 135mm f/2.0. My goal is to improve my skills and eventually get something like a Redcat (I think our paths are very similar).

 

I picked the Rokinon 135mm f/2.0 because it appears to be one of the most popular lens out there, and its gotten great reviews!

 

So, instead of your 70-200mm f/2.8, I'm splitting that into:

Rokinon 135mm f/2.0

William Optics Redcat 51 (towards the end of the year hopefully) 

Rokinon is a popular and cost effective lens for this kind of work. The drawback is that it doesn't communicate with the Canon for aperture settings - it's straight up manual all the way around. I chose the 14mm because I did not have a wide angle lens as of yet, and at the moment I can't really afford the more expensive Canon versions.

 

My next wide angle lens will probably be either the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II (prime) or the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II (zoom). The former would be great because of the high aperture. But the latter gives me something I can use for sporting events as well, and a lens I've honestly needed for over two decades - and it's autofocus, which is necessary for event photography. Both are around $1,500 each, so it's either one or the other - not both.

 

This AP hobby is going to get quite expensive; $750 for the Redcat 51, $2,500 for the EOS Ra Full Frame Mirrorless camera, and another $1,500 for an additional wide angle lens. 

 

Good luck in your journey.


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#19 kyle528

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 01:32 PM

Rokinon is a popular and cost effective lens for this kind of work. The drawback is that it doesn't communicate with the Canon for aperture settings - it's straight up manual all the way around. I chose the 14mm because I did not have a wide angle lens as of yet, and at the moment I can't really afford the more expensive Canon versions.

My next wide angle lens will probably be either the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II (prime) or the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II (zoom). The former would be great because of the high aperture. But the latter gives me something I can use for sporting events as well, and a lens I've honestly needed for over two decades - and it's autofocus, which is necessary for event photography. Both are around $1,500 each, so it's either one or the other - not both.

This AP hobby is going to get quite expensive; $750 for the Redcat 51, $2,500 for the EOS Ra Full Frame Mirrorless camera, and another $1,500 for an additional wide angle lens.

Good luck in your journey.


Any particular reason you’re set on the RA? I try my best to avoid the starting the whole “this is better than that” conversation, but if AP is your goal, the RA really misses a few key points for AP. Not having set point cooling is a major game changer, and not saving files as FITS is a drawback too. I’m all for starting out with a dslr, but I don’t think the RA is worth anything near $2500 for AP. Now, if daytime photography is your thing, that may be a whole different story, I know very little about daytime photography needs.

My 2¢


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#20 awong101

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 02:25 PM

Rokinon is a popular and cost effective lens for this kind of work. The drawback is that it doesn't communicate with the Canon for aperture settings - it's straight up manual all the way around. I chose the 14mm because I did not have a wide angle lens as of yet, and at the moment I can't really afford the more expensive Canon versions.

I might be weird, but I actually like the full manual controls on the Rokinon's, even my 14mm f/2.8 has the manual aperture control. Haha, I really do like that.

 

I read that the Canon's 135mm is not anywhere as sharp and the picture quality suffers greatly compared to the Rokinon's 135mm.

 

If you're still interested in the Canon 135mm... I wish you luck here smile.gif

 

https://www.ebay.com...VsAAOSwsq5fHyP6

 

Astrophotography is expensive, that's why for now I am going to re-use my old Canon T2i and an old Dolica tripod, and I'm buying used lenses for now.


Edited by awong101, 02 August 2020 - 02:38 PM.


#21 WahooMike

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 05:04 PM

I might be weird, but I actually like the full manual controls on the Rokinon's, even my 14mm f/2.8 has the manual aperture control. Haha, I really do like that.

 

I read that the Canon's 135mm is not anywhere as sharp and the picture quality suffers greatly compared to the Rokinon's 135mm.

 

If you're still interested in the Canon 135mm... I wish you luck here smile.gif

 

https://www.ebay.com...VsAAOSwsq5fHyP6

 

Astrophotography is expensive, that's why for now I am going to re-use my old Canon T2i and an old Dolica tripod, and I'm buying used lenses for now.

 

I think you may have misunderstood. I am not in the market for a Canon 135mm. The poster I responded to has a Rokinon 135mm. I have a 70-200mm Canon already, so the 135 would just be redundant. I was telling him that I chose the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 wide angle because I could not afford the Canon 14mm wide angle. Because Rokinon doesn't talk to the Canon body, there's no aperture information in the camera data results. The main reason I like Canon over Rokinon is that I like being able to see all of the image data after the shot, so I can learn from what works and what does not.

 

I am eventually going to get the Canon 24-70mm as a nice wide angle to midrange option, but that's mainly for when I shoot sporting events and other events like concerts or weddings. And since I already have a Canon 50mm and Canon 85mm (both prime, both f/1.8), the 24-70mm isn't necessary for AP, but it's nice to have in the bag.

 

I want to eventually get the Redcat 51 for deeper sky images (250mm equates to 325mm with my crop sensor). 


Edited by WahooMike, 02 August 2020 - 05:07 PM.


#22 WahooMike

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 05:10 PM

Any particular reason you’re set on the RA? I try my best to avoid the starting the whole “this is better than that” conversation, but if AP is your goal, the RA really misses a few key points for AP. Not having set point cooling is a major game changer, and not saving files as FITS is a drawback too. I’m all for starting out with a dslr, but I don’t think the RA is worth anything near $2500 for AP. Now, if daytime photography is your thing, that may be a whole different story, I know very little about daytime photography needs.

My 2¢

 

The reason I was considering the EOS Ra is that it is already Astro ready, which brings in more of those Ha rays for better reds when shooting nebulae. My EOS1D Mark IV is a good camera overall, but it's heavier, older, and I need it for sports, which means I cannot have it converted to Astro. But, long before I drop $2,500 on a new camera body, I'm going to strongly consider CCD. How many EOS camera bodies does one man need? [answer: all of them, lol]

 

When you say avoid another DSLR, are you suggesting to just invest that money into a good CCD camera? I'm leaning that direction after reading more and more on this. What would you recommend? ZWO, or some other brand? What are your thoughts on this one? https://www.highpoin...mera-asi294mc-p

 

Connect something like this straight to the Redcat51 on the Skyguider Pro? It would work great on my Celestron SCT as well, but I still need a larger equatorial mount for that unit. Thoughts?


Edited by WahooMike, 02 August 2020 - 05:11 PM.


#23 44maurer

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 05:23 PM

Gotcha. Thanks. I was about to ask about that cooler as well, but saw your response above. Does that help keep the sensor inside the camera cooler? Does it help at all with hot pixels?

 

I actually had to switch my counterweight bracket the other direction to get more head clearance for my larger camera. I'm set up more like Trevor from AstroBackyard, and many others. I do like that configuration better as I don't use a ball head and it helps prevent interference with the screws when rotating the DEC mounting plate and DEC bracket. Peter Zelinka describes the issue in this video at the 1:45 minute mark (https://youtu.be/298oVKdi278?t=101). Sure, the camera has a lower center of gravity with the short end at the top, but does it really matter as long as counterweight is balanced? Trevor (Astrobackyard) doesn't seem to have an issue with the long end being 'up'. Even iOptron has an instruction video showing to install with long side up. 

 

Was there any particular reason why you chose the short end? With a ball mount maybe it makes more sense that way. Without a ball mount, I kind of like using the longer end to get a lot more clearance with rotation.

 

Mike

My test last night wasn’t a very good test, I was only getting10 second exposures without blowing out my images. Tonight I’ll throw in an Ha filter and will get some longer exposures.  It does appear to be cooling it tho. 
 

I chose this configuration due to the need to have the counter weight out further (prior to the extension). Also, I believe the polar scope is right side up, so just stuck with it.



#24 kyle528

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 05:36 PM

The reason I was considering the EOS Ra is that it is already Astro ready, which brings in more of those Ha rays for better reds when shooting nebulae. My EOS1D Mark IV is a good camera overall, but it's heavier, older, and I need it for sports, which means I cannot have it converted to Astro. But, long before I drop $2,500 on a new camera body, I'm going to strongly consider CCD. How many EOS camera bodies does one man need? [answer: all of them, lol]

 

When you say avoid another DSLR, are you suggesting to just invest that money into a good CCD camera? I'm leaning that direction after reading more and more on this. What would you recommend? ZWO, or some other brand? What are your thoughts on this one? https://www.highpoin...mera-asi294mc-p

 

Connect something like this straight to the Redcat51 on the Skyguider Pro? It would work great on my Celestron SCT as well, but I still need a larger equatorial mount for that unit. Thoughts?

If AP is a long-term goal, I would absolutely suggest skipping a new dslr and going with a dedicated astro camera. If it's something you aren't sure about yet, you can use the camera you have, or find a newer cheap dslr body. A lot of folks including myself started with a t3i body we already had, and decent results can be had with it. I will say, however, that it only took a couple months to see that a dslr had some serious drawbacks when used for DSO AP, number one being the cooling. They just aren't made for this purpose. In my eyes, the only thing the canon ra has going for it is a bit of extra sensitivity in HA, but it's not an astro camera (not at all bashing canon here, I still have, use and like my t3i). But for $2500, you can buy a dedicated astro camera and a small scope. I would not recommend the 294 with the redcat due to the resulting image scale of nearly 4 arcsec/pixel, which is pretty undersampled. You'll find most folks recommend staying under 2. This https://www.highpoin...mera-asi183mc-p comes to mind and when paired with the redcat gives a nice image scale of just under 2"/px. If emission nebulae are something you plan to image a lot of, mono+filters will be a better option for you, while still allowing for broadband imaging, which is a bit easier and cleaner than with an OSC camera. 



#25 Phil Sherman

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 06:35 PM

............

I want to eventually get the Redcat 51 for deeper sky images (250mm equates to 325mm with my crop sensor). 

While this statement is true, it's not quite the same for astro imaging as for terrestrial photography. For terrestrial photography, the APS-C sensor causes an effective multiplication of the focal length because we look at the included angle (left to right for a horizontal image) of what is recorded by the imaging chip. For astro imaging, the critical factor is more often considered to be arcsec/pixel. This measurement is a function of the lens focal length and the pixel size. The size of the sensor is irrevelant for this calculation. The sensor size does become a factor when imaging extended objects. The larger sensor will record more of the sky but it will not effect the arcsec/pixel resolution. A larger sensor places a higher demand on the telescope's image quality to support the required larger imaging circle. Telescopes having a high quality imaging circle large enough to cover a full sized sensor are usually much more expensive than ones that only cover an APS-C sensor. Astro imaging of large extended objects is usually done using multiple images and putting them together as a mosaic.

 

I'd also recommend you download the now free "ImagesPlus" from Mike Unsold's web site. You'll need a Windows environment to run it but it supplies all of the necessary pre and post processing facilities you'll need. With the exception of the latest Canon cameras, it will also directly handle Canon's RAW files. Mike also has usage videos available on the site.




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