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Crawl, Walk, Run -- Help Me Spend Money

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#1 Pequod

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 12:31 PM

Hi folks. Returning to this hobby after a 20 year hiatus, having recently relocated from light polluted DC to Bortle 4'ish skies with ready access to even darker skies within 30 minutes in nearby Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, or a bit further in West Virginia. My prior experience is all visual using a Dob. Planning to buy all new equipment other than some eyepieces I already have. My budget is $5k'ish -- a bit flexible depending on my spousal negotiating powers. Main things is I don't want to blow $5k foolishly with regrets, hence an incremental plan:

 

Crawl: Get a mount I can grow into. Buy an OTA I can use for visual and basic astrophotography. For the mount, I'm thinking ~$1500 Orion Atlas EQ-G or Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro (other suggestions?). For the OTA -- open to suggestions. I *don't* have a DSLR, so open to suggestions on that vs. a dedicated mono camera. Add a guidescope and autoguider that I can use with an upgraded scope later. Dewstraps, what else?

 

Walk: Upgrade the OTA to something like a Sky-Watcher EvoStar 120 or Esprit 100 or 120. Reuse the mount, guidescope, and imager if possible.

 

Run: No idea yet. Let experience and spousal negotiating skills be my guide.

 

Thoughts? Recommendations? Suggestions? 

 



#2 SilverLitz

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 12:53 PM

Astrophotography Gear ($5K Budget)
I would 1st research the AP targets you are interested in; note the wide range of sizes of these targets and make sure these are visible at your location, with altitudes of >30deg.  With this info, you will find out that no one setup can fit all of these targets.  For DSOs, I break down in approx. 3 sizes: Small: most galaxies (M51, 11'x6'); Medium: most nebulas (M42, 90'x60'); Large: M31 (180'x40'), North American + Pelican Nebulas (120'x120'), Cygnus Loop (180'x180').  Planets are much smaller.

 

Then, investigate your locations sky conditions; how dark is it?  (Bortle Scale); what are the typical seeing conditions? (arc-sec, see Meteoblue.com).  Seeing conditions will greatly impact how much detail you can achieve.  Darker skies will make RGB imaging more doable, allow longer exposure times (before sky fog clips your histogram), and allows good images with fewer hours of integration.  Urban and a lot suburban skies will make imaging in narrowband, with a mono camera and filterwheel, a necessity.

 

Field of View (FoV, framing composition in X by Y arc-min) and image-scale (measure of detail in arc-sec/pixel) are achieved by the combination of focal length and aperture of the telescope and sensor size and pixel pitch of the camera.  Wider FoV can be achieved by a larger sensor or shorter FL scope with larger image circle.  Image detail can be achieved by smaller pixels or longer scope FL; all things being equal, larger scope aperture can resolve finer detail (Dawes Limit).  F-ratio (FL/aperture) determines the length of the exposure time; low f/ is "faster", allowing shorter exposures for the same light gathering.

 

The one thing that is important all AP targets is a good mount, though it becomes more critical and expensive for shooting your small targets, with long FL and heavy scopes and highly detailed image scales.  At this budget, I recommend a SW EQ6R-Pro ($1595, $1345 Sale), a very good budget mount w/ 44# rating.  To get better you would pay much more for Losmandy G11 (what I got) or iOptron CEM60 (or newer CEM70), which have higher 60# rating and lower periodic error.  These are also high value mounts, but cost $3K to $4K.

 

For more budgetary constrained mount options, the advice to "put your money where your mount is" is very good advice.  Another good rule of thumb is to keep your total load at 50% of manufacturer’s stated, though Losmandy's loads are supposedly for AP (but I would still haircut it).  The normal budget picks are SW HEQ5 (or Orion Sirius twin) or iOptron CEM40, or for very light imaging loads, the iOptron CEM25.  The widely available budget mount, Celestron AVX, seems to have serious problems (lack of bearings on DEC), though few have gotten “lucky” with a unit that performs OK.  ES has a couple of decent low priced mounts for the seriously budgetary challenged, the EXOS2GT (PMC-8 version) and iEXOS-100.  The EXOS2GT is more robust and capable of the two, and I expect is worth the very modest price difference.  All of these lower cost mounts are more limited in their ability to handle longer FL scopes, heavier imaging trains, or in guiding longer exposures.

 

If you will only be doing AP with a light DSLR and moderate FL lens (up to 135mm), camera trackers are popular, but they are much more limited than the above mounts.  Most camera trackers: 1) only move in RA (DEC is fixed); 2) very few have the ability to autoguide (and then only in RA); 3) do not have ability to GoTo; 4) do not have ability to finely tune pointing by platesolving; and 5) do not include a tripod.  Think of the iEXOS-100 as a camera tracker, but without the above disadvantages, and the ability to handle a light 80mm scope and camera, all with a similar price to the more capable camera trackers.  The camera trackers main advantage is that it is very light for those who want to take their light imaging rig on a hike.

 

You might ultimately want a couple of cameras to give you a wider range of image-scales and FoVs.  But with your budget, get only one, but make sure that it makes sense for your year 1 scope and target size.  If you already have a DSLR, use it at first.  I think crop sensor DSLRs make more sense than full-frame, as most scopes will have problems with vignetting and field flatness with those large sensors, even with a field flattener.  That said, use what you have.  If you do not already have a DSLR (or have a need for one for general photography), do NOT buy one.  Cooled astrocams make MUCH more sense.  I would suggest getting a monochrome camera with filterwheel/filters, as they give you more flexibility for narrowband, are more efficient, and give you more resolution.  I suggest a 7 or 8 position filterwheel, which allow for LRGB and NB filters.  With budgetary constraints limit yourself initially with on LRGB filters. 

 

Two of the best deals in astrocams are the ZWO 183MM-Pro ($1000; which I have) and 1600MM-Cool ($1280).  The 183 has a smaller sensor (small FoV), but it is higher resolution and more efficient.  The ZWO has attractive priced packages with the 1600 with filterwheel and filters.  Filterwheels and filters will cost several hundred dollars more.  You can save money by getting an OSC camera, but you will be giving up flexibility to shoot NB, efficiency, and resolution.

 

Get gear that is good for one of the AP target sizes; I would suggest start with the Medium size targets.  This is NOT starting "small" as in cheaper, but start with high quality, with gear you will keep and use in the future.  This will allow you to learn and get more intuition on what works and what is important.  A long scope is NOT "better" than a shorter scope, as a hammer is not better than a screwdriver.  The "best" scope is the scope matches your needs to shoot the particular target, and the "best" for M51 would more than likely be "terrible" for M31.

 

For medium size targets, the normal suggestion is high quality, APO refractors of 70-80mm aperture of f/6 or faster with a field flattener and possibly a focal reducer.  This can be expanded to larger, but faster scopes, such as Skywatcher Esprit 100 (550mm FL, f/5.5), and AT92 (506mm FL, f/5.5).  I have the Esprit 100, which I shoot at both 550mm (native, included FF) and 413mm (f/4.13, with TSAPORED075 FF/FR), and I love it.  I highly recommend the Esprit 100 ($2500, with everything included, even FF), with the idea of later getting a FR for a wider and faster option.  Other good lower priced options include the Esprit 80 (400mm FL, f/5; $1650, with everything included, even FF), WO Star71 II (350mm FL, f/4.9; $1200, petzval design, no FF necessary), WO GT71 (419mm FL, f/5.9; $828 + $198 for FF/FR), and SV SVX080T-3SV (480mm FL, f/6; $2000, with everything included, even FF).  TS Optics out of Germany also has many good value scopes, and the Sharpstar 61EDPH and 76EDPH look like very intriguing budget picks, especially when paired with their FF.

 

When choosing your camera, estimate is FoV with your specific scopes FL.  You want this FoV to be larger than the FoV of your target, to allow cushion for: stacking artifacts, dithering, differing camera rotations, and slight framing errors.  My Esprit 100 with FF/FR, 413mm FL, with my ASI183MM-Pro camera gives me 110'x73' FoV with a 1.2 arc-sec/pixel image scale.  At the native 550mm, this combo gives a higher resolution and tighter 82'x55' FoV with a 0.9 arc-sec/pixel image scale.  The ASI183 is practically highest resolution camera with a decent size sensor available, and can be used with longer FL scopes for small targets, if seeing conditions are good enough.

 

You will also have extra costs for guide-scopes, guide-cam, various cables, USB hubs, dew heaters, power supplies, computer, software, etc. …


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#3 endlessky

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 01:41 PM

As far as crawl go, this is the setup I have / will soon have:

 

- mount: NEQ6 Pro, bought it used in January, very happy with it

- camera: Nikon D5300, bought it used, astromodified it myself, very happy with it

- lenses: Nikkor 18-105mm, Nikkor 70-300mm (both horrible), old mechanical 50mm prime lens (usable, stopping it at f/4)

- telescope: Celestron C8, had this from the late 90s, using it only for visual

- hardware/software control: Raspberry Pi 4 4GB with KStars/EKOS (Astroberry suite), fantastic, couldn't be happier

 

Soon to come:

 

- telescope: APO triplet 80mm f/6, 0.8x flattener/reducer

- guide-scope: 60mm f/4

- guide-camera: ZWO ASI 224MC (for planetary use as well)

 

So, to take care of crawl, obviously a good, solid mount is a must, expecially for future upgrades. Buy once, cry once. No point in buying a HEQ5 Pro, if you already know that you plan on increasing the load in the future. I would definitely go with the EQ6-R Pro, if buying new, or its equivalent previous models, if buying used.

 

For telescope, a good triplet, preferrably with FPL-53, 80mm, fast scope (f/6 or lower), with appropriate flattener or, better yet, reducer/flattener to make it even faster.

 

For camera, if you have the money, skip the DSLR (since you don't have one that you can "recycle" for astro use), and go straight into the dedicated astrocameras, possibly cooled (this will help you to keep the noise down to a minimum and make it much easier to take proper darks, since you can set the correct temperature). Also, a dedicated astrocamera will save you the trouble from having to astromodify the DSLR (and trust me, if you get a DSLR, you'll want to modify it!).

 

For guiding, you don't need an OAG if you use a short refractor for imaging, so a small (50-60mm), fast guide scope should do the job just fine. For guide camera, the usual choices are ZWO ASI 120MM Mini, 120MM-S or, if you want to use it also for planetary imaging, the 224MC. If you go QHYCCD route, the QHY5L-II-M is pretty much the same thing as the ASI 120MM Mini.

 

Hardware/software: can't go wrong with the Raspberry Pi 4 4GB or 8GB and Astroberry. They have everything you need to control all the gear you could possibly want.

 

EDIT: don't really know what astrocamera to suggest you for imaging, as I haven't done much research, yet. But you'll have to take into account the focal length of the telescope you'll chose and go from there. A nice website that allows you to plug in the sensor dimensions and the focal length and have an idea of how big (or small) your objects of choice will look like in the final picture is this: https://telescopius....scope-simulator


Edited by endlessky, 04 August 2020 - 01:45 PM.

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#4 Pequod

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 02:51 PM

Lots of good information in the above. Thank you! Need to parse a bit more, but my first takeaways:

 

  • EQ6-R Pro Mount. And darn it...seems to be back-ordered everywhere. Is the Atlas EQ-G comparable, or better to wait for the EQ6-R Pro? Any other sub-$2K mount to consider?
     
  • Need to cogitate more on the OTA. I was thinking 80mm or less whilst I learn, but if cost for a decent one exceeds $1k then maybe jump right to "walk." Is the Esprit 100 newbie friendly? I'm an engineer, but a newbie to this.


#5 endlessky

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 03:46 PM

I don't know much about the Atlas EQ-G, but judging from the photos it seems more similar to the older version of the EQ6-R Pro (so, no handle, no belt transmissions), so more like my NEQ6 Pro. If the price is the same, I would just wait for the EQ6-R Pro. In the same price range, you could consider maybe the CEM40? But, still, not much knowledge about that either.

 

If you want to "skip" the 80mm, I am sure the Esprit 100 is a very good alternative. The focal length is a little longer (550mm), but it comes already with a flattener. The EQ6-R Pro should handle it just fine. 550mm is quite a bit more than the ~380mm you would get with an 80mm f/6 reduced at f/4.8, so take a look at the site I linked and see how the objects you are interested in capturing would fit in the framing: the field will inevitably be narrower and tighter (assuming same camera).


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#6 nimitz69

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:06 PM

Hi folks. Returning to this hobby after a 20 year hiatus, having recently relocated from light polluted DC to Bortle 4'ish skies with ready access to even darker skies within 30 minutes in nearby Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, or a bit further in West Virginia. My prior experience is all visual using a Dob. Planning to buy all new equipment other than some eyepieces I already have. My budget is $5k'ish -- a bit flexible depending on my spousal negotiating powers. Main things is I don't want to blow $5k foolishly with regrets, hence an incremental plan:
 
Crawl: Get a mount I can grow into. Buy an OTA I can use for visual and basic astrophotography. For the mount, I'm thinking ~$1500 Orion Atlas EQ-G or Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro (other suggestions?). For the OTA -- open to suggestions. I *don't* have a DSLR, so open to suggestions on that vs. a dedicated mono camera. Add a guidescope and autoguider that I can use with an upgraded scope later. Dewstraps, what else?
 
Walk: Upgrade the OTA to something like a Sky-Watcher EvoStar 120 or Esprit 100 or 120. Reuse the mount, guidescope, and imager if possible.
 
Run: No idea yet. Let experience and spousal negotiating skills be my guide.
 
Thoughts? Recommendations? Suggestions?


With that budget you’re all set:

EQ6-R pro
WO GT81 APO triplet refractor or similar from Stellarvue
- matching FF
ASI 1600 mono camera
Chroma LRGB filter set (1.25”)
ZWO 8 position EFW
ASI 120m guide camera
WO 50MM guide scope
Senso AF
i5 processor or similar laptop running Windows for image capture
BenQ 27” monitor for image processing
$15/yr subscription to SharpCap Pro to do PA - don’t waste money on a PoleMaster
S/W: PHD2 & NINA ... free; Pixinsight for post (not free) & a capable desktop to run it

If you have a few bucks leftover use them to start building a observatory - best money you’ll ever spend in this hobby by a wide margin

Edited by nimitz69, 04 August 2020 - 05:11 PM.

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#7 KTAZ

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:12 PM

EQ6R Pro for sure. The Orion “equivalent” products carry a 1 year warranty versus 2 years on the SW. That is worth the wait in my opinion.


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#8 Pequod

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:34 PM

With that budget you’re all set:

EQ6-R pro
WO GT81 APO triplet refractor or similar from Stellarvue
- matching FF
ASI 1600 mono camera
Chroma LRGB filter set (1.25”)
ZWO 8 position EFW
ASI 120m guide camera
WO 50MM guide scope
Senso AF
i5 processor or similar laptop running Windows for image capture
BenQ 27” monitor for image processing
$15/yr subscription to SharpCap Pro to do PA - don’t waste money on a PoleMaster
S/W: PHD2 & NINA ... free; Pixinsight for post (not free) & a capable desktop to run it

If you have a few bucks leftover use them to start building a observatory - best money you’ll ever spend in this hobby by a wide margin

Awesome! Great list. Off to research. Thanks much!

 

EQ6R Pro for sure. The Orion “equivalent” products carry a 1 year warranty versus 2 years on the SW. That is worth the wait in my opinion.

Definitely a consensus around that mount. Looks like I’d best get in line for one.



#9 APshooter

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 12:15 AM

 

Definitely a consensus around that mount. Looks like I’d best get in line for one.

Keep checking stores and call for an estimated time of delivery.  I got a camera recently by asking when the next shipment would be.  I had to pay up front, but when the cameras came in I got mine in two days.  If I had waited until the website said they were in stock I'd have missed out.


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#10 calypsob

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:33 AM

I image from the parkway as well. If you are only darksite imaging you will want to maximize your time at the site. An eq6r is a great mount. The esprit is ok but a rasa 8” would suck down way more photons to make the most of each visit. I think a reduced f3.6 esprit would require 3hrs to match an hour with the rasa 8. Look at the asi533 pro for an excellent low budget beginner camera. That setup would absolutely devour photons. You need a guide camera as well, it also doubles for sharpcap polar alignment. An asi290mm is a great choice. You can cut costs by finding a used guide camera.
With the leftover $$ you could pickup a decent 14mm, 50mm, or 135mm lens. At a darksite you can really take advantage of gradient free dusty widefield imaging. This is a good year to get into ap with the options currently availible. .

Edited by calypsob, 05 August 2020 - 09:37 AM.

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#11 Pequod

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:49 AM

I image from the parkway as well. If you are only darksite imaging you will want to maximize your time at the site. An eq6r is a great mount. The esprit is ok but a rasa 8” would suck down way more photons to make the most of each visit. I think a reduced f3.6 esprit would require 3hrs to match an hour with the rasa 8. Look at the asi533 pro for an excellent low budget beginner camera. That setup would absolutely devour photons. You need a guide camera as well, it also doubles for sharpcap polar alignment. An asi290mm is a great choice. You can cut costs by finding a used guide camera.
With the leftover $$ you could pickup a decent 14mm, 50mm, or 135mm lens. At a darksite you can really take advantage of gradient free dusty widefield imaging. This is a good year to get into ap with the options currently availible. .

Interesting. Was thinking APO refractor, but definitely researching this scope. For backyard imaging time is a bit more flexible, although I don't know how far that will take me until I work with it. 8" f/2 is very intriguing. Plugging into the scope simulator. Thanks for the tips!



#12 rgsalinger

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:06 AM

If the budget allows it, the EQ6R remains the best bargain in mounts today. The comparable iOptron CEM40 costs around $500 more for what amounts to the same (roughly) capacity. The only advantage that the CEM has is the factory installed through the mount cabling. I have not seen any convincing statistics to show that either mount is "better" or more reliable. 

 

I would recommend a modest refractor of some kind as a companion. I would not succomb to the temptations to get either an SCT or a RASA as these are much harder to use and are best left until after you are getting consistent results from the refractor. A 500mm refractor has hundreds of interesting targets which will occupy you for years. 

 

More than anything else, see if you can find a mentor to help you get going. You can even be mentored remotely if you have an internet connection. Personally, I've logged onto maybe a dozen systems over the past few years to get things sorted out for people. Someone in you local club can probably do the same for you. 

 

Unlike most people I recommend taking a look at how an off axis guider works. Particularly if you have someone who can help you out, these provide a an easier setup and more flexible solution to guiding at the expense of first time setup. I have four telescopes (now after 11 years). I move my camera systems from one to the other in about 5 minutes because I leave the camera and OAG set up. All I need to do is dig out the appropriate adapter and screw it together. 

 

I also recommend looking over what software you will be using. When starting out pretty much any package - even the free ones - will do these days. Oh and buy the Deep Sky Imaging Primer and read it before buying anything. 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#13 Pequod

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:28 AM

If the budget allows it, the EQ6R remains the best bargain in mounts today. The comparable iOptron CEM40 costs around $500 more for what amounts to the same (roughly) capacity. The only advantage that the CEM has is the factory installed through the mount cabling. I have not seen any convincing statistics to show that either mount is "better" or more reliable. 

 

I would recommend a modest refractor of some kind as a companion. I would not succomb to the temptations to get either an SCT or a RASA as these are much harder to use and are best left until after you are getting consistent results from the refractor. A 500mm refractor has hundreds of interesting targets which will occupy you for years. 

 

More than anything else, see if you can find a mentor to help you get going. You can even be mentored remotely if you have an internet connection. Personally, I've logged onto maybe a dozen systems over the past few years to get things sorted out for people. Someone in you local club can probably do the same for you. 

 

Unlike most people I recommend taking a look at how an off axis guider works. Particularly if you have someone who can help you out, these provide a an easier setup and more flexible solution to guiding at the expense of first time setup. I have four telescopes (now after 11 years). I move my camera systems from one to the other in about 5 minutes because I leave the camera and OAG set up. All I need to do is dig out the appropriate adapter and screw it together. 

 

I also recommend looking over what software you will be using. When starting out pretty much any package - even the free ones - will do these days. Oh and buy the Deep Sky Imaging Primer and read it before buying anything. 

 

Rgrds-Ross

Great stuff, thanks! You've validated my thinking on the refractor for starting out. Leaning toward the WO GT81 recommended above. Definitely have some time to research since I'll be waiting on the backordered mount for awhile, so all inputs welcome.

 

Appreciate the tip on the Bracken book -- ordered a few days ago and planning to devour as soon as it arrives. The mentoring idea is a good one. Had delayed joining our local club due to COVID, but will proceed with that for starters.



#14 PeteD

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:54 AM

Regarding the EQ6R-Pro, I’d definitely wait. I’m loving mine so far. Stock is coming back in the UK now so hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.

 

I put a WO GT71-II with matching 0.8x FF/FR on mine and the SW50ED guide scope with the 120mm-mini camera. EAF fitted to the WO focuser.

 

I’m still using my DSLR for now but aim to go OSC with the ASI 533MC-Pro as soon as they come back in stock. Also about to mount a mini PC on top for full remote control and less chance of cable drags and snags.

 

So far its working great. It’s also not that heavy when the OTA assembly and counter weight is removed so setting up away from home will be pretty easy. I use sharpCap to PA. Setting up from scratch including Polar alignment is like 10 minutes max and then you’re off to the races smile.gif

 

Good luck.

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Edited by PeteD, 05 August 2020 - 10:55 AM.

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#15 Pequod

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 11:20 AM

Regarding the EQ6R-Pro, I’d definitely wait. I’m loving mine so far. Stock is coming back in the UK now so hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.

 

I put a WO GT71-II with matching 0.8x FF/FR on mine and the SW50ED guide scope with the 120mm-mini camera. EAF fitted to the WO focuser.

 

I’m still using my DSLR for now but aim to go OSC with the ASI 533MC-Pro as soon as they come back in stock. Also about to mount a mini PC on top for full remote control and less chance of cable drags and snags.

 

So far its working great. It’s also not that heavy when the OTA assembly and counter weight is removed so setting up away from home will be pretty easy. I use sharpCap to PA. Setting up from scratch including Polar alignment is like 10 minutes max and then you’re off to the races smile.gif

 

Good luck.

Wow. That looks...like exactly where my mind was going, but with dedicated mono camera since I don't already have a DSLR. I think you just defined my point of departure. Thanks much!


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#16 calypsob

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 11:40 AM

Im not one to tell someone this scope will be hard to learn over that. They all have a learning curve. Ive known too many new imagers who started with scts that never complained a peep and got great data. On here you mostly hear about troubleshooting issues. If you do get a refractor, try to get your aperture as fast as possible. That will make a huge impact on your data. Also I did not mention it but indeed you need a good acquisition program and processing program. A mentor close by will certainly help you clear many hurdles.


Edited by calypsob, 05 August 2020 - 11:45 AM.

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#17 Pequod

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 12:03 PM

Well that didn't take long. Just got the shipping notice on my EQ6-R Pro from High Point. Time to pick a scope.


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#18 Pequod

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 08:27 AM

Astrophotography Gear ($5K Budget)

 

<...snip...>

 

What do you use for guide scope and camera with the Esprit 100?



#19 SilverLitz

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 08:56 AM

What do you use for guide scope and camera with the Esprit 100?

Very easy, cheap, generic 60mm f/4 scope off eBay, ~$80.  QHY5L-II-M at ~$150; ZWO 120mm-mini would be very similar.


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#20 kyle528

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 04:26 PM

 

Lots of good information in the above. Thank you! Need to parse a bit more, but my first takeaways:

 

  • EQ6-R Pro Mount. And darn it...seems to be back-ordered everywhere. Is the Atlas EQ-G comparable, or better to wait for the EQ6-R Pro? Any other sub-$2K mount to consider?
     
  • Need to cogitate more on the OTA. I was thinking 80mm or less whilst I learn, but if cost for a decent one exceeds $1k then maybe jump right to "walk." Is the Esprit 100 newbie friendly? I'm an engineer, but a newbie to this.

 

Just in the past week I think I have seen 3 eq6-r's on the classifieds here on CN, watch closely and you'll find one quick, better yet put out a wanted ad, and act quick, they go fast. I have one as well and like it. 


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#21 Pequod

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 04:53 PM

Just in the past week I think I have seen 3 eq6-r's on the classifieds here on CN, watch closely and you'll find one quick, better yet put out a wanted ad, and act quick, they go fast. I have one as well and like it. 

Ordered a few days ago from High Point and it shipped nearly immediately. Will be here Monday. grin.gif


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#22 PeteD

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 05:40 AM

Ordered a few days ago from High Point and it shipped nearly immediately. Will be here Monday. grin.gif

It’s gonna be such a looooooong weekend! lol.gif

 

Glad you found one. Enjoy it when Monday finally arrives. 


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#23 rgsalinger

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 01:51 PM

The interesting thing about "good data" is that what's not good to me may be just fine for other people. I still remember fondly that first night seeing the Pelican Nebula come in exposure after exposure using my 660mm refractor. Now I look at that image and all I see is not really perfectly focused and not really round stars. YMMV is the watchword when  starting out in this hobby. 

 

To whit, I just looked at this image  chosen randomly on Astrobin and posted publicly. So, this is what someone thinks you can get good data. Yet ,it's easy to see that the stars are not round, they are elliptical. Here's something taken with my WO71 Star refractor a while back. Blow it up and you will see round stars. It needs more integration time - I just put it up to show it to a colleague a while back. Still, you can see how a well collimated refractor will produce much better data (or hide the imperfections). Look at Astrobin as a source of useful indirect information. See how many imagers are using SCT's and how they are faring. 

 

I think that you'll find that the experienced imagers know the limitations of SCT's, have bigger/better mounts and produce stunning images. I also think that you'll find that this was hard work and not conducive to learning astro-photography. The overall challenges start with collecting good data and get "worse" from there. This fact is why I love my WO71 Star as a beginner's best friend. It's sad that they don't make this design anymore.

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#24 Pequod

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 03:00 PM

I think that you'll find that the experienced imagers know the limitations of SCT's, have bigger/better mounts and produce stunning images. I also think that you'll find that this was hard work and not conducive to learning astro-photography. The overall challenges start with collecting good data and get "worse" from there. This fact is why I love my WO71 Star as a beginner's best friend. It's sad that they don't make this design anymore.

 

Rgrds-Ross

Great comparison. Thanks for showing that. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet (other than the mount), but strongly leaning toward the WO GT81 with ASI1600 combo recommended above. Hits my price point with what appears to be great optics and and high res imaging. Hopefully capable of the second image you linked.



#25 Pequod

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 01:56 PM

With that budget you’re all set:

EQ6-R pro
WO GT81 APO triplet refractor or similar from Stellarvue
- matching FF
ASI 1600 mono camera
Chroma LRGB filter set (1.25”)
ZWO 8 position EFW
ASI 120m guide camera
WO 50MM guide scope
Senso AF
i5 processor or similar laptop running Windows for image capture
BenQ 27” monitor for image processing
$15/yr subscription to SharpCap Pro to do PA - don’t waste money on a PoleMaster
S/W: PHD2 & NINA ... free; Pixinsight for post (not free) & a capable desktop to run it

If you have a few bucks leftover use them to start building a observatory - best money you’ll ever spend in this hobby by a wide margin

Question: How did you attach the Senso Sesto to the GT81 focuser? I've removed the fine focus and larger knobs. The motor is supposed to lock to the gold disk, but the silver sleeve around it needs to be removed. Can't quite figure out how to get the silver sleeve off whilst keeping the gold disk.

 

knob.JPG




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