Hi. I've been into astronomy for awhile but recently got a Panasonic FZ-1000 bridge camera for birding/nature photography which it's really amazing for. I've gone out to some dark sky (bortle class 2, 21.93SQM) and realized I basically have a better telescope than I've ever owned (i used to own a very small/cheap reflector). I've learned how to stack DSO and comet images with deep sky, and planetary/moon images with autostakkert, and also have learned some post processing stuff with something called Star Tools. For comet neowise I stacked images with the comet in focus then with the stars in focus and combined them so I had actually round stars. I've also been testing my camera's abilities to optimize stuff as far as ISO levels and read/noise ratio doing ISO-variance tests revealed 800-1600ISO seems to be the sweet spot with this camera unless I'm shooting the full moon or something, learning what focal lengths can use what time maximum exposure without issues, etc.
Now that I'm getting more into astrophotography I realize a bridge camera is a bit of a dead end though. You can't find astronomy filters for it, can't get a better lense, etc. It also doesn't have an ability to mount a scope without probably damaging the zoom motor which I need for birding! The only real upgrade with this bridge camera would be to get a sky tracker mount, and then once again it's a dead end with that camera. So eventually I'd like to build a setup with a small refractor but with no DSLR camera to start with would I be better off getting a dedicated astronomy camera from the start? I'm mostly interested in DSOs and maybe occasional planetary/moons/comet stuff which I know a small refractor has limited abilities in but it's still a lot better than this bridge camera will give me. I was looking at maybe a williams 61mm scope? what are your thoughts on cameras for such a setup? dslr vs astronomy camera, and would mono+filters be better for DSOs? With the dedicated cameras I'd probably prefer to use something like a StellarMate controller to use my phone/tablet to control it but laptops are cheap, it just seems clunkier and I'd like to be able to drive places and use this setup.
Should I get a mount first and learn how to do that with the bridge camera before even thinking about getting a scope and new camera? Any other advice is appreciated as well thanks
Edited by EarNoodles, 04 August 2020 - 03:10 PM.