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Astrophoto with a Sony A7ii, a Celestron CPC 800 or other scope?

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#1 minna_

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 03:22 PM

Hi everyone,

 

I have a mirrorless Sony A7ii camera. My dad owns a Celestron CPC 800 (2000mm, F/10)-- for the duration of this pandemic, I will be living with him and therefore have access to his scope. However, at some point during or after the pandemic, I will be moving back to a different state and will not be bringing the scope with me.

 

Considering this, I am looking for some advice. I am very new to astrophotography so please explain jargon as you go, if possible.

 

If I understand correctly, if I were to purchase accessories for the Celestron CPC 800 to pursue astrophotography, I would need a t-adapter, t-ring, Stellermate program & equatorial mount. So my first question is: if I purchase all of these items, will I be able to photograph deep-space objects like galaxies? Will I be able to photograph planetary bodies in our solar system with detail?

 

If I purchase the accessories for the CPC 800, I will be spending over $1k. And then in a few months, I will be moving away and will only have access to this telescope maybe once a year. I have been told that it is an excellent scope, but not excellent for astrophotography, so it maybe seems like a waste of money. However, my dad lives somewhere where I can use the telescope every night, as long as the weather permits, since light pollution is low. Whereas when I move back home, I will be in a city and will use the scope less frequently.

 

I read on a reddit forum that for a similar price, one could purchase a mount + scope that would actually be better for astrophoto and that a mount is more important than a scope. If I am going to spend over $1k anyways on the Clestron CPC 800, perhaps it makes sense to just buy myself a mount & scope that I can then also take home with me once I move away. However, my budget is limited. But I also don't see much of a point in getting into astrophotography unless I can (at least eventually) get really great photos. So, I'm hoping to get advice about what type of mount, etc., I should get for a reasonable price -- and whether it makes sense to buy cheap and then with time get upgrades/accessories, or if it just makes sense to bite the bullet and spend a lot right away.

 

Regardless, I am looking for guidance on what type of equipment is good for deep-sky or planetary photography. I am also hoping for clarity regarding the difference & purpose of things like a wedge, equatorial mount, sky tracker, and which things are best used for deep-sky photography and which are best used for planetary photography.... and whether it makes more sense to add accessories to my dad's scope or to buy a whole new set-up. Furthermore, if I am going to buy a new set-up all together, is there a trade-off with picking a more portable mount/scope?

 

Lastly, I have a Sony A7ii. How does this camera bode with astrophotography? Or does it work better with particular scopes?

 

Just a reminder that I really get overwhelmed in all of this research with all the new jargon! Please be clear about the items you are recommending and what their purpose is, etc. Thank you!



#2 jstrandberg

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 08:31 PM

Hi everyone,

 

I have a mirrorless Sony A7ii camera. My dad owns a Celestron CPC 800 (2000mm, F/10)-- for the duration of this pandemic, I will be living with him and therefore have access to his scope. However, at some point during or after the pandemic, I will be moving back to a different state and will not be bringing the scope with me.

 

Considering this, I am looking for some advice. I am very new to astrophotography so please explain jargon as you go, if possible.

 

If I understand correctly, if I were to purchase accessories for the Celestron CPC 800 to pursue astrophotography, I would need a t-adapter, t-ring, Stellermate program & equatorial mount. So my first question is: if I purchase all of these items, will I be able to photograph deep-space objects like galaxies? Will I be able to photograph planetary bodies in our solar system with detail?

 

If I purchase the accessories for the CPC 800, I will be spending over $1k. And then in a few months, I will be moving away and will only have access to this telescope maybe once a year. I have been told that it is an excellent scope, but not excellent for astrophotography, so it maybe seems like a waste of money. However, my dad lives somewhere where I can use the telescope every night, as long as the weather permits, since light pollution is low. Whereas when I move back home, I will be in a city and will use the scope less frequently.

 

I read on a reddit forum that for a similar price, one could purchase a mount + scope that would actually be better for astrophoto and that a mount is more important than a scope. If I am going to spend over $1k anyways on the Clestron CPC 800, perhaps it makes sense to just buy myself a mount & scope that I can then also take home with me once I move away. However, my budget is limited. But I also don't see much of a point in getting into astrophotography unless I can (at least eventually) get really great photos. So, I'm hoping to get advice about what type of mount, etc., I should get for a reasonable price -- and whether it makes sense to buy cheap and then with time get upgrades/accessories, or if it just makes sense to bite the bullet and spend a lot right away.

 

Regardless, I am looking for guidance on what type of equipment is good for deep-sky or planetary photography. I am also hoping for clarity regarding the difference & purpose of things like a wedge, equatorial mount, sky tracker, and which things are best used for deep-sky photography and which are best used for planetary photography.... and whether it makes more sense to add accessories to my dad's scope or to buy a whole new set-up. Furthermore, if I am going to buy a new set-up all together, is there a trade-off with picking a more portable mount/scope?

 

Lastly, I have a Sony A7ii. How does this camera bode with astrophotography? Or does it work better with particular scopes?

 

Just a reminder that I really get overwhelmed in all of this research with all the new jargon! Please be clear about the items you are recommending and what their purpose is, etc. Thank you!

Because the CPC800 is an Alta-azimuth system you have correctly determined that you would need to purchase a new equatorial mount to do astrophotography.  My suggestion would be to forget trying to adapt a system to your dad's scope and buy a setup that will suit your long term goals.  You certainly don't need that large of a scope to get great astrophotos and it is probably more advisable to start with a smaller refactor due to the steep learning curve. 

 

A mount such as a Sky-Watcher HEQ-6 or the iOptron EQM-35, if you can get by with a lighter payload than the Sky-Watcher, can be both portable and good for astrophotography.

 

Figure out what you want to shoot and what your max budget is going to be (I definitely would not skimp too much on a mount)  and then come back to this forum and start surfing for information on scope sizes and more mount suggestions. 


Edited by jstrandberg, 10 August 2020 - 08:33 PM.


#3 BQ Octantis

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 05:17 AM

So many questions!

 

What lenses do you own for your Sony? THAT is your starting point. You can't shoot DSOs through the CPC without a wedge (which tilts its azimuth axis to turn it into a right ascension axis). Just for the price of one of those, you could get a simple tracker for your camera.

 

BQ



#4 Huangdi

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 05:37 AM

Because the CPC800 is an Alta-azimuth system you have correctly determined that you would need to purchase a new equatorial mount to do astrophotography. My suggestion would be to forget trying to adapt a system to your dad's scope and buy a setup that will suit your long term goals. You certainly don't need that large of a scope to get great astrophotos and it is probably more advisable to start with a smaller refactor due to the steep learning curve.

A mount such as a Sky-Watcher HEQ-6 or the iOptron EQM-35, if you can get by with a lighter payload than the Sky-Watcher, can be both portable and good for astrophotography.

Figure out what you want to shoot and what your max budget is going to be (I definitely would not skimp too much on a mount) and then come back to this forum and start surfing for information on scope sizes and more mount suggestions.

So many misconceptions. It you purchase a wedge for the CPC, it's a perfectly fine fork mount ready for Astrophotography.

While I agree that purchasing a GEM now to use later on when OP lost access to the 8" sct, it's simply wrong to assume that you can't do AP with a fork mount. I would actually prefer one due to not having to do a meridian flip.

You mixed up the mounts as well. The HEQ6 doesn't exist and neither does an ioptron EQM-35.

There are EQ6/NEQ6/EQ6-R mounts and EQM-35 mounts, which aren't comparable. An EQ6 class mount will handle the C8, the EQM35 would probably disintegrate if you tried to do astrophotography with a C8 on it.
An ioptron equivalent would be the CEM60.

To OP: I think you have to evaluate your future plans. If you're set on doing AP after moving out, I highly suggest you think about investing into an EQ6-type mount.

Doing Astrophotography with an 8" scope won't be easy as a beginner, the high focal length of the Schmidt cassegrain will magnify any errors you or the mount makes.

My advice:

1. Use the CPC800 for planetary work. This will require barely any accessories, perhaps a Barlow. No additional guiding needed.

2. Download stellarium, enter your telescope and camera details, this will let you see the field you are going to image. Then go through a few messier objects and tgink about what you prefer. Large nebulae oder small galaxies?

3. If you don't mind nebulae, this is going to make your journey a lot more fun than an 8" sct to start with.
Purchase a 80mm doublet/triplet refractor (400-1000€) and have fun with that.

4. If you are set on galaxy imaging, I would probably use the fork mount and buy the wedge for it. The wedge enables you to align the mount to the North celestial pole and thus allow you to track the movement of the stars.


Just be aware of the fact that starting AP with a Schmidt cassegrain can be VERY frustrating, but also rewarding, if you persist.

Edited by Huangdi, 11 August 2020 - 05:38 AM.



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