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First equipment, small budget

astrophotography beginner cassegrain refractor
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#26 06AwzIyI

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 10:56 AM

Alternatively, since you're on a budget, perhaps you should consider a fast, lightweight Newtonian. Something like a 6"-8" f/4 astrograph. At 600mm and 800mm focal length, respectively, they are fairly beginner friendly. Downside is, coma (just get a coma corrector) and you'll need to stay on top of collimation. Upside, no chromatic abberation and huge light gathering potential at half the cost...check out astrobin for the quality of images that are achievable, and decide if it is sufficient for your interests.

#27 Electrons

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 06:25 PM

Alternatively, since you're on a budget, perhaps you should consider a fast, lightweight Newtonian. Something like a 6"-8" f/4 astrograph. At 600mm and 800mm focal length, respectively, they are fairly beginner friendly. Downside is, coma (just get a coma corrector) and you'll need to stay on top of collimation. Upside, no chromatic abberation and huge light gathering potential at half the cost...check out astrobin for the quality of images that are achievable, and decide if it is sufficient for your interests.

I already have experince collimating my current newtonian, so that should not be a problem. Which 8" reflectors would you recommend? I see an Orion F/5 (significantly cheaper ~$250), Orion Astrograph F/4 (~ $500), GSO F/5 (~ $420), and lastly, the GSO F/4 Imaging Newtonian (~ $500). Is it worth getting a higher priced scope when the Orion is less than half the price? Also, how is it so much cheaper than both competitor scopes and the other Orion scope? Is it the 2 speed focuser? Which do you recommend, and what exactly are the differences between these? Can these scopes be used for visual observation?

 

Also, mounts. What mount would you recommend for this kind of scope?  I would love something non-computerized with tracking, but I cannot seem to find many options of that sort that are sturdy enough to support 20+ pounds. What do you recommend? Or will I need to go for a more expensive computerized mount? 

 

Thank you for your help and suggestions!


Edited by Electrons, 14 September 2020 - 08:53 PM.


#28 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 08:33 PM

Can a fast newtonian be used for visual observing too? I already have a 7.89 114mm reflector, so I have experience collimating. And what mounts would you recommend for a fast 8"? I really like the challenge of non-computerized mounts, but I do not see many of those options at EQ6 level mounts.

Certainly.  But if the Newt is set up for imaging, you should check to be sure the focuser has the right travel for focusing an eyepiece.  I'm confused, however, on what sort of mount you're looking for, non-computerized but in the EQ6 level?  You don't have to use the computer if you don't want to.

 

When I was just starting out, the scope I ended up with was an 8" f/5 Newtonian on an AVX mount.  The focuser was junk, so I replaced it with one from Moonlite.  Buttery smooth, and it held my DSLR without tilt.  But I couldn't get to prime focus without a Barlow.  I tried using a shorter shim, to move the camera in, but then the eyepieces couldn't get to focus by about 1/8 inch.  A Paracorr-2 coma corrector was needed for imaging, and that turned out to solve the DSLR's focus problem with the original focuser mounting pieces, preserving the eyepiece use, and all was right with the world.

 

I used the scope many times at Star Parties.  The large aperture and fast speed made observing easy.  I'd throw the camera on for some quick imaging after the crowd had thinned down.



#29 17.5Dob

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 10:39 PM

if the Newt is set up for imaging, you should check to be sure the focuser has the right travel for focusing an eyepiece.  I

 

When I was just starting out, the scope I ended up with was an 8" f/5 Newtonian  But I couldn't get to prime focus without a Barlow.  I tried using a shorter shim, to move the camera in, but then the eyepieces couldn't get to focus by about 1/8 inch.  A Paracorr-2 coma corrector was needed for imaging,

 

It's one heck of a lot easier to use a photo-Newt for visual if there is not enough out travel..all you need is a simple focuser extension tube...lol.gif
 


Edited by 17.5Dob, 14 September 2020 - 10:40 PM.

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#30 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 10:57 PM

It's one heck of a lot easier to use a photo-Newt for visual if there is not enough out travel..all you need is a simple focuser extension tube...lol.gif
 

Of course.  Or just not pushing the eyepiece in all the way, which is what I did for a short while.  Just something to note, though it did get old pretty quickly.

 

After getting the DSLR to focus without the 2x Barlow, I learned what "coma" is, and got the Paracorr.  That solved both problems.  Which reminds me - the Paracorr-2 comes with an eyepiece adapter.  A fast Newt will definitely need a corrector for imaging, and the Paracorr works well for visual too.  That would solve the problem, if the OP doesn't already have a corrector.



#31 Electrons

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 06:52 AM

Thank you! I thought that paying for a computerized mount might not be necessary, but I guess it might be. It looks like everybody replied to my original post, but I edited it to include some 8" reflectors. I was wondering why the Orion f/5 was so much cheaper, and if it would work for AP. There is also another Orion that is more expensive made specifically for AP, so is that what to go for? Or the similar GSO scopes?


Edited by Electrons, 15 September 2020 - 06:52 AM.


#32 PeteD

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:46 AM

EQ6-R Pro is a great mount and its not really that heavy. I went with a WOGT71-II triplet with the Flat6A FF\FR and I’m very happy with it. I already had the guide scope and camera to mount on it and just added a ZWO EAF autofocuser for fully automated imaging.

 

I started with my Canon 60D but now have a 533MC pro.

 

As others have said, steer clear of SCT’s if you’re starting out. Things will be much easier with a Frac.

 

My rig below. Sorry for orientation, the uploader insists on rotating it! 

 

 

 

 

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#33 06AwzIyI

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:50 AM

Thank you! I thought that paying for a computerized mount might not be necessary, but I guess it might be. It looks like everybody replied to my original post, but I edited it to include some 8" reflectors. I was wondering why the Orion f/5 was so much cheaper, and if it would work for AP. There is also another Orion that is more expensive made specifically for AP, so is that what to go for? Or the similar GSO scopes?


Probably because the 8" f/5 doesn't come with dovetail, tube rings, and has a cheaper focuser. Also, the f/5 is 1000mm so it'll be more demanding (and heavier), not to mention it probably won't have enough back focus for prime imaging. I don't recommend this for your first scope and I would steer you more toward the faster newts made for AP. You'll be glad you did.

Regarding Orion vs GSO, I'd probably go with the Orion as it features internal baffles and the reviews for it are very positive.
Orion 8" f/3.9 Newtonian Astrograph Reflector Telescope

Edited by 06AwzIyI, 15 September 2020 - 12:05 PM.

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#34 awong101

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:51 AM

OP, do you have any telephoto lens laying around? If so, you can reuse them for astrophotography.

 

Your original budget of $500 will get your daughter a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Pro, or one of its alternative like a iOptron Sky Guider. Then she just needs an intervalometer to start taking long exposures and set the cameras to take subs. It's not fancy like a brand new telescope, but this will absolutely get her started on astrophotography.

 

 

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#35 limeyx

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:57 AM

EQ6-R Pro is a great mount and its not really that heavy. I went with a WOGT71-II triplet with the Flat6A FF\FR and I’m very happy with it. I already had the guide scope and camera to mount on it and just added a ZWO EAF autofocuser for fully automated imaging.

 

I started with my Canon 60D but now have a 533MC pro.

 

As others have said, steer clear of SCT’s if you’re starting out. Things will be much easier with a Frac.

 

My rig below. Sorry for orientation, the uploader insists on rotating it! 

This is probably what I should have done ...



#36 Electrons

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 01:53 PM

Thank you for the advice once again! Time to start looking for a used astrograph...



#37 Electrons

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:32 AM

Just a thought, could i buy the astrograph and use it as an 8" dob (diy base) until I can afford the mount for AP? Or would that not work well at f/4? And would I need a coma corrector for visual too? Some sites say yes, some say no...

 

I found this on Ebay with a coma corrector, but it is GSO instead of Orion: link Is this legit? It looks odd, considering it is the same price with coma corrector than it is without on AgenaAstro, and it says it is in box, brand new.


Edited by Electrons, 16 September 2020 - 10:47 AM.


#38 06AwzIyI

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:26 AM

Just a thought, could i buy the astrograph and use it as an 8" dob (diy base) until I can afford the mount for AP? Or would that not work well at f/4? And would I need a coma corrector for visual too? Some sites say yes, some say no...
 
I found this on Ebay with a coma corrector, but it is GSO instead of Orion: link Is this legit? It looks odd, considering it is the same price with coma corrector than it is without on AgenaAstro, and it says it is in box, brand new.


I'd still go with the Orion and determine for yourself if the coma is bearable for visual use (if you don't have one already, you might want to get a barlow instead).

Also, check out astronomy.tools to get an idea of what to expect, in terms of FOV and magnification.

Edited by 06AwzIyI, 16 September 2020 - 11:33 AM.


#39 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 12:44 PM

Just a thought, could i buy the astrograph and use it as an 8" dob (diy base) until I can afford the mount for AP? Or would that not work well at f/4? And would I need a coma corrector for visual too? Some sites say yes, some say no...

 

I found this on Ebay with a coma corrector, but it is GSO instead of Orion: link Is this legit? It looks odd, considering it is the same price with coma corrector than it is without on AgenaAstro, and it says it is in box, brand new.

Coma correctors aren't as important for visual work, since your eye has a curved "sensor", unlike the camera's flat one.  I didn't know what coma was until I attached a DSLR to my 8" f/5 Newt and started imaging with it.  For photography, they're a must for any fast Newtonian scope.

 

A DIY Dobsonian base should work well for the Astrograph, though it may be a little short depending on how you construct it.  However, without an equatorial mount and motors, you won't be able to do any significant photography with it.



#40 Electrons

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 07:13 AM

Coma correctors aren't as important for visual work, since your eye has a curved "sensor", unlike the camera's flat one.  I didn't know what coma was until I attached a DSLR to my 8" f/5 Newt and started imaging with it.  For photography, they're a must for any fast Newtonian scope.

 

A DIY Dobsonian base should work well for the Astrograph, though it may be a little short depending on how you construct it.  However, without an equatorial mount and motors, you won't be able to do any significant photography with it.

Yes. I can't afford a mount now, so I can just have fun viewing the sky until I can really get into AP. Also, slightly different question. I found this laying around and thought it might be useful. It appears to be a 65mm doublet. However, the eyepiece seems to be like permanently attached or something. Is there any way to make this usable? I definitely need to find a better mount, but I don't see a way to take off the eyepiece and use it in prime focus.


Edited by Electrons, 17 September 2020 - 07:14 AM.


#41 venyix

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 08:43 AM

So I just recently went through this entire process, I'll let you know what I learned.

 

1) The Rokinon 135mm F/2.0 lens and SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Pro was a good place to start. It lets you get used to the idea of stacking images and you can get some really nice looking shots using it.

2) All the equipment in the world can't make up for bad post processing so get nice and comfortable with PixInsight or Photoshop, and be ready to stack images over and over to achieve different results.

3) The EQ6R-PRO is a great mount, I have a brand new one that I was using un-guided with about 90 second maximum sub length, and with guiding, now subs are much longer

4) I have an Explore Scientific 80mm ED without a flattener and it works just fine.. Yes there is stretching of stars towards the edge of the frame, but on the APS-C sensor it really isn't that bad, and I'm usually able to frame my shots in such a way that I can just cut it out.

5) This hobby will cause a black hole in your bank account, so decide ahead of time, how far do I want to go? Don't buy half measures, buy full measures...

6) You can never have too many adapters and spacers, 2" to 1.5" 3" to 2" 17mm etc you'll eventually need all of them I'm sure

7) Be ready to curse the sky because it's cloudy practically EVERY day, because it's most certainly a plot for you to not take images.

8) Practice practice practice, don't expect to take hubble photos right away...

9) Data data data, the more data you have, the better image you can create, a 1 hour exposure of Andromeda can look pretty good, a 3 hour exposure of Andromeda can look amazing.

 

My setup...

EQ6R-PRO

Explore Scientific 80mm Triplet

ZWO ASI183MM Mono Camera

Optolong 7 Filter Set LRGB + Ha + SII + OIII

Filter Wheel

Apertura 60mm Guide Scope

Orion StarShoot G3 (makeshift guide camera)

 

Keep in mind that I'm still fairly new to all of this (started about 3 months ago), so I'm still learning as well, this is just what I've learned so far. In this first image you can see a little it of the stretching that comes from not having a flattener.

The Andromeda Galaxy
The Lagoon Nebula

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#42 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:40 PM

What Venyix said.

 

I would add that, lacking a Skywatcher or similar mount, if you're handy in the garage, many have created a "barn door tracker" to enable long(er) exposures than what you can get away with on a fixed tripod, but either way, there are many things one can do with a DSLR and a mild telephoto lens.  80% of the hobby seems to be in the buying, assembling, and operating all the gear and gizmos, but we forget that the other 80% of the hobby is in the processing. 

 

There are amazing things one can do with a real astro-oriented image processing application.  If you're well versed in mashing pixels with PhotoShop and the like, one can pick up Astro Pixel Processor pretty easily.  I don't have that background, so for me, StarTools is my go-to processing choice.  Both are capable of producing great images, and both deserve the time invested in understanding how to get the most from them, whether you have a fancy GEM mount, scope, and camera, or just a DSLR and tracker.



#43 bobzeq25

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 02:28 AM

Thank you! I guess AP will have to wait for a larger budget...

Not necessarily.  Get this book.  Staring with a camera lens dramatically reduces the cost.  It's unintuitive, but a scope make things very expensive, very fast.

 

You can make some fine pictures with a camera lens.

 

https://www.astropix...bgda/index.html


Edited by bobzeq25, 18 September 2020 - 02:29 AM.


#44 Electrons

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 06:44 AM

Thank you! I have recently ordered a tripod for my DSLR, and I am waiting for clear weather to try my hand at thins like the Milky Way. I do not have much experience with processing, so that is an art I will have to learn!


Edited by Electrons, 18 September 2020 - 06:44 AM.



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