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Beginner Setup

astrophotography beginner equipment mount refractor
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#1 mgermani

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 06:29 PM

Hello folks:

 

I'll start with a bit of a disclaimer: this is my first forum post in a few decades (!) and while I've read the rules and searched and read similar posts already, please forgive me if I've overlooked anything elsewhere on the site that would have answered my questions. Alright...

 

I'm brand new to astrophotography, having done some EAA with my daughter using my Canon T3i + 50mm f/1.8 and stacked short exposures, with a bit of success despite living in a bortle 8-9 zone. I am about to put a modest amount of money into a beginner astrophotography setup, and I'd REALLY appreciate some advice.

 

Here's what I had already:

  • Canon T3i DSLR
  • 50mm f/1.8 lens

Here's what I have purchased so far:

  • Skywatcher 804 (short tube 80mm achromatic refractor)
  • Svbony clip-in CLS filter

I realize that the telescope is not ideal for astrophotography, but I've seen some amazing (to me) images done it, and the price point allowed me to save enough cash to perhaps get a decent mount now, and upgrade to an APO in the future. My question to you all is what mount should I go for? I have a limited budget ($500 or thereabouts - Canadian dollars!) and I live in a bortle class 8-9 zone, and am on foot and unable to travel anywhere darker. There is a sports field nearby which is as far away from street-lamps as I can get, and that's it.

 

I have two options, as I see it:

  • The local astronomy store is reconditioning an EQ5 mount for half my budget, and it is motorized (single motor) but not GoTo.
  • Alternately, my rig (camera and OTA) is only 5lb and could fit on a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer or iOptron SkyGuider Pro and max out my budget entirely.

What do you folks think would be best? From my reading, I understand that the EQ5 is not the "perfect" astrophotography mount, but potentially much more stable than the more portable options, and available at half the price of those options. But then I worry that it will be too heavy and that I wouldn't end up using it as often as I'd like. I would very much appreciate any input from folks here! Thank you in advance for your wisdom, and please forgive my newbie-post!

 

Cheers,

Mark



#2 17.5Dob

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 07:02 PM

On that budget, I'd go with the Star Adventurer....and keep saving for a good EQ mount.



#3 mgermani

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 07:22 PM

On that budget, I'd go with the Star Adventurer....and keep saving for a good EQ mount.

Thanks Dave!

 

You don't think the Star Adventurer would be too flimsy to hold both the camera and the scope?

And you'd recommend it over the iOptron Skyguider? I appreciate the input!



#4 Midnight Dan

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 07:47 PM

A lot depends on how portable you want to be and how far you want this mount to take you.  The Star Adventurer and SkyGuider are very portable so if that's your goal, either would be better than the EQ5.  The Star Adventurer doesn't come with a tripod so that adds to the cost.  Either supports 11 pounds so your 5 pound load should be fine.

 

If you're looking for something that's not as portable, but more capable and will take you farther before needed to upgrade, you might want to look on the used market for something like an iOptron CEM25 or Celestron AVX.  They will have both tracking and goto, as well as guiding capability.  And they'll handle a bit larger scope as well.

 

The EQ5, without goto or guiding, is just giving you more capacity, but without the features you'll need with that capacity.

 

-Dan



#5 mgermani

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 07:57 PM

A lot depends on how portable you want to be and how far you want this mount to take you.  The Star Adventurer and SkyGuider are very portable so if that's your goal, either would be better than the EQ5.  The Star Adventurer doesn't come with a tripod so that adds to the cost.  Either supports 11 pounds so your 5 pound load should be fine.

 

If you're looking for something that's not as portable, but more capable and will take you farther before needed to upgrade, you might want to look on the used market for something like an iOptron CEM25 or Celestron AVX.  They will have both tracking and goto, as well as guiding capability.  And they'll handle a bit larger scope as well.

 

The EQ5, without goto or guiding, is just giving you more capacity, but without the features you'll need with that capacity.

 

-Dan

Brilliant! Alright, I'm feeling a little better about my gut feeling that the EQ5 isn't right for me, despite the low price. Thank you!




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