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OK, i have £400ish ($530) quid to spend on AP. Help me spend it.

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#1 Rocklobster

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 10:45 PM

HI guys/gals

 

So, i just sold my XT8 and accessories as i am getting much more fun out of AP.  So, i have £400 at my disposal. I can maybe add another £100-£150 to that. But absolutely no more and i dont wan to save it for something later. Basically, i want to spend it NOW. Before xmas.

My current seup:

Canon 4000d unmodified

Star Adventurer 2i mount

Rubbish (REALLY REALLY rubbish) tripod

70-300mm f5.6 canon lens

50mm f2.8 canon lens

28mm f1.8 canon lens

 

A few things to note:

 

- I am happy with my mount for now. I dont need an EQ5 or HEQ5

- Im not interested in a faster lens for the moment. The 70-300 has served me very very well so far and i will upgrade sometime next year.

What im considering:

- Evostar 72ED plus necessary flattener and adapters (this is at the limit of budget). Unfortunately, i cant seem to find one in stock in the UK.

So i thought i'd dip my toe into CCD/CMOS AP with a:

-ZWO ASI 385MC USB 3.0 Colour + better tripod

or a

-ZWO ASI 224MC USB 3.0 Colour+better tripod+CLS LP filter.

or just buy a

-modified canon DSLR

 

I did think about a 130PDS but that coupled with my DSLR is just below the 5kg load capacity of my mount and im not confident about such a setup.

 

So...the floor is yours. You have my setup and £400. Taking into consideration what ive said, what would YOU buy tomorrow?

 

Thanks



#2 Rocklobster

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:17 PM

Another option I'm considering is aWilliam Optics GuideStar 61, this is just beyond my current budget, but seems to be in stock in the UK. It's 360mm, not much of a step up from 300mm, although im sure the images would be better. I favoured the 72ed because of its higher focul length

Another thing I should add is that I am not after perfect images. So for me, elongated stars on the outer bits of the image are of no concern. I'm willing to sacrifice image perfection for "bang for buck" as I'm still learning and I'm happy with imperfect final images for the moment.

Cheers


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#3 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:27 PM

Honestly, with those scopes, its a lot of focal length for that mount. Especially on a rickety tripod.

And at those focal lengths, you are right on the border of really needing to get into guiding.

The field of view on those cameras is tiny compared to your dslr.

And, you have already dipped your toe into CMOS with your current camera. It has a CMOS sensor.

I would advise practicing your skills with what you have until you are so good, you have to move up to longer focal lengths.

What great improvement in those cameras do you think will improve your current images?

Is hardware really limiting you right now. Or your skillset?

Jerry

Edited by Jerry Lodriguss, 20 November 2020 - 11:36 PM.


#4 Rocklobster

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:34 PM

Honestly, with those scopes, its a lot of focal length for that mount. Especially on a rickety tripod.

And at those focal lengths, you are right on the border of really needing to get into guiding.

The field of view on those cameras is tiny compared to your dslr.

Jerry

I hear you and that was a concern/thought. That's why I'm considering either buying an astro modified DSLR or a CMOS cam to play with.

Cheers

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#5 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:39 PM

I would go for the modified dslr.

Add up total exposure for a mosaic with the CMOS cameras to cover the same FOV as the DSLR.

Jerry


Edited by Jerry Lodriguss, 21 November 2020 - 01:45 PM.


#6 Between17

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:01 AM

You want to receive it before the end of the year, or just spend it before then? If the former then it will totally depend on what's in stock, which seems to be not much these days!

 

In any case it's a fun exercise. Here's a couple thoughts I will chip in with.

 

If you are going to continue to use the Canon in Bortle 6 I'd vote for a clip in light pollution filter for the Canon. You might also consider adding autoguiding to your setup if the mount will support it. I think ZWO makes a compact and inexpensive guide camera/scope combo. Find an adapter to mount it to the camera's hotshoe or attach it to the mount somehow. That will really open your horizons with PHD2, dithering, NINA/SGP.

 

Otherwise if you are moving to ZWO then you will need to consider and budget for how to attach it both to your lens and your mount. Astromechanics makes a nice astrocamera to Canon lens adapter.

 

Good luck!



#7 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 03:12 AM

You mentioned a lot of decent equipment that will not be limiting you so much as you progress you skills.  The only thing you mentioned is the tripod.
That would be a good investment.  Looking at a good tripod, possible pier, or tripod with pier extension, depending on what you think is going to be in your future of AP, a really decent tripod would be helpful to you currently.  Trust me, I know how difficult a shaky tripod is.  Also, as a thought, if you use your camera with a strap attached, maybe something for a quick release to remove the straps to help make your shots even more stable.



#8 robbieg147

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 06:16 AM

The tripod is probably more important than the mount in my view, I would upgrade that so you can get the best out of what you currently have?


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#9 kevinbreen

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 06:55 AM

Send it to me!!


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#10 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 06:49 PM

Send it to me!!

lol.gif



#11 Rocklobster

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:21 PM

Honestly, with those scopes, its a lot of focal length for that mount. Especially on a rickety tripod.

And at those focal lengths, you are right on the border of really needing to get into guiding.

The field of view on those cameras is tiny compared to your dslr.

And, you have already dipped your toe into CMOS with your current camera. It has a CMOS sensor.

I would advise practicing your skills with what you have until you are so good, you have to move up to longer focal lengths.

What great improvement in those cameras do you think will improve your current images?

Is hardware really limiting you right now. Or your skillset?

Jerry

In all honesty, im not expecting an improvement on images with the CMOS cams, but i am expecting to learn a lot from them with regards to that branch of AP. Ill use them for a year then sell them and uprade.

 

I feel like i am reaching the limit of what i can do with my current setup and i have to spend this money on AP (for various reasons), so i thought i would use it to dip my toe into CMOS AP. You and many others have told me that anything over 300mm with my mount would be difficult and i hear you. 

 

Thanks for the advice



#12 Rocklobster

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:22 PM

I would go for the modified dslr.

Add up total exposure for a mosaic with the CMOS cameras to cover the same FOV as the DSLR.

Jerry

At the moment the favoured path in my mind is 

 

Modify my cam

CLS filter

Better tripod

 

Thanks for replying and offering your advice. Its appreciated



#13 Rocklobster

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:37 PM

You want to receive it before the end of the year, or just spend it before then? If the former then it will totally depend on what's in stock, which seems to be not much these days!

 

In any case it's a fun exercise. Here's a couple thoughts I will chip in with.

 

If you are going to continue to use the Canon in Bortle 6 I'd vote for a clip in light pollution filter for the Canon. You might also consider adding autoguiding to your setup if the mount will support it. I think ZWO makes a compact and inexpensive guide camera/scope combo. Find an adapter to mount it to the camera's hotshoe or attach it to the mount somehow. That will really open your horizons with PHD2, dithering, NINA/SGP.

 

Otherwise if you are moving to ZWO then you will need to consider and budget for how to attach it both to your lens and your mount. Astromechanics makes a nice astrocamera to Canon lens adapter.

 

Good luck!

Yes, i absolutely want to get it all before xmas. And that's why my options are limited as stocks are so low on everything. I did consider guiding, but my concern with that is that it would be useless as a 30s sub from my location looks like below. I would imagine a 90s sub would be far too bright. 

 

That said, i would imagine in this case, the CLS filter would help a lot. But would a doubling of exposure times (for example) help that much in terms of detail captured? Bear in mind that i am, for the  moment, unconcerned about elongated stars at the edge os my image or aberration. I see myself as very much learning for the next few years and frankly, ive been stunned and very happy with what i've achieved so far, even with my rubbish lens. So, tear shaped stars on the outer edges of images don't bother me right now in the slightest. 

 

I'm looking for the most bang for my buck and am happy to sacrifice image perfection. 

 

In essence, i'm asking if guiding with a Star Adventurer 21 and Canon 4000d + 70-300mm f5.6 would really improve my images that much from a B6 garden. 

 

Thanks so much for replying and please dont think im just rejecting your advice...absolutely not. I would imagine you all know a million times more than i do about AP. 

 

Cheers



#14 Rocklobster

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:39 PM

The tripod is probably more important than the mount in my view, I would upgrade that so you can get the best out of what you currently have?

I'm not disagreeing with you, but i have fairly round stars in the centre of my frame at the moment, what would a sturdier tripod REALLY add?

 

Just asking

 

Cheers



#15 17.5Dob

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:52 PM

Find a better mount.... used....even a "gasp" ...used AVX.

 

Whether you want to not or not, you're not going to be able to improve your kit before you get a better mount..Otherwise, you're just throwing money away.

An auto guider on a SA is just putting lipstick on a pig...You still will not be able to dither effectively...you still will have no GOTO and will be wasting a lot of valuable imaging time, just finding a target, etc.

 



#16 alan.dang

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 12:44 AM

Listening to your comments, I would suggest

1) AstroPixelProcessor
- software will help you pull more data out of your efforts and this will be useable no matter how fancy your setup gets

2) as much as the 70-300 works, you pull in more data with sharper lenses. Imagine stacking out of focus images. The intensity of a star is split across more pixels, so it is lost in the noise.

Look for a used 100/2.8 macro lens (MPB has the non-L one at $350) or a used 60Da.

Modified cameras are essential for city imaging. It is a 4x increase in Ha sensitvity. If you have a dark site, you can image with unmodded cameras (see clarkvision.com)

#17 BQ Octantis

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 01:32 AM

G'day mate,

 

The 70-300mm at f/5.6 is a major limiter to what you can create—you need integration times beyond your mount's capability (independent of the tripod).

 

At 300mm f/5.6, you need an autoguider—a nicer camera and/or a better tripod will not fix this shortcoming. An Ha mod will give you better reds, but will not do anything for your blues and greens.

 

If you're not going to upgrade your mount, you need a faster lens.

 

A Rokinon 135mm f/2.0 or a Canon 200mm f/2.8L II USM are in the ball park of your budget. And they can both produce good results with 30 sec subs, which should be within the realm of possible for your mount and tripod.

 

Cheers,

 

BQ


Edited by BQ Octantis, 22 November 2020 - 01:40 AM.


#18 robbieg147

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 03:31 AM

I'm not disagreeing with you, but i have fairly round stars in the centre of my frame at the moment, what would a sturdier tripod REALLY add?

 

Just asking

 

Cheers

You can disagree that's ok I don't mind, you don't say what exposure time's you are using. It's possible to get a reasonable  image with 1 second exposures if you take enough of them. So with a good tripod your exposures could be much longer than you are currently using?

 

I am a surveyor a £30000 instrument on a dodgy tripod is hopeless! 



#19 Alen K

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 09:32 AM

I'm not disagreeing with you, but i have fairly round stars in the centre of my frame at the moment, what would a sturdier tripod REALLY add?

 

Just asking

You wouldn't have described it as a "REALLY REALLY rubbish" tripod if it wasn't causing you difficulties. But I think it is moot. It's probably time to invest in a decent equatorial mount. You may be happy with the Star Adventurer but you really won't be able to progress much further with it, IMO. If you are certain you will never want to photograph through a telescope larger than, say, 80mm aperture, then even a small mount like an EQM-35 could work well (I know some people here will vehemently disagree). One advantage of that one is that you can remove the declination axis and operate it as a somewhat more portable tracker for a camera with small lens (not your 70-300mm zoom).

 

If you think you may want to graduate to a larger telescope like a 130PDS (which is a pretty nice Newtonian for AP, IMO) some day, a EQM-35 would still work but you really should consider something a little larger like an HEQ-5 or an equivalent from iOptron. BTW, a 130PDS on a Star Adventurer? Don't be daft. Just because it and the camera together technically meets the weight limit means nothing. For AP you never want to get close to the limit and and you have to consider the effect of moment arm on stability (as a Newtonian the 130PDS has quite a bit). 

 

After the new mount, a clip-in LP filter if LP is a problem. Then choose a telescope for the mount (choose carefully).

 

A new camera? See what you can do with what you have. As Jerry Lodriguss often reminds us, your skill and techniques are usually the limiting factors, not the camera. Your camera is a 2018 model, not something so old you would definitely need to replace (unless it is one of the models with excessive fixed pattern noise). If the sensor is decent you could get the camera modified. If not, a used newer Canon DSLR (so you keep your lenses), modified. Maybe a mirrorless to expand your choice of lenses in the future.

 

A dedicated astro camera? Many people go that route and you may like it but it is world away from where you are now. If you want to explore and learn, sure, but unless you go whole hog with mono, filter wheel and narrowband, I doubt it will yield substantially better results than a modified DSLR. But it's a great way to deplete your bank account. 


Edited by Alen K, 22 November 2020 - 09:35 AM.


#20 BQ Octantis

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:22 PM

…even a small mount like an EQM-35 could work well…

+1

 

The tracking was bad enough on my EQ2 that I hacked the controller to add an autoguider:

 

https://www.cloudyni...fied/?p=8822118

 

I don't know if you can do that with the Star Adventurer 2i, but if you did, a guide scope + autoguider package is in the ball park of of your budget. And then you could track well enough for good subs at 300mm f/5.6.

 

BQ




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