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Triplet under $1000. Best options available for a beginner?

astrophotography beginner refractor eq
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#1 Deep Blue

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:02 AM

Finally I was able to put my hands on a EQ6-R pro mount. (COVID is not helping to get started on this hobby).

 

I was advised by other CN members that starting with a small triplet refractor it would be more forgiven and easier to learn the basics the right way (no cutting corners).

 

Now, my options for the telescope are down to William Optics GT71 f/5.9 FPL-53 Triplet APO Refractor w/Flat6AIII Field Flattener & Dual Side Dovetail or ASTRO-TECH AT80EDT F/6 ED TRIPLET.

 

I'm starting with a Canon 70D camera and no guiding system.

 

My budget for the telescope is $1000.

 

What do you guys think? Any better options out there for my budget?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Deep Blue



#2 meansrt

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:25 AM

Those looks like nice scopes though you'll want a field flattener for the AT80 which may take a while to come by. I have been waiting a couple months to get a field flattener I ordered from astronomics. 

 

If youre in that price range you might consider a Redcat 51. It's got a shorter focal length but it's got a built in field flattener and apparently real nice color correction. I think theyre still in stock at Cloud break optics. Then again, you might be wanting to go for the smaller stuff and this scope might limit you .


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#3 Rustler46

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:25 AM

AT80EDT by Astronomics' Astro-Tech;

 

I've been very happy with my AT115EDT. But it's above your budget.

 

Russ


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#4 bobzeq25

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:36 AM

Finally I was able to put my hands on a EQ6-R pro mount. (COVID is not helping to get started on this hobby).

 

I was advised by other CN members that starting with a small triplet refractor it would be more forgiven and easier to learn the basics the right way (no cutting corners).

 

Now, my options for the telescope are down to William Optics GT71 f/5.9 FPL-53 Triplet APO Refractor w/Flat6AIII Field Flattener & Dual Side Dovetail or ASTRO-TECH AT80EDT F/6 ED TRIPLET.

 

I'm starting with a Canon 70D camera and no guiding system.

 

My budget for the telescope is $1000.

 

What do you guys think? Any better options out there for my budget?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Deep Blue

Two excellent options.

 

I started out unguided, high ISO, 30 second exposures.  Did that for a couple of months, it became clear that it was hurting my images, significantly.  You'll want to add autoguiding soon.  If it's necessary to get a cheaper scope (for example, by getting a good doublet), that's OK.  The doublet will hurt your images less than not autoguiding.

 

Mounts are designed to be autoguided, it's simply uneconomic to even make gears that are good enough.  Your EQ6-R has a periodic error of 10-20 arc seconds.  Even mediocre autoguiding will reduce that to 1.5.


Edited by bobzeq25, 16 January 2021 - 11:40 AM.

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#5 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:36 AM

The WO brand uses FPL-53 glass elements. The AT scopes do not. Whether that makes a difference to you may push you in one direction or the other. You'll want a flattener for either of the scopes, especially if you're attaching them to that APS-C sensor in the 70D. Or you're just going to have to crop a whole lot :). Also, the WO scopes tend to be very flashy. Mine is white with gold - which is really more of a copper than outright yellow gold. That "in your face" coloring might dissuade some people as well. The AT is a far more subtle powder white with black trim.


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#6 RogeZ

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:46 AM

I would stretch $100 and get an askar fra400. A great little scope for AP intro.
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#7 astroricardo

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:49 AM

A triplet is awesome, but an ED is pretty darn good and a lot less expensive.  My recommendation would be to go with a AT72 or something similar, especially if you're just finding your way.  When you get deep in this hobby, you'll be paying more than that for just accessories.


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#8 bobzeq25

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 12:01 PM

A triplet is awesome, but an ED is pretty darn good and a lot less expensive.  My recommendation would be to go with a AT72 or something similar, especially if you're just finding your way.  When you get deep in this hobby, you'll be paying more than that for just accessories.

This is exactly what I was talking about.  An FPL53 doublet for $500.  Now can you afford autoguiding?  I'd sooner have the 72 autoguided, than the 80 triplet not.  Tracking is the most important thing, it's what people struggle with most.


Edited by bobzeq25, 16 January 2021 - 12:02 PM.

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#9 RonaldNC

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 12:31 PM

I use a Meade 6000 80mm f/6 ED Triplet APO refractor and really like it.  It goes for about $899.

 

Ron


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#10 Deep Blue

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 01:00 PM

Great information... so many variables, so many more questions!

 

If I decided to go with a Doublet and invest on an auto guiding set, what camera would you guys recommend?



#11 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 01:06 PM

I have the QHY 5L-II mono... about $170. The ZWO ASI120mm mini is another good option for about $150. Pair them with a small guide scope. The ZWO 30mm f/4 is about $100. WO 32mm guide scope is also about $100.


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#12 RonaldNC

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 03:28 PM

Great information... so many variables, so many more questions!

 

If I decided to go with a Doublet and invest on an auto guiding set, what camera would you guys recommend?

I use the ZWO ASI 120MC and ZWO 30mm guide scope.  BTW... the 120MC is also an decent planetary imaging camera.

 

Ron


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#13 Madratter

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 03:50 PM

What kind of person are you? Do you like buying and selling. Or do you hate selling something once you have it. If you are the later, I would recommend getting the triplet without the guiding. You can still do a lot without it, by keeping your images short (30s). Then you can add guiding when you are ready for it. Guiding is an unnecessary complication when starting out. Granted, you will be very happy to have it once you get it.

 

There is plenty to learn starting off with such a system, and then you won't feel like you need to replace the telescope down the road.


Edited by Madratter, 16 January 2021 - 06:08 PM.

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#14 Stelios

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 03:56 PM

Great information... so many variables, so many more questions!

 

If I decided to go with a Doublet and invest on an auto guiding set, what camera would you guys recommend?

Definitely invest in auto-guiding, no matter what you buy. If I hadn't invested in auto-guiding early on, I would've given up the hobby, as I hate elongated stars, throwing out subs, and having to keep exposures short and noisy. 

 

Best auto-guiding camera IMO is the ASI-120MM-mini. Good and cheap, a rare combination.

 

As for the scope: I would probably opt for the WO. If later on you get a larger scope, the WO will remain an extremely useful widefield instrument. 

As for camera, assuming you want a dedicated astro-camera and can't afford mono+FW+filters, I would get either an ASI533MC-Pro or an ASI183MC-Pro, leaning towards the former. I assume that you would not want to go higher in budget than the $800 these cost. 


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#15 Pauls72

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 04:21 PM

Get yourself a short vixen style dovetail bar with a 1/4"-20 thumb screw. This will allow you to put your camera on the mount without a scope using your DSLR's lens. You can take 30 second exposures without any problem without guiding. This will allow you to get started in AP. You will need to guide, so you can save up you $$$ for that. You will want a field flattener when using a refractor, but can get by without it for awhile, it's just stars near the edge of the FOV will be egg shaped.

https://agenaastro.c...te-vr-120a.html

 

Do you have capture and processing software? These are additional costs you need to account for.


Edited by Pauls72, 16 January 2021 - 04:22 PM.

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#16 Buzz135

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:42 PM

I have a WO GT81 and an AT-115EDT.  You will need the Astro Tech field flattener that matches up with the AT-80EDT to get good stars out to those wide edges.  One issue with the WO field flattener is that it is adjustable and will take some test photos/sessions to get it zeroed in for your telescope.  I would say the focuser is a little better on the WO but I’m very pleased with both of my telescopes. 

 

However, I agree with the other recommendations that auto-guiding is a must.  Both of these companies make some fine doublet telescopes that would free up some dollars for an auto-guider setup.  I use a ZWO ASI290MM for guiding.  Its great, but I have been told by many people the ASI120MM mini is an outstanding guide camera at half the price.


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#17 bobzeq25

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 10:53 PM

Definitely invest in auto-guiding, no matter what you buy. If I hadn't invested in auto-guiding early on, I would've given up the hobby, as I hate elongated stars, throwing out subs, and having to keep exposures short and noisy. 

 

Best auto-guiding camera IMO is the ASI-120MM-mini. Good and cheap, a rare combination.

 

As for the scope: I would probably opt for the WO. If later on you get a larger scope, the WO will remain an extremely useful widefield instrument. 

As for camera, assuming you want a dedicated astro-camera and can't afford mono+FW+filters, I would get either an ASI533MC-Pro or an ASI183MC-Pro, leaning towards the former. I assume that you would not want to go higher in budget than the $800 these cost. 

+1.

 

I have the 183s (both of them).  They're specialized cameras, good for short fast scopes.  I got them for a C8 RASA, 400mm, F2.  The 533 is general purpose, and would be my recommendation.


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#18 Deep Blue

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 10:18 AM

Get yourself a short vixen style dovetail bar with a 1/4"-20 thumb screw. This will allow you to put your camera on the mount without a scope using your DSLR's lens. You can take 30 second exposures without any problem without guiding. This will allow you to get started in AP. You will need to guide, so you can save up you $$$ for that. You will want a field flattener when using a refractor, but can get by without it for awhile, it's just stars near the edge of the FOV will be egg shaped.

https://agenaastro.c...te-vr-120a.html

 

Do you have capture and processing software? These are additional costs you need to account for.

Great topic... software.

 

Which capturing and processing software are you using? Does the software have to be compatible to each other or they are stand alone software?

 

What other software are required? auto guiding?

 

I use Adobe Lightroom for my Photography shots.  Is this software adequate for AP?



#19 Buzz135

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 10:25 AM

PHD2 is an awesome guiding program and its free.  I started off with Astrophotography Tool (paid for the full version) but made the switch last summer to N.I.N.A. which is free.  The N.I.N.A. software is amazing and did I say its free? 

 

I'm unfamiliar with Adobe Lightroom.  I paid for Pixinsight for processing and am very happy with the program.   


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#20 bobzeq25

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 02:49 PM

Great topic... software.

 

Which capturing and processing software are you using? Does the software have to be compatible to each other or they are stand alone software?

 

What other software are required? auto guiding?

 

I use Adobe Lightroom for my Photography shots.  Is this software adequate for AP?

There's a relatively recent, but fairly mature option that, in my opinion, is _far_ superior for beginners.

 

My history.  I started with DSS and Paint Shop Pro.  So firsthand how useless it is to spend time trying to warp a terrestrial editing program into doing astro.  So I went to DSS and StarTools.  _Much better_.  But DSS, which is pretty much abandonware, was clearly the weak link.  So I went to Pixinsight.  A good, but difficult choice.

 

There's now Astro Pixel Processor.  Like PI it calibrates, stacks and processes, there are _major_ advantages to doing all 3 in one program.  Like PI, it has an excellent gradient reduction tool for reducing the effects of light pollution.  So does StarTools, it's one reason why an asro specific program is better.

 

You can usefully think of APP as PI lite.  If you later go to PI, time spent with APP is not wasted.  Most of what you learn will carry over.

 

It's far easier to learn and use.  It actually _teaches_ you how to process, there's a workflow (the order of the steps you do things in) embedded within it.  In PI, if you mess up the workflow, it shrugs and says to itself "well, I guess he wanted to do that."

 

No surprise, it's not free.   But, consider how much you spend on equipment.  Which is only half the job.  Spending $200 on the other half is really trivial.  The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of time, frustration, and quality.  APP is cost effective.

 

This is not a close call.  The comment of one beginner I recommended it to.

 

"Bob! A lifesaver!"


Edited by bobzeq25, 17 January 2021 - 02:52 PM.


#21 Stelios

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 03:28 PM

Great topic... software.

 

Which capturing and processing software are you using? Does the software have to be compatible to each other or they are stand alone software?

 

What other software are required? auto guiding?

 

I use Adobe Lightroom for my Photography shots.  Is this software adequate for AP?

First of all, if you have a PC for acquisition, download the ASCOM platform (free).

 

Then download the ASCOM drivers (free) for your equipment (mount, camera, guide camera).

Then download PhD2 (free, excellent guiding software). 

 

For acquisition software suites, there are SGP ($149), NINA (free), APT ($22). I would recommend one of the first two for a beginner. If you only have a Canon or Nikon DSLR as your main imager, there's also the very good Backyard EOS/Nikon software ($50) which arguably has the best interface.

 

For processing, I strongly recommend biting the bullet and getting Pixinsight (230 Euros, around $275 at current rates). The cheap (free) way is to start with Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) and GIMP (or Photoshop). Other inexpensive processing software are Star Tools and APP.  But processing is one area where the good is the enemy of the perfect. Pixinsight requires a book initially--you will not intuit your way into how it works, but neither can anyone intuit their way into Photoshop. But as you advance--and mark me, DSO astrophotography is a journey of years, not weeks or months--you will want the enormous range of options and features that Pixinsight offers. So why waste time with something else? 



#22 Pauls72

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 12:40 PM

Great topic... software.

 

Which capturing and processing software are you using? Does the software have to be compatible to each other or they are stand alone software?

 

What other software are required? auto guiding?

 

I use Adobe Lightroom for my Photography shots.  Is this software adequate for AP?

Most of us end up trying several pieces of each kind of software before we decide on them.

 

I use for Capture:

Nebulosity4

Sequence Generator Pro

CCD-Ciel (free)

 

For Stacking:

DSS - Deep Sky Stacker (free)

 

For Processing:

Nebulosity4

Star Tools

PixInsight

Photoshop

 

I would recommend you capture your images as RAW FITS or RAW TIF  files. For a Canon DSLR these are named with the CR2 extension.




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