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294 - A logical upgrade / addition?

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#1 Phishin_phool



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Posted 25 February 2021 - 10:48 PM

Several times the veterans here have saved me from making costly mistakes in terms of time, money (saved me $ thousands), and aggravation that I am calling out again for advice regarding upgardes and or additions to my current equipment. First off what I have currently:

Eq6R-pro mount (additional dual saddle Attachment and upgraded original saddle mount as well

WO Z71 scope, 419mm fl  / 335 fl with FF/FR

WO Z103 scope 711m fL   /  569 fl  with FF/FR

RASA 8 scope 400mm fl

QHY 183M, QHY 183c, Sony A7III

EFW w/ LRGBSHO 1.25" filters


Initially I was thinking of adding a HEQ5. This would allow me increased portability having a mount that wasn't so heavy and cumbersome and I could load it up and head to my mom's house or to other remote sites (often with the eq6-r as well). This would allow me to deploy all 3 scopes at the same time - two on the dual saddle with the 183's shooting the same target, 1 in OSC and the other either lrgb or sho and the last sscope on the HEQ5 with the A7iii. Seeing that there are no HEQ5 at the moment and likely to not be in stock for several months this put s a bit of a damper on things.


So on to proposal #2. Adding a ZWO294, nearly but not entirely certain a mono version. This seems to make sense to me for a few reasons. A) Although the 183 is a fine camera it is a bit of a niche camera with very small pixels and a correspondingly low FOV. This often becomes troublesome as I can't fit many objects in 1 frame with the Z103 such as heart nebula, M31 etc. They get cut off which means resorting to a mosaic  which I have not done yet or picking another scope/target. B) Being QHY183 cameras the backfocus requirements do not allow for use of the starizona filter drawer. I can get a Starizona or artesky filter holder but this means removing the entire camera and holder assemblies for each filter change which leads to: C) Adding a ZWO 294 does several things - It widens my FOV just enough to start fitting in targets with my Z103. The pixel scales at both binning modes 4.63 and 2.315 fits all my scopes currently and also allows me some flexibility should I choose to go after some smaller galaxies I could add something with some more focal length. But it also allows me to use the Starizona filter drawer meaning I can simply switch filters without the hassle of removing my dew shield, cable guides, unscrewing my camera and filter assembly etc. Just remove the drawer, change the filter, and off I go. By going mono 294, this opens up narrowband SHO RASA 8 shooting (as well as LRGB if I wish but may just be easier to do OSC with the 183.) The 2.94 pixel size of the 183 would be very comparable to the 3.15 pixel size in the unbinned mode of the 294 keeping the seeing resolution the same.

ZWO 294's are in stock and available.


Option#2 is more expensive but doable much more immediately than option 1. Also it doesn't prevent me from adding another lighter mount such as the HEQ5 later when they are available. Filters with an F/2.0 scope are another matter as well. I was thinking Astronomik Max FR  Ha,SII,OIII filters. The question then becomes  - can I realistically get away with 12nm or do I need to go 6nm? (I am afraid that going 6nm costs nearly $700 more than going 12nm). As it stands nobody seems sure when the redesigned Baader fast scope filters will be coming out and the cost.  Also I was wondering if it would be possible to find the inserts that will fit in the Starizona filter drawer and accept 1.25" filters? (to me this seems like a shortcut and astrophotography famously does not favor shortcuts). 


As usual I would love for people to tell me what I want to hear but seek wisdom and truth in order to avoid costly mistakes so all viewpoints and recommendations are welcome. 

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