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What Imaging Scope Did You Buy Next?

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#1 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 11:06 PM

So, let's say you followed the advice of many here on the forums and got your "starter" 60-80mm refractor, an EQ6-class mount or better and a dedicated camera (could be OSC or mono). You've imaged with it for a while, but decided you wanted something else.

 

What did you buy and why? Did you stick with refractors and buy something in the 120-150mm aperture range? Did you go for SCT, R/C, MAK, RASA? Did you buy better optics in the same 60-80mm range (i.e. your first scope was a 60mm doublet, but your next scope was a 61mm triplet)?



#2 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 11:09 PM

After playing with SCTs and Maksutovs as a visual observer, I became a refractor guy. I imaged with an 80mm for many years, then I bought a 127mm refractor but, for a variety of reasons, didn't really like it. I then moved to a 100mm refractor which I also used for several years. I now have a 140mm but I kept the 80mm and 100mm, and still use them for some targets.

 

EDIT: JamesTX reminded me that I also had a 70mm at the same time as the 100mm (and the 80mm) that I was trying out as a really portable rig. That telescope was a *blast* to use but, alas, the image scale wasn't satisfying for me and was close to the 80mm, so I sold it.


Edited by Ken Sturrock, 27 February 2021 - 04:01 AM.

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#3 Cfreerksen

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 11:47 PM

My order went like this.

 

EdgeHD 8

HyperStar

Z61

ES 80mm FDC100

GT102

Canon 200mm lens

 

I cut my teeth on the EdgeHD 8. Started with a Alt AZ mount, then wedge and soon guiding. Can't believe I was guiding an Evolution mount on a wedge doing galaxies (my avatar NGC891).

Then CGX

Piggybacked the Z61 w/flattener on the EdgeHD 8

Never got what I thought were acceptable results from the ES 80mm (used). Explore Scientific has it now. Sent it in for service.

CEM40

Sold CGX

CEM60

GT102 w/flattener then .72 reducer

Bought ASCOM lens controller and Canon 200mm lens

C6 for visual and live stacking.

 

Currently using GT102 w .72 reducer and ASI071. I almost have everything to deploy the ASI2600MM for it.

I use the EdgeHD 8 w .7 reducer and ASI1600MM the most.

The Z61 and GT102 and Canon Lens are for dark site trips over the weekends when I can get out.

 

 

 

Chris


Edited by Cfreerksen, 27 February 2021 - 12:01 AM.

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#4 JamesTX

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 11:52 PM

I was in this scenario last year.  After running a sv70t on an AVX for a couple of years I wanted something with a longer reach.. primarily for galaxy season. 

 

I picked up a eq6r pro for the mount.  For the scope I went back and forth on a 8" RC or a 8" Edge.  Both had the FL and price I was looking for.  I decided on the Edge.  After a year with it I'm happy with my choice.

 

This year.. the goal is running 2 rigs at once.  The sv70t for wide field/mosaics and the Edge for the closer up shots. 


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#5 Oyaji

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 12:46 AM

My second scope was the Orion Mak-Newt--190 mm aperture, 1000 mm focal length.  Perfect for those objects which seem just out of reach of the standard 80mm refractor.  Pinpoint stars edge to edge and fast at f/5.3.  And very reasonably priced.  But heavy--over 30 lbs with rails and moonlite focuser (and you will want to replace the stock focuser with a much heavier moonlite if you want to do electronic focusing).  It's worth considering if your back and your mount can handle it and if like me, you don't like diffraction spikes.  

 

After I hurt my back I had to downsize from the Mak-Newt to a 120mm f/7.5 (900 mm focal length) refractor, which after a shakedown cruise the other night is awaiting its first imaging session.   At f/7.5, it's slower than the Mak-Newt but it weighs only a manageable 16 lbs.  

 

Incidentally, my third scope was an Edge 9.25, so I had scopes at 560 mm, 1000 mm and 2350 mm focal lengths.  But I had to downsize from the Edge, as well, due to its weight.   

 

And yes, I upgraded my "beginner" 80mm doublet to an 85 mm Petzval.  So now I have scopes with 450, 900 and 2130 mm focal lengths (the last, alas, with diffraction spikes, but it, too, is very light).  I don't see myself buying more scopes any time soon (famous last words).


Edited by Oyaji, 27 February 2021 - 01:11 AM.

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#6 the Elf

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 03:29 AM

My scope/lens history:

 

GSO RC6 (now sold)

Rokinon 16mm f/2

GSO RC8

65mm quad

Super Takumar 200 (no longer in use)

askar 180

4'' f/7 doublet for visual

 

I did not follow the usual recommendation and did not get killed!

I recommend you build up a set of scopes with focal lengths increasing by a factor of 2.5. My imaging set is 180mm, 420mm, 1100mm (factors are 2.3 and 2.6). If the FOV is a bit tight the next shorter scope still has enough resolution. On an APS-C sensor this covers anything between Cosmic Question Mark and Spaghetti on the one end and Ring in Lyra and Galaxies on the other end. The long end is limited by seeing. As a rule of thumb do not go further than 1/2 of your best seeing for mono and 1/3 for color. If you expect 2 arcsec seeing you'd use 1arcsec/pixel on mono and 0.66 arcsec/pixel for color. Others may disagree.

Two examples at 0.733 arcsec/pixel, unmodded DSLR:

https://www.elf-of-l...s/M101_full.jpg

https://www.elf-of-l...1_2020_Full.jpg

On the low end if you exclude lenses the askar 180 is the shortest "telescope" I know of (in my price range).


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#7 imtl

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 04:02 AM

I didn't buy a another scope. I upgraded my mount.

 

I would like to get a frac in the area of 150-160mm. With a proper reducer I think it will sit nicely in the 800-1200mm range.

 

Fracs are awesome. And expensive....fingertap.gif


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#8 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 05:20 AM

You followed the guidelines Jonny?  rulez.gif   smh!

 

Being the outlaw I pretty much never am, I started with a smaller (yet surprisingly heavy) HEQ5, and topped that off with a 100mm f/9 doublet.  neener.gif   Happy I did too.

 

I will likely go small next, perhaps a 72, for when I want wide field and to see if it might guide the larger scope.  If I ever decide to start guiding that is.

 

On the bigger side, before any megafrac I still kind of like the idea of a 180 Mak - for planets and to see what else it might be able to reach.

 

Elf's idea of separated ranges seems useful too.  Even better if you have an FR that can break them down even more.


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#9 WadeH237

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 09:31 AM

I don't subscribe to the "start with a small refractor and then upgrade to bigger scopes over time" line.

 

Actually, I do (strongly) believe that starting out with a small refractor is probably the most effective way to get into the hobby.  But I don't feel like it's an "upgrade" to a bigger scope.  In fact, I'm currently working backwards.  I've been imaging with an 8" SCT for many years now, and am "upgrading" to a 130mm refractor that will be my new primary imaging instrument.

 

Here is a history of imaging configurations that I've used (at least as much as I can remember):

 

Ultima 2000 mount with a wedge and an 8" SCT and Fastar (not Hyperstar, as it didn't exist yet).

Ultima 2000 mount with a wedge and an 8" SCT at F/10 and F/6.3.  This was a horrible combination.  Don't do it.

Celestron CGE with an 8" SCT at F/10 and F/6.3

Celestron CGE with an 80mm doublet refractor at F/7.5

Celestron CG-5 with an 80mm doublet refractor at F/7.5

Celestron CGE with an 8" SCT and Hyperstar

Celestron CGE with a 102mm doublet refractor at F/7.5 (the focuser on this one couldn't handle the load, so I didn't stick with it)

Celestron CGE with a 6" R/C

Astro-Physics AP1600 with an 8" SCT at F/10 and F/6.3

Astro-Physics AP1600 with a 14" SCT at F/11 and F/7

Astro-Physics AP1600 with an 80mm triplet refractor at F/6 and F/4.8

Astro-Physics AP1600 with an EdgeHD 8 at F/7

Astro-Physics AP1100 with and EdgeHD 8 at F/7

Astro-Physics AP1100 with an 80mm triplet refractor at F/6

Celestron AVX with an 80mm triplet refractor at F/6 (set up as an instructional rig to let people give imaging a try)

Astro-Physics AP1100 with an EdgeHD 8 at F/10

 

And my next configuration will be a 130mm refractor at F/6.3, and potentially with a Barlow at F/12.6 (or maybe a bit less extension).  The AP1600 will be permanently set up at home, and the AP1100 will be the travel imaging mount.

 

The 130mm refractor is at the far end of premium, so I expect that it will beat totally beat the SCT for image quality, even at F/12.6 with a Barlow.  The longer exposure times due to the slow focal ratio don't bother me.  If this works out the way that I hope, the EdgeHD 8 will move from my primary imaging instrument, to a really nice grab-and-go visual scope (at least it's grab-and-go compared to the C14...)


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#10 Hesiod

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 09:56 AM

So, let's say you followed the advice of many here on the forums and got your "starter" 60-80mm refractor, an EQ6-class mount or better and a dedicated camera (could be OSC or mono). You've imaged with it for a while, but decided you wanted something else.

 

What did you buy and why? Did you stick with refractors and buy something in the 120-150mm aperture range? Did you go for SCT, R/C, MAK, RASA? Did you buy better optics in the same 60-80mm range (i.e. your first scope was a 60mm doublet, but your next scope was a 61mm triplet)?

The first purchase I made with the purpose of AP was a f/5.5 focal reducer for my 4" refractor. After a while I thought it could be nice to increase a bit the image scale and started to use a 5" MCT at  f/10 or f/5.5.

Then IFNs picked my interest and purchased a small widefield astrograph, which is the item I have used the most in the last couple of years.

 

Personally think that, if have already a widefield astrograph, tube with somewhat more reach would be pretty handy to have around (SCTs have their issues but are flexible, easy to find and due to good commercial success there are plenty of third part extras you can use to customize them).

"Specialized" devices such as very fast widefield astrographs (RASAs, ε, etc...) in my opinion make sense if have a keen interest for the specific kind of imaging are designed for


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#11 rgsalinger

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 10:00 AM

2008 - Celestron C11 on a CGE mount. Never got it to work properly.

 

2011 - Bought in 2011 a TV127(which I still have) on an iEQ45 mount I kept for 4 years.

 

2013 - Bought GSO RC8 and it would not hold collimation - year lost. 

 

2015 - Pair of Meade 10" F8 ACF scopes that produced triangular stars - 6 months lost.

 

2015 - Bought an Edge 8" (later sold) and a used AP Mach 1 (later sold).

 

2015 -  WO71 Star which I still have. 

 

2016 - Upgraded to an MX+ and a Planewave CDK12.5" 5 years ago (got an observatory). 

 

2017 - Bought an AP155 (used) 4 years ago and put it on the CEM120EC2 that I bought 3 years ago.

 

No plans to ever buy another telescope, but if I had the room it would be an even bigger CDK and if AP ever notified me about an AP130 I'd swap the Televue out.

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#12 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 11:04 AM

You followed the guidelines Jonny?  rulez.gif   smh!

 

Being the outlaw I pretty much never am, I started with a smaller (yet surprisingly heavy) HEQ5, and topped that off with a 100mm f/9 doublet.  neener.gif   Happy I did too.

 

I will likely go small next, perhaps a 72, for when I want wide field and to see if it might guide the larger scope.  If I ever decide to start guiding that is.

 

On the bigger side, before any megafrac I still kind of like the idea of a 180 Mak - for planets and to see what else it might be able to reach.

 

Elf's idea of separated ranges seems useful too.  Even better if you have an FR that can break them down even more.

Follow the rules? I didn't even know there WERE rules when I first looked up and said, "I wonder if I can photograph that".

 

I just started this adventure last summer, and it was almost a fluke that it happened. I typically travel a LOT for work. If it's any indication of just how much I travel, I have over 1 million miles on Delta and I'm a lifetime titanium member (a status you can't even get any longer) at Marriott properties.

 

As it happens, the world changed drastically last year. One of the results of that change was I went from traveling pretty much every week to working from home exclusively. Now, my evenings were spent at home with my wife instead of in some hotel room in whatever client location. As it also happens, I had purchased a Lumix G9 and a couple of lenses last year. I bought the setup for a few purposes - none of which was pointing to the stars.

 

So, what got me into this hobby? Well, one of those evenings last summer as I was sitting outside with my camera, I looked up and saw the moon between a few trees and said, "I wonder if I can photograph that". I played around and managed to get a few respectable shots. I kept at this throughout the summer, taking shots of the moon in various phases, until one night I happened to see Jupiter and Saturn quite close to the moon. I looked at them and said, "I wonder if I can photograph that". So, I pointed my camera that way and snapped off a few shots. As I was looking through the results I realized that not only had I managed to capture Jupiter, but also 4 of its moons. When I looked at Saturn, I realized I could make out rings. I was absolutely stunned I had photographed these two planets using nothing more than my G9, a 50-200 lens (at 200mm) and a 2x teleconverter.

 

That's how I started. With my Lumix G9, a couple of lenses and a tripod. I shot two DSO untracked: Andromeda and Orion.

 

My first upgrade was the purchase of a Star Adventurer Pro. I used it and my G9 / lenses to gather more data on Andromeda and Orion. I also took on a new DSO: the Pleiades.

 

I quickly realized I wanted more than the SA offered. By this time, I had become a member of these forums. I also realized there were, in fact, rules :D. My next upgrade was the purchase of a CEM40. Talk about being over-mounted. I had my little G9 and 50-200 lens on it. I ended up having to buy the Sky Guider Pro counterweight because the 10 pounder that came with the CEM40 was far too much.

 

The next upgrade was the purchase of a real scope - the WO GT81, along with a 50mm guide scope and guide camera (QHY 5L-II mono).

 

Now, I've got everything but a cooled camera. Eyal, you'll be pleased to know that the latest proposal to my CFO was accepted. I've got the ASI 294MM, ZWO 8 position EFW and Antlia LRGBSHO filters en route. I expect that to arrive mid next week. I'm very much looking forward to first light with it.

 

Regarding next scopes, I really don't know what I'll end up getting yet.


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#13 RandomJoe

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 11:09 AM

I went in BOTH directions at once!  lol.gif

 

Started with a 102mm refractor, and am still quite happy with it but there are so many things that are very tiny in the center of my images - and there are many things that just won't fit!

 

I've also been using my camera lenses (18-50mm and 50-250mm) that came with the 80D I started with.  Still missing something in that gap between 250mm and 714mm, also never could get those lenses working with the 1600MM astro cam.

 

So I recently bought an Apex L reducer to take the 102mm down from 714mm to 464mm.  

 

I also ordered (still waiting on it) an Edge 8 and reducer which will give me 1422 and 2032mm.

 

That should keep me occupied for a little while, anyway! grin.gif


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#14 imtl

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 12:42 PM

Follow the rules? I didn't even know there WERE rules when I first looked up and said, "I wonder if I can photograph that".

.

.

.

 

Now, I've got everything but a cooled camera. Eyal, you'll be pleased to know that the latest proposal to my CFO was accepted. I've got the ASI 294MM, ZWO 8 position EFW and Antlia LRGBSHO filters en route. I expect that to arrive mid next week. I'm very much looking forward to first light with it.

 

Regarding next scopes, I really don't know what I'll end up getting yet.

Of course there are rules. And you must follow them otherwise you will never be allowed to post in the experienced DSO imaging forum.

 

 

Congrats on the new mono setup. Now lets see some nice images processed to perfection.

You all have got to stop using CFO. I somehow keep reading this as CFZ (critical focus zone). It's driving me crazy!


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#15 alphatripleplus

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 01:43 PM

I have been all over the place. Started with a Newt as a visual observer, then when I ventured into using a CCD  years ago, I moved to SCTs and achromats (for narrowband). Now I have a nice little ED doublet refractor as well. I guess it will soon be time for a triplet refractor...


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#16 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 02:04 PM

Of course there are rules. And you must follow them otherwise you will never be allowed to post in the experienced DSO imaging forum.

 

Right. The "Experienced Forum" is for people who understand the rules well enough that they can break them with style. wink.gif


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#17 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 02:20 PM

That's a good story Jonny!  waytogo.gif

 

Other than my weak sauce flirtation with AP about 14 years ago, I too started last year by just doing things.  Some of the internet provided a bit of learning prior to joining CN - astrobackyard, astropix, astrofarsography.  That did help me to order up the mount as the first major purchase, which of course only held a Nikon with zoom lenses at first.  But already owning a cheap 90mm achro, there was no way I was going to start small with a glorified camera lens (regardless of their awesomeness).  The difference on M31 between my 200mm and 300mm lenses convinced me I wanted more reach.


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#18 imtl

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 02:22 PM

Right. The "Experienced Forum" is for people who understand the rules well enough that they can break them with style. wink.gif

I thought it was for people with AP mounts blush.gif



#19 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 02:25 PM

I thought it was for people with AP mounts blush.gif

Don't make us sorry that you bought that thing!


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#20 imtl

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 02:31 PM

sumo.gif  (I never know when is the best time to use this but it feels like now it is)


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#21 Rasfahan

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 02:57 PM

I started with tripod+Tele+DSLR and soon got a Heq-5 with the Esprit +mono cam. While at the time I thought this was a terribly complex hobby it was a very good and enjoyable setup to learn with and to keep imaging with.  In my quest to get some more detail for smaller targets I got taught about complexity. I tried a plethora of mount (used G11, Heq-5 belt mod, Mesu 200e) and scope (RC8, RASA 11) combinations which all have so far failed to deliver a reliable setup. The RC8 on belt-modded Heq-5 works best but still is a pain to get (and keep) collimated. I have to add that all the combinations did produce images that I was happy with, just not reliably and I wasted many clear sky hours fixing problems. I have a CFF 10“ RC and 10Micron mount incoming that I hope will enable me to just fight against the „usual“ astrophotography problems (which is me, myself and me) instead of equipment reliability.


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#22 Stelios

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 03:19 PM

My imaging progress was:

 

ED80 F/7.5 with flattener (since sold).

APM 115/805 with both flattener and 0.8x reducer

Edge HD 800 with reducer (only)

Stellarvue SVX70T with both flattener and 0.8x reducer--mainly used with reducer. 

 

My favorite scope is the SVX70T. The quality of the optics (KOW) is just incredible, and undersampling + drizzle yields some spectacular images. 

The Edge ends up oversampled too often. And although I've learned how to mitigate the star color shift, I've never managed to eliminate it. 

The APM I owned before any of the others, so I used it. The 805mm F/L does leave some resolution on the table when it comes to smaller galaxies and planetaries, and I would've loved something around 910-1000mm F/L. 

 

I don't really regret my path, and feel no real urge to sell my scopes and upgrade--but if I did, I would keep the SVX70T and get an SVX130T. I think those two scopes (each with both flattener and reducer) would be the ultimate imaging scopes for the vast majority of US locations. 


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#23 Phishin_phool

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 05:07 PM

Started with a William Optics Z71

Added a William Optics Z103

Recently Added a RASA 8 

I have also added an upgraded saddle that hold two scopes side by side although it has yet to be clear enough to get out and use it.

 

Have all 3 of my scopes at present. An eq6-r pro mount and both a mono camera with LRGBSHO filter wheel and a OSC (both are 183) as well as FF Sony A7iii.

 

I would like to add a scope with a longer FL; something around 1000-1300mm for some extra reach on small faint targets but it is going to wait as I plan on adding a second mount (probably HEQ5 since it is lighter than the eq6) and a mono camera with some bigger pixels / sensor size (294 or perhaps 2600) as well as spring for a filter drawer and fast SHO filters for my RASA either the MFR Astronomik or the new Baaders when they are released.



#24 WadeH237

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 05:08 PM

I thought it was for people with AP mounts blush.gif

I think that just about everyone in all of the imaging forums have Astro Photography mounts :)


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#25 imtl

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 05:45 PM

I think that just about everyone in all of the imaging forums have Astro Photography mounts smile.gif

AP mount = Astro-physics mounts in this case lol.gif




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