I had a successful first light. The scope is very nice quality and the focuser is rock solid. I was just playing and since the moon was 3/4 and very bright I wasn't expecting too much.
I first manually swung it over to the moon. It looks so lonely in this super-wide FOV (276 arc-min wide).
I next went to the Markarian chain. Usually just the four or five main galaxies fill most of my FOV but as you can see here, there are now hundreds! (SC Pro 35 second exposure, gain 136, 6:13 total time)
I was a little surprised to see the significant vignetting. The scope is supposed to be able to illuminate 41 mm circle with the reducer. My 294 is 23 mm diagonal so it should have fit easily within the illuminated circle. Could this just be due to bright moon?? I didn't use flats or darks tonight but I can certainly use them in the future.
On the upside, the reducer is also a flattener and it looks like I have very nice stars all the way into the corners.
One nice thing about the short focal length is that I could easily get 60 second exposures and this was without proper balancing and a VERY rough polar alignment and no guiding. So maybe I can get into some more AP-like images although I refuse to do much or any post-processing!!!!
Clearly, this focal length isn't ideal for galaxies. I am mostly looking to use it for large, colorful nebula and some large swaths of the milky way.
Overall, very pleased.