Yeah. the astro-imaging thing is less of a rabbit hole, and more of a wormhole! It makes time and money disappear from your universe with no trace.
I only do imaging of planets and the Moon a couple times each year. I am primarily a visual observer. Don't get me wrong--those who have the resources and enthusiasm to do it can get some great results. However, I don't have the cash to throw at a "proper" imaging rig, nor do I anticipate that being the case in the future.
I have gotten some decent planetary and lunar images with modest equipment. Most sites devoted to imaging will immediately condemn people who won't or can't invest in these $10k rigs, but it is possible to capture passable images otherwise. Example--I have planetary and lunar images I captured with my 90mm Achromat on the stock EQ mount with a cheap motor drive (single axis), and I think they turned out well. A shaky or less-than-perfect tracking mount can still give decent images when the video is stacked. Just don't expect to get the same quality of images that you often see posted online.
I have not tried much in the way of long-exposure stuff, other than capturing some stellar spectra a couple times. In my specific case, those imaging sessions always come at the expense of visual sessions. That makes them a little harder to justify for me, especially if the weather is not affording many opportunities for observing.
So, long story short (too late!), lunar and planetary imaging is nothing to dismiss lightly, even with sub-prime equipment. I usually find it rewarding when I choose to do it. If you ever want more info, you are welcome to PM me.
Tony, I'm in exactly the same camp. I'm happy with the equipment I have (being mostly a visual observer as well) and I get a lot of satisfaction in the fact I can get the images that I do out of my classic scopes. They serve as a sort of souvenir/record of my observing sessions, never with the intended goal of winning contests or being published. As long as I'm happy and others get some enjoyment out of it, that's all that matters!
It truly can turn into an endless rabbit hole. My fork is nowhere near vibration free. The best advice I've read is to never touch it while imaging. That requires a better focuser (or perhaps an electronic focuser). I have no drive correction on this mount either - it's the original top-of-the-line worm drive in RA only from 1985. The manual controls are pretty pathetic, so I won't be doing any long exposures where a large target might drift off the tiny sensor in the camera...
...It will never end.
I'm going to try really hard to be happy with just lunar and planetary imaging for as long as I possibly can...
Exactly, I as well. My 1997 Celestar 8 Deluxe has a lunar tracking rate that seems to work pretty well and its controls are maybe only slightly more precise than your Super C8. I can get rudimentary images of DSOs from my Revolution Imager 2 also, and that's good enough for me.
Edited by ETXer, 27 May 2021 - 09:39 PM.