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Total beginner - am I on the right track?

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#1 bradbaker7

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 02:42 PM

I'm making the jump from visual to astrophotography and I'm hoping to get some advice on the following.

 

My short term plan:

 

Sky-Watcher EQM-35 Equatorial GoTo Mount (in preparation for a larger setup in the future)

Used Canon T3i un-modded w/stock 18-55mm lens

 

Long term, I would probably add a refractor (Apurtura 72mm or something similar) and would also like the ability to control the mount and preview images from inside my home (if possible).

 

How am I doing? Any red flags? What kind of equipment/software would I need for eventual remote control and previewing images remotely?



#2 Michael Covington

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 02:55 PM

A lens that is not a zoom would be to your advantage.  (Wider aperture and inherently better optical performance.)  Because Canons take adapters (Fotodiox), you can put Nikon, Pentax, etc. lenses on them (focusing manually, which is the only way you will ever focus in astrophotography).  Any good 135-mm f/2.8 lens would be a good start (or others thereabouts, such as 100mm).  I am assuming you want to minimize cost.  



#3 bradbaker7

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:03 PM

A lens that is not a zoom would be to your advantage.  (Wider aperture and inherently better optical performance.)  Because Canons take adapters (Fotodiox), you can put Nikon, Pentax, etc. lenses on them (focusing manually, which is the only way you will ever focus in astrophotography).  Any good 135-mm f/2.8 lens would be a good start (or others thereabouts, such as 100mm).  I am assuming you want to minimize cost.  

Thanks Michael. Yes, trying to keep costs down. Could you recommend a few beginner-level fixed lenses that would work on the Canon? Wondering what kind of costs might be involved with those vs just going all in and adding the refractor. 



#4 Cometeer

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:15 PM

Samyang/Rokinon 135mm lens. Not a whole much cheaper than a refractor, but it’s wide and fast. It’s a good compliment to a short fl refractor. 


Edited by Cometeer, 22 July 2021 - 03:16 PM.

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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:32 PM

I'm making the jump from visual to astrophotography and I'm hoping to get some advice on the following.

 

My short term plan:

 

Sky-Watcher EQM-35 Equatorial GoTo Mount (in preparation for a larger setup in the future)

Used Canon T3i un-modded w/stock 18-55mm lens

 

Long term, I would probably add a refractor (Apurtura 72mm or something similar) and would also like the ability to control the mount and preview images from inside my home (if possible).

 

How am I doing? Any red flags? What kind of equipment/software would I need for eventual remote control and previewing images remotely?

You're on the right track.  No red flags.

 

The EQM-35 will only take you so far.  The 72mm would be fine.  Anything much bigger, not.  It's not intuitive how good a mount you need, and how much that costs.

 

One way to remote imaging (at least from your backyard to the house).  A computer at the scope (I use a NUC).  All the software you need to control everything on that computer.  ASCOM i9s a widely applicable interface.  A computer inside, with some way to have the inside computer take over the comp0uter at the scope.  The monitor, mouse, and keyboard inside service the computer outside.  I use Teamviewer.

 

There are other options.

 

This book will be a big help.

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470906


Edited by bobzeq25, 22 July 2021 - 03:33 PM.

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#6 idclimber

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:42 PM

IMHO the mount is the most important piece of equipment, and I never hear people complain they bought too much mount. You have a good entry level mount picked out that is suitable for the first scope you envision. You might consider a larger mount if you want to be able to carry a larger scope in the future. Keep in mind weight ratings are almost useless for determining suitability for Astrophotography. 

 

I would suggest rethinking the DSLR if you don't already have one. Most novice imagers quickly switch to cooled astro cameras and then you are faced with reselling what you are contemplating. A cooled astro camera is simply that much, better especially if the body is not astro modified. 

 

I am more familiar with the Nikons so I will suggest a used D5300/D5600 and pair that with an old used Nikon 200 f/4 manual focus lens. I believe there are Canon equivalents but there are simply more used Nikkor lenses from that era on eBay. Alternate lenses would be any fixed focal length Nikkor lens with an F mount, which is pretty much all of them. An old AI/AIS would be what I would look for. Focal length of 135 f/2.8 or maybe even the highly regarded 180mm f/2.8. In my collection I have a 300mm f/4.5 that would also be perfect with the mount you are considering. 

 

My quick search on eBay and a used D5600 goes for about $300, and a used Nikkor 200 f.4 for about 75. Keep in mind that any of these DSLRs will need to be modified to capture the light from Nebula in the wavelength of Hydrogen Alpa (Ha). 

 

 

Zooms and autofocus is not needed. I would only consider them if you already have one or plan to use the camera for terrestrial work as well. This is even the case with the "pro" series f/2.8 Nikon or Canon zooms. 


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#7 chanrobi

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:44 PM

Samyang/Rokinon 135mm lens. Not a whole much cheaper than a refractor, but it’s wide and fast. It’s a good compliment to a short fl refractor. 

Highly UNrecommend that lens due to massive QC issues.

 

You HAVE to buy new from a place that will accept returns/refunds. Or used from someone who you trust has used it and tested it.


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#8 chanrobi

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:46 PM

Thanks Michael. Yes, trying to keep costs down. Could you recommend a few beginner-level fixed lenses that would work on the Canon? Wondering what kind of costs might be involved with those vs just going all in and adding the refractor. 

http://www.nightofma...strophotography

 

All of these are like $100 used on ebay or less

 

Great way to experiment with focal length and learn the ropes. Then you are armed with more knowledge before sinking much bigger $$ on a refractor or better lens.

 

I sold my takumar 200mm for $80 shipped last month.


Edited by chanrobi, 22 July 2021 - 03:48 PM.


#9 hcf

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:54 PM

Another option is to get a 80mm F/5 short tube achromat refractor like the Orion Short Tube 80 ($130) instead of a lens. The might be additional expenditure for rings and dovetail to mount it.

 

400mm FL is a little longer than what you are looking for, but you can start with shorter exposures, add guiding to your mount and learn a lot of stuff.

 

https://www.cloudyni...otos/?p=9938305

 

And you can use it for visual as well.



#10 RogeZ

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 04:13 PM

I have the same exact setup, Apertura 72 and EQM35 and its great for the money. I would strongly suggest adding an Asi Air Pro.
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#11 bobzeq25

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 04:15 PM

Thanks Michael. Yes, trying to keep costs down. Could you recommend a few beginner-level fixed lenses that would work on the Canon? Wondering what kind of costs might be involved with those vs just going all in and adding the refractor. 

You can learn a great deal with this.  And make some nice images.

 

https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/B00X8MRBCW

 

BUT, you're running up against the Achilles heel of CN advice, experienced imagers stating experienced imager concerns.  The zoom will do until you make some reasonable images.  Then the star quality will let _you_ see why a fixed focal length could be better.

 

Do not get the 80mm F5, that very cheap scope will mess up the learning process.  Either the 50mm or the zoom is a better choice.

 

Nothing will inform future purchase decisions better than some experience.  Nothing.


Edited by bobzeq25, 22 July 2021 - 04:16 PM.

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#12 tapfret

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 06:57 PM

You can learn a great deal with this.  And make some nice images.

 

https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/B00X8MRBCW

 

BUT, you're running up against the Achilles heel of CN advice, experienced imagers stating experienced imager concerns.  The zoom will do until you make some reasonable images.  Then the star quality will let _you_ see why a fixed focal length could be better.

 

Do not get the 80mm F5, that very cheap scope will mess up the learning process.  Either the 50mm or the zoom is a better choice.

 

Nothing will inform future purchase decisions better than some experience.  Nothing. 

Nifty 50's are also really easy to find in outstanding condition on the used market. One should be in every photographer's arsenal.

 

I also discovered in my current very green state that while your light gathering ability may suffer with zooms and the glass is generally not is precise as primes, they can really flatten the learning curve for object locating when you have the ability to start wide and pull your object in. When I was having trouble locating my target with my 300mm, I switched over to my 24-240mm for a couple nights to kind get a feel for where I was actually pointing and how much movement I was actually doing as I scanned a region. I wasn't going to win any awards with what I shot with that lens, but it sure gave me navigational confidence. 


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