I am considering getting the William Optics RedCat 51 for deep sky imaging. I would piggy-back this scope onto my existing CPC 800 HD Edge scope, so I could have deep sky imaging capability with very wide field views. The RedCat got great reviews so I am seriously considering it. I would like to be able to image the larger deep sky objects, such as the Orion Nebula and Andromeda galaxy, and also fit the entire moon in the field of view.
If any of you are familiar with the RedCat, can you provide some input on the following:
1. Is this a good telescope for deep sky imaging? Or should I go with a slightly larger scope? The lens is only 51mm, and the focal length only 250mm. I would use it in conjunction with a ZWO asi 297, 553 or 183 camera- haven't decided yet.
2. If you own this telescope and have had any issues with it, what are they?
3. If there is another telescope you would recommend over the RedCat, which would it be, and why?
4. Would it be possible to use this scope as a guide scope in the future, if I decide to use it for that eventually?
5. Weight is a consideration since I would be piggy-backing it on my existing CPC 800 scope. Do you think its weight (at 2.9 lbs) would be a problem?
6. If you have any deep sky images you have taken with this telescope can you please attach them?
Thanks. Here is a web link to the RedCat:
Note that there are two issues.
How good is it do _do_ imaging? Very good, with the right targets (largish ones). Many people have made some lovely images with one.
How good is it to _learn_ DSO AP with? Excellent, one of the very best choices.
As pointed out, a good mount is necessary for imaging. It's the most important part of the setup. But, the Redcats 250mm focal length makes it quite forgiving. The CPC on a wedge is one possibility. People do use $300-500 camera trackers also. Of course a GEM mount is best, but it can be one of the lower end models.
Here's someone who went all out with a Redcat. GEM, mono camera, narrowband filters. Note the quality of his Redcat image. Note was he says about how he enjoys imaging with the Redcat. That's important, this can be a very frustrating hobby. <smile>
Bottom line. I highly recommend this scope. Especially if you are new to DSO imaging. In that case, four more recommendations.
This will be the best $44 you ever spend on DSO AP. <smile>
Astro Pixel Processor. The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time, frustration level, and image quality.
Don't omit the camera calibration frames: bias, flats, lights. They're not some advanced technique, they're fundamental.
I support the recommendation above for a 533 camera. One of the easiest to use. Don't worry too much about image scale. But' it's only available as one shot color. Id you do want to go the more expensive route of mono and filters, the 183 and 294 come in both types, I'd give the nod to the 183 with a Redcat, the 294 as a more general purpose camera.
About using it as a guide scope. It can work. But note that, if you ever want to image with the big SCT, you'll need serious experience with the Redcat first. And an expensive mount.
Edited by bobzeq25, 17 October 2021 - 09:57 AM.