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What's a good telescope (using a iOptron CEM40EC mount) for Astrophotography?

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#1 Sasquachh

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:11 PM

Well I have the mount narrowed down to the iOptron CEM40EC so now all I need is a good telescope. You all have helped me narrow down all my choices for a mount so now if you could give me suggestions as to a good telescope again I'd be grateful.

I'm focusing on taking photos of everything very very far away. :)

I'd like to keep the price down around $3,000 or less. Actually would prefer less, figure I could afford better later on.

Any ideas are welcome. 

Thank you!

 



#2 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:26 PM

Plenty of choices. A 60-80mm triplet refractor is what pretty much everyone recommends for a starter scope. I love my William Optics GT81. With the 0.8x reducer/flattener (which is a required accessory for astrophotography), it'll be around $1800.


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#3 ngatel

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:50 PM

I posted some thoughts on your other thread about the mount.

 

I would look at APO triplet refractors. William Optics, Sky-Watcher, and our sponsor Astronomics, all have quality instruments.


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#4 17.5Dob

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 04:42 PM

A 60-80mm triplet refractor is perfect. I highly recommend our sponsors brand, "Astro Tech". Massive bang for the buck, which then leaves you money for an autoguider/guidecam, another necessity.


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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 05:10 PM

Well I have the mount narrowed down to the iOptron CEM40EC so now all I need is a good telescope. You all have helped me narrow down all my choices for a mount so now if you could give me suggestions as to a good telescope again I'd be grateful.

I'm focusing on taking photos of everything very very far away. smile.gif

I'd like to keep the price down around $3,000 or less. Actually would prefer less, figure I could afford better later on.

Any ideas are welcome. 

Thank you!

You MUST distinguish between two things here.  Few will help you do that.  I will.

 

A good scope for an experienced imager to image with.

 

A good scope for learning DSO AP, and becoming that experienced imager.  _Often_, not the same thing.

 

Want to save money?  You're in luck.  A 51-80mm refractor is a _great_ choice for the second thing.  In fact, it's by far the right tool for the job.

 

Which one is not critical.  A doublet can do fine.  Or, you can get an excellent triplet, which you'll keep as your widefield scope forever.

 

First option.  $489 + flattener, when you get tired of lousy stars at the edges.

 

https://www.astronom...fpl-53-f-6.html

 

Second option.  About $1200 plus flattener.

 

https://www.teleskop...ertificate.html

 

Embroider this, frame it, and hang it on your wall.  <smile>  Bigger is not better.  This ain't visual.

 

Smaller is fine.  Many people do fabulous images with this, and it's the ideal tool for learning.  Built in flattener.  $823.

 

https://www.highpoin...escope-l-rc51ix

 

Watch this video, check out the setup.  You can use the money saved to get a mono camera, filters, and a filter wheel, like he has.  15 minutes could save you a _lot_ of time and money.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=MNQU1hdqz4M

 

You want to take images of small galaxies?  You'll reach your goal faster/better/(far)easier if you start with a small scope and big targets.  They too are better learning tools.  Among other things, they make it far easier to diagnose issues.

 

There will be issues.  <smile>

 

For my credentials see the astrobin referenced below.  And my bookshelf can beat up the large majority of bookshelves here.  <smile>


Edited by bobzeq25, 19 October 2021 - 05:19 PM.

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#6 dcm_guitar

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 05:23 PM

There are a lot of choices.  For someone new it can be overwhelming.  So, I'm going to be very specific simply because it takes out the guess work.  Of course, there are LOTS of other great telescopes.  My recommendation is not the only good one.  I'm just trying to make things easy.

 

I would recommend a William Optics GT81IV.  Also, buy the Flat 68III 0.8x flattener/reducer.

 

I'm making this recommendation because it is a GREAT telescope that you will never outgrow.  You may buy other 'scopes, but this one is a lifetime purchase.  Also, given your mount choice you can afford this level of purchase.

 

Also......

 

I had a CEM40 and now have a CEM70EC.  The EC iOptron mounts can be quite different than the non-EC versions, and I honestly would recommend NOT getting the EC version of the CEM40.  I'd save the money and get a nicer camera or filters.  The CEM40 EASILY guides well enough for the telescopes in its payload capacity without the EC.  You're likely going to be imaging at ~2" per pixel.  Also, PHD2's relatively new PPEC RA guiding algorithm does wonders for any PE in the RA gearing.  The CEMs guide GREAT using the PPEC in PHD2.

 

I can certainly see going with enhanced encoders on a mount with higher capacity.  Of course, you can purchase what you want to purchase and it will be amazing.  I'm simply suggesting you'll get everthing you want out of a CEM40 and a 81mm refractor.


Edited by dcm_guitar, 19 October 2021 - 05:24 PM.

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#7 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 06:05 PM

I mentioned this in your post on the mounts, but since dcm_guitar brought up the same thing here (and has pretty much identical recommendations), here's a screenshot of NINA doing its thing collecting data... notice the guiding:

 

gallery_347158_15202_759491.png

 

That's a total guiding error of 0.35". It's absolutely overkill for my setup at 2.5"/px resolution. I run PHD2 with the PPEC algorithm on RA and multi-star guiding. I regularly get guiding of 0.5" or under.

 

Point of it is to show the CEM40 without encoders is going to treat you very well indeed... so save the money :)


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#8 Sasquachh

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:34 AM

You all are soooo very helpful, thank you so much!!.

I have decided to go with

1: iOptron CEM40 instead of the EC model. (Thank you all for all the details on this)

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: William Optics RedCat 51 f/4.9 APO Refractor Telescope - L-RC51IX  (Seems to be EXACTLY what I was looking for)

https://www.highpoin...escope-l-rc51ix

3: ZWO ASIAIR Plus WiFi Camera Controller - ASIAIR-PLUS 

https://www.highpoin...ler-asiair-plus

4: Still looking to see what I need to get all this up and running.

After watching the YouTube video on the Redcat (Thanks ISS) I'm copying his setup. I still need to better understand all the different filters and I now need to order a good camera (not an SLR) so I'm looking at this one:

https://www.highpoin...-imaging-camera

Would also like to occasionally use this as a viewing telescope so considering a 90 degree prism and a good eyepiece as well.

Thank you all for all your help. Taking the time to give me so much information not only saved me money but helped to resolve my issues of finding a good starting setup.

I was going to order everything after the star-viewing event on the 30th, but after all the information and finding the reviews so positive I'm going to order this weekend.

I've never been in a forum where the members were so helpful. I truly do appreciate everyone's suggestions and if I ever have the chance I will gladly buy you all a beer, or coffee or whatever you're drinking.

Thank you!


Edited by Sasquachh, 20 October 2021 - 11:53 AM.

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#9 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 12:08 PM

You all are soooo very helpful, thank you so much!!.

I have decided to go with

1: iOptron CEM40 instead of the EC model. (Thank you all for all the details on this)

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: William Optics RedCat 51 f/4.9 APO Refractor Telescope - L-RC51IX  (Seems to be EXACTLY what I was looking for)

https://www.highpoin...escope-l-rc51ix

3: ZWO ASIAIR Plus WiFi Camera Controller - ASIAIR-PLUS 

https://www.highpoin...ler-asiair-plus

4: Still looking to see what I need to get all this up and running.

After watching the YouTube video on the Redcat (Thanks ISS) I'm copying his setup. I still need to better understand all the different filters (going to get a filter wheel later) and I now need to order a good camera (not an SLR) so if anyone has an idea for a camera (ASI, or?) again, I'd appreciate, and am very thankful for your ideas.

Thank you all for all your help. Taking the time to give me so much information not only saved me money but helped to resolve my issues of finding a good starting setup.

I was going to order everything after the star-viewing event on the 30th, but after all the information and finding the reviews so positive I'm going to order after getting any ideas on the camera and any on filters.

I've never been in a forum where the members were so helpful. I truly do appreciate everyone's suggestions and if I ever have the chance I will gladly buy you all a beer, or coffee or whatever you're drinking.

Thank you!

Right now I'm looking at this camera:

https://www.highpoin...-imaging-camera

It's because we're all very good at spending everyone else's money :p

 

The Cats are great little scopes. The only "concern" some people have with them is the helical focuser. Think camera lens... you rotate a ring around the barrel of the lens assembly... whereas in "traditional" refractor telescope designs, you've got a focuser hanging off the back of the tube. That focuser racks in and out using course/fine knobs (usually in a 10:1 ratio). Why does this matter? Well... most of the auto-focus devices (ZWO EAF, Pegasus FocusCube, etc) come with adapters and fittings for the "traditional" focusers. However, there's a guy who now 3D prints an adapter / belt system for the Cats (check out his website at deepskydad.com).

 

You are going to get a _LOT_ of opinions on the ASIAir. It's one of those devices that seems to really polarize people into a specific camp: supporter or detractor. I think they're good devices that offer up decent functionality at a reasonable price. I've written a number of times in these forums that the ASIAir is about as plug and play as this hobby gets. It's got limitations... you're forced into ZWO hardware for your accessories (ZWO EAF, ZWO EFW, ZWO guiding cameras, etc) and either ZWO main imaging cameras or a number of Canon and Nikon DSLRs. It also has its own version of different applications (like PHD for guiding), meaning you are completely dependent on whether ZWO wants to implement a feature. Those things are deal breakers for some.

 

Since we're spending your money... I would appropriate some of your budget towards an auto-guiding setup. ZWO actually offers up a nice little bundle of the ASIAir, a 120MM Mini camera and a 30mm guide scope for about $500.

 

Main imaging camera... so many options. If you don't want to go the mono route, my top choice would be the ZWO ASI2600MC Pro. Best color camera on the market in my opinion. The IMX571 sensor is fantastic. If that is a bit too much, the ZWO ASI533MC Pro is my next choice. Very similar characteristics to the 2600 in a smaller form factor. The sensor is a 1" square in the 533 vs APS-C in the 2600.

 

Filters... again, will depend on your choice of mono camera or color. Assuming you go color, you should probably pick up two. A UV/IR cut filter and a dual bandpass filter like the L-eXtreme. Use the dual bandpass filter on the emission nebulae (North America, Pelican, Pac-Man, Tulip, etc)... use the UV/IR on broadband targets and reflection nebulae (Andromeda, Triangulum, Pleiades, etc). These are not _necessary_ but are very nice to have to enhance your imaging experience.

 

And, since I mentioned them earlier... electronic focuser. ZWO EAF fits the bill nicely.

 

OK... I think I've given you enough food for thought while also doing damage to your credit cards :p


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#10 dcm_guitar

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 12:32 PM

You all are soooo very helpful, thank you so much!!.

I have decided to go with

1: iOptron CEM40 instead of the EC model. (Thank you all for all the details on this)

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: William Optics RedCat 51 f/4.9 APO Refractor Telescope - L-RC51IX  (Seems to be EXACTLY what I was looking for)

https://www.highpoin...escope-l-rc51ix

3: ZWO ASIAIR Plus WiFi Camera Controller - ASIAIR-PLUS 

https://www.highpoin...ler-asiair-plus

4: Still looking to see what I need to get all this up and running.

After watching the YouTube video on the Redcat (Thanks ISS) I'm copying his setup. I still need to better understand all the different filters (going to get a filter wheel later) and I now need to order a good camera (not an SLR) so if anyone has an idea for a camera (ASI, or?) again, I'd appreciate, and am very thankful for your ideas.

Thank you all for all your help. Taking the time to give me so much information not only saved me money but helped to resolve my issues of finding a good starting setup.

I was going to order everything after the star-viewing event on the 30th, but after all the information and finding the reviews so positive I'm going to order after getting any ideas on the camera and any on filters.

I've never been in a forum where the members were so helpful. I truly do appreciate everyone's suggestions and if I ever have the chance I will gladly buy you all a beer, or coffee or whatever you're drinking.

Thank you!

Right now I'm looking at this camera:

https://www.highpoin...-imaging-camera

I've been doing this about a year, so I'm not a newb but I'm also not a grizzled veteran (although I may be grizzled).....

 

If you're going to go with the ASI Air, you're probably better served getting a ZWO camera.  QHY makes great instruments, but the ASI Air is designed specifically to work with ZWO equipment. 

 

HOWEVER........

 

Others will chime in, and this is simply my opinion... I think there's more future growth opportunity in not using the ASI air and going with a miniPC instead.  With a miniPC you can run the full version of all the software and are not tied into ZWO's update cycle.  The cost is the same as the ASI Air.  There's a lot of information on this site about using a miniPC.  I'm using a Beelink miniPC to control all of my imaging and then I remote desktop into it.  I can stay inside while my imaging is running.  If I go to a dark site location with no internet, I bought a $25 USB powered mini router and can still use remote desktop to control everything wirelessly.  I really think the miniPC approach has a LOT of merit.

 

As far as selecting the camera goes.......  If you're buying a dedicated, cooled astronomy camera you're going to want to start with a OSC (one shot color).  It's just dramatically easier to deal with than a mono camera.  Sensor size plays a big role, and I would recommend going for an APS-C sized sensor.  It's large enough to give you lots of options while not being cost prohibitive like some fo the full frame sensors. 

 

The CEM40 is ~$1,100 less expensive than the CEM40EC.  I'd take part of that $1,100 savings and put it into the camera.  Again, there is a LOT to consider with a camera.  I'm going to throw another recommendation out there and suggest a ZWO ASI071MC Pro.  Of course, it's easy to spend someone else's money.  But I personally would take the cost savings from not buying the EC and toss most of it towards the camera.  Again, this is my opinion only.

 

Also, you'll want to think about a guide camera and a guide scope.  These are not terribly expensive, but the costs do add up.  A 50mm guide scope is not an expensive option (<$200).  The guide camera can be inexpensive as well (~$150) or more expensive (~$500). 


Edited by dcm_guitar, 20 October 2021 - 12:37 PM.

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#11 fewayne

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:05 PM

As far as selecting the camera goes.......  If you're buying a dedicated, cooled astronomy camera you're going to want to start with a OSC (one shot color).  It's just dramatically easier to deal with than a mono camera.  Sensor size plays a big role, and I would recommend going for an APS-C sized sensor.  It's large enough to give you lots of options while not being cost prohibitive like some fo the full frame sensors. 

I  get where you're coming from, but I don't think it's as much of a slam-dunk as you seem to. For "dramatically easy to deal with", nothing beats a cooled mono camera with an Ha filter screwed onto it. True, you don't get color. But you do get:

  • Terrific  results with emission nebulae, right out of the box. 
  • Seriously -- one might even say "dramatically"  -- fewer issues with light pollution. As in, next to none. And that includes imaging right under a bright full moon. No need to drive out to dark sites, or to muck about with LP filters and undo their color casts in post.
  • Processing even simpler than with a one-shot-color camera.
  • All the needed experience learning the mechanics of the game, which are identical: Polar alignment, focusing, sequencing, calibration frames, and processing.

And of course, once you've got the basics down and have some incredible black-and-white wall art, you can add a filter wheel and more filters. Now you're set for broadband  LRGB as well as narrowband imaging as well. And in the most efficient fashion (LRGB needs less imaging time to achieve a given SNR). 

 

Likewise sensor size certainly does matter, but IMO it's not as simple as "bigger is better". It depends on what you're trying to achieve. At 250mm, the OP will hardly need an APS-C sensor to fit most targets into the frame! A smaller sensor with smaller pixels could very well be advantageous there; his original pick of a 183 sounds just right to me, widefield is where that sensor really shines. (Which is to say, "that's what I have and so I think it's a great idea". wink.gif )


Edited by fewayne, 20 October 2021 - 01:06 PM.

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#12 licho52

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:12 PM

I know that bigger sensor might mean bigger problems but to be honest, nothing beats APS-C, it just gives us so much creative freedom to frame and create different shots.

 

I am a big proponent of big sensors, tiny sensors had their place in the past but it's now time to put them behind us.


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#13 ngatel

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:13 PM

It's because we're all very good at spending everyone else's money tongue2.gif

 

The Cats are great little scopes. The only "concern" some people have with them is the helical focuser. Think camera lens... you rotate a ring around the barrel of the lens assembly... whereas in "traditional" refractor telescope designs, you've got a focuser hanging off the back of the tube. That focuser racks in and out using course/fine knobs (usually in a 10:1 ratio). Why does this matter? Well... most of the auto-focus devices (ZWO EAF, Pegasus FocusCube, etc) come with adapters and fittings for the "traditional" focusers. However, there's a guy who now 3D prints an adapter / belt system for the Cats (check out his website at deepskydad.com).

 

Auto focus is a huge plus for me. I can image all night while the computer controls everything, including focusing every hour or if the focus changes due to temperature, etc. The auto focusing becomes more difficult with the Cat scopes. However, my small 61mm ZenithStar 61 rarely needs focusing.

 

The wide field of view is nice. Were I to do it over, I think I would have been happier with a 80mm. I love my Esprit 100 and probably would have been happier if I started with an Esprit 80. But . . . I'll continue to use the Z61 and don't plan on getting a 80mm.


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#14 ngatel

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:27 PM

You all are soooo very helpful, thank you so much!!.

I have decided to go with

1: iOptron CEM40 instead of the EC model. (Thank you all for all the details on this)

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: William Optics RedCat 51 f/4.9 APO Refractor Telescope - L-RC51IX  (Seems to be EXACTLY what I was looking for)

https://www.highpoin...escope-l-rc51ix

3: ZWO ASIAIR Plus WiFi Camera Controller - ASIAIR-PLUS 

https://www.highpoin...ler-asiair-plus

4: Still looking to see what I need to get all this up and running.

After watching the YouTube video on the Redcat (Thanks ISS) I'm copying his setup. I still need to better understand all the different filters and I now need to order a good camera (not an SLR) so I'm looking at this one:

https://www.highpoin...-imaging-camera

Would also like to occasionally use this as a viewing telescope so considering a 90 degree prism and a good eyepiece as well.

Thank you all for all your help. Taking the time to give me so much information not only saved me money but helped to resolve my issues of finding a good starting setup.

I was going to order everything after the star-viewing event on the 30th, but after all the information and finding the reviews so positive I'm going to order this weekend.

I've never been in a forum where the members were so helpful. I truly do appreciate everyone's suggestions and if I ever have the chance I will gladly buy you all a beer, or coffee or whatever you're drinking.

Thank you!

Regarding the ZWO ASIAIR . . .

 

You will be confined to the ZWO world of accessories.

 

When I researched a computer at the mount, the ASIAIR would not work with the Celestron Auto Focuser on my C8. So that eliminated the ASIAIR for me. I also consider that if I wanted some other accessory, it might not work with the ASIAIR. 

 

I use a Mac computer and really wanted to avoid the Windows world, which I have experience with every version of Windows starting with Win 1.0 (yes there was a 1 before 3.1).

 

I looked at the Raspberry Pi solutions and they were too fiddly for me. I'm in my 70s and don't want to waste my remaining years playing with software.

 

Lastly, all the really good software runs on Windows (especially ASCOM stuff), much of the software available is Windows only. So I got a mini PC, which is really easy to control from inside my house with my Mac. Once I got the mini, and set up the Remote Desktop software I installed everything remotely from my Mac to the mini . . . Stellarium, NINA, PHD2, ASTAP, SharpCap, Celestron CPWI, ASCOM drivers, etc. And to my surprise, everything worked the first go. No fiddling other than setting up parameters and such in the various software packages — not bad for a retired auto mechanic!!

 

So I would seriously consider a mini PC. Not because it is a better platform, but because the best astro software is mostly Windows-based.


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#15 dcm_guitar

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:31 PM

I  get where you're coming from, but I don't think it's as much of a slam-dunk as you seem to. For "dramatically easy to deal with", nothing beats a cooled mono camera with an Ha filter screwed onto it. True, you don't get color. But you do get:

  • Terrific  results with emission nebulae, right out of the box. 
  • Seriously -- one might even say "dramatically"  -- fewer issues with light pollution. As in, next to none. And that includes imaging right under a bright full moon. No need to drive out to dark sites, or to muck about with LP filters and undo their color casts in post.
  • Processing even simpler than with a one-shot-color camera.
  • All the needed experience learning the mechanics of the game, which are identical: Polar alignment, focusing, sequencing, calibration frames, and processing.

And of course, once you've got the basics down and have some incredible black-and-white wall art, you can add a filter wheel and more filters. Now you're set for broadband  LRGB as well as narrowband imaging as well. And in the most efficient fashion (LRGB needs less imaging time to achieve a given SNR). 

 

Likewise sensor size certainly does matter, but IMO it's not as simple as "bigger is better". It depends on what you're trying to achieve. At 250mm, the OP will hardly need an APS-C sensor to fit most targets into the frame! A smaller sensor with smaller pixels could very well be advantageous there; his original pick of a 183 sounds just right to me, widefield is where that sensor really shines. (Which is to say, "that's what I have and so I think it's a great idea". wink.gif )

I will readily admit I'm trying to keep things as simple as I can in my recommendations.  EVERYTHING with this hobby starts with "it depends...".  This is great as you learn, but when you're just starting out it can be infuriating.  Again, everything I've said is based on my opinion and I am making no claims about "right" or "wrong".  As someone wh went down this path last year I'm simply trying to share my experience.

 

I switched to mono pretty early, and that's almost exclusively what I shoot.  However, I will stand by my opinion that OSC is dramatically easier to deal with versus mono as a beginner.  There are some great duoband filters that allow OSC users to get similar light pollution and moon illumination benefits as mono narrowband without having to worry about a filter wheel and multiple filters and backspace adjustments. 

 

As far as processing goes, I think mono processing (again my opinion) is more involved and more intimidating for a beginner.  There's 3x or 4x the amount of pre-processing required and then the added complexity of channel combination.  

 

I never made the statement of "bigger is better" with regards to sensor size.  I recommended an APS-C sensor and stick with that recommendation.  There are LOTS of good camera choices.  Honestly, an almost overwhelming selection.  I threw out a suggestion, but the OP may ignore it.  It's all good!!


Edited by dcm_guitar, 20 October 2021 - 01:39 PM.

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#16 bobzeq25

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:33 PM

You all are soooo very helpful, thank you so much!!.

I have decided to go with

1: iOptron CEM40 instead of the EC model. (Thank you all for all the details on this)

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: William Optics RedCat 51 f/4.9 APO Refractor Telescope - L-RC51IX  (Seems to be EXACTLY what I was looking for)

https://www.highpoin...escope-l-rc51ix

3: ZWO ASIAIR Plus WiFi Camera Controller - ASIAIR-PLUS 

https://www.highpoin...ler-asiair-plus

4: Still looking to see what I need to get all this up and running.

After watching the YouTube video on the Redcat (Thanks ISS) I'm copying his setup. I still need to better understand all the different filters and I now need to order a good camera (not an SLR) so I'm looking at this one:

https://www.highpoin...-imaging-camera

Would also like to occasionally use this as a viewing telescope so considering a 90 degree prism and a good eyepiece as well.

Thank you all for all your help. Taking the time to give me so much information not only saved me money but helped to resolve my issues of finding a good starting setup.

I was going to order everything after the star-viewing event on the 30th, but after all the information and finding the reviews so positive I'm going to order this weekend.

I've never been in a forum where the members were so helpful. I truly do appreciate everyone's suggestions and if I ever have the chance I will gladly buy you all a beer, or coffee or whatever you're drinking.

Thank you!

The ZWO 533MC stands out as a good choice.  It's easier to use than most, so diverts you less from learning important things.  People will favor this camera or that, often for reasons that matter more to experienced imagers, my goal is simply to make your entry into this hobby as pleasant and easy as possible.

 

It ain't easy.  <smile>

 

Good call on the standard CEM40.  I had the same decision when I bought my CEM60.  Considered the EC version, passed on it.  Cost was not a factor, no need to go into what was.

 

Beginners usually value equipment more than it warrants.  Here's some other important stuff.

 

Do not omit the camera calibration frames; bias, flats, darks, when starting out.  They are not advanced technique, they're fundamental.

 

Trying to persuade a terrestrial editing program to process astro data is a bad idea.  I recommend Astro Pixel Processor.  In the scheme of things the cost is trivial.  The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time, frustration level, and image quality.

 

This book will be the best $44 you ever spend in DSO AP.

 

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

 

The pro of the ASIAir is simplicity.  The con, described above, is limited hardware and software compatibility.  For me the con is too much, even for a beginner.  Einstein:

 

"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler."  The ASIAir is simpler.  <smile>

 

Mono and filters versus one shot color is simply a personal choice.  The main drawback to mono plus filters is substantially increased cost.  The added complexity is mostly doing some additional operations up front.  Subsequent processing is a bit easier, the sharp cutoffs of the filters helps.


Edited by bobzeq25, 20 October 2021 - 01:39 PM.

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#17 dcm_guitar

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:36 PM

...

 

I use a Mac computer and really wanted to avoid the Windows world, which I have experience with every version of Windows starting with Win 1.0 (yes there was a 1 before 3.1).

 

...

 

Lastly, all the really good software runs on Windows (especially ASCOM stuff), much of the software available is Windows only. So I got a mini PC, which is really easy to control from inside my house with my Mac. Once I got the mini, and set up the Remote Desktop software I installed everything remotely from my Mac to the mini . . . Stellarium, NINA, PHD2, ASTAP, SharpCap, Celestron CPWI, ASCOM drivers, etc. And to my surprise, everything worked the first go. No fiddling other than setting up parameters and such in the various software packages — not bad for a retired auto mechanic!!

 

So I would seriously consider a mini PC. Not because it is a better platform, but because the best astro software is mostly Windows-based.

I'll second this.  I do all of my imaging processing on my Mac, but my computer for controlling my astronomy gear is a Windows miniPC.  I capture the data with the Windows unit and then transfer the images to my Mac for processing.  I chose the PC for astronomy control for exactly the same reasons, the software is readily available, easy to find and the user community is MUCH larger making getting questipns answered MUCH easier.


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#18 Beaverpond Astro

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 04:14 PM

 

 

The pro of the ASIAir is simplicity.  The con, described above, is limited hardware and software compatibility.  For me the con is too much, even for a beginner.  Einstein:

 

"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler."  The ASIAir is simpler.  <smile>

 

 

Not sure if the ASIAir fits Einstein's quote ... it is a straightforward, all-in-one solution to automating AP.  Nothing 'simpler' about that feat.  It is quite a powerful little tool, especially with recent upgrades.

 

I'm 1.5 years into AP.   I struggled for the first month trying to understand and put together all the tools (plate solving, sequencing, meridian flipping, etc)  for a laptop and then found the ASIAir.

In 1 evening, after installing the AA, I was to PA, Plate solve, guide, meridian flip, and image...it seemed like magic to me.  The hurdles disappeared.

 

I would HIGHLY recommend the AsiAir Pro/Plus to anyone starting out in AP and is willing to stay with ZWO cameras/accessories (not a limitation, unless one is already invested in other gear).  

 

- plate solved gotos are spot on and repeatable

- guiding (multi-guiding) with ASIAir on a CEM120 is between .25" (good night) and .5" (poor seeing)...not missing full PHD2 at all.

- and since it is an all-in-one tool, no need to worry about s/w 'compatibility' issues or limitations.

 

Perhaps some day I will outgrow the AAP, but I don't see anything yet that has me wanting to ditch it for a mini-PC.


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#19 ngatel

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 04:26 PM

Not sure if the ASIAir fits Einstein's quote ... it is a straightforward, all-in-one solution to automating AP.  Nothing 'simpler' about that feat.  It is quite a powerful little tool, especially with recent upgrades.

 

There is no doubt it is a nice product, with the caveat that you are stuck with the ZWO world of products, which isn't necessarily bad. It does make integrating thing fairly easy.

 

I bet a lot of folks here don't remember the days of free or really inexpensive razors for shaving — only you had to buy that brand's razor blades for it to work — genius marketing!

 

Astrophotography is expensive. So, I like the philosophy of

 

"Buy your second <insert product here> the first time."

 

That is, why buy a product knowing you may have to replace it later with something more suitable. On the other hand, with a lot of astro equipment, it is fairly easy to recoup a large portion of the cost of a piece of equipment by selling it on the used market, unless it becomes completely obsolete. I have some backpacking stoves that are obsolete because the fuel canisters haven't been available for decades. 


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#20 Oort Cloud

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 05:04 PM

Filters... again, will depend on your choice of mono camera or color. Assuming you go color, you should probably pick up two. A UV/IR cut filter and a dual bandpass filter like the L-eXtreme. Use the dual bandpass filter on the emission nebulae (North America, Pelican, Pac-Man, Tulip, etc)... use the UV/IR on broadband targets and reflection nebulae (Andromeda, Triangulum, Pleiades, etc). These are not _necessary_ but are very nice to have to enhance your imaging experience.


The 2600 doesn't need a UV/IR, it's built into the sensor glass. But it might not be a terrible idea to pair the L-extreme with an L-Pro. I've heard other users say they're parfocal, which would make switching easier since it wouldn't require adjustments to the helical focuser. And since we're on the topic of the helical focuser on the Redcat, a Bahtinov mask should be on OP's shopping list as well.
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#21 licho52

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 07:04 PM

533MC is a good choice for a beginner but one should quickly get rid of it as they progress.  At the same time when it comes to calibration they require only flats and not even bias, one can use pedestal to calibrate them.

 

So in a way it's a really good sensor for beginners so they don't get into a bad habit of worsening their SNR by doing all the obsolete calibration routines of the past.


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#22 bobzeq25

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 07:56 PM

533MC is a good choice for a beginner but one should quickly get rid of it as they progress.  At the same time when it comes to calibration they require only flats and not even bias, one can use pedestal to calibrate them.

 

So in a way it's a really good sensor for beginners so they don't get into a bad habit of worsening their SNR by doing all the obsolete calibration routines of the past.

Done properly, bias, flats, darks do not increase noise.  People who say they do are most often not doing them properly.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 October 2021 - 11:10 AM.

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#23 fewayne

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 11:28 AM

533MC is a good choice for a beginner but one should quickly get rid of it as they progress.

[Citation needed] smile.gif


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#24 Sasquachh

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 01:23 PM

I came to realize I wouldn't be able to afford the telescope and all the camera gear so I decided to get a viewing telescope, then after paying it off (since I'll already have the mount) I can get a better telescope and the camera equipment at the same time. I figured I could either get a viewing telescope now so I have something to use then after having a better understanding of all this I can get a setup I know I'll be very happy with.

I purchased:

1: The CEM40 Mount

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: The Meade 6" LX65 ACF

https://www.highpoin...elescope-228013

3: The Baader Hyperion 8-24 Clickstop Zoom Eyepiece and 2.25X Hyperion Zoom Barlow Kit

https://www.highpoin...with-hyp-barlow

4: Baader 1.25" Amici 45º Erecting Prism w/24 mm Clear Aperture

https://www.highpoin...erture-amici-45

Total it was almost $4,000 which was the budget I was trying to stay at without sacrificing quality. While I heard I should stay away from Meade it was only $800 so not too much of a loss if it doesn't work out. I'll just give it to one of the kids. :)

Yeah I figure with the descent mount I can go in any direction so once I pay this off I should be able to get a sweet scope and the camera gear at the same time.

A couple of the things are backordered (I think I got the last 6" Meade on the site) so I won't get the stuff right away, but I can't wait.

So, with this not belonging in the Astrophotography forum I'll just observe and learn. You all have taught me so much, and I've only been here for a week. Can't imagine how much more edumacated I'll be by next year. Lol



#25 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 01:47 PM

I came to realize I wouldn't be able to afford the telescope and all the camera gear so I decided to get a viewing telescope, then after paying it off (since I'll already have the mount) I can get a better telescope and the camera equipment at the same time. I figured I could either get a viewing telescope now so I have something to use then after having a better understanding of all this I can get a setup I know I'll be very happy with.

I purchased:

1: The CEM40 Mount

https://www.highpoin...ard-case-c402a3

2: The Meade 6" LX65 ACF

https://www.highpoin...elescope-228013

3: The Baader Hyperion 8-24 Clickstop Zoom Eyepiece and 2.25X Hyperion Zoom Barlow Kit

https://www.highpoin...with-hyp-barlow

4: Baader 1.25" Amici 45º Erecting Prism w/24 mm Clear Aperture

https://www.highpoin...erture-amici-45

Total it was almost $4,000 which was the budget I was trying to stay at without sacrificing quality. While I heard I should stay away from Meade it was only $800 so not too much of a loss if it doesn't work out. I'll just give it to one of the kids. smile.gif

Yeah I figure with the descent mount I can go in any direction so once I pay this off I should be able to get a sweet scope and the camera gear at the same time.

A couple of the things are backordered (I think I got the last 6" Meade on the site) so I won't get the stuff right away, but I can't wait.

So, with this not belonging in the Astrophotography forum I'll just observe and learn. You all have taught me so much, and I've only been here for a week. Can't imagine how much more edumacated I'll be by next year. Lol

Here's an option for you.  You do have a camera that can take time exposures, like any DSLR, many mirrorless?  Put it and a lens (anything you have can work) on the mount with this.

 

https://www.amazon.c...e/dp/B0000XMYFQ

 

That's an _excellent_ way of starting out in DSO AP.  You can learn most all of the complicated techniques.  Make some nice images.  See if this is something that grabs you.

 

Most of all, have a lot of fun.  <smile>

 

Nothing will inform future purchases like some experience.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 October 2021 - 02:02 PM.



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