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Should I start with a star adventurer or a GOTO EQ mount?

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#1 bigopapa


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Posted 27 October 2021 - 07:13 AM



I have a Canon 450D DSLR and I'm looking to get into astrophotography. I saw a Star Adventurer for ~440 USD (comes with tripod) and another post selling a motorized goto EQ5 for 50 USD more. Is it worth going for the EQ5?


Any feedback appreciated!!


#2 2ndRecon


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Posted 27 October 2021 - 07:30 AM

Do you need to go to a darker location to shoot ?

If so, Then go for the sky guider, etc. dragging a heavy tripod and Mount head from the truck or car is a pain.

The number one hindrance to getting shots is transporting and setting up the rig. Even if it’s only to the backyard.

You can do phenomenal work with a sky tracker / guider and sturdy tripod.

In my opinion, the only real upside to an EQ5 class Mount is you can probably put something a little larger than an 80mm doublet on it and use it for visual as well as AP. Maybe even an 8” RC or SCT but that’s pushing it for AP. A used HEQ5 or the like is a good buy and will last you a lifetime. 

But, if your current interest is AP, particularly widefield Milky Way and DSO, you simply can’t beat the star tracker / guiders. Your entire rig would fit into a typical duffel bag, use very little power, and you’ll never stop learning 

Edited by 2ndRecon, 27 October 2021 - 07:34 AM.

#3 Normmalin


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Posted 27 October 2021 - 08:01 AM

At some point you will want both, so with that in mind I would suggest the tracker first since you will learn a ton from working with it that will benefit you later when you move to an Equatorial Mount.  

#4 M_Johnson


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Posted 27 October 2021 - 09:16 AM

I started out with the Skyguider Pro. It worked really well but I found that framing a target was a huge pita. I would spend a quarter of my imaging time shooting, plate solving then moving the tracker, repeating this  numerous times until I was happy with the framing and for me this was tedious and frustrating. Went to an iOptron GEM28 and it is magical! Frames perfectly every time. 

Recommend the go to mount.

#5 Jim R

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 09:39 AM

+1 for the tracker. Having a great time with my Sky Guider Pro, learning lots and it is easy enough that I don't get frustrated.

#6 photobiker


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Posted 27 October 2021 - 10:08 AM

The first two post are correct and Johnson is correct as well.  I started with a SkyGiuder as well and about a1-1/2 years later I got a goto mount. When we travel I generally carry the SkyGuider because of weight and size of pack up.  But that decision is also driven by where we are going and what's in the sky at that time of the year.  My SkyGider doesn't get dusty.  And I use camera lenses and well a telescope and still use DLSR cameras, my astro camera is mono.  I would start with the Star Adventurer, there is a lot to learn and even if you do move up to a goto you will still use the Star Adventurer at times.  You will learn what you can do and what you can't do, you will learn the sky, what's where and when.  You will learn about your imaging capturing software and about required exposure times for the different targets.  You will need to learn how to process these images.  All of these things will be needed no matter what type or size of astrophotography equipment you get.  And most of all you will determine if you want to stick with astrophotography. 


As Johnson mentioned framing can be a pia if you are using long a lens, 300mm and up. I don't know much about the Star Adventurer but I'm guessing it is similar to the SkyGiuder and you are good for about 10-12 pounds of payload capacity.  Well the EQ5 goes up to 20 pounds, not much of a gain.  Johnson recommended going to a goto mound but he got a GEM28 which is about twice to cost of the EQ5 and has a capacity of 28 pounds.  If you stick with astrophotography I think you will find that a 20 pound payload capacity won't be enough for your future wants.  Just my thoughts

#7 Jure_13


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Posted 28 October 2021 - 09:59 AM

I also started imaging with a Star Adventurer and my Canon 80D (unmodded) but quickly added AsiAir Pro kit (comes with a small 120mm FL guide scope and ASI120mm mini camera). I really like the setup, it's way easier now to find otherwise invisible objects with the help of plate solving, to do precise focusing (with a Bahtinov mask) and of course, polar alignment. But I am still taming the guiding to adequately guide the SA. 


One of my first images, what else than the Andromeda galaxy smile.gif  : https://www.astrobin.com/k5xj79/

180 sec subs, 1h30m - stars are somewhat elongated, guiding was not perfect. 


As the others have said, the whole setup is very mobile and great for learning! In the meantime I got me a TS Optics 60mm F/6 Photoline APO with a  flattener and that's about as heavy as I want to go with the SA. Works like a charm. 


Having said all that... I've been doing astronomy since mid-seventies, I own an Orion Optics UK 250mm SPX Newt, Meade 10" LX6 and an old Synta EQ-6 Skyscan mount. I used to image planets with a Philips Toucam among other things. Now, when I'm close to retirement, it seems to me as if I am discovering the night wonders all over again - with the Star Adventurer and imaging. Perfectly happy, although I am quietly contemplating the ASI294MM.... but that's another story! I am not sure (yet) if I really want to go down that road! lol.gif

#8 Wilsil


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Posted 28 October 2021 - 10:56 PM

It all depends what you want to do and indeed if you can use your location for imaging.

I had the same dilemma a year ago and wanted to get started with a SkyGuider/StarAdventurer but in the end bought a second hand HEQ5 Pro.

Glad I did as in hindsight the guider/adventurer would have been useless after a few months.

I am already looking at getting a bigger mount :-)

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