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Astrophotography recommendation

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#1 ete83

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 01:47 AM

Hello everyone,

I am new here and after 10 years I would like to activate my hobby again but diving into astrophotography. I have experience with planetary photography (SC6’ which I sold now) but now want to do DS.

I would like to buy an Apo refractor system with the following wishes:

- suitable for DS photography and visible planetary observation (for the kids)
- small and handy for travel
- possibly to extend for EAA
- quickly to setup
- max 2500 $

I was thinking about a Redcat 51 ( as far as I understood, I can use with eyepiece via an adapter) on a HEQ-5. But I read about quality problems with the Redcat. Which combination would you recommend?

ete

#2 RobertJ

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 01:53 AM

I'd think that the Red Cat is too short for planetary viewing. you just can't get much magnification out of a 51/250 scope.

I've got a 72/432 Semi-Apo and it's just marginal for planets.

If planets are important, I'd go for something longer.

-- Robert
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#3 ete83

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 02:13 AM

Hi Robert,

I see the point, thanks. DS photography is more important, perhaps a solution would a flexible mount to extend later with optics for planets 🤔

#4 Sandy Swede

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 06:04 AM

It is not clear to me whether your $2,500 budget includes an HEQ-5 mount or that you already have one.  If your budget includes the HEQ-5, then you are looking for a refractor in the $1,000 range because the HEQ-5 is approx $1,500.  Look for a triplet on CN such as the Stellarvue SV70T or SV80T or Williams Optics GT71.  In fact, the price for a new WO GT71 or an Orion ED80T is approx $1,000.  Of course, finding one in stock is problematic.

 

If your budget is for the scope alone, that opens up many options.  Consider the Sky-Watcher Esprit line or the Stellarvue 80mm SVX.


Edited by Sandy Swede, 15 January 2022 - 06:08 AM.

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#5 chanrobi

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 06:06 AM

I'd think that the Red Cat is too short for planetary viewing. you just can't get much magnification out of a 51/250 scope.

I've got a 72/432 Semi-Apo and it's just marginal for planets.

If planets are important, I'd go for something longer.

-- Robert

Redcat is WAY too short with 250mm FL.

 

Probably hold a manfying glass to the sky be about the same
 


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#6 ete83

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 07:12 AM

It is not clear to me whether your $2,500 budget includes an HEQ-5 mount or that you already have one. If your budget includes the HEQ-5, then you are looking for a refractor in the $1,000 range because the HEQ-5 is approx $1,500. Look for a triplet on CN such as the Stellarvue SV70T or SV80T or Williams Optics GT71. In fact, the price for a new WO GT71 or an Orion ED80T is approx $1,000. Of course, finding one in stock is problematic.

If your budget is for the scope alone, that opens up many options. Consider the Sky-Watcher Esprit line or the Stellarvue 80mm SVX.

Hi Sandy,

The 2500 $ should be scope + mount. Thanks I will have a look on the scopes (in German shops).

Edit: The WO GT71 looks promising and it’s on stock. Which mount would you recommend? And what you think about the TS photoline?
Regards

Edited by ete83, 15 January 2022 - 07:38 AM.


#7 Sandy Swede

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 09:17 AM

I would recommend the Celestron AVX ($1,200 new, approx $700 + shipping used) or the HEQ-5 you mentioned ($1,500 new; I see very few used).  As I mentioned previously, I don't believe that you will find new mounts in stock anywhere.  Many AVX's have been sold, so your chance of finding a used one is good, just make sure it is less than 5 years old and has the latest firmware downloaded.  As you may have heard, in an AP rig, the most important component is the mount.  If you can't afford that EON, Esprit, SVX or Tak 85FSQ, save up for a premium refractor and learn on the GT71 or SV70T.  You should find used ones, including the flattener/reducer for approx $1,000.  I did.  Good hunting.

 

I have no experience or second-hand knowledge of the TS Photoline scopes.  Others will chime in on those.

 

Edit:  Also look at the iOptron line of mounts.  Again, probably no new ones in stock, but they come up for sale used on CN from time to time.

         You may have heard that AP is difficult and expensive.


Edited by Sandy Swede, 15 January 2022 - 09:23 AM.

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#8 ete83

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 11:45 AM

Thanks a lot Sandy, in Germany all three mounts are on stock, so I have the choice 😅

#9 Rasfahan

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 12:09 PM

With that budget, you would have been well.off just a year ago. After the price increases, you’ll have to make compromises that I’ll tell you about now:

 

I would do some more research on the AVX since many people have had problems using it for astrofotography. The HEQ-5 is much better regarded and the sample I had was really good, especially after doing the Rowan belt mod. But its payload is limited and I see not a few people switching to a bigger mount after short use, whichis what I did and which is why it is also readily available used. If your goal mainly is DSO astrophotography, and planetary secondary, I‘ld do the following: Get the EQ6-R (which already is belt-driven and not much more expensive) and something like the Lacerta 72/420mm apo with flattener (La74432Flat at teleskop-austria). This leaves you €100 in your budget - you might want to stretch that for a motor focus such as a Pegasus Powercube or you might need to spend that for adapters to put your camera on. The only shortcoming is that you will not have a camera sensitive to H-alpha, which is the main emission line of most wide-field nebula targets. If you get the telescope and/or mount used that might free up enough funds for a used, astro-modded DSLR or to have one modded that you already own. 

 

Then for the next planetary season, get a dedicated planetary/visual scope: With kids, you want something you can put on the tracking EQ-6R. Newtonians have bad eyepiece positions, especially for the small folk. Consider some 5-6“ Maksutov as dedicated planetary scope here. If the photo bug bit you and funds have turned up again, an EdgeHD 8 might is a versatile telescope for both visual and fotography on the EQ-6R. It is not a good scope to start AP with, for various reasons.


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#10 ete83

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 01:35 PM

With that budget, you would have been well.off just a year ago. After the price increases, you’ll have to make compromises that I’ll tell you about now:

 

I would do some more research on the AVX since many people have had problems using it for astrofotography. The HEQ-5 is much better regarded and the sample I had was really good, especially after doing the Rowan belt mod. But its payload is limited and I see not a few people switching to a bigger mount after short use, whichis what I did and which is why it is also readily available used. If your goal mainly is DSO astrophotography, and planetary secondary, I‘ld do the following: Get the EQ6-R (which already is belt-driven and not much more expensive) and something like the Lacerta 72/420mm apo with flattener (La74432Flat at teleskop-austria). This leaves you €100 in your budget - you might want to stretch that for a motor focus such as a Pegasus Powercube or you might need to spend that for adapters to put your camera on. The only shortcoming is that you will not have a camera sensitive to H-alpha, which is the main emission line of most wide-field nebula targets. If you get the telescope and/or mount used that might free up enough funds for a used, astro-modded DSLR or to have one modded that you already own. 

 

Then for the next planetary season, get a dedicated planetary/visual scope: With kids, you want something you can put on the tracking EQ-6R. Newtonians have bad eyepiece positions, especially for the small folk. Consider some 5-6“ Maksutov as dedicated planetary scope here. If the photo bug bit you and funds have turned up again, an EdgeHD 8 might is a versatile telescope for both visual and fotography on the EQ-6R. It is not a good scope to start AP with, for various reasons.

Thanks a lot, very helpful waytogo.gif

 

Prices are crazy shocked.gif but at least I could sell my Nexstar for a good price. I have read the same about the AVX and would look for a HEQ-5 or EQ6-R (a bit too expensive but I see the point for future usage) used and see what comes first. I have read a lot of positive things about the Lacerta, would you prefer is over the WO GT71? At the moment kid will be happy if he can see moon, Jupiter or Saturn. That's why my DSO photography has higher priority lol.gif  



#11 Rasfahan

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 01:43 PM

I‘ve chosen the Lacerta because of its known decent quality, ready availability and much lower price than the WO scope, which means more budget for the mount. It‘s only a doublet, of course - but for quite some time that is not what will limit the quality of your images. As you asked, the TS Photoline scopes, as all Chinese telescopes (and from my experience even Takahashis, though many here will disagree) fluctuate between bad and great. If you go that route, I‘ld pay a small premium to have the optics tested and optimized/collimated. I do not think that service is available for the WO telescopes. In general, I‘ld say the WO, TS photoline and Sharpstars are about the same with regards to optical and mechanical quality.
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#12 sevenofnine

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 07:17 PM

A very experienced member recommends reading this book before deciding on AP equipment. "The Deep-Sky Imaging Primer (2nd ed) by Charles Bracken. https://www.amazon.c...,aps,354&sr=8-1. Good luck!  waytogo.gif


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