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Recommendations for DSO Telescope Imaging

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#1 Somldab2


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Posted 05 July 2022 - 01:43 PM



I appreciate the great advice and ideas this website gives out. I am looking for recommendations on a good DSO telescope so i can take pictures. I want to keep the cost $1,000-1,300 for the scope, i will add the accessories when i make the purchase, I am getting the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer GTI that has a max lbs of 11.5, If someone has a better idea for a Go To mount, I could switch.


Thank You everyone for your help. 



WO, Astrotech have good looking telescopes, Which is better for what I am looking to do.


I have just noticed that SVBONY has a great sale SVBONY SV550 APO OTA Refractor Telescope 80mm Triplet

Edited by Somldab2, 05 July 2022 - 04:03 PM.

#2 Jim R

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Posted 05 July 2022 - 01:57 PM

The AT60ED is a good choice for beginners and that mount. Also Redcat 51. Limited in focal length, but high quality for wide field.

#3 bobzeq25



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Posted 05 July 2022 - 02:02 PM

Avoid the 2 big beginner mistakes.  An inadequate mount.  Too big a scope.  We see those here _all the time_.


With your budget, the Star Adventurer GTI is an excellent choice.  But don't push the 11.5 pounds.  In particular long focal lengths will make the mount inadequate.  They magnify tacking errors.


Good scopes for it.


Redcat 51.  250mm.


AT60ED.  360mm.


Or a camera lens (which is what the mount is really designed for).  Not to exceed 400mm, 200mm would be better.


These all are great setups to break into DSO AP, learn the ropes, and decide how seriously you want to pursue this.  And, make some lovely images.


Bigger, longer scopes are NOT better for what you want to do, they're _far_ worse.  You'd need a better mount, like a $1500 CEM26, GEM28, HEQ5.


Yeah, it's not intuitive.  <smile>

Edited by bobzeq25, 05 July 2022 - 02:05 PM.

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#4 FrostByte



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Posted 05 July 2022 - 02:09 PM

I have an AT60ED that I use occasionally with my Skyguider Pro, but it's really pushing the limits. In my experience, you probably should plan on autoguiding with this scope on this class of mount unless you limit yourself to very short exposures. So factor in the cost of a guidescope, guidecamera, and some type of computer to control it. But considering all the benefits that autoguiding provides (better polar alignment, rounder stars, dithering) it's something you should consider anyways.

#5 Oort Cloud

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Posted 05 July 2022 - 02:36 PM

To start, taking DSO images requires 3 things, only 2 of which are mentioned in your post: Mount, telescope, camera.


Since you didn't make any mention of a camera, I will start there.  If you already own a camera, great - that will make this easier.


If you already own a DSLR camera, that can be used for DSO imaging.  You would only need a mount at that point.  If that is the case, and you don't plan on travelling away from home to image (and maybe even if you do) - I would skip the tracker mount since it is only motorized on 1 axis, and get an EQ mount instead.  There are mounts you can get for $1,000 that can handle small scopes or a DSLR+lens with no issues.  Notice how I went right to spending your entire budget on a mount?  That would be the best possible scenario here, because the mount is by far the most important part.  Until you save more for a telescope, you could just mount your DSLR+lens, which would work just fine (a lens is basically a telescope with a helical focuser, and sometimes, autofocus bits).  Start with the shortest focal length you have, and work your way up.  Shorter focal lengths are always easier, at every step from image capture to processing.  This is probably the most important thing to learn about DSO AP - keeping focal length short helps you learn faster, and create better images. Increasing focal length increases difficulty at an exponential rate.


If you do not already own a DSLR camera, well you're going to need one of those too.  I am not the person to make recommendations, as I have never owned one, but I have considered it in the past, so I have done some research.  It seems a lot of folks who use a DSLR for AP use either a Canon or Nikon as they are the most astro-friendly, and it seems that more folks use the Canon 6D than any other model of DSLR.  The downside if you don't have a camera already is there goes half your budget, which means the star tracker is your only option to stay within the $1,000 budget.  Either way, you'll have the tools to take pictures, but EQ mounts are easier to live with than star trackers.  Star trackers are much lighter though, so if you plan to leave home for darker skies every time you image, then the star tracker might be the better choice.  But I can't think of anyone who would rather use a star tracker at home than a standard EQ mount that is motorized on both axes.


Good luck with whatever you decide, and make sure you do your research before buying anything.

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#6 mayhem13



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Posted 05 July 2022 - 07:39 PM


Great scope…..superb optics and mechanics, fast with the dedicated flattner…..a great AP tool with plenty of target to fit its focal length. Plenty of $$$ left over for additional gear you’ll need like a guide scope and camera

#7 17.5Dob



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Posted 05 July 2022 - 07:53 PM

Weight is not the sole determining factor. That mount is designed for short telephoto lenses and has the typical tracking errors inherent in that catagory of mounts. Using a longer focal length telescope will magnify those errors. You need to plan on autoguiding if you want to use a telescope, but even with an autoguider, I would not go beyond 400mm fl and for best results , I wouldn't go much beyond 300mm fl. That puts you in the RedCat/ 60mm focal length range. If you want to go longer than that, you need a better mount.

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#8 RogeZ



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Posted 05 July 2022 - 08:40 PM

A vote for the FRA300. Those scopes are great for a beginner :)

#9 PhilHoyle


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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:23 PM

IF you already have a DSLR you probably already have a lens to go with it. Start with that. Learn how to use it in the dark. Learn how to process images. Then decide what you want to do that you can't do with what you have and more importantly, what's limiting you from getting there. That makes the decision easier.

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