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Need a little help on equipment

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#1 drifter001

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 09:18 PM

Howdy all

As the title says, I need a little help on equipment to get to get started in DSO. I have a C8 that I plan on using with a focal reducer on a eq6r mount. I need a guide scope/guide camera and the imaging camera itself. Any suggestions on what to use for either one of those would be much appreciated. I know starting off color may save a few bucks since I won’t need a filter wheel and filters right off the bat but eventually MM would be the goal. I’m just trying to build a shopping list and maybe even a wish list. Thanks in advance

#2 FRANKVSTAR

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 09:34 PM

  Since star colors are not the issue with a guide scope, I say using a doublet of F7 at 72mm to 100mm would be a good match. I use a C8 and C9.25 with an 72ed scope and it track well with the smaller scope being used as a guide scope. Guide cam can be a ASI120 mini or others will work also.



#3 DirtyRod

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 09:48 PM

An OAG with the ZWO 174mm was the best combo I found with my C8. I tried 50 and 60mm guide scopes and the image shift was significant. I also tried smaller guide cameras (ASI120 and ASI290) and the results were not as good with either. 
 

I have not tried larger guide scopes but I’ve heard, as Frankstar mentioned, that larger guide scopes will eliminate the flexure.


Edited by DirtyRod, 02 December 2022 - 09:51 PM.

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#4 idclimber

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 09:51 PM

As someone who started with an SCT (mine was a 12" LX200) my first suggestion is to acquire a small refractor. The C8 is not ideal to learn AP on and it will be relatively expensive to get imaging well. 

 

Something between 60 and 80mm would be my suggestion. I currently have two refractors and rarely use the larger SCT.


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#5 AstroVagabond

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 10:32 PM

I have the EQ6-R Pro and just purchased and EdgeHD 8 and Celestron OAG. I paired the OAG with the ASI174MM mini. My main camera is an ASI294MM Pro which I use in Bin 2.



#6 Sacred Heart

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 10:33 PM

For a SCT, prone to image shift / mirror flop - nature of the beast,  use an Off Axis Guider, OAG for short or an On Axis Guider, same principal as the OAG just full view no pick off mirror. Very expensive though.

 

The mirror tends to move around in a SCT causing the image to move, if you have a separate guide scope and camera the guiding will stay put and the image moves, with the OAG it is the same scope so everything moves together.

 

OAG, final answer.

 

Joe

 

PS   To be honest, with an EQ6R, if you were to get a 72 or 90MM refractor and a guide scope and guide camera, you would have instant success.


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#7 ETtheExtraterrestrial

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 10:59 PM

100% do not use a guide scope with that much FL. Get the celestron oag plus the ASI 174. That camera works well on an 8inch plus because of its larger sensor size for a guide scope.

I have no idea what your budge for a camera is. My permanent cameras now are ASI 2600 MM and MC. They are amazing cameras.

Good luck with your setup and happy to share other ideas if there’s a budget involved.
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#8 ETtheExtraterrestrial

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 11:01 PM

I will add it is MuCH easier to learn AP with a small refractor. I started with your scope and lived to a Skywatcher Esprit 80ED. It was night and day on what I was able to produce and learn on HEQ5 mount. If you have the budget you may want to consider that path.
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#9 DirtyRod

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 09:51 AM

Agree it's harder to start with a C8 but doable but you have to start slow and learn your gear. I started with planetary for a year so I had the basics down before I got into guiding, more processing, etc. I'd advise to start with that focal reducer and go after some easy targets like globs and galaxies that have plenty of bright stars to focus and guide on so you can get through focusing, guiding calibration, backfocus, etc. Not sure what software you are planning to use to guide with but there are plenty of tutorials on PHD2 which is fairly simple to use and just works. 

 

For the camera, ASI533s are pretty popular with that scope, as are the 294s, however the 533 is much cleaner as is the 071 if you don't have the funds for an ASI2600.


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#10 drifter001

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 10:37 PM

So it seems like regardless if I go with the 8SE or move to a smaller refactor, I’ll need to buy kit. Ideally the only two pieces I’d be buying with the 8SE would be the focal reducer and the OAG. I’d still need to get the imaging camera plus a guide camera. Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t the cost of a refractor and guide scope still be more than getting the focal reducer and OAG? Ideally the other components like the cameras, filters (if I go with a MM camera) would be able to be used on a refractor right?

#11 lancing

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 10:44 PM

So it seems like regardless if I go with the 8SE or move to a smaller refactor, I’ll need to buy kit. Ideally the only two pieces I’d be buying with the 8SE would be the focal reducer and the OAG. I’d still need to get the imaging camera plus a guide camera. Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t the cost of a refractor and guide scope still be more than getting the focal reducer and OAG? Ideally the other components like the cameras, filters (if I go with a MM camera) would be able to be used on a refractor right?

 

In my case:

 

C8 (1,687.00) + Celestron f/6.3 Reducer Corrector (204.64) = 1,891.64

 

Svbony SB550 80mm APO (999.99) + Flattener and rotator (~300.00) = 1,300

 

Risingcam IMX571 - equivalent to the ZWO ASI2600MC = 1,622.33

 

You'll either need an guide scope or OAG in either config, usually the OAG will end up costing you more. You'll need a dedicated guide camera in either config. I have a 50mm guide scope for my C8 and a 30mm for my APO.

 

A mount you are looking at $1,500 CDN minimum right now.

 

Imaging camera I'd recommend a used DSLR if on a budget. If you want to go for a cooled I'd expect to spend at least $1,349 CAD or more. Lowest end cooled camera I'd personally drop money on would be the ZWO ASI294MC as I don't feel the ones with smaller sensors then that can justify all the extra cost of a cooled camera. The camera's can be mounted on any type of scope, you just need to correct adapters for them.

 

I learned on the C8 and migrated over to the APO. Learning to shoot DSO's on a larger SCT is definitely harder but can be done, you will absolutely need the focal reducer to do that though. The SCT will also need to be babysat a lot more. Switching to a smaller refractor after is like switching the difficulty from Normal/Hard down to easy mode. If you already have the SCT my advice would be to start with what you already have.

 

All prices in this comment are pre-tax in CDN dollars.


Edited by lancing, 03 December 2022 - 11:03 PM.


#12 Sacred Heart

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 10:53 PM

I would say yes.   A refractor, AT 72 or AT 90 is more than a reducer and a OAG.   Probably looking at a Minimum of $350 - $400 for the OAG / reducer.    

 

Question, is your scope Alt Az or equatorial??  If you are looking at DSO imaging need to be equatorial mount. Alt Az has limitations due to image rotation.

 

Joe



#13 drifter001

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:03 PM

So I already have both the 8SE and the EQ6R mount so that’s why I’m trying to go with what I have. The zwo OAG is showing for 128 on high point scientific and the reducer is about 189. I’m not opposed to going with a refractor either since that’s the end goal anyways just not trying to fully break the bank off the bat

Edited by drifter001, 03 December 2022 - 11:07 PM.


#14 lancing

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:04 PM

So I already have both the 8SE and the EQ6R mount so that’s why I’m trying to go with what I have. The zwo is showing for 128 on high point scientific and the reducer is about 189. I’m not opposed to going with a refractor either since that’s the end goal anyways just not trying to fully break the bank off the bat

 

The ZWO camera is $128? I am not sure what you are looking at but I wouldn't expect to be able to shoot DSO's with a $128 camera. Or are you talking about the guide camera?

 

If you are talking about the guide camera that sounds about right.

 

Just throw it in either an OAG or something like this:

 

https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Edited by lancing, 03 December 2022 - 11:06 PM.


#15 drifter001

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:07 PM

The ZWO camera is $128? I am not sure what you are looking at but I wouldn't expect to be able to shoot DSO's with a $128 camera. Or are you talking about the guide camera?

If you are talking about the guide camera that sounds about right.

Just throw it in either an OAG or something like this:

https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Sorry. Updated the post. I meant the OAG

#16 lancing

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:12 PM

Sorry. Updated the post. I meant the OAG

Even after exchange that is actually cheaper then what I can get here but Canadians also seem to get screwed on pricing.

 

I'd watch a few of the Youtube videos of people showing how to shoot DSO's on SCT's.

 

If starting with the C8 is going to save you a pile of money at the beginning then my vote is do it. It will create some additional challenges and limit you to certain targets. If you find it too challenging then look into a refractor.

 

When I first started on here some people on this forum advised me to sell my SCT and buy a refractor, while I did eventually buy a refractor I am extremely glad I didn't sell the SCT. In the warmer months I use it all of the time and love it. I wouldn't be able to do any of the planetary shots I've done without it and even a few of the DSO shots. The refractor gets used exclusively in the winter (the SCT is a pain in the butt for temp extremes) and for certain DSO targets.


Edited by lancing, 03 December 2022 - 11:15 PM.


#17 drifter001

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:14 PM

Even after exchange that is actually cheaper then what I can get here but Canadians also seem to get screwed on pricing.

I'd watch a few of the Youtube videos of people showing how to shoot DSO's on SCT's.

If starting with the C8 is going to save you a pile of money at the beginning then my vote is do it. It will create some additional challenges and limit you to certain targets. If you find it too challenging then look into a refractor.

When I first started on here some people on this forum advised me to sell my SCT and buy a refractor, while I did eventually buy a refractor I am extremely glad I didn't sell the SCT. In the warmer months I use it all of the time and love it.


Def don’t want to sell the SCT. The wife really enjoys looking at the planets and such as well

#18 lancing

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:16 PM

Def don’t want to sell the SCT. The wife really enjoys looking at the planets and such as well

Then definitely keep it. Its a unique tool and they are only getting more expensive right now.



#19 drifter001

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:22 PM

I would say yes. A refractor, AT 72 or AT 90 is more than a reducer and a OAG. Probably looking at a Minimum of $350 - $400 for the OAG / reducer.

Question, is your scope Alt Az or equatorial?? If you are looking at DSO imaging need to be equatorial mount. Alt Az has limitations due to image rotation.

Joe


What would you recommend for a refractor?

#20 drifter001

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:23 PM

100% do not use a guide scope with that much FL. Get the celestron oag plus the ASI 174. That camera works well on an 8inch plus because of its larger sensor size for a guide scope.

I have no idea what your budge for a camera is. My permanent cameras now are ASI 2600 MM and MC. They are amazing cameras.

Good luck with your setup and happy to share other ideas if there’s a budget involved.


Ideally I’d like to stay around the 1k range to start off with

#21 lancing

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Posted 03 December 2022 - 11:28 PM

What would you recommend for a refractor?

Depends on your budget and usage requirements.

 

In my case since I already had the C8 I wanted to go for the largest aperture possible while still remaining very portable and pick up and go, that left me at 80mm as my happy middle ground. But it really comes down to your preferences.

 

If you are trying to do things affordably the usual recommendations at least at 80mm are:

 

Svbony SV503 (ED), Svbony SV550 (APO), Astro-tech 80mm ED or EDT (the EDT is an APO).

 

The difference between the ED and APO's is the APO's don't have any chromatic aberration which tends to matter to some people who want cleaner images.


Edited by lancing, 03 December 2022 - 11:36 PM.


#22 Sacred Heart

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 12:01 AM

What would you recommend for a refractor?

This depends on a few things besides budget.  What mount??  How serious are you about your images??  A triplet and a flattener or flattener / reducer or a scope like an Askar Fra 400 with a flattener built in. Petzval design.  I'd go no higher / longer than 800MM in focal length, probably in the 400 - 600 range. Then you have the question of FOV.  What camera do you pair with the scope.  In the 400 to 600MM range, a 533 or 571 chip camera.  800MM and up, a 571 or a ZWO 6200 camera.

 

I have two refractors, TV76 and a CFF 92 F6 with a flattener, my camera is a QHY 533C OSC.  I have a Moravian C1X 26000C on order, should be close to shipping.  The 92 does most of the imaging and the 76 with a ZWO 120 guides.  My mount is a 23 year old Paramount ME.

 

My first imaging scope, if you want to call it that, was a 7" Maksutov, 2600MM.  It was a nightmare to say the least.

 

That is why I always recommend a short tube refractor.  Immediate success.  Need a few victories before you can move on. If you know what I mean.

 

Astronomy and imaging, starts with the mount / tripod pier.  Your mount will let you know what you can do and how well it can be done.  Scope must not exceed mounts abilities.  Camera must be matched to your scope, FOV and image scale. Then it is your ability to process an image, how nice of a rabbit can you pull out of a hat.

 

Joe



#23 drifter001

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 11:07 AM

This depends on a few things besides budget.  What mount??  How serious are you about your images??  A triplet and a flattener or flattener / reducer or a scope like an Askar Fra 400 with a flattener built in. Petzval design.  I'd go no higher / longer than 800MM in focal length, probably in the 400 - 600 range. Then you have the question of FOV.  What camera do you pair with the scope.  In the 400 to 600MM range, a 533 or 571 chip camera.  800MM and up, a 571 or a ZWO 6200 camera.

 

I have two refractors, TV76 and a CFF 92 F6 with a flattener, my camera is a QHY 533C OSC.  I have a Moravian C1X 26000C on order, should be close to shipping.  The 92 does most of the imaging and the 76 with a ZWO 120 guides.  My mount is a 23 year old Paramount ME.

 

My first imaging scope, if you want to call it that, was a 7" Maksutov, 2600MM.  It was a nightmare to say the least.

 

That is why I always recommend a short tube refractor.  Immediate success.  Need a few victories before you can move on. If you know what I mean.

 

Astronomy and imaging, starts with the mount / tripod pier.  Your mount will let you know what you can do and how well it can be done.  Scope must not exceed mounts abilities.  Camera must be matched to your scope, FOV and image scale. Then it is your ability to process an image, how nice of a rabbit can you pull out of a hat.

 

Joe

so heres a question for you since you brought up non-ZWO cameras. If i were to get an ASAIR Plus, or any of zwo's controllers at that, do you know if theyd work with a non zwo camera?



#24 bobzeq25

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 11:27 AM

Howdy all

As the title says, I need a little help on equipment to get to get started in DSO. I have a C8 that I plan on using with a focal reducer on a eq6r mount. I need a guide scope/guide camera and the imaging camera itself. Any suggestions on what to use for either one of those would be much appreciated. I know starting off color may save a few bucks since I won’t need a filter wheel and filters right off the bat but eventually MM would be the goal. I’m just trying to build a shopping list and maybe even a wish list. Thanks in advance

I'll start out with the most important thing first.  A second post will answer some of your later questions.

 

Classic beginner mistake, seen over and over again.  A long, heavy, slow scope when what you need when you're starting out is short, light, and fast.

 

A great many beginners have found this out.  Here are a few (I collect these to better advise beginners).  The last wanted so strongly to warn people that he made a YouTube.  15 minutes spent watching it could save you _many_ hours of frustration.

 

The recurring theme and BEST PIECE OF ADVICE BY FAR I received over and over again was a) the mount is king and everything else comes second b) start with a widefield refractor and build your skills and go from there. There is so much involved and building good practices and habits <in DSO imaging)  and foundational building from the start will save you a lot of wasted time and heartache.

 

"After months of learning and overcoming challenges <with the SCT>, and finally buying a shorter FL APO refractor, I really really really wish I had listened to everyone on here and started learning the <DSO> imaging basics on THAT frac instead of on the SCT.   Trust me"

 

"I regret spending the first 6 months trying to learn <DSO> imaging with an 8" Edge, with that scope it was a losing effort. Fortunately got a nice little refractor, and not only have the quality of my images improved but I'm actually enjoying the process of learning how to do it!"

 

"I put together a video of my imaging rig along with some info on how I went from years of failure trying to image <DSOs> with a long focal length SCT, to achieving success on my first image."

 

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

 

If your goal is to image small galaxies with the 8 inch SCT, you'll reach it faster/better/cheaper if you _learn_ DSO imaging with a small refractor imaging big targets (there are a lot of those, somewhat in short supply in Spring, although they do exist).  Figure 6 months to 2 years, depending on how much time you devote to this.

 

But the real reason I recommend a smaller scope is that you'll have more fun.  <smile>

 

Color or mono works fine.  The real drawback to mono is cost, it's not all that much harder.  One strategy with mono is starting with emission nebulae (which are really rare in spring) and an hydrogen alpha filter, doing black and white.  About as simple as it gets.  Works well in light polluted skies.  Here's one of mine from my Bortle 7 backyard.

 

https://www.astrobin.com/nieqwy/C/

 

This is a complicated deal.  Seriously unintuitive.  Not easy to learn.  When you're starting out, simple is good.  The last thing you want is equipment that makes it harder.

 

This book helps a lot.  The best $50 you'll ever spend in learning imaging.  My copy of the first edition is well worn, I reread it constantly as my skills improved.

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470949


Edited by bobzeq25, 04 December 2022 - 11:57 AM.


#25 Sacred Heart

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Posted 04 December 2022 - 11:59 AM

so heres a question for you since you brought up non-ZWO cameras. If i were to get an ASAIR Plus, or any of zwo's controllers at that, do you know if theyd work with a non zwo camera?

I do not have ASIair, but I've heard they ONLY work with ZWO dedicated cameras, maybe some DSLR's but that is it. I will let someone who has a ASIair speak on that.

 

I use a laptop, windows 10 pro at my mount.  I have two cameras connected to it via USB, my mount connected to it via USB.  Mount laptop connected to the house laptop via desktop remote.   I focus manually, no electronic focuser for me.

 

I use Sky X for mount control, PHD2 for guiding, NINA for imaging camera control and watching Sky X and PHD2.  I focus by hand using a homemade Bahtinov mask.  Focusing at start up and every 10 degrees F drop in temperature.

 

I'm not a perfectionist, I try to keep it simple.

 

Joe




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