View Full Version here: : First pics with Astrotrac and 300mm lens - Trifid and Lagoon
05-08-2012, 04:10 PM
Pentax K-x with 55-300 kit lens and Astrotrac.
Trifid and Lagoon:
I am happy with them, they are certainly an improvement over what I could do with only my fixed tripod.
Any suggestions/comments/criticism welcome though :)
05-08-2012, 06:15 PM
They look a little out focus but the tracking seems good. Had a look at the astrotrac system. That looks pretty big and complicated to set up. Is it heavy?
Nice start Greg. I noticed you have another thread about using a compass for setting-up, did you get the polar scope too?
While it is not the best polar scope in the world(far from it) it is definitely way more accurate than using a compass for alignment. Worth the extra cash methinks.
I have the full Astrotrac Travel System (http://www.astrotrac.com/Default.aspx?p=system) which includes the Tracker, portable pier, wedge, polar scope, head and counterweights - to convert to a GEM.
The whole kit packs up into a bag approx 180mm(7") diameter and 800mm(32") long. I don't have a set of scales here, but at a guess, all packed, weight would be just over 10kg.
The Bag has a shoulder strap, and when I have carried it this way the weight has never bothered me.
Once you know the drill, set-up time is only a few mins. Polar aligning a few mins more, 10 - 15 mins if you are like me and try to get it as spot-on as possible thru the polar scope ;)
My first night I spent half an hour or an hour or something at the polar scope, got it sweet enough to take a 15min shot with a 105mm lens with no trailing with no guiding, was pretty happy with that.
Not long after that, I bumped the pier and had to start all over again! Since then I have used a garbage bag filled with 10L of water in the pier to add 10kg ballast which worked a treat, she was rock-steady.
I will soon be carrying three 5kg sand bags that drop down into the pier to add ballast. Much more convenient than water.
05-08-2012, 09:07 PM
Definately not! I just use the Astrotrac and my standard tripod with the camera. All up it takes about maybe 5 minutes to polar align roughly with a compass (good enough to shoot for 30 secs @ 300mm as above). Another couple of minutes to find my target and I'm ready to shoot.
I probably won't buy the pier because it would probably reduce it's portability a fair bit (especially if you are using sandbags ;))
06-08-2012, 06:35 AM
Nice pics, Greg.
Did you take them in Sydney?
06-08-2012, 07:40 AM
Hi Barry - Yep! Only about 5 kms from your suburb, too ;)
I am keen to see what kind of result I'll get at my in-laws farm.
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