Old 02-07-2018, 03:20 PM
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Gavin1234 is offline
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Upgrade for imaging

Hi, first post but Iíve been reading on for a while.

I started astronomy and astrophotography about 3 months ago so Iím still a beginner. I bought a celestron 5se and ive been enjoying it but i canít really achieve what I want to with it. So Iíve decided to upgrade my setup. What I enjoy the most is taking pictures of nebula. I can do a bit of this with my current gear but nowhere near as well as Iíd like to.

Iím thinking about getting a CST with a large aperture and low f/ratio. Combined with a decent eq mount. I really like celestron because Iím used to using them and I have a starsense auto align, wifi module and some other gear I could transfer over to it. However, Iím happy to look at other brands as well.

Iím using a cannon 80d dslr at the moment but I will be getting something like a zwo asi183mc pro in about a month or two (once Iím used to my new setup).

Was hoping I could get some suggestions for my new setup. Looking to spend around $4,000 for the mount and scope but I can be flexible on that if need be. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:07 PM
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sil (Steve)
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exactly what do you "want to achieve with it"? why cant you with what you have ( you should be able to, if I can with dslr on regular tripod ).

I would ignore what gear you want, put the budget on the mount only get new ota later on. maybe a celestron cgx or cgem ii . big and solid with high payload capacity. Important to NOT buy something that has load capacity close to what you'll have as it can wobble more and put more strain on the motors and gears. So if you want a 20kg ota dont put on a 25kg limit mount, a 50kg mount will give you better and more accurate performance. You can use just a camera on such a mount with a dovetail plate or your current ota but dont know what your problem is with your existing setup so cant much else. My cgem dx I've used reflectors, refractors, scts and camera with lens alone on it, no problem. I only have celestron gps accessory which is fine connected to it. The telescope tube itself is irrelevant a good mount will work well with anything of reason you put on it.if you scrimp on the mount no matter how much you spend on a tube or camera it will remain a limiting factor in your setup that cant be fixed without replacing. So jump to replacing it with what you're likely to end up getting anyway rather than something that will track poorly or wobble because you've overloaded it or theres a slight breeze. It all starts with a solid mount, any shortfalls in your purchase here get amplified through the imaging train.
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Old 03-07-2018, 05:00 PM
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AndyG (Andy)
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Hi Gavin,

I'm just at the same stage you're at... keen, but without the $4k budget

What Steve said is spot on. Just get a big, mean mount, like the CGEM II, or CGX, and plonk your C5 on it. Get a remote trigger/timer for your Canon DSLR, and go sick. You'll get all the light you need with long exposures, made possible by that solid mount. The wifi module and Starsense would be a big convenience to re-use.

Worry about another OTA next year. That C5 will bring enough to the DSLR to keep you gigling for a good while
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:42 PM
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Be careful becoming brand complacent.

Personally I would sell the Celestron and start over or keep it for a travel visual unit which there is little point to...unless you want to look thru it whilst your camera harvests photons.

Let me spend your $4 K.

EQ6 with a f5 reflector and coma corrector.

Or HEQ 5 + f5 reflector+espirt 80mm...a little over 4k but that happens☺

I am so happy with my under a $1000 f5 yet to be tweeked unit I really think one would be happy with such a scope for a long long time...look at my last Lagoon image...dslr Nikon D5500, f5 reflector with coma corrector on HEQ5. Neither the scope or mount have been worked on ... yet.
I have not used higher than 30 second captures yet and the results of staking an hour of short exposures is rather pleasing...to me.
First foto..f5 8 inch on eq6 plus guide camera ..around 4k.
Second f5 8 inch Lagoon capture...first from bright Sydney second from dark Tabulam...first on eq6 second on heq5.
F5 is more forgiving than a f4 and the main reason I now stick to 30 seconds at 1600 iso is in the city I have no luck with much longer exposures...
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:49 PM
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Sorry the scope does have sdded a second set of rings hopefully to lessen flex.and $100 electric focuser.
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Old 03-07-2018, 11:32 PM
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Thanks for the helpful advice. The main reason Iím upgrading is for better tracking and longer exposures. Even with careful alignment on my 5se I can only reliably get 15 sec exposures without trailing. After a few exposures the target is off centre enough to cause problems when I stack them. So yeah I plan to focus mainly on the mount. But I also find it hard to pick out my targets with the current tube. For example Eta Carinae nebula is not visible in the eye piece. I have trust that my go to is pointing at it and then I see it in the camera after an exposure. So thatís why Iím planning to upgrade the tube as well.

The first picture is my Orion picture from a while ago (please excuse my dodgy over processing) The second is someone elseís but the quality Iím hoping to achieve but I donít think I can with my current gear.

Iím quite happy to start over and just keep the 5se as a spare.

Whatís better a heq5, eq6, cgem ii or a cgx? Also xelasnave what f5 reflector would you recomend?

Thanks again for all the advice
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:44 AM
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Even with your 5SE OTA mounted on an HEQ5 or similar mount, you wouldn't
get more than about 30 seconds without trailing. With the 1250mm focal
length of your scope you need to guide.
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:24 AM
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GodsPetMonkey is offline
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Starting out in astrophotography and like nebulas? You are basically the perfect match for an 80mm refractor!

ED80 type scopes are affordable, there are loads to choose from, easy to setup and use, are nice and light, help avoid some of the more painful astronomy experiences (collimation...), and thanks to their short focal length are easy on guiding. That short focal length also means you'll get nice wide shots of all the big and beautiful nebula that grace our southern skies. Damn near impossible to go wrong with one.

An ED80 + HEQ5/EQ6 is a pretty tried and true new-astrophotographer setup, and would come in way under your budget. You could use the spare cash on handy accessories (eg. get straight into auto-guiding) or buy a beefier mount from the get go.
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:49 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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I only started astrophotography in February this year
Bought a 6Ē f6 Bintel GSO scope with 900mm focal length for $299 and a new SW HEQ5 mount $1200 ,borrowed my wifeís 8 year old Canon 600D and polar align using the old drift method. I can get exposures of up to 60 to 80 seconds without star trailing (no guiding yet , lím setting that up in August )

Basic bear bones beginner kit has got me imaging pretty good ( oh yes and no stacking or processing yet either , just single images ( buying a laptop in August as well )

Take a look at a few of my images attached

Canít beat a newt !!! Great little scope

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Old 04-07-2018, 01:34 PM
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BHi Gavin
My 8 inch is a GSO and was around $500.
When I purchased it I purchased a coma corrector which was around $350 I think but honestly I dont really remember exactly so go to Andrews Communication web site and Bintel and check prices.

I think Bintels scope is exactly the same unit.

I have not tried my scope without a coma corrector so it may be ok without one for a start...I find I crop the part of my photos that probably would show coma so I may have got by without it.

Its focal length at 1000mm seems short enough to manage.

My 80 mm was a little over $2000 and it is about half the fl but I find both do not like a poor polar alignment.

There is another option to consider and that is a cheap camera lens.

I have a Nikon D5500 and use a 70 / 200 mm lens which cost only around $200 a little more or less and it is such fun and it will surprise you what you can get with it....
I also have an old cannon with a cheap lens 50/300 which certainly does similar.

And you could consider Martins suggestion of a 6 inch.

I used a 6 inch for years and would still be using it but it needed a rebuild and that was the only reason I went to the 8 inch.

Dont be put off by folk saying reflectors are a hassle...I still have not colminated my eight inch and it has two trips North so that is 3000 klms of bouncy bouncy.

Personally I would go this way. Get a HEQ5 and learn about mounts...count on pulling it down for cleaning greasing adjustment...but perhaps get to understand the Equatorial mount thing first.
You will keep it even if you finally get a mount 10 times its price. ..if not sell it they dont lose much amd sell the dsy you list them when priced fair.

Later you may decide to spend a fortune on a mount but it will take quiet a while before you want one or more importantly need one.

On the mount start with a 6 inch reflector and ring the best out of it...Look at what a six inch can do....

When and if you get to the stage you can fault either the mount or the scope you will know yourself the next step...take me I doubt if I will ever get the best out of my gear...and the thing I must mention.....It is rather satisfying to produce good images on a six inch and have folk say...you did that on a six? As if you only have a toy..they are not a toy.

My six inch has an upgraded focuser and the tube fully baffled and a dedicated baffled extended dew tube to prevent moistute and stray light...and I plan to rebuild it again with a better mirror, secondary and focuser...set up it is between the eight and the 80mm the six for me is perfect scope.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:15 AM
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So I’ve been looking around a bit more and after reading the reply’s and looking around on the net I’m now down to the following options;
  • CGX Mount (fairly certain about that one)
  • GSO BT252 (Truss style Newt scope f4 10”)
  • Or Skywatcher Esprit 100mm
  • Orion delux 50mm guide scope
  • ZWO ASI290mm Autoguider
  • ZWO ASI294mc pro for main camera

Obviously the original budget is out the window.

Any thoughts/comments about this setup, do you guys think the esprit or the newt would be better? I’m thinking maybe the esprit 100 because I’m not sure about having the camera and everything mounted at the top of the scope. Also I’ve heard of people having problems with those truss scopes e.g pinching and other mirror type issues. But it would have less flex and it has the aperture and focal ratio I’m looking for.

Last edited by Gavin1234; 07-07-2018 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:34 AM
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Atmos (Colin)
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I would suggest you start with the Esprit 100. There are a plethora of objects that will fit within its FOV very nicely, enough to keep you going for years and it will be less of a hassle than starting with a 10" F/4 newt
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