Go Back   IceInSpace > Beginners Start Here > Beginners Equipment Discussions

Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 15-10-2019, 06:49 PM

adiastro.photo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Nimble astrophotography telescope recommendations

Hi, I'm keen to try astrophotography. I've mostly done landscapes and nightscapes. I have shot milky way and aurora nightscapes with my micro 4/3 camera (Lumix DMC-GF1). Sample photos here: https://www.instagram.com/adiastrophoto.au/
I want to try to shoot the moon, nebulae and galaxies.
Keen to do planetary imaging as well but from what I read that will require completely different gear and will be more expensive due to the long focal length requirements.

So I'm looking for my first telescope, budget is $1200 max. I quite like the William Optics Zenithstar 73 APO. I'm also thinking about WO z61 or RedCat. I don't want to limit my options to William Optics but I can't seem to find other ones with the weight and form factor that I want to keep minimum. So experts, any suggestions?

However, the more I read William Optics reviews the more I think they're a bit biased. Eg. AstroBackyard mentioned good things about RedCat but anywhere else says something along the lines of "puny apeture, basically a telescopic lens or finderscope not a telescope, niche only"

I live in light polluted area in Sydney (last I checked I'm in bortle 6) and can't afford to do narrowband imaging yet as the filters are prohibitively expensive.
So I travel a bit further out of Sydney during new moon and bring my gear with me when I go overseas if I know I'm going to be in the countryside. As such, portability is key to me.
I'm looking for a setup that weighs less than 8kg in total. Any more than this will not be feasible to bring on air travel. Form factor is also key: all gear need to fit inside my luggage and/or backpack.

So far I have the following gear:
- Tripod (aluminium, will upgrade to carbon fibre soon)
- Skywatcher adventurer mini star tracker + wedge
- Skywatcher Az-GTi mount
- Counterweight (probably 600-700g)
- Lumix DMC-GF1 (no $ to upgrade) with 14mm and 20mm wide angle lenses. Not planning to invest in any telephoto lenses either.
- Plus the standard accessories like intervalometer, levels, etc.

I also want a telescope that can last for a while, instead of something that a beginner will have to part with as they become intermediate astrophotographers.
Reply With Quote
Old 16-10-2019, 04:33 PM
gregbradley's Avatar
Registered User

gregbradley is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 16,349
Redcat 51 is quite good:


Galaxies using a small refractor is a bit unrealistic unless you intend to image the Large and Small Magellanic cloud. Perhaps Sculptor would show up well enough.

Nebulae though is realistic.

The Zenithstar 73 sounds good if it meets your budget.

It would be near the limit for the Star Adventurer.But you can capture a lot by using 30 second exposures and lots of them and stack them.

Reply With Quote
Old 17-10-2019, 07:21 AM
sil's Avatar
sil (Steve)
Not even a speck of dust

sil is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 1,402
Redcat : "puny apeture, basically a telescopic lens or finderscope not a telescope, niche only" well, yes. that would have come from someone with a bigger budget. besides its not a telescope its an OTA or a Lens, both are the same tool doing the same job both can be found in refractor and reflector construction. I use the Redcat for my DSLR shots and have never encountered a lens that gave such crisp flat shots, nothing comes close (if you want to haggle by name dropping I use Leica for most of my photography). at 250mm focal length its way out in front. plus it doesnt require you to by extra garbage to add to the optical train.

for your travel needs get rid of the counterweights. instead find your own solution of an empty container or bag you can fill with rocks at your location as your counterweight to save you carry weight and boarding costs. try a bicycle water bottle holder and cheap bottle to pop in it, then you could use liquid or dirt or rocks just fine.
Reply With Quote
Old 17-10-2019, 03:43 PM

adiastro.photo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Sydney
Posts: 7
Really useful advice and tips, thanks heaps folks.
Looks like RedCat is going to be my first scope after all.
Nebulae is definitely top of my wish list.
Great tip on the counterweight

Stay tuned for first light
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +10. The time is now 01:00 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
NexDome Observatories
Limpet Controller
Astronomy and Electronics Centre