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Old 05-07-2019, 02:00 PM
RussellH
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HEQ5/Canon M50/auto guider configuration?

Hi folks,

Brief history. Started astro about 40 years ago as a teenager with a cheap alt-az newtonian, about 6 or 8” I think. Had some fun with it, but couldn’t track squat and being in Brisbane suburbia, seeing wasn’t great. Can’t remember when or where it disappeared. Then about 12 years ago, had a tree change out west with the family with nice dark skies. Picked up a 10” cheap Dobsonian which I still have, but have used infrequently as it’s too unwieldy to bring in and out of the house, and once again can’t track squat.

Now here we are again. Kids have all moved out of home and I’m revisiting old hobbies. Just got myself a new Canon M50 mirrorless camera for nature photography, and would like to get into Astrophotography if I can afford it as well.

I could do just Milky Way photography with what I have, but DSO and maybe some Planetary is what I’d like to get into eventually. I was looking at the Star Adventurer package to mount camera, to get some better quality imaging and stacking. After looking at what a guided Star Adventurer costs, and the limits it has, I’m thinking I should just future-proof my needs with. HEQ5 in case I end up wanting an EQ80-100 or an RC6 (yes I know an RC is not a beginner scope, but it’s very tempting). I’ll probably never (or very rarely) leave my backyard for imaging.

Money as always is an issue for me, as well as starting something and continuing to expand on it. So I want a decent but budget setup. So, the crux of the matter is, should I just ditch the star adventurer idea and go straight to the HEQ5? If I did, I’d need a Dovetail mount and a ball head just for the camera, but if I wanted an auto guider as well how would I mount them both up? I imagine this is the point where someone steps in and says I don’t need an autoguider for just DSLR tracking?

Thanks.
Russell.
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Old 05-07-2019, 04:09 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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I started visual astronomy and astrophotography 3 years ago with a 6Ē f6 Bintel GSO newt ( $300 ) a HEQ5 mount and my wifeís old Canon 600D and image everything , Nebula , clusters, planets , galaxies
Iíve upgraded to an 8Ē f5 newt and an EQ-R mount which I use at my holiday house south coast NSW but still use the 6Ē in Sydneyís light polluted skies ( check my post of M17 in beginners astrophotography today )
You will need to eventually auto guide for long exposures but thatís down the track a bit. Once polar aligned you can snap up to 60 sec exposures or even longer if your accurate
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:03 PM
RussellH
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Thanks Marftin.

Nice shot of M17. So that was on the 6"? Looking on Bintel's site, they only recommend it for visual observing. It looks very similar to the one I first got years ago, but the focusser on mine was horrible. The scope would move 1/2" just trying to turn the knob every time. Guess some things have improved in th last 40 years at least.

I see they have a similar 8" F4 model that is recommended on their Astrograph page. Oddly though, they don't have the much recommended Skywatch ED80 on their Astrograph page, even though it is recommended in their description for Astrophotography.

I don't really see Newts as suggestions in any of the searching I've done on recommended scopes for beginning Astrophotography. I there a reason for that? You image certainly looks comparable to some of the refractor imaging I've seen, at least at a casual glance.

Russell.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:26 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Russell
Most guys will steer you towards a refractor ( ED80 ) for AP as they are the most common scope used for AP but I decided to stick with newts
My 6Ē f6 is a tremendous scope for AP , my images are proof of the pudding. I had a Crayford dual focuser fitted in lieu of the single speed , dual is a must for AP
A word of advice if go down the newt path ( donít go for a F4 Astro graph to start off with ) An F4 newt is difficult to collimate and doesnít give you much tolerance. Go for f5 or f6 focal ratio
My 8Ē f5 I use at my dark site is unbelievable ( see my M8 lagoon nebula attached )
Anyway you have to get more advice off others , but I can vouch for my 6Ē f6 newt and my 8Ē f5 newt
Rule of thumb with AP is that your mounts final payload should not exceed 60% of its max rated payload capacity ( including telescope, all cameras , dew control , guide scope , adapters, cables and other accessories)

Cheers
Martin
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:02 PM
RussellH
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Thanks again, and once again, nice image.

Hopefully some others can chime in with their thoughts. I do know a lot of it comes down to what suits my situation, with the eternal cost vs quality issue being the deciding factor. I just want to make sure I've ruled out any "bad' options before proceeding.

Russell.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:50 PM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Russell, if you’re only going to use the scope from home, permanently mount it on a pier in your yard and save yourself a lot of time. Then buy the biggest mount head you can afford. EQ6-R like Martin has is a nice sturdy mount. There are bigger, smaller, lighter, more pricey...everything comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Steer clear of a fast newt for imaging - they are an advanced scope and can lead to heartache/discouragement!

A nice refractor will generally give good results, easy to get going with and not require a lot of maintenance, unlike reflectors. However, they’re not a scope you’d typically chase small objects with, such as planets.

There is no “one scope to rule them all”...
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:15 PM
RussellH
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Permanent mount? Interesting idea. Good if I had one spot to build an observatory, but I think Iíd probably need to move around to different places for varying views all around. Would make alignment easier too given itíd always be level (although the soil does move alot in our neck of the woods, which could be a bother).

Whatís the complication with Newts vs Reflectors? My first scope was a newt and I never had troublemwith it that I can remember. Mind you I was just a casual viewer way back then, not an imager. Its hard to look at the price difference though comparing Martinís $300 GSO Newt he seems to be getting nice results from, vs the $1289 recommended Skywatcher Black Diamond ED80 APO. If itís about collimation, every scope Iíve looked at so far, someone has complained about collimating it.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

Russell.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:39 PM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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A camera sensor has a flat focal plane, unlike the human eye, so the camera is much more demanding when it comes to collimation and tilt in the optical axes. Reflectors tend to have many more degrees of freedom which are subject to often questionable manufacturing tolerances (everything is built to a price).

If you’re up for the challenge then go for it, what have you got to lose?
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:45 PM
RussellH
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I wasnít trying to be dismissive of your comments, sorry if it sounded that way. Just for the price difference, I could add the autoguider setup and the newt for the same price as just the reflector. The money runs out somewhere, I just have to figure out what I can live without for a year to able to get something workable to start with. I guess the phrase ďyou get what you pay forĒ applies?

So refractors are pretty much fixed lenses so not really subject to movement? I was looking at a 2nd hand Explore Scientific ED80 Triplet in the classifiedís here but had seen some threads saying you need specialist tools to collimate it, but I guess youíre saying the chances of it needing collimating are small compared to a newt.

I guess I could pratice collimating on my current Dobsonian, as itís basically the same as a Newtonian, and if I mess up, I havenít lost much since Iím not using it anyway....

So, on a tangent, whatís worse for collimation, a newtonian or a ritchie-chretien? Iíve seen lots of moans about the RCís, but also seen several people say they can do it easily once you know how with either a laser or takahashi (or cheshire at a pinch) Mind you, plenty of others say that none of the methods actually agree with each other either, so Iím not sure what the actual working method is.

Russell.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:15 AM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Nah, not ingested that way

It is a bit of a case of you get what you pay for. If you want cheap, a newt is hard to beat. But don’t expect quality in a cheap newt. Re-read my previous post and that will give you clues as to why nests are not easy imaging scopes.

I’ve never touched the collimation of my refractor. Wouldn’t dream of it. But it is plug-n-play.

Never fancied the RC myself, they sound too finicky for such a slow scope.

Again, just my opinion
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:08 AM
RussellH
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Thanks again. All opinions equally appreciated. In the end it comes down to exactly the compromises I’m willing to take to fit my budget, and then selling the old stuff and buying new when I don’t want to compromise anymore
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