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Old 30-03-2008, 06:56 PM
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new to astrophotography, but not new to photography... some advice needed.

hey,

Currently i own a Nikon D60, D50 backup and a F65 35mm film slr, a whole wack of lenses and gear, but have only just recently found myself looking for something other-worldly to capture....

Im in need of a scope able to capture planets and other deep space objects, and also a bit of advice on best methods for a clean capture...

I guess what im asking is:
What scope should I buy for deep space and planetary photography.
what else will i need?

And any other general information that may be relevant.

Cheers everyone.
Alex.
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Old 30-03-2008, 07:51 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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Hi Alex, to IceInSpace!

To start with, capturing planets versus capturing DSO's is a completely different kettle of fish. While some technical aspects and knowledge in processes crosses both boundaries, the type of scope you need, and the type of camera you need to do both, are/can be completely different.

So what i'm saying is, you may need to decide what it is you want to capture the most, and also, what your budget is.

Tell us more and keep asking questions!
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Old 31-03-2008, 09:03 AM
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thanks for the welcome!

To start with I guess DSO's take my interest alot more. For a first scope I dont think i should spend much over $500 - $600, just untill i get a proper taste for astrophotography...
something like http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....%3D4%26ps%3D42
perhaps?

I was wondering if there is any kind of scope that would allow me to mount one of my Nikon DSLRs to, being that I am very familiar with taking sky-scape photos with it already...

I have taken a few really nice (In my opinion) photos of the moon using my Sigma 500mm f/6.3 APO lense..

After a bit of reading, I think something maybe a touch more expensive, with goto may be a good plan... Any advise or opinions??

Cheers for the quick reply.
Alex.

Last edited by AlexN; 31-03-2008 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 31-03-2008, 01:06 PM
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Alex,
This scope is not suitable for what you want to do, because it has only manual tracking, which is very uncomfortable (however, this is how some short exposures can be made).
Perhaps you should try with wide-angle photography (50~60mm FL) and stack a number of couple of seconds of exposed frames.. You do not need tracking if you keep your exposure time short.
Results of this may turn out to be quite spectacular, though.

EDIT:
Yes, it has RA motor drive, sorry, I have not looked at the website properly..
Still, it is very flimsy scope for astro-photography.. the slightest breeze of wind will drive you nuts...
Also, besides this scope you will need T-adapters (to use it at prime focus, this can be found on ebay) .

Last edited by bojan; 31-03-2008 at 02:09 PM.
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  #5  
Old 31-03-2008, 03:32 PM
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Hi Alex,

Looking at the photo it only has a 1.25 inch focuser. To take a DSLR you need a two inch focuser so apart from what Bojan has said i dont think the scope is suitable.

Paul
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Old 31-03-2008, 05:01 PM
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Hi Alex - the mount is where you will sink or swim. I would suggest an EQ5 or EQ6 as a good start. The "6" is probably far more than you need to start with but look at the style at least.

Then get a small scope say 60 - 80 mm. An ED-80 comes to mind.

Learn how to polar align it (which is not simple and will take you a few weeks to become whip-ass at it) then you can use the camera mounted next to or on top of the scope and take some wide field shots with your existing lenses.

This will give you some cool wide field shots and much encouragement. You could consider getting an autoguider or a webcam-software based autoguider and take longer exposures.

When you have all that beaten, get an adaptor to attach your camera to the scope and a field flattener. You may need to get another small scope (not a really high quality one) to use as a guide scope as the main scope will be busy.

Can I suggest you join or at least meet with one of the SEQ Astro clubs? There are some great and active ones in your area. Go out on a dark sky night with them and see what they are using. You will find it is not far from what I have suggested.

This advice is what will make the difference between you staying in this hobby and having magazine quality pictures or leaving astronomy. We've seen it so many times before.

PS I started more or less like this with film in 1992 and my early widefield shots with a 50mm lens gave me so much pride and satisfaction and 16 years later I am still taking pictures.

Good luck!
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Old 31-03-2008, 05:04 PM
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If you already have a good collection of lenses (500mm f/6 apo ) then why not just shoot from the hip, so to speak. You could get a reasonably priced HEQ5 (pretty good value atm apparently) or second hand Polaris with motors and a small scope to help you to polar align and you would be away. For short FL (<100mm) if your alignment is good you could mount the camera directly to the mount and not worry about having to guide the mount for shots of 3-5 min.
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Old 31-03-2008, 05:05 PM
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Great minds and such Monte.
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Old 31-03-2008, 11:59 PM
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Thanks guys...

Monte : wouldnt happen to have any links to a SEQ astro club websites would you, I think you are right, I've done a bit of reading and to be honest, I'd like to get a bit of a taste for what others do (and a look through a few different scopes) before i run out and spend a bunch of my hard earned...

1ponders : yeah, I have a very nice collection of lenses, the Sigma (bigma as i call it) 175 -500mm f/5.6~f/6.3 APO being the biggest, down to a nikon 80-200 f/2.8, then a slew of other lenses... sharpest one I have being a nikon 50mm f/1.4 prime...

Even if i don't so much get into the photography side of things, I'd really like a nice scope just for observation...


Thanks again everyone for your input.. Much appreciated.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2008, 12:22 AM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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If the weather is fine there will be a few of us getting together this weekend at Cambroon near Kenilworth. Nice and dark and scopes from 50mm binoculars up to 400mm truss dob Astrophotography goin' on and just plain viewing.

Check the Star Parties and Observing Sessions forum. At the top of the forum is a sticky thread with a map for getting here.
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  #11  
Old 01-04-2008, 12:35 AM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montewilson View Post
Hi Alex - the mount is where you will sink or swim. I would suggest an EQ5 or EQ6 as a good start. The "6" is probably far more than you need to start with but look at the style at least.

Then get a small scope say 60 - 80 mm. An ED-80 comes to mind.

Learn how to polar align it (which is not simple and will take you a few weeks to become whip-ass at it) then you can use the camera mounted next to or on top of the scope and take some wide field shots with your existing lenses.

This will give you some cool wide field shots and much encouragement. You could consider getting an autoguider or a webcam-software based autoguider and take longer exposures.

When you have all that beaten, get an adaptor to attach your camera to the scope and a field flattener. You may need to get another small scope (not a really high quality one) to use as a guide scope as the main scope will be busy.

Can I suggest you join or at least meet with one of the SEQ Astro clubs? There are some great and active ones in your area. Go out on a dark sky night with them and see what they are using. You will find it is not far from what I have suggested.

This advice is what will make the difference between you staying in this hobby and having magazine quality pictures or leaving astronomy. We've seen it so many times before.

PS I started more or less like this with film in 1992 and my early widefield shots with a 50mm lens gave me so much pride and satisfaction and 16 years later I am still taking pictures.

Good luck!
Well said Monte,
I started with prime lenses then moved up to an ED80 with an 'adequate' mount (Synscan EQ5), I have recently had a minor epiphany so to speak in that I have returned to the basics, albeit very good basics...same mount but Canon 40D and Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L lens. I hope to return to my widefield imaging roots and produce the images I wanted to initially!!!
Softly Softly Catchy Monkey!!!!!!

Doug
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2008, 06:14 AM
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Link to clubs list.


http://www.iceinspace.com.au/index.p...54,122,0,0,1,0
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:16 AM
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i got myself some Gerber 10x50 bino's today and took them out for a little while this evening. Its actually pretty impressive what can be seen..

I've narrowed my scope options to the following 2 (in no specific order)... If anyone has any opinions, please do share

1 - SmartStar E-N114 Newtonian - from sirius optics, waiting on a reply back from them as to whether it comes with the dual axis motor, controller and tripod displayed in the image...

2 - SmartStar-E-MC90 Reflector - from sirius again, and i've also asked if that one comes as displayed, judging from what i've read I think this scope fits what I need..


Both are within the set budget I'd set myself, so it really comes down to which is going to be the easiest to get a grasp of...

Last edited by AlexN; 03-04-2008 at 02:20 AM.
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  #14  
Old 03-04-2008, 06:59 AM
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Dear Alex - Those scopes will not be suitable for taking images. An Alt/Az mount wont do. It must be equatorial.

As a general hint let me say, what you are looking for will not be found in Amazon/NineMSN. You need to talk to York Optical or Bintel or Andrews or one of the many fine retailers of equipment who advertise in IIS.

You'll just piss money away if you buy one of the scopes you listed.

If expenditure limits exist (and they do for most of us including me!) then you are better off not buying anything than buying something that is not up to the task straight out of the box.

I know I must sound like a kill-joy but believe me when I say you're heading for a fall with mainstream package scopes.

Also please visit one of the clubs on the list. One night with them will change your outlook completely.
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  #15  
Old 03-04-2008, 07:55 AM
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Hi,

Monte is absolutely correct. You can look through those scopes but taking photo's would be problematic.

If you wish to take photo's and have a limited budget then you could purchase an Ioptron mount. There is a version that can be polar aligned, you should get this one. I need to stress this would only be suitable for mounting your camera with say a 100 to 200mm lens for widefield. However it does have goto and will track.

The bright side is that when you buy a small refractor for imaging in the future this mount while not really suitable for imaging with it (weight constraints, no tracking etc) will make for a great grab and go, goto tracking mount for visual use with the small refractor.

Regards Paul.
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  #16  
Old 03-04-2008, 09:41 AM
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Funny you should mention that, I was planning to head into york optical tomorrow morning and have a talk to someone in there.

I'm also heading out to Cambroon Saturday night with a few other forum members to get a feel for some more info, and had assumed that these two outings would more than likely provide me with alot more information..

There are a few scopes on York Optical's website that seem to be very good value, I guess I'll know more tomorrow
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2008, 08:02 AM
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Omaroo (Chris Malikoff)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexN View Post
... sharpest one I have being a nikon 50mm f/1.4 prime...
Alex - a great lens. I have two, and they are my fave's by far -one off my 1969 Nikon F and the other an Ai from the late 80's. Beautiful glass.

Maybe you could look at a Takahashi Teegul SkyPatrol-II or III eq. mount like I have. It's designed to be very small. It takes the weight of a 60-80mm scope and camera but is wonderful with just the camera and a good lens on board. You can buy them for around the $1,100 mark and the quality is phenomenal. A real instrument. I plan to keep mine forever. Packed ALONG with the scope here in a little road case, it's the ultimate in portability. Now I even have the camera and all associated gear in the same case.

If you want to capture planets - then you'll most likely forget everything I've said up top, as you really need a little aperture and a webcam or other frame streaming device. It's all about compromise. If deep space and widefield is your thing, then the above combo is hard to beat for the little effort it takes to include it on any trip you do.
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2008, 12:51 AM
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After a good hr or so talking to the guys at york optical I ended up leaving with an 8" Dob. Decided that it would be better to learn a bit more about astronomy, what to look for and more importantly where. Then when I've got that all figured, move to an EQ5/6 mount with computerised motor drive, at which point i wont be wishing i had that little bit more apeture...
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2008, 07:47 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Great choice! The 8" dob is a superb scope for a beginner.
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  #20  
Old 06-04-2008, 01:22 PM
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I'm interested in this aspect too. Can you give prices for those pieces of equipment. I understand the principles of the equatorial mount, are they really so hard to get the hang of?

I have done some photography through a telescope but it was back in 1986 when I used a friend's Celestron (either 6 0r 8", don't quote me) and we got great shots by getting up at 2am in March and catching it on the way in. We drove to a dark spot and connected the tracking up to the car battery,as I remember. It was near Canberra and bloody freezing!

But I do have great slides which I need to dig out and scan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by montewilson View Post
Hi Alex - the mount is where you will sink or swim. I would suggest an EQ5 or EQ6 as a good start. The "6" is probably far more than you need to start with but look at the style at least.

Then get a small scope say 60 - 80 mm. An ED-80 comes to mind.

Learn how to polar align it (which is not simple and will take you a few weeks to become whip-ass at it) then you can use the camera mounted next to or on top of the scope and take some wide field shots with your existing lenses.

This will give you some cool wide field shots and much encouragement. You could consider getting an autoguider or a webcam-software based autoguider and take longer exposures.

When you have all that beaten, get an adaptor to attach your camera to the scope and a field flattener. You may need to get another small scope (not a really high quality one) to use as a guide scope as the main scope will be busy.

Can I suggest you join or at least meet with one of the SEQ Astro clubs? There are some great and active ones in your area. Go out on a dark sky night with them and see what they are using. You will find it is not far from what I have suggested.

This advice is what will make the difference between you staying in this hobby and having magazine quality pictures or leaving astronomy. We've seen it so many times before.

PS I started more or less like this with film in 1992 and my early widefield shots with a 50mm lens gave me so much pride and satisfaction and 16 years later I am still taking pictures.

Good luck!
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