Old 05-04-2020, 08:28 PM
Aurorae (Sara)
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The Full Beginners Package

Hey, I am new to astrophotography and I am keen on beginning the journey. I am interested in planets and the moon for now, nebulae if possible. My budget for all the equipment (mount and scope) is around $1K - something that will enable me to hit the ground running and getting some shots in it. This would include attaching my camera or, if necessary, recommendations on the best camera for taking photos.

I was going to peruse other forum questions, but because things are always changing, I thought I will just throw it out there to get the best tips.

PS - where can you get second hand stuff from? Maybe someone is upgrading to a better system and has equipment for sale?
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:22 AM
Aurorae (Sara)
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Okay, let me try this again.

Would you guys think that the Celestron Atromaster 130EQ is good to start the journey into astrophotography? I am a complete amateur and don't want to spend in excess of 1K, hoping to take good photos of the moon, planets and if poss, nebulae but only for learning and not because I want to move toward becoming an expert. If I like it enough, then maybe I will spend more later.

Here is a list that was given to me, what do you think?

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Old 07-04-2020, 08:53 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Do you already own a DSLR camera ?
If so, the most cost effective way to get into entry level astrophotography on a budget is with the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro kit. These are equatorial mini mounts capable of carrying DSLRs with lens up to 300mm focal length and can track the night sky with great accuracy
They are battery operated and very very portable, a great way to get started
Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro Kit. $699
Skywatcher Star Adventurer Tripod $169
Total $868
The next level ( low cost ) after this would be a small Newtonian reflector 130mm to 150mm on an EQ5 mount ??
Have a look at the Skywatcher Australia website and maybe give them a call , they have some great scopes and mounts for entry level Astrophotography

But please be advised there is a fair bit of a learning curve using an equatorial mount for Astrophotography. You canít just jump in and start snapping

Hope other members can jump in and provide more information

All the best

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Old 07-04-2020, 09:36 AM
Pepper (Steve)
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The star adventurer can be had from Astro anarchy for a very good price at the moment. $595 for the full kit with tripod for the black version.
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:52 AM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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Hi Sara,

Welcome to the forum;

To be honest, whilst you could use a few of the scopes on that list you linked to, those at the cheaper end would be next to useless & those at the slightly higher end on Alt/Az mounts would be limited to very short exposures.

If you are absolutely limited to a budget of $1K then the best advice given below is that of the Star Adventurer bundle & a DSLR (assuming you already have one).

The other option to explore is the classified ads on this forum & potentially this site: https://www.astrobuysell.com/au/

However, some caution is required when buying secondhand.

Unfortunately, Astrophotography is not really a budget friendly hobby & going too cheap, particularly on a mount will largely end in complete & utter frustration.

A small SCT on an Alt/Az goto / tracking mount will absolutely get you into planetary & lunar imaging, 30 second videos stacked in Autostakkert & sharpened in Registax will render you some excellent images but, when you look to capture Nebula or Galaxies, you will be limited to 10 sec exposures to avoid star trails & the resultant images will be somewhat soft with, bloated stars. Doesn't mean you can't do it just means you have to be realistic with your expectations.

In all cases, the mount you use is paramount to getting good results; even with an Az/alt mount it needs to be sturdy & largely vibration free...

My advice is think hard about what you want to achieve both now & into the future & then purchase equipment that will meet your needs reasonably well into the future otherwise, you will actually spend more money than you ever planned to as you chase the next step...

The star adventurer is a great starting point... beyond that, I would personally be looking at a HEQ5 Pro (or equivalent) as a bare minimum to achieve reasonable results coupled with either a 6" Newtonian or 80 - 100mm ED refractor (although an ED refractor will explode your budget).

My 2 cents worth... enjoy the journey

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Old 08-04-2020, 07:45 AM
Aurorae (Sara)
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Thanks all for your responses. Indeed, if I had intentions of taking this further than amateur status, I would spend more and as a grad in astro along with this whole social distancing, I thought it would be a good time to take it up as a loner-hobby. There is no intention of creating award winning stuff, just learning the equipment and maybe taking some great shots that only me and maybe some friends would get exited about. My real passion is in independent filmmaking, which is a much more expensive hobby hence why I am hesitant at this stage to spend too much given that most of my funds are going in that direction.

I do have a great DLSR that I use as a B-camera for filming and happy to spend some extra on a suitable lens which seems practical given that I can share the use of the lens in daytime situations too. It seems something like the Rokinon 135mm Lens is probably the best (after I saw the post from @startrek and as stated in this astro_backyard video) and think that seems like the most logical step for my situation:


He also has some videos and even courses specific to the Star Adventurer Pro

and on his website. Thinking of the costs here, I may exceed the 1k mark (incl. lens), but I will have the tools to start the adventure while being cost-effective in many other ways.

If you do have more informed suggestions over what the best lens would be for the DSLR other than the one stated above, feel free to let me know.

I appreciate your tips!
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