Old 29-06-2015, 04:58 PM
Tay_melbourne (Taylor)
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Location: Melbourne
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New to astronomy

Hello all, Im Taylor from Melbourne and Ive recently found great interest in Astronomy and photography.
I have only been photographing nightscapes of the milky way as of yet with my DSLR and tripod, but this is very rewarding and Im getting great shots and feedback. I still plan to do a lot of nightscapes and star trails for some time, But Im also wanting to get into some Solar astrophotgraphy, such as Lunar, Planets, maybe some Nebulas (Orion).
I wish to continue using my DSLR (Canon 5D Mark ii) for the time being.
I am joining a astronomy society as of next week where I will ask them all the same questions and more haha
Ive been to a few Telescope stores and tried my best to find the best opinions, but am not sure Im getting the right advice, more a sale. (unsure)

Im just posting here to get more advice from a larger network of more experienced astronomers.

What set up should I start out with using my DSLR bearing in mind I have a budget of $500-$1000 AUD ideally and can have my rubber arms twisted to about $1500 AUD haha

Any advice will be very much appreciated and I look forward to getting into viewing the heavens.

Advanced apologies for late replies, as I work quite long days I only will have to chance to reply in the evenings

Cheers Tay
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Old 29-06-2015, 06:42 PM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Hi Tay, and

The most important bit of advice I can give you for starting astrophotography is to choose a good mount. I think the consensus is that an HEQ5 is the starting point to get good tracking without headaches. If you go for a lesser mount, like an EQ5 - like I did, then you'll find it frustrating as even when everything is setup just right you'll still struggle to get consistant tracking. I can guarantee that you'll want to upgrade sooner rather than later and it'll end up costing you more than if you had just spent a bit extra in the beginning.
When it comes to a scope you have a few choices but the two most common are going to be either an 8" newtonian reflector or an ED80 refractor. I personally started with an ED80, to use with my 5DmkII, and it was great. The focal length is not too long so, with good polar alignment, you can get up to about 2 minute unguided exposures. Once you want to take longer exposures or you want a longer focal length scope then you'll need to buy an autoguider setup. The consists of a small camera and a small guide scope, plus you'll need software to control the guiding and this means you'll be bringing your laptop wherever you set up.

So a basic setup consisting of an ED80, or an 8" newt, and an HEQ5 is going to be above your budget. I think the cheapest version of this - an 8" newt on an HEQ5 is about $2000 and an HEQ5 on its own is about $1500. If you can only afford $1500 now, and assuming you're pretty serious about getting into astrophotography, you could buy just the mount now, and take long exposure images with your 5D and lenses on the HEQ5 for now and then buy a scope when you can afford it.

Anyway that's what I would do with the hindsight I have from going through it already
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:19 PM
britgc (Bret)
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Welcome Taylor

I'm really just going to echo what Hugh said.

I was in a similar situation late last year, and after many months of research and seeking advice, decided to purchase a HEQ5 and learn what I could using a 450D while I saved a bit more and figured out what telescope I wanted to go for.

All the best!
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:05 PM
Tay_melbourne (Taylor)
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Thank you both so much for your quick reply. Unfortunately mine has been very slow due to work.
The HEQ5 mount, I have been told to try starting with a manual mount first to learn the fundamentals of finding night sky objects.
I am taking all of this on board and could probably stretch my budget if it is my best option haha, but first I would like your opinion on this...


I have been recommended this for a beginner set up. Maybe this being a way to learn how to navigate the night sky and learn to use a telescope. Being that I mainly wish to Photograph the moon, Planets, (orion Nebula).

Or should I just got straight to The HEQ5 and better telescope, what will be an easier path for me to enter into astronomy.
I may even be able to pass on the EQ3 to a friend in 6-12 months time when I choose to upgrade (maybe longer pending on how quickly Im advancing haha)

Thank you again for your help,
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:31 PM
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pfitzgerald (Paul)
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Hi Taylor

I concur with Hugh's and Bret's advice - as it was the same advice given to me by a friend when I started out three years ago - and that was to start off with the HEQ5-Pro mount. If you want to get into AP down the track this is a good starting point mountwise. As Hugh pointed out you could then go for an ED80 refractor when you've saved up a bit more. I have the ED120 and HEQ5-Pro and have been very happy with this set up for the past three years. I'm still learning how to get the best out of my mount, scope, camera and software - but the mount and scope haven't let me down. I've only dealt with Andrews Communications in Sydney (ED120 & HEQ5-Pro) and Bintel here in Melbourne (Orion ST80 Guidescope package) and was very happy with the level of service and advice from both stores.

HTH - and welcome to the throng!


You don't need a manual mount to learn your way around the sky. There are plenty of Apps and/or software that you can use on their own, or in conjunction with some star charts to help you do that. If the technology is there to help your journey into AP be relatively 'easy' then I say use it. Plus the folks here, in my experience, are generous with their time and advice. Going to a Star Party or Astro weekend is also very worthwhile. The Snake Valley weekend in March was a great experience - and I'm planning to go again in November.

Last edited by pfitzgerald; 07-07-2015 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:39 PM
britgc (Bret)
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+1 to everything Paul said

If you go the HEQ5 path and use your camera for imaging to start with, you have the advantage of being able to focus on familiarising yourself with the mount and become comfortable using it without having to figure out the setup of a telescope as well.

This will also give you more time to consider which telescope will be best for your needs and goals. Then, once you're ready to get your telescope, you can focus more on that and less time setting up the mount.

I think the most important thing is to keep doing what you're doing - keep researching and seeking advice, and take as much time as you need.

I will send you some info and links to useful websites etc. via PM which I found to be very helpful when first starting out.

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astrophotograhy, begginers, photography, setup, telescope

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