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Old 19-03-2012, 09:01 PM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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Red face New to this HELP!

Hey guys.
So i been into photography for a loonngg time and have done several Time Lapses. I Currently am in the process of buying a New Camera a Canon 60D (So excited)

But i want to get into Astro-Photography, but its a whole new ball game to me ..

Im after maybe a 12" Collapsible Dobsonian, with standard GoTo mount as seen on Oz Scopes! Or would a better choice be a 200mm Newtonian f5 with Heq5 Mount? .. Or maybe there are some better choices?

Im hoping to take shots of Nebula's and Galaxy's, basically 'Deep space'

Cheers Guys
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Old 19-03-2012, 09:08 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Dobsonian is no good at all really for nebulae and galaxies.

Even if it tracks, the objects will rotate, so you can't do long exposures.

So, for long exposures you will need a solid equatorial mount, like an EQ6, CGEM, iOptron, LX800 etc.
I find newtonians a pain personally, because of their long length, and the camera gear mounting on the side which makes flex and balancing difficult, and you have to collimate etc. But bang for buck they are good value and you can get great images.

A HEQ5 is not worth it to me, pick up an EQ6 second hand for the same money as a new HEQ5, and you really won't have to upgrade later, and once you start adding camera gear, guidescope, guide cam, coma corrector, reducer, electric focuser etc. you start to run out of the HEQ5 weight capacity in a hurry.

Many people image with Newtonians though and get great results, but I find SCTs or refractors a lot easier to manage.

If I was doing it, I'd get a 4" refractor on an EQ6 mount. Easier to manage, good wide FOV for the big nebula targets, lovely pinpoint stars, easy to attach gear and balance the scope, good resale value if you don't like it.

Then you will have a rig to learn on, that can take professional level photos and can grow as your skills do. You can always add a newt or SCT to the EQ6 at a later date if the bug takes you and you want to image those smaller galaxies or do some planetary.
A 4" refractor can also do respectable planetary with a 5x powermate, and do a fantastic job on the moon as well.
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Old 19-03-2012, 09:31 PM
brian nordstrom (As avatar)
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Hi and welcome Kingy , Good words of wisdom there from Poita , A smalish good quality refractor on an eq6 is the way to go for astro photograghy. Most of the top photos seen here and around the world are taken with kit like this .
Your new Canon is a good start . ..
Oh yea , by the way , I may be selling my really nice Saxon ED80 with 10 to 1 focuser soon , these scopes are probably the best beguinners/intermediate photographers scope choice world wide , good quality, great performance at a really good price , a perfect all round scope also capible of top visual performance .
Brian.
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Old 19-03-2012, 09:36 PM
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ballaratdragons (Ken)
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Another vote here for the ED80 as a great low priced imaging scope.

Suprisingly, for DSO imaging, at their size and price, they outperform quite a few more expensive scopes for imaging.

Chuck one up on an EQ6 along with an El-cheapo small Achromat refractor with a little Guide camera and you have a nice setup.
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Old 19-03-2012, 09:43 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Personally I'd go to a 4" (100mm or 105mm) rather than the 3" ED80, but the ED80 is a great starter scope, and may end up your guide scope if you end up getting a big bugger later, and with the 105mm you can get a faster scope with more detail than an 80mm.
But either will get great images, but I don't use my ED80 anymore, but I don't reckon I'll ever sell the 105mm/650. I guess you are just less likely to outgrow the 105.

You will get all kinds of advice, and all of it will be right, but the main thing is to take it one step at a time, there is an insane amount to learn. Truly insane...and most of it you have to learn by doing, it looks so easy on the page, then is so damn fiddly frustrating f^&*$#* stupid focuser slipping, drift alignment, what, my stars are still eggy even with the coma corrector, #^&*%^$*!!

Sorry...

There is a lot to get right.
You have to get your head around aligning an equatorial mount to an unimaginable level of accuracy.
Then you have to deal with the weight of the camera and the attachments to get it *perfectly* square and get the focus right, which usually means upgrading the focuser to something like a moonlight or feathertouch, and then soon you want an electric focuser.
Then deal with the fact that it still won't track perfectly. Which takes you into guidecam territory, a piggy back scope or an off axis guider, which leads to wanting a more sensitive guide scope.
Then framing... you end up needing a focal reducer, and the egdes are wonky, so you also need a flattener. Then you want some Ha and OIII filters to get the extra detail, which leads you to modifying your DSLR or getting a dedicated Astro cam.
Then you realise there is flex somewhere in the arrangement, and you try strengthening up the newtonian and arrrggh!

And so it goes.

So, keep it simple at the start, by going with an ED80 or a 4" refractor. There are no collimation issues, no sidemounting, lower weight so easier to manage, less flex etc. get a triplet if you can afford it, a doublet if you can't.

You can get a simple adapter t-ring to 2" nosepiece adapter to slip your DSLR in the end of the focuser, and I'd get a good quality focuser immediately, it will save you so many headaches.
(Choose one that has an inexpensive electronic focuser add-on so that you can do that down the track without having to replace the whole focuser.)

Stick it on an EQ6 and you are pretty much ready to get imaging. Fend off the temptation to upgrade your gear and learn how to get images and you will have a scope and mount that you will probably keep forever, will be quick and easy to setup and you can focus on alignment and getting your images right.

Then you can start to learn about processing!
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Old 19-03-2012, 10:11 PM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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Wow Thanks heaps Guys, thats a load of my chest.. Hey Brian, i would be interested but you live so far away

From Memory EQ6 are around $1600? Am i better off to find a 2nd hand EQ6 or at the end of the day should i pay for a new?. This may be a totally noob question, are telescope mounts universal fits. By that i mean, If i buy an EQ6 will any Refractor/ Reflector fit this Mount? lol sorry guys, Beginner here .. Cheers
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Old 19-03-2012, 10:18 PM
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ballaratdragons (Ken)
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Yes Nathan, you can put almost any scope on any mount. Theoretically
They aren't restricted to Brand or style.
But they are by size.
You wouldn't put a 12" Reflector or a 14" SCT on an EQ5 as an example.

It is always a good rule to overdo the Mount.
Mounts need to be overkill if you intend to do Astrophotography.

2nd hand EQ6's are ok if you can find one at a good price. If it is close to new price, just buy new and get a warranty.

As for matching mount to scope, you can put an Orion scope on a skywatcher mount, or a GS scope on a Vixen mount etc. They are almost all interchangeable.
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Old 19-03-2012, 10:19 PM
Poita (Peter)
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You should be able to snag a 2nd hand EQ6 for around $1100, or get one new from Andrews Communication.

There are two main types of 'fits' to the mount.
One is called Vixen, one is referred to as Losmandy.

The newer EQ6 has a mount head that can take either, the older models tend to be one or the other.
You can buy an aftermarket 'puck' to upgrade the EQ6 to take either.

The telescope you buy may come with either or none.

You would want to pick up a telescope with mounting rings (that go around the telescope tube) and then a Vixen or Losmandy rail that bolts to the rings, then attaches to the mount head.

For that size scope, either a Vixen or Losmandy is fine, the Vixen is a skinnier lighter rail, the Losmandy more beefy, but neither will flex on a scope that size, so the choice is up to you.

These extras add up, which is why buying 2nd hand can be a great deal, the scope will often come with the rings and the rail.

In this image, the rings on the left are sitting on a vixen rail which then slides into the top of the mount.
http://firstlightoptics.com/user/con..._landscape.jpg
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Old 20-03-2012, 09:45 AM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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So using a guide scope needs a separate mount? Does it mount to the Main Scope?

I currently live in Central Victoria! Does anyone know of good shops that i can get good gear from? Or does it require the drive to Melb?

Cheers
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Old 20-03-2012, 11:10 AM
Poita (Peter)
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I think your best bet would be to get to a viewing night and have a look at some gear up and running.

A guide scope either piggy backs on your main scope, or is mounted side by side with it on top of your mount using something like this:
http://admaccessories.com/D_Series_SBS.htm

You can order from Bintel or Andrews Communications among others.
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Old 20-03-2012, 11:23 AM
Poita (Peter)
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Time for some pictures I think.

This is one setup:
http://jmx.ls1howto.com/pics/setup_labeled.jpg

This is another using piggybacked refractors.
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...s/IMG_0991.jpg

This page has images of a side-by-side setup

http://theguvnah.blogspot.com.au/201...ing-setup.html
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Old 20-03-2012, 11:38 AM
Poita (Peter)
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Another thing to do whilst you are waiting, is to learn processing.
The photos you take will need to be stacked, stretched adjusted etc. and this is a big learning curve.

While waiting/deciding on gear, head over to here:
http://www.mistisoftware.com/astronomy/index_fits.htm

You can download some actual raw captured images and start learning how to process them, and get a headstart before you get images of your own.
These are separate LRGB captures that have already been stacked etc.

For Planetary samples, click here:
http://www.skyimaging.com/astronomy-videos.php#top
You can download them and learn how to best process the planets and the moon.

There is another site that has sample DSO files for going from scratch, I'll try and find it and post it here.

Processing is as big a part of it as capturing the images in the first place, so you may as well start getting up to speed on it before you lash out on the equipment, and see if it really is your cup of tea.

Last edited by Poita; 20-03-2012 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 20-03-2012, 11:50 AM
Poita (Peter)
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Oh, and there is an EQ6Pro in the classifieds right now!
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=88285
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Old 20-03-2012, 12:13 PM
Poita (Peter)
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And take a look here for DSLR specific tutees.
http://www.astropix.com/GADC/TOC8.HTM
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Old 20-03-2012, 12:52 PM
Barrykgerdes
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Hi Nathan

Before you jump in the deep end and get an equatorial mount you need to see what the photographers are doing else you might get frustrated before you even get to taking a photograph.

If you are new to astronomy forget the photography for a while and get yourself a dobsonian or small Alt/azm goto mount and learn about the sky. You can even mount your camera on a cheap telescope and take some short exposures of the sky at night, the moon and the bright planets.

When you can do this with ease it is the time to get the best equatorial mount you can afford and a simple ED80 or small newtonian and learn how to do a polar alignment. This is a most frustrating job on a equatorial mount for a beginner. But once mastered it will become second nature. You will probably need a second telescope on the mount to use as a guide scope but rigidity here is important.

Next on the list will be a couple of computers, software, power supplies, guide camera, cables etc,. The list goes on and on.

I am sure there are some IISers withinn 50 or 6o km's of you who will happily guide you past the pitfalls and there are a couple of very good clubs in central Victoria.

Barry
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Old 20-03-2012, 01:00 PM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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Hey Barry

You wouldn't know the names of the clubs.. I really think I need to have some hands on experience before I dive in the deep

Thanks
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Old 20-03-2012, 01:01 PM
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ballaratdragons (Ken)
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Nathan, you are in luck as far as seeing how others do it and what they use.

This weekend is the 'Snake Valley Astronomy Camp' not far from you
We are about 30k west of Ballarat.

Come on down and talk to everyone, and ask zillions of questions, and if you stick around for night time you will see it all in action.

You are welcome to book in and stay or just come as a visitor
Visiting is free.
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=86387

This is the best way to discover what you need and how things work
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Old 20-03-2012, 01:17 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Do this!
Get yrself to Snake Valley Pard'ner!

Personally, I started out on equatorial gear, I don't see a need to go ALT/AZ first, but get down to the valley and get a gander in and ask the aforementioned zillions of questions and you will have a far clearer picture of what you want to do.
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Old 20-03-2012, 03:23 PM
Barrykgerdes
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Thanks Ken

I did not want to dob you in but the post was aimed at you!
There you are Nathan get along to the Snake Valley and catch up with the Guys

Barry
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Old 20-03-2012, 04:23 PM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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Okay, i might come and check out some rigs, Cheers for the invite ..

I message that lady about the EQ6 for sale in the Classy's.. It's 2year old, asking $950, sound right?

Cheers
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