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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Astronomy & Celestial Talk 
Thread started 02 Aug 2010 (Monday) 07:49
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Autoguiding camera - no laptop needed

 
ecce_lex
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Aug 02, 2010 07:49 |  #1

Hi there,

I've recently upgraded my mount motors, so i will soon be the owner of a go-to EQ 3-2. Now my dealer suggested I invest 300 dollars more (400 Swiss) in a super-duper autoguiding camera that is intelligent enough to send the appropriate corrections *directly to the mount* without the need of a computer.

I've read a bit on the internet and the only cameras that can do this have prices several times higher than what I was offered.

Does anyone happen to know of this (apparently new) camera, maybe give me a link? I distrust people who sell me things, so I'd like to check myself, and with you as well.

thanks in advance.


Schrodinger's cat walked into a bar - and didn't.
Gear: 60mm Takahashi, 200mm C8, 7Dmod, EQ6
Website: https://plus.google.co​m …873112797282158​324/albums (external link)

  
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DonR
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Aug 03, 2010 10:39 |  #2

I think your dealer may be confused. Did he mention a brand or model name for this $300 camera?

In order to calculate the adjustments that need to be sent to the mount for auto-guiding, there must be software analyzing the image from the guide camera and calculating drift, then using calibration data for the mount to calculate what direction and how much to move the mount. This job is typically handled by a computer running software like PHD Guiding. There have been auto-guiding systems in the past that included the microprocessors and software in dedicated off-board controllers, so while they didn't require the use of a personal computer, they did in fact include a dedicated computer, and they were, as you would guess, much more expensive.

It's been a while since I looked into this, but if there is a self-contained auto-guiding system on the market now for US$300 that doesn't require a separate computer and software, I would be very surprised.

Don




  
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Adrena1in
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Aug 03, 2010 13:45 |  #3

Yeah, find out what Autoguider your dealer's talking about. The LVI Smartguider is upwards of twice what you were quoted I believe...(795 Swiss Francs).


Canon EOS 450D, Sigma 18-200mm, Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro, 2x TC, Revelation 12" f/5 Dobsonian, Mintron PD2285-EX webcam.

  
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Footbag
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Aug 03, 2010 17:07 |  #4

Celestron just released the NexGuide. Very few reports of it in the field, but a very interesting product. If it works well, it'll be hot.


Adam
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Adrena1in
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Aug 04, 2010 02:20 |  #5

Footbag wrote in post #10655994 (external link)
Celestron just released the NexGuide. Very few reports of it in the field, but a very interesting product. If it works well, it'll be hot.

Oh yeah, not heard of that, and at about 250 GBP that's also very reasonable. Might have to get me one of those! :D


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ecce_lex
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Aug 04, 2010 04:47 as a reply to  @ Adrena1in's post |  #6

Well my dear friends, it IS true.

The toy is brand new, on sale since this summer. It's called SYINGUIDER and goes for CHF 449.- (USD 430.-).

Here's my dealer's link to it for those who read french:

http://www.optiqueperr​et.ch/product.php?id_p​roduct=624 (external link)

And a nice review (in English), with pictures:

http://stargazersloung​e.com …nguider-review-parts.html (external link)

No idea if it's any good, but if it does the trick it's a nice alternative to abusing a laptop in moist, cold, dusty fields.

Am thinking of getting it, but I'll wait until I see how it behaves.


Schrodinger's cat walked into a bar - and didn't.
Gear: 60mm Takahashi, 200mm C8, 7Dmod, EQ6
Website: https://plus.google.co​m …873112797282158​324/albums (external link)

  
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Adrena1in
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Aug 04, 2010 05:38 |  #7

ecce_lex wrote in post #10659111 (external link)
Am thinking of getting it, but I'll wait until I see how it behaves.

Hah, that's funny...I just discovered the SynGuider too from Skywatcher, so have just ordered one...229 GBP. Thought I'd come on here and post some links, but you beat me to it.

I've got a SkyWatcher mount and a Celestron telescope, so I was a bit torn which to get, but the Synguider was in stock at a reputable retailer, (Ian King Imaging), but the Nexguide wasn't in stock at the only place I could find it. Plus a Skywatcher guider hooked up to a Skywatcher mount should, in my eyes, be a perfect match!!

Hopefully this'll give me a reason to get out soon and image some things...I'll give you a review of how easy it is to set up and how well it works. :)

Tim.


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ecce_lex
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Aug 04, 2010 06:55 as a reply to  @ Adrena1in's post |  #8

Well Tim,

Seems *you* beat me to it... I'm planning to hook it to the new go-to motors of the eq 3-2 (i think they call it the eq3pro) - my dealer says it should match.

I've seen 10 minute exposures with it (in the forum link posted above), pretty impressive. It's made to work with 80mm diameter guiding scopes with focal lengths between 400 and 1200mm - the ShortTube from Orion^will surely do the trick.

Have fun with it and do tell us what it's worth.


Schrodinger's cat walked into a bar - and didn't.
Gear: 60mm Takahashi, 200mm C8, 7Dmod, EQ6
Website: https://plus.google.co​m …873112797282158​324/albums (external link)

  
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ecce_lex
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Sep 27, 2010 06:56 |  #9

I've (finally) got my hands on the autoguidcam. It's all set up on the 80/400, new go-to motors have been installed, all mechanisms cleaned and greased...

Tim - can you give me any feedback on its performance? anything I should watch out for?

Thanks.

Photos and results as soon as the skies clear.


Schrodinger's cat walked into a bar - and didn't.
Gear: 60mm Takahashi, 200mm C8, 7Dmod, EQ6
Website: https://plus.google.co​m …873112797282158​324/albums (external link)

  
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Adrena1in
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Sep 28, 2010 02:11 |  #10

ecce_lex, my experience with the SkyWatcher SynGuider lasted a few hours. Nothing wrong with the camera, but the AutoGuide port on my mount wouldn't work. It was one I'd added myself, so not surprising really. Tried two cameras, both had the same effect of the mount turning all by itself, so sadly I sold the camera on...and the mount...and my C11. :(


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ecce_lex
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Sep 28, 2010 02:35 as a reply to  @ Adrena1in's post |  #11

Sounds like you're giving up astrophotography, huh. That's too bad - but just out of curiosity, how much was your setup worth? I am always under the imprtession that I spend *waaaay* too much on this.


Schrodinger's cat walked into a bar - and didn't.
Gear: 60mm Takahashi, 200mm C8, 7Dmod, EQ6
Website: https://plus.google.co​m …873112797282158​324/albums (external link)

  
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Adrena1in
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Sep 28, 2010 06:17 |  #12

Postponing it. I was 99.5% viewing only through my C11 anyway, as I got more enjoyment from it, rather than setting things up, trying for hours to take photos only to be disappointed.

My C11 was £900, the mount was £330, SynGuider £220, Guide Scope £60, camera £450 or so...quite a bit, considering I didn't take any worthy pictures, (though the mount and scope were great for viewing.) Now I've just got a £370 12" Dobsonian, and I'll hopefully be happy enough with that. (Until my next purchase!)

In all seriousness though, I think I will try AP one day in the future...just when I've got much darker skies and an observatory. I'll probably spend several thousand on a really good setup. That's the dream anyway.


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ecce_lex
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Sep 28, 2010 08:37 as a reply to  @ Adrena1in's post |  #13

I seriously doubt your photos are worthless. I've shot with a 350D on a refractor that is now my guidescope, on an eq1 with brilliant results. For me that is.

Any astrophoto is an achievement in my opinion. Light that travelled thousands of years to smash in your sensor and then make the shape of some galaxy - that's seriously cool, even if the mount is not properly alligned and that the colors are a bit off and there's noise, and coma, and so on.

i guess it's really personal.


Schrodinger's cat walked into a bar - and didn't.
Gear: 60mm Takahashi, 200mm C8, 7Dmod, EQ6
Website: https://plus.google.co​m …873112797282158​324/albums (external link)

  
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MintMark
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Sep 29, 2010 06:47 |  #14

Adrena1in wrote in post #10992499 (external link)
Postponing it. I was 99.5% viewing only through my C11 anyway, as I got more enjoyment from it, rather than setting things up, trying for hours to take photos only to be disappointed.

[...]

In all seriousness though, I think I will try AP one day in the future...just when I've got much darker skies and an observatory. I'll probably spend several thousand on a really good setup. That's the dream anyway.

Oh Tim, I was sad to read this... it was your words of encouragement that helped me get started last year and now it's a shame to see you disheartened :(

I know what you mean about the set up time, especially when it's cold and you're tired. I made my system quick to set up (mostly because I have to get up early for work, so no time for long sessions) but it still feels like a chore sometimes. Even when the equipment works well the hobby is governed by the weather and it's hard not to feel obliged to go out when it's clear.

Then when I am out I get frustrated because I can't photograph everything and it could be a month before the next chance and then it disappears for a year... I need to be happy to just take some of what there is.

Back on topic... I can't do autoguiding with my astrotrac. The synguider does look good and I did think about an EQ3-2 pro as a minimal autoguided setup. Wouldn't it be great if they could integrate a guide scope right into the mount head? Just like a finder stuck somewhere that you could adjust to find a guidestar... the camera could be built in and the guiding electronics would be in the mount... maybe you could use the handset to set things up...

Anyway don't give up Tim. You've still got your dream and one day I hope you make it happen. You can always get some big binoculars... I was quite surprised at how satisfying that can be... I even saw the dumbbell nebula though some 15x70s... didn't expect that!


Mark

  
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Autoguiding camera - no laptop needed
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