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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Astronomy & Celestial Talk 
Thread started 08 Jan 2011 (Saturday) 04:37
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CELESTRON ULTIMA 2000

 
mangrovedutch
Senior Member
522 posts
Joined Mar 2010
Location: S.E. Qld, Australia
     
Jan 08, 2011 04:37 |  #1

G'day, Can anybody tell me the Celestron Ultima 2000 8" telescope is any good for astrophotography. It comes with a wedge, and the guy who is selling it says that it is great for photography. Naturally he would say that to secure a sale :rolleyes:, but I did a fair bit of research today and the only thing I can find is that it is over 10 years old, and is one of the first computer controlled scopes released on the market.
If anyone has had or still has one of these, can you upgrade it, should I look at dumping the wedge and look for an Equatorial mount or should I save the $1000 and put it towards a more recent model on the market.

Thanks for any input and advice.

Regards, Dutch




  
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SteveInNZ
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1,415 posts
Likes: 49
Joined Nov 2007
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
     
Jan 09, 2011 01:26 |  #2

I have a Meade 8" SCT which I used in the fork mount with a wedge for a couple of years and now have it on a CG5-GT. If deepsky photography is the driving force, I think that an equatorial mount and an APO refractor (eg ED 80mm)would be a better option. The SCT would be better visually and for moon/planets, but there is a higher potential frustration level using it for photography. Nothing that can't be overcome, but the refractor will be easier to start with and if you have a look through here, is probably the greatest producer of stunning images when mixed with a bit of experience.


"Treat every photon with respect" - David Malin.

  
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nebula_42
Member
183 posts
Joined Jan 2005
Location: San Diego
     
Jan 22, 2011 19:20 |  #3

Agree with SteveInNZ about SCT's for photography. I have a 12" SCT which can be frustrating to use for photography. Other things being equal, the fork-on-wedge mount is just not as good as GEM style mounts for photography. But the catch is in the "other things being equal". Comparing a 3000mm f/10 SCT to a 800mm f/6 refractor on a GEM is not apples to apples. They're quite different animals. The SCT can really outperform the smaller scope in terms of magnification and resolution. It allows shots of planets and small faint deep sky objects like galaxies. However, the long focal lengths' demand for tracking accuracy is unforgiving. The mount and tracking must be excellent (read heavy and expensive). A smaller refractor on a GEM mount is much more a wide-field instrument. It can't provide the magnification required to image small galaxies nor planets as well. For wider field shots of large deep sky objects, however, it's shorter focal length makes it much easier to get good results with less accurate tracking and a smaller mount. The SCT's are slower photographically too, usually f/10. However you can get a f/6.3 focal reducer lens to insert in the optic train. Smaller refractors usually are about f/7 or so, reducing exposure time and demands on tracking. It's sort of like the difference between a slow super-telephoto and a faster medium telephoto lens.


San Diego, CA

all the usual stuff :)

  
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Nighthound
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Jan 22, 2011 20:37 |  #4

Hey Dutch, I think you already picked up another scope but here's my thoughts on this subject and maybe it'll help others with a similar question. I've had 3 SCTs. One on a fork mount and two on a german Equatorial mount. By far the optical tubes on the GEM was the better set up for photo work. However as nebula_42 pointed out the focal lengths will require a lot of attention and not just in alignment. The mount will have to perform very well and be up to the weight since the larger SCT tubes are generally heavy. More weight means that the mount will have to be beefy enough to handle it and extra attention will be needed in balance of the entire load. In short you'll be working "the bugs" out for a while unless you plan to spend upwards of $5,000-$10,000 USD on a mount like one of the Takahashi GEMs. Even the big gun mounts have learning curves, the TAK line are no doubt highly accurate but that comes with a price as would be expected.

I would love to have a nice SCT in my arsenal for galaxy work but I wouldn't want that to be my only telescope if imaging was a priority, especially starting out. I spent way too much time wrestling with my mount when I started with my SCTs and successes were slow coming. I learned a lot in the struggle but I honestly could have done with less. Waiting for the closed-tube design to "cool down" each night was another pain I don't miss.

I've yet to have spent a night imaging with my refractor that wasn't a pleasure. My mount is more than enough to handle the Sky 90 but the two get along very well and that translates into more fun and less struggle. I know when I get home after an entire night out that I have usable data and I didn't have to curse at all. :-)

Think 400-600mm in the form of a good quality refractor on a GEM that's up to the task. Believe me it'll be more enjoyable and it'll keep you happy for a good long while. I've done the buy and sell thing a lot and I know how it is to be anxious about getting started but in the end saving up for the right tools is well worth the wait and a lot less stressful.


Steve
Canon Gear: 1D Mark IV | 1D Mark II | 5D | 20D | 500L IS (f/4) | 100-400L
SteveEllwoodPhotograph​y.com (external link)

  
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upstairsdave
Hatchling
5 posts
Joined Oct 2013
     
Sep 09, 2017 21:50 |  #5

Hi Dutch,I have a wedge for my Ultima 2000. I want to add a Wedge Upgrade kit item 93662, Unfortunately there are none left on this planet. Do you have one. I'm in the process of fabricating one but not sure of the dimensions of the actual unit. I'm working off pictures. If you have the wedge upgrade kit, I'd really like to hear about it.Thanks Dave




  
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