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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Astronomy & Celestial Talk 
Thread started 16 Aug 2018 (Thursday) 18:50
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Tacker advice

 
CaptBob
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Aug 21, 2018 21:48 |  #16

Celestron wrote in post #18689428 (external link)
YW , but would like to mention this . As mentioned you will be very limited to use with that 600mm . The majority of objects (DSOs') can be very well captured with your 70-200mm F/4L lens . I've used mine for a lot of my imaging of nebulaes but for objects like Globular Star Clusters which are my favorite I just attach my camera at Prime Focus my Celestron C8 (8") SCT . I manually guide cause I have a 97' scope and EQ5 mount with tracking motors . Not the best but back in 97' or todays time I don't have all the money in Texas , otherwise i'd have some of the best equip money can buy and i'm not college educated . I learned from friends on forums of astronomy only . Retiring from imaging now but still have the erge and interest to stay updated on things and love seeing DSO images that are produced everyday . One forum I visit regularly includes ppl from all over the world and some are top pros that all I do is read there comments but never get involved cause it's sometimes way over my head but interesting reads . https://stargazersloun​ge.com/ (external link) . If I really needed to and you were really deeply interested in getting into astro work and you were physically able and of any age concern i'd probably mention a mount of minimum cost $2500.00 and up and instead of your lens i'd suggest you get a good APO Refractor , a good CCD camera , laptop and editing software but to invest in all that I would be suggesting you spend approx. 8k-10k or more but if that turned out to not be your thing then you'd have to go through the process of selling all your equipment and maybe paying off any debts you accumulated . But that's the reason I don't go into deep detail on things cause it's a hobby to enjoy and share with others and personally I think unless you have a big bank roll as some i'd start out small and build up cause as I said if it's not really your thing and you wanted to get out it's a lot easier to get rid of less equip than high $$$ equipment . SO just sayin I agree make sure it's what you definitely want to get into before you start investing big $$$ . You'll be happier in the long run .

I don't have that kind of money. Good to know that reasonably good results can be had with more modest equipment. Going to do some more research. Can't thank you enough for your help


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Celestron
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Post edited 7 months ago by Celestron. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 21, 2018 22:35 |  #17

CaptBob wrote in post #18689853 (external link)
ok so this is more involved than I imagined. Still I'm excited about the journey. Will take your advice about cloudynights and continue to research before buying. Thanks again for the info

I think once you get your feet wet with a trial time you’ll find out it’s not really that big of a deal as it’s made to sound . That’s why i go simple . You already know how to use a computer and you edit fine images with birding so there’s not that much of a learning curve , just getting to know your equip mainly . Youtube has alot of videos of how to do astrophotography , how to use a scope and mount . You’d be surprised really how easy it is . Best thing to check out tho is dedicated astronomy forums like cloudy nights and the one i mentioned earlier called stargazers lounge . Since you do birding alot I’m sure you know Nighthound here on this forum , name is Steve . He started in a forum yrs ago with me and a good group of guys but that forum closed since then due to financial reasons but since it did me and Steve got the astro section here at POTN started several years ago along with a few others that were in astronomy . But Steve does alot of birding images and uses a 500mm lens but he has a nice astro rig and uses it well but now is more into birding . But look him up and ask him about astro hobby and if he has used his lens for astro work . He has a different mount than mentioned here which is a Losmandy GM mount which is also an excellent mount . But I’m sure he can give good advice and info of equip parts needed to use any of your lens . Good luck !




  
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Celestron
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Aug 21, 2018 22:57 |  #18

CaptBob wrote in post #18689856 (external link)
I don't have that kind of money. Good to know that reasonably good results can be had with more modest equipment. Going to do some more research. Can't thank you enough for your help

You know what you should do for a while is just try some tripod shots at night . That might help you decide better . Watch this video , short but good info . You already have the equipment , give this a try .

https://m.youtube.com/​watch?v=_kC1nKlIPU0 (external link)




  
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CaptBob
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Aug 22, 2018 13:19 |  #19

Celestron wrote in post #18689880 (external link)
I think once you get your feet wet with a trial time you’ll find out it’s not really that big of a deal as it’s made to sound . That’s why i go simple . You already know how to use a computer and you edit fine images with birding so there’s not that much of a learning curve , just getting to know your equip mainly . Youtube has alot of videos of how to do astrophotography , how to use a scope and mount . You’d be surprised really how easy it is . Best thing to check out tho is dedicated astronomy forums like cloudy nights and the one i mentioned earlier called stargazers lounge . Since you do birding alot I’m sure you know Nighthound here on this forum , name is Steve . He started in a forum yrs ago with me and a good group of guys but that forum closed since then due to financial reasons but since it did me and Steve got the astro section here at POTN started several years ago along with a few others that were in astronomy . But Steve does alot of birding images and uses a 500mm lens but he has a nice astro rig and uses it well but now is more into birding . But look him up and ask him about astro hobby and if he has used his lens for astro work . He has a different mount than mentioned here which is a Losmandy GM mount which is also an excellent mount . But I’m sure he can give good advice and info of equip parts needed to use any of your lens . Good luck !


Celestron wrote in post #18689898 (external link)
You know what you should do for a while is just try some tripod shots at night . That might help you decide better . Watch this video , short but good info . You already have the equipment , give this a try .

https://m.youtube.com/​watch?v=_kC1nKlIPU0 (external link)

I will indeed do that in fact I have gotten some ok moon shots but that was easy. I tried to capture meteors a couple of times but had no luck. I really don't need another hobby but I can't help myself. Thank you again for your help


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Celestron
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Aug 22, 2018 14:38 |  #20

CaptBob wrote in post #18690300 (external link)
I will indeed do that in fact I have gotten some ok moon shots but that was easy. I tried to capture meteors a couple of times but had no luck. I really don't need another hobby but I can't help myself. Thank you again for your help

Overtime as I got older and not so good healthwise I knew my night time astro work would come to an end so instead of investing into more equip I just started doing some daytime shots and birding some with what I could do with my equip . I'm limited cause of the area I live in and bird choices . W.Texas is hot and dry and not good for a lot of birds i'd like to image . Grackles nearly took over for several yrs around here but they are a bird that destroys nest and eggs of other birds and they are so nasty that even cats around wont eat one . That's pretty bad !

However also I started dealing with lots' of night LP (Light Pollution) which all astro work hates cause it destroys good images . But the growing need of software for editing and needing new equipment for astro updates just got too bearing so I called it quits and decided to retire from imaging but also not wanting that loss of sleep until wee hours of the morning since I still work but only have a couple yrs til retirement and just lugging out equip every night and turn around and bring it all back in cause here sand blows a lot and no matter what housing you have for outside use sand is going to get to it so I kept all my equip inside and i'm proud to say it's all clean ! Old but clean !

But as I mentioned earlier I still have the erge to view at times which I love doing more than imaging anyway but not so much now cause of health . But one thing I really enjoy is when at times I may go to the lake for a weekend or down to Ft.Davis State Park and I take a pair of 15x70 Celestron binocs I have and just view from those . Binocs give a lot of pleasure and are easy to handle , however mine I mount on my camera tripod and that makes it easy to move around and keeps shaking down to a minimum and oh you should see the Andromeda Galaxie M31 in those babies ! Thrilling ! But also 13 miles down the road is McDonalds Observatory and every weekend they have star parties if not clouded over but amateurs from all over bring their scopes and setup and let the public view through them and that is fantastic !!

That's something you should do also is find a local astronomy club and ask them to let you join in for a night and you can really check out views , equip , how they set up and do things like imaging . You can learn a lot with that ! But if you don't have binocs get some ! They are worth it ! Well what ever you finally decide keep me updated cause I always like seeing ppl get involved in astro viewing and work and most of all enjoy the heck out of it ! It's truly a lot of fun ! Fun is the key word , when a hobby starts being like work the fun parts dies down then the hobby looses interest .

That's why I say , stay simple before you get deep and don't let those big $$$ that gets' mentioned scare you cause just because some are invested for a lifetime doesn't mean you will want to and you can go simple and cheaper and still enjoy without having to have the best of any equipment to do so . Believe me , your pocket book can only handle so much and if you don't think smart you'll end up where you didn't need to be to start with ! Good luck ! And Clear Skies !




  
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CaptBob
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Aug 22, 2018 14:55 |  #21

Celestron wrote in post #18690355 (external link)
Overtime as I got older and not so good healthwise I knew my night time astro work would come to an end so instead of investing into more equip I just started doing some daytime shots and birding some with what I could do with my equip . I'm limited cause of the area I live in and bird choices . W.Texas is hot and dry and not good for a lot of birds i'd like to image . Grackles nearly took over for several yrs around here but they are a bird that destroys nest and eggs of other birds and they are so nasty that even cats around wont eat one . That's pretty bad !

However also I started dealing with lots' of night LP (Light Pollution) which all astro work hates cause it destroys good images . But the growing need of software for editing and needing new equipment for astro updates just got too bearing so I called it quits and decided to retire from imaging but also not wanting that loss of sleep until wee hours of the morning since I still work but only have a couple yrs til retirement and just lugging out equip every night and turn around and bring it all back in cause here sand blows a lot and no matter what housing you have for outside use sand is going to get to it so I kept all my equip inside and i'm proud to say it's all clean ! Old but clean !

But as I mentioned earlier I still have the erge to view at times which I love doing more than imaging anyway but not so much now cause of health . But one thing I really enjoy is when at times I may go to the lake for a weekend or down to Ft.Davis State Park and I take a pair of 15x70 Celestron binocs I have and just view from those . Binocs give a lot of pleasure and are easy to handle , however mine I mount on my camera tripod and that makes it easy to move around and keeps shaking down to a minimum and oh you should see the Andromeda Galaxie M31 in those babies ! Thrilling ! But also 13 miles down the road is McDonalds Observatory and every weekend they have star parties if not clouded over but amateurs from all over bring their scopes and setup and let the public view through them and that is fantastic !!

That's something you should do also is find a local astronomy club and ask them to let you join in for a night and you can really check out views , equip , how they set up and do things like imaging . You can learn a lot with that ! But if you don't have binocs get some ! They are worth it ! Well what ever you finally decide keep me updated cause I always like seeing ppl get involved in astro viewing and work and most of all enjoy the heck out of it ! It's truly a lot of fun ! Fun is the key word , when a hobby starts being like work the fun parts dies down then the hobby looses interest .

That's why I say , stay simple before you get deep and don't let those big $$$ that gets' mentioned scare you cause just because some are invested for a lifetime doesn't mean you will want to and you can go simple and cheaper and still enjoy without having to have the best of any equipment to do so . Believe me , your pocket book can only handle so much and if you don't think smart you'll end up where you didn't need to be to start with ! Good luck ! And Clear Skies !

I'm so glad you took time to mentor me. It will be weeks before I pull the trigger. I will definitely check out the local gatherings- great advice. We have plenty of birds down here....... If you ever get here let me know- I'll show you around


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TCampbell
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Sep 17, 2018 13:05 |  #22

I realize I'm late to the thread...

An equatorial telescope mount certainly is going to be beefier and provide a more stable platform... but of course it is also bulkier. But I agree with the comments that the 600mm lens, combined with your camera weight, is going to be a bit much for a tracking head.

I did a trip out to Hawaii and a friend of mine is in the Haleakala astronomy club on Maui and they use an observing site on top of the mountain in the non-public area. I was invited to join him ... but bringing a telescope mount along wasn't going to be easy. So instead I opted for a tracking head and a good photo tripod (much more travel-friendly).

I used a Losmandy StarLapse ... which is basically the right-ascension drive from a Losmandy GM8 mount. It is arguably the best tracker out there... but no longer made due to the price tag (Losmandy is a machine shop so everything is high-precision machining ... not mass-produced. But when iOptron and Sky Watcher got into the mass production of trackers, it wasn't really possible for Losmandy to compete on price.) But the StarLapse handles a 30 lb payload (vastly beyond anything possibly with the other trackers on the market.)

If you need something travel-friendly, you'd could get either:

1) Sky Watcher "Star Adventurer" (not the "mini" version) but you would need the Dec Bracket, Counterweight kit, and Latitude base. (note that the "astro kit" version of the Star Adventurer includes the Dec Bracket. The "photo kit" version does not but you can still add the Dec bracket as an accessory).

2) iOptron "Sky Guider Pro" but you really would need the "full package" version (which includes the latitude base, the dec bracket, and the counterweight kit.)

The main reason is you NEED a counterweight kit to deal with heavier lenses in that 200-400mm range (I don't think I'd try to load it with a 600mm lens... that's probably beyond it's capacity). The counterweight lets you balance the camera+lens weight with the counterweight to create a neutral balance for the right-ascension motor (so it isn't struggling) and it also helps with tripod flexure (since the weight is balanced ... it doesn't "shift" the center of mass over the tripod as it tracks.)

I used to own a Celestron CG-5 ... Celestron replaced that with the Advanced VX (aka "AVX") mount. I do not own one of these -- nor have I used one. Some people (e.g. reports on CloudyNights) report that it suffers from "stiction" problems. Others report that their mounts are smooth. (I somewhat suspect this has to do with how much load is on the mount.)

But generally speaking... the more you spend on the mount, the better it is.




  
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CaptBob
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Sep 22, 2018 14:03 |  #23

TCampbell wrote in post #18709902 (external link)
I realize I'm late to the thread...

An equatorial telescope mount certainly is going to be beefier and provide a more stable platform... but of course it is also bulkier. But I agree with the comments that the 600mm lens, combined with your camera weight, is going to be a bit much for a tracking head.

I did a trip out to Hawaii and a friend of mine is in the Haleakala astronomy club on Maui and they use an observing site on top of the mountain in the non-public area. I was invited to join him ... but bringing a telescope mount along wasn't going to be easy. So instead I opted for a tracking head and a good photo tripod (much more travel-friendly).

I used a Losmandy StarLapse ... which is basically the right-ascension drive from a Losmandy GM8 mount. It is arguably the best tracker out there... but no longer made due to the price tag (Losmandy is a machine shop so everything is high-precision machining ... not mass-produced. But when iOptron and Sky Watcher got into the mass production of trackers, it wasn't really possible for Losmandy to compete on price.) But the StarLapse handles a 30 lb payload (vastly beyond anything possibly with the other trackers on the market.)

If you need something travel-friendly, you'd could get either:

1) Sky Watcher "Star Adventurer" (not the "mini" version) but you would need the Dec Bracket, Counterweight kit, and Latitude base. (note that the "astro kit" version of the Star Adventurer includes the Dec Bracket. The "photo kit" version does not but you can still add the Dec bracket as an accessory).

2) iOptron "Sky Guider Pro" but you really would need the "full package" version (which includes the latitude base, the dec bracket, and the counterweight kit.)

The main reason is you NEED a counterweight kit to deal with heavier lenses in that 200-400mm range (I don't think I'd try to load it with a 600mm lens... that's probably beyond it's capacity). The counterweight lets you balance the camera+lens weight with the counterweight to create a neutral balance for the right-ascension motor (so it isn't struggling) and it also helps with tripod flexure (since the weight is balanced ... it doesn't "shift" the center of mass over the tripod as it tracks.)

I used to own a Celestron CG-5 ... Celestron replaced that with the Advanced VX (aka "AVX") mount. I do not own one of these -- nor have I used one. Some people (e.g. reports on CloudyNights) report that it suffers from "stiction" problems. Others report that their mounts are smooth. (I somewhat suspect this has to do with how much load is on the mount.)

But generally speaking... the more you spend on the mount, the better it is.

thanks for the info.......I'm still on the fence


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Nov 30, 2018 22:20 |  #24

HOLY THREAD REVIVAL!!! I read through this thread and I want to thank all you cream of the crop posters!! I have been thinking about getting into astro photography. I started to realize the amount of time you guys invest in your images. WOW!!! Amazing. I am/was? in the same boat thinking I would mount a big prime on a skywatcher eq6. After reading Mals post about the rest of the gear required, i would still like to get into it. My biggest deciding factor will be if i can do it in my backyard. Also, would any used 80mm APO do the trick? Thanks everyone.


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