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Thread: Minimalist Astrophotography

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography



    Here is photo i took with my iphone using a Celestron 127SLT, only using the default eye piece.

    moon2.JPG
    This is great, but what i want to do is take photos of much more deep space objects. Can someone recommend what i need to buy in terms of eye piece for greater magnification and also attatchments for using either an Iphone or a camera ... i suspect an iphone wouldnt be any use for objects further away as you would need greater exposure, so a recommendation of a non-expensive camera that the SLT stand can support would be great.

    Thanks for all the advice so far,
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Wow! I just came across this interesting topic. I'm going to have to back up and start reading. Great stuff.
    Bill

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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by Belal View Post
    Here is photo i took with my iphone using a Celestron 127SLT, only using the default eye piece.

    moon2.JPG
    This is great, but what i want to do is take photos of much more deep space objects. Can someone recommend what i need to buy in terms of eye piece for greater magnification and also attatchments for using either an Iphone or a camera ... i suspect an iphone wouldnt be any use for objects further away as you would need greater exposure, so a recommendation of a non-expensive camera that the SLT stand can support would be great.

    Thanks for all the advice so far,
    Photographing deep space objects takes astrophotography to a different level than snapping shots of the moon and planets with a point and shoot camera or cell phone camera. For deep space a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is needed. The Canon EOS Rebel XS also known as the Canon EOS 1000D is a good starting camera and used ones can be found for reasonable prices. Its upgrade, the 1100D or T3 is slightly more capable.

    Your 127 SLT will do for deep space. The SLT mount is excellent but the tripod has some issues. To use the tripod for photography, tighten up all the hex bolts used to attach the tripod leg sockets to the tripod head, lower the center tray about 3 to 4 inches (this will slightly decrease the foot print thus stability of the mount and tripod but gets rid of a resonance in the tripod legs), inject superglue between the tripod leg sockets and the upper tripod legs being careful not to get super glue on any moving parts. Finally do not extend the extension legs for sessions when you will be photographing objects. Yes, we're talking down on hands and knees here.

    The 127SLT is a f/12 MAK. This means that it will be very slow for photography... low signal to noise ratio. You can photograph deep space objects with the telescope, but using a 0.63 forcal reducer to lower its focal ratio to f/7.5 will greatly improve the results that you can obtain. Photographic accessories for MAKs tend to be pricey. A cheaper alternative is to get an adapter that lets you use accessories designed for SCTs on your MAK. To do this you need to get an adapter that changes the rear threads of a MAK to the standard rear threads used by SCTs. Baader and Meade both have the adapter (see accessories for the ETX 125 or Baader part no. 2958500. This will let you use the Celestron 0.63 SCT focal reducer as well as the Celestron SCT t ring adapter.

    For photographing deep space, the image size produced by the 127SLT does not need increasing, it is more than big enough and too large for some objects. Another attribute of using a focal reducer is that is reduces image size which is desirable for many deep space objects.

    The SLT mount is an azimuth mount. Here is a link to a thread that discusses using azimuth mounts for photography: Astrophotography with Azimuth Mounts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belal View Post
    ... i suspect an iphone wouldnt be any use for objects further away as you would need greater exposure...
    I find myself pondering this point after having some successful iPhone astrophotography shots. Doing some research, there are photo apps that allow you to take long duration exposures. I wonder if they will work.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Great stuff my man.i hope too get into ap down the line so i will bookmark this page.thanks.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Hi guys
    so i might have found something intresting for anyone using a phone to test with,did a writeup of my testing so far here
    Long exposrue with android finaly

    basicly an app that gives you dslr functionality. would love to see some more results and feedback if it actualy works on clusters
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Time marches on and technology advances.

    The recent introduction of the iOptron SmartEQ PRO on the market adds a new factor to consider. This small, lightweight, German equatorial mount is very capable for unguided short exposure work and is also capable of long exposure work if a self guider is used. Add a low-cost, short-tube refractor and you have a very portable and capable astrophotography kit for under $700 that is an order of magnitude more capabilities than a $500 minimalist kit ....... definitelty worth the additional $200.

    At this time, I would say that if you already have a Celestron SLT, SE, or SkyWatcher SynScan AZ goto telescope, you can easily use it to photograph the brighter deep space objects such as on the Messier or Caldwell lists. You may need to spend around $200 for a short tube refractor if you can not achieve focus or if you want something faster than a CAT. HOWEVER If you do not have a Celestron SLT, SE, or SkyWatcher SynScan AZ goto telescope, buying one or buying the mount for astrophotography is not economically or technically justifiable given superiority and the low cost differential of the new iOptron SmartEQ PRO mount. This is even more true for the SE series telescopes or mounts.

    The iOptron SmartEQ mount has little effect on the people skilled at finding objects in the night sky who are using barn door trackers or motorized equatorial mounts. These mounts remain the champs of minimalist photography.
    Last edited by sxinias; 12-11-2012 at 01:25 AM.
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  9. #38
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by sxinias View Post
    Time marches on and technology advances.
    The iOptron SmartEQ mount has little effect on the people skilled at finding objects in the night sky who are using barn door trackers or motorized equatorial mounts. These mounts remain the champs of minimalist photography.
    Actually there are very few successful astro pics taken with Dobs on EQ platforms. I have asked about this in a thread on the Yahoo EQ platforms group. Among the platforms that are suitable for AP were Tom Osypowski's platforms. This is true, judging from some astro image links off his website, but those mounts are relatively expensive for the small Dobs that most of us have. There was one individual who designed a dual platform that was guided, and that one was good too. The rest, not so good at all for AP, just for visual usage. Cutting circle or elllipse sections with a jigsaw accurate enough for AP is difficult. The best chance is to use a jig but very few people actually do that. So, Dobs on EQ platforms are generally not suitable for AP unless they are dual drive guided platforms such as Tom O's. In fact because of this the odds are better for a barndoor box type of drive like the one I made because a hinge is simpler and more robust. I plan on adding dual drive capability to my barndoor box and add a guider. It may take a while. I believe that guiding is capable of eliminating construction imperfections quite a bit.
    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by Belal View Post
    Here is photo i took with my iphone using a Celestron 127SLT, only using the default eye piece.

    moon2.JPG
    This is great, but what i want to do is take photos of much more deep space objects. Can someone recommend what i need to buy in terms of eye piece for greater magnification and also attatchments for using either an Iphone or a camera ... i suspect an iphone wouldnt be any use for objects further away as you would need greater exposure, so a recommendation of a non-expensive camera that the SLT stand can support would be great.

    Thanks for all the advice so far,
    This a very interesting thread, with exactly what I'm looking for, subscribed.
    That iphone snap of the moon is real good.

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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    I attached the build instructions for the barndoor box equatorial platform. It can be used for Dobsonians, is easy to build and can provide tracking that is good enough for modest astrophotography. It is built from cheap scrap material and is controlled by an Arduino and stepper motor that cost about $50 together. The software is also included.

    This is true shoestring budget work that is very rewarding if you are handy and like to build stuff. If you just want things to work perfectly all the time or if you demand perfection then this is not for you.

    I spent $460 total: A 2nd hand 10" Dob for $100, a new Venture RX-7 4.5" for $100, 2 Arduinos and 2 stepper motors $90 total, a used Rebel XT body for $170. I built two equatorial barndoor platforms with the Arduinos and stepper motors: a big one for the telescopes, and a small one for my camera. It lets me do astrophotography with both scopes using the Rebel XT at prime focus, and wide field with my regular daytime SX40 camera.

    I am having a blast doing all that for very little money. For me it is about the satisfaction of building a shoestring astrophotography rig very simply from almost all scrap materials. One day I will get a professional rig. I am not in a hurry and am learning along the way. You can spend as much money as you like and have fun one way or another regardless of how much you spend on it.


    Enjoy and let me know if this is useful, let me know if you have questions,

    Henk

    barndoorBox - Part 1.docx
    barndoorBox - Part 2.docx
    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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