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Thread: Minimalist Astrophotography

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography



    I'm thinking of spending around £300-£400 possibly £500 for a telescope which i can use for astrophotography in the future. I want something that i can use for viewing while i learn all i can about astrophotography whilst saving money for next required equipment. Could anyone give me any good recommendations. I've been looking at the Celestron SLT, SE and the SkyWatcher SynScan AZ but can't make my mind up.

    Thank you.
    Paul

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    orion telescope on a 4SE mount.jpg

    An excellent telescope for minimalist astrophotography is either the Orion ST-80A Short Tube f/5 80mm refractor or the SkyWatcher Startravel-80 OTA Rich Field Refractor 80/400mm. Optically and mechanically they are the same telescope and are generically called 80mm short tube refractors. This telescope is also surprising for visual work showing beautiful widefield views. At f/5 this scope is very fast photography which is perfect for minimalist photography and its short exposure times as this greatly improves the signal to noise ratio of exposures.

    If you are buying all new equipment, Either telescope with either a SkyWatcher SynScan AZ GOTO or a Celestron SLT mount makes a very capable system; perhaps the preferred system. The ST-80 does have a couple of negative characteristics... chromatic aberration and field curvature. The telescope and an example of what it can do is found on this thread: ST-80A. M42 with a ST-80A

    Note: Orion has three versions of the short tube 80 mm refractor, the ST-80, ST-80T, and ST-80A. The ST-80 is the OTA only and cost $120. To use it you will need to buy tube rings, a finder scope, and a dovetail which will cost around $80. The ST-80T cost $180 and comes with a dovetail attached directly to the OTA that can not be moved and will cause the telescope to be in a weird position when placed on an azimuth mount. It also has an adequate finderscope and two plossl eyepieces. The ST-80A cost $200 and comes bundled with adjustable brackets, dovetail, an excellent oversize finder scope, and two wide field of view eyepieces. The ST-80A is the one to buy if you want the Orion.

    The SkyWatcher Startravel-80 OTA Rich Field Refractor 80/400mm comes with adjustable tube rings and an adequate finder scope. It cost $120 euros but does not come with a dovetail or eyepieces. A dove tail for it will be around 25 euros.

    Both the Orion and SkyWatcher telescope OTAs are identical except for the paint color. These telescopes are well made and very rugged .... Metal and glass. The draw tube of either one is threaded to fit into a DSLR's T-Ring; no T-Ring Adapter is needed. The only plastic is the dew shield, lens holder, and focuser knobs.

    Even with their field curvature and chromatic aberration, either of these two telescopes offer not only a very low cost capable telescope but perhaps the best option for minimalist astrophotography. Coupled with either the $300 SkyWatcher SynScan AZ or Celestron SLT GOTO mounts, it is a powerful photography system for $500 total. Add an entry level Canon DSLR if you don't already have a DSLR and you can be photographing for a little less than $1000.
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    ZEQ25 mount; SkyWatcher SynScan AZ
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  5. #43
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Thanks for all the information that is contained in this thread, I have found it to be most interesting and it will definetly help me move forward when I start imaging again. I am recovering from a minor stroke at the moment and can't wait to get started again. Thanks once again to all who have contributed to this thread.
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  6. #44
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Often the question is asked, can the Celestron 130SLT be used with a DSLR at prime focus. The answer is yes and no. Yes if you use a mirrorless DSLR type camera or modify the telescope. No if you don't.


    Modifying the scope involves moving the primary mirror. This can be done in a permanent arrangement or in a completely reversable manner that does no damage to the thelescope. Here is a link to a thread that discusses how to use the 130 at prime focus. Celestron 130mm Nexstar SLT
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  7. #45
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Sxinias.

    First, this is a an exemplary thread. Thank you for all of the time you give to it, and for both the scope and depth of information.

    Second, for afocal astrophotography using an Orion Steady Pix bracket and a deck of cards sized Casio that has manual controls, including up to 60 seconds exposure time, would my StarBlast 6 Dob work, that is for anything other than the moon? I also have both 70mm refractor and 90mm Mak.

    Thanks!
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  8. #46
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    I think that guiding will be a problem with your DOB for objects other than the moon and planets. That EXT-80 of yours may be a better way to go.

    Member "CamelHat" has done a lot of work photographing with DOBs. Hopefully he will respond to your posting.
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  10. #47
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by rainguy View Post
    Second, for afocal astrophotography using an Orion Steady Pix bracket and a deck of cards sized Casio that has manual controls, including up to 60 seconds exposure time, would my StarBlast 6 Dob work, that is for anything other than the moon?
    Your scope has a focal length of 750 mm which means that any exposure times longer than 2 seconds will result in star trails. This is based on my experience with a 1154 mm f length where a 30 sec exposure with no tracking shows streaks over 1/3 of the image. You need an accurately tracking equatorial platform for your Dob. The ones that have been shown to be good enough for AP will cost you the size of a beginner AP rig. Nice by the way that your Casio allows up to 60 seconds, I think my ELPH only goes up to 15. Anyway you can only use 2 seconds of them. By the way there is no substitute for trying. Seeing the results with your own eyes is the best way to learn.
    Last edited by CamelHat; 03-14-2013 at 08:29 PM. Reason: typos
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    On my fist night out with my Orion 130 ST (f/5, 600mm focal length), I tried to get a quick photo of the moon by holding my iPad up to the eyepiece. It turned out very overexposed, but I was able to just catch a few of the craters at the terminator line. While I don't plan on using this "setup" very often, is there a method to reduce the overexposure?

    562833_10151562413354328_1585577768_n.jpg

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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    You can't take astrophotos, certainly not of the Moon, using automatic exposure. The camera sees all that black sky and thinks it needs a long exposure. It doesn't realize that the subject is a rock in bright sunlight and needs a daylight exposure. You will have to either use manual settings, or else tell it to underexpose by several stops.
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    Default Re: Minimalist Astrophotography

    Yep....that makes perfect sense. Don't know why I didn't realize that before. Thanks!

 

 
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