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  1. #1
    Krisen's Avatar
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    Default Potential astrophotography setup



    Hi everyone,

    I've been browsing the forums for a while now, and decided to sign up. Anyway, I'm trying to gather up some equipment to try my hand at some astrophotography. I have a 5.1" newtonian (f/6 or higher if I remember), but I know that will not be suitable for wide field photos.

    I think I'm set on the HEQ-5 pro mount, but I need to get suggestions on a decent refractor. I'm leaning towards a William Optics product due to their high build quality and reputation, but I can't narrow it down due to their big selection!

    88mm FD APO
    ZenithStar 80mm II ED APO
    ZenithStar 66 SD (2" diagonal)
    ZenithStar 66 SD (1.25" diagonal)

    The 66 SD's are cheaper, and I have seen very good results with them. What exactly is the advantage of the 2" diagonal (which is more expensive)? Will it matter for prime focus astrophotography? Also... FD, ED, SD - what's the difference?

    Any help/suggestions are appreciated!

  2. #2
    Ian Robinson from Down Under's Avatar
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    Yes , you can use the 5.1 Newt but the images will not be widefield even at prime focus (you'll need to move the mirror up a tad to achieve focus or buy a low profile focusor.

    Apos are nice , but I think you might be better off getting a nice telephoto or two or a retiring the old 5.1" and splashing out in an 8" or 10" about f4.5 and acquiring a MFCC from Baader and maybe a autoguider + cheap 80mm guidescope (you can manually guide if you get hold of a illuminated eyepiece too). You'll penetrate deeper with the newt than a 80 or 66mm apo.

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  4. #3
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    Hi Krisen,

    Welcome to Astronomy Forum.

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    Thanks Ian and Krisen welcome to the site
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Howdy again Ian ... and Howdy and Welcome Krisen ... nice to have y'all here at AF.net ...

    Krisen ... let us know what you decide on ... and tell us how it works out, or how it doesn't ... but lets hope for the best ... lol ...

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    Hi krisen and ian ...From what i have read , with a 2in you can run a bigger camera , or chip size can be bigger .. At least thats what i have read .
    16in Night sky
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    Doesn't really come down to the size of flat field and extent of vignetting due to the draw tube ?

    I'm not convinced apos under 100mm diam are value for money (especially top brand name jobs like Wiliam , Taks , Tele Vue and the like. Just not enough aperture to go really deep and visually and they don't have the resolving and light gathering power , ot enough bang for the $ in my opinion.
    And Apos in the 127mm and 150mm and bigger size classes are way out out my affordability range and are DINK , DINFK and rich cashed up superannuant's toys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Robinson from Down Under View Post
    Doesn't really come down to the size of flat field and extent of vignetting due to the draw tube ?

    I'm not convinced apos under 100mm diam are value for money (especially top brand name jobs like Wiliam , Taks , Tele Vue and the like. Just not enough aperture to go really deep and visually and they don't have the resolving and light gathering power , ot enough bang for the $ in my opinion.
    And Apos in the 127mm and 150mm and bigger size classes are way out out my affordability range and are DINK , DINFK and rich cashed up superannuant's toys.
    I am not familiar with the last acronym in your ending sentence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Robinson from Down Under View Post
    I'm not convinced apos under 100mm diam are value for money (especially top brand name jobs like Wiliam , Taks , Tele Vue and the like. Just not enough aperture to go really deep and visually and they don't have the resolving and light gathering power , ot enough bang for the $ in my opinion.
    And Apos in the 127mm and 150mm and bigger size classes are way out out my affordability range and are DINK , DINFK and rich cashed up superannuant's toys.
    There's some top notch astro imagers who'd disagree with your comments there. 4" APO refractors can be very effective, and image quite deep, if used correctly. Sure, a larger Newtonian will gather light quicker, but we're not talking about time here, we're discussing if the 4" apo refractor system can *do it*. I'll argue that it can.

    Sure, the larger refractors are very expensive, but they cost so much because they are expensive to manufacture. Whether we like it or not. Some people just have filthy amounts of money (Rob Gendler and his 20" RCOS, you jammy b*stard as Vivien from the young ones would say).

    I'll be happily proving you wrong in six months time when I have a CCD camera and have some hands on experience with astro imaging!!!

    Dave

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    Hi all
    With reference to ideal scopes for imaging, for a scope to start out with I would always recommend a short focus refractor such as a WO 66 or 72 which both have a relatively fast focal ratio of approx f6, they also have quite a wide field of view which is quite important as most of the DSO's are very big so require a large field of view to get them in the shot.
    With observation aperture is king but with photography focal ratio is king as it is this that will govern your exposure time and how deep you can go. As you increase the aperture with imaging you increase the detail that the system can resolve ie the detail will ultimately be better but this is dependant on sky conditions, for example in the UK it really is a waste of money to have imaging systems with apertures larger than 10-12" because the seeing conditions are never good enough to utilise the full potential of larger aperture systems. If you look at all the wonderful images taken by the likes of Robert Gendler, Adam Block, etc with their 20" RC scopes you will notice that they are mostly using remote controlled systems at over 7,000 feet altitude where there is no light pollution and very good seeing conditions.
    These systems are also very critical on tracking accuracy which is another advantage of having a widefield imaging system with one of the above mentioned WO scopes in that tracking accuracy is less critical.
    Some really cracking images are taken with scopes of 75mm and less in aperture (check what Nik Szymanek does with his Pentax 75mm). If you have a WO 72mm f6 and then add the focal reducer/flattener you now have a system that is about f4.8 and very wide field, this will give quite amazing results.
    Another option is a 5 or 6 inch f5 or f6 newtonian which will have a smaller field of view but it still has a fast f ratio which means relatively short exposure times, the main disadvantage of this is that the OTA is light weight and prone to vibration and may be unstable in wind
    Hope this helps
    Best wishes
    Gordon
    Currently using a Tele Vue NP127/FLI (Atlas/Centreline/PL16803) prototype imaging system. Paramount ME. OS Falco guide scope and SX lodestar.

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