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Thread: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

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    Default Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT



    Hello everyone, I purchased a Celestron 130 SLT not long ago, and I have been using my smartphone's camera with the telescope with an adapter that looks through the eyepieces.
    I would like to be able to capture some better images, so iv'e been considering in purchasing a used Canon Rebel T3i.
    However, I have multiple posts about a problem with getting a prime focus with this telescope.
    I have read some solutions like using a 2x barlow, or moving the mirror.
    Those two solutions don't sound like the best. Using a 2x barlow would not be good for DSOs, and the idea of moving the mirror worries me.
    Others have said that getting a low profile 2 inch T ring adapter should work.

    So what are your thoughts on this?
    Also I am aware that the mount is not ideal, I plan on getting a proper mount for this telescope in the future.

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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    All your potential concerns are real.

    It will not be able to focus at prime focus unless there is a removable section of the focuser tube. Some Newts have this, but most don't.

    A barlow is not good for DSOs, because it makes the focal length too long, and it cuts the focal ratio in half, which quadruples your exposure times.

    A low-profile T-adapter will not help. A low profile adapter is what you would use on a Newt that is designed for DSLRs (called an astrograph). It is the only type of adapter suitable for Newts. But it will not help if the focuser does not have enough inward travel. Its only advantage is that is won't make the problem worse.

    The mount is worse than "not ideal". You will be limited by field rotation to exposures of 30 seconds or less. Combine that with the need to increase your exposure times by 4x due to a barlow (likely the only way to focus), and you will be getting the equivalent of 7.5 second exposures.

    By all means do some tests to see what it will take to focus. If you test in daylight, remember that being able to focus on nearby objects does not tell you if it can focus at infinity.

    I think your best upgrade path would be a good equatorial mount and a new scope, maybe a fast refractor.
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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    The 130SLT will achieve focus with a Micro 4/3 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera if used with a low profile T-ring. For use with a Canon T3i, it is necessary to replace the focuser or move the main mirror forward. If you have a collimation tool (e.g. Cheshire eyepiece or collimation cap) and are comfortable using it to adjust the mirror support screws, then it is very easy to move the main mirror forward (a simple hardware change out). There is a thread on this forum that gives several options for the hardware necessary to do this. If interested, I can locate it for you.
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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Quote Originally Posted by ChillAlien View Post

    So what are your thoughts on this?
    I am aware that the mount is not ideal, I plan on getting a proper mount for this telescope in the future.
    Welcome to the forum!!

    When you get a proper mount for AP, get a proper scope for AP. You can do things to make things work (to a degree) with what you have (at some expense and likely MUCH frustration), but your best bet is to put those funds and effort into a proper set up if conventional imaging is your goal.
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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Thank you for the reply. I will experiment with the scope to see how I can make it work.
    I've looked up some other scopes and found an Orion 8 inch Astrograph which will work fine with a dslr. Now I will be looking up GoTo Eq mounts, any recommendations that aren't super expensive?

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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Quote Originally Posted by mstar74 View Post
    The 130SLT will achieve focus with a Micro 4/3 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera if used with a low profile T-ring. For use with a Canon T3i, it is necessary to replace the focuser or move the main mirror forward. If you have a collimation tool (e.g. Cheshire eyepiece or collimation cap) and are comfortable using it to adjust the mirror support screws, then it is very easy to move the main mirror forward (a simple hardware change out). There is a thread on this forum that gives several options for the hardware necessary to do this. If interested, I can locate it for you.
    I would like to see how, others have told me its nothing crazy to do, so I might give it a shot. If you do this, you cant visually look through the eyepieces, correct?
    Thanks for the reply.

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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Quote Originally Posted by ChillAlien View Post
    I've looked up some other scopes and found an Orion 8 inch Astrograph which will work fine with a dslr. Now I will be looking up GoTo Eq mounts, any recommendations that aren't super expensive?
    I have the Orion 8" astrograph. For a mount, you need something in the EQ6/CGEM range. Initially, I had mine on an HEQ5 (similar to AVX in capacity), and, while it worked, it was really pushing what the mount could handle. The mount is the most important piece of AP gear, more important than the scope, so don't scrimp. Buy a good used unit rather than a new one that won't do the job.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChillAlien View Post
    I would like to see how, others have told me its nothing crazy to do, so I might give it a shot. If you do this, you cant visually look through the eyepieces, correct?
    If you modify the scope to take a DSLR, you will need to add an extension tube in order to use eyepieces. Extension tubes are not a big deal. If you get the astrograph, it comes with an extension tube for that exact reason.
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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Quote Originally Posted by ChillAlien View Post
    I would like to see how, others have told me its nothing crazy to do, so I might give it a shot. If you do this, you cant visually look through the eyepieces, correct?
    Thanks for the reply.
    You may need to use an extension tube as Kathy pointed out.

    Here are some links that you may find helpful (or at least interesting):
    How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography
    My adventures with the Celestron 130 SLT.
    Some Astrophotography Modification to the 130slt

    It took me a while to get up the courage to modify my 130SLT. It turned out to be easier than I thought.
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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Quote Originally Posted by KathyNS View Post
    I have the Orion 8" astrograph. For a mount, you need something in the EQ6/CGEM range. Initially, I had mine on an HEQ5 (similar to AVX in capacity), and, while it worked, it was really pushing what the mount could handle. The mount is the most important piece of AP gear, more important than the scope, so don't scrimp. Buy a good used unit rather than a new one that won't do the job.



    If you modify the scope to take a DSLR, you will need to add an extension tube in order to use eyepieces. Extension tubes are not a big deal. If you get the astrograph, it comes with an extension tube for that exact reason.
    Moving the mirror doesn't look too bad. I plan on getting a camera first and see any way I can get it into focus. Then if I have to, i'll take some bigger steps with the mirror. Just want to take small steps first, this scope is under warranty and i'd like to keep it if I can lol.

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    Default Re: Using a DSLR with a Celestron 130 SLT

    Quote Originally Posted by ChillAlien View Post
    Moving the mirror doesn't look too bad. I plan on getting a camera first and see any way I can get it into focus. Then if I have to, i'll take some bigger steps with the mirror. Just want to take small steps first, this scope is under warranty and i'd like to keep it if I can lol.
    I would advise to move the mirror instead of trying a Barlow. You will have to do one or the other in order to get the DSLR to focus, but the Barlow causes lots of problems that makes it just about unusable on the alt/az mount. Just keep the original hardware and you can restore it to it's original condition for warranty purposes.
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