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  1. #1
    blaise's Avatar
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    Default Help me Pull the Trigger



    Hi guys:

    Because I plunged into amateur astronomy haphazardly, I have been giving great consideration in my efforts to purchase an appropriate astrophotography setup.

    I have settled on the Celestron CGEM for a mount based on reviews and input from Astronomics (and that I can't often view Polaris from my location-all star alignment is helpful in that regard).

    Where I am stuck is in my choice of OTA. Initially, I thought that the Astronomy Technologies imaging newt would be my choice. I have read great reviews for it. Recently, I have been considering the size. Of my two scopes, one is a Skywatcher 254N. From experience, I know it can be quite cumbersome. Considering that the AT is an imaging newt, it might present a similiar issue.

    As a secondary option, I am considering an Orion CF refractor :

    Orion ED80T CF Apochromatic Refractor Telescope | Orion Telescopes & Binoculars

    I am concerned about the apeture (even in AP-apeture is important). It also has a silghtly higher F/6.0 compared to the AT newt at F/4.0.

    Frankly, I have been against refractors because many of those that use them defend them with such fanaticism that they deny objectivity -that is to say they refuse to accept any other option other than a refractor. According to many refractor owners, there is no better scope. We know of course this is not true.

    So what I am hoping for is an objective, thought out response to help me decide. I know that with a refractor I will be in the realm of "rich field," but I will also be limiting myself to compositions that are all encompasing rather than a fine study of close ups. Is that assertion correct?

    Any suggestions and advise is greatly appeciated. I would like to be up and running within the next couple of months. Although there is no rush. If the past two months are any indication, weather will not permit me to conduct astrophotography for the rest of the summer anyhow.
    AT6RC, AT72ED, Orion ST80 (guide scope), Celestron 8, SW254N, Canon 450D, Meade DSI (guide cam), Celestron CGEM DX

  2. #2
    AustinPSD's Avatar
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    Default

    I've seen one of these in person, and visually observed through it - spectacular rich field scope, and very nicely crafted. I'm not able to ascertain who the OEM is, but it is as nice as my SV80ED, in fact nicer because of the carbon fiber. It can't be beaten, especially considering the price.

    I love my SV80ED, and in terms of a grab-and-go, or rich field AP instrument it gets a lot of use. The FOV combined with an appropriate camera gets great shots, and more closely approximates what a visual observer actually sees - I've won several photo contests using my 20D or 5D in combination with the SV80ED in prime-focus config. People can more closely relate to, and feel like they might achieve similar results using this kind of config than a large SCT, Newt or specialized AP set-up.

    With the CGEM, and your skill set it should deliver great satisfaction.

    My specific comments re. the ED80T CF:

    - nearly exquisite fit and finish on the CF OTA, no visible flaws, lay-up marks, or surface defects
    - no color fringing when looking at a 3/4 moon, Jupiter or Saturn
    - smooth focuser operation, precise fine adjustment, with the sweet spot being easy to find using a 26mm Plossl
    - nice contrast, even though it specs at f/6 - seemed like I was looking through a much larger aperture instrument
    CGEM 800 HD, NexGuide, Orion XT8 Limited Edition, Oberwerk BT-100, Canon 20D/20Da/T3i/60D/5D Mk III, various eyepieces, adapters, geegaws, widgets, and tiddlybits

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  4. #3
    blaise's Avatar
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    Default

    Austin:

    I always value your opinion. Thank you for the reply.

    I'll be using my Canon XSi at prime focus.

    Bottom line: the AT imaging newt or the Orion CF refractor? You have had good things to say about both, but I sense you prefer the refractor. If I were to order one tomorrow based on your recommendation, which would it be?

    Thanks : )
    AT6RC, AT72ED, Orion ST80 (guide scope), Celestron 8, SW254N, Canon 450D, Meade DSI (guide cam), Celestron CGEM DX

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    Without hesitation, the rich field scope - it is an incredibly versatile, satisfying tool to have in the kit for visual, AP and even guiding use.
    CGEM 800 HD, NexGuide, Orion XT8 Limited Edition, Oberwerk BT-100, Canon 20D/20Da/T3i/60D/5D Mk III, various eyepieces, adapters, geegaws, widgets, and tiddlybits

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  7. #5
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    Default

    Blaise,

    since you are going with the CGEM anyway, you might want to consider one of the EdgeHD package deals. I did the CGEM/EdgeHD800 combo and have been very happy with both the scope and the mount. Not only does the scope lend itself nicely to shooting with my FX sensor (very sharp all the way across the field of view), but someday when I'm ready for a change - I can go the Hyperstar route (http://starizona.com/acb/hyperstar/whatis.aspx). I use exactly the same guiding package you use (ST80/DSI IIc) and it works well. You can, of course, go larger (9.25 and 11") - but the 8" scope is nice for it's portability as well.

    John
    Celestron CGEM/EdgeHD 800/Meade 5000 80mm ED APO/ETX-105PE/
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  9. #6
    blaise's Avatar
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    Default

    John:

    Thanks for the information. I use an SCT 8 and would like to get away from it. I'm not a big fan of the f/10. I live in a very light polluted suburban setting. I think an f/6 would lend itself to shorter exposures. I have used an f/6.3 focal reducer on the SCT, but I have always been impressed by the ultra sharp views of a refractor. Even the cheap ST80 provides me with a much crisper view than the UHTC Meade 8. I know the Edge is a wonderful scope, but I like the idea of the portability of the small refractor as well.

    I am somewhat concerned about the apeture being so small (80mm), but I have seen images taken with an 80mm and I was really impressed.

    Also, the idea of not having to concern myself with collimation is a plus. I am yet to hear of someone collimating their refractor (although I am sure someone has).
    AT6RC, AT72ED, Orion ST80 (guide scope), Celestron 8, SW254N, Canon 450D, Meade DSI (guide cam), Celestron CGEM DX

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    Default

    I'd go for the 80mm triplet because you can use it for grab 'n go, guiding, and wide field AP. If fact, I'm going for one soon as well which will be used for all three purposes.

    Enrico
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    Default

    blaise--

    There is not much I can contribute. I have an AT8IN and went through a long research process, a lot of which is documented on this forum.

    What is not documented here is my drooling over the Orion EON 120mm f/7.5 ED Apo Refractor.

    Have you considered it?

    --Bill
    ps If you need any detailed pictures of the AT8IN, I would be glad to take them for you. I am not trying to influence your decision since I am too inexperienced to offer valid help.
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    Default

    Hi Blaise
    I have owned various scopes including refractors, SCTs and RCs. Currently I own a Takahashi BRC-250 (10" f5 RC) and a FSQ106ED (4" quadruplet APO refractor f5). The latter is my favourite scope and the better performer. So how can a 4" scope be better than a 10" scope you may ask?
    Refractors are generally considered better for imaging because they have better contrast as they don't have a central obstruction. They are also more robust and easier to maintain. The best choice for you would be a good quality APO of between 80 and 120mm aperture with an f ratio of between f5 and f7. A lot of people are using field flatteners/focal reducers so the f number shouldn't be a problem. This will give a nice wide field of view which is what you are after from what I gather in your post. Most deep sky objects such as nebula and a few galaxies and open star clusters are fairly big so to get them all in the same shot rules out most SCTs as their field of view is too small unless you are going to invest in a hyperstar system and do mosaics. Most of my imaging is done with the FSQ so I have to agree with the people who say that a refractor is best for imaging, from a quality point of view it is
    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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    Blaise, it's only money and you only live for a short time!! Enjoy life!!!
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