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Advice on next steps beyond unmodded DSLR and Star Adventurer mount

30 Jun, 2020 14:01
Hi Brian. You have done your research well. I have owned most equipment in your options list (albeit slightly different sizes of some). The Esprit 100 with it’s supplied flattener sounds like a very versatile and enjoyable option to me. I have owned the Esprit 120 for 2 1/2 years and enjoyed flat fields across full frame sensors (ASI094mc and Nikon D750).  Not sure if the 100 has the same large focuser …. but I expect you’re across the details.

The ASI1600mm is also a lovely little camera to use, and good LRGB filters are reasonably priced (compared to Narrow Band). Mono luminance will dramatically improve the resolution of your images.

But the most i portent advice I can offer is to “enjoy the journey”.
I enjoy progressing through stages with equipment, then outgrowing it in a couple of years.
A cooled colour camera will reduce your noise, making you processing easier.
Amp glow is in not a big concern with cooled cameras; as darks compensate wonderfully well.

And generally; you can sell stuff for 70-75% of new after a couple of years use.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
03 Jul, 2020 21:37
Thanks to everyone for such helpful and thoughtful feedback.  I really appreciate it.

I have now ordered a Stat Washer Esprit 100 reflector.  I expect to receive it some time later this year, or 2021.

Will continue to use my unmodded Canon 6D MkII for the time being, but I am considering the purchase of a ZWO ASI1600MM Pro (with filter set/wheel) in 12-18months time, once I have the Esprit/Canon 6D rig "bedded down".

This may not be such a leap, as I was previously a professional astronomer, and cut my teeth on CCDs (and data reduction) back in the 1980s.   However, the technology has come on in leaps and bounds since then and I don't underestimate the learning curve.  Not  least in the image processing.

I suspect that, in the imager stakes, I will not be satisfied with anything less.  If I proceed with a Canon RA, I will be frustrated by the noise.  If I proceed with a colour CMOS I will be ultimately frustrated by the sensitivity limitations inherent in a Bayer array.   But I will take my time.

In the meantime, I will live with my frustration over the 6D's Halpha response and learn to take longer exposures (and longer subs, which the new mount should allow) to improve sensitivity.  My typical exposures up until new have been 1-1.5hours (200 sub-exposures take time to reduce!) but if I can go to 2min subs, with auto guiding if needed, then 3-4 hour exposures can also be part of be my  next "step-up".

Thank you all for your great advice.
04 Jul, 2020 01:17
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that throwing more money alone at this hobby will give you better results. At the end of the day, once you have an adequate entry level setup, you need to do two main things- spend as much time collecting data, especially on a single object, and improve your processing skills. You should be aiming to get the absolute most out of your existing equipment rather than hoping that better equipment is a replacemnt for sweat and tears. There are no shortcuts no matter what you buy. Just look at the amount of hours of data and processing time that the top images have using expensive equipment. If you put that same amount of time and effort into what you already have you might be surprised at the improvemnt of your own work and a happier wallet.
04 Jul, 2020 01:44

I think you made a good choice with the SkyWatcher - you will love it. I just hope it shows up long before 2021 for you…..
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