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New Mount & Scope or New Camera?

HaydenWatson
21 May, 2020 05:10
Hey all,

I have reached a point in my Astrophotography where I feel like I need to push it further and go to the next level. I started this hobby last year and bought my first full EQ Mount and scope setup mid 2019. My current gear is an Ioptron CEM25P with a Skywatcher 130PDS scope, plus guiding and all that stuff. This whole time i've done this hobby it been with an Unmodded Canon 650D (Aka Rebel T4i).

Looking at my recent images I just want more, mainly in the detail and sharpness of the objects that I image, but as well in how much of the object that I capture. I have always felt that my telescope was on the small side for a lot of the targets that I want to shoot and that a great all round size for a Newtonian reflector is likely an 8", that is the kind of size I would love to upgrade to. But of course the problem would be my mount, I would likely upgrade to an EQ6-R Pro (Or the likes) if I were to go for a bigger scope.

Another thing I have thought about recently is what I am using to take these images. An unmodded DSLR can only get me so far before blocking out the colors and objects that I want to capture. So i've been thinking of a dedicated AP cooled camera like ZWO's or QHY's. I wouldnt mod my current DSLR for the fact that it isnt actually mine… borrowed  smile I've done my research and understand how cameras work along side with Astrophotography, the only problem is money and time.

I would like to get all three of these new things at the same time, but I think I would be better off getting one and other in the future (Mount+Scope or New Camera). Now the big question is, where should my focus be? If its details and sharpness, etc in galaxies and nebulae that I am looking for, which of these two should I be prioritising? Right now I lean toward new Mount+Scope, Im thinking larger aperture and potentially better guiding/tracking will help make these galaxies and nebulae look the part even if I use a DSLR for a little longer. My worry is even if I get a better camera, with only imaging through a 130mm the images would still look blurry when im really trying to capture fine details right?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
Hayden
Andys_Astropix
21 May, 2020 09:04
Mount & Scope for sure. A friend had that same scope and when he changed it over for a new Stellarvue Svx80t the difference was frankly gobsmacking!
You’ll need a Cem60 or EQ6 R as well  smile
HaydenWatson
21 May, 2020 09:22
Andy 01
Mount & Scope for sure. A friend had that same scope and when he changed it over for a new Stellarvue Svx80t the difference was frankly gobsmacking!You’ll need a Cem60 or EQ6 R as well  smile

Exactly what I was thinking, Cheers for the input!  smile
kajouman
21 May, 2020 10:12
or just get a new mount,instead of the eq6 get a eq8,then your  ready for so much more gear.
i am also saving for a eq8,it will hold my newt 10 inch much better.
HaydenWatson
21 May, 2020 10:21
John
or just get a new mount,instead of the eq6 get a eq8,then your  ready for so much more gear.i am also saving for a eq8,it will hold my newt 10 inch much better.

Yeah, would absolutely love to. Big tank of a mount comes with the big tank of a price tag too unfortunately  smilesmile
Starstarter86
21 May, 2020 11:32
Looking at your images, I would say a coma corrector would be cheapest and most effective at improving your images! In my opinion, you have got your scope and mount dialled in, guiding looks good, your processing is very nice, the only thing which puts me off are the stars with their coma. You also loose sharpness off the optical axis without a coma corrector, but you can fix that. The 130PDS seems to be a gerat scope, I have found brilliant pictures taken with it like this one:

https://www.astrobin.com/tjlaoj/?nc=user

Or you could get a coma corrector and a ZWO294, which seems to work well with that Scope. If you want to get more detail a dedicated camera with a smaller chip and smaller pixels  like the new ASI 533 could also work well for you. With the ASI 183, you could even go mono.

edit: I asked the guy in the link above, he used a Baader MPCC coma corrector
Edited 21 May, 2020 11:35
HaydenWatson
21 May, 2020 14:07
Marc Agostini
Looking at your images, I would say a coma corrector would be cheapest and most effective at improving your images! In my opinion, you have got your scope and mount dialled in, guiding looks good, your processing is very nice, the only thing which puts me off are the stars with their coma. You also loose sharpness off the optical axis without a coma corrector, but you can fix that. The 130PDS seems to be a gerat scope, I have found brilliant pictures taken with it like this one:https://www.astrobin.com/tjlaoj/?nc=user

Or you could get a coma corrector and a ZWO294, which seems to work well with that Scope. If you want to get more detail a dedicated camera with a smaller chip and smaller pixels  like the new ASI 533 could also work well for you. With the ASI 183, you could even go mono.

edit: I asked the guy in the link above, he used a Baader MPCC coma corrector

Yeah the coma is currently image breaking. I do actually have a Coma Corrector and have had it for around a month or so now, thing is it doesnt work because I need spacers (As I did expect to happen). Spacers are ordered but were out of stock, should hopefully be getting them by the end of this month and fingers crossed Coma is no more from then on. I wouldn't be making any purchases until I get that all fixed up and working.

If I were to go for a bigger and better mount, I would still keep the 130PDS and still use it as a 'widefield' scope for the larger DSO's. I guess my problem is my current mount makes me feel trapped, like I cant expand my gear and its not future proof for what I want to do. Maybe a good idea for me is to grab a better mount, hold off on a new scope for now and purchase a camera instead, keep using the 130 and try perfecting the art of AP. That way I am future proofed if I want to go bigger and can get better images. Yeah… i've got a lot of thinking to do!  smile

Thanks for the help (and research)!
Starstarter86
21 May, 2020 16:25
I totally get that! Sounds like a good option, I also try to eek everything out of the equipment I have. But just last weekend I failed miserably at that and bought a used Esprit80, a scope I have always been dreaming of smile With this scope, my CEM25p doesn't hold me back, and I guess I'm more of a widefield guy anyway.

Hope your spacers arrive soon and have fun whatever option you go with, that's the most important part!
dkamen
21 May, 2020 18:32
Hi,

At 130mm aperture and 650 focal length, your limiting factor is probably seeing and optics. This is why you are not getting the detail you would expect. I don't know if a larger focal length would be a good idea. You'll find that it presents a new class of problems: you need clear sky (like a mountain top), errors in polar alignment that you didn't care about now become show stoppers, cooldown is a factor and so on.

I think you would see a great deal of improvement with  a small refractor and a flattener.  A 80mm f/6 refractor will easily outperform your Newt.

About your Rebel blocking colors, forget it. Not a factor. In my opinion any DSLR with a modern raw converter outperforms any astrocam for broadband one-shot-colour. Even cooled ones. Please compare the two versions here, one is with traditional linear processing using flats, darks and the suchlike, the other with rawtherapee doing all the heavy lifting. You just can't do that stuff with the data from astrocams because rawtherapee and lightroom do not work with them. Either way, the fact remains that a great deal of colour already exists in your photos and you must find a way to bring it to the surface. Perhaps a proper astrophotography program like Astropixel or Pixinsight would be a good idea.

You might still want to consider an astrocam for more practical reasons: they tend to be lighter, easier to connect to the scope, easier to balance, can give real time previews, can bin, the smaller sensor gives a more useful field of view for small targets, a flattener is not so necessary etc. For galaxies in particular (except the big ones like Andromeda) a small astrocam like ZWO 178 is a very nice imager. Rule of thumb is the larger the sensor the more difficult it becomes to correct optical aberrations, no matter what optics you are using.

I don't know about the mount. I guess with a small refractor the CEM25P would do just fine.
HaydenWatson
22 May, 2020 00:29
Marc Agostini
I totally get that! Sounds like a good option, I also try to eek everything out of the equipment I have. But just last weekend I failed miserably at that and bought a used Esprit80, a scope I have always been dreaming of smile With this scope, my CEM25p doesn't hold me back, and I guess I'm more of a widefield guy anyway.Hope your spacers arrive soon and have fun whatever option you go with, that's the most important part!

Haha, if its a dream scope then why not  smile Yeah I think thats where my problem lays. The CEM25P is a fantastic mount and has done me very well with little to no issue, I just really like galaxies and the idea of getting right up close on various nebulae (I.e Imaging the Pillars in the eagle nebula with sharp detail, even if it means cutting off alot of the greater nebulous region for example). So I guess in that sense im aiming to be the opposite of a widefield guy? I would still do widefield shots of course  smile
Edited 22 May, 2020 00:29
 
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