A question from a total beginner

Started Jan 10, 2013 | Questions
byawk
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A question from a total beginner
Jan 10, 2013

My nine-year-old brother's birthday is coming up, and he desperately wants a telescope, so I've been trying to find one in the $100-$300 range (who knows, maybe I can get an even better one used off Craigslist). As I researched this, it occurred to me how cool it would be to hook up my camera to whatever telescope we buy and grab some shots as we stargaze.  If I remember right, you can use some sort of adapter (a T ring, maybe?) to hook up an SLR to telescopes.  I have a 5D Mark III, which I imagine could be good for astrophotography because of the clean high ISOs.

Can you hook just any telescope up to an SLR, or only certain kinds?  If only certain kinds, are there any in the $100-$300 range that have this capability?

Any guidance you can give would be appreciated!

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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NoRules
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to byawk, Jan 10, 2013

byawk wrote:

My nine-year-old brother's birthday is coming up, and he desperately wants a telescope, so I've been trying to find one in the $100-$300 range (who knows, maybe I can get an even better one used off Craigslist). As I researched this, it occurred to me how cool it would be to hook up my camera to whatever telescope we buy and grab some shots as we stargaze. If I remember right, you can use some sort of adapter (a T ring, maybe?) to hook up an SLR to telescopes. I have a 5D Mark III, which I imagine could be good for astrophotography because of the clean high ISOs.

Can you hook just any telescope up to an SLR, or only certain kinds? If only certain kinds, are there any in the $100-$300 range that have this capability?

Any guidance you can give would be appreciated!

A setup for astrophotography require an equatorial mount, and that is expensive. The cheap telescopes have altazimuth mounts that are great for viewing, but not for taking pictures. A sturdy telescope with a german equatorial mount will set you back at least $1000.

Now, for taking shots of the moon or the planets, any telescope will do, but results will not be great at all, and yes, you can use a T-mount adapter.

For just taking long exposure pictures of the night sky, the Milky Way, or maybe a nebula or two, you can buy a tracker, like the Vixen Polarie. There are also cheaper ones that are good enough, and you can even build one for yourself as a DIY project with your brother. Drawings for that are in this forum (barn door tracker).

I recomend you look at images in this forum, find something you like, and ask the OP what equipment he/she has used. For info about telescopes, head over to cloudynights.com. They are the real experts

Cheers and happy hunting!

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byawk
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to NoRules, Jan 10, 2013

Thanks!  This really helps!

You mentioned an equatorial mount.  So this is something separate from the telescope itself?  Could it be something that we could add on down the road if we just got the telescope now?

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Rab G
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to byawk, Jan 10, 2013

Hi

You could also consider doing some photography with just your camera or possibly some timelapse work to give you an idea what can be done have a look at this.

http://vimeo.com/48787310

You need other equipment to provide the lateral movement ( camera dolly) but some of these videos are amazing to watch.

Another good one here

http://vimeo.com/channels/dakotalapse

Watch temporal distortion at about 50 seconds you see a meteor and a plasma trail after it burns up.

Good luck.

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bidule
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to byawk, Jan 10, 2013

byawk wrote:

Thanks! This really helps!

You mentioned an equatorial mount. So this is something separate from the telescope itself? Could it be something that we could add on down the road if we just got the telescope now?

With a cheap small scope and a dslr you can take nice pictures of the moon.

For pictures like the one of Andromeda NoRules just posted you need a good motorized tracking mount, no scope needed.

My sub 300 scope (Equatorial mount but no motor):



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NoRules
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to byawk, Jan 10, 2013

byawk wrote:

Thanks! This really helps!

You mentioned an equatorial mount. So this is something separate from the telescope itself? Could it be something that we could add on down the road if we just got the telescope now?

Cheap telescopes come as a package with everything integrated. The thing manufacturers spend least money on is the telescope itself.

Good equipment come as interchangeable parts; tripod, mount, counterweights, computer, telescope, eye-pieces, etc.

I bought a dobson mounted newtonian telescope with a 10" mirror for about $350. Later I plan to buy a heavy equatorial mount and place the telescope tube on that. A refractor telescope for $300 is not of good quality, because the most expensive item is the tripod and computer altazimuth mount and motor. A good reflector telescope in a cheap dobson mount is so much more fun, because it's a hands on experience, no motors or electronics. One has to learn the night sky.

For just photography you can just buy a tracker, place it on your photo tripod, align it with the Stella Polaris our Southern Cross, and start shooting.

Check out this forum for more info. Everything you need to know is here.

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the jimmy
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to byawk, Jan 11, 2013

Hi, I think it's great you want to do this for your brother, I remember being so interested in astronomy at his age too. Honestly for that price range, a quality scope for viewing needs to be purchased carefully. I wouldn't try to add in the optin of astrophotography too soon. Although it's at the high end of your budget, the Edmond Scientic Astroscan has been a good first scope for viewing for many years.

Take a look at it HERE . This is a hobby that takes patients and time in getting to know the night sky, this scope ( I believe) would be a good start.

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byawk
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to the jimmy, Jan 11, 2013

You guys have given some great advice!  I'm learning so much!

As I browse through different telescopes, I see different focal lengths (800mm, or 1100mm, etc).  Is this on the same scale as SLR lenses?  For example, should I be able to see four times as far with an 800mm telescope as I can with a 200mm lens on a full-frame SLR?  Or is there some sort of magnification factor I'm missing?

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the jimmy
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Re: A question from a total beginner
In reply to byawk, Jan 12, 2013

byawk wrote:

You guys have given some great advice! I'm learning so much!

As I browse through different telescopes, I see different focal lengths (800mm, or 1100mm, etc). Is this on the same scale as SLR lenses? For example, should I be able to see four times as far with an 800mm telescope as I can with a 200mm lens on a full-frame SLR? Or is there some sort of magnification factor I'm missing?

I would say no with respect to magification, which it sounds as thought this is what you are asking about. Actually when you're doing visual astonomy it's not so much about magnification as it is light gathering power. In other words 100X with a 4" mirror won't show as good an image as 100X with a 10" mirror, obvious I know. Also higher magnification means that any atmosphere disturbance will also be magnified.

With a scope you can change out the eye piece to change magnification, with a camera this is not the case, I hope I have provided at least a start to answer your question

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