The Never ending Quest for the best setup

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Rutgerbus Senior Member • Posts: 2,162
The Never ending Quest for the best setup

Hi there,

Since my interest in astrophotography grows even more, also the quest for the best gear and ultimate setup grows with it.

I came from a Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/4 shooting short 2-3sec frames and stacking tons of them to even get a descent shot....but I wanted more.....

Then, the tracker came into view. At first, I tried to build my own. I succeeded and got about 10-20sec exposure....but I wanted more.....

I bought a Skywatcher Star Adventurer and ooooohh boy a whole new world opened up. 1 minute exposures with my Nikkor 300mm f/4 came into view, albeit, I had to throw away like 20% due to tracking errors. With a wide-angle lens I could easily go up to 5 minutes, but I really liked the idea of those big galaxies in a close view......So.....I wanted more.

I bought myself a 2nd hand equatorial mount. The Meade LXD75 + a 6" Newton reflector. The reach of the Newton allowed me to take pictures of Galaxies like Andromeda, but with that reach, also exposure time went down since the mount wasn't realy good in tracking. Also the Nikon D700, which had terrible banding issues needed to go. So I wanted more....

Then, I bought myself a Sony A6000 and a LVI Smartguider with 50mm mini guidescope to guide the mount. Unfortunately, I couldn't make the LVI communicate with the LXD....So, back to the Star Adventurer and 300mm lens. With that setup, I was able to get like 5minute subs using the LVI smartguider and one-axis guiding....but I wanted more.

That's the point were I sold my Star Adventurer, sold the Meade LXD75 + 6" Newton, modified my camera, bought a new iOptron CEM25P mount and William Optics GT71. I also bought a filter wheel and a narrow band H-alpha filter.

On a clear night, I'm able to get 10-30minute subs with the H-alfa filter at ISO400, or 10-min subs without the filter for color images. Very happy with that off course, the only problem is that the Processing program Astro Pixel Processor doesn't recognize my Sony .arw files. So I have to convert them first to .fits using SIRIL.....which doubles the work and space on the hard drive. So now.....I want more.

I'm looking into buying the ASI 294 MC Pro color cam and better guidecam/scope. But when I do that, I also have to switch to a PC-operated astrophotgraphy rig, and I need to buy a laptop first to sit beside the mount. I also have to learn my way in PHD and other mount-controlling software......I'm a bit scared of that and I don't know if I will enjoy astrophotography like I do now.

I now have a rig that is easy to setup...doesn't need a laptop for control and if something is wrong, I can directly figure out what it is.

So do you guys think I should invest in an upgrade of the astomodified Sony A6000 to the ASI 294 MC pro and control of the mount with laptop/PHD etc.????

It is a though decision. Please let me know what you would do when you where in my shoes.

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Photographic Moments
A photon only stops "existing" when it is captured by your sensor.

 Rutgerbus's gear list:Rutgerbus's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +1 more
Nikon D700 Sony a6000
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