Help me not buy twice? (tracker & tripod)

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CptAmerica Senior Member • Posts: 1,292
Help me not buy twice? (tracker & tripod)

Hello all you astroheads! Sorry for the long read in advance.

I've been a photog for about 20 years, but am JUST NOW (I know, ridiculous) getting interested (very) in astrophotography. I've spent the last week absorbing as much information as I can on the processes, techniques, nomenclature and acronyms. I feel I am up to about 1% complete! maybe. I'm really excited.

#1) I am ready to purchase my tracker. I have read countless recommendations on trackers, but was hoping to get a little guidance from somebody here who might be like minded. I personally HATE buying twice. I would much rather buy right the first time, even though it may cost more, than buy something cheaper only to need an upgrade some short time later... So can you help me not buy my tracker twice?

I have done most of my homework so far on the starguider pro. It seems to be the most commonly recommended "basic" unit that can take a heavier camera setup with it's counter weight. But what i don't want, is to wish I had spent just a few hundred bucks more to get a much more accurate unit. I don't really know how much I should spend for what level of accuracy I will inevitably end up wanting to have. Does that make sense? I'm looking for that sweet spot in price vs. accuracy (I don't think I need a system that can automatically find an object in the sky... I don't mind learning the sky manually)

I will be shooting with a Nikon D850 with any of the following likely lenses:

-Nikkor 20mm F1.8 (tiny and almost weightless)
-Sigma 40mm ART F1.4 (medium sized, medium heavy)
-Sigma 105mm ART F1.4 (medium sized, heavy)
-Nikkor 500mm f5.6 PF (small for a 500 tele, medium heavy)

I don't really have a budget, but would like my tracker to be under the cost of having to sign papers for my wife. If $450 for a starguider is PLENTY accurate, and I won't feel the need, maybe ever, to upgrade, then great. If I need to double that cost to get an eventual level of wanted accuracy, so be it.

#2) Tripod. What level of sturdiness is required for this? Will a medium duty aluminum tripod work? Or would I need to invest in a tripod one normally uses to mount their 600F4? I don't know much about tripods, really. The standard duty manfroto aluminum one I bought 20 years ago still works fine for the studio, and the only one I have purchased since, is an ultralight for backpacking. Any recommendations?

Sorry for the long read, thanks for any direction help you can give.

 CptAmerica's gear list:CptAmerica's gear list
Nikon D850 Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Nikon D4 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G +7 more
Nikon D850
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