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Equatorial mounts?

15 Feb 2011 12:29PM
I'm interested in getting some star field images, whats the best way to go about it?
I have a 1DsMkII and will probably be using a wide to medium zoom lens.
Is a table top equatorial mount good enough to take that kind of weight or would I need to get a tripod mounted version?
Will I need an adaptor to attach the camera to the mount, or does it generally come with the mount?
Is a motorized option better or can the same results be obtained through manual input?
Any help is greatfully appreciated Smile

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Metalhead 10 1.9k 2 England
15 Feb 2011 2:42PM
I'm afraid I can't offer much help, but of the options you've given I think a motorised equatorial mount would be the wisest choice so that it follows the apparent path of the stars due to the rotating Earth. I don't think you'd be able to track that manually, not accurately anyway.

At least with a motorised one you could do long exposures and get the really deep stars to hopefully show up in some detail.

Many people "piggy back" a camera on a motorised telescope that tracks the rotation. That could be an option too, though you'd need the camera mounted towards the front so it doesn't show up in the frame.

Can't really offer any help regarding weights that mounts can accept or whether you'd need a tripod version over a tabletop version, though I'd imagine it would be more secure on a tripod version.
Nigeyboy 10 870 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2011 2:44PM
I had an equatorialy mounted 6inch reflecter some years ago. The EQ3-2 mount was a study affair that held the not insubstantial weight of the tube and counter weights - perhaps equal to 5 or 6 1Ds and lenses!

If you want to track the stars then you will need a set up that allows you to align the mount with the North Star in Polaris. I would say that if you want to track the stars over periods of more than a few minutes, then you would need to look for a motor drive version - manual input would be very difficult indeed over several minutes.

This is the mount i used to have - the motor drives are extra though. If using wide angle lens, you can only expose for a minute or so before noticing star trails - for tracking accurately, you will really need the drives.

May be pop along to a local astronomy club to see what the advise.

Can't advise on mounting the camera directly to one of these mounts - my versions rings that held the tube in had a screw thread on top to mount an SLR.

Of course - you could always go with this one!!
15 Feb 2011 4:48PM
Thank you very much for your advice so far. The EQ3-2 looks like a contender, with motor drives.
Gonna google some local astronomy clubs, see what crops up.
John_Wannop 13 95 Wales
15 Feb 2011 6:30PM
This looks quit intresting.
Metalhead 10 1.9k 2 England
17 Feb 2011 9:53AM
Got an e-mail from Sky At Night magazine yesterday. They're about to start a 6 week section about astrophotography. Might be some useful tips in there. You could always browse the mag and see if you think it will be useful?
MrGoatsmilk 9 1.5k England
17 Feb 2011 10:23AM
A good place to have a look is on Stargazerslounge there is an area in there just for imaging, and some amazing shots too. I keep trying deep sky astrophotography with my Lx90 and 40D either the clouds are in the way or damn street lights. I need a week in darkest Wales without the clouds.


Just found this in my bookmarks, may be of some help.
17 Feb 2011 3:31PM
Already stumped up the cash for an Astrotrac after reading a review of it in Sky at Night magazine. I'll definitely be getting the issues with astrophotography in it. Seems not to complicated to set up reasonably quickly in a remote location.
And thanks for the link MrGoatsmilk, just what I've been looking for all in one place, bonus!

Thanks for all your help everyone, hopefully I'll have some images for you in the not too distant future Smile

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