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01-08-2014, 09:10 PM   #1
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Astrophotography Tracking

OK, so I'd like to get I to this stuff by jumping right in since that's what I usually do. I've been trying to find a motorized tracking device and this is where I am stuck. Having browsed a littlw bit I see stuff about the o-gps tracker, but that looks just like a gps unit. What I am looking for is an actual motorized mount that will support the 300 da* lens and body. I am completely new to this stuff so forgive my lack of experience here. Money is not too much of an issue but it does need to be taken into consideration. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction..... or feel free to tell me to run!

01-08-2014, 09:24 PM   #2
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The o-gps1 allows on some Pentax cameras an astrotracing function. where based on the cameras gps position and orientation the camera is able to move the sensor in time with the rotation of the stars across the sky, thus allowing for long(er) than normal exposures without star trailling.

For motorised you probably need to look more into telescope mounts, such as EQ (equatorial) mounts. Keep in mind cheaper mounts may be suited to telescope use, they will introduce shaking in photographs as they are not quite smooth enough in their motion.

I believe this is one of the cheapest high quality options around - Astrophotography Made Easy - Home, which is just a more engineered version of a home made barn door tracker.

Currently I am building a barn door tracker as a little exercise, I am hoping to get usable exposures of 5-10 secs @ 300mm from it, but we will see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_door_tracker
01-08-2014, 09:27 PM   #3
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Take a look at the Vixen Polarie or Ioptron Skytracker. A google search with get you lots of info. The skytracker is on sale at B&H for $320 now, that's $50 less than last week.
Both are good for wide field and there are examples of many 100-200mm lenses used. generally they are limited to 100mm for longer exposures due to weight limit and accuracy. Ioptron have released a larger version that is styled after their very good ZEQ25 telescope mount (same gears but no DEC motor) Its called the Skyguider. Not much info to be found yet but I have been emailing their support with questions and have decided that mine will arrive in time for my Feb birthday It has a great load rating and can track very well with larger lenses, camera and grip. I suggest you google these 3 and look over the many examples and reviews and pick one that best matches your goals. iOptron
Good luck and Clear Skies as they say!
01-08-2014, 09:58 PM   #4
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I have the AstroTrac Skytracker TT320X-AG which was described above as a glorified barn door. Yes, it is that but it does a damn good job. The machining on the screw worm drive is excellent. But a tracker without an equally great mount is throwing money away. I use the Manfrotto geared 405 mount. This allows easy polar alignment which is critical for achieving optimum tracking. And atop the geared head you will need another mount for your camera and lens. Again, you want a solid mount that does not have a lot of slop. A big proviso here must be that this will still not get you into "deep sky" territory where big scopes target faint distant galaxies. But it will let you nail those wider targets easily.

Jack

01-08-2014, 10:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
I have the AstroTrac Skytracker TT320X-AG which was described above as a glorified barn door. Yes, it is that but it does a damn good job. The machining on the screw worm drive is excellent.
Apologies if it came across as such, but never doubting the accuracy of the mount! Just more in the method of its operation.
01-08-2014, 10:39 PM   #6
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No offense taken ! Just offering my experience.

Jack
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