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11-04-2014, 12:49 PM   #1
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Telescope recommendation

Does anyone have any experience or recommendation on beginner astrophotography telescopes that I could use with my k mount cameras? Thanks!

11-04-2014, 01:13 PM   #2
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You will need as much aperture as you can afford, and a stable mount that either tracks the stars or holds things really steady while the O-GPS1 AstroTracer does its thing. This rules out pretty much any sub-$600 telescope unless you feel like making one yourself; I have several home-made 'scopes including a couple where I ground/polished the mirrors myself so it can be done by nearly anyone with time and a little more patience than myself . A six-inch f/5.6 mirror took me forty hours of work and it tests out quite well, and it sits on a plywood mount "Dobsonian style". I can use it as an 850mm f/5.6 but for a couple hundred more it can sit on a tracking platform that provides up to an hour of star-tracking. Here's the link to what I own.

With a K-mount camera balancing that extra weight will be a challenge so I've chosen the Q as my astro-cam; it weighs less than most premium eyepieces!
11-04-2014, 06:10 PM   #3
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I'll start with my standard astrophotography advice: look for a local astronomy club. That is likely to shorten your learning curve and prevent you from wasting money on the wrong gear.

What are your astrophotography goals? I ask because if you have fairly high goals, "beginner" gear will be quickly outgrown. Photography through a telescope greatly benefits from a tracking mount such as a german equatorial mount (for refractor or newtonian tubes), a platform like @jimr-pdx linked above (for Dobsonian setups), or an Astrotrac. The mount is more important than the scope.

Different types of photography from easiest to most difficult:
  1. Lunar: Can be done with any fair telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. 300mm or longer recommended. The 55-300 is good, the DA* 300 is better, there are many other acceptable lenses. Many telescopes work, too, if you buy a t-ring mount for your camera. The t-ring goes on in place of a lens and then attaches to the telescope (this is called "prime focus" astrophotography).
  2. Solar: Similar to lunar. You just need to add a solar filter (glass or mylar) to the front of your lens so you don't fry your eye or camera.
  3. Planetary: Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, etc. These planets are small and need lots of magnification. More magnification narrows the field of view and planets quickly move across the field. A tracking mount lets you keep the target centered.
  4. Deep Sky: Very dim objects need a lot of aperture to gather light. The tracking mount lets you take long exposures, repeatedly, then stack them.
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