Jump to content

Hello from Lincolnshire. Please help a newbie.

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone, i thought i should join a forum and speak to some seasoned experts before a take the plunge.


I would like to get into astrophotography, initially i was going to buy a telescope for my daughter to use with me in the garden and our local dark areas. i don't want to go cheap, i'd rather pay a bit more for something good, but as a good quality one isn't cheap, I'm now leaning towards parting with a bit more money and getting a photo quality scope and mount so that we can take images too (eventually). 


The problem is that i am a complete newcomer, so i have an idea of what i need to get to the end result i am after. I am coming up short on a few areas, specifically regarding PC software etc. We have a good laptop that would deal with image processing without a hitch, but i don't know what i need as far as cables and software goes to control the mount via my laptop. initially i was looking at:




A decent quality refractor 150mm doublet or 100mm triplet depending on cost. Mounted on a belt modified HEQ5 GOTO mount. have been looking at either Skywatcher Evostar 150 or Williams Optics FLT91 due to amount of youtube reviews on these. and them being in budget.




Celestron Nexstar 8" EDGE HD on its own GOTO mount or something similar.


I will worry about the camera side of things once i have decided on the scope / mount. Thanks for feedback and appreciate you taking the time to advise on the easiest / best software for a newbie to use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome! I have never done astrophoto (asides from filming the sun today after I got the smartphone adapter in the mail), but I thought along your lines when I decided to get a telescope - I didn't want to buy a scope/mount that I knew I would have to replace in order to do astrophotography.


I'm primarily interested in visual observation, but as I've done a bit of photography I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to get pictures and videos too.


Now, I happened to get an OK 120mm f/8.3 refractor on an old EQ4 mount very cheap so the equipment list I ended up with still just exists in my spreadsheet, but if I had to buy everything new I was going to:

1. Get a HEQ5 mount as the first mount, because it's apparently very precise for tracking and supports a decent amount of weight, up to (maybe) a Sky-Watcher 250 PDS newtonian for a possible future scope.

2. Buy a Sky-Watcher ED80 80mm refractor to go with it - my budget isn't as wide as yours, and I have been annoyed by chromatic aberration before so I wanted ED lenses. A note here - my (cheap) 120mm refractor is actually a doublet, but with just a bit of coating and no ED glass. Apparently ED doublets are a very big upgrade from my cheap 120mm Achro doublet lens. See my thread for more info about my lens: https://www.backyardastro.org/topic/3226-what-kind-of-lens-do-i-have/

3. See how that went, and later perhaps add a big Newt as a secondary scope to use on the HEQ5.



I actually bought a power adaptor for the HEQ5 before I got the second-hand scope, that's just sitting in a drawer now 😄

Finally: I'm the kind of guy that wants to be immersed and to really experience the sky, hence I wanted my first season as a hobby astronomer to entail finding the objects myself, only aided by apps. Using the Goto every time is, I think, something I'd want to do only after I did some legwork navigating the sky on my own, not to mention the added complexity of needing a power source, fiddling with cables, getting the calibration exactly right etc. And I don't know how well the HEQ5 is suited for purely manual control.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Moonlit,


Thanks for your reply - it was good to hear im not the only one who makes wish lists in a spreadsheet lol.


i have researched what i want/need a LOT as we all do, im determined not to start with a watered down version of my wish list, and to stick to the quality level / brands i have picked so i have decided to buy what i need for observing first and then the photography bit second (in 12-24 months) as its about another £2000 more kit with the camera, flattener & autofocuser.


As i type i am waiting to call Altair to talk to them about their 102mm tripplet ED, i currently have my sights on a WO GT91 FLT, but the Altair is 11mm wider about 15cm longer and £300 cheaper, although the matching 90 diag and flattner are more expensive than the WO ones, the guide camera isnt as slick looking either and costs more. Time will tell when i get off the call what i end up with.


I have just bought a HEQ5 Pro with Rowan Belt Mod for £850 off eBay, its a year old, ill see if its as good as the ad made it sound or if i got a stinker when it arrives on tuesday. the limit on this will do me fine, i can only see myself using mid sized APOs up to probably 4 inch and eventually a ZWO camera.


I have managed to shrink the eyepieces i was going to buy after getting my head around focal length and maximum usable magnification of a scope, originally i had too many eye pieces on the wishlist and a 5x barlow that would have been useless to me. thankfully now it is a less expensive list of 4 eyepieces and x2 and x3 barlows all sitting nicely inside the capability of my scope.


cheers for the reply, ill let you know how i get on!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...