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Which setup would be best?

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I want to get into deep sky astrophotography and am looking for opinions on which would be a better rig. 

My initial thought was to go complete ZWO just for ease of use as I am a beginner.


ZWO FF65 APO F 6.4 Focal length 416 ( I am not a big fan of the f 6.4 but I do like the focal length and price)

ZWO AM5 Mount

ZWO ASI533mm pro Mono camera with their electronic filter wheel and filters


ZWO Asiair Plus imaging controller

ZWO ASI120 MM mini guide camera

ZWO Mini Guide Scope


After digging a bit deeper I found many people complaining about the stability of the AM5 mount, their quality control, and they also claim ZWO do not stand by their product and honor their warranty.  I don't know if that still hold true but that makes me a bit leery to go with my initial choice.


My next idea is as follows:

Redcat 71 WIFD f 4.9 focal length of 350

EQ6 R Pro Mount

ZWO ASI533mm pro Mono camera with their electronic filter wheel and filters

Pegasus Astro Focuscube 2

Laptop as my controller

ZWO ASI120 MM mini guide camera

ZWO Mini Guide Scope


My final idea is:


ZWO FF65 APO F 6.4 Focal length 416

EQ6 R Pro Mount

QHY 268-PH monochrome with their electronic filter wheel and filters.


Stellermate Pro controller

William Optics 32 mm f 3.75 Uniguid scope

Qhy 5-iii 200m Guide camera


Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.







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Hi Steve welcome to the forum. It would be useful to know your budget and what type of objects you would like to image.

The three options you have all look good but others on here will chime in with their thoughts too.


I’ve not heard any problems with ZWO customer service but in the UK we tend to purchase from astronomy retailers who all give warranties.

I can’t comment on the AM5 as I’ve only seen one at a show.


Going ASIAir is easy but it does lock you in to the ZWO world. There are many other software packages that run on mini computers like the Mele Quieter 3 such as Windows based NINA, Astrophotography Tool etc. You are not locked in to a particular manufacturers infrastructure then as ASCOM is used to talk to the astro gear. Most manufacturers have ASCOM drivers or dedicated drivers for their equipment.


Stellarmate and Astroberry on the Raspberry PI4 both run on Linux and have Kstars planetarium/INDI/EKOS acquisition software. INDI is the linux equivalent of ASCOM and most manufacturers have INDI drivers for their equipment.


Running acquisition software on a laptop is fine until you find the low temperatures in winter affect the operation of the computer. Most people tend to use headless mini computers (no screen or keyboard) these days connected to the astro gear locally and then to the home network either with ethernet cables or wireless and remote into them from indoors.


Have a look at altairastro.com too as they ship worldwide and have great scopes/cameras/filters/mounts etc. That may give you an idea of some more options as Altair is a dedicated manufacturer of astronomical and scientific equipment based in the UK.


Don’t forget a dew controller, dew bands, USB cables and a power supply to power the whole lot. Ham radio 13.8 volt power supplies are ideal for this purpose.



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I would like to try and keep the cost about $7,000 but can go over a bit if need be.  I will just have to skip grocery shopping one week.  I can stand to lose a couple of pounds anyway.  I am mostly interested in imaging nebulae.


I recently watched Youtube video by Dark Rangers Inc. where he did a 1 year review on his ZWO system and virtually every component had a major malfunction which rendered them useless.  He ended up having to buy all new equipment.  This has me concerned.  Many people seem to like their products so maybe he was just he most unlucky person around.

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