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Celestron NexStar SE Series for Digiscoping?

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Old Wednesday 6th July 2016, 21:57   #1
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Celestron NexStar SE Series for Digiscoping?

I've searched but haven't found an answer here. Feel free to point me to anything I've missed.

Using a Celestron NexStar SE series telescope for taking pictures of birds...

Is it possible?

Is it advisable?

If so, would it work well with any/all of the models - 4SE, 5SE, 6SE, 8SE?
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Old Thursday 7th July 2016, 16:46   #2
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the NexStar SE series are all astronomic goto scopes - that means quite some money goes into a computerized alt-az mount which you aren't going to use for birding. The optical tube assemblies of the 5 inch and higher models are from Celestrons signature Cn Schmidt-Cassegrain series while the 4SE is a Maksutov-Cassegrain. The Cn Series can also be bought as an optical tube assembly only which might be a better idea if you just want to use it for birding. But even OTA only they tend to be rather heavy - a C5 OTA is 2.7kg.

All of them are rather slow scopes with the SC models being f10 and the Mak at f13. They also have rather big obstructions from their secondary mirrors which eats a bit of contrast. On the other hand the legendary Questar Birder is a Mak design (with some nifty extras).

So if you happen to have one of those or intend to buy one for astro use, by all means try them for bird photography too, but as a dedicated birding instrument either a good spotting scope or the cheap ED semi apos might be a better choice.

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Old Thursday 7th July 2016, 16:57   #3
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Thanks, Jaochim.

I neglected to mention that, if I had one of the NexStar SEs, I'd be using it for astronomy too. I was just wondering about making it a dual purpose tube.

Anyone know (let's use the 5SE, as an example) how close a subject (bird) can be and still be in focus for a decent picture? I've seen videos of people using these to see objects in the distance, but there's no mention of how close a target can be.
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Old Thursday 7th July 2016, 17:42   #4
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MFD for the 5SE is about 20ft, but for bird photography, you have some caveats to be aware of

The high F stop will require a lot of light. Its also fairly difficult to control shake on such a short lens, but can probably be overcome with the right equipment.

Also, as mentioned, you get the central obstruction which will lose you contrast for terrestial photography

All in all, bird photos with a reflector is that much harder than using a refractor, or indeed, a regular DSLR lens

Having said that, i have seen bird photos around the internet that have been captured with Reflectors
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