Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Astroscope + DSLR = Setups!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 53 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 13:15   #26
eenymac
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Herts
Posts: 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowerbird1 View Post

So what is the attraction?

Cheers
Mark
Bang for the buck?

For me it comes down to the pricing. I have just bought the SW 80ED and necessary adaptors for under £400. That's a lot of reach and optical quality for the price.
Yes, the dedicated fast glass does have the bells and whistles - image stabilisation, autofocus etc - but look at the cost. Start adding in TC's to get the focal length up and again you are adding to the cost and degrading the image.

Yes, it's all manual and helps to have good light, but it adds a bit of a challenge which is always soem of the fun.
eenymac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 13:51   #27
Paul Corfield
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Corfe Mullen, Dorset, UK
Posts: 3,010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowerbird1 View Post
Hi everyone, this is my first post after long being a lurker.

I recently bought a Canon 7d and have been struggling with a Sigma 400mm that only works at F5.6 on a 7d so I am looking at alternatives and am interested in the astroscope approach vs long telephoto but there is something I don't get.

Fernando Batista takes a fine photo with his TL APO804 which is equivalent to 480mm F6 and with a 1.4x converter becomes a 672mm F8.4 or with a 2x converter becomes a 960mm F12

Whereas others use a Skywatcher/Celestron/Orion ED80 which is equivalent to a 600mm F7.5 or a 840 mm F10.5 with a 1.4x converter.

However all of these solutions are heavy, are manual focus and require a solid tripod and a bit of adaptation.

Whereas I could buy a 300mm F4 L IS lens for $1300 which becomes a 420mm
F5.6 with a 1.4x or 600mm F8 with a 2x converter and still retain autofocus and have image stabilisation or I could stack converters to have a 840mm F11 manual. The 300mm is lightweight and with a monopod seems more versatile than going down the astroscope route.

Alternately I could buy an old canon/tamron/tokina 300mm F2.8 manual lens for the same price and still be ahead of the astroscope route. I even saw an old 600mm F4.5 lens on ebay going for not much more.

So what is the attraction?

Cheers
Mark
The methods you mention will never match the sharpness of an astro scope, especially once you start stacking teleconverters. And once you start start stacking teleconverters on anything but the best glass you will quickly gets soft images. Stacking teleconverters, or preferably other types of magnification on an astro scope beats even what is possible on a mega bucks Canon 600mm.

The scopes aren't that heavy, a Skywatcher 600mm is only 7.5lbs compared to a Canon 600mm which is nearly 12lbs. Any decent tripod and head will easily take the weight.

In UK currency a Canon 600mm is around £6500 where as the Skywatcher is £350 which makes a difference of £6150 for the same sort of image quality, that's the attraction. My usual working focal length is 900mm so there would be no point starting with anything shorter than 600mm. I get 1.5X lens groups from old zoom lenses that cost me just £1 and they match or beat my Kenko Pro 1.4X for image quality. Stacking a few of these is a lot better than introducing a 2X TC. The attraction is the amazing optical potential while saving a shed load of money.

Paul.
Paul Corfield is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 16:19   #28
cango
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Tyresö
Posts: 716
1+ what Paul said.

The Celestron is also spec'ed 7.5lbs (3,4 kg)

I checked mine and got 3196 grams. That is: tub with focuser, 1304grams; Glass with dewshield 900grams; extension tube 80mm with camera adapter 342grams, and scope/tripod mount, 650grams.

I could get down the weight 500grams by getting rid of celestron scope mount, and drilling some holes direct onto the tube (as I have done before, but now with the side-mounting gimbal I have to drill on the side of the scope)

That will leave me ca 2500grams of 600mm reach. If I could go the same route on my Olympus system, that would be a 300mm 2.8 + a 2x converter and land on 3,5 kg and 7120$ (B-H new york) not included shipping costs. I could deal with one kg more, but not the money aspect... ;-)
cango is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 17:48   #29
FernandoBatista
Registered User
 
FernandoBatista's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 346
Quote:
So what is the attraction?
Here are a few:

Image quality, the scopes resolution, sharpness, contrast (if properly baffled/flocked), bokeh…overall image clarity is far higher that any of the lens you mentioned can do.

Price, an ED80 costs less than 400€, and it’s a 600mm scope. To get the 300 F4 to 600mm you’ll need a TC witch is more 150€ at least, that’s 1450€ and to get what? AF? At F/8 the AF is not that good anyway. And the image quality is nowhere near the level of the ED80 either. I never used the canon 300 F4 but I had two Nikkor 300 F4 witch at least are very comparable to the canon's, and really the lens alone is not as good let alone with TCs.

Reliability, a scope will last forever, there’s no electronics, hardly any mechanics to go wrong, no parts to be discontinued after a few years. Ok, there’s the chip some of us have put and the iris I have on mine, but the chip cost next to nothing and an iris like mine wont go wrong easily. On the other hand, have you seen the price for the repair of an AF motor or a VR system? Or tried getting one of that used long teles into repair? Most of these old lenses can’t be repaired anymore due to lack of parts, your Sigma 400mm is an example of that.

Serviceability, I can easily dismount and clean the scope if needed, my 200-500 for example been a few months at the factory to get rid of the huge amount of dust it had inside.


You say we need stable tripods, well sure, but that is true for any long lens work. Forget stabilization, for ultimate sharpness a solid tripod is essential, VR or IS is just a workaround, a useful one and spectacular in some occasions but a solid tripod is key.
Manual focus it’s a matter of getting used to it, and in some occasions it can actually work better than AF. And when you try to keep up with a scope focal length with those lenses with TCs (300 F4+2xTC = F/8 ) AF wont be that good anyway. And ever tried comparing manual focusing one of those lenses to a scope, a scope is far easier to focus.
__________________
TL APO telescope for sale here:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=284785
FernandoBatista is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 07:31   #30
Bowerbird1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Geelong
Posts: 9
Thanks everyone for your detailed responses.

I will have to investigate it much further. Looking at the Lens Cell discussion, Fenando provides a good explanation of the benefits of astroscopes for light transmission vs photographic lenses with seemingly 'brighter' F stop specs.

Perhaps I don't have to lust after unaffordable Canon super-teles.
Cheers
Mark
Bowerbird1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 13:27   #31
thornlv
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Nottingham
Posts: 458
Here are a couple of examples of the Skywatcher ED80 versus a Sigma 500mm F4.5 lens (ED80 = £300, Sigma Lens = £3400)

Both were taken in the same conditions and same place - both with my Nikon D7000. The chaffinch was in more direct light and the Robin slightly shaded but more or less the same distance. NO processing has been done re sharpness or contrast just minor exposure adjustment in Camera RAW

The Chaffinch was taken with AF on the Sigma, the Robin with Focus trap on the ED80.

For full size photos go here
Chaffinch, Sigma lens
Robin, Skywatcher ED80

For me, I see little difference - however the Skywatcher is much better IQ when used with TCs and home made TCs when compared with Siggy.

Points for me FOR the ED80:
Cost, Image quality, Reach (long range where the Siggy would be of no use).

Points for me AGAINST the ED80
Portability, manual focus (focus trap helps here)

So in my world, I would be using it in a situation where I need the reach, for shorebird or waders etc. I don't generally walk about with it (as I can with the Siggy). I do a lot of work in hides or my portable hide and either the Siggy or the ED80 is used (as in points above)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1703_006BF.jpg
Views:	619
Size:	118.6 KB
ID:	315649  Click image for larger version

Name:	ED80PrimeReducedAperture07BF.jpg
Views:	672
Size:	225.0 KB
ID:	315650  
thornlv is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st April 2011, 18:18   #32
eenymac
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Herts
Posts: 183
Well, I now have the SW 80ED, Max DSLR and 50mm Extension tube, all having arrived quickly from First Light Optics during the week.
I have only had time to have a short "play" indoors shooting through the living room window (living on top of a hill in a 2nd storey flat overlooking the town helps with a view) and so far it's looking very good indeed.
I've tried my Pentax K5 on it and the Catch-in-Focus works fine, so that'll certainly aid things. I also have a Kenko 1.5x TC that has performed quite well on my DA*300mm F4 so I am keen to try that too.

It all seems sturdy enough on the Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod and 393 head which I already had.
One question - can any of you guys using long scopes recommend a good carrying case / backpack that this beastie will fit into? I often have to walk some way to get to my usual spots so thinking a backpack would be the best bet.

Anyhoos, weather forecast is for a clear night and good weather tomorrow so I'll be out at first light as usual, just a little more burdened than usual and getting the first test shots in at the reservoirs.
eenymac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st April 2011, 18:23   #33
Musoman
PETE - Nikon Shooter
 
Musoman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 1,615
Dont forget that flocking the inside of the tube itself, and the dew shade, and any ext tubes, will help the contrast. Maybe baffling the kenko TC too, recommended by Paul
__________________
NIKON D610+Nikon D7000+Tamron 150-600 G2+Tamron 70-300 VC+Tamron SP 90 AF Macro+Nikkor 28-105 AFD+Tokina 11-16+Manfrotto+Giottos
BF Photos
FLICKR
Musoman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st April 2011, 18:59   #34
eenymac
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Herts
Posts: 183
Thanks Musoman, I'll look into the flocking issue.

It'll go on the list of things to do, along with a new paint job / toning down of the white bits!
eenymac is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st April 2011, 20:13   #35
Remirath
Registered User

 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galicia
Posts: 57
Nikon D90
Tripod Fancier FT-6662A + ball head
Small table tripod
Manfrotto Monopod 680B
Skywatcher SW80ED + TS Adapter + T2 ring
Mcnett camo tape (2 different patterns)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	dscn4368.jpg
Views:	606
Size:	141.8 KB
ID:	316014  Click image for larger version

Name:	dscn4400.jpg
Views:	357
Size:	144.2 KB
ID:	316016  Click image for larger version

Name:	dscn4401l.jpg
Views:	316
Size:	134.2 KB
ID:	316017  
Remirath is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 6th April 2011, 19:34   #36
goldenarrow
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: IL
Posts: 124
stabilization

Quote:
Originally Posted by eenymac View Post
I've tried my Pentax K5 on it and the Catch-in-Focus works fine, so that'll certainly aid things. I also have a Kenko 1.5x TC that has performed quite well on my DA*300mm F4 so I am keen to try that too.
I am curious about your setup using Pentax gear. In the earlier discussion, "VR" was mentioned as an expense avoided but I don't think in-camera stabilization was mentioned that could aid small telescopes. I would like to do a combination of hand-held and at other times, tripod wildlife photography. I don't always want to carry a heavy tripod. Have you ever experimented with the in-camera stabilization with Pentax (or Sony or Samsung) DSLR's? I have a K200D. Another reason, too, to BUY PENTAX or similar technology!

Was thinking that using a light tripod or monopod and a smaller than usual setting in "SR" would help get a sharper photo compared to hand-holding. The Pentax I have only goes up to 800mm for the setting. And I know from reading a test study of different stabililzation technologies, most work best in the 100-200mm range and effectiveness falls off on either end. I wonder if using a monopod or light tripod with an 800mm lens (scope+TC) could work with a low SR setting in the 200mm range?? And this is not just conjecture, some people use a similar method of estimating shake reduction using old manual zooms which do not communicate focal length to the camera. Just something more to think about and try I guess.....

GA
goldenarrow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 6th April 2011, 19:37   #37
Musoman
PETE - Nikon Shooter
 
Musoman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 1,615
Thats something i will experiment with, as i have a K200D too. Never thought of doing such a test. Soon as i stick my scope on, i set IS to 600mm

I'll try 200 and see what IQ is like on my monopod
__________________
NIKON D610+Nikon D7000+Tamron 150-600 G2+Tamron 70-300 VC+Tamron SP 90 AF Macro+Nikkor 28-105 AFD+Tokina 11-16+Manfrotto+Giottos
BF Photos
FLICKR
Musoman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 11th April 2011, 06:54   #38
alphan
Registered User
 
alphan's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Kuching
Posts: 442
My setup consist of Celestron C80ED, Chinese made T-2 to MA Mount, Chinese made Extension tubes, Sony A550, DIY Indian Gimbal and DIY Tripod. The Hood I have replaced with a 100mm PVC pipe which can be reverse mounted for mobility. The camera in pic is an old Minolta SLR for model only.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Set.JPG
Views:	246
Size:	50.5 KB
ID:	317942  Click image for larger version

Name:	Scope.JPG
Views:	409
Size:	51.2 KB
ID:	317943  Click image for larger version

Name:	Hood.JPG
Views:	192
Size:	54.4 KB
ID:	317944  
alphan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 12th April 2011, 19:41   #39
roztoczol
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: south-eastern Poland
Posts: 41
My setup


Skywatcher 80ED
T2 to M42 adapter
old extension rings M42
M42 to 4/3 mount with chip
Olympus E-520
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Wunderwaffe.jpg
Views:	660
Size:	84.8 KB
ID:	318264  
roztoczol is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 12th April 2011, 21:59   #40
Paul Corfield
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Corfe Mullen, Dorset, UK
Posts: 3,010
Quote:
Originally Posted by roztoczol View Post
My setup


Skywatcher 80ED
T2 to M42 adapter
old extension rings M42
M42 to 4/3 mount with chip
Olympus E-520
Welcome to the astro scope forum roztoczol.

Paul.
Paul Corfield is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 18:08   #41
goldenarrow
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: IL
Posts: 124
shake reduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musoman View Post
Thats something i will experiment with, as i have a K200D too. Never thought of doing such a test. Soon as i stick my scope on, i set IS to 600mm

I'll try 200 and see what IQ is like on my monopod
Wanted to reply to this even though I am not using a scope yet, am doing this experiment based on the idea of getting one this year. The attachment was taken with my Pentax K200D+300mm SuperTak+1.7xTC (stopped down to f/8 on the lens) on a monopod which was then shoved into a water bottle pouch attached to the front of my belt (had to lean hard down into the pouch to get more stability). The Shake Reduction was set to 250mm even though the lens focal length adds to 510mm (as I understand manually set SR, you do not add-in the crop factor). Bird was somewhat far, not sure, did not measure it off of google. Also, it is a 100% crop and was judiciously sharpened with PSP XII and Focus Magic. Not too bad for an experiment. Looking for an f/6 ED scope that is not more than 5 pounds in weight, hard to find. The new Orion triplet is f/6 but comes in around 6 pounds. Will be experimenting soon with the telenegative I tore out of that tamron lens last week.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	_IGP4001sm.jpg
Views:	429
Size:	92.8 KB
ID:	318590  
goldenarrow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 20:37   #42
Musoman
PETE - Nikon Shooter
 
Musoman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 1,615
I think Fernandos TS TL804 is around 5Lbs and f6 or maybe f6.6 but FL is only 420 or 430mm. Though he gets good IQ with TC's

I have a very similar arrangement with my Manfrotto 681b Monopod, but i have a rucksack type belt attached to the Pod, and leave it slung round my my neck, and simply swivel the the thing round to take a photo. I have the legs out just long enough to brace against my own leg.

Of course this is not for my scope. Its too long and too weighty for that, but i have a 400mm hoya and 320mm Pentax lenses that this system works fine with
__________________
NIKON D610+Nikon D7000+Tamron 150-600 G2+Tamron 70-300 VC+Tamron SP 90 AF Macro+Nikkor 28-105 AFD+Tokina 11-16+Manfrotto+Giottos
BF Photos
FLICKR
Musoman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 22:23   #43
Paul Corfield
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Corfe Mullen, Dorset, UK
Posts: 3,010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musoman View Post
I think Fernandos TS TL804 is around 5Lbs and f6 or maybe f6.6 but FL is only 420 or 430mm. Though he gets good IQ with TC's
TS TL804 is 480mm F6 80mm objective 2.3kg (5lbs from TS website) although users say it is a fraction heavier than the quoted weight on the TS website, one user weighed his OTA at 2.4kg (5.3lbs).

The new Orion ED80T CF is the exact same scope as the TS TL804 but in a carbon fiber tube, although at 6lbs this makes it slightly heavier than the aluminium tube TS version.

Paul.

Last edited by Paul Corfield : Thursday 14th April 2011 at 22:31.
Paul Corfield is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 22:55   #44
Paul Corfield
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Corfe Mullen, Dorset, UK
Posts: 3,010
The Pentax 75mm 500mm f6.7 SDHF flat field astrograph weighs in at 4.8lbs. It's a very highly regarded instrument for photography.

Paul.
Paul Corfield is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 23:09   #45
Musoman
PETE - Nikon Shooter
 
Musoman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 1,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Corfield View Post
TS TL804 is 480mm F6 80mm objective 2.3kg (5lbs from TS website)

Paul.
I knew i'd got some of it wrong


As for the Orion CF - its hard to imagine how a similar scope in CF is weightier than an Ally one
__________________
NIKON D610+Nikon D7000+Tamron 150-600 G2+Tamron 70-300 VC+Tamron SP 90 AF Macro+Nikkor 28-105 AFD+Tokina 11-16+Manfrotto+Giottos
BF Photos
FLICKR
Musoman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 23:15   #46
Paul Corfield
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Corfe Mullen, Dorset, UK
Posts: 3,010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musoman View Post
I knew i'd got some of it wrong


As for the Orion CF - its hard to imagine how a similar scope in CF is weightier than an Ally one
Yeah, I thought the CF would be lighter but users have confirmed it's heavier. Depends how thick it needs to be to be stable, then add the weight of the resin and I suppose that's where the weight is.

Paul.
Paul Corfield is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 23:36   #47
Musoman
PETE - Nikon Shooter
 
Musoman's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 1,615
It seems then the only advantage is that CF colour - it doesnt stand out like a christmas tree, as opposed to the pure white scopes
__________________
NIKON D610+Nikon D7000+Tamron 150-600 G2+Tamron 70-300 VC+Tamron SP 90 AF Macro+Nikkor 28-105 AFD+Tokina 11-16+Manfrotto+Giottos
BF Photos
FLICKR
Musoman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 20th April 2011, 21:59   #48
DRodrigues
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Coimbra
Posts: 501
Tmb92

I didn't purchase it for taking photos http://www.pt-ducks.com/cr-telescope...CR-binoviewing but since I have it, I use it for photography...
Combined with the Siebert PMW (0-3x) it works great - in the photo enclosed I'm also using a Brightstar http://www.bstar-science.com 1.6x element of the modular barlow from 1.6 to 2.5x since 506mm is too short for my field conditions - it also increase de image quality of the 3x position of the PMW.
For photography the version with the 2" would be better since is less expensive, a bit less heavy and allow better balance than my 3" version.
The TMB is a true APO and since I have it I notice well the CA of my Optolyth100 scope in some situations...
The NEX5 with the 7fps option is also great for action photos!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	TMB_PMW_NEX5.JPG
Views:	937
Size:	206.7 KB
ID:	319867  
__________________
David
_____________________

http://www.pt-ducks.com

Last edited by DRodrigues : Thursday 21st April 2011 at 13:23. Reason: correction
DRodrigues is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 21st April 2011, 04:47   #49
alphan
Registered User
 
alphan's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Kuching
Posts: 442
David, does that cartridge contain the various Barlows or different iris. How heavy for the whole setup? Your NEX looks like a fly on the jumbo. Very impressive setup. Post some shots at the gallery thread.
alphan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 21st April 2011, 14:02   #50
DRodrigues
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Coimbra
Posts: 501
Alphan, the PMW has 4 different barlows and an empty hole. It weights 354g if you use it with the T connections. I have to show some sample photos of different magnification positions.

The TMB92 is very heavy - listed for 8.5lbs but with the tube rings and dove tail bar is weighting more than 5kg - my scale only weights until 5kg...

I included a couple of sample photos in the other thread.
__________________
David
_____________________

http://www.pt-ducks.com
DRodrigues is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Astroscope + DSLR = Gallery! cango Photography using 'Astro' telescopes 2557 Tuesday 15th May 2018 17:51
Gimbal with astroscope cango Photography using 'Astro' telescopes 20 Wednesday 1st December 2010 00:32
Testing prime focus digiscoping setups JGobeil Photography using 'Astro' telescopes 105 Friday 15th August 2008 16:41
Test of various Canon/Kowa digiscoping setups awallace The Birdforum Digiscoping Forum 1 Sunday 11th November 2007 14:10
Birdhouse Camera/Video Setups? RadSurfer Garden Birds, Bird Feeding & Nestboxes 21 Saturday 1st April 2006 20:56



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.26768708 seconds with 37 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 11:33.