Choosing an Astrophotography Telescope

My goal is that you can find an astrophotography telescope which allows you to fully capture sharp, colourful pictures of stars, galaxies, and nebulae within your own backyard. With that being said, here’s my advice.

What’s the very best astrophotography telescope for a novice? I am frequently asked this issue, and the solution is, the the one that provides consistent results. In the event that you plan on using a telescope for photography with your DSLR surveillance camera, the following list should help you create your decision. They are entry-level, high-top quality telescopes with a confirmed history of success.

Choosing your initial astrophotography telescope

First things 1st. I am no expert astrophotographer, I am simply a guy who’s had the opportunity to capture some decent photos with modest astrophotography tools in my own backyard. I’ve over 6 years worth of deep-sky astrophotography knowledge, with many successful imaging sessions beneath the stars.

The proof is in the photos, not the specs

I like to see real benefits using astrophotography equipment, way more than the intricate details of optical effectiveness graphs. The advanced technical characteristics of a telescope are just useful if the device is a pleasure to operate. Keeping a pricey telescope polished and inside your home isn’t my style. This is an overview of the instruments that I consider to become a contender for best rookie astrophotography telescope.

I actually don’t believe a newbie should jump into this hobby and buy a pricey telescope for astrophotography immediately. Astrophotography requires a great deal of patience. You should love the procedure inside and out to press through the steep learning curve and inevitable frustrations on the way. There is a large focus on affordability and worth on my list.

If you are buying reliable astrophotography telescope for under $500, I’ve got some bad information. Expect to pay at the least $1,000 US for a new model. The used marketplace may offer some cost savings, but be certain to request specific information about the condition of the optics before getting. In the event that you compare prices of the telescopes to a telephoto surveillance camera lens, they are actually quite affordable.

I consider a small apochromatic refractor to be the absolute best decision for beginners, and that’s what I’ll recommend.

Proven winners for deep-sky imaging

When I was getting started, I searched evaluations, testimonials, and product details pages all night before purchasing my initially primary imaging instrument. Nowadays, there are extra astrophotography telescopes obtainable than ever before, making the search a lot more complicated. When you narrow your search right down to entry-level telescopes with powerful, some very clear winners in the group of best newbie astrophotography telescope rise to the surface.

Smart choices for those who want effects with modest products and limited knowledge.

My choices are actually heavily intended for the practicality and usability of the telescope within an astrophotography situation. In the end, beginners have more than enough to understand early on and should have the very best telescope feasible to create avoid an agonizing experience in the dark. These telescopes will develop your interest in the hobby, not ruin it!

I get several emails everyday asking which telescope I would recommend for starter astrophotography setups. This section of the web site is long overdue, since it will be wonderful to have anywhere to immediate beginners looking for extra info on the telescopes I would recommend in my own e-mails and messages.

What you want to start imaging

Unique vendors will offer various plans for the telescopes the following. The inclusion of the gadgets you must get started may finally be the deciding issue of which telescope you choose.

There are specific accessories that might not exactly include the telescope you want to to purchase. Typically, this is why for fluctuations in price between models with very similar specifications.

Generally of thumb, you will require:

  • A diagonal for visible observation and mount alignment
  • A finder scope with brackets for visual observation and auto guiding implementation
  • Tube rings and a dovetail bar, or a dovetail for mounting
  • A travel case to protect the telescope during travel and storage
  • A discipline flattener/reducer to create a flat field for imaging

Make sure you put these additional items (in the event that important) to your current budget before deciding on a specific scope.

The energy of an APO

The 5 telescopes upon this list are small Apochromatic Refractors. The main reason I am such a huge fan of this kind of telescope is their ability to constantly capture high-quality images. With that said, let’s look into the other benefits a small apochromatic telescope has:

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Good colour correction
  • Does not require regular collimation
  • Adjusts to temperature fast
  • Wide Field of View
  • Easy to target
  • Less condensation/dew

Some great benefits of Wide Field

A good wider field of watch is more forgiving in terms of deep-sky astrophotography. This implies that tiny errors in auto guiding happen to be less noticeable than they might be via an SCT with an extended focal length. The tighter your discipline of view is, the more specific your emphasis and auto guiding must be. For example, the Explore Scientific ED80 includes a focal amount of 480mm.

Many beginners are employing crop-sensor DSLR cameras through the telescope. With an APS-C sized crop sensor as if you discover in the Canon T5i, the focal duration becomes 768mm. (480mm x 1.6 Crop factor). That is a forgiving and effortless field of viewpoint for capture many large nebulae including the Lagoon Nebula or the reflection nebulosity determined within the Pleiades.

If you are by using a 0.8X discipline flattener/reducer (Recommended), this brings your discipline of view to 614mm. (768mm X 0.8) This covers an area of sky wide plenty of to fit the complete Andromeda Galaxy, with just a little room to spare.

The Apochromatic Advantage

Apochromatic refractors use ED extra-low-dispersion glass to improve resolution and reduce chromatic aberration. Each of the telescopes upon this list happen to be air-spaced doublets or triplets. The manufacturers of these refractors refer to APO’s as ultra-high contrast. Each of them include light baffles within the zoom lens cell to reject stray light.

A field-flattener and/or reducer may be required for a totally flat field of viewpoint to the edge of the framework. For every of the types below, I’ll list the recommended discipline flattener/reducer to go with it.

The Very Best Astrophotography Telescope for a Beginner

5 hassle-free telescopes with the capacity of jaw-dropping deep-sky images by using a DSLR camera and a tracking EQ mount.

Let’s get to it. The small and trusted refractors below possess all proven themselves worthy of a night beneath the stars. The primary telescope on the list is normally in charge of my than half of the photos in my own photo gallery.

Explore Scientific ED80

Diameter: 80mm
Focal Length: 480mm
Focal Ratio: f/6
Weight: 5.95 lbs
Glass: FDC1 (Hoya)
Advised Field Flattener/Reducer: Lightwave 0.8X

The Explore Scientific ED80 is a excellent telescope for astrophotography. This is the telescope that allowed me to fully capture my primary long-exposure deep-sky images like the Orion Nebula, THE UNITED STATES Nebula, and the fantastic Andromeda Galaxy. If you want to learn my Explore Scientific ED80 review, please go to that portion of my web-site for a complete evaluation of the telescope’s astrophotography performance.

The ES ED80 is an affordable option for beginners, with a high-value gain. The package I purchased back 2011 included a difficult shell carry circumstance, diagonal and an illuminated finder scope. This scopes little size and weight signifies that it will obtain plenty of make use of both visually and photographically. Entry-level mounts such as the Celestron AVX or the Sky-Watcher HEQ5 haven’t any problem having this telescope and all important astrophotography gear.

“The astrophotos I have been in a position to capture with this telescope have opened my eyes to a higher level of image quality. I’ve not been ready to achieve images of this quality using a Newtonian telescope.”

Explore Scientific offers a carbon fibre version of the ED80. The CF release has identical specs apart from the fact that it’s lighter and better at adapting to temperature.

Orion ED80T CF

Diameter: 80mm
Focal Length: 480mm
Focal Ratio: f/6
Weight: 5.5 lbs
Glass: FPL-53
Advised Field Flattener/Reducer: Orion FF for brief refractors

The Orion ED80T CF is quite like the Explore Scientific 80mm APO. They show the same focal length, size, and weight, but use different ED cup. The Orion ED80 can be an extremely popular choice for beginners as it offers high-top quality imaging performance at an acceptable price.

Both the Orion and Explore Scientific 80mm models included a built-in dew shield and 2? dual-speed Crayford style focuser. The largest deciding factor between your Explore Scientific ED80 and the Orion 80EDT will probably come down to the gadgets included, and customer support from each company. I’ve had great experiences with both Orion Telescopes and Binoculars and Explore Scientific.

“Well, in love with the think and looks of the incredible little scope. First light was just times ago by target was the lunar area, the photograph was razor sharpened. The contrast of craters, rills, scarpes, mountains, had been breathtaking.” - Orion ED80T CF Review on OPT

The images above were taken by Chuck Ayoub using the Orion 80EDT Carbon Fibers APO with a cooled CMOS camera. The images were shot applying narrowband filters to create false colour images of the Rosette Nebula and Heart Nebula. As you can see, this refractor produces sharp images with a broad field of view.

William Optics Zenithstar 61 APO

Diameter: 61mm
Focal Length: 360mm
Focal Ratio: f/5.9
Weight: 3.2 lbs
Glass: FPL-53
Advised Field Flattener/Reducer: William Optics Toned61

We am proud to say that the William Optics Zenithstar 61 APO has become a everlasting resident of the AstroBackyard. If you watched my video overview of the Z61, you’ll understand that I genuinely like using this tiny doublet from the backyard and beyond. There are numerous impressive qualities of the top quality APO from William Optics, but here are the ones that basically stand out.

Because the Z61 is indeed small, chances are the best telescope for a portable astrophotography setup. At just 3 lbs., and 230mm long (retracted) this little telescope may easily easily fit into a backpack when planing a trip to a dark sky blog. This portability will not sacrifice any graphic quality, simply a little aperture.

Talking about aperture, this 61mm telescope clocks in in F/5.9 - which means that it collects light fast. Add the recommended Flat61 field flattener, as well as your deep sky pictures could have round, pinpoint celebrities to the border of your image within an APS-C or full-frame DSLR camera.

The precision dual-speed focuser is ultra simple and stable. The focuser carries a thermometer to monitor the temperature while imaging. That is useful when the temperature drops at night, and you will need to re-focus your aim for slightly.

The wide focal duration (360mm) comes in helpful when imaging large targets such as the Andromeda Galaxy. Even a crop-sensor (APS-C) sized DSLR like my Canon 600D makes a good wide 576mm discipline of view for large deep sky imaging tasks.

The built-in dew-shield, high-quality glass (Synthetic fluorite) and the deep sky imaging performance of the little doublet make it more than worthy of making this list. Wrap everything up with a modest price, and you’ve got a real champion in the Z61.

Don’t forget to factor in extras including the colour matched dovetail bar, Flat61 discipline flattener, or tube installation rings for an auto guiding program. Overall, the Zenithstar 61 Doublet is a fantastic value and the perfect wide-discipline astrophotography telescope. The photos of the Heart Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy below screen the large field of view supplied by this telescope.

Altair Starwave 80ED-R

Diameter: 80mm
Focal Length: 555mm
Focal Ratio: f/7
Weight: 5.73 lbs
Glass: Ohara S-FPL53
Recommended Field Flattener/Reducer: Altair Planostar 0.8x Flattener/Reducer

The Starwave 80ED-R may be the second edition of the model made by Altair Astro in UK. ED-R version is smaller sized than the classic 80ED, with better optics. Astrophotographers that appreciate very good glass will notice that Ohara S-FL53 is employed in this Starwave telescope.

The beefy 2.5? Rack Pinion focuser included in the 80ED-R was created to handle serious loads such as for example your modern DLSR and large eyepieces. The telescope has a doublet objective lens for appropriate colour correction and excessive imaging performance.

Altair Astro is known for their incredible customer care and dedication to astrophotographers. Predicated on my personal personal activities with the group at Altair - I recommend looking at their line-up of telescopes while doing all your research.

Here’s what others have to say about the Starwave 80ED-R:

“Very good construction - built such as a tank compared to additional 80mm scopes I’ve owned with a far greater focuser. Received this for visible and astrophotographic work with with my Canon 450D and it performs very well. Very best for solar observing with an extremely sharp image. (SW80 V1)” - Mark Fuller

Stellarvue SV70ST

Diameter: 70mm
Focal Length: 420mm
Focal Ratio: f/6
Weight: 5.6 lbs
Glass: Ohara FPL-53
Advised Flattener/Reducer: SFFR-70APO focal reducer/field flattener

Known for their outstanding eyepieces, you could say that Stellarvue knows a thing or two about optics. This APO triplet involves an extraordinary 2.5 dual rate rack and pinion focuser. Rather than rotating the entire focuser, the Stellarvue SV70ST includes an ingenious independently rotating collar where you attach your camera. Another great bonus incorporated with this astrophotographer-friendly APO is the included reducer/flattener.

Stellarvue goes to superb lengths to ensure that their telescopes deliver good quality optical effectiveness. This signifies that each Stellarvue SV70ST undergoes a Strehl ensure that you interferometric test reports are given with each unit. Evidently, Stellarvue values the focus on detail had a need to produce the best quality telescopes. All this comes at a cost, on the other hand. The Stellarvue SV70ST is the priciest astrophotography telescope on my list.

Honourable Mention

The Meade 70mm Quadruplet Astrograph refractor is a worthy contender upon this set of telescopes. Unlike the different models on this list, the Meade APO will not require a dedicated discipline flattener for astrophotography. The quadruplet-lens design has an exceptionally flat discipline of view.

Without being in a position to use every telescope upon this list first hand, it is impossible for me to supply a complete review of each model. Nevertheless, I have plenty of experience using wide-discipline apochromatic refractors just like the ones on this list.

One of the best ways to measure the astrophotography functions of a particular telescope is to find through the pictures on Astrobin or Reddit. Just about all amateur astrophotographers are proficient at publishing their equipment information along with each image.

I hope that overview has helped you on your own journey. I can only direct you towards a course that has worked for me, and bring about years of enjoyment with this hobby. To learn about the current equipment I take advantage of for deep-sky astrophotography.

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