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| p.3 #7 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount |
Fred Miranda wrote:
Fred Miranda wrote:
Thanks guys. I can see how this can become quickly addictive.
For those who only want even more portability shooting Nightscapes with their wide-angle or lighter lenses, there is now a great alternative to Astrotrac.
It's called iOptron SkyTracker and its design is very similar to the great Vixen Polarie but with many improvements like an included illuminated scope, ability to hold 6.6 pounds of weight, a built-in wedge and 24hr battery performance. Since my main interest is landscape photography, I just ordered one to try it out.
B&H has is for $399:
I'm also working on a quick tutorial on how to blend two images together when shooting low ISO Nightscapes with a tracking mount: One long exposure for the tracked stars and the other for the foreground elements.
Wow Fred.....you're a quick study, and not shy about throwing on a 500mm to peak the challenge. Great results with the Astro, and I'm very interested in your impressions on the iOptron - it would be my choice for size/weight reasons, and it looks like you wouldn't need the geared head with it? Looking forward to your blending tutorial...thank you!
My iOptron should be here in a few days. Once I get it, I will do some tests and post my first impressions.
Wow, this is highly tempting.
The camera mount looks the same as the Vixen; I suspect it does not permit more weight but likely represents a more accurate specification.
The other shortcoming of the Vixen Polarie is that polar alignment with the much more accurate polar scope is done by inserting the polar alignment scope through the same port as the camera attachment. Obviously you cannot have both on at the same time. So if you fall out of polar alignment, off comes the camera to realign with polaris. This can be a pain. And wait, you touched the focus ring in the process and the socks with foot warmer packs around the lens end slid off (don't end your night early with dew!). Now I have to do live view infinity focus again. If you are doing some pure astro and trying to get something like andromeda, torque the system too much finding it, ugh.
Additionally, using the polar scope required some manual calculations and then aligning the dials on the scope like a combination safe lock. Although not beyond the capabilities of anyone here, it was cumbersome out in the dark and was tedious to repeat if you came out of alignment. That being said, the small package and results are a joy. Buy some pentax wp ii 10x50 binocs so you can see even more while you do a bunch of darks and lights of the amazing sky.