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Telescopes

beginner astrophotography kit

This Astrophotography Kit is Less Than $2K (and works amazing)

|Telescopes|12 Comments

Astrophotography is about more than just the pictures you take, it’s about an overall positive experience along the way. I don’t like seeing people quit because they’re frustrated and confused. It doesn’t have to be that way. When starting out, I think it's important to choose a setup that is easy to use, and not overly complex. As you learn more about astrophotography, you can gradually upgrade your kit to include more advanced equipment.  In this post, I am going to break down an extremely practical and affordable astrophotography setup under $2000 that will allow you to t…

William Optics Cat 71

William Optics RedCat 71 First Look

|Telescopes|3 Comments

Late last month, William sent me a William Optics RedCat 71 for review purposes. I will continue to share my results using this apochromatic refractor telescope, and will likely purchase it after the testing period if I have the option. At the time of writing, I do not know when the RedCat 71 will be available for purchase. I would imagine there will be limited stock available before the end of the year, but that is pure speculation.  I know that there are a few RedCat 71 units being tested in other parts of the world right now as well. The Cat 71 was designed to be an ultra-flat, w…

Radian Raptor 61 Review

Radian Raptor 61 Review

|Telescopes|27 Comments

The Radian Raptor 61 is a triplet apochromatic refractor telescope for astrophotography. It features a compact design with features custom-suited for wide-field, deep-sky astrophotography. Since the Raptor arrived in September, I have taken some of my best astrophotography images to date with it. In this review, I'll share all of the image examples I have collected since the prototype arrived at my door.  This compact telescope was designed for astrophotography with a camera attached, not visual observations through an eyepiece. If you're interested in taking pictures of deep-sky ob…

refractor telescope for astrophotography

Why You Should Start with a Refractor Telescope

|Telescopes|26 Comments

If you're getting started in deep-sky astrophotography, I believe that a compact apochromatic (APO) refractor telescope is the best possible choice. A compact APO refractor is portable and lightweight, making it a smoother transition from the camera lenses you may be used to. In fact, in many ways, a high-quality apochromat is very much like a telephoto lens.  If you're interested in photographing nebulae and large galaxies in the night sky through a telescope, this article should shed some light on the decision-making process ahead of you.  In 2020 I worked with Radian Tele…

Celestron RASA Review

Celestron RASA 8 F/2 Review

|Telescopes|34 Comments

The Celestron RASA 8 F/2 Astrograph is a modern astrophotography telescope with an optical design that allows you to collect deep sky images using short exposure times. Based on the popular 11" version, the 8” model is the most affordable RASA (Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph) in Celestron’s lineup. The RASA optical system presents a modern and practical approach to extremely fast deep sky astrophotography. I like to think of it as an evolved Schmidt camera for today's amateur astrophotographer. I should start off by saying that until now, I’ve never used an SCT (Schmidt-Cassegra…

RedCat 51

William Optics RedCat 51 Review

|Telescopes|35 Comments

William Optics is a company known for creating high-performance apochromatic refractors and constantly updating and refining their designs. The RedCat 51 Petzval APO is the latest creation from the company that can't sit still, and it is bound to shake up the industry once more. I am fortunate enough to have been granted early access to this exciting Petzval apochromat that debuts in early March 2019. What makes the William Optics Redcat 51 so special? The 4-element Petzval design, unique focal length, and helical focuser. The sleek red finish of the RedCat 51 signals its individuality a…

Celestron CGX-L computerized mount

Celestron CGX-L Telescope Mount – First Look

|Telescopes|18 Comments

The Celestron CGX-L is a robust, professional-grade computerized equatorial mount with an impressive 75-lb payload capacity. The deep sky astrophotography potential of the Celestron CGX-L is obvious, and I intend to experience this benefit first-hand. The CGX-L is the largest equatorial telescope mount I have ever used for astrophotography, with payload capacity that surpasses the incredible iOptron CEM60 (by 15 pounds). The added stability will come in handy when using the largest telescopes in my inventory, such as the William Optics FLT 132 refractor. Later this year, I will run a com…

DSLR camera and small telescope

Astrophotography with a DSLR Camera and Small Telescope

|Telescopes|23 Comments

This week, I returned to my roots and enjoyed some deep-sky astrophotography using a DSLR camera and small telescope. Don't get me wrong, dedicated astronomy cameras and heavy-duty mounts are great, but my latest imaging session in the backyard was a breath of fresh air. In this post, I’ll share my early results with a new compact refractor telescope, the William Optics Zenithstar 73 APO.  I’ve managed to collect some exposure time on a number of deep-sky objects using a crop-sensor (modified) DSLR. My experiences with the Z73 have reminded me how much I enjoy deep-sky imaging t…