John, This was well put / explained by Bernard. My main point and focus is to go for the most mount you can afford. Even a go a step further than what you think will do. That will make all the difference that you will not and can not even imagine at this point. I am still very much learning, but everything I have learned tells me that it is all about the mount, the mount, the mount, and then it is all about the mount. Great images are taken with moderate scopes, but a moderate scope can NOT give you a great image without a GOOD mount. Pretty much the first thing I learned, but only after an upgrade to the mount !!! Clear and dark skies, Brad Geisler Still learning and accessing as I go. But actually getting better at it. At least I think so. ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bernard Miller" <bgmiller011@xxxxxxx> To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 7:04 PM Subject: [AZ-Observing] Re: Shopping Advice from anyone? John, The ST-8300 is a great camera. I have it and love it. I can't speak to the pro package because I just have the camera and filter wheel, but just Google "st8300 pro package reviews" and you should find some. The requirements for astrophogoraphy are much more demanding than for observing. The ST8300 has a pixel size of 5.4 microns. To get good result, you need to keep your guiding to within 1-2 pixels, depending on your plate scale (i.e. arc seconds per pixel) and seeing conditions. This means that for good results you have to make sure the image does not move more than 5-10 microns during a 10 minute exposure. I am not sure if the CGEM is up to that. I personally would not want to try astrophotogaphy with a CGEM mount. I tried it with a CGE mount (since discontinued) and had about equal parts success and frustration. The only Celestron mount I would try astrophotography on is the CGE Pro. There are probably other mid range mounts that could work, but I just don't have experience with them. One thing to do would be to join the SBIG Yahoo group and ask people what mount they are using and if they have a website of their work. This would give you some idea of what other people are doing. One other thing to consider is the your telescope. You do not mention what you have, but if you have an 8 or 10 inch Meade SCT, you will have a lot of challenges. First, an 8-inch SCT with the ST8300 will have a resolution of 0.56 arc seconds per pixel. This will require arc second, to sub-arcsecond guiding to get good results. People do this all the time, but it is a challenge to start off that way. It is like taking up golf by joining the PGA Tour. If you have the time, persistence, and patience you can get some great results, but you will need lots of all three. For what it is worth I would recommend getting as much mount as you can possibly afford. Consider starting with a DSLR. You can get a top of the line one for 1500 dollars and a very nice one for about 800 dollars. The ST8300 Pro Package is about 5000 dollars with the filters. This would allow you to get started with a DSLR and learn the ins and outs. After year or two you could consider moving to the ST8300 with some experience under your belt. Thanks, Bernard -----Original Message----- From: az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of johnensworth@xxxxxxxxx Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:35 AM To: AZ-Observing Subject: [AZ-Observing] Shopping Advice from anyone? Hi All, I've just finished installing an Exploradome in my backyard and am wanting to purchase a 'mid-range' camera system and get going learning the art of astrophotography. For a camera, I'm interested in what anyone thinks about the SBIG 8300M Pro Plus package. Does anyone have a review of this product, or an alternate they would recommend? And if I go this route, my Meade LXD 55 mount (I have the Meade LXD55 10" (30lbs).) will not work with the autoguider. SO- it looks like I'll need another mount. I'm looking at either the Celestron CGEM mount ($1500) or the Meade LX80 ($800). Does anyone have feedback on these mounts, and do you get what you pay for? Thanks for the feedback - I get one shot at these purchases (and it will still probably take me a year to save the rest of the $ I need for the SBIG camera system) and I want to do it right. John Ensworth Camp Creek Observatory (near Carefree but currently in Longmont, CO with the Cherrywood Observatory and Little Thompson Observatory). -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list. -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list. -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list.