"What telescope do you use?"
I get this question often, so I made this blogpost including all my gear with links to buy.
I have 4 telescopes, 5 cameras, and 3 DSLR zoom lenses.
The reason I have a variety of lenses and cameras is because I use the high power instruments to get images of far objects like planets and galaxies, while low power instruments get me a wide angle view of the field of the images. I then use the images I get to blend them into composite images and put things together in a form like you see in my Instagram Gallery.
If you are looking for a beginner telescope, checkout this list I put together on Amazon.
Here’s a breakdown of my gear:
Meade Instruments S6000 5” refractor telescope (DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER). I use this telescope 90% of the time to capture the Moon and the planets. My telescope is discontinued by the manufacturer, this Orion Telescopes 130 mm refractor is the closest alternative.
Celestron 11” Edge HD telescope. I use this telescope to capture the planets. This main reason I don’t use this telescope often is that it’s too heavy (28lb), and it often needs a sort of instrument calibration (collimation) due to the thermal expansion/contraction of the material. If this calibration is not done, the quality of the images will be blurry.
iOptron Photron 150 RC. This is a compact telescope that I use to do live broadcasts sometimes.
SVBONY SV503 105 ED F7 ED Achromatic Telescope, this is a great compact refractor telescope. I use this telescope for travel and for live Moon broadcasts.
My Zoom Lenses:
Canon 100-400 IS II telephoto zoom lens. I use this lens to capture a wider views of the Moon and some Moon time-lapses.
Canon 24-70 mark II lens. I use this lens to do wide view astrophotography and for behind the scenes
Sony E-mount FE 24mm F1.4 GM Full Frame Wide-angle Prime Lens. I use this lens with my new Sony camera to capture wide angle views of the night sky and the milky way. It’s a prime lens, which means it has only one zoom setting, however this makes it super sharp. Additionally, the aperture is F1.4, which means it’s a fast lens that captures more light in a shorter time!
My DSLR Cameras:
Canon 90D. I use this camera 90% of the time to capture the Moon and the planets.
Canon t6s. I use this camera for far planetary captures and video captures of the Moon.
Canon 5D Mark IV. I use this camera for wide view Moon shots and wide angle astrophotography.
Sony α7R IV Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera. I recently bought this camera to capture wide angle shots of the night sky and time lapses of the Milky Way.
My Astronomy Camera:
ZWO ASI183MC Planetary Color Camera. This is a specialized camera to capture the planets. It performs better than DSLR cameras in this field because of the higher video frame rate and improved sensor sensitivity to details. Planetary imaging is usually done via video acquisition of the planet then stacking the best frames captured from the video.
My BTS Night Vision Camera:
SIONYX Aurora Black I True-Color Digital Night Vision Camera. This is a great night vision camera that I use for my BTS videos. It works great in low light. I use it to capture meteor showers too. It doesn't work very well in very dark sites. I was able to show the Andromeda galaxy using this camera once. Definitely worth the investment.
Tripods and Mounts
Skywatcher EQ6 R Pro mount: this carries the 11” Celestron Edge HD
Meade Instruments LX 85 mount: this carries the Meade 5” refractor telescope. It's super light weight and does the job perfectly.
Meade Instruments LX 70 mount: this carries the iOptron Photron RC 150 and the 5” refractor as well (This has been discontinued for unknown reasons)
Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2i Pro Pack. This is probably the best investment you'd ever make. It helps you track celestial objects for a setup that weighs up to 11 lbs. I used this setup when I started using the iOptron Skyguider Pro which got old after 7 years of service, so I recently got the star adventurer and it has been amazing. This tool is a must to have for any astrophotographer. Of course you will need a heavy duty tripod with it (recommendation below)
An autoguider is an essential tool that allows you to do long exposures without risking of having star trails in your image. The autoguider has a guiding scope and a camera that can be mounted on top of your telescope. The camera is usually connected to a computer. The computer is connected to your mount in returns. A software, usually PhD2, is usually connected to both, the camera and the mount. This tells the mount to move according to the star on pixel in the image, locking the star in position and giving a consistent tracking.
My autoguider is this: Orion Magnificent Mini Deluxe AutoGuider Package
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via Instagram DM.
The links in the blogpost are my affiliate links, which means you can buy using them at no extra cost to you, I will make a small commission if you click them and make a qualifying purchase.