Astrophotography has been an off/on hobby of mine for almost twenty years. In that time I’ve taken a few images a really like, and many I don’t. Typically I go through periods of enthusiasm and frustration, both with gear, weather, and my own limitations.
One thing that does recur is a fundamental laziness I have when it comes to setting up and taking down my equipment. This is the biggest blocker I find to just getting out and doing. I’ve thought about putting in a permanent pier, so that I don’t have to mess around as much with the tripod and mount alignment, but that’s not the only problem I have. It’s also somewhat hard to travel with my setup. I downsized about 10 years ago from an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain to an 80mm refractor, and that helped, but given how I frequently I’ve gone out over the past few years, I thought it might be time again.
I want to rethink my setup, from my mount to the optics and imaging to the possibility of autoguiding and other niceties. Most importantly I want to be satisfied with both the level of effort involved in setup, when compared to imaging and processing, and I want to be satisfied with the quality of the images.
I’ll explore options and comparisons over a series of posts, and try to reason out what works along with what I already have — afterall, budget is a big factor, and I’m already a photographer who has a lot of equipment that could work anyway. But most of all, the test will be whether I actually get out and take astrophotos again.
After all, I’ve gotten great results with just a camera and a lens before.