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Buying Your First Telescope, A Guide for Beginner Astrophotographers


Photography is an expensive hobby as it is, but if you’re interested in astrophotography, you’re looking at adding at least one more item to your camera bag. Well, actually, it won’t fit in your camera bag, because that item is a telescope.

And when it comes to selecting your first astrophotography-worthy telescope, the tips offered in the above video by Mr. Forrest Tanaka are invaluable and very well presented.

The detailed advice offered in the video is well worth the 32 minutes of your time it would take to watch it, but if you’re strapped for time, here’s a TL;DR (or DW?) version:

Your telescope selection will depend largely on a delicate balance between the type of astrophotography you intend to do, and the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Of the three types of telescopes — Newtonian, Schmidt–Cassegrain and Refractor — the first is most often your cheapest, and third your most expensive.

As far as specs are concerned, for planetary photography, concern yourself with focal length rather than aperture — planets are bright but small. Also, increasing your aperture will most quickly increase your price and blow your budget.

For deep space photography, make sure you select a quality mount, because you’re going to need to track objects that are (very) far away as you take longer-exposure shots. You’ll also likely spend more as you’ll have to focus on an increased aperture rather than focal length — nebula and galaxies are dim but huge.

Of course, the above few paragraphs barely scratch the surface of what Tanaka has to say, so if you’re interested in astrophotography, carve out half an hour and get educated. Selecting the right telescope (and mount) is crucial to snapping quality photos of everything from neighboring planets to galaxies far far away.

(via Reddit)