I wanted to take this moment to reflect back on my journey into this new and exciting hobby. Middle of 2020, I started my research into ways to transition into deep sky astrophotography. I had been doing wide field night sky photography for several years prior to that focusing on Milky way and star trail photography using just my DSLR and tripod. As I started my research into DSO astrophotography, I came to realize that I needed some way of tracking my shots. Since I am on a budget, I researched many star trackers available on the market and I was almost ready to pull the trigger on Star adventurer. By accident during my numerous google searches, I came across Explore Scientific and iEXOS-100. At that time not a lot of information was available on YouTube or any other online sites to help me decide. But I saw the descriptions and the vision for OpenGOTO community and was really intrigued. Since I could get a full Equatorial mount with GOTO functionality and open source community support, I took the plunge in iEXOS-100 purchase late last year. Since I received my mount in ~Sept 2020, I took time to get familiar with it indoors to learn the rope to say. I found this forum as an excellent way to get many of my rookie silly questions answered, I especially thank you and Wes McDonald for answering many of my silly questions. Once I got comfortable with the mount operation, I finally took an actual test spin in my backyard in December 2020 and started on targets around constellation Orion. Every session since then I had small successes and some stumbles as I learned. This forum community has been outstanding in helping me out with each of my stumbles by providing quick responses the next morning after my stumbles.
I'm still a rookie using just the mount and my DSLR so far, but I feel that the Explore Scientific community has ensured that I don't get rookie burnout and abandon a wonderful hobby! The vision of OpenGOTO also ensures that the product I bought keeps extending it's capabilities, like these latest releases demonstrate. My sincere gratitude to everyone involved in this community for turning me into an astro addict.
I think I absolutely made the right decision!
Mounts: ES iEXOS-100
Scopes: APS-C Sigma 18-300 mm
Cameras: Nikon D7200 (Unmodified)
Misc: Bahtinov Mask, K&F Concept Clear night filter
Software: ExploreStars, Stellarium