Topics

Mounting camera to EXOS2 #EXOS2 #astrophotography


Brad Becker
 

As I await delivery of my EXOS2 is there a quick & dirty method to mount my DSLR to it?  Will probably attach nothing more than a 135mm lens and try rough PA with the included polar finder.


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 01:21 PM, desert frag wrote:
As I await delivery of my EXOS2 is there a quick & dirty method to mount my DSLR to it?
Hi,

We offer a dovetail bar designed to mount DSLR to our mounts

https://explorescientificusa.com/collections/mount-accessories/products/camera-dovetail-plate 
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Harry
 

Here is an option. On Amazon 15.00.

SkyWatcher S20550 Star Adventurer Ball Head Adapter, Telescope Accessory, Black

You will probably need an adapter to change the 3/8 thread to 1/4 for your camera, or simply change out the 3/8 threaded post. Very simple, but you can not adjust the camera fore/aft, like a dovetail bar.

--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, ExploreStars IPAD & Fire HD8
Nikon D600, D5500, MacOS, Starry Sky Stacker, Lightroom, Affinity Photo


 
Edited

You'll probably get a bunch of suggestions. Here's mine:

- I made a wooden Vixen dovetail, long enough to extend back past the mount casting (toward South); then attached an inexpensive ball mount biased toward the rear
(South). The ball mount will probably need a 3/8" screw through the wooden dovetail. Of course, if you have a proper dovetail, it might already have holes. The trick is to
be able to slide the dovetail forward & backward until the mount balances. The included counterweight will be too heavy for balance about the RA axis; you might need a
really small counterweight, like a 2.5 lb, barbell weight. I found that the small barbell weights have a 1" bore, so they fit the 20mm. shaft loosely. I filled in the gap with a PVC
plumbing adapter. A Pair of 20mm. shaft collars on each side keeps it in place,...kinda.

-Then I added a cheap red-dot finder onto the camera's flash shoe. There are plenty of ways to use your ingenuity here! Your junkbox is your friend!

- Then I co-aligned the camera to the mount's RA axis. To do that, I used the polar finder and Alt/Az adjusters to get Polaris on the cross-hair marks (not the circle). The
camera was aimed at Polaris, and I checked that Polaris was in the center of the frame, by making an exposure. I adjusted the ball mount until it was perfectly centered.

- The last step is to align the red-dot finder to Polaris, too. With that done, everything was co-aligned.

- Don't forget to re-adjust the polar alignment to the real North Celestial Pole (not the cross-hairs)!!!

- You could use any convenient target rather than Polaris, but it was easy to see, and required only a small shift of the RA.

I'm a rank newbie, too; so I hope I've got that right. Seems to have worked for me...


Chuck Lewis





--
Scope: Nikon kit lenses, TBD
Mounts: Exos2GT-PMC8, homebrew barndoor tracker
Camera: Nikon D7000
S/W:  Backyard Nikon, DeepSkyStacker, Paintshop Pro 2020


Brad Becker
 

Harry or Jerry,

Will the SkyWatcher adapter Harry mentions connect directly to the top of the mount without any dovetail bar? 

I'm planning to get the Pergear ball head with a 3/8 thread mount connector and 1/4 camera connector.

https://www.amazon.com/TH3-Capacity-U-Shaped-Switching-Vertical/dp/B00MGJH5U6/ref=bmx_4/144-1292665-3442313?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00MGJH5U6&pd_rd_r=181edadb-e09b-4f8a-a9ab-3efbfd83e951&pd_rd_w=BE7xM&pd_rd_wg=gaNi3&pf_rd_p=2876eb4f-6f13-4a84-8c22-9ec887c09643&pf_rd_r=JS75EBFSCHN7YM2C7Q4R&psc=1&refRID=JS75EBFSCHN7YM2C7Q4R

Sorry, as I don't have the mount yet I don't know what's 'on top' of the mount.


Chris Bourque
 

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 02:21 PM, desert frag wrote:
As I await delivery of my EXOS2 is there a quick & dirty method to mount my DSLR to it?  Will probably attach nothing more than a 135mm lens and try rough PA with the included polar finder.
I ended up picking up a cheap dovetail plate, just to test if camera mounting would be of interest to me. Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Orion-7383-8-Inch-Dovetail-Mounting/dp/B0069WCOA2/ref=pd_bxgy_img_3/137-0671962-3157535?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0069WCOA2&pd_rd_r=3e1e2231-44c8-4dd2-9661-6123b5bdc4ee&pd_rd_w=mYU3e&pd_rd_wg=uzkNg&pf_rd_p=ce6c479b-ef53-49a6-845b-bbbf35c28dd3&pf_rd_r=0KG4N32V3ZQY4NMZ6JFT&psc=1&refRID=0KG4N32V3ZQY4NMZ6JFT

Then just buying a few 1/4" screws (#20 thread, I believe) + a few sizes of washers as spacers, to achieve the desired distance (given the length of the screw), and to create a small platform for the base of the camera to rest.

The key finding for me in practice was immediate dew buildup on the lens of my camera. I was attempting wide angle astrophotgraphy, and my typical long dewshields for my telescopes restrict the field of view for wide angle lenses (i.e. regular 35mm lenses of a DSLR). Likely I will need to invest in dew heaters for the lens to solve this. Just something to keep in mind!


Brad Becker
 

Hi Chris, yes I was looking for something a bit cheaper but having a hard time finding one which includes 3/8" screws like the one ES sells to support the ball head I'm planning to mount.

Also, I'm trying to understand the mount nomenclature ie are all dovetails 'vixen' style or vice versa or whether it makes any difference when it comes to EOS compatibility.


Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering
 

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 02:15 PM, desert frag wrote:
Sorry, as I don't have the mount yet I don't know what's 'on top' of the mount.
The vast majority of astronomical mounts from all the manufacturers use a dovetail based mounting system. There are two styles of dovetails in general usage, Vixen style, and Losmandy style. You have to connect whatever you
want to put on the mount to either a Vixen or Losmandy dovetail. The EXOS 2 PMC-Eight uses a Vixen style dovetail.  Did you watch the video included on the page I linked to our dovetail bar for mounting your DSLR on the EXOS 2?
This shows how it works
 
--
Jerry Hubbell
Vice President of Engineering

Explore Scientific, LLC.
jrh at explorescientific.com

www.explorescientificusa.com
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
1-866-252-3811

Author: Scientific Astrophotography: How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data
             Remote Observatories for Amateur Astronomers: Using High-Powered Telescopes From Home


Mark Slade Remote Observatory (MSRO) IAU MPC W54 Equipment
Wilderness, VA
Mounts
: ES PMC-Eight G11 + Telescope Drive Master (TDM)
Scopes: ES 165 FPL-53 ED APO CF, ES 102 FCD100 ED APO CF
Cameras:  QHY174M-GPS + FW, QHY163C
Misc: 3-inch 0.7x Focal Reducer Field Flattener, Filters: Luminance,
Red, V-band Photometric, Diffuser, 200 lpmm Spectral Grating

Software: MaxIm DL 6, Cartes du Ciel, Astrometrica, AstroImageJ, AutoStakkert!


Harry
 

Yes, the bottom “grooves” on the bottom of the Skywatcher adapter will fit slide right in the top of your mount. No further hardware required. I have used it with a regular ball head and a pistol grip ball head adapter. The pistol kind is very easy to adjust in any direction. You just squeeze it to adjust, and then release the pistol grip, and it stays put. However, it does add a little extra weight.

Harry
--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight, ExploreStars IPAD & Fire HD8
Nikon D600, D5500, MacOS, Starry Sky Stacker, Lightroom, Affinity Photo


Brad Becker
 
Edited

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 02:06 PM, Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering wrote:
Did you watch the video included on the page I linked to our dovetail bar for mounting your DSLR on the EXOS 2?
This shows how it works
Yes and it looks easy peasy thanks :)

For someone who might be interested in something less expensive to begin with with modest equipment would this work as well?  It says Dovetail and no mention of Losmandy type.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z40WWQG/?coliid=I2I5F1WVSOZRPK&colid=1B94WRIQ7BB4J&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it&th=1


Brad Becker
 

Great thank you.


Brad Becker
 

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 11:13 AM, Chuck Lewis wrote:
Then I added a cheap red-dot finder onto the camera's flash shoe
Never heard of this.  What a nice accessory!


Chris Bourque
 

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 06:47 PM, desert frag wrote:
On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 02:06 PM, Jerry Hubbell - Explore Scientific VP Engineering wrote:
Did you watch the video included on the page I linked to our dovetail bar for mounting your DSLR on the EXOS 2?
This shows how it works
Yes and it looks easy peasy thanks :)

For someone who might be interested in something less expensive to begin with with modest equipment would this work as well?  It says Dovetail and no mention of Losmandy type.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z40WWQG/?coliid=I2I5F1WVSOZRPK&colid=1B94WRIQ7BB4J&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it&th=1
Its funny, I was going to link this as well, but decided not to, as its a little "hodge podge" for using on the ES mount. Its definitely not designed for this.

However, I actually went ahead and bought this myself, in addition to the dovetail I linked above. It works "well-enough" for my testing purposes. But its not really built for the vixen style dovetail plate adapters. This is designed for a specific quick-release system. When sitting flat, this style bar does not stand as tall as a vixen style dovetail and so will not hold your equipment above the mounting plate.

That being said, it does technically "fit". Assuming you will be offsetting your camera to balance, the length of this bar allows you to secure it in the mount without the camera bumping either the mount plate, or the tightening knobs. This has been my experience when mounting a Canon 60D with 200mm telephoto lens. It works, but I wouldn't call it optimal.


Brad Becker
 

On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 04:12 PM, <chrisjbourque@...> wrote:
It works, but I wouldn't call it optimal.
Thanks, its comforting to hear from someone with firsthand knowledge.  In a perfect world 'optimal' would be great to guide our buying decisions but 'good enough' often trumps it with those darn constraints in life.


Jennifer Shelly
 

Harry:

That ball head adapter is too short.   I know because I tried it with my EXOS-2.  The dovetail clamp on the EXOS-2 will not allow the camera/lens to be moved forward or backward when balancing the mount.  


Brad:

You want to find a Vixen style dovetail with at least 10 inches in length that will allow you to move the camera/lens forward and backward to balance the DEC axis.  When you balance the camera/lens for the DEC axis you will find the side with the motor on the DEC axis will be heavy and the camera/lens will want to rotate in that direction.  You can try to mitigate that that by adding another dovetail on top of that to form a + (plus) sign and mount the camera on the opposite side.  I do not recommend using a ball head because it will move.  You may not see it happening, but it will move.  And last but not least counterweights.  Depending on the weight of your camera/lens you mat not need a counterweight to balance the RA axis.  You might not need the counterweight bar.  Just experiment with various configurations and don’t be surprised if it takes up a whole day. If you think you need a counter weight you can buy a 7.5 lb Skywatcher counterweight.  Just make sure the borehole is the correct size.  ALWAYS have a hand very close to your equipment, so you can grab it when balancing the RA and DEC axis.  You do not want to have your equipment strike the tripod of the mount and damage your equipment.
--
Sincerely,

Jennifer Shelly
AstroPorch, VA

Mounts
: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2
Scopes: ES ED127 FCD-100, ES Levy Comet Hunter, ES N208CF, QHY Mini Guide Scope, Solomark F60 Guide Scope
Cameras: QHY600M, QHY128C, QHY168C
Misc: MoonLite CFL 2.5 / High Res Stepper / V2 Mini Controller, Baader SteelTrack NT / SteelDrive II, Baader UFC, Optolong 2" L-Pro / L-eNhance, QHY CFW3-L, Baader 2” LRGBSHO CCD
Imaging Software:  NINA, APT, SharpCap Pro
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements


Bob Trepiccione
 

Great info!



Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device


-------- Original message --------
From: "Jennifer Shelly via groups.io" <drunkendogg@...>
Date: 7/19/20 1:07 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: MAIN@ESPMC-Eight.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] Mounting camera to EXOS2

Harry:

That ball head adapter is too short.   I know because I tried it with my EXOS-2.  The dovetail clamp on the EXOS-2 will not allow the camera/lens to be moved forward or backward when balancing the mount.  


Brad:

You want to find a Vixen style dovetail with at least 10 inches in length that will allow you to move the camera/lens forward and backward to balance the DEC axis.  When you balance the camera/lens for the DEC axis you will find the side with the motor on the DEC axis will be heavy and the camera/lens will want to rotate in that direction.  You can try to mitigate that that by adding another dovetail on top of that to form a + (plus) sign and mount the camera on the opposite side.  I do not recommend using a ball head because it will move.  You may not see it happening, but it will move.  And last but not least counterweights.  Depending on the weight of your camera/lens you mat not need a counterweight to balance the RA axis.  You might not need the counterweight bar.  Just experiment with various configurations and don’t be surprised if it takes up a whole day. If you think you need a counter weight you can buy a 7.5 lb Skywatcher counterweight.  Just make sure the borehole is the correct size.  ALWAYS have a hand very close to your equipment, so you can grab it when balancing the RA and DEC axis.  You do not want to have your equipment strike the tripod of the mount and damage your equipment.
--
Sincerely,

Jennifer Shelly
AstroPorch, VA

Mounts
: ES PMC-8 G-11, ES PMC-8 EXOS-2
Scopes: ES ED127 FCD-100, ES Levy Comet Hunter, ES N208CF, QHY Mini Guide Scope, Solomark F60 Guide Scope
Cameras: QHY600M, QHY128C, QHY168C
Misc: MoonLite CFL 2.5 / High Res Stepper / V2 Mini Controller, Baader SteelTrack NT / SteelDrive II, Baader UFC, Optolong 2" L-Pro / L-eNhance, QHY CFW3-L, Baader 2” LRGBSHO CCD
Imaging Software:  NINA, APT, SharpCap Pro
Processing Software: PixInsight, Lightroom, Premiere Elements


Brad Becker
 

Jennifer:

Thanks for your feedback.  There seems to be a limited selection (ie can't find one) of 10" or longer Vixen style dovetails tall enough for the mount sporting 3/8" screw heads other than what ES offers.  I'm sure its great .. and may go ahead purchasing it .. but am curious what else is out there as it seems to be a bit of overkill for my needs.

I'm going to use the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II which is micro four third's (smaller lenses also) and was hoping the combination of less camera weight and beefier 3/8" ball heads would be adequate but may have to reconsider.  How are alt/az adjustments made without one?

I'm chuckling because if we can spend 2 - 3 pages discussing a simple DSLR mount what does the future hold for an actual scope attached.


Patrick Maher
 

I second the need for a lighter, much lighter, counterweight.  The 9.9 lb counterweight will be far too heavy for just a camera.  

Patrick
--
Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 and EXOS-2GT (non-PMC)
Explore Scientific ED 102mm Refractor


 

Counterweights?  
 
Yes, the two 5's that shipped with mine were overkill.  Should have been one like that and one half the size.  Better for customer value and would save ES some money as well.  They took the mount's overall weight rating a bit too literally when they sized those.  :-)
 
When I first got my mount, I set up very briefly for visual, and I could not balance my 102x621mm refractor with them.  Had to buy a 2kg counterweight to make that work.
 
That didn't last long.  Once I started hanging a camera off the back end and a guidescope off the top, I was able to retire the 2kg and use one of the original 5kg counterweights.  
 
--
Mounts: ES PMC-8 EXOS2
Scopes: SV 102EDT, ZWO 60/280 Guide
Cameras:  Nikon D5300, Altair GPCAM2 290M
Software: ASCOM, CdC, AstroTortilla, BYN Pro, Sharpcap, PHD2
Computer:  Thinkpad x230, Win7Pro/64


Nemesis2a
 

I too had the same problem when I got my EXOS2, but I improvised until I et smaller counter weight.