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#iEXOS-100 #iEXOS-100


Parag Modi
 

Hello All,

 

I have been getting started in AP with my DSLR.  So far I have been doing landscape (Milky Way) on a tripod without tracking by using image stacking approach.  I would now like to start imaging closer DSO (M31 etc) using my DSLR and 18-300 mm lens.  I have seen YouTube videos showing how that can be done without tracking, but I don't want to go about processing 600-1000 images for single object.  I'm interested in acquiring a low entry point tracker specifically iExos-100.  Can the community help me with a few questions to help me narrow down my choice?

 

1) I see a lot of posts on challenges with polar alignment on this model.  Does a rough polar alignment followed by three star alignment a good way to get long exposures without investing in additional hardware at this time?

2) With the above mentioned alignment, what are some realistic exposure times on an APS-C DSLR and 300mm zoom?

3) The description says Open source software, but I'm unclear on exactly what portion of software is truly open source.  Is there an IDE and source code available to "tweak" the software?

4) Is it possible to do planetary photography with long exposures?

5) Is it possible to do time lapses?

6) Does Explore Scientific offer discounts for first time buyers?

 

Thank you,


Ian Morison
 

Dear Parag - a few pointers.  

'I have been getting started in AP with my DSLR.  So far I have been doing landscape (Milky Way) on a tripod without tracking by using image stacking approach.  I would now like to start imaging closer DSO (M31 etc) using my DSLR and 18-300 mm lens.  I have seen YouTube videos showing how that can be done without tracking, but I don't want to go about processing 600-1000 images for single object.  I'm interested in acquiring a low entry point tracker specifically iExos-100.  Can the community help me with a few questions to help me narrow down my choice?'

 

1) I see a lot of posts on challenges with polar alignment on this model.  Does a rough polar alignment followed by three star alignment a good way to get long exposures without investing in additional hardware at this time?

I would not try to use long exposures - there are problems apart from tracking - for example, if imaging the Orion nebula exposures of longer than about 15 seconds will 'blow out' the central region of the nebula. The same is true for the centre of the Andromeda Galaxy.  Image attached is of the Sword of Orion taken with 50, 15 second exposures.   I think 30 second or 1 minute exposures would be fine.  Only 60 frames needed at 1 minute for a 1 hour exposure.  Sequator will align and stack these quite quickly.  (See article in Digest mentioned below.)

2) With the above mentioned alignment, what are some realistic exposure times on an APS-C DSLR and 300mm zoom?

I had no problem  with 30 second exposures without star alignment having aligned on the NCP reasonably accurately.   It is good for the image to move across the sensor during the period of the exposure to remove the effects of hot pixels and 'Color Mottling'.  Just keep the exposures short enough so that star trailing is not a problem. 

3) The description says Open source software, but I'm unclear on exactly what portion of software is truly open source.  Is there an IDE and source code available to "tweak" the software?

Out of my league - though I have taught computer programming at University!

4) Is it possible to do planetary photography with long exposures?

No, long exposures are not needed.  BUT, if you have a Canon camera, you can use the free 'EOS Movie Record' program to use it as a webcam and do 'lucky imaging'  to greatly remove the effects of the atmosphere.  See the article in my Astronomy Digest (www.ianmorison.com - note a single 'r')  on imaging the Moon   -  'Using Deconvolution Sharpening on Lunar images captured with a Canon DSLR and EOS Movie Record'  

5) Is it possible to do time lapses?

I do  not see why not.  I think that you will need an intervalometer  ~ $20 on Amazon to automatically take the frames.  But I wonder what objects. ?   

6) Does Explore Scientific offer discounts for first time buyers?

Not that I know of.

I have put up a first 'review' of the  iExos-100  in the digest  which will be added to as I am able to use it more - only a couple of clear nights since I acquired it.  I had no real need to buy one but felt it 'deserved' to be bought as I really liked the concept and engineering.  It is really for use for astrophotography with a couple of short focal length refractors  but, given additional counter weights can support, for example, a Celestron C6 Schmidt-Cassegrain.

There are many other articles in the Digest that could help you on your way.  Let's hope the  iExos-100 is available again soon.

I do hope that this might help.

Cheers,

Ian


Harry
 

Hi Parag,

I started using my dslr and 300 zoom lens with my iExos 100 a couple of years ago. Here are some thoughts.

Will you be using a 7 inch or better iPad or Android tablet with the ExploreStars app to control it?

Do you have access to a Windows computer for occasional firmware updates?

Realize that the ExploreStars app was intended for visual use. However, it can be used for astrophotography.

Polar alignment is important. The better alignment, the better results. The app PS Align Pro, and an inexpensive red dot finder (Rigel) will help. I’ve found a 2 star alignment works just fine. Balancing also very important.

Exposures: I can get 30 seconds reliably. With a good PA, 45-60 seconds maybe. I did a shot of M31 at 79 seconds, and I was happy with the results. Yes, at longer exposures there may be a little star trailing. You have to judge your tolerance. Remember, this should be a fun hobby.

Planets, No. They are so small, even at 300mm. Moon, yes. 

Stacking, another big variable. I’ve done 10-50. Yes, more are better, but?

At its price point, I think its a great product! With “go to” its better than any sky tracker, and can grow with your hobby.

FYI, I now have an ASIair Pro, and ZWO guide camera, with a 80mm scope. Yes, these are nice, BUT not required now. Maybe for your future enjoyment. With the Pro, 5 minute exposures, PA a snap. Scope not necessary.

There are so many great people on these forums for help and guidance.

Harry




--
Harry
Vero Beach, FL

Mounts: ES iExos 100-PMC Eight
Scopes: ES  ED80CF, ES AR102,  Meade ETX 90 EC (Deforked)
Guide: ZWO 30mm Mini, ZWO ASI120MM-Mini
Software: ASIair Pro, iPad Pro, MacOS, Starry Sky Stacker, Affinity Photo, Lightroom,  SkySafari Plus
Cameras: Nikon D600, D5500
Misc: ES USB Power Bank, Rigel QuikFinder, 0.8x Focal Reducer
Filters:  Optolong L-Pro, L-eNhance






jdavis1278@...
 

1) If you can get a clear shot of Polaris, use an app to see where it's located around the NCP. Then I shine a green laser through the provided "alignment" hole, get Polaris pretty much located where it should be according to the app. Then I actually run a 2 star alignment, and I've gotten pretty crisp 90sec subs. 
2) 30 secs would be VERY reasonable, 1 min, possibly 90 secs.. If, on the other hand you get it REALLY good, then 2-4 mins especially if you're guiding (I am not, yet. Total noob) 
3) No idea. I know my limits, software programming is WAY outside of those limits. 
4) I'd assume so, I haven't tried it. 
5) Again, I'd assume so. To echo others, what target?
6) I know of no discounts. (I got my iExos 100 on telescopes.net (Woodland Hills) and they are still showing some in stock. )


Parag Modi
 

Thank you.


Karol Trepala
 

I'm using 300mm lens with MFT camera. And I think you should take some margin for those times given by people here... I started just a few months ago my AP hobby, with small tracker star adventurer mini, and I could reach 15-20s exposures (however it was overloaded because my lens weight is 2,3kg), I switched to iexplorer counting on much better results, but at the beggining it was exactly the same (even with pollar alignment by dedicated pollar scope, which I bought as an additional accessory, and which I don't recomend), pollar alignment with this mount is a real pain in the ass. After some fight with the mount and pollar alignment by sharpcap, I can reach 30-40s exposures without autoguiding. Maybe beacuse of te smaller sensor than APSC, or because of my particular mount imperfections (I tried to adjust gears, but I can't eliminate completly movement on RA axis), Nevertheless in my opinion realisticly you can count on 30s exposures. If will be better, than good for you... In my case I swithed to autoguided exposures, but also in this case It isn't as good as I would like... 2-3 minutes are max what I could reach due to the backshlash on my the gear. Until now I have got only 1 night with clear sky, to test this autoguiding, so I hope I can improve this result. Nevertheless at your place I would recomend you to buy for the beggining some decent tracker with autoguide camera, play with it and in some time switch to less "budget" mount than iexos. From the other hand if you like to fight with your equipement and learn a lot about it, this may be a good option.