Maybe I found it!

Wrapping up a crazy weekend with a very successful opening of the San Juan River exhibit. I am writing to follow up on some of the "return to astrophotography" musings I posted earlier. To reiterate some of my criteria for re-entry:

  1. Ease of setup. This means no computers, no autoguiding, and lightweight mounts and scopes.
  2. Quality data in one night. The system must be fast and produce superb images.
  3. Everything must come together in a unique package that I am not seeing done by anyone else. This is very challenging, but we will give it a try.
So, I revisited some of my first impressions of astrophotography and recalled that I just loved the Schmidt camera field of view. Today everyone seems to be headed for the big 20" RC and small fields of view, at least with one non-mosaiced frame. My first thoughts on an imaging system were the Tak FSQ. Now this is a great scope and may be in my future, but I believe I have found a better alternative for my needs. The Canon 135mm f2 lens performed for Loke Tan very admirably on his trip to Chile. I revisited his website as I recalled the remarkable photographs taken with that lens and the SBIG 11000 camera. The 135 stopped down to 5.6 provides excellent quality at a fast speed. The field of view is roughly 9x6 degrees which is nearly equivalent to a 5" Schmidt camera. Even better is that it should not require a computer or sophisticated equipment for focusing as I should just be able to utilize infinity for focus on the barrel. I just reviewed the field of view in compositions on my star charts and I calculate at least 10 compositions that I feel are worthy to pursue with this lens. It should be simple to piggyback on a scope and should not require autoguiding with a well trained PEC mount. So, that is the update today as we are looking at the 135mm f2 lens with the modified Canon 400XTi camera from Hutech. Now to find a mount! No hurry, just thinking out loud, remember?

Addendum: After further research, it appears that the Canon 200mm f2.8L II lens is very good giving a little tighter field of view at a very affordable price. So this is perhaps the direction now.