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Orion Adventures in Astrophotography Bundle

3.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
| 4 answered questions

Price: $179.99
Sale: $161.99 + $9.95 shipping
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  • Everything you need to take very wide-field astrophotos of the night sky with your own camera (camera not included)
  • A great way to get started in the rewarding hobby of astrophotography without breaking the bank
  • Capture stunning ethereal photos of our own galaxy - the cloudy Milky Way - by mounting your own camera onto the included EQ-1 equatorial mount equipped with a motor drive and 1/4"-20 threaded post
  • Take interesting star-trail photos and impress your friends and family
  • An amazing value - this affordable beginner astrophotography package lets you save big compared to purchasing each included item separately
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$161.99 + $9.95 shipping Only 3 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Orion Telescopes & Binoculars.

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Product Description

Perhaps you're interested in a hobby of astrophotography, but you are overwhelmed by all the different equipment options. Well you're in luck! Orion has exactly what you're looking for in our Adventures in Astrophotography Bundle. You don't need a lot of fancy gear to start taking shots of the night sky. With just a few key pieces of astronomy equipment, you can capture beautiful wide-field images of starry skies. The Orion Adventures in Astrophotography Bundle lets you take surprisingly detailed pictures of star fields, the Milky Way, or star-trails with a point-and-shoot or DSLR camera (camera not included). All you have to do is attach your camera to the Orion EQ-1 Equatorial mount and tripod with the included 1/4"-20 threaded adapter, align the EQ mount with Polaris (the North star) and start shooting! If you leave the camera shutter open for an extended exposure, you'll be rewarded with stunning star-trail images. If you'd rather capture wide-field shots of starry skies and the Milky Way, you can add electronic tracking to the equation with the included EQ-1M electronic motor drive. The motor drive will slowly rotate your attached camera at the same rate the Earth rotates, so the stars in your image will be points of light instead of curvilinear star-trails.

Product Information

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Item model number 27154
Customer Reviews
3.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #3,657 in Camera & Photo
#75 in Camera & Photo > Binoculars & Scopes > Telescopes
Date first available at Amazon.com November 1, 2003

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I have used this kind of mount for about 5 years now. It was very wobbly when carrying a 4.5-inch f/8 Newtonian but it allowed me to take videos of the moon and planets with a webcam and then combine the individual video frames to compose quite sharp images.

In the last couple of months I have been investigating its capability as a widefield astrophotography platform, carrying a DSLR camera and a 135mm or 200mm lens. I was pleasantly surprised, astonished even.

The first thing one needs to get right is polar alignment, that is, make sure that the Right Ascension axis points to the correct bit of sky, wherever it is you are. I developed a method, originally due to David Rowe, that can reliably produce polar alignment errors of less than 5 arcminutes, see [...] for details. That is about 1/6 of the apparent size of the full moon. This process can take about 20-30 minutes and requires a laptop to analyse the camera images.

The second thing that needed addressing is the mount's unsteady rate of rotation when the motor is engaged. There's no escaping the fact that this is a bottom-end mount, mechanically and electronically. I measured its error at around 180 arcseconds over a long exposure of 10 minutes. The standard way to rectify this is to "autoguide" the mount, that is, attach a second imaging system on the mount and take images of a star field every second or so and then use these images to adjust the rate of rotation. The most economical way of providing this facility is to use a 9x50 finderscope mated to a webcam such as the Philips SPC900NC.
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Mind you, I'm rating this before I've had an honest attempt to put it through it's paces, so this is more just a preliminary impressions kinda review. That said, til now, the only night photography I've done has been of the Northern Lights. I decided this would be a fun alternative for those cold nights when the lights don't show, or aren't really dancing enough to make photographing them worthwhile.
Assembly of this tripod is fairly straightforward and simple. If you have even one mechanically inclined bone in you, you can figure uot how to assemble this. I did receive one defective part, which Orion didn't hesitate to replace. Gotta say, I'm already impressed with their customer service. In the chance I have to contact them again, it's good to know they stand behind their products. I hope I don't test that again though. It is fairly lightweight, and probably won't take a lot of abuse, but for a tenth of the cost of most others, what can you really expect there? I took it out tonight for a trial run, but made a few minor mistakes that really defeated the purpose - chose a dark valley that obstructed Polaris, so I couldn't properly align it, and then got clouded in so I couldn't see any stars at all. I decided to let it run anyhow, just to make sure everything was properly functional. Timed & measured the rotation, and used a green laser on the mountain as a test point at various intervals. The tripod tracked true (for short range, anyhow), and the rotational speed was accurate over the course of 4 hours.
As others have stated, the directions for use are fairly minimal, especially for an intro package. Fortunately, that youtwitface sight has many many videos that can walk you through the basics, and seeing it done (at least for me) is far easier than text directions.
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I wanted to get started down the Astrophotography road with experimenting and learning. I have a couple of photos from the my second night's use. The Orion constellation was a 5 minute exposure and the zoomed in Orion Nebula a 10 minute exposure. It took me no more than a couple of minutes to sight the polar axis towards Polaris (see backyardastronomy.com for the different levels of instructions). As is mentioned in the description (and obvious from my photos), this is for wide field photography of constellation sized proportions. It has taught me how to work equatorial mounts and what features I would need or can get away with for the various different types of astrophotography.

It comes in three separate packages. This probably should have come with the alternate 2.1lb weight (Orion #7398) as indicated in the mount's instruction manual for DSLR use. In addition, you have to come up with your own mounting of accessories to the legs if you want it to look like the picture.

Some side notes, to use the slow motion RA control, you would need to unhook the motor that requires the included allen wrench. Of course, for fine-tuning I just use the increased motor speed forwards/backwards, but am learning how to get good aim without using them. Be careful when turning the motor on and off that you do not accidentally switch it between the North and South. The opposite setting does make for quicker star trails though.
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First off, if you just want to photograph star trails, just buy a $35 tripod at WalMart. You don't need this mount for star trails as Orion implies.

The big problem with this "bundle" is that it comes with no instructions regarding its use for astrophotography.

You get three basic items. The equatorial mount, the motor drive, and the camera mount adapter.

The equatorial mount came with some assembly instructions and some minimal use instructions. It gave a polar alignment procedure, but says "More precise alignment is required for astrophotography". It says to look for better methods of alignment in amateur astronomy reference books and astronomy magazines. ???? Not a good sign.

The camera mount came with NO instructions at all. It's all up to you to figure out how to mount it and how to orient your camera. It's not horribly difficult, but c'mon...how hard it it to include a simple picture showing where to mount it and the proper orientation for the camera?

The motor mount came with instructions. They were adequate.

So that's all you get. There's nothing at all to help you get started on your "adventure". There should have been at least some basic instructions with suggested targets and camera settings. There are a few decent books on basic astrophotography with cameras...why not include one of those in the bundle?

I'm not exactly a beginner in astonomy, so I plunged forward.

I couldn't get the mount aligned decently. Tried several methods on the internet, like the drift method, but none seemed to be working for me.

Contacted technical support. They were very unresponsive. After a week, I got a response that said, "just aim the Polar axis at Polaris and take some photos".
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