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Recommended Equatorial Mounts and Lenses for Nikon



I am new to the forum and astrophotography.


Regarding equatorial mounts, can anyone recommend a high quality precision mount for my Nikon D810 with a AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED ?   This needs to be something that is precise enough that, I will not want to upgrade in a year, after developing my imaging skills.


Also, does anyone have any Nikon lens recommendations, besides the 300 mm f/4 above ?    If you do have other recommendations, could you also talk about what you use such a lens for ?


Yes I know, at some point I may want to upgrade to a high quality telescope and mount.   However until that time, I want to first explore astrophotography with Nikon products that I can use elsewhere, for "normal" photography.   This way, getting in is fairly simple, requiring only a precision mount, Backyard Nikon, et cetera.




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5 answers to this question

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Before making a Suggestion that "you will not want to upgrade in a year", you'll need to elaborate on two topics:

  1. What is your Budget??  There are $400 Camera Tracking Mounts which will handle a DSLR and moderately heavy Lens, and there are $15000 EQ Mounts which will last you a Lifetime (and match your apparent penchant for High-End Equipment).
  2. What are your expected Targets??  With a 300mm Lens you are limited to the Larger DSOs (no Planets or Faint DSOs), but other Lenses or Scopes would afford you other Targets.
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Thanks for your fast reply, appreciated.


Right - I already own the 300 mm Nikon F/4, so it looks like that's a little on the short side.   This is the longest lens that I own.    Buying another longer one from Nikon will cost thousands, the same price as a fair size telescope.   So, as a starting objective, I was hoping to just use the 300 mm F/4, and learn some imaging and processing techniques.    Hopefully, there a few dozen targets that would be a good starting point.    This way, the only item of consequence to purchase would be a high quality DSLR mount.    So, for budget, hopefully something less than $2,000 can fit the bill and work for a year or two.   Perhaps Astro Mart is another option ... find someone two years down the road and ready to move on.


At this early stage buying a Software Bisque or Astro-Physics mount would of course be over kill, and also risky if for some reason I decide to pull the plug.    Instead, what's out there that will accept my Nikon 810 with the 300 mm … high enough precision, so to not be frustrated by tracking errors, et cetera ?    I suppose, staying short at 300 mm helps with this.    In other words, the mount is #1.


Assuming I get past this stage, then it will be time to consider some glass less than 25 cm, paired to a Software Bisque MyT ... for example … small enough to be portable to dark sites.    This is sort of like trailering boats … when it is behind the car it is too big, when it is in the water it is not big enough ;)  !    So any thoughts on portability are appreciated as well.



Thanks very much,


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If you are sure that the 300mm will be your max Lens, then consider the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer on a very sturdy Photo Tripod.  It will carry your Rig, and come in FAR below your $2000 Budget.


If you think that you "might" venture upwards to a Longer Lens or a short APO Refractor, then you'd best jump up to an entry-level AP-capable EQ Mount.  Consider the iOptron ZEQ25 or the Celestron AVX - both will fit easily under your Budget (even allow you a Down Payment on that Short APO Refractor).

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You may also want to consider a Vixen Polarie Star Tracker.  You can get the Polarie and a sturdy tripod for well under $1000. It will carry a 7 lb payload.

Yes, the Polarie is a well-liked Camera Tracking rig, but the competition has eclipsed it with significantly MORE for the same Starting Price.


The newer offerings such as the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer are "custom-packaged" RA Axis from their entry/mid-level EQ Mounts.  Here's a Review of the Star Adventurer: SkyNews reviews Star Adventurer

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