Required equipment for astrophotography
At the beginning of the occupation with astrophotography interested people are sometimes not aware that this hobby can be very cost-intensive. At discounters there are sometimes quite great bargain offers for telescopes with fantastic statements about the quality and that as an increase almost still in the two-digit price segment. Some buyers of these offers certainly assume that just any telescope is mounted on a camera, and fantastic astro images succeed.
However, optical components that deliver high quality are very price-intensive. In order to give an idea of the approximate costs to be expected by interested persons, the following overview is intended to show a rough price range of how much must be invested for good images as a minimum. Of course, there are no upper limits, and some things can theoretically be made on a do-it-yourself basis. But here it is about what has to be invested without do-it-yourself in order to achieve halfway good photo results without the disappointment becoming too big. This overview shows a recommendation from personal experience. For other astrophotographers such a table would probably look somewhat different.
When considering costs, it is assumed that a laptop is available.
|Designation||Description||Minimum price margin||Required||Optional|
|Telescope||Depending on preference, a smaller refractor or a small Newtonian telescope is recommended for a beginner, with the Newtonian telescope being less expensive and thus used as a reference for price.||300-500€||X|
|Tripod with mount||A stable parallactic mount with Go-To function (approaching the objects) is absolutely necessary. No inferior mounts should be purchased here. The frustration about blurred images would otherwise be very large with these.||1.000-1.400€||X|
|Astro camera||Theoretically, an uncooled color CMOS camera /DSLR would suffice for the start, but a cooled camera is very helpful, and it would be double the cost to switch to a cooled model after a year. Therefore, a cooled color camera is recommended here. (A mono camera with color filters is more challenging as a starting point).||1.000-1.200€||X|
|Guiding camera||A guiding camera is essential. However, small monochrome versions also work here. (Tip: A guiding camera can also be equipped so that it can be used for capturing planets later).||180-260€||X|
|Eyepiece focuser with gear ratio for precise adjustment around the focus point||Refractor and Newtonian telescopes are usually already equipped with an eyepiece focuser. If not, this is needed. With a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, focusing can be done via the mirror, which requires a lot of sensitivity. Here, too, an eyepiece focuser is recommended.||200-250€||X|
|Bahtinov-mask for focusing||Highly recommended for finding the correct focus point.||15-35€||X|
|Reducer, Flattener, Coma Corrector||Such accessories are almost always to be installed and even if it is only a 1x coma corrector for a Newtonian telescope or a 1x flattener for the refractor. In this case, it is important to make sure that the components were manufactured specifically for the existing telescope.||150-350€||X|
|Heated dew cap, heating tape or secondary mirror heating with control to avoid dew formation||From personal experience can be said: Never shoot without a dew cap. If dew forms on the lense or mirror, the shooting session is over for that night.|
Refractors usually already have a small extendable dew cap, but it is not heated. Small heating tapes are often helpful here. For a Newtonian telescope, a small heater for secondary mirror and an unheated dew cap on the outside is usually sufficient. Dew caps provide additional protection from extraneous light. For a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, a heated dew cap should be used.
|Off-axis-guider or guiding telescope||Necessary to guarantee error-corrected tracking of the Earth's rotation.||100-160€||X|
|Duo-Narrowband filter||There are very many emission nebulae to discover. Since pure narrowband filters are not useful on the color camera, a Duo-Narrowband filter can be recommended.||200-280€||X|
|Light pollution filter||Can be used in areas close to the city for better contrast.||130-200€||X|
|Filter drawer for changing filters||In case you want to change the two filters without adjusting the camera again.||100-180€||X|
|Flatfield mask for generating the flat-frames||Is very helpful for creating the flat-frames. There are also approaches like hanging a T-shirt in front of the telescope and shining a lamp in front of it, but the flatfield mask is preferred here.||120-200€||X|
|Distance adapter for adjusting the working distances of the cameras||To set the correct working distances, some distance rings (fixed or adjustable) are needed.||15-60€||X|
|Transport case for accessories||A transport case with foam lining is used to transport the sensitive components.||80-100€||X|
|Transport bag for telescope and / or tripod with mount||It is essential to have a suitable padded transport bag for the telescope.||50-80€||X|
For the required parts, the approximate price range is as follows: 3.075-4.430€.
If the helpful optional components are added, the following results are obtained: 3.800-5.475€.