Takahashi Portable Mount PM-1X

•July 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

As I already mentioned here, these are basically modified version of PM-1. Now each set is commercially available. PM-1 is the robust body and many nice features such as built-in precision polar scope and alt-az adjustment base etc. These are very good value. PM-1X is more compact and more suitable for imaging purpose while maintaining original good features.

  1. PM-1X, Single axis tracking mount : $1,495.00

PM-X

This is a very basic set. To make the mount complete, it requires a saddle and dovetail plate or GEM kit etc.

2. PM-1XGEM1, German equatorial set (lighter counterweight version) : $1,595.00

PM-1XGEM1

3. PM-1XGEM2,  German equatorial set (heavier counterweight version) : $1,650.00

PM-1XGEM2The difference between above 2 and 3 is only a shaft and a counterweight.

Generally portable mounts are flimsy. But PM-1 is not like that at all. It’s really solid and stable.

We will write up more details at Hutech’s product section.

These nice milky-way pictures are images taken by Fred Eiserling.

SIGMA 50mm F1.4 Art + SONY A7H + IDAS LPS-V4-52

All of SIGMA Art lenses don’t disappoint us.

BTW, I dropped down my SIGMA 35mm Art to the floor and still in service. It was shipped back to Japan. I’ve never used seriously yet……

BORG New F4 Astrograph Sets & 107FL with SD Quattro

•July 19, 2016 • 4 Comments

Following M75 helical focuser versions are now available.

69711

Part #69711 : $1,850.00

including 2573*, 7875, 7051, 7026, 7801, 7507, 7352, 7872 & 7000

* 2673 is 71FL objective assembly without M57 extension tube

2573

69901 Part # 69901 : $2,495.00

including 2591, 7875, 7051, 7026, 7801, 7507, 7352, 7872 & 7000

They are really beautiful mechanically and optically. The above each picture shows the front focuser configuration. But you may set the focuser at the rear or reverse the focuser’s direction too, depending on your favorite or OTA’s weight balance. Each package includes 7352 as a camera rotator and 7000. So the system will be complete by adding a specific DSLR adapter.

Take a close look at the full resolution image taken by BORG 107FL and SIGMA SD Quattro.

SDIM0389xxxst1As expected, fluorite lens and Foveon sensor look the perfect combination in resolution and color depth.

P3720888st1I understand many customers are seriously interested in 107FL. I appreciate that. I will announce more details including the price whenever ready. BORG is scheduling to start shipping by end of this year. Please be patient a little bit more. As shown above picture, 107FL will be still categorized as Series 80 family. So if you have series 80 OTA already, you can easily upgrade to 107FL with minimum investment. The above carrying bag is # 5414.  4″-plus scope with a camera can be put into 670mm long bag when the objective section is collapsed. Very compact!! 

SIGMA SD adapter is considered of commercially available from BORG too. SIGMA-san, where is my camera? I can’t stand any more.

M75 Helical Focuser & PM-1X Mount

•July 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I replaced the conventional helical focuser with M75 one. Now I doesn’t matter what a heavy equipment is set at the back end. Extra benefit is to make OTA weight balance easier.

0718c Focusing is very smooth entire focusing range too. Well machined and built up by the Japanese “TAKUMI” technique.

As described before, the focuser’s helical mechanism has very fine pitch. The outer diameter of a rubber section is about 98mm. Rotating a rubber section 15mm (18 degree) moves ONLY 1mm!! back and forth. Imagine how fine movement is while twisting 15mm or 18 degree by your hand. This should really help the precise focusing. So feel like 15:1 reduction??

0718h

We plan to prepare for M75 focuser packages for 71FL and 90FL.

BTW, the total weight of whole imaging set shown below is about 6kg. A cooled camera is heavy.

0718b

But PM-1XGEM (Hutech part #) looks handling much more load weight. I don’t hesitate loading BORG 107FL either. A good advantage of Hutech special arrangement is the equipment from the mount axis is much closer than the Takahashi original setup. See the comparison.

Less DEC unit weight itself and closer to the mount axis point. This achieves less counterweight or more loading the gear. As shown in a picture, two counterweights (1.4kg each) still have a plenty of room for more equipment weight.  For the imaging purpose, I love this setup. For visual use, yes the original DEC unit makes handling much more convenient. DEC slow motion knob is still nice for image composing too. But as long as it is short focal length, I don’t think it’s so critical. It should be still manageable.

Takahashi PM Mounts Ready for Autoguiding

•July 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Unfortunately, Takahashi PM series mounts have no autoguider port. Personally I don’t feel the needs of autoguiding since tracking and polar scope accuracy are good enough for my use – mainly 200 – 300 mm focal length in each 3 minute exposure. But the dithering must be nice.

Here is the retrofit solution.

_DSF1002Some of ST-4 wires are soldered directly onto PCB and connected to Shoestring GPUSB to electrically isolate. I tested with BORG guide scope with ZWO174MM last night. It just worked as expected. The retrofit work shouldn’t be challenging to all of users. So we will write up the procedure of that. But at least you need to get a Shoestring autoguider interface box.

I was using PhD guiding for the test.  Believe or not, this was my 1st attempt for this software. I don’t use PC at the field. So I needed a bit the time to go along with it. PhD guiding log looked describing within +/- 2 arc seconds for RA tracking if my reading was correct. And as expected, DEC was no shifting in 5 minutes. This reminded me how Takahashi polar scope was accurate. That actually looked similar performance to my EM200. Factory-installed EM200’s polar scope always allows for no DEC correction even without the drift alignment or some other fine-tuning method. An optical scope is accurate enough. Period. This PM series showed similar to that. As always, I feel this is real good value. This assured me I won’t need any other extra device such as PoleMaster etc for PM mounts either.

Anyway, I understand many of Takahashi PM users are interested in autoguiding capability. Until the procedure will be up online, please contact me for further details. I will send you a picture where each wire should be soldered. Fortunately, controller box already has the good size of clearance hole at rear side. So as shown above picture, the cable can go through without any modification work.

Also I wanted to mention PM-1’s one of very good features is two levers.

I’m sure these levels help for accurate polar alignment a lot. While I’m using PM-1 mount myself, I’m sure this is the mount Takahashi technical staff carefully and seriously designed. Probably I can say this is the ultimate portable mount.

Above setup shows PM-SP(a smaller brother) counterweight and shaft. But heavy equipment users can set an PM-1 original shaft and weight. Originally it was not intended for that. But I noticed the reversed shaft fits as follows

0716a

Then, we can set 5 – 6 kg equipment at the top.

 

SIGMA SD Quattro with BORG 90FL

•July 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

BORG showed us their 1st test shots by SIGMA SD Quattro.

P3720817s1

SDIM0206xxst1

Looking cleanly resolved and good color depth. Actually these are the top two I was most expecting. I wonder when SIGMA USA starts shipping here……

SDIM0288xst2

 

And my another shot last new moon weekend

4

BORG 55FL F3.6 + SONY A7H + IDAS HEUIBII-52, 18 x 3 minutes unguided with Takahashi PM-1

BORG M75 Helical Focuser

•July 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

M75 helical focuser has 30mm focus travel. It should be long enough to focus from the infinity to some terrestrial distance target without drawtube.

P3720249s1It turns a super telephoto lens for astro and wildlife photography. I will switch a current focuser with M75 one. Front focuser configuration should make the overall weight balance better and, allow for easier and smoother focusing even a heavy cooled 6D is set at the back end.

7875ss3

Part # 7875 : $560.00

Features :

  • 125mm to 155mm long
  • Largest ID 77mm, smallest section 70mm
  • Removable threaded rings allow to reverse the focuser direction.
  • Finest pitch among current BORG helical focusers (20% finer than 7762’s)
  • Weight : 650g

Once it is commercially available, I will set my current 90FL F4 system. The extra benefit is BORG is now mechanically ready for the future M75 reducer whenever the large format sensor is getting popular in the amateur astronomy industry.  BORG used to sell 4″ 4-element super reducer before. So as ability, no problem to design at all. The issue is fully depending on the market demand and the availability of sensors.

bb

BORG 90FL F4 + Cooled 6D (A sensor was -4 degree Celsius) + IDAS HEUIBII-52, 16 x 5 minutes

Veil Nebula

•July 8, 2016 • 2 Comments

I processed Veil image shown a couple of days ago. I took dark frames too. But I didn’t feel it needed. So the dark is not applied to this image.

vei2

BORG 90FL F4 + Cooled 6D (- 4 degree Celsius) + IDAS HEUIBII-52, 16 x 5 minutes at ISO800

Camera is not strictly temperature-regulated. But during entire imaging session, it was very stable. Very consistent at frozen temperature. And of course, no dew and frost formation over the night. Well built.

As mentioned the above, I don’t feel I need to prepare dark frame library. Only extra shots needed were the flat. I understand my flat image is not proper yet. I need to do something better to take the flat.

Here is the dark image even if abnormally stretched out. So I don’t feel the sensor needs to cool down any more.

dark

Personally I’m very happy for this camera. Expensive, but reasonable value in my opinion.

And after all, no color adjustment made either. Great performance of IDAS HEUIB filter. Highly recommended for modified DSLR users.

 
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