BORG 55FL F3.6 and 90FL F4

•August 26, 2015 • 4 Comments

I think now it’s the time to publicly show up my 1st test result of last new moon weekend. Following both were taken by 55FL with 0.8x dedicated dedicated reducer (1st prototype) and SONY A7(no filter) and IDAS HEUIBII filter.

casper2This is one of my most favorite targets and I always wanted to cover both clusters and nebulae in one frame. This scope allowed me to do that. Probably Sh2-240 should be perfect target in its size and the speed of this optics next time. auriga1

I didn’t expect left faint nebulosity (Sh2-235?). So I should re-try in slightly different framing next. Also Auriga was still too low angle. So the left side of image was affected by light pollution.

These two images remind me of medium format film era at viewpoint of the field of view and resolution. I’m feeling these are something similar to 6×7/6×9 film format with BORG 350mm or 400mm scopes I was using that time. But I believe these images’ resolution should be better.

Newly-designed super reducer for 55FL looks superb. Although I feel we might need some tweaking for better performance, overall it was what I expected. The field of view by 200 mm focal length and full frame sensor – this was what personally I was eager for. There are other 200 mm telephoto lenses in the market. But these results assured me of telescope-like clean, high contrast and sharp images as expected.

Also there is the one thing I want to clarify. I’ve never adjusted the color balance in these images. HEUIBII filter did great job. I highly recommend HEUIBII to the modified camera owners if the sky is dark enough. As shown in Auriga, if the sky is light polluted, LPS-D1 or LPS-V4 do better job. But as long as the sky is dark enough, HEUIBII is the best for modified DSLRs. Keep in mind, HEUIBII works for regular daytime shots too as described here before. Search with HEUIBII at my blog. You can see some my test results.

I applied the flat. But I wonder how much different between with the flat and without. Very even illumination entire full frame sensor. Even if no flat taken by some reasons, we don’t have to be disappointed at all. Still flat enough. I took more pictures. I will add them here later on.

Following picture is taken by one of very serious BORG users – Kok Chen with his 90FL F4 and modified A7S.  His location is not astronomy favor in weather wise. But he is always doing his best efforts to shoot day and night.

scaled25-8bitsHere is the comment from him.

Optical train is 90FL and 7872 flattener, filtered with the IDAS LPS-D1 to a Hutech modified A7S.
The skies here are very bright and the LPS-D1 is noticeably better than the HEUIB for NGC7000.

The A7S has quite low read noise, so I took 97 frames (I threw one frame away because the FWHM was higher than the others) at 30 seconds each,
ISO 2000. I did not have to auto-guide the Takahashi EM-11 because the exposure times are so short. Stacking is aligned with Nebulosity 3.
And processing is done with a combination of Nebulosity 3 and Photoshop.

Dark frames are taken as usual, but the flat frames (with bias removed) are taken with a white JPEG from an iPad 2 that is
about 1″ from the front of the 90FL objective.

The original short dimension (2848 pixels) of the A7S frame is cropped by 100 pixels,
and the width is cropped so the result is a square (the above image is rotated 90 degrees from original frame).
The combination is wide enough to include both NGC5000 and the Pelican are both in the frame.
The JPEG above is scale down by a factor of 4 from the original crop.

I look forward to his next image soon.

Office Renewal Party and Solar Image

•August 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

New office preparation is getting close to finish and now we are scheduling to have small party on next Saturday. For local people, please feel free to come to our office with your friends and family, and see the new showroom. Anyone is most welcome. DSC_0485_1

openhouseI plan to set up two solar scopes – SF-50 and IDAS white light. Please come enjoy solar observing while having lunch. A lot of refreshments will be available, of course as always including beer and wine.

Hinode SG developer, Jim Windlinger has created the great time-lapse movie. Flare captured is really huge and fast. I was told this was several hours session.

He taught me some image processing technique. So I hope my next movie will be somehow better than the previous. Unfortunately I’m too busy to shoot these days though.

Ted Selection Special Sale

•August 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My highly recommended imaging packages including one IDAS filter are now on sale and will continue to the end of August. All optical systems fully cover full frame sensor. The proper camera adapter is required based on the user’s camera configuration.  Each set is available at the limited number and stock offer only.

  • 60ED F4

b06040sThe set includes B06040, HEUIBII-48 or LPS-P2-48 or LPS-D1-48 (user selectable) and BORG carrying bagheuib2cbmini

Regular total price : $1,634.00

Special price : $1,385.00 -> SOLD OUT (Thank you!)

  • 71FL F4

B07140The set includes B07140, HEUIBII-48 or LPS-P2-48 or LPS-D1-48 (user selectable) and BORG carrying bag

Regular total price : $2,134.00

Special price : $1,795.00

  • 77EDII F4.3

b07704          The set includes B07743, HEUIBII-48 or LPS-P2-48 or LPS-D1-48 (user selectable) and BORG carrying bag

Regular price : $2,384.00

Special price : $1,995.00

  • 90FL F4

B09040AsThe set includes B09040A, HEUIBII-48 or LPS-P2-48 or LPS-D1-48 (user selectable) and BORG carrying bag

Regular price : $2,934.00

Special price : $2,575.00

Each optical system configuration can be seen at Astrograph price list.

BORG 90FL Binoscope & BORG Tools

•August 12, 2015 • 1 Comment

I’m discussing with the customer who is interested in 90FL binoscope and have prepared some different configurations for his study. A right scope viewing from the behind shows 1.25″ helical focuser with drawtube while the left is with 2″ Feather Touch focuser without drawtube. I had only two mounting rings at this moment. So only one ring is set for each scope.

_DSF1006 _DSF1007 PICT0003Untitled-11) BORG 4317 – 1.25″ helical focuser allows to focus like conventional binoculars by turning each eyepiece independently. Since a helical focuser’s focus travel is very limited, drawtube is used for rough focusing. It’s not must. But more convenient for using various eyepieces. If we only use 1.25″ eyepieces, this should be the way to go.

2) 2″ Feather Touch allows to use 2″-to-2″ EMS and long stroke FTF eliminates the drawtube. Simpler and 2″ eyepiece with EMS2 but requiring more cost.

Now I start shopping around the suitable tracking mount for my 90FL Bino too. It was not large aperture like 125SD Bino I used to own. (BTW, I still recall it showed me most spectacular Jupiter image in my life). But compact and high quality optics with fluorite. Probably this is more suitable and realistic for my needs at the various viewpoints like carrying by single hand and loading on the car etc.

Next topics should be common issue for all of BORG users – two parts are stuck together. Especially short rings are very hard to be taken apart. As shown below, rubber wrenches work well. But sometime ring is too short.  The realistic solution is the gloves then.

_DSF1010Generally grasping each part makes things worse since each ring is deformed.

Watch following video. This non-slip gloves allow to push side-by-side by each palm completely. So no squeezed and no hurt from threaded pitch. Effective and safe!!

BORG sent them to me and found out surprisingly how valuable this is. So I wanted to share with you. I’m sure similar ones should be available here. But if it’s hard to find it out, let me know. I think I will get some more from BORG.

Anyway, rubber wrench and glove are the essential tools for BORG users to make modular system more fun.

Lacerta Standalone Autoguider

•August 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I’m playing around the new guider.

DSC_0480I feel at least I can use the basics of each function – guiding, imaging and dithering. One surprise feature I didn’t expect before is the setting of imaging camera’s multiple exposure times. I wished to do that before. But I didn’t want to use PC either. Lacerta allows to set up to 4 different exposure times for one imaging session. Moreover, we can choose the order of different exposures too. For me, this was big extra value I didn’t anticipate. Thank you!

After reading the detailed instructions manual, I also noticed multiple guiding frame can be accumulated(?) or averaged(?) to reduce seeing factor, and sent as single correction signal to the mount. This looks nice feature too since my place’s seeing is always terrible especially in summer time. I’m curious how the result will be different between single longer exposure and multiple averaged short exposure.

This becomes the valuable companion for myself as Canon and Sony users. Now Lacerta does almost the same thing as PC software does, without PC. I’m still trying to learn functions since there are so many parameters manually set by a user. But I can say, very easy to start using and making it more refining for better auto guiding performance by parameter changing. Very nice product as I heard.

Moon and 55FL F3.6 with Lacerta Standalone Auto Guider

•August 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Following is great lunar shot taken by Tetsuya Kasori.

moonBORG 90FL + 1.08X flattener + Kenko 3x Teleplus + extension tube + Canon 6D, 25 x 1/25″

I start preparing for the imaging gear for the coming new moon opportunity. Here is some of my new stuff – BORG 55FL F3.6 and Lacerta standalone autoguider. My main goal is to shoot some targets with new 55FL F3.6 system and to use Lacerta controller with Takahashi PM-1 mount and SONY A7 (or hopefully cooled 6D). These are quite new for me. So I need practicing at my backyard before going to the dark site.

As usual, short tube setup is challenging. After try-and-error process, finally I found practical setup along with Hinode SG’s universal base, which allows to bolt both imaging and guiding rings. This 100 mm’s shot base prevents interference from all of hardware, high enough and short enough.

As shown below, the counterbore design at both sides allows to bolt up and down at both directions. Very useful. If someone are looking for good short-tube setup solution,  this should be the one of them.

udbI used crossing mark sections. 20 mm height works as the riser block too.

Main tube is only 25mm long. So I attached 100mm tube in front (over the objective lens), which makes two rings’ clamping easy.

55fl3Inside tube is 55FL objective dew-shield. New BORG Series 80 tube is very convenient too.

I think it’s now ready to start practicing at the field.


•August 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I have continued to make several star test with 55FL F3.6. The result shows fully clean star shape entire full frame sensor. This is really superb 200 mm telephoto lens (or telescope) for high quality astro imaging.
55flreducerAlso I tried some daytime shots since HEUIBII filter is set all the time.

The above shows the no-filter SONY A7 camera’s color balance on the white paper taken in AWB mode under blue sky condition. Nothing adjusted after taken. Histogram shows blue is slightly stronger. But still well corrected and neutral at least for my eye. Moreover, keep in mind this filter is designed for maximizing astro performance without its compromise. Followings are some snapshots by 55FL F3.6 and HEUIB-II.

he2bOur favorite cars


I don’t hesitate to say this is the best and only optical filter as one-piece solution available in the market which works both astro and regular daytime shots. Only issue is this is the interference type of filter, which has spectrum shift by incoming light angle. So it doesn’t optically allow to set in front of wide angle lenses. No large sizes available anyway. It should be set behind lenses. Following types are currently available;

  • Body-mounted for all Canon APS-C cameras.
  • Body-mounted for several Nikon APS-C cameras
  • For SONY E-mount cameras with Canon/Nikon adapter
  • For cooled Canon 6D
  • And most of BORG scopes allow to set 48 mm or 52 mm.

More details for HEUIBII

As mentioned several times here, this filter makes the modified camera’s background color more neutral while capturing maximum Ha. So faint Ha details are more isolated from the background color. Highly recommended!!


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