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Well, after what seemed like an eternity, I finally have some semblance of a decent AP rig put together...
I nearly ran over about 5 people trying to get home from work to see my new camera and filters that arrived today. The retailer I picked the new gear up from informed me that he'd screwed the order up a little; he'd put aside 5nm filters instead of 3nm filters which I'd ordered, the latter being out of stock. Disappointing, but he assures me they'll arrive next week and instead of leaving me hanging he sent on the 5nm filters to use in the interim. A nice gesture. Now all I need is for this incessant rain to clear up in the meantime (Yeah, right!).
With the weather so depressingly bad here for most of the year, (More often getting clear nights in and around the full moon and with humidity, light pollution is a factor no matter how far you are from urban centres) I decided I'd invest in narrowband equipment. At least these factors would by heavily mitigated shooting through filters. I trawled Google reading reviews about cameras and filters and narrowband shooting in general, albeit a bit hurriedly (Thanks, Richard), and decided I'd go all out and pick up a QSI 583ws and 3nm Ha, [OIII] and [SII] Astrodon filters. Finally, they all arrived today.
So, the new camera. My first impressions obliterating all outer packaging were pure awe at the ruggedised Pelican case the camera comes in. It looks more than sturdy enough to protect the camera whilst out in the field, on a hunting trip in Iraq or enduring thermonuclear warfare. Nice touch, QSI. The camera itself, then; well, what can I say - It's about the size I expected bar a little heavier. It's a solid, compact design and even better - it fits my WO field flattener perfectly! I can't comment much more on it for the moment, I'm in the midst of configuring it in Maxim DL and I'll have to wait for a clear night before I can review it from a performance perspective. If the specs are anything to go by, it's going to blow my umodded Canon 500D to kingdom come! Roll on clear skies!
Ok, enough blathering - Pics or it didn't happen!
Finally, here's the full spec of my new rig:
William Optics 110FLT Apo Triplet
William Optics Megrez 72 Apo Doublet
William Optics Field Flattener
Astrodon 3nm Ha, [OIII] and S[II] filters
Orion SSAG Autoguider
Also - Dew control (finally!), Bahnitov masks, and more powertanks than you can shake a stick at.
I'd also like to give a shout out to the people whose input, insights and information were invaluable getting all of this together:
The guys in ##astronomy on Freenode.
Richard Crisp - Narrowband ninja. Your insights, papers and emails still continue to educate me.
Jeff, Mark, S-Hop and Bob - Big thanks for feedback, insights, informative linkage and entertaining conversation.
Any feedback or arse-kicking is welcome in the comments i.e. if I neglected to thank you for your help along the way. That's it for now. Ready to start my journey into the art of narrowband imaging.
So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Clear skies, fellas!