Orion Optics (UK) 250mm Newtonian
The mirror is marked as 1/6 pv. This is was bought in 2005 after a bit of "aperture fever" having used a Celestron 114mm starter scope for a month! I got it from Green Witch for a nice deal complete with a Synta EQ5 mount. Over the years I have upgraded it to add the Orion Optics (USA) Accufocus (my best ever £50 spent) which is essential for focusing on a wobbly EQ5! I also added the red-dot finder and right-angled 50mm finder scope. The 50mm finder helps a lot when star hopping the fainter stars.
My first light with this scope was a minor disaster, I was not quick enough with the end-cover and it got caught in the rain which deposited corrosive smut from cement works smoke:
After reading up about cleaning mirrors (don't!) I eventually washed the miror in distilled water. The marks remain but imaging does not seem to sufer. One day I will get the mirror recoated.
This is a fantastic scope - the views of the moon, planets are great and viewing globular clusters is amazing with pin sharp diamond dust stars.
The OTA is fitted with a high quality 1 1/4 inch rack-and-pinion focuser that is T-threaded for mounting a camera. This size focuser is not ideal for DLSR work because of the vignetting, but the fully illuminated portion of the fov is where the coma is least visible too. When imaging with 2xbarlow there is no coma or vignetting in the image. One day I may upgrade to 2 inches.
William Optics Megrez 72
I bought this scope after a review in the Sky at Night magazine. I wanted something portable that would also make a good widefield imaging scope. Where I live it is most suited for imaging - the light pollution makes visual work difficult except for the brighter objects.The focuser is lovely and holds my DLSR at any angle.
I also purchased the Field Flattener III (FF) that was supposed to work with it. The FF is a big dissapointment. The stars at the image edge are not star shaped. I can use the central 2/3rd of a DLSR image without the distortion. Unfortunately it is the best there is for this scope.
On an EQ5 mount this scope is great - the FOV is wide so polar alignment is not too critical and 1-2 min exposures are no problem.
Compared to my 250mm newtonian this is a scope that suits imaging larger objects like M31, comets, nebula, galaxy clusters and open star clusters.
I started imaging with a Philips Toucam Pro which I still use for planets. I then bought another Toucam that I modified for long exposures (LX) and even fitted a peltier cooler to that. The peltier was powered with a modified PC power supply. The LX Tocam was fragile and it eventually died. Soon after that I bought and modified a Philps SPC 900NC which is a 2 board design and is easier to modify and the result is a much more robust in design. My latest LX webcam box has the SPC 900, USB-serial converter and USB hub in one box.
The LX webcam still has its uses for imaging nebula and I also intend to use it as a guidescope.
My imaging is currently done using a Canon 350D (unmodified) which has a bigger field of view (a bigger chip). The only downside is its poor red response so many nebula do not show well. I find this camera more sensitive than the webcam and because the RAW images are 14-bit resolution there is much more luminance detail to be teased out in the processing.
My origianal EQ5 came with aluminium legs and a manual drive. This was soon upgraded to 1.75 inch steel legs and RA/DEC motor - with careful setup it has produced some excellent images for me even with the big newtonian (The Orion Optics OTA is lighter than the typical Skywatcher OTA).
Now I have an HEQ5 Pro - which is streets ahead of the EQ5 - easily handing the weight and ultimately allowing guided imaging, control from the computer is simple.