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MSM 2-in-1 Star Tracker Assessment

“Head on Collision with the Milky Manner” ~ a tracked and blended publicity, taken on a lonely highway close to Buhl, Idaho. The sky portion is a two-minute publicity, tracked with the MOVE-SHOOT-MOVE 2-in-1 Star Tracker. The freeway was a separate, blended publicity taken through the morning twilight. The automobile headlights have been certainly one of three fortunate occurrences that occurred close to 4:00 that morning!

MOVE-SHOOT-MOVE is a compact star tracker that additionally doubles as a time-lapse rotator. I’ve associates who’ve purchased star trackers and have by no means used them to take a photograph, as a result of they have been too difficult to arrange! And these are clever individuals. The Transfer-Shoot-Transfer is probably the most compact and straightforward to arrange star tracker I’ve ever used. From the time I positioned it on my tripod to completed alignment was solely about two minutes, and inside a pair extra minutes I used to be capturing tracked pictures of the celebrities. Now I uncover it may well do time-lapse actions as nicely! That will likely be my subsequent outing—nonetheless this evaluation will likely be primarily about its star monitoring options.

The MSM Tracker/Rotator is just 3.875 x 3.125 x 1.375 inches (9.84 x 7.94 x 3.49 cm). Weight is just one.01 kilos (450 g). It is easy 2-button design controls Northern and Southern Hemisphere rotations, full and 1/2 monitoring speeds, and 4 decisions of time-lapse motion speeds. Energy is equipped by an inside lithium-ion battery that’s non-interchangeable, however is rechargeable by way of a equipped USB cable. Though they declare over 5 hours of runtime, I used to be solely in a position to get a little bit over of two hours of use through the colder winter months (earlier than a blinking crimson gentle indicated the battery was getting low), which is kind of typical of li-ion batteries below chilly circumstances. After I’ve want longer monitoring (or rotator) time, I’ve plugged in a conveyable auxiliary USB energy supply (the MSM will function whereas it’s recharging or receiving auxiliary energy). 

Limitations: The MSM has a most load capability of 6.6 kilos (3 kg), which compares to the favored iOptron SkyTracker Professional and my first tracker, the Vixen Polarie Star Tracker. If you happen to want a tracker that may carry heavier masses and has extra accessible counter steadiness equipment, I might suggest the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer, with its 11 pound payload capability—nonetheless, be ready for a extra intimidating arrange (my first expertise took me over half an hour).

This is my private set-up, utilizing the MSM 2-in1 Tracker/Rotator. I used my very own MeFoto ballhead, however MSM’s fundamental “Starter Equipment” comes with a related ballhead (truly higher high quality than my MeFoto Q1) and a laser Star Pointer for $310.00 (present sale pricing is $259.00). Though you could have already got a ballhead mendacity round like I did, I strongly suggest going with the “Starter Equipment” possibility as a result of these orders are shipped from a U.S. warehouse, and solely take about 4 days to get to most continental U.S. places. Different equipment choices ship instantly from the manufacturing unit in China and my first order took over two weeks to reach to my Utah tackle.

Transfer-Shoot-Transfer particular sale pricing

(Use the Low cost Code ROYCE at take a look at

for a further 5% off your order)

My similar set-up seen from a special angle. The inexperienced laser Star Pointer (included with the “Starter Equipment”) attaches to the MSM unit by way of a nylon thumb screw and the laser slides into the laser holder, which is secured by one other nylon thumb screw. The tripod ballhead is launched and the MSM, with the hooked up laser, are then pointed at Polaris (the North Star), which correctly aligns the system (usually in lower than 30 seconds)! The digital camera is then hooked up to the MSM’s ballhead by way of its fast launch and pointed in direction of the Milky Manner or a star constellation. The entire course of solely takes a couple of minutes.

The inexperienced laser Star Pointer makes alignment a fast and uncomplicated course of. I discovered the alignment accuracy to be excellent when utilizing any huge angle lens, and even correct for a traditional 50mm lens. My 85mm began to indicate slight star motion on exposures over 3 minutes, so I might suggest MSM’s non-obligatory Polar Scope ($79.98) when utilizing telephoto lenses.

Dim laser beam drawback: The Star Pointer comes with a chargeable li-ion battery and USB charger. I discovered the brightness of the inexperienced laser beam diminished considerably on chilly nights. Nonetheless, by eradicating the li-ion battery and warming it in my hand or pocket for only a few minutes introduced the brightness again to regular power.

If you happen to dwell in Australia, I might recommend you order with the Polar Scope possibility (Primary Equipment A), as a result of laser pointers should not allowed in your nation. The truth is, anybody residing within the Southern Hemisphere would possibly need to use this selection. If you happen to journey loads, you could want to get each the Star Pointer and the Polar Scope (Primary Equipment C).

Evaluating High quality: This is an enlargement from the highest picture, displaying the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complicated space. I am evaluating the identical space uncovered with the tracker off, utilizing a 30-second publicity (click on to enlarge for element). Word how the longer, tracked publicity permits for decrease ISO settings, decreasing noise and enhancing element. Even longer tracked exposures will permit one to cease down the aperture to additionally cut back lens aberrations. (This 24mm f/1.4 lens will get a couple of 65% discount in chromatic and coma aberration when stopped right down to f/2.8. At f/4.0, it will lose about 85% of its coma and chromatic issues.)

On this 200% enlargement comparability, you may see that even at 15 seconds, there’s some star motion, though it most likely would not be too noticeable till one made a print bigger than 16×20 inches. What could be very noticeable, even in smaller prints, is the large enhance within the variety of stars that monitoring picks up, and the rise in tonal vary (bit-depth) because of the decrease ISO’s and the sunshine gathering energy {that a} tracker permits your sensor to seize.

How does monitoring evaluate with stacking? I usually consult with stacking because the “poor man’s reply to monitoring.” Shortly capturing about 7 to fifteen exposures to stack later (with Starry Panorama Stacker or Sequator) will considerably cut back your digital noise, but it surely will not enhance the element (together with the variety of smaller stars you will choose up) and tonal vary practically as a lot as monitoring will.

Orion’s Belt and the Orion Nebula ~ a 2 minute publicity with out and with monitoring (utilizing an 85mm lens).

Professionals & Cons: I really like the MSM’s easy, modular design and its means so as to add equipment when wanted. I exploit the laser Star Pointer for many of my tracked pictures, and I hardly ever want the accuracy of the Polar Scope—but it surely’s good to have it when wanted. Ever since I bought this tracker, I have been capturing much more tracked shot, as a result of it is a lot simpler to arrange than any tracker I’ve ever used. I can not wait wait to start out utilizing the time-lapse motion options! My solely con is its 6.6 kilos limitation on load capability, which has by no means been a limitation for the gear I exploit, however is likely to be for some who would need to use an enormous telephoto lens.

In Conclusion: I believe Chris Cook dinner, a MSM proprietor from Sydney, Australia summed it up greatest: “The most important distinction I’ve discovered is the colors that are introduced out with longer exposures. A stack of 10 or extra photographs at 3200 or 6400 [ISO] at 10-15 secs [each] seems nice; however, when in comparison with a single shot at 640 [ISO] for 150 secs, there isn’t any comparability. The star colors are superb and the nebula are far more noticeable.”

Time-lapse Motion Function: The MSM is a 2-in-1 product that additionally has 4 motion speeds to its rotator. This enables for a number of time-lapse choices. MSM provides a number of tutorials on this, together with YouTube movies.

Transfer-Shoot-Transfer particular sale pricing

(Use the Low cost Code ROYCE at take a look at

for a further 5% off your order)

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