Jewel Box with a 127mm saxon FCD100 triplet refractor

1 March 2019

You can do this!

I've been contacted by a couple of people who say that the photos I publish don't give a realistic impression of what a customer can expect to be able to get.

So, in something of up-to-date news, I'm in the middle of evaluating (see also playing with) a saxon FCD100 127mm triplet APO refractor (

The idea here is to see what sort of photos you can get with JUST this telescope and a DSLR (and a $30 t-ring to hold them together).

Yes, that's right, no chilled CMOS, no filters, no autoguiding, no autofocus, and no magic post-processing. Just a tracking mount (in this case an unvarnished, slightly used, NEQ6, driven by a handbox).

So last night I went out into my front yard, under the street lights and Kew's light pollution, polar aligned by finding Sigma Octantis with my binoculars (which was pretty rough), and fired off a SINGLE photo of Kappa Crucis, the Jewel Box. (Yeah, about 800 other photos as well, but later...)

My DSLR is a Pentax K3-II. The single photo I took was 4 seconds at ISO 800. I deliberately took a short exposure to slightly underexpose the cluster (to preserve the colours), as well as to avoid star trails due to my rough polar alignment.

The saxon refractor is big, so it gave me a good bright image.

I've attached two versions of the photo. The first one is the raw shot right out of the camera, converted to JPG and cropped to 1200x628 for Facebook. No processing.

The second shot is the raw image processed in the Pentax software that came with the camera. I increased the exposure a bit, stopping before the black background got too light. You'll notice there's not a huge difference, although you'll see more stars. The colours are actually better than I expected.

See? No smoke, no mirrors, no Photoshop.

You can do this!

If you don't believe me, JUST ASK!

I got other photos last night as well, stay tuned.