Last updated: 14 December 2003

This page documents Sonfest SAC imager models comments, tips, and photos. Also, see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products report on the SAC imagers. Search the site for "SAC" for other items about the Sonfest SAC imagers. Contributions welcome.

Subject:	Jupiter Pics
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2002 14:54:56
From: (Chris)

First off great site. I have an ETX 125 that I have had for about a year
and have been trying astrophoto off and on. I think I am finally getting
the hang of it and managed to get some nice pictures of Jupiter the
other night. I took these at prime focus with a SAC IV camera. Hope you
enjoy and keep up the great work.


Chris Orpurt

Subject:	Another picture of the Moon
Sent:	Tuesday, January 1, 2002 18:40:16
From: (John P. Pietrzak)
I've learned a great deal from it.  Anyway, if you're interested, I just
recently acquired an ETX 90 telescope and the Sonfest SAC-7 CCD camera. 
I've been experimenting with them for the last few days, and last night
took enough pictures of the moon to make this mosaic of it.  (At least I
thought I'd taken enough, as you can see I missed a spot!)  I've been
continually amazed by what you can accomplish with this telescope.

ETX 90 telescope, SAC-7 CCD at prime focus
About 50 exposures of 1/25 second duration each
Mosaic constructed using "The GIMP"

Next up for me, learning correct polar alignment with Dr. Clay's "Kochab
clock" technique, and then some long-exposure shots with this system!

Thanks for a great site!

Click for full size image

Subject:	SAC camera Moon shot
Sent:	Thursday, April 18, 2002 9:47:13
From: (Jeremy Jackson)
Shot this picture 17 APR 2002 with my ETX-90EC with SAC camera mounted
directly to the scope.  Combined 28 frames with Astrostack.  For my
first try I was impressed!

Thanks for the great site.

Jeremy Jackson

Subject:	Sav-7 ccd camera
Sent:	Sunday, May 5, 2002 19:22:24
From: (Robert E. Eisenman)
I was browsing the Sac ccd imaging website:
and read about their latest ccd called Sac7. The ccd camera is designed
for 'deep space' imaging and long exposures. It comes as either an air
cooled unit Sac7($349) or as a peltier cooled unit Sac7b ($459).

I've had fun capturing ccd pictures of the moon, Saturn and Jupiter with
the SacIV camera and the Meade etx 90 and have posted some of them on my
I was
wondering if any of the readers of your great website have tried the new
Sac7 camera with any of the Meade etx telescopes.

Bob Eisenman
Salem, Massachusetts

Subject:	SAC7
Sent:	Wednesday, May 8, 2002 15:12:19
From: (Ted Wilbur)
I read with interest Robert Eisenman's post asking about using the SAC7
camera on ETX scopes.  I purchased a SAC7 about a month ago, having
tired of the limitations of the Meade Electronic Eyepiece. I've attached
some early results to show, all using the ETX70 and SAC7 at prime focus.

So far I'm very happy with the camera but still have a ton to learn. 
I've tried some M51 images with mixed results - there are lots of
variables,  Assuming I eventually get something decent I'll send it

Robert noted that there is an air cooled SAC7 and a peltier cooled
SAC7b. I'm using the air cooled version.




Subject:	Globs
Sent:	Saturday, June 8, 2002 10:06:51
From: (Ted Wilbur)
I've been hunting globular Messiers lately since there are so many
around these days.  M4 and M13 make nice targets for the ETX-70 since they
are both bright and big.

I was out last night and got everything completely soaked with dew.  I
grabbed my wife's hair drier to try to dry out the objective lens and
blew a fuse, knocking out power to Autostar and my laptop.  I guess I'm
lucky I didn't zap myself.

I've been taking lots of images (60-100) of my targets and picking out
the few where "seeing" was best.  I also have to keep exposure time
down, 12 seconds seems to be about as much as I can get given the
accuracy of my mount.  If I need the images brighter I use software to
sum the best frames, simulating longer exposures.  Taking time to get
the focus right, and dark subtracting the hot pixels and noise are also
very beneficial to the end results.

The attached M4 is a sum of 3 images. I think my registration was off a
bit as the stars are a little bloated. The M13 is only 1 exposure, which
came out tighter.



One thing I'm having trouble getting my hands around is color. My SAC7 camera tends toward pink/purple. I guess that's why the guys who do serious imaging use color filters to expose red, green, and blue for different lengths of time. Have you found the Coolpix to produce accurate colors when imaging with it? I hope this note finds you well. Thanks! Ted
Mike here: I haven't tried for color accuracy. Of course, there is "color accuracy" and "color accuracy". The eye "sees" one thing and imagers "see" something else.
Subject:	ETX-70AT - M13 and SAC7 Air Cooled
Sent:	Tuesday, July 9, 2002 18:56:58
From: (Carlos Family)
Pictures of M13 taken with an SAC7 air cooled that I got recently.  I
think my mount is still shaky because I'm not getting the quality that
I'd expect. Also, I'm getting a lot of star trails at the beginning. 
However, after a couple of exposure it starts stabilizing.

The picture was a combination of 5 53 second exposure with darkframe
removed and noise removed via Photoshop.  I also used Photoshop 6.0 to
combine the image.

M13 M13

Subject:	ETX-70AT - M13/M92/M81 and SAC7 Air Cooled
Sent:	Friday, August 2, 2002 18:28:22
From: (Carlos Family)
Here's a new batch of pix.  The M13 is a much better pix from earlier. 
M92 was very easy to capture and it was really sharp when it recorded. 
That was because Jul 31st was a very clear and calm night.  M82 is my
first crack at a galaxy.   There a lot of high trees in my back yard so
I can't get alot of galaxies.  They either have to be near the zenith or
if they're peeking out between trees. Also, I had to use gray scale
because it produces a better hint of structure.

I started playing around with the exposure of SAC 7 and it becomes
unstable above 180 seconds with my scope.  Anything above 90 seconds I
need to put a counter weight.  However, if recording near the zenith it
seems a bit more stable probably because of better weight distribution. 
I've seached around your site for a home made counter weight for an
ETX-70AT but I did not see any.  Do you know if anyone has done this?

FYI, I have no modifications on the standard 882 mount.  I'm planning on
making it a bit more stable or getting the mount that would allow me to
do a polar config, e.g. 883 deluxe.  Does it really make a difference? 
Would it help me stabilize my ccd imaging if I use polar as suppose to

Thanks again for the great site




Subject:	ETX-70AT - M31/M27/M57 and SAC7 Air Cooled
Sent:	Tuesday, October 8, 2002 19:58:07
From: (Carlos Family)
Attached are recent pix from my ETX-70AT.  These were taken
while the scope is in polar alignment using a homemade wedge.  I'll send the
designs of the wedge as a separate e-mail.

The wedge however did help stabilize my shots.  For 60 second exposures
there were more solid shots than bad shots with star trails .  For 120
they're almost equal in numbers.  I recombined the images afterwards with my
old trusty photoshop. With adjustments on saturation, curves, brightness and
contrast.  The M31 images are from separate days.  I did have to adjust that
pix more to show the distinctive dustlanes.

I am still having problems with the scope in polar alignment.  Spordically
the scope will not slew properly.  It's almost like the scope is too heavy.
However, there are night when everything seems to be ok  I'm still puzzled
by this.  I may end up calling Meade support.

SAC images

SAC images

SAC images

Subject:	SAC imager and SLR Camera
Sent:	Friday, November 22, 2002 21:23:55
From: (Carlos Family)
I'm not sure if your interested but I recently got a used 200mm zoom
Tamron SLR lens (circa 1980) with a Pentax Universal screw mount (42mm)
from Ebay. I tried to mate it with my SAC7 to see if I could use it for
CCD capturing. It did not work I could not get focus.  I contacted
SAC-Imaging and they recommended a spacer.

I got the a spacer for the same mount.  It comes with three sections
with different sizes.  One (1) being the smallest and three (3) the
largest.  I finally got it to work with my SAC7.  Because the T-Adapter
of the SAC7 was a 42mm it all fits great.  I used #1 and #3 of the
spacer with the lens at 22 aperture and no zoom.   That did the trick. 
So for the lens $29 and spacer $12 including shipping, I got a wide
field of view ccd long exposure camera.

The following pix were captured by the lens by just mounting the SAC7
and lens on a standard tripod with no guidance.  I was able to capture
the moon with single shots but the pix attached is from a 10 and 30
second avi and stacked using the freeware Registax (  
I tried to capture M45 with it but because it's unguided it produces a
star trail.  I planning on mounting this on the ETX70 once I get it to
work so that I have some form of tracking.   I'm also looking for a used
28mm wide angle lens to see if I can capture M42/43/45 and maybe a
section of the Milkyway.

Clear Skies,

Subject:	SAC7
Sent:	Monday, December 9, 2002 6:26:30
From: (Gary CLAYTON)
I would like congratulate you on such a great site I have been reading
and using your tech tips on my ETX125 for some time now and its running
great, I also enclose  2 pics that I shoot using my ETX125 and SAC7
video camera. I am still very new to astrophotography and am going
though a steep learning curve. M42 was taken with 22, 10 seconds
exposures combined and dark subtracted using AstroVideo from COAA,
Saturn was a 20 second video stacked and combined using registaxv . both
where taken from my backyard in Yorkshire UK .I now have to figure out
how to image process to get the best from my photos.
Best Regards
                       Gary Clayton
M42<9> Saturn

Subject:	M42/M45 with SAC7/55mm lens piggyback on ETX70AT
Sent:	Sunday, December 15, 2002 6:45:00
From: (Ed Carlos)
I decided to buy a used SMC 55mm Pentax camera lens from ebay ($29) and
I mated it with my SAC7 (the same way as the 200mm Takamura screw lens
that I got before).  I built my own piggyback camera mount to hold the
SAC7 and the lens from a 4inch pvc coupling and a 2inch electrical
conduit hanger (total cost about $12).  I'll finish it off and take
pictures of it and send it over.  It works really well.

I took these pictures using this setup and processed the images using
Adobe Photoshop.

Clear Skies!!!



Subject:	pictures etx125
Sent:	Thursday, December 19, 2002 5:07:53
From: (Gary CLAYTON)
Could you please put these pics I shoot on the 18/12/02 from Yorkshire,
UK using my ETX 125 and Sac7 CCD camera on your great website please.
There were taken using AstroVideo from COAA and combined and staked with
registaxv from a 60 second avi.
Best Regards
                     Gary Clayton



Subject:	Double Cluster and M81/82 with SAC7/55mm lens piggyba
Sent:	Saturday, January 11, 2003 8:33:45
From: (Ed Carlos)
I've attached new pix taken with my trusty old 55mm, sac7 and ETX70AT. 
Both pictures were taken with extreme moon glow.  I had to do a bit of
work to adjust the pictures using Adobe Photoshop.

By the way here's a link to the yahoo group for SAC camera's.  I'm not
sure if anyone has posted this already.

Also, I recently got the book The New CCD Astronomy by Ron Wodaski. 
Highly recommended for anyone who's into astrophotography.  They also
have a yahoo group that's very active and helpful.

Clear Skies
Double Cluster

M81 and M82

Subject:	Andromeda and Companions
Sent:	Thursday, January 23, 2003 19:14:00
From: (Ed Carlos)
Attached is a pix of M31/M32/M110.  I had to translate the pix from
color to grayscale to bring out the M110 without creating too much
noise.  This is again a wide field pix using a 55mm lens attached to my
SAC7 Aircooled piggyback on my ETX70AT.  The moon was already out that's
why there's quite a bit of noise.  I used some of the techiniques from
the New CCD Astronomy book by Ron Wodaski.

Also, my camera lens is starting to accumulate dust.  I'm still trying
to work on using flats.  I'm thinking about creating a lightbox.  Any

Observations as well -

I went out early in the morning on Jan 14th and 16th around 4AM EDT. 
This is the first time that I've observed during the last hour.  I was
inspired by an article that I read in the Jan '03 isssue of The Sky and
Telescope by David Levy.  He was right, it's very quite and was
amazingly clear (the moon had already set).  I was able to observe M51,
M63, M94, M106, M101 (hard to see), M13, M92, M3, M53, M92, M81, M82,
M64, M5, M104.  However, anything above magnitude 8.5 were very faint,
averted vision was necessary.  All of these were between 4AM - 6:30AM.

As I was resting and looking up I saw what seems to look like a moving
star. I thought I was seeing things.    It was lit but not blinking so
not an airplane and it was moving at a constant speed without any trails
so not a meteorite.   I used my binoculars (15x70) to follow it and
realized that it was an artificial satellite. I saw this both days once
around 5AM and another  around 6AM.  I did some research and found out
that it was the International Space Station.  Sky and Telescope website
has a published schedule of the ISS.  I was able to confirm the time and
date of when the ISS was visibile in my area.  On Jan 14th it was
scheduled to appear 4:51AM and Jan 16th was 6:07AM both EDT.  It's
amazing how accurate the schedule was and how it's visible with the
naked eye.

I'd probably try observing during the last hour again next month.  The
only thing is that the scope slewing noise resonates so much and I was
afraid it was going to wake up my neighbors.

Thanks and keep up the great work on your site!!!

Clear Skies

Subject:	Astrophotography with ETX 125 using SAC IV
Sent:	Thursday, December 11, 2003 22:55:34
From: (Lonnie Wege)
Thanks for providing this site on this wonderful and captivating hobby
of astronomy, I have had the ETX 125 for about 6 months now and have
gone from 6 hours at a dark site without any hope of seeing much of
anything to a backyard pier and testing various types of
astrophotography. The first was taken with a SAC IV in very bright urban
sky and a fairly full moon. I used the rear port and prime focus for the
shot, stacked in Registax 2, Adobe Photoshop to clean it up.

Return to the top of this page.

Go back to the Astrophotography Page.

Go back to my ETX Home Page.

Copyright ©2002-3 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittal Copyright © 2002-3 by the Submitter