Backyard astronomy gear has progressed since the days on having to grind and polish one’s own mirror from a glass blank. Mind you, if you have aperture fever, building your own telescope is still the best solution.
Telescope manufactures now offer almost turn-key solutions where you can start imaging straight out if the box. But most backyard astronomers still build up their gear one piece at a time seeking the ultimate setup.
Current astrophotography setup:
*NEW* William Optics Gran Turismo 71 (71mm air-spaced FPL53 triplet refractor, 420mm focal (F/5.9))
Skywatcher 80ED (80mm double lens, APO, 600mm focal (F/7.5), modified with Williams Optic 1:10 focuser and Orion right angle 9×50 finder)
Vixen GP mount with Meade LXD75 AutoStar goto
Canon Digital Rebel XTi (EOS 400D)
Antares camera adapter
IDAS LPS filter (used only on exposures above 30sec)
Thousand Oaks Optical R-G solar film
Philips Vesta PCVC675 webcam with Baader UV-IR filter (for planetary use with Televue 2x or 3x barlow)
My current setup is for unguided photography, therefore exposures higher than 30sec is difficult, but not impossible.
Previously owned equipment:
LMDA 130mm F7.7 short tube Newton (spherical mirror with barlow lens ahead of secondary)
Skywatcher EQ3 (motorized)