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DSLR Cameras

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DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 15:08 on 2011 Oct 02

Hi! For the first time in my life I may be in the position to get a DSLR camera.I would love to be able to take pictures of deep sky objects like M31 with it, but also want to capture Aurora which we get fairly regularly up here.I know there are a few good books on astrophotography using a DSRL camera,and I will undoubtedly get one and read it, but I'd be grateful for any advice on which kinds of cameras would be good for imaging work of this nature.

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 15:09 on 2011 Oct 02

Oh and particularly for capturing comets too, (how did I forget to mention probably the one thing I'd really love to capture on camera!)

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Paul A Brierley at 15:54 on 2011 Oct 02

The BAA publish a good beginners, guide book, on digtal slr imaging.As for cameras.I believe most, if not all Canon DSLR, are the camera of choice. The 1000D being a particularly good camera, used by many.But the more expensive Nikon cameras, are also proving popular.Below is a web link for Jerry Lodriguss website. Here I think you'll find a fair bit of information.http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/NIK_CAN.HTM

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Graham Relf at 17:52 on 2011 Oct 02

I am very keen to encourage others to start doing some astrophotography. DSLRs provide an easy way to start. My own site is aimed at explaining how to do it and shows many photos taken with Canon EOS cameras: www.grelf.net

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 18:31 on 2011 Oct 02

Thanks Paul and Graham.I have already placed an order for the BAA book on Astrophotography and have my eye on the Canon suggested.Many Thanks for all your advice.Best Wishes,Gordon

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Paul A Brierley at 19:19 on 2011 Oct 02

Graham Relf wrote:

I am very keen to encourage others to start doing some astrophotography. DSLRs provide an easy way to start. My own site is aimed at explaining how to do it and shows many photos taken with Canon EOS cameras: www.grelf.net

I have just started out DSLR imaging, using D40 Nikon attached to my 10" F4.8. I have not seen anything positive, from this camera, when used for Astro-imaging. So I wanted to see just what it was capable off.Looking at the first results. I think the D40 is pretty good.And it has encouraged me to continue using it.The image I have here, is an un-guided 20 minute exposure using 10 x 120 second subs.

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 19:38 on 2011 Oct 08

Thanks again for all your advice.One further query if you can give me the benefit of your advice:I would like to capture auroral displays, but in time I would imagine I'd like to capture comets and galaxies.I bought and received the BAA guide today to DSLR astrophotography in the post today.I've just read it and the more I read around the subject on the internet, the more it seems to be recommended that you remove, or to get the Infrared filter removed.However, will it still be able to capture these objects if it not removed?I know you can send the camera away to be mdified in this way; or buy one already modified, but the technicality of removing the IR filter seems only for the very proficient plus the fact it nullifies the warranty, and the mark up on modified ones seems a bit much.Thanks again in advance of any replies.

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Tony Morris at 20:25 on 2011 Oct 30

GentsThere will be a paper published in the near future in the BAA journal showing how to remove the IR blocking filter from a Canon EOS1000.Although many of the current crop of DSLR's can produce excellent deep sky images there are more after market add ons for Canon EOS DSLRs than any other make. For instance at this moment the capability to use light pollution filters between the lens and the sensor is only available for Canon EOS camerasHave a look here:-http://www.astronomik.com/en/This allows wide field imaging with standard lenses.Also camera control:-http://www.backyardeos.com/RegardsTony

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Paul A Brierley at 20:36 on 2011 Oct 30

Thank you Tony,Do have any experience using Nikon cameras, and particularly the D40?Looking forward to your talk in two week's at Astromeet.

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Tony Morris at 20:42 on 2011 Oct 30

PaulSorry I have not used a Nikon for AstrophotographyTony

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 17:39 on 2011 Oct 31

Thanks Tony.Grateful for the response.Best Wishes,Gordon

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by M C Butcher at 11:20 on 2011 Nov 17

Gordon, Sorry I haven't responded earlier but I have only just read your question on this Forum page. I live in the Inner Hebrides and use an unmodified Canon 40D as I refused to purchase more than one camera for all my domestic and astronomical needs. Prior to that I used an Olympus OM-4Ti film camera, I have no experience of any other cameras. I too have been intimidated by both the cost and the complexity of modifying a DSLR. I use my camera with a tripod (for Aurora, Noctilucent Clouds, startrails and general domestic photography) and inconjunction with my Meade LX-90 8". It has worked very well for all subjects except the fainter Emission Nebulae (where it works but the IR filter requires the exposure times to be either too long or for there to be an excessive number of sub-exposures), and detailed Solar System work, where the seeing (as I am almost at sea level) can be a severe trial. To control the camera I use the Canon TC-80NC remote controller. As I do not have an auto-guiding capability for my telescope the length of the sub-exposures can be a real problem when imaging deep-sky objects. As all my astronomy is conducted from home I usually use mains power to run my camera (and the LX-90 and the Dew controlling system).A disadvantage of the 40D is that it does not have a video mode, this would help a lot with getting over the problem of poor seeing with Solar System objects. One advantage of the 40D is that you can customise certain settings within the camera which then remain set (until you decide to change them), this means that you do not have to set all of the specific astronomical seetings into the camera each time you go out, all that is required is that you dial up whichever customised setting you want (the 40D has 3 and I have them configured for Deep-Sky, Solar System and Photometry work). For image processing I use a general photographic package (Photoshop CS5), an astronomical software (Images Plus) and a noise reduction software (Noise Ninja). For film astrophotography I used Michael Covington's book on astrophotography (very good) and Jerry Lodriguss' CD book on using Photoshop for astrophotography (also good). On moving to a digital camera I purchased Michael Covington's book on DSLR Astrophotography and Jerry Lodriguss' CD book on DSLR Astrophotography. In hindsight the latter which is pretty much my 'bible' was all I needed. Obviously we all work to budget of both money (to spend) and time (to devote) to our hobby and you must make your own choices. I am well aware of the limitations which my circumstances place on the astronomy that I do(most importantly the implications that the weather here has on what I can and can't achieve), and I am content to operate within those limitations.Please ask if you have any further questions, I would be delighted to help in any way that I can.RegardsMartin Butcher

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Tony Morris at 16:25 on 2011 Nov 20

MartinHave you tried using BackyardEOS to controll your 40D?BackyardEOS can also stream the live view to your PC and record it so you may be surprised at the results you can get out of your DSLR on planetary work.The AVI's can be handled by Registax with no problemswww.backyardeos.com/its currently $25.00 USDAlso have a dabble with Pixinsight as you may find that you can do all your image processing in one package with surprising results.Let me know how you get onRegardsTony

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by M C Butcher at 10:54 on 2011 Nov 21

Tony,Many thanks for your advice. What I didn't say in my response to Gordon was that our weather up here can be so 'breezy' that I don't have an observatory (there are several occasions each winter when I wouldn't be certain that it would still be there in the morning). Therefore I set up my telescope each night when it looks clear. As I don't fancy leaving my telescope outside whilst I am inside at the computer and we either have heavy dew (if calm) or incessant showers it means that I don't use my computer with my camera. I does mean that I have less to rush inside when the rain approaches!Thanks anyway.Martin

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Tony Morris at 22:22 on 2011 Nov 23

MartinI use an old Toshiba laptop with a P4 processor that generates so much heat that it keeps my keyboard free of damp as I sometimes sit outside next to my 'scope and camera setup.I have found that using BackyardEOS that my setup time is greatly reduced as I can achieve framing and focus much quicker. At this point I could unplug my PC and carry on using my TC80N3 controller but its informative to watch the frame preview showing the collected image quality deteriorating as the objects sink into the western horizon or the sky quality going down hill!I added a jack plug to my TC80N3 so I can control my 450D just in case you were wondering. But the Chinese TC80N3 copies work well and don't cost much more than buying the cables and plugs from MaplinsTony

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by David Mottershead at 20:10 on 2011 Dec 01

HelloFor those of us using Nikon DSLRs, the best software I've come across for controlling the camera from the laptop is DCam Capture:http://www.bernd-peretzke.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&i... a pity that Nikon don't provide such software themselves, as Canon do for some of their DSLRs.

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Duncan Bryson at 23:06 on 2011 Dec 01

Paul A Brierley wrote:

The BAA publish a good beginners, guide book, on digtal slr imaging.As for cameras.I believe most, if not all Canon DSLR, are the camera of choice. The 1000D being a particularly good camera, used by many.But the more expensive Nikon cameras, are also proving popular.Below is a web link for Jerry Lodriguss website. Here I think you'll find a fair bit of information.http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/NIK_CAN.HTM

I have a 1000D and let me recommend it highly. It is an incredibly good camera and does me well. It does not have a video mode. I have not changed mine as I love taking landscape photographs, which you can see on my website if you wish. Also on my website is my Moon photo which was taken through a 4inch telescope attached to my 1000DClear skies

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 14:01 on 2012 Jan 03

Thanks for that comprehensive response Martin which I have been slow to respond to. I just got a 1000d Canon SLR which I am delighted to have received a few days in advance of my birthday!My own telescope for imaging is a modest Skywatcher Evostar 80mm ED, so I am buying some parts to attach the camera to it.I read with interest, and although it's not really amusing- I have some shared sympathy, about your weather situation.I too have a small shed/utility room I store my equipment in, more so I can get in and out quickly to avoid and return things into quickly in the event of rain, snow, sleet, etc..I originally was raised on Arran, the most southerly island, but now live in Caithness, so I know how the wind can both be prohibitive to stable images, and just how quickly it blows over clouds when you're back is turned!Best Wishes and thanks again for responding,Gordon

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Paul A Brierley at 12:14 on 2012 Jan 22

You might be interested to know. I am organising an Introduction to DSLR imaging" event on Friday 27th from 19:00hrs.The idea is to encourage members, from my local astronomical society, to take fixed, tripod, images of the sky using very short exposures.I have a good number of people wanting to come along. So with any luck. It should be a good night.It will be very interesting to see, the make and models of cameras people have. And do a comparison.

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Re:DSLR Cameras

Posted by Gordon MacLeod at 14:29 on 2012 Jan 22

Good Luck with that Paul.I 'm sure it will go well.Unfortunately I doubt I would make it down as far as yourself as I'm on the North Coast.But Best Wishes and Good Luck!