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Old 13-02-2008, 07:08 PM
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Which Camera for Astrophotography?

Now that my Astrophotography rig is almost complete. I think it is now time to start to consider what camera will best suit me and my rig.

After a bit of research, I came across some amazing DSO images taken with DSLR cameras and the Meade DSI.

I see that the Canon DSLR camera is quite popular amongst amatuer astrophotographers and the results speek for themselves. I had also seen some amazing images taken with the Meade DSI camera aswell.

So... If I was to purchase one of these cameras,

Which one should it be?

BTW, I will be using my C8 with a focal reducer on an EQ6 (guided).

Thanks in advance.
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Old 13-02-2008, 07:17 PM
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At the moment, if your looking for a Canon DSLR, check out the 40D which has Live Preview (focus).

If you can wait, then Canon will be releasing the 450D soon which should be cheaper(?) and has Live PreView.

The 450D will be a good choice if you haven't got any previous Canon gear since this model utilises SD cards instead of the traditional CF memory cards and also a different battery (I think).

If the 40D is too expensive or you can't wait then the 400D is another option but has no Live Preview.
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Old 13-02-2008, 07:31 PM
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Thanks Andrew,

I have to do a bit more research on the Canon DSLRs to see which one is the best for me.

Do you now anything about the Meade DSI? It looks like a pretty good low cost DSO imager.
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Old 13-02-2008, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Matty P View Post
Do you now anything about the Meade DSI? It looks like a pretty good low cost DSO imager.
Unfortunately I have no experience with the DSI's so can't comment.
I'm sure others can help you though.
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Old 13-02-2008, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Matty P View Post

Do you now anything about the Meade DSI? It looks like a pretty good low cost DSO imager.
Which DSI, DSI I, II, III, mono or colour?

Paul
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Old 13-02-2008, 07:53 PM
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Which DSI, DSI I, II, III, mono or colour?

Paul
I was thinking about the DSI II or DSI III. I would most likely go for the mono.
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Old 13-02-2008, 08:03 PM
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Most people who own a DSI do it because it's a low-cost imager, yes. But it's nowhere near as good as a Canon 40D or 450D will be.

Most people who own a DSI end up upgrading to a DSLR.

Get the best the first time, if you can.
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Old 13-02-2008, 08:18 PM
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If I get a DSLR camera. Will I be able to use straight out of the box and connect it to my C8 or will I have to get it modded?
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Old 13-02-2008, 08:28 PM
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Most people who own a DSI do it because it's a low-cost imager, yes. But it's nowhere near as good as a Canon 40D or 450D will be.

Most people who own a DSI end up upgrading to a DSLR.

Get the best the first time, if you can.
I have a DSLR, EOS 400D and it's a great camera. I also have a DSI I, but I only use it for guiding.

Originally I had an EOS 300D second hand for 300 bucks and a filter trade, but I sold it and upgraded to the EOS400 D twin lens kit for about 1250 AUD.

In hindsight for me it was a mistake. This is because while it is a great camera and I have taken some images that I am happy with, at the end of the day it has a poor Ha response and is uncooled. This will be the same for all DSLR's. This means you really cant go for more than 7 minutes as usually any longer and there is too much noise.

It is possible to upgrade by getting the Canon filter removed (USD 500) and getting the camera cooled (USD 1000) but then you are talking serious bucks, over US2500 for a new cooled, modded EOS 400D.

Currently I am looking at getting a real astro camera and i wish i got one initially after the 300 D purchase.

Anyway, in my opinion if you are just starting out then I would buy a second hand EOS 350D and see how you go. Practice your guiding, polar aligning and processing skills and you will get some nice photo's. After a while you will know what you want to achieve and will have a better idea if you really want to fork out say 1800 bucks for a meade DSI III or upto 10,000 USD for a brand new SBIG 11K. I would also say for beginning imagers its easier to take and process photos with a colour camera than with a mono camera with filters.

A used 350D can probably be got for around 300 dollars on ebay and later on you could sell it for a few hundred.

You can use a DSLR straight out of the box, but will need a T ring to connect to the scope ($40) and a bulb release ($70) to go over 30 seconds and avoid camera shake.

Paul
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Old 13-02-2008, 08:45 PM
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Thanks Paul, just what I needed.

I think a DSLR camera is the way to go. For me, I like to buy something that will last me for a while. Getting rid of me wanting to upgrade in a later stage.

A 400D or 450D sound pretty good.
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Old 13-02-2008, 08:58 PM
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Getting rid of me wanting to upgrade in a later stage.
Lol, good luck on that, that's what everyone says ....

Paul
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Old 13-02-2008, 09:31 PM
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Matty,

Here is my 2cents.
I bought the 400D new with 5 years warranty. Now i really like this camera and i have imaged in a 8" SCT once or twice. And via my refractor a few times. In the 8" SCT , I used a F6.3 reducer, EOS to T-ring adapter, and a Tring to 1.25" nose piece adapter. I did find a bit of vigneting around the edges. If you are going to do this i suggest you get a 2" nose piece adapter (that is made to avoid vigneting), and also get a 2" Visual back for the 8" SCT. The 8" SCT's only have a 1.5" opening at the back so you will not get full use out of the 2" but the CMOS sensor in the DSLR's is smaller than this so you should not have a problem there.

Here is what i have learned the hard way.

The Ha response without modfication is not very good at all. But thats if you target Nebula's with Ha. You could target other objects like galaxies etc

But I think in hindsight I would have been better off buying a 2nd hand or Refurbished 350D or 20D. Because the cost is less and you can get it modded and still spend less money than on a new camera. Also you will not lose any warranty this way that you would on a new camera.

My advise is you buy a used or refurbished camera and save some money and put it towards the modification. The 350D is 1/3 or the weight of the 20D but both have a sensor with good pixel size suitable for Astronomy.

Have a look at http://www.adorama.com/ they have really good prices on used and refurbished camera's. They are also rated highly on http://www.resellerratings.com/. You can also get a locally used one from Ebay.

In hindsight i would have been better of buying a used camera and attempting to either self mod it or have it modded by a pro.

Regards
Fahim
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Old 13-02-2008, 10:00 PM
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I have a 40D and am very happy with it. I also have a small CCD that I built years ago that is more use as a science instrument. It is much more sensitive than the 40D but has a much smaller sensor.
Lots of people have commented about modding and this seems to be useful.
My only comment is that are you going to use the camera as a daytime camera also?
This needs to be taken into consideratiion re modding as some mods make the camera useless as a camera (cooling mods) and more difficult to use for daytime imaging when there is no IR filter.
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Old 14-02-2008, 11:22 AM
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Hi Matty, I have been using the DSI II Pro & filters for nearly two years now and have always found it to be a very reliable and easy to use CCD camera. Once you get used to the Envisage software it's not so bad either, I also use MaximDL for imaging but that is also it works well with a variety of CCD camera so when I change cameras I don't have to change software as well.

I have found it to be a great entry level camera to learn imaging with.

I am now considering a step up to the Starlight Xpress but that won't mean the end of the DSI II. it will become my guide camera as well.

Cheers
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Old 14-02-2008, 05:18 PM
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Thanks guys,

The main point of getting a DSLR camera was to use it for daytime photography aswell as for Astrophotography.

So if I decide I want to mod the DSLR, I will be unable to use it for general daytime photgraphy???

I am also a bit unsure on how everything works...

So, when I have the DSLR. I will need to buy a T-ring adapter and a T-ring to 1.25" nose piece adapter to connect it to the scope. Then a Bulb Release so I can do longer exposures and everthing should be up and running. Did I miss anything? (oh yeah... clear skies!)

I will have a look around to see if I can find a good quality DSLR camera anywhere for a reasonable price.

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Old 14-02-2008, 05:22 PM
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Matty P,

I may be wrong, but I think you would be better of with a larger visual back and a two inch nose piece.

Paul
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Old 14-02-2008, 05:53 PM
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Matty P,

I may be wrong, but I think you would be better of with a larger visual back and a two inch nose piece.

Paul

Hi

Don't make the mistake of getting 1 1/4", you will require 2" adapters for an APS sized chip on a DSLR otherwise you get severe vignetting, something like this is what you require:

http://www.myastroshop.com.au/produc...asp?id=MAS-129

Cheers
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Old 14-02-2008, 06:47 PM
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Will I be able to use this?

http://www.myastroshop.com.au/produc...asp?id=MAS-227
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Old 14-02-2008, 07:16 PM
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I would say you could, the reason I suggested using the 2" adapter was, as I read the previous posts, you were going to image from the 80mm as well, with the 2" visual back on the SCT you can also use the refractor without having to buy another adapter.

Sorry if I got it wrong.

Cheers
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