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Old 24-05-2014, 08:08 AM
glend (Glen)
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Setup help for Canon 450d

I have acquired a Canon 450d to get started in imaging. Can someone with experience wth this camera or similiar Canons give me an idea for best settings for astro work?

My background research on the Net, suggest the following:

M, Manual setting, Bulb, flash disabled, ISO 800, RAW

Liveview on, autofocus off, sensor cleaning on.

I realise that things like ISO setting may change based on magnitude of object, and length of exposure.

I had a trial run last night on my AR102S (Shortie, wide field scope at 600mm fl, f5.9 - which is the fastest refractor I have). Mount is an NEQ6 Pro (unguided for now). Target was Eta Carina.

I used an intervalometer that I bought off ebay and had it setup for 10 exposures of 30 seconds each to minimise chance of trails.

Problems: I could not work out how to focus the camera on the scope (bacially did not know how to turn on Liveview, which is sorted now (press Set). Is it better to set the focus in the day time or use a very bright object at infinity like Mars? To get something last night to see if it was working, I ran the focus in and out manually, and did get some lucky results on two of the ten exposures..

Annoying things to fix, and other questions:

Why does that yellow light on the front of the camera flash at each exposure and how do I turn that off?

Do I set for mirror lockup?

Any other advice?
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  #2  
Old 24-05-2014, 08:13 AM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Use EOS Utility on the computer.

Connect camera via USB.

Load up Live View Remote Shooting.

Place star in centre of frame.

Tick 200% box.

Better, yet: create a Bahtinov Mask.

Download Bat Grabber.

Load Bat Grabber and draw a box around a star in EOS Utility's Live View display.

Turn focus knob and watch your star come in to focus in real time.

EOS Utility will be on the disc which came with the camera. If not, I believe Canon has relaxed their rules and it is now a free download (not just free update for download).

H
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  #3  
Old 25-05-2014, 01:20 PM
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g__day (Matthew)
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Trial the latest BackYardEOS (v3.03) to control your Canon. If you have mains power available purchase a mains AC/DC adapter so your camera never runs out of juice!
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  #4  
Old 25-05-2014, 04:41 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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As has been said....
Don't worry about mirror lift/lock - it's a non event.
I find that ISO200 setting is my "sweet spot"
I use AstroArtV5 to control all my cameras including the DSLR's.
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  #5  
Old 26-05-2014, 08:36 AM
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rcheshire (Rowland)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
I have acquired a Canon 450d to get started in imaging. Can someone with experience wth this camera or similiar Canons give me an idea for best settings for astro work?

My background research on the Net, suggest the following:

M, Manual setting, Bulb, flash disabled, ISO 800, RAW

Liveview on, autofocus off, sensor cleaning on.

Liveview off, sensor cleaning off for flat frame consistency.


I realise that things like ISO setting may change based on magnitude of object, and length of exposure.

I had a trial run last night on my AR102S (Shortie, wide field scope at 600mm fl, f5.9 - which is the fastest refractor I have). Mount is an NEQ6 Pro (unguided for now). Target was Eta Carina.

I used an intervalometer that I bought off ebay and had it setup for 10 exposures of 30 seconds each to minimise chance of trails.

Problems: I could not work out how to focus the camera on the scope (bacially did not know how to turn on Liveview, which is sorted now (press Set). Is it better to set the focus in the day time or use a very bright object at infinity like Mars? To get something last night to see if it was working, I ran the focus in and out manually, and did get some lucky results on two of the ten exposures..

You can use live view x10 to focus, but a focus mask is better. Just go for the smallest dot you can achieve using a bright star. One side of focus produces a red ring the other a blue ring - somewhere in between.

A very simple mask to produce is the Hartmann

Annoying things to fix, and other questions:

Why does that yellow light on the front of the camera flash at each exposure and how do I turn that off?

Turn off focus beam assist - download the 450d user manual if you don't have one.

Do I set for mirror lockup?

No big deal

Any other advice?
Hope this helps
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  #6  
Old 26-05-2014, 09:39 AM
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MrB (Simon)
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As mentioned already, live view at x10 for focusing. Both BYE(BackYard EOS) and APT(AstroPhotography Tool) have good focus aids that use the live view.
Remember to limit your use of live view as much as possible as this heats the sensor considerably.

I have read that some people wind the ISO to the highest setting when using live view, this supposedly benefits the live view sensitivity, but this must be model specific as it seems to have no effect on my 60D or 1100D. I have yet to try it on the 40D.
It is possible that 'bulb' mode automatically sets the live view to maximum sensitivity.
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Old 26-05-2014, 10:21 AM
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Octane (Humayun)
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The ISO sensitivity in Live View will probably only take place if you have Live View Exposure Simulation enabled. I'm not sure if it is available on those systems. I've only got experience with Live View on the 5D Mark II/5D Mark III and the 40D (but, the 40D didn't have Live View Exposure Simulation, from memory).

H
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Old 26-05-2014, 10:44 AM
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MrB (Simon)
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The 60D has exposure simulation, the 1100D does not. I've never looked for it on my 40D.
I've always had this enabled but also doesn't seem to have an effect for astro in bulb mode.
It may be that upping the ISO works when Expo. Simulation is disabled(or not an option)
Pretty sure that the sensitivity is at max in the 'bulb' setting as I've never been able to get it to increase.

Edit: Just checked the 40D, no Expo. Simulation.
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Old 26-05-2014, 11:21 AM
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Octane (Humayun)
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I guess/think Live View Exposure Simulation only works up until a certain amount of light.

I use it for my landscape photography and it works fine at dawn/dusk.

H
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Old 26-05-2014, 12:03 PM
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MrB (Simon)
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Yeah I've seen it do its thing for daylight shots. I agree it probably hits a level of amplification and then she ain't got no more captain.
I should probably do a more thorough investigation one night.
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Old 26-05-2014, 12:50 PM
glend (Glen)
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I was trying again last night and can't get much out of Liveview. On a very bright target like Alpha Centauri I can just see it, but as a focusing aid it is not very useful (camera set for ISO800). On a target like Eta Carinae "I See Nothing". Certainly during the exposure there is nothing showing on the screen.

I managed to get a couple of exposures of Eta Carinae by sheer luck more than skill.

It seems that my particular 450d takes a long time to 'digest' a 30 second exposure and I was not allowing a long enough interval between exposures which messed up the sequencing of the intervalometer. Is there a rule for how much time should be allowed for an interval (for camera processing)?

I am thinking that I am doing somethings fundamentally wrong.
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Old 26-05-2014, 01:14 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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You won't see a thing, re: nebulae in Live View. They are simply far too dim.

When you went into Live View, did you press the magnify button to magnify the star 1x, 5x and then 10x?

Once you're in 10x magnification, it's pretty easy to focus.

H
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Old 26-05-2014, 01:15 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Have you got in camera noise reduction enabled?

If so, after each 30-second exposure, it will take a 30-second dark frame.

You might want to disable that and take your dark frames manually.

So, set 30 seconds for the exposure and set the interval to 32 or 33 seconds, which will give enough time to write the file to the card.

H

Last edited by Octane; 26-05-2014 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 26-05-2014, 02:18 PM
glend (Glen)
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Thanks Octane I will try all that. Yes, I have noise reduction enabled, I will turn that off.

And no I did not use the magnify button, I will try that as well. I was using the bright object to get the camera focus right and then moving the scope to the nebulae.
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Old 26-05-2014, 02:40 PM
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Let us know how you get on!

H
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  #16  
Old 26-05-2014, 05:09 PM
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MrB (Simon)
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Glen, one thing I have noticed with live view is that often I can't see any stars at 1x zoom, just a black screen, but if I go to 5x and scroll around the field I can usually then pick up a faint star.
Once I centre that star at 5x I can then zoom to 10x, adjust it's centreing and then adjust focus.
Also, this will depend on the f-ratio of the scope/lens used.

It will also depend on how much the stars are out-of-focus, the small amount of spread light available from a very out of focus star will not have enough energy for the sensor to pick it up.
I find that at f6 or faster, if I'm sure I've got the object reasonably centred and focus is somewhere close, a scan around at 5x I'll more often than not find a usable star.
I can definitely get stars around Eta Carinae.

Pretty much the only time I have problems is with any filters fitted.
For example, when I have the Hydrogen Alpha filter fitted, there is no chance in hell of seeing anything on live view so I resort to setting the ISO to the highest it will go and taking short 5 to 10 second exposures, reviewing the results and homing in on the focus that way. Can take a few minutes and a few exposures this way, but it's worth it in the end.
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Old 28-05-2014, 06:33 AM
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nebulosity. (Jo)
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To focus, goto a bright star, zoom in 10x on live view and adjust the focus until it's sharpest. Done!

Jo
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Old 30-05-2014, 03:16 PM
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MrB (Simon)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrB
Pretty much the only time I have problems is with any filters fitted.
For example, when I have the Hydrogen Alpha filter fitted, there is no chance in hell of seeing anything on live view
I have a correction to make, I did another imaging run on Eta Carina last night with a 12nm Ha filter and I was easily able to pick out a couple of stars at 5x.
At 0x I was just able to see one star flash up on the screen occasionally, this only happened when I gave the scope a light push. With no movement there was nothing to see at 0x zoom, this must have something to do with how the Digic processor reduces the resolution to fit the screen at 0x.
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