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Old 08-09-2014, 10:05 PM
Frostyricho (Stephen)
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Starting Astrophotograpghy

Hi members of IIS,

I want to really start to do some astrophotography but it seems that cameras are too expensive. I dont want to spend too much money but i want to spend enough so that i will get some good results. my pice range is from 0-250 dollars. I have a SLR camera at the moment but it has the lense attached to so there is no way of removing it. Its called the 'Canon Powershot SX10IS. On this camera you can change the exposure time and shutter speed but the thing that is stopping me is the lense, i dont know if i can attach it to the telescope with a t-ring and all of the other stuff. Oh by the way my telescope is a 8" inch dobsonian. I know that i will need a barlow lense and all that so no need to mention it or anything.

Kind regards Frostyricho
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:45 PM
hobbit
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To attach it to the scope you'll need a proper slr with removable lens. That camera only be able to do afocal photography by holding it up to the eyepiece.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:04 AM
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cometcatcher (Kevin)
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< $250 is a tough budget, but it will get you a second hand 1100D.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:45 AM
SteveInNZ
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Your camera type is referred to as a "bridge camera" because it is similar in operation to a (D)SLR but doesn't have the optical viewfinder or interchangeable lenses found on a true DSLR. Bridge cameras are very versatile and you get a lot of camera for your dollar but there's quite a jump in performance from a bridge camera to a DSLR, especially when it comes to astrophotography.

So if budget wasn't a consideration, getting a DSLR would be the first step.

However, I think that you would be better off to put your money and effort into getting the most out of what you have.
Do you have a tripod ? A good, sturdy tripod will allow you take nightscapes and shots of the milky way, magellanic clouds, etc. You can take multiple exposures and learn how to stack them.
If you are handy, you can make a barn-door tracker to put on your tripod and that opens up more deep sky objects like M42, etc.

Because your telescope doesn't have tracking, you are limited to the moon and brighter planets but the video recording function on your camera is very capable of doing the job when used afocally. So spend a few of your dollars on a sturdy afocal adapter or afocal eyepiece. Again, you'll be able to learn how and why video is used and get some shots of bits of the moon.
Afocal is taking a shot through the eyepiece with a lens on your camera. The trick is to make it mechanically solid.

If you have a bit of the geek in you, you can load CHDK onto your camera which will give you the ability to capture raw files, increase the exposure times and control the camera through scripts.

IMHO, the biggest thing is to set realistic expectations. If you go out each night with the goal of getting something on the cover of an astronomy magazine, you'll be disappointed quickly. If your goal is to improve on your last effort, you'll get a lifetime of satisfaction.

Just a different opinion.

Steve.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:59 AM
Frostyricho (Stephen)
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Well i was at costco has a few good deals on cameras so ill go check them out. Saw a Song DSLR camera for 250 Bucks. But the thing is my dad probably wont let me get it as i just got a $450 telescope so ill have to wait. Or maybe ill have to wait till next year when i go to america, ill probably pickup a really good deal there.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:14 AM
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You can get pretty good deals here too... I paid $270 for my 1100D on closeout...brand new
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:24 PM
Tony_ (Tony)
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Astrophotography is a great hobby - but it can also be very expensive.
The camera is one thing - but you will also need an adapter & T-ring (another $60). then more + + +
Also as Steve said because your telescope isn't driven you will be limited to the moon and larger planets. You can still have fun but I personally would find it too limiting very quickly. If you hope to take images of deep sky objects - you will need to spend a lot more and depending on your character - in my case I soon wanted more. (and still want more).
I initially spent about $3.5k on a fairly "basic" system. Then I realised the mount wasn't good enough - so I spent another $2k on another mount (which also isn't good enough). Then the camera, which wasn't "modded" wasn't good enough. So another $2k later another camera (which still isn't good enough). Then there are more scopes, filters, dew heaters, autoguider, deep cycle battery, software etc. etc. I actually haven't spent much compared to some people. Don't get me wrong - I love this hobby and it's challenges but the great images you see here are generally taken with expensive equipment and take many hours of exposure time and effort. Take a look at various images and what equipment etc. was used to take them - this will give you an idea of what can be achieved at various levels.

I'm not trying to scare you - but if your expectations are quite low (as Steve said) then go for it. This does tend to be an obsessive hobby.

Regards,
Tony.
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Old 11-09-2014, 02:36 PM
julianh72 (Julian)
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For just a little more than $250, I reckon the ZWO ASI120 MM / MC cameras are pretty hard to beat! (US$299 including express postage for the colour model, US$319 for the monochrome, and you'll get it in your hands within about 1 week of ordering.)

While they're primarily intended as planetary cameras, they are more sensitive than most webcams, and will do long exposures (up to 1,000 seconds, if your mount alignment is good enough!), so they can do basic DSOs as well, and you even get a wide-angle all-sky lens as well for doing skyscapes, meteor showers, satellite passes, etc.

http://www.zwoptical.com/Eng/Cameras/ASI120/index.asp
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:01 PM
Frostyricho (Stephen)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianh72 View Post
For just a little more than $250, I reckon the ZWO ASI120 MM / MC cameras are pretty hard to beat! (US$299 including express postage for the colour model, US$319 for the monochrome, and you'll get it in your hands within about 1 week of ordering.)

While they're primarily intended as planetary cameras, they are more sensitive than most webcams, and will do long exposures (up to 1,000 seconds, if your mount alignment is good enough!), so they can do basic DSOs as well, and you even get a wide-angle all-sky lens as well for doing skyscapes, meteor showers, satellite passes, etc.

http://www.zwoptical.com/Eng/Cameras/ASI120/index.asp
Yea i was thinking to get one of these cameras but i didn't know if you could do long exposures. Are the quality of these cameras great.
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:07 PM
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Depends on your choice of subjects. The ZWO and QHY guide cams will do a nice enough job of planetary objects, but for wide field your better off with a cheap DSLR IMO.
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
Depends on your choice of subjects. The ZWO and QHY guide cams will do a nice enough job of planetary objects, but for wide field your better off with a cheap DSLR IMO.
Why is that sorry if Im being a real pain in the back side
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:39 PM
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No pain no gain

It's all to do with the sensor chip size... the sensor size of the former is typically small, about 5mm x 4mm, whereas the APS-C size sensor (from a cheap Canon for example) is roughly 22mm x 17mm... so about 4x the size in each dimension. For the same scope, the larger sensor will give you the larger FOV.

Hence why it will depend on the subject... for planets you only need/want a small FOV, but high frame rate...this is what the ZWO/QHY are designed for. For DSOs, you'll not fit many in the FOV of one of these...maybe planetary nebulae.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:43 PM
Nortilus (Josh)
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you could get a ioptron startracker and use your camera. Just do some long exposure stuff with that and get a feel for it.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:44 PM
julianh72 (Julian)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
No pain no gain

It's all to do with the sensor chip size... the sensor size of the former is typically small, about 5mm x 4mm, whereas the APS-C size sensor (from a cheap Canon for example) is roughly 22mm x 17mm... so about 4x the size in each dimension. For the same scope, the larger sensor will give you the larger FOV.

Hence why it will depend on the subject... for planets you only need/want a small FOV, but high frame rate...this is what the ZWO/QHY are designed for. For DSOs, you'll not fit many in the FOV of one of these...maybe planetary nebulae.
The field of view depends on the focal length of the telescope and the size of the sensor. A quick look at the results that some people are achieving will show that these ZWO cameras can be used for deep sky work:
http://www.zwoptical.com/Eng/Galleries/ASI120.asp
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianh72 View Post
The field of view depends on the focal length of the telescope and the size of the sensor...
So is "For the same scope..." in my post that you quoted ambiguous then? Of course it depends on the focal length of the scope
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:43 PM
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There is nothing stopping you from imaging with your camera right now.
Slot an eyepiece into your scope, then butt the lens of your camera up to it, and shoot the Moon. Its going to be frustrating as hell at first, but very soon you'll be capturing some awesome shots.
One tip I can give is to focus the telescope, not the camera. While you are focusing you can be giving your scope a bit of a nudge to keep your target in view.
Once you perfected that, then you can move onto the planets.
Set your camera to video mode, butt the lens up to the eyepiece, zoom in as far as you can, then capture short bursts of video. 10 seconds, 20 seconds, so long as the planet stays in the field of view. Then you can process those videos using Registax to produce some pretty good still shots.
If you have a tripod you can capture some stunning wide fields. Simply set your camera to do a 15 second (or longer if possible) exposure, ISO800 or ISO1600, set your inbuilt timer to 2 seconds to avoid shaking the camera, and away you go.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:45 AM
Frostyricho (Stephen)
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I just want to know how i can do longer exposures with my camera, the highest i can go is 15 seconds how can i make it longer. There is no bulb mode on my camera so can anyone suggest what i can do.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:02 AM
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SteveinNZ mentioned loading CHDK onto your camera's memory card.
When I first started out imaging, I only had a bridge camera as well, a Canon S3IS. I loaded CHDK onto the SD card and it was amazing.
One of the many functions it adds to your camera is the ability to do long exposures. Up to a minute long last time I used it. They may have been able to extend that time.
This means you can take multiple images, with your camera on a tripod, and stack them in Startrails.de and make time lapses and star trails. You can do that already with 15 second exposures, but 1 minute is even better.
http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:56 PM
Frostyricho (Stephen)
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Originally Posted by jjjnettie View Post
SteveinNZ mentioned loading CHDK onto your camera's memory card.
When I first started out imaging, I only had a bridge camera as well, a Canon S3IS. I loaded CHDK onto the SD card and it was amazing.
One of the many functions it adds to your camera is the ability to do long exposures. Up to a minute long last time I used it. They may have been able to extend that time.
This means you can take multiple images, with your camera on a tripod, and stack them in Startrails.de and make time lapses and star trails. You can do that already with 15 second exposures, but 1 minute is even better.
http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK
Oh My Gosh, got CHDK (Canon Hacking Development Kit) onto my dslr camera and now i can do exposure times up to like 1000 seconds or something like that. Now i can to RAW files and start processing my images. Want to learn more about this program. Can some people give me some links. Hoping to als get a tripod from Ebay so that the camera doesn't shake or anything. Thanks guys for the help.
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Old 16-09-2014, 11:17 PM
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Until you get your tripod, try resting your camera on a small bean bag or cushion. Use the inbuilt timer delay, set it to 2 seconds to eliminate any shake from pressing the shutter release.
The manual should be accessible on the camera menu. Read it, and reread it. Join the online CHDK forum. Most of all, get outside and practice.
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