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Old 10-06-2008, 09:50 PM
cpoc
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SLR Film camera suggestions for astro and Macro (primarily)

I've recently been given my grandfather's old telescope (a tasco refractor from who knows when). Unfortunately tonight was quite overcast so no use for observing. Though I know it won't be overly usable with this telescope I would like to get a camera for astrophotography purposes.

I've been keeping my eye on eBay just for an idea of second hand film SLR prices and I figure anywhere up to around $50 would be ok (beyond that and I'd rather keep saving for the Digital SLR that I plan to get... once work starts later this month/early next month).

Basically what I'm looking for is a camera that will be good for astrophotography and macro images when in a more terrestrial use. I'm keen on getting one that is as flexible as possible. My brother got my dad's old Pentax SLR (I think that was the brand... apparently some very well regarded model). I'm just wondering if any people here could point me in the right direction either for the sort of features I should make sure the camera I choose has, the camera make and model itself or just any other advice to help me pick a good camera/lens. Even a website to help me learn more about features to keep my eye open for.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:12 PM
Ian Robinson
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Minolta XD5 or XD7 if you can find one - excellent !!!

You can take the batteries out and operate them manually , which is what I do with my XD5 , the mirror and shutter are super quite (ultra low vibration creation).

Likely to be more than $50 though as they are excellent and most owners wont part with them.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:13 PM
cpoc
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Thanks for that I will keep my eyes open for that brand and model. My dad's old one was a Pentax K1000 so I know about models holding their price when the quality was great.
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:24 PM
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Try Praktica, they are great cameras.
VLC model has removable penta-prism / right angle viewer , good for focusing. And it will be within your budget (you can be sure it is worth much more than that. I own one since '75, and I am still using it). Shutter mechanism is a bit heavy, there may be the vibration problem at short exposures
Praktica will accept all Pentax M42 lenses.

Edit:
Zenit cameras are also OK and within the budget, however possibly not as reliable as Prakticas
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:58 PM
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I use a Minolta SRT 101b from a million years ago which has given some good results.

I seem to remember there was one of these for sale a while ago on Ice in Space and I don't think a buyer was found.

Do a search and see if you can find the post.

cheers

niko
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:19 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice so far... it is really helpful and very much appreciated... I now have a good few brands to keep an eye open for which should greatly increase my chances of finding something worthwhile within my budget.

I shall also have a peruse through the sale section here in a while to see what is available.

Thanks again and of course any other recommendations etc are welcome
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:45 PM
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Terry B
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The pentax K1000 was an excellent fully manual camera. No need for batteries to keep the shutter open. I'd get another one of those.
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Old 15-06-2008, 10:53 AM
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Well it turns out I was able to pick up Pentax K1000 for $50 (+$12 postage) so I'm pretty happy... plus I think my brother got some new lenses for the one he got from dad so that should be good. Hopefully will get it in a little over a week (have to put more money into PayPal then finalise the sale). So with any luck... I can try some film astrophotography within a few weeks ... thanks for the tips and advice everyone... much appreciated.
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Old 15-06-2008, 11:16 AM
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In the past, many people went for the Olympus OM-1n or OM-2n for astro use. The 1 is a mechanical/manual camera which doesn't need batteries and has mirror lock-up. The 2 is an electromechanical with auto-exposure but without mirror-lockup. Both have very well damped mirrors, so even with the 2, vibration from the mirror isn't a problem.

Both are semi-pro/pro grade cameras. Other suitable Olympii film cameras are the OM-2s (spot metering), the OM-3Ti (titanium body, manual only) and the OM-4Ti (titanium body, electronic, spot metering).
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Old 15-06-2008, 07:07 PM
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Ok here it is straight forget film cameras too expensive for astrophotography unless your in too developing your own film, by the time you add up buying the film takening shots getting it developed etc etc in the long run it'll work out cheaper buying a DSLR. Like you I was given a number of relelatively old film SLR's with AF lens when I found out the lens could be used on a DSLR cameras the first thing I did was buy a DSLR.
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Old 15-06-2008, 08:49 PM
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erick (Eric)
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Trevor is exactly right, cpoc. But, when you don't have a DSLR and won't have one for a while, you have to do what you can, don't you!

OK, here are the experiences of a long time Pentax SLR user, but a very beginner astrophotographer. Here are a few threads if you want to see what I have tried:-

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=16990

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=19703

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=19735

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=23668

There are various tricks, eg. to avoid camera shake on long exposure, if you don't have mirror lockup and a remote cable release, you hold something in front of the lens (a hat is good), open the shutter, remove it when the camera stops shaking, expose your shot, hold it back in front of the lens, then close the shutter.

Then wait patiently until some el-cheapo film processing place have developed your film so you can scan the negs and see what you got, hairs and dust included!!

Have I mentioned, I'd love a DSLR?

Start with some star trails using a tripod - good fun. Defocus the camera to bring out the colours in the brighter stars. Make a "barndoor" tracker to counteract the earth's rotation.

Happy to chat. PM me. I can lend you some gear for you to try out.

Cheers
Eric
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Old 15-06-2008, 09:01 PM
Ian Robinson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorW View Post
Ok here it is straight forget film cameras too expensive for astrophotography unless your in too developing your own film, by the time you add up buying the film takening shots getting it developed etc etc in the long run it'll work out cheaper buying a DSLR. Like you I was given a number of relelatively old film SLR's with AF lens when I found out the lens could be used on a DSLR cameras the first thing I did was buy a DSLR.
Having your films developed and printed is no more expensive than printing from digital (on your inkjet or colour laserjet onto glossy paper).
Plus you've got the negatives virtually for ever , and a half decent dSLR is not cheap to buy , and you need image processing software and maybe a lapy too if recording your images a remote (from mains) location.

And not everyone is flash enough financially to be able to afford to spend two or three grand (or more) on a digital camera and all the required paraphenia to make it useful astrophotographically. Film is the way to got to learn the ropes.
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Old 15-06-2008, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ian Robinson View Post
Having your films developed and printed is no more expensive than printing from digital (on your inkjet or colour laserjet onto glossy paper).
Plus you've got the negatives virtually for ever , and a half decent dSLR is not cheap to buy , and you need image processing software and maybe a lapy too if recording your images a remote (from mains) location.

And not everyone is flash enough financially to be able to afford to spend two or three grand (or more) on a digital camera and all the required paraphenia to make it useful astrophotographically. Film is the way to got to learn the ropes.
Ian not so !!, a reasonable DLSR can be brought for as cheap as $600 furthermore how often do you actually do prints of the images taken using a DSLR.
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Old 15-06-2008, 10:17 PM
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Main benefit is seeing what you have captured immediately so you can adjust and reshoot, if necessary.

Second benefit is the ubiquitous need for electronic versions of what you have shot. Try getting from film (negative or positive) to a clean file without a good scanner and a great ability to get all dust hairs etc off the strip (hoping the film processer hasn't added some for you).
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  #15  
Old 16-06-2008, 04:18 AM
Ian Robinson
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Ian not so !!, a reasonable DLSR can be brought for as cheap as $600 furthermore how often do you actually do prints of the images taken using a DSLR.
I'll be wanting prints , luckily my Epson has great resoluton so (near 6000 dpi).

What's the point taking great photos if you don't print the best of them so you have something permanent to keep and admire and show off ?
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Old 16-06-2008, 12:24 PM
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Only so much wall too fill and so many stars to shoot. I'll save them to DVD then show them off with my projector on a 100" screen.

I'm not belittling film photography because thats all we had a few years ago but the DSLR progressively has made astrophotography more affordable to the amatuer.

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Old 17-06-2008, 06:53 PM
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gman (Grant)
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I have a Canon T70 with a 50mm & 70-210 zoom with macro, a remote cable and various other bits that I have banished to the bottom of the wardrobe as it is not used any longer and looking on ebay etc, practically worthless and that none of the bits I have are interchangeable with a DSLR.
I also have an LPL enlarger, (no lenses) and other bits and pieces

I may be interested in parting with these.
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  #18  
Old 18-06-2008, 12:38 PM
cpoc
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Originally Posted by erick View Post
Trevor is exactly right, cpoc. But, when you don't have a DSLR and won't have one for a while, you have to do what you can, don't you!

OK, here are the experiences of a long time Pentax SLR user, but a very beginner astrophotographer. Here are a few threads if you want to see what I have tried:-

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=16990

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=19703

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=19735

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=23668

There are various tricks, eg. to avoid camera shake on long exposure, if you don't have mirror lockup and a remote cable release, you hold something in front of the lens (a hat is good), open the shutter, remove it when the camera stops shaking, expose your shot, hold it back in front of the lens, then close the shutter.

Then wait patiently until some el-cheapo film processing place have developed your film so you can scan the negs and see what you got, hairs and dust included!!

Have I mentioned, I'd love a DSLR?

Start with some star trails using a tripod - good fun. Defocus the camera to bring out the colours in the brighter stars. Make a "barndoor" tracker to counteract the earth's rotation.

Happy to chat. PM me. I can lend you some gear for you to try out.

Cheers
Eric
Thanks for that Erick, those shots are about what I would hope for (certainly for just getting into it all). I've read a bit about barndoor trackers and will likely try making one at some point (if I can salvage the parts from around the place)... that will fulfill two of my current passions, DIY and astrophotography

Much appreciate the offer of a loan of gear... with petrol prices as they are (and just starting a new job) it's a little difficult to get to the other side of town (to think I used to live in Ringwood... much closer)... but may pick your brains as I go.

I figure my first few attempts I might basically go through a reel of film trying different exposures and logging what each frame setting was... then when the results come I can cross reference and see what worked best... of course when it comes down to it I may get too excited and just go and fiddle.

Thanks again everyone for the advice... and yes I too would love a DSLR... but got to wait till I've had this new job for a while before that will even be imaginable financially (plus I can no doubt borrow some lenses from my brothers camera with the K1000)
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