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Old 15-01-2017, 09:14 AM
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Compact camera for astro photography?

For travel purposes, just wondering whether there is a 'pocket' or compact camera that has a sensor that is low noise for AP in dark skies. And with a bulb setting for shutter speed?

I have found using a large DSLR on a sky tracker quite challenging - so just considering possible alternatives (without carrying a portable equatorial mount) ...

Cheers, Chris
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Old 15-01-2017, 10:20 AM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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There's lots of options in the mirrorless space...depends reall on what you're preferences are.

The smaller Sony units, Fujifilm X-series, even the Canon EOS M5 looks a neat unit...
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Old 16-01-2017, 07:38 AM
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The Tiny1 is the only compact camera I've seen dedicated to astrophotography. Its in production and I hope to get mine in the next month or so and see how it performs.

Otherwise for a compact I've always had good results from my Panasonic LX3 and Leica DLux. The mirrorless I've experienced (a few years ago) have all had partcularly bad chroma noise and seemed more a fashion accessory than a real camera. The Fuji X look great on paper but i've never used one.
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Old 16-01-2017, 09:42 AM
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Tiny1 looks interesting

The Fujifilm X series are pretty decent, I have an early model the X-E1, better Ha transmission than many, the only downside is that there was no tethering support until the very recent models, although I believe there was an app available for wifi control (just not for the X-E1!).

Having the interchangeable lens ability is a bonus, and with a pancake lens they can (almost) fit in your pocket...
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Old 16-01-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisM View Post
For travel purposes, just wondering whether there is a 'pocket' or compact camera that has a sensor that is low noise for AP in dark skies. And with a bulb setting for shutter speed?
Hi Chris,

Any choice depends on what compromises you are prepared to make for size, portability and suitability to your mount versus increased noise going to smaller camera, which will typically have a smaller sensor, with its inherently higher noise. (Yes I know some may suggest that a smaller camera doesn't always mean smaller sensor and to look at the Sony A6000/6300/6500, but by the time one adds appropriate lenses for astro, they are not the featherweights or small anymore)

Having a look it seems that you use/have used a Nikon D7100. When you say that there were challenges using a large DSLR on the SkyTracker mount, did this relate to poor tracking, possibly due to higher/excessive load? If so, and you need a lighter, low noise, but not necessarily smaller camera, then I'd recommend:

1. any of the good Interchangeable mirrorless cameras, with APS-C or micro4/3 sensors (for example: Sony A6000, A6300, A6500, Fuji XT2, Panasonic G7, G8...) with shorter focal length lenses, otherwise weight will becomes the same concern as it was with your larger DSLR). OR

2. if you want more in terms of focal length, but want to keep weight down and the cost more reasonable, then go for a smaller overall and almost (but not quite) as low noise as your D7100 , one of the better bridge cameras, such as the Panasonic FZ1000 (the newer FZ2000 doesn't add much except $) or the Sony DSC RX10 MkI, MkII or MkIII. Persoanlly I'd go for The FZ1000 as it offers a sharp 25-400mm zoom, good iso range, reasonable $ and reasonably low noise levels, which given its 1" sensor is excellent. Not quite as low noise as the D7100 with its 3 times larger APS-C sensor, but much lower noise than for example the D80.

Best
JA

Last edited by JA; 16-01-2017 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 17-01-2017, 11:21 PM
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Thanks Dunk, Sil & JA for your suggestions. I've checked out a number of those models, but don't wish to go mirrorless at this stage. My main camera is a D750, a considerable improvement on the D7100 that I used a few years back. The tiny looks to be an interesting project.

The Sony RX100 looks to be quite versatile and is compact, but the price of the latest model has taken quite a hike - maybe that's why you (JA) recommended the Mk I, II or III. The Panasonic FZ1000 is probably too bulky for what I had in mind.

Time to do a bit more research and look at a few of them in the flesh.

Thanks again,
Chris
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Old 17-01-2017, 11:31 PM
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Chris why not consider one of the ASI1600s, a purpose built astro cmos camera, available in colour or mono, and with or without sensor cooling. They have an adaptor available that allows attachment of Canon EOS lenses. If you are just after a light camera for astro work they seem to fit the bill. Have a look at the ZWO website or at Bintel. The non-cooled colour versions are very cost effective compared to mirrorless compacts. You would need a small netbook type pc to control it via usb, but it would be full featured that way, runs on just usb supplied power in the non-cooled versions, cooled ones need 12V 2amp supply which is easy to get.
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Old 18-01-2017, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisM View Post
The Sony RX100 looks to be quite versatile and is compact, but the price of the latest model has taken quite a hike - maybe that's why you (JA) recommended the Mk I, II or III. The Panasonic FZ1000 is probably too bulky for what I had in mind.

Time to do a bit more research and look at a few of them in the flesh.

Thanks again,
Chris
Hi Chris,

I was advocating for the Sony RX10 MkI, MkII & MKIII, about the same size as the FZ1000, NOT the MUCH smaller Sony RX100 which confusingly also has several derivatives, the MkI, MkII and MkIII; however: if that's the VERY compact size that you like then I would look at the equivalent Panasonic compacts like the Panasonic Lumix LX10 and Panasonic Lumix TZ110 in preference. They both have 1" sensors, 4K video, intervalometer (for separate images or to build timelapse video in-camera) and either 3x or 10x resp. optical zoom and have a street price around $700 (RRP $900)
Best
JA

Last edited by JA; 18-01-2017 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 22-01-2017, 11:22 PM
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OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
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Hi Chris,

You won't get anything compact that will come close to the performance of the D750. Probably cheaper to get a tracker with heavier payload. Of course that increases travel weight.


Joe
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Old 23-01-2017, 10:51 PM
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Hi Chris,

You won't get anything compact that will come close to the performance of the D750. Probably cheaper to get a tracker with heavier payload. Of course that increases travel weight.


Joe
Thanks Joe, actually I wasn't trying to match the 750's performance; rather just see what compact cameras might be around, and it would be a bonus if they could do some 'lightweight' AP and nightscapes. As it turns out, I've decided not to get anything just for now, but will keep an eye on what's around.

Cheers, Chris
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Old 23-01-2017, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JA View Post
Hi Chris,

I was advocating for the Sony RX10 MkI, MkII & MKIII, about the same size as the FZ1000, NOT the MUCH smaller Sony RX100 which confusingly also has several derivatives, the MkI, MkII and MkIII; however: if that's the VERY compact size that you like then I would look at the equivalent Panasonic compacts like the Panasonic Lumix LX10 and Panasonic Lumix TZ110 in preference. They both have 1" sensors, 4K video, intervalometer (for separate images or to build timelapse video in-camera) and either 3x or 10x resp. optical zoom and have a street price around $700 (RRP $900)
Best
JA
Thanks JA - you're right - I obviously did mix up the RX10 and RX100 models. Very confusing with so many models out there! I'll have a look at the RX10 too, but have decided not to buy anything just for now.
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Old 23-01-2017, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by glend View Post
Chris why not consider one of the ASI1600s, a purpose built astro cmos camera, available in colour or mono, and with or without sensor cooling. They have an adaptor available that allows attachment of Canon EOS lenses. If you are just after a light camera for astro work they seem to fit the bill. Have a look at the ZWO website or at Bintel. The non-cooled colour versions are very cost effective compared to mirrorless compacts. You would need a small netbook type pc to control it via usb, but it would be full featured that way, runs on just usb supplied power in the non-cooled versions, cooled ones need 12V 2amp supply which is easy to get.
Thanks Glen - Thanks for the suggestons. I was originally looking for a compact / pocket camera that could be used for general photography when I didn't have a DSLR with me, and one that wasn't too shabby in low light situations. However, I've decided not to get anything just for now, but will keep an eye on the options.
Cheers, Chris
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