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Old 17-01-2014, 12:52 PM
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Nikon Df

High everyone,

I have a D3 Nikon, but I am considering a Df for astrophotography.

Does anyone use one, or know of someone who does ?

Would the Canon 6D be a better option ?

I have a huge investment in Nikon Gear........ I have been a long time Nikon user.....around 30+ years, so was hopping the Df has had some improvements that make it usable for astro work.
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Old 17-01-2014, 01:32 PM
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I'd send a PM to Greg Bradley, he is very knowledgeable in this stuff, esp in relation to sensors etc. See this recent thread for his response
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=116451
Cheers,
Bo
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Old 17-01-2014, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harb View Post
High everyone,

I have a D3 Nikon, but I am considering a Df for astrophotography.

Does anyone use one, or know of someone who does ?

Would the Canon 6D be a better option ?

I have a huge investment in Nikon Gear........ I have been a long time Nikon user.....around 30+ years, so was hopping the Df has had some improvements that make it usable for astro work.

Check out the reviews of this camera at DPreview.com.

Basically its the D4 sensor (a $7000 camera) for half the price. The low light performance has been tweaked slightly even from D4 standards.

I believe it has the best low light high ISO performance of any camera.
It has no video, one memory card slot, is semi manual in controls like a Fuji X camera. From owners postings it has some quirks but overall those who have one seem to like it.

Nikon hot pixel suppression used to cause some grief in early Nikon models years ago. It was too aggressive and would wipe out some small stars. That is not the case with later models.

As far as amp glow goes - I don't know. The D800E had a small amount which is easily handled by long exposure noise reduction on or by doing a dark subtract.

Canon 6D is another really low noise high ISO camera. Would it be better? I think at the end of the day 2 images posted one with a 6D and one with a DF would be hard to tell apart. Paul Haese uses a D4 and I notice some of his time lapses etc seem very clean. That's this sensor at work.

DF is light for a Nikon full frame so that would be a plus.
You can tether Nikons with various software including Capture NX 2 I believe. Possibly Images Plus which was very sophisticated when I last used it which was many years ago now.

So short answer is I think it would be an awesome camera for astro work.

Would 6D be better? It would be nearly half the price so that's worth considering and you can get an excellent Novoflex adapter to use your Nikon lenses on the Canon and manual focus etc.

Other choices are:

Nikon D800 and D800e (very very good) about $2800/3300.
Nikon D4 about $5669
Nikon D610 about $1800 Nikon's have a built in time lapse/intervalometer which is handy. DF does not have this I am pretty sure.
Canon 6D about $1650
Nikon DF $2978
Sony A7 (sensor same as D610 but smaller) $1600 Sony has a time lapse app you can buy for $9.99 which is quite good.
Sony A7r (sensor same as D800E but smaller) $2499
Canon 5D3 about $3100.
Canon 1DX about $6100


To the Sony you have to add the cost of adapters. For Nikon the Novoflex is great and is expensive at $250 but super well made.

Other lens adapters are quite cheap - often under $20. A good Canon one though is about $260.
Greg.

Last edited by gregbradley; 17-01-2014 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 17-01-2014, 02:13 PM
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Was wondering how long it would take for you to respond Greg
Maybe I should bite the bullet and get a Canon 6D as my FF...
Bo
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Old 17-01-2014, 02:31 PM
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6D is hard to beat especially at the price and plenty of super images around showing how good it is.

Canon 6D versus Nikon D610 versus Sony A7 would be an interesting debate. All are good. Different aspects to each and that depends on how you weigh those factors. But in the end its usually the brand you have the most lenses for that seals the choice. Sony A7 is unique there as it takes all lenses. One of my latest favourite lenses is a Canon 70-200mm F4 L on my Sony A7r. Wow, that a lens! 2nd hand it was only about $650 or so. So 36.4mp full frame with the best of Canon lenses or from anyone else - Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta. I got a Zeiss Contax Yashica 28-85mm F3.5 zoom for $600 and it is super sharp and way better than a normal zoom. But its a bit big and heavy.

The main plus of the Sony full frames are very small and light, uses any lens just about from anyone past or present, superb and easy manual focusing, the best sensors currently on the market. The downside is noisy shutter, large file sizes, rangefinder lenses under 35mm give a magenta cast to the sides of the image so one minor limitation.

Its attractive to Canon users who have lovely L glass but want more megapixels so they can use their L glass and get 36.4 megapixels. Low light performance is almost the same as the Nikon equivalent which is very very good. 6D is a bit cleaner. 6D jpegs though may not be for everyone - I personally find them too smoothed but RAW handles that to get away from the smoothing algorithims the camera uses. You really have to check out each model as a new model with seemingly similar specs can have quirks like the Fuji XE2 has too much smoothing at ISO6400 in jpeg whereas the XE1 did not.

Also for astro work I am not sure anything beats a modified Canon 5D2. Still right up there. You don't use ISO6400 anyway on a telescope DSLR shot only for nightscapes and not all the time. Greg Gibbs images are superb and done at ISO3200.

A modified Canon 6D could be very interesting.

Greg.
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Old 17-01-2014, 06:58 PM
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Greg you have pretty much answered my questions.....

I have a big investment in Nikon, so my Preference is the Df, and its style emulates Nikons from the past, which I kind of like as well.
Weight is a major concern as well with the growing pile of equipment hanging of the mount.
decision decisions.......
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Old 17-01-2014, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harb View Post
Greg you have pretty much answered my questions.....

I have a big investment in Nikon, so my Preference is the Df, and its style emulates Nikons from the past, which I kind of like as well.
Weight is a major concern as well with the growing pile of equipment hanging of the mount.
decision decisions.......
If you get one I'd love to hear a review of it. Havig used a Fuji XE1 a lot in the last year I am quite partial to that retro style myself.

Greg.
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Old 18-01-2014, 08:42 PM
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Ok, Df in my hands.....will do a bit of a report soon as I get out with it.....
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Old 18-01-2014, 11:18 PM
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As a 30+ year happy Nikon pro user, I'll weigh in and definitely NOT recommend Nikon for Astro work. I tried for a year with my D700 and it did my head in!

Capture NX is rubbish for astro, one can't run a proper sequence of images beyond 30 secs and just getting it to communicate with the camera on the mac was a real pain in the butt!

I gave up an invested in a CCD and havn't looked back! One loses all the IR and +700 nm info on a standard DSLR. Many DSO's are only really interesting in Ha/red so the images from an unmodded DSLR are always going to be missing critical data.

I'm a proud Ford man so this is like me saying go buy a Holden, but if you're going to do AP on a DSLR, I'm going recommend (gasp) Canon & Backyard EOS

Doesn't stop me wanting a Nikon Df for the studio though!

Cheers
Andy
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Old 19-01-2014, 12:00 AM
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seems to be a lot of positive stuff since the d700.....
I think you will find the old algorithms have changed and there is some great stuff coming out of Nikon now In AP circles.....
I will tell you for sure just how much in time, but having said that, I think both DSLR's and CCD's have their own place in the big picture of AP.
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:00 AM
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I used to use Images Plus for acquisition. That program is regularly updated for newer camera models. Here is a copy of a post from Mike Unsold the author of Images Plus:

"Nikon has recently added a bulb function to their camera control SDK for the newest DSLRs.

ImagesPlus 5.75 camera control beta with bulb capture control for the D5200, D7100, D600, and D800(E) is now available. You only need to use the camera USB cable to control bulb exposures with these 4 new Nikon DSLRs.

Shoestring DSUSB will no longer be supported when using the D5200, D7100, D600, and D800(E) and future Nikon DSLRs.

Shoestring DSUSB bulb capture is still supported for older Nikon DSLRs.

Send an email to mike@... if interested in the Nikon bulb function beta and please state you Windows version and camera type.

Mike Unsold"


One post I did read about Nikon D800 was there was some non linearity for doing flats. I am not sure what the guy meant by that but some aspect of the analogue to digital converter was not linear and made doing flats hard.But the posted image he did, a 2 panel mosaic, was stunning. That was a modded D800.
He got around it. I can't comment as I never used my D800e for telescope deep sky objects. But yes I agree any deep sky work with any DSLR (60Da excepted) would really require a modded camera which is hard to consider when they cost $3000 before modification.

I found the post about the D800 and non linear data:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/d.../topics/158253


So a 2nd hand modded 5D2 is hard to ignore when they sometimes go for US$1000. Check this image out:

http://www.astroeder.com/ic4592_eder_en.html Wow.

And this:

http://www.astroeder.com/m81-82_flux_eder_en.html



Perhaps a post on the digitalastro yahoo group would be good as well.

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/d...tions/messages

There is also a Nikon DSLR astro Yahoo Group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/n...slr-astro/info

Greg.

Last edited by gregbradley; 19-01-2014 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 19-01-2014, 12:13 PM
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Just downloaded the latest version of DigiCamControl, which is very neat, and even has an astronomy mode......Bulb control works a treat.......
Can hardly wait to get it under the night sky, but so far it works very well and controls all the needed functions on the Df.
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Old 19-01-2014, 01:58 PM
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Just downloaded the latest version of DigiCamControl, which is very neat, and even has an astronomy mode......Bulb control works a treat.......
Can hardly wait to get it under the night sky, but so far it works very well and controls all the needed functions on the Df.

I look forward to your review. I expect it will be a sensational performer.
What would be handy is a 30 second ISO6400 shot at night with the lens cap on to make a dark to see if there is any amp glow or not.

Greg.
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Old 19-01-2014, 02:36 PM
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No amp glow in d800 10min subs @ iso1600 .finding a field flattener is a big headache
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Old 19-01-2014, 02:57 PM
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I look forward to your review. I expect it will be a sensational performer.
What would be handy is a 30 second ISO6400 shot at night with the lens cap on to make a dark to see if there is any amp glow or not.

Greg.
I will make sure I do that.......
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Old 19-01-2014, 03:29 PM
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Just did 60 sec's cap on and in a dark box.......nothing, nothing at all.
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Old 19-01-2014, 05:23 PM
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No amp glow in d800 10min subs @ iso1600 .finding a field flattener is a big headache

Yes there is. Its subtle but its there. Bottom 1/4 and sides a bit. A magenta cast. Do that at ISO6400 and you'll see it. Its not bad though. I had a D800e for a year and a half.

Greg.
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Old 19-01-2014, 06:12 PM
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The Df is looking good.......

To confirm I will do it at night under proper conditions, but so far so good....
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