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Old 10-01-2008, 10:26 AM
TeZZa
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Nikon D200 Best Astro Settings?

Hi guys, I notice that a few people here have the Nikon D200; what settings have you tweaked for your astro-photography? For instance have you adjusted the WB? Do you have all the settings saved into a Bank, or do you adjust them each time to suit?

I'm a complete newb with astro stuff, I've tried a bit but am currently struggling to get any usable images, this site has been a great resource to come and lurk, and has indeed helped, but I haven't been able to search and find any info that tells me how much fiddling with the basic settings of the D200 you guys have done to achieve your results.

TeZZa
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Old 13-01-2008, 09:43 AM
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Tezza,

I haven't had a chance to use the D200 myself but I know somebody who has and sent me some NEF files from his camera. Looking at the NEF files high ISO noise reduction should be turned off as it removes faint astronomical detail. Generally, daylight/sunny white balance is used although when using NEF this should be irrelevant.

Anyway here is a shot of the Centaurus Milky way made using a D200 and 18-200 Tamron lens set to 18mm (the image here is greatly cropped). Note the camera was TRIPOD mounted, and this image was made by combining 6 x 30 second exposures (alignment and cropping was done in IRIS). The 6 exposures had varying settings with some with NR on others without, ISO1600 and ISO400 etc. It was also photographed against the light pollution of Geelong, so you could do a lot better in a dark sky (Have a look for images posted by Loomberah for example).

Terry
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Old 13-01-2008, 12:06 PM
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Deeno
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Hey TeZZa

Only recently started to use my D200 for some astro photography and only at the start of the learning curve.

Here are some settings I've been playing with :- Exp. Delay Mode- On.. This will open the shutter gently reducing camera shake.
:- Image Quality - Raw.. collects most data for stacking the photos. Using DeepSkyStacker which is free softerware downloaded off the net. Don't have to worry about white balance.
:-High ISO NR - Normal...A noise reduction filter that will help clean up a lot of the noise when using high iso values
:-Long Exp NR - On.... Another filter to reduce noise from long exposures.
:Intvl Timer Shooting.... Lets you take a series of shots without touching the camera. Make sure you leave a minute or so between shots as it takes a while for the camera to proccess each image.

If you dont have a remote you won't be able to use the bulb function for exposures over 30 seconds as you will have to hold the button down to keep the shutter open.

Use the widest aperture your lens has(lowest f number)

If shooting from a tripod use the shortest focal length. The sky is moving and long focal lenghth and long exposures will cause elongated stars.

Use the camera's self timer as the camera will shake when the shutter release is pressed and this will give it a chance to settle.

Santa bought me a cheap eq mount with RA drive from Bintel for Christmas so now with some carefull setup the camera now tracks with the stars.

Focus is critical!

Do a search on the subject here in IceInSpace. There is a ton of info

Hope this helps and good luck!

Deeno
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Old 14-01-2008, 07:48 PM
TeZZa
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Hi guys, thanks for the replies, all info is much appreciated. I had just finished ordering a remote control to reduce any camera shake (and enable me to utilise 'Bulb' length exposures) when I thought I'd drop by here to see if I had any replies... I was unaware of the 'Delay Mode'. Doh!

I'm lucky to live in a dark sky site (Far North Queensland)... and unlucky that for the next couple of months the monsoon season will give me cloudy nights!

I'm hoping to spend the time learning my camera, and getting some settings pre-programmed and ready to go... you never know I might get an hour or two clear sky sometime over the next few weeks!
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