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Old 25-08-2014, 01:07 PM
Julie1 (Julie)
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Advice on astrophotography cameras

Hi everyone,

I need some advice on what camera to get for astrophotography. I currently have an Olympus Pen EPM1 which doesn't have a big enough sensor being a micro 4/3 CSC. I am on a budget of around $500, and I know I won't get much for that, so am looking at a body only. At the moment I am looking at either the Canon 600d or 700d and the Nikon D3200 as the options in my price range. Any feedback would be welcome as everything is so confusing, both models having their good and bad points.

Thanks
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Old 25-08-2014, 01:32 PM
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Andy01 (Andy)
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There's a modded Canon on the trader in your budget. http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=125247
(No affiliation with seller)
I'd recommend a Canon - there's not much AP software available for Nikon. I'm a Nikon user, so I speak from experience on this!
Modded cameras will give you more Red colours in your AP images, at the expense of limiting it's use as a daytime camera without filtration.

Cheers
Andy
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Old 25-08-2014, 01:34 PM
PeterEde (Peter)
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Question
What AP software are you referring to? Am I missing something that could make my life easier?
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Old 25-08-2014, 01:41 PM
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Backyard EOS, Astrotools & Nebulosity are all popular Canon compatible AP suites. There are others as well that other users will have more experience with.
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Old 25-08-2014, 01:43 PM
PeterEde (Peter)
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thanks. Never thought to look further than DSS and CS
Will check these out tonight
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Old 25-08-2014, 01:47 PM
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alocky (Andrew lockwood)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy01 View Post
There's a modded Canon on the trader in your budget. http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...d.php?t=125247
(No affiliation with seller)
I'd recommend a Canon - there's not much AP software available for Nikon. I'm a Nikon user, so I speak from experience on this!
Modded cameras will give you more Red colours in your AP images, at the expense of limiting it's use as a daytime camera without filtration.

Cheers
Andy
Sequence generator pro will drive a Nikon. It will also do just about anything else astro photography-wise that you could imagine.
Cheers,
Andrew.
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Old 25-08-2014, 01:55 PM
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That looks awesome - if only it was mac compatible (sigh) oh well, there's always bootcamp.
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Old 25-08-2014, 03:22 PM
PeterEde (Peter)
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I have a 40D I am considering moding but no live view. Makes focusing more of a challenge. I love live view
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Old 25-08-2014, 03:36 PM
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40D's have live view....
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Old 26-08-2014, 06:45 AM
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Fuji XE1's are very cheap 2nd hand now. These are the superior Sony 16mp Exmor sensor which has low noise. I have used one for nightscapes and it almost keeps up with a full frame camera.

As far as control software I don't know. You can certainly use an intervalometer with one.

There is a guy in the US who will mod them quite cheaply. It might end up a tad more than $500 but probably close depending on how cheaply you got the XE1. I think the mod was about US$150 plus shipping both ways.

A modded Canon 550D or 450D or so may well be more practical.

Greg.
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Old 26-08-2014, 08:03 AM
PeterEde (Peter)
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It does? been so long since I used it. Maybe I'm thinking flip out view screen

der silly me. of course it does.
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Old 26-08-2014, 08:41 AM
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Julie,

I am not sure that sensor size is really an issue.

The highly popular KAF8300 chipped cameras are all 4/3 sensors too, so same size as yours but with less pixels than yours. (meaning slightly larger pixels)

However noise and performance may or may not be in issue - I dont know, but I am sure you could get started with it.

The big issue really is controlling the noise in any DSLR compared to a chilled astro camera. As the chip gets hot while in use it starts producing noise and if the A/D converters and amplifiers get too warm in one corner you start to get a purple glow in that corner
That can be reduced by dark frames or even in camera noise reduction (although for long exposures that will drive you crazy because it takes two shots for every one exposure !)

I know some IISers have used some of the late model Olympus Micro 4/3rds cameras for doing long exposure night scenes and they have performed admirably - but I am not sure how CCD (CMOS) chip performs.

The other thing is control - not sure if the popular software can control these or not. Again I am sure some here will know.

Rally
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Old 26-08-2014, 10:47 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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I thought the Canon 1100D was the bees knees for astro ourposes ? Live View, low noise, many pixels. And reasonably priced as well.
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Old 26-08-2014, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
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I thought the Canon 1100D was the bees knees for astro ourposes ? Live View, low noise, many pixels. And reasonably priced as well.
More of a safe bet for it's price than the bee's knees, it certainly has been proven to work. ( Not knocking them, I have one, excellent value.)

Like the OP, I find myself lost reading through camera specs in that price range.
Which options should take precedent over others, esp in the Canon range where it's a real mix and match of features.
Chip size, pixel size , pixel number, processor, flip screen, noise
100D, 1200D, 600D, 700D all 18mp but with different features.
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Old 26-08-2014, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitarian View Post
Chip size, pixel size , pixel number, processor, flip screen, noise
100D, 1200D, 600D, 700D all 18mp but with different features.
The 1200D is probably of limited value as apparently it is fixed at ISO800 in bulb mode(using a remote). I haven't got one so can't verify this.

The 100D is very light weight, handy if you have a focuser that struggles, and has high res 1mpix screen.

The 600D and 700D both have the flip screen and also 1mpix screens.

Do not underestimate the value of these two features if you are shooting off the back of the camera.
The flip screen is insanely handy when the scope is in an awkward orientation, which is most of the time.
Since migrating to the 60Da(from the 300D then 400D then 40D) I would never go back to a camera without a flipscreen.

The high res screen makes focusing much easier and also makes judging the quality of your subs more accurate when reviewing. Use one of the 1mpix screen camera's for a while and then go back to a 230k(1100D) pixel camera and you will balk at how ugly the image is. Think back to the old school big pixel mobile phone screens compared to todays phone displays, similar difference.
These two features alone are, in my mind, worth the extra expense over the lower models.

Ofcourse, if you intend to shoot only tethered (with a computer and BackYardEOS or Astro Photography Tool etc) and rarely off the back of the cam, then this is probably not going to be of great importance to you.
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Old 26-08-2014, 07:22 PM
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I just picked up a second hand 1100D for just $200.
I use it for my widefield work at night. There's plenty of good quality used cameras out there.
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Old 26-08-2014, 07:34 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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As has been mentioned,have a look in IIS classifieds on a regular basis.Some good quality used mod'ed cameras come up occasionally.I just picked up a mod'ed Canon 40D,with extra fruit-delivered for only $400.

Try and stick with Canon gear,apart from reasons already mentioned,is that a fairly large amount of people on this forum use them for astro use,and most here are friendly and helpful with advice.
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