Go Back   IceInSpace > Equipment > Astrophotography and Imaging Equipment and Discussions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 23-01-2005, 09:41 AM
Rodstar's Avatar
Rodstar (Rod)
The Glenfallus

Rodstar is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Posts: 2,697
Question Guidance Please: Digital Cameras

I am planning the purchase of a digital camera for my 11" SCT that can also be used for family pics during the day. Haven't much of clue where to start. Budget: $750-$1,000. Any suggestions?

One I am looking at is the Kodak DX7590 which Shutan markets as suitable for astrophotography. Retails in Australia for $899. 5 megapixels, 32MB.

Other than getting as many megapixels for my bucks and complete manual control of shutter speed, what else should I be looking for in a camera?

I understand that just about any digital camera can be fitted to a scope? Is this the case? Does the camera have to have threaded lenses? If not, what is needed? I have seen in some of the ads in Sky & Space that some cameras are attached to the eyepiece of the scope by an adaptor...any suggestions about the best sort?

Sorry about all of the questions....hopefully I can repay any advice with some nice shots in due course!!!

Rodstar
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 23-01-2005, 10:13 AM
Exfso
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I made a bit of a mistake when I purchased my digital camera, I have a Canon G5. Whilst it takes beautiful shots, it can not be used for prime focus. You can connect it to a telesope via an eyepiece, but I have found you get vingnetting, think thats how it is spelt. Also the G5 is limited to only 15sec exposures. What I want and a lot of people are using is the digital SLR cameras of which there are various brands and prices. You can now get the Canon 300D I think it is for around $1400AUD. and these prices appear to be dropping all the time. Others here on this forum are much more experienced than myself and will definitely give you a better rundown.

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 23-01-2005, 10:25 AM
Rodstar's Avatar
Rodstar (Rod)
The Glenfallus

Rodstar is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Posts: 2,697
Thanks for that Exfso. There is a bit of a price gap to jump to the SLR's, do you know what makes them so much better?

What is prime focussing and vignetting?

Rodstar
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 23-01-2005, 10:38 AM
mch62's Avatar
mch62 (Mark)
Registered User

mch62 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Glenore Grove Queensland
Posts: 649
Hey guys , if your getting vignetitng try a 2" 40mm Kellner EP with your digital camera.
I have a Minolta D7 and they have a very large front lens and had this same problem .
I modified a cheap kellner EP from Andrews , before there was the scoptronix solution . A lot cheaper than Scoptronixs as well.
This EP has a large lens and , and if you machine off the end almost down to the lens you won't get any vignetting in Afocal mode.
You need to get the camera and EP as close as possibe.
See the link below.


http://www.iceinspace.com/forum/show...0&pagenumber=1
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 23-01-2005, 10:46 AM
Exfso
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Prime focus as I read it is you are using the telesope as your camera lense, others may have a better explaination. You get the image from your scope to focus on to the CCD chip in the camera directly I believe. I have a fair idea what vignetting is but am at a bit of a loss to explain it and not look like an idiot, if you know what I mean. As I said before, I am very much a beginner here and would prefer the more experienced among the members to give you a better description. With SLR cameras when you look through the camera what you see is what you get, roughly speaking. I know the price difference is a problem, but speaking from my "mistake", it is better to wait just a little longer and go for the Digital SLR. When doing DSO imaging you need longer exposure times and you just cannot get them with the general digital cameras, at least to the best of my knowledge. You have to have a camera with a "bulb" setting which enables you to do long exposures of the dim fuzzies.
I hope I am making sense here, but rest assured, the more experienced members here will give you a much more detailed and correct version of what I am trying to convey.

Regards.

Peter
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 23-01-2005, 11:08 AM
mch62's Avatar
mch62 (Mark)
Registered User

mch62 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Glenore Grove Queensland
Posts: 649
Yes a SLR or SLR type of camera you are actually looking through the camera lens via a flip mirror, so you see what you get.
Yep better off with a full DSLR for a bulb setting but there are SLR like cameras like my D7 that have a bulb setting as well.
You need to be able to do like several 1 min or a bit more exposures and stack these .
A lot of the DSLR and DSLR type (ones with fixed lens but single lens reflex) have noise reduction which takes a dark frame and subtracts that from the exposure taken.
This reduces some of the noise present in the CCD's.
You will get noise in the image , that is the trade off instead of a dedicated cooled CCD camera , but if you need it to do both astro and terrestrial photography than the Canon are what you may have to save up for.
There are over in the US a least Canon 300 with the CCd filters removed from new which are suppose to be better for Astro pics.
Not sure where I say this , might have been S&T.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 23-01-2005, 11:15 AM
[1ponders]'s Avatar
[1ponders] (Paul)
Retired, damn no pension

[1ponders] is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Obi Obi, Qld
Posts: 18,778
Hi Rodstar.

You can use just about any digital camera or digicam to take Afocal shots. Simply hold it up to the eyepiece and snap away. You may or may not get vignetting. If you use your zoom on the camera to zoom into the eyeiece then you wont get as much vignetting.

What is it. Imaging looking through a piece of pipe. You can only see a small area of the scene your looking at, all the rest you see is the inside of the piple. The inside of the pipe that you see is analogous to vignetting of a photo. Now with the pipe, the shorter the pipe or the closer you get to the other end of the pipe, the less pipe there is to interfere with your view. Your zoom lense achieves the same effect as shortening the pipe.

Unfortuantely your are pretty well restricted to photographing the moon and the planets. As Exfso mentioned your exposure time is pretty limited with normal digital cameras. Its also difficult to hold the camera steady enough to take longer exposure photos. If you mount it on a tripod you can get a bit longer but remember if you mount is tracking then the eyepiece is going to move away from the camera lense. You can get around this by using one of the many digital camera mounting brackets that are available on the web. Most of them simply attach either to the eyepiece or telescope to hold the camera in line with the eyepiec for longer

This doesn't get around the long exposure problems though. For that you need an SLR, either digital or film, that is has a "bulb" setting for long exposure and you are able to remove the lenses from. This will allow you, as Exfso has said, to do prime photography where the telescope becomes the lense of the camera. There are other types of astrophotography other than prime photography using an SLR but it is the most popular and the easiest, relativley.

Nikon, Kodak and Canon have all released relatively low cost digital SLRs with the Canon 300D Digital Rebel seeming to be the most popular with astrophotographers. This is not to say that you should get this one. Many Nikon owners are more than happy with their cameras. There hve been numerous reviews done on these to cameras for astrophotography work. I'd suggest checking out some of these reviews before deciding.

Hope this has helped a bit.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23-01-2005, 01:23 PM
silvinator's Avatar
silvinator
Lady Post-a-holic

silvinator is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Posts: 448
Rodstar, I own a sony cybershot DSC-S75 point and shoot digital camera. For now, I'm limited to afocal shots, hand held, as I don't have a way of attaching the camera to the scope as yet. As a start, I had to buy a lens adapter for my camera which I bought off ebay (the actual sony brand lend adapter cost three times the price I paid for on ebay, go figure!), before I could even think about attaching the camera to anything!

For my camera type, and for most digital cameras similar to mine, there are a few options for telescope attachment.

Firstly, I can use a camera adapter that attaches to the focuser with an eyepiece in place, which I then attach the camera to with the lens adapter and neccesary step ring (which is what I don't have at the moment as I'm unsure of the thread sizes!) which fits between the lens adapter and the camera adapter. This is called eyepiece projection photography. Looking at the specs of the kodak camera, you would probably need the same sort of setup.

The other method still requires a lens adapter though so you can't escape that purchase if the lens of the camera comes right out. With my camera, I could connect the lens adapter to the right sized step ring and then attach it to a Digi-T ring, a ring that attaches directly to an eyepiece with a removeable eyeguard that is made by scopetronix. This is a more expensive solution though, as the small tiny Digi-T ring itself costs more than my meade basic camera adapter!

The most easiset and inexpensive method of attachment is with a univsersal digital camera adapter of some sort. Ving, another forum member was clever enough and made his own. However you can also buy these adapters for a relatively low cost.

So those are just some of the things I wanted to point out when thinking about what digital camera to buy - how easy would it be to attach to the scope? You may find you need to buy many extra parts for what seems like a simple connection. I've found it has been a lot easier trying to find a way to attach my old SLR's to the scope than my digital camera. All I needed was the T-ring adapter that came with my scope for my old fujica and for the olympus, an extra olympus t-ring was all I needed. This is probably why DSLR's are popular too (I can't comment as I don't own one).

One other thing to note about my digital camera is that I do get vignetting if the camera is not held straight and as close to the eyepiece as possible, easily solved with a more stable connection I believe. Also, my camera has a lot of digital noise, even for shorter exposures, though I think digital cameras these days are getting better at handling that but it's still a problem. I've read that the 300D has excellent noise reduction, better than the nikon D70, another popular astrophotography DSLR but there are ways around the noise problems with software, subtracting dark frames etc.

PS: sorry for the long post folks, just trying to give rodstar as much info before he takes the plunge
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23-01-2005, 02:02 PM
[1ponders]'s Avatar
[1ponders] (Paul)
Retired, damn no pension

[1ponders] is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Obi Obi, Qld
Posts: 18,778
I purchased this adapter http://www.swoptics.co.uk/view.asp?KEY=1629 when I first started playing around using a Canon A10 for afocal photography. Apart from having to use an allen key to adjust the screws I found it very effective. You can even attach a digicam to take video as well. Its a relatively cheap way to get into Afocal photography.

I didn't purchase from this company as they were a bit expensive but the Ultra adapter is readily available
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23-01-2005, 03:18 PM
iceman's Avatar
iceman (Mike)
Sir Post a Lot!

iceman is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia
Posts: 36,709
Others have said what needs to be said.. you really need to think about what sort of astrophotography you want to get into.. because if you think you want to do it seriously, you need to look at getting a Canon 300D, fullstop.

If you mainly want it for family/terrestrial shots, and the odd afocal shot of the moon or planets, and widefield tripod constellation shots, then buy my Nikon 5700 which i'm going to sell

Also remember you can just buy a webcam (ToUcam) for planetary/moon shots which will produce fantastic results with your C11, and buy my Nikon 5700 for your family/terrestrial shots. And when you've got experience and want to get into deep-space photography, then you can look at DSLR's in the future.

My Nikon 5700 has a bulb setting of up to 5 minutes, though you'll want some elastic bands or a remote control so you don't have to stand there with the shutter down
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 23-01-2005, 06:07 PM
gbeal
Registered User

gbeal is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 4,299
Rodstar.
welcome to the slippery slopes of astrophotography.
All the above is good sage advice, so I won't go over that.
I have used a point and shoot everyday digital (Leica Digilux 4.3), and have moved to a Nikon D100 Digital SLR.
Is there a difference? Yep, the Nikon was cheaper!!!!.
Seriously though, the D100 allows the lens to be completely removed, and thus allows prime focus, of the moon, or whatever, especially DSO's.
If you are happy to try a learning curve, then get a point and shoot, like Ice's Nikon. It will certainly get your feet wet.
You can then go the whole hog later with a DSLR, and the 300D is probably the choice.
Gary
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 23-01-2005, 08:23 PM
Rodstar's Avatar
Rodstar (Rod)
The Glenfallus

Rodstar is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Posts: 2,697
Thanks for your comments everyone. Along with some 'netsurfing, a visit to CameraHouse, and a visit to a mate's house (who has recently bought a Nikon D70), you have shed an enormous amount of light on the subject and helped me to focus (every pun intended) on some answers.

From what I now understand, as I am interested in Deep Sky stuff rather than the moon and planets, and therefore need long exposure times, my interests are best served by a DSLR. Gulp...very expensive.

The ToUCam seems mainly for moon and planets and seems to need a lot of post-production, which doesn't hold a great fascination for me. Using a lesser digital camera with mounts sounds achievable, but quite fiddly and prone to problems such as vignetting. Am I right in understanding that set-up time for these options would be longer than with a DSLR?

If I do go with a DSLR, it seems that the choice comes down to 2 in the $1,800-$2,000 range, being the Nikon D70 or the Canon EOS 300D.

The Canon is noticeably lighter and is better with noise elimination, but looks a bit "plasticy". The Nikon has a superior body, and has better terrestrial-photography features. Does anyone out there have any comparitive experience to comment on these two options? I am concerned that the extra weight of the Nikon may interrupt the clarity of deep-sky images. Should I be concerned about the weight?

In terms of post-production software for DSLR images, what do you folk recommend? I want to know all of the expenses up-front so that I don't end up digging too deep into my pockets!

When my scope finally arrives (anytime now!) my friend with the Nikon is going to come over so we can play together!!! I will need to buy a Digi T ring adaptor for the eyepiece and a digital camera adaptor for the Nikon for this to work - is that right?? I assume that the Nikon may be a different size to the Canon, so if I end up buying the Canon, I'll have to buy another adaptor?? Is there any way of working out if they are the same size - what should I be looking for in the specs of each of the cameras??

I PROMISE I'll post some images as soon as I am up and running. Thanks for any further comments you may wish to make.

Rodstar

PS Iceman, thanks for the slick sales pitch, but you'll have to find another buyer!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 23-01-2005, 09:19 PM
[1ponders]'s Avatar
[1ponders] (Paul)
Retired, damn no pension

[1ponders] is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Obi Obi, Qld
Posts: 18,778
Rod your post processing is only a start with webcaming. Though I'm not experienced enough yet to fully appreciate it I'm sure some of our more experience brethren and sisters can fill you in on how much time can be taken in processing any digital image no matter DSLR or Webcam.

Yes you will need a different "t" ring with the Canon to the Nikon. You will also need a "t" adapter as the "t" ring won't fit straight onto the back of your SCT

The canon only looks "plasticy", its feels very robust.

As far as upfront expenses, welcome to astrophotography. You have a huge array of filters, off axis guiders (or as celestron call them radial guiders) for guided photography (needed for longer exposures) unless you go for a guide scope..... Just tell me when to stop. Seriously though you can spend as much as you want to. Get the "t" ring and "t" adapter and your right to go with taking multiple image to about 3 minutes and stacking them (if your drive axis are trained etc).

I haven't done a great deal myself, I'm crawling with the webcam first. I have done a lot of looking around reading forums, personal astrophotography websites etc though, so I am getting an inkling of how expensive it can get if you want to really go crazy. But that doesn't mean it has to cost the bank.

Consider a webcam, your DSLR "T" ring and "T" adapter, a good barlow and go for it. Like me you'll pick it up as you go.

I'll leave the programming stuff to other more experience minds, but Photoshop seems popular along with Registax.


Good luck
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23-01-2005, 09:24 PM
Rodstar's Avatar
Rodstar (Rod)
The Glenfallus

Rodstar is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central Coast, NSW
Posts: 2,697
Thanks Paul R. You've given me some more to think about. Hoe are the skies in Nambour tonight? Bloody dreadful here in NSW

Rodstar
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 24-01-2005, 05:23 AM
iceman's Avatar
iceman (Mike)
Sir Post a Lot!

iceman is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia
Posts: 36,709
It was worth a try Rod

Quote:
The ToUCam seems mainly for moon and planets and seems to need a lot of post-production, which doesn't hold a great fascination for me
Don't be fooled into thinking that webcam astrophotography requires more post-processing than DSLR astrophotography - it's most certainly not true. In fact it's probably the reverse.

Trying to bring out faint detail in nebulas and galaxy long exposure shots, requires more patience and practise than webcam lunar/planetary work - not to mention that the tools (software) required for deep-space stuff are more complex and more expensive than simply registax for lunar/planetary.

Quote:
Am I right in understanding that set-up time for these options would be longer than with a DSLR
Depending on your adapter, aligning a DSLR with your T-rings will be quite quick and easy, afocally it might take a bit of time to get it right, but the difference would be negligible.

Prime-focus DSLR deep-space stuff requires a lot of patience in getting focus right and making sure you are tracking perfectly. With your C11 fork mount (not EQ), you have to worry about field-rotation as well, else you need to spend more money and get a wedge, field de-rotator etc.

Quote:
In terms of post-production software for DSLR images, what do you folk recommend? I want to know all of the expenses up-front so that I don't end up digging too deep into my pockets!
There's photoshop CS, MaximDL, ImagesPlus, PixInSight LE.. all of these have pros and cons and are used by the professionals (professional amateurs and pros). They are quite expensive too, with the exception of PixInSight which is free.

They are all complex and will take time to learn.

If you really want to get into deepspace stuff straight away, you're really jumping in the deep end. And don't expect to be able to do lunar/planetary with your DSLR, it's just not the right tool for the job. The benefit of the webcam is being able to take thousands of images in a few minutes, compared to the 10's of images you might get in the same time with the DSLR. and the results speak for themselves - i've seen lunar/planetary DSLR shots and they just don't compare with what the webcam can produce.

If I could give you a piece of advice, it would be to start off learning the process first, start in the shallow end and see if you actually LIKE astrophotography, because it requires a lot of TIME and PATIENCE, and deepspace stuff requires MORE of both than webcam lunar/planetary.

I'd get your DSLR because they're great cameras for terrestrial + astrophotography, but I wouldn't start worrying about deepspace astrophotography from the get-go. Get yourself a webcam, for $250 you're setup and done and can learn what it takes. Plus, your scope will be new, you might want to spend more time actually looking through an eyepiece.

My 2.5c.. good luck with your decision!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 24-01-2005, 09:07 AM
[1ponders]'s Avatar
[1ponders] (Paul)
Retired, damn no pension

[1ponders] is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Obi Obi, Qld
Posts: 18,778
It was a good night for going to bed here. Damn you Striker
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 24-01-2005, 11:54 AM
gbeal
Registered User

gbeal is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 4,299
Rodstar,
most of your second round of questions have been answered, so I will mention just a couple of things that sprang to mind when reading your post.
I don't think you need to budget quite as high as the $1800 - $2000 mark. I may be wrong but I think the 300D is about $1400 all up, with a lens, and if push came to shove you could do without the lens, for a while anyway.
The ToUcam is the other choice, and either way you will need or get one later.
I had hoped to keep the news until I had some more concrete, but in light of your post, and several others I think it opportune to mention that if all goes well I should be able to supply, or point you in the direction of a supplier for ToUcams.
I have only mentioned this privately to another forum member, but if all goes well these will be the latest ToUcam (840?), long exposure modified, and peltier cooled. They will cost "about" US$225, complete with 1.25" nosepiece, and I/R filter.
Again if all goes well these may start to be available in a month or so. I expect to see one within the month, and gain an appreciation for what it can or can't do.
Hope this helps,
Gary
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 24-01-2005, 11:58 AM
iceman's Avatar
iceman (Mike)
Sir Post a Lot!

iceman is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia
Posts: 36,709
That's a good price Gary! If I had a tracking mount I'd be interested in one myself
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 24-01-2005, 12:22 PM
Striker's Avatar
Striker (Tony)
Whats visual Astronomy

Striker is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 5,062
I want 1......new Toucam....very intersted.

And dam i just sold my Canon 300d digital slr so I could buy my Meade LX200.......lol.....
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 24-01-2005, 02:06 PM
[1ponders]'s Avatar
[1ponders] (Paul)
Retired, damn no pension

[1ponders] is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Obi Obi, Qld
Posts: 18,778
Very tempting. If it comes about Gary there could be a few unmodified ToUcams appear in the "For Sale" section.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 12:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement