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Old 08-05-2011, 09:44 AM
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BlackWidow (Mardy)
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Thoughts on the Canon EOS 550D for Astro work

I have been using and un-modded 300d for a little while whilst I learn to take pics on my LX200. I am now looking at purchasing a new camera and was looking at the EOS 55D as this fits into my price range. I was just wanting some advice from others that may have used this camera and either loved it or hated it for Astrophotography.


I am looking at making my purchase next week

Regards
Mardy
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:14 AM
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[1ponders] (Paul)
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In a word: don't!

This question has been asked a number of times and been replied to by jjjnettie who has had one for quite some time and she has really persevered with it. I have seen the results and they are dismal to say the least. One of, if not the noisiest DSLR for astrowork that Canon has brought out. Personally I don't think Canon have brought out a consumer or prosumer DSLR that is really suitable for astro work since the 40D. Even thought the pixel size is a bit small (5.7 micron) for deepsky its a 14 bit camera which is a big bonus. Alternatively consider a 30D with a slightly bigger pixel (6.4) though only 12 bit as previous Canons

But that's just my opinion.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:29 AM
adman (Adam)
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Yep totally agree. Avoid if possible. Great for daytime use - crap for astro work. The signal to noise ratio is better thought of as a noise to signal ratio in this camera.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:20 PM
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This is of course assuming you can actually find an astro processing program that will recognise the 550 RAW files. As far as I'm away people using this camera have to convert to TIFFs first before processing
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:37 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [1ponders] View Post
Personally I don't think Canon have brought out a consumer or prosumer DSLR that is really suitable for astro work since the 40D.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/mrozy...ke_Nebula.html
http://members.optusnet.com.au/mrozy...rk_Doodad.html

H
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:58 PM
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Knocked of me chair

Wow that has spun me off my chair! Not sure what to do now in terms of a camera around the $900 mark for body only.. The 30D is no longer made. Any other suggestions in terms of current line cameras?


Regards
Mardy
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2011, 02:34 PM
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Np with the XD series H (professional in my eyes) its the XXD and XXXD series that have become disappointing.

there's a couple here
http://www.ebay.com.au/ctg/Canon-EOS...mera-/66875058

Maybe someone will pop in with info on the 50D and 60D.
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:59 PM
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Have you considered a dedicated astro cam like a 2nd hand QHY8 Martin? If the primary job for the camera is going to be astro, its just so helpful to have cooling to cut down the noise and extra sensitivity in the Ha region, especially now you've cut your teeth on a DSLR to figure out you have a real interest.
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  #9  
Old 08-05-2011, 03:26 PM
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Thanks Rob for the advice on the QHY8. It seems these are often sold. Are they difficult to use? How do you control the Exposure times etc, is it all done with software or are thier controls on the connector box..

I have notice one guy selling one on IIS at the moment and claims he is going back to DSLR. Why would he do that if these items are so good. If this is the way to go I am happy to go that way. It just spun me out when I had my heart set on the 550d Canon. I have been using a 300D and am not sure if the 550D is as good, worse or about the same?

If others agree that I should go down the road of the QHY8 I will do so as I still have the 300D that I can also use anytime. It's having live view and a higher pixel rating that lead me this way in the first place.


Really appreciate the input as it will help me make the best choice for my money as I don't have alot to spare.

Regards
Mardy
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2011, 04:12 PM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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Don't buy the 550D as a Deep Sky Imaging camera.
You will be wasting your money.
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  #11  
Old 08-05-2011, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [1ponders] View Post
In a word: don't!

This question has been asked a number of times and been replied to by jjjnettie who has had one for quite some time and she has really persevered with it. I have seen the results and they are dismal to say the least. One of, if not the noisiest DSLR for astrowork that Canon has brought out. Personally I don't think Canon have brought out a consumer or prosumer DSLR that is really suitable for astro work since the 40D. Even thought the pixel size is a bit small (5.7 micron) for deepsky its a 14 bit camera which is a big bonus. Alternatively consider a 30D with a slightly bigger pixel (6.4) though only 12 bit as previous Canons

But that's just my opinion.
Let me add my 10 cents worth. I've had 20Ds, 300Ds and 1000Ds. I recently bought another 1000D to make use of the Live facility for focusing etc. It is an unmitigated piece of rubbish. Oddly, the previous 1000Ds I've had (I've had 2) were OK. That's progress for you. The amount of noise in the red channel in this new one is unbelievable. It is useless for astro work.
I gave the most recent 20D to one of my kids because of heat bloom making it useless for astro work. The old 300D was probably my pick. Shame about the lack of live focus.
I will not buy another Canon. Period.
Peter
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackWidow View Post
Thanks Rob for the advice on the QHY8. It seems these are often sold. Are they difficult to use? How do you control the Exposure times etc, is it all done with software or are thier controls on the connector box..

I have notice one guy selling one on IIS at the moment and claims he is going back to DSLR. Why would he do that if these items are so good. If this is the way to go I am happy to go that way. It just spun me out when I had my heart set on the 550d Canon. I have been using a 300D and am not sure if the 550D is as good, worse or about the same?

If others agree that I should go down the road of the QHY8 I will do so as I still have the 300D that I can also use anytime. It's having live view and a higher pixel rating that lead me this way in the first place.


Really appreciate the input as it will help me make the best choice for my money as I don't have alot to spare.


Regards
Mardy
Yes, I almost linked to the QHY8Pro on sale. The pro allows you to set a fixed temp I believe, although the Sony chip in those is supposed to be so clean you almost don't need to worry about library darks. I've only ever used a 450D and QHY9 so not an expert.

In fact the whole CCD versus DSLR may stir some debate. There is definitely a learning curve going to CCD and more cables and software to learn. FWIW I think the following are fair to say:

- a one shot colour cam is far easier to learn than a mono with filterwheel etc and easier to process images
- some people get put off my the jump from DSLR to Mono CCD but most that go to OSC are (very) happy


A lot depends on where you think you currently are I would say. I was getting frustrated with the noise in my 450D images in summer in particular and thought I'd get more resolution from the QHY9 with mono pixels. It delivered on both fronts and but does involve more cables and fiddling.

Any QHY8 or OSC CCD people want to comment....?
I'm just wracking my brain now to try to think of extra money surprises with CCDs (there always seems to be something with this hobby.. )
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  #13  
Old 08-05-2011, 04:51 PM
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Mardy, I've used 300D (still have it) and 20D (still have it but on loan), and a variety of mono cameras. I've not had a OSC CCD but comparing what I have had to DSLR.

There is definitely a steeper learning curve with the CCD, but most of that is the software rather than the camera itself. If you decide to control a DSLR from a laptop its not much different.

CCD because of the cooling produce a much cleaner image as far as noise is concerned. If you have a regulated temperature then you can create a library of darks which is very handy.

DLSR can double up for terrestrial camera. I hear many people do this DSLR can be stand alone and all images stored to card rather than downloaded to laptop.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:45 PM
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Thanks guys for your help. With a QHY8 the image settings are done at the laptop.. that's simple enough, and images are stored on the Laptop via the USB port... Do all images download as RAW or do you have the option of RAW or JPEG or both? I have been at this stage only shooting in JPEG.

It seems I am seeing that this is going to be the way to go but just need to get a full understanding before I purchase anything. I don't need a normal daytime camera as I already have a 300d and a 40 for that. However the 40d is used for my business and I have been told by the wife that it is never to meet with a telescope.. This is why I was looking at the 550D and now more likley the QHY8

]
Regards
Mardy
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  #15  
Old 08-05-2011, 07:42 PM
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When shooting with a DSLR always shoot in RAW and make sure the colourspace is set to Adobe RGB. Some say this doesnt matter (rgb) but I don't know for sure so I set it anyway.

CCDs save there files at Fits files. AFAIK this is the standard file format for CCD Cameras and all astro progs should work with them.



Simple solution, buy the business a 550D and keep the 40D.
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  #16  
Old 08-05-2011, 08:50 PM
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mill (Martin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [1ponders] View Post
CCDs save there files at Fits files. AFAIK this is the standard file format for CCD Cameras and all astro progs should work with them.

In MaximDl you can set the file type, and i have set mine to tiff.
Fits is too hard to work with IMHO, PS: i am using a QHY9 mono
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  #17  
Old 08-05-2011, 11:49 PM
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When shooting RAW, colour space is insignificant.

If you're preparing stuff for print, you work in Adobe RGB (or whatever wide colour gamut you want to indulge yourself in); when saving images for web, save them in sRGB so that the browsers can display the image correctly.

The important point to note is that colour space is relevant when it comes time to actually working with the RAW data. While shooting, it doesn't make a difference -- that is, unless you're shooting JPG, in which case it makes sense to stick with sRGB.

H

Last edited by Octane; 09-05-2011 at 10:24 AM. Reason: s/work/web/
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  #18  
Old 09-05-2011, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by [1ponders] View Post
This is of course assuming you can actually find an astro processing program that will recognise the 550 RAW files. As far as I'm away people using this camera have to convert to TIFFs first before processing
Yep thats true, but manageable for now. Maybe an update will happen so that 550d's RAW imagines are recognized down the track by some of these programs.

Just to give you an idea of the noise, and from my very limited experience with this dslr, its not thatttt bad.
http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=74824

Cheers,
Cos
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:24 AM
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Regarding the difficulties dealing with raw files, with photoshop at least that's a plugin/version issue, Adobe, in their never ending grab for cash, forces users of later model cameras to upgrade to the latest version to utilize ACR.

For example the 550d and 7d were not supported in CS3, the ACR plugin was written for CS4 and wasn't backward compatible with older versions. I expect the same will apply to any new camera releases now that CS5 is out.
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:31 AM
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I gave the camera yet another chance on the 1st of May.
Hoping that the cooler weather would help with the noise.
Here is the result.
1hr and 40min of data @ iso400
darks and flats used
shot in raw, converted to tiff in Digital Photo Pro.
Stacked in DSS and processed in CS3
I've included one 5min sub and one 5min dark
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (m83-1hr-40min-iso-400.jpg)
185.7 KB662 views
Click for full-size image (5-min-dark.jpg)
46.9 KB401 views
Click for full-size image (single-5-min-sub.jpg)
90.1 KB438 views

Last edited by jjjnettie; 09-05-2011 at 11:51 AM.
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