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Old 29-01-2011, 11:18 AM
reallyedbrown (Ed)
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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New to the game, what DSLR and equip do I need?

Hi all,
I'm fairly new to all this, having just bought my 6" Meade LightSwitch scope at Christmas. I'm loving it, and with a Celestron NexImage Solar System Imager I've taken some pretty nice snaps of the moon. Next will be Jupiter and hopefully a trip to a dark sky site sometime soon for Saturn etc.

But I'm turning 30 in a few months, and the family and friends are all asking what presents I want. I'm thinking of stepping up to the DSLR photography - can someone give me a list of what to ask for? Keeping the budget fairly low, around $600 for the camera. So I'm thinking either Canon EOS 1000D or 500D, but I'm no expert! What would you guys recommend?

Also I'll need to know what adapters, remote shutters etc I'll need, and pointers to a good guide would be great.
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:26 PM
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tlgerdes (Trevor)
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Sydney
Posts: 2,284

A 1000D is a great little camera and can produce good results without a lot of expense. I use one and control it via a laptop and the included EOS utility software.

To do long exposure astrophotogray though your lightswitch will come up short. It is what is known as an Alt-Az mount and will induce field rotation very quickly in your pictures, which will cause elongated stars and blurred pictures.

Ideally you need what is called an Equatorial Mount. These start at around $1500 for the mount alone and go upwards to 10s of thousands of $$$.

On top of the mount you will then need an optical tube to image through and guidescope and autoguider to track stars.

Basic packages can be had $3k new, HEQ5, ED80 OTA, Guidescope, autoguider and all connectors.

Ask any astrophotographer and you will find that your mount is the most important piece of equipment your will invest in.

Best to go along to your local astro club and talk to the people there and find out how they do it and what they use.

Remember this is slippery slope, $$ can be expensive when you get the bug. Start small, learn and improve your skills before you commit big $$.

There is a good supply of 2nd hand equipment on here, in the way of mounts and telescopes that can cut your costs, and there is a ready turn over of equipment should you want to sell and upgrade or get out.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:51 AM
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mangrovedutch (Dutch)

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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Maclean, Qld
Posts: 130
As per Trevors statement, but on the camera front, I would look at the 500D or even a 550D (15 and 18 MegPix) and also the ability to use them for HD video. I don't know how much you know about cameras, so finding a starting point of discussion regarding cameras is a bit difficult. Do you want to use them solely for Astrophotography or use it for Terrestrial captures as well (you can modify cameras to work like the Canon Eos 20Da)? You can interchange lenses with a DSLR, so wide shots of the Milky Way become possible using a wide angle lens (10-20 Sigma or 10-22 Canon lenses). My suggestion is research. Look at what you want to achieve and how you will process that information you have captured (Photoshop, stacking etc). In order to get planetary or Deep Space captures, you will need an Equatorial mount to track withthe earths rotation.
I don't want to scare you away, but want to be realistic in the work involved and also the amount of $$$ that will need to be spent. Don't jump in head first but ask a lot of questions of yourself in what you want to achieve and then ask anyone on this forum for further advise. This is a fascinating hobby that will hook you and cost you plenty of money.
Remember there are no dumb/stupid questions, and people are there to help and guide you. Have a look at the Our Community section in the column on the left and find an Astro club nearby. Attend one or two of their meetings and have a look at the equipment used to get a better understanding.

All the best in your quest,

Regards, Dutch
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