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Old 11-07-2020, 03:40 PM
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Current 'dslr' best options for nightscapes

Hi all,

While i'm pretty fairly up to speed on current cmos cooled astro cameras; I haven't kept up to speed on the dslr/mirrorless situation. My knowledge from a chronological perspective takes me to about the canon 6d / sony a7s.

I have an a7s to be honest - while it is amazing for low light video and high dynamic range, i kind of preferred processing the raw canon 'still' files from my much 600d (not a 6d) - you just seemed to have more depth somehow.

whats the current full frame leaders and perhaps any aps-c options?

I am kind of weighing up getting a OSC for some widefield or a dslr...
if the current offerings aren't much better than an a7s i might look at another qhy or similar.

Thanks!

Russell
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2020, 12:46 PM
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There's the Canon EOS Ra factory modified mirrorless FF camera for those with deep pockets.
Following that the Canon EOS R and Nikon Z6 get high praise.

For skinny wallets the APSc Nikon D5600 is a good, low noise camera (also easy to modify).

Nikon is also about to release the Z5 which will supposedly be a cheaper version of the Z6.
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Old 13-07-2020, 12:10 PM
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I think you're right in that there hasn't been a huge leap in sensor performance since the original A7S...although it is rumoured to be followed up later this year.

The problem (for some) with the Sony and Nikon cameras are the spatial filtering they seem to employ in their firmware to smooth out their raw files. Canon doesn't seem to do the same dirty tricks. A 6D is pretty solid, but getting a bit long in the tooth.
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Old 15-07-2020, 12:00 AM
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thanks very much for the feedback very much appreciated

definitely got me thinking and good points on the software situation, the Z6, Ra and development since the 6d/a7s.

perhaps i should just keep using the a7s and invest in a good new colour qhy or similar. although i saw that canon are bringing out the r6 which is apparently a"true successor" to the 6d.

might just hold fire for a bit.
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Old 16-07-2020, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
I think you're right in that there hasn't been a huge leap in sensor performance since the original A7S...although it is rumoured to be followed up later this year.

The problem (for some) with the Sony and Nikon cameras are the spatial filtering they seem to employ in their firmware to smooth out their raw files. Canon doesn't seem to do the same dirty tricks. A 6D is pretty solid, but getting a bit long in the tooth.
There have been huge leaps in sensor performance since the A7s. The A7s has very large pixels and that is its reason for the high performance. Since then Sony sensors are now mostly backside illuminated which doubles the QE of the sensor and very low noise. The star eater effect has diminished as well but unfortunately not gone. Copper wiring instead of the usual aluminium, dual gain analogue converters which give a sizeable drop in read noise at a certain ISO (640). Improved microlenses and not sure but A7r had different angled microlenses near the edges of the sensor to improve edge performance and reduce colour shifts.Not sure if that continued with other sensors though.

The Sony A7iii is the camera that seems to get the best nightscape shots from Sony. My A7riii is also very good but you do get colour speckle noise in shadows and you do get star eater effect on tracked images that turn the fainter stars green (star eater suppresses red and blue channels on "hot pixels").

EOS R is very good. A tad noisier than the Sonys and not quite as sensitive but the star colours are nicer. No internal intervalometer though.

As to EOS Ra I am I the process of having my EOS R modified by replacing the low pass filter with a Ha friendly one. Essentially the same as the Canon EOS Ra except for the 30X zoom for fine focus. The EOS R does up to 10X zoom, the Sony A7riii up to 12X zoom. This is usually sufficient for focusing though.

An all new Sony A7Siii is set to be released this month. 12 mega pixel, passive cooled sensor with a stacked sensor meaning it has a DDRAM chip set on it for very fast transfer like the A9.

12mp doesn't sound exciting but Sony has some pretty cool sensors. One is a quad bayer that has a Bayer matrix 4X the size of the usual so it goes from 60mp to 15mp with all the advantages of that (lower noise etc). But time will tell what this 12mp sensor has in it.

The Nikon Z6, Son A7iii, Canon 6Dii and EOS R are all good. I imagine the EOS RP would be good but don't know. I think it has the same sensor as the 6D.

Nikon D5300 is a solid performer. Pentax cameras have star tracer where the IBIS shifts the sensor to match the sky rotation.

The new Canon EOS R 5 and 6 may be good. I would like confirmation though that Canon have not introduced their own star eater to reduce noise and gain some extra dynamic range. I hope not, they are the only ones it seems that don't.
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Old 16-07-2020, 11:20 PM
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The reality remains, all of the normal daylight cameras have very average Ha response.

If you want you star forming regions to look as they should..i.e. red. then the options quickly disappear.

The Canon Ra is very hard to go past....and the colour balance remains remarkably good for normal daylight images.
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Old 19-07-2020, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
There have been huge leaps in sensor performance since the A7s. The A7s has very large pixels and that is its reason for the high performance. Since then Sony sensors are now mostly backside illuminated which doubles the QE of the sensor and very low noise. The star eater effect has diminished as well but unfortunately not gone. Copper wiring instead of the usual aluminium, dual gain analogue converters which give a sizeable drop in read noise at a certain ISO (640). Improved microlenses and not sure but A7r had different angled microlenses near the edges of the sensor to improve edge performance and reduce colour shifts.Not sure if that continued with other sensors though.

The Sony A7iii is the camera that seems to get the best nightscape shots from Sony. My A7riii is also very good but you do get colour speckle noise in shadows and you do get star eater effect on tracked images that turn the fainter stars green (star eater suppresses red and blue channels on "hot pixels").

EOS R is very good. A tad noisier than the Sonys and not quite as sensitive but the star colours are nicer. No internal intervalometer though.

As to EOS Ra I am I the process of having my EOS R modified by replacing the low pass filter with a Ha friendly one. Essentially the same as the Canon EOS Ra except for the 30X zoom for fine focus. The EOS R does up to 10X zoom, the Sony A7riii up to 12X zoom. This is usually sufficient for focusing though.

An all new Sony A7Siii is set to be released this month. 12 mega pixel, passive cooled sensor with a stacked sensor meaning it has a DDRAM chip set on it for very fast transfer like the A9.

12mp doesn't sound exciting but Sony has some pretty cool sensors. One is a quad bayer that has a Bayer matrix 4X the size of the usual so it goes from 60mp to 15mp with all the advantages of that (lower noise etc). But time will tell what this 12mp sensor has in it.

The Nikon Z6, Son A7iii, Canon 6Dii and EOS R are all good. I imagine the EOS RP would be good but don't know. I think it has the same sensor as the 6D.

Nikon D5300 is a solid performer. Pentax cameras have star tracer where the IBIS shifts the sensor to match the sky rotation.

The new Canon EOS R 5 and 6 may be good. I would like confirmation though that Canon have not introduced their own star eater to reduce noise and gain some extra dynamic range. I hope not, they are the only ones it seems that don't.
i appreciate your feedback Greg i'm glad you responded you always are in the know on the current cameras. i've been trying to find a good R6 review which specifically looked at low light performance but that seems to be lost on a lot of the reviewers unfortunately. and agree fingers crossed there is no introduced star eater functionality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
The reality remains, all of the normal daylight cameras have very average Ha response.

If you want you star forming regions to look as they should..i.e. red. then the options quickly disappear.

The Canon Ra is very hard to go past....and the colour balance remains remarkably good for normal daylight images.
that is an excellent point Peter on the Ra. i don't think i'd be looking to astro modify a dslr again unless it was on a lower end model.

i might just hit pause at the moment see how the R6 performs - also the new qhy600/268 are kind of dragging my attention back to osc options.

thanks everyone, it has been a useful discussion for me thinking out loud.
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Old 23-07-2020, 02:55 PM
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The R6 appears to have the same sensor with some microlens tweaks as the 1DX111.

If there are any nightscape examples using that camera that should be a very good guide to what the R6 will do.

If I come across any info on the R6 I'll post it here.

Sometimes star eater is by model. Not Canon but Nikon. Nikon also has some star eater going on in some models and not others. Go figure.

I was surprised to find out Fuji X cameras have some star eater going on including their medium format camera.

Greg.
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Old 23-07-2020, 04:27 PM
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thanks Greg, the plan now is to throw some more $ at qhy's newer offerings (lucky theo) but also with with a cheap second hand 6d (just arrived actually), which I'll astro modify myself or send off to camera clinic in melbourne to do (if i don't have time) - i like the fact it has magic lantern support.

I'm also trying to stop myself from going a dual apo setup. that should be easier to resist however due to the melbourne clouds dampening current over-enthusiasm.


cheers

russell
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Old 23-07-2020, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustigsmed View Post
thanks Greg, the plan now is to throw some more $ at qhy's newer offerings (lucky theo) but also with with a cheap second hand 6d (just arrived actually), which I'll astro modify myself or send off to camera clinic in melbourne to do (if i don't have time) - i like the fact it has magic lantern support.

I'm also trying to stop myself from going a dual apo setup. that should be easier to resist however due to the melbourne clouds dampening current over-enthusiasm.


cheers

russell
Dual APO setups makes a lot of sense if one is widefield like 100mm or so or less and the other longer like 130mm to 150mm.

You don't see as many 150mm APO images these days as Skywatcher 8 and 10 RCs do such a good job for a fraction of the cost.

Greg.
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