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Thread: Minimalist Astrophotography

  1. #11
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    Joe: a cheap point + click camera might actually be better than a dslr for this 'minimalist' case. Obviously cost is going to go in the point and click's favour, plus the ability to modify it (you'll be less worried about ripping apart a $100 purchase!)

    But more importantly: I've seen some point + clicks with custom firmware. Custom as in total control over exposure time and options, and the ability to 'script' the session (i.e tell it to take 20 shots at 60 seconds, then 20 at 30 seconds for HDR, all automated). I've a feeling it was certain canon models that could do this, a search of the forum should turn up some good info.

    With something like that, a cheap and highly capable imager is certainly possible. Only major downside I see is the smaller (and possibly less sensitive) sensor compared to a DSLR.
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    Joe, Thank you for starting this thread. I am following this with great interest and the inputs from other members too.
    This is what makes this forum so wonderful and great to those taking beginning baby steps in astronomy.
    Thanks again to Joe and others adding their expertise and knowledge to this thread.
    Balu.
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  3. #13
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    Since last December, I've tried to photograph M1 using my "minimalist" system (SkyWatcher SynScan AZ goto mount, 4 inch Meade SCT, and a Canon Camera) but have met only failure. Last night I used my "traditional" photography kit ... Advanced Series C6S (6 inch SCT on a CG5 mount), no guidance as of yet, and my Canon Camera. With the AS C6S, finding M1 was relatively simple and I got my photograph. My only problem was I ran out of camera memory before I obtained all the light frames that I wanted. I mention this because while photography is possible with what many call entry level telescopes, it is tedious at times. What is relatively easy on more robust and expensive systems can be a challenge on a mininalist system which makes the reward for success even more sweet. I still haven't given up trying to photograph M1 using the SkyWatcher mount and tripod but M1 is getting toward the west now and into my death valley ... the skyglow from Athens. I really do need a decent finder on my 4 inch SCT as its dinky little 5x24 finder scope isn't much better than a peep site.

    Here's my M1 from my traditional setup. Again, I had planed for 40 minutes but didn't get halfway there.

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    SXINIAS

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    Very indepth analysis !
    Informative .
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  6. #15
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    Here is a link to Flickr where I've posted the results ... at least the results worth showing ... that I've obtained to date with my minimalist astrophotography efforts. Keep in mind, I am just begining in astrophotography and am learning on the fly. I attribute most of the flaws in the photographs to my lack of knowledge and skills, not the equipment. At the moment I am very weak in ability to process a photograph once it is stacked but am learning with each attempt that I make.

    Sxinias' photosets on Flickr

    All the photographs were made using a SkyWatcher SynScan AZ GOTO mount and with a Canon EOS Rebel XS (1000D) camera. Two telescope OTAs were used, a Celestron C6S 150mm SCT and a Meade 2045LX3 102mm SCT. The piggy back shots were taken using a fixed focus 55 mm lens at f/2.2
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  8. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxinias View Post
    Here is a link to Flickr where I've posted the results ... at least the results worth showing ... that I've obtained to date with my minimalist astrophotography efforts. Keep in mind, I am just begining in astrophotography and am learning on the fly. I attribute most of the flaws in the photographs to my lack of knowledge and skills, not the equipment. At the moment I am very weak in ability to process a photograph once it is stacked but am learning with each attempt that I make.

    Sxinias' photosets on Flickr

    All the photographs were made using a SkyWatcher SynScan AZ GOTO mount and with a Canon EOS Rebel XS (1000D) camera. Two telescope OTAs were used, a Celestron C6S 150mm SCT and a Meade 2045LX3 102mm SCT. The piggy back shots were taken using a fixed focus 55 mm lens at f/2.2
    M37 is just beautiful......nice job tracking.
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  9. #17
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    here's a suggestion: nikon p500 superzoom camera (810mm focal length [35mm equiv]) and the EQ1 mount (with motor drive).

    sample pics of the moon taken with p500 - could easily be improved on with stacking and by shooting in RAW mode (awaiting confirmation that raw is possible):
    forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1018&message=38039982

    note: canon also makes a similar superzoom with virtually the same focal length, but investigation shows poor image quality and it CANNOT shoot raw.

    the nikon p500 can be bought online for $440 AU, and others say the EQ1 mount with motor drive can be had for $150. so you could potentially get (decent??) deep sky photos with tracking for under $600 AU/US/CAN.

    someone try this please! i haz no money!!!

    cheers
    dave

  10. #18
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    okay, afaik the nikon p500 will not have raw support. however, i found another, probably better camera - the fuji hs20. it shoots raw and is also compatible with a remote shutter release!

  11. #19
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    Hello Rob,

    thanks for the comments on the Purists Astrophotography.

    I have been doing it since Hale Bopp. Enclosed find some pics taken fix on the tripod, or guided by the self made barn door tracker. I have typically taken expositions up to 30sec, and then stacked the pics.

    The best lenses for this sort of hobby have been the disclosed Canon FD Asperics 1.2/55mm and 1.2/85mm. They cannot be mated with the DSLR, however.

    Then, I have switched to the Leica R system. They are incredibly sharp even if full opened. I have mostly taken the Ektachrome E200. THe Leica R lenses can be mated with lots of todays DSLRs. You can get a discontinued Leica R4 with lens for some USD500 as a used item. Doing it this way is possibly the cheapest pedestrian way to the astrophotography.

    Best

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    Is it the height of foolishness to ask if this is possible using my Orion XT12G? It also has the SynScan Alt/Az controller but of course is a dob, a big dob.

    Could I get decent results with a webcam modified to take 15-30 second exposures? I currently have a Neximage which, unmodified, can take only 0.3 second exposures at the longest.

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