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Thread: Help: Beginner astro-photography setup

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    Default Help: Beginner astro-photography setup



    I have couple of questions, I would really appreciate it if someone can answer them.

    I have a samsung WB200F point and shoot camera. Do I need to have a DSLR for astrophotogrphy or will I be alright with my point and shoot?

    What kind of telescope will I need to get photos? GOTO Telescopes?

    What other things do I need to buy?

    Do I need to good at image processing? I have no previous experience.

    I don't live near a dark-sky, can I just use some kind of light pollution filters instead?

    Thanks!
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    Default Re: Help: Beginner astro-photography setup

    Wow! A lot of questions, most of which have been answered for others.

    As for your camera - just about the only way to use it with a telescope will be to use it in afocal mode - that is you'll need to use a camera holder to hold it in place and focus on a lens in the telescope focuser. Not ideal, but can be done especially for planets. The camera itself only apparently takes jpegs which are almost useless for any deep sky objects - you need RAW mode - that is - no compression. Compression tends to obliterate stars. As for a telescope I would think that a long focal length refractor might be best for good planetary shots. But they certainly are not cheap.

    Your particular camera looks to be a very poor choice for astrophotography (AP). Let's face it - AP is very expensive. Good camera, good telescope, excellent tracking mount (doesn't have to be GOTO but does have to track well). I tried using a similar camera but quickly realized that it wasn't going to cut it. It really depends on your budget... so give us some idea what you want to photo and how much you're willing to spend.

    My setup (on the cheap side) is
    $1200 DSLR camera
    $300 telescope (Newtonian)
    $300 guiding camera
    $1400 mount
    $1200 computer (yeah - you can go a lot cheaper but I use my laptop for a lot of other things)
    ~$200 software for taking photos, preprocessing and processing the images.

    So that totals about $4600 which doesn't include the cost of lenses and filters and collimating tools, etc.

    Well if I haven't dissuaded you from going down the AP rabbit hole, then welcome to the party. I find my photography greatly rewarding, especially because of light pollution and the very few nights a month I get to actually do it.

    Happy shopping!
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    Default Re: Help: Beginner astro-photography setup

    Welcome to the forum. And welcome to the big, yawning money-pit of astrophotography!

    Yes, you can take pictures with your point and shoot camera. You just hold it up to the eyepiece and click. You can get a bracket that will hold the camera in that position for steadier photos.

    A DSLR will allow you to take better pictures. The DSLR connects to the telescope without using an eyepiece or a camera lens, using adapters to make the connection. If you are planning to take images of planets, you will want to shoot video. That can be done either with a video-capable DSLR, or with a dedicated planetary camera.

    The telescope is less important than the mount. A goto mount is helpful, but not mandatory. However, it must be an equatorial mount if you are planning to take long exposures of dim objects. Any "fast" (i.e. focal ratio less than f/8) telescope will do, but you need to think about weight. A mount's capacity is limited, and for astrophotography you can only use half the mount's rated capacity. So a smaller, lighter scope is better. There are some good, light, fast refractors avaiable.

    You will get good at image processing.
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