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Thread: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

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    Default Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions



    Hey All!

    I'm looking at taking my first steps on astro-photography.
    Was thinking of starting with some nightscapes, and see if I'm happy with the results and enjoy the overall experience.

    I'm looking to do a basic setup, tripod, DSLR and a suitable lens.

    Was wondering if any of you kind folks could suggest some equipment for starting out?

    I'm looking at a budget of $500 max.

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    Can you list any equipment that you currently own?
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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    I have a tripod and a DSL Canon 350D with 18-55mm.

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    You have the basic setup: tripod, DSLR and lens. The only problem is that the 350D is an old camera and its low-light perfornamce is quite noisy at summer temperatures. So you might want to get a newer camera. I'd stick with Canon because of the wealth of software available. Plus, you could use your existing lens if you get a good deal on a used camera body.

    The other thing to consider is a remote control or an intervalometer. Alternatively, newer models can be controlled from a computer via the USB port. The 350D cannot be controlled directly from a 64-bit computer, but can be operated via an interface box like the DSUSB from Shoestring Astronomy.

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    Thanks for your help.

    So basically spend my budget on the best Canon DSLR I can get?

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    I did a LOT of nightscapes over the years and I feel it's more about learning the techniques and having the proper conditions vs equipment. I used a Manfrotto tripod, Sony A99 and Zeiss 16-35 lens. Sounds like your camera and lens should do fine. Have a good solid tripod. Darker scenes will require more ISO and shutter time. I used to work in some truly dark places on the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA and would often be shooting ISO 3200 and 25 second exposures. A lot of wind will basically ruin night scenes as anything in the foreground will be moving and thus heavily blurred in a long exposure. I never was a big fan of artificial lighting used to paint scenes as they typically get WAY overdone and extremely unnatural looking. Be very subtle with that, a little goes a long way.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    I'd also say the lens is a lot more important than the camera, assuming the camera is somewhat decent anyway. A good fast wide angle lens is where you want to sink money, but they can be expensive. I had my Zeiss on 3 cameras, it was f2.8 and cost $2000, worth every penny.

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    Sweet!!

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Have added relevant equipment, along with a new tripod and thermos. Will checkout shortly.

    A really dumb question (I am a newbie) - How do I find out if the sky is clear and no clouds?

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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    Look out the window? (Just kidding)

    Put in your coordinates for home or the location you are going to be going to and this will give you a fairly decent weather report.
    Clear Outside v1.0 - International Weather Forecasts For Astronomers
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    Default Re: Nightscapes With DSLR - Newbie Needs Some Suggestions

    Location and conditions are the 2 most important things in any type of landscape photography. It doesn't matter how great you are handling the camera and setting up compositions if you are in boring locations with bad conditions. My night shooting would generally start well before sundown so I could get up to somewhere pretty in the mountains and then let conditions sort themselves out. You want clouds for interesting sunsets so I'd try for that first. If there were no clouds then night shooting would be good. So I'd try to take what it would give me. Sometimes there would be good clouds for a sunset and then clear after dark for good night shooting. Just have to put in the time out in the landscape.

    Jeff
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