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Everything posted by DarkKnight

  1. With a 50mm lens that would be a fair crop, so an even more impressive result. If you try again with 5sec exposures and I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what you get. Did you use mirror up and a remote shutter release. If you don't have one you could use selfie release to give your camera time to settle.
  2. Cheers Mike. He seems fairly well credentialed. I've only had a quick look at his page but there were a couple of things that caught my attention. The first was his statement that he lets his Canon 1D Mk IV do his darks in-camera. I've found that my D800 is not all that good at noise suppression so I have it turned off, and keep my ISO at 800 or lower, as the camera, by default, will take darks at ISO1600 or higher. The other was his post on clear aperture. I guess this chart would have to be used in conjunction with a lens known 'sweet spot'. It's about 1/2 way down on this page ....... http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/nightscapes/ It's said the proof of the pudding is in the eating and some of his photos are mind blowing for a DSLR. I'm looking forward to having a good read of his very helpful hints.
  3. Great link. What a good read. I assume this guy knows what he is talking about. Thanks Mike.
  4. Cheers Mike. I was surprised with what I could get out of the shot. I've been looking at the NASA website as I figured they should have a fair idea, but as we both know, no two shots will be the same with different seeing, LP, PP etc. There was quite a bit of recoverable red in the bright segment in the bottom LH corner but as it looked a bit odd, I didn't bring it out. Thanks for the helpful comments.
  5. Thanks for looking in. There was a bit of hazy cloud that was picking up the light.
  6. Hi, I eventually got all the bits together to mount my Nikon D800 to my upgraded EQ6. Now all I need is a laptop for guiding. In the meantime I've been trying to get my head around the basics of PP, a black art if ever there was one. The below shots are a SOOC 'before', and an attempt at PP 'after'. This was a single take with a 14mm Samyang, ISO4000, f2.8 at 30sec. Now I've learnt in the meantime that I need to do multiple takes, much lower ISO, and stacking. In this shot I realise that I was over the limit at 30secs as the stars were starting to trail. This was taken out of town on a fairly clear night, except for some low hazy cloud on the horizon and some light pollution. Most of the PP I did was on exposure levels and I gave up on trying to remove the cast from the lower part of the sky. In my inexperience I don't really know what the finished image should look like, so any comments or PP tricks most appreciated.
  7. I have the Samyang 14mm f2.8 and on my copy true infinity is way off the mark on the lens. I focus using magnified live view.
  8. Me too. Dell Ultrasharp 2560 x 1440 calibrated with ColorMunki
  9. Just FYI. Have a look at your in-camera high ISO noise reduction settings. I have the D800 and with High ISO NR turned off, the camera still does noise reduction with ISO set at 1600 or higher, in other words the camera automatically takes dark frames. Apart from taking longer to save to your card, to some extent it takes some control of your NR out of your hands. I'm still very new to this but I'm going to try ISO800 as a maximum benchmark and take multiple shots, and some darks as well. As HK said the higher the ISO, the more unwanted noise. From my limited understanding of this subject 2x1min subs @ ISO400 will capture the same detail as 1x1min sub @ ISO800, but without the additional noise.
  10. Hi Mark, I've recently been through the same exercise. Imaging is also my main interest and from reading through the forums here and elsewhere it became obvious that a stable mount is an absolute necessity. I'm retired and on a tight budget but I also realised that if you want the right gear, sometimes you have to be prepared to push your budget constraints. Affordable is seldom appropriate. To that end I decided the EQ5/HEQ5 best suited my needs and bought an HEQ5. It was supposed to be a Demo model but appeared more than lightly used and was faulty, so it was returned. I came across an unused EQ6 at the right price and did the deal. The mount weight had gone up from 10kg for the HEQ5 to 16kg for the EQ6 and as I'm in my declining years I wondered how I would manage the weight. OK, I wouldn't take it backpacking, but to move it from my 4WD to the tripod, or cart it into my yard wasn't a problem for me. I'm about to fit a SynScan GoTo kit. Where am I going with all this? If the EQ6 you've come across has been reasonably used and well cared for, it could be a good option for you to acquire with a view to adding the SynScan kit when the wallet recovers. You have then done a tad of future proofing and have a mount that is not only well regarded, but with the stepper motor and motherboard upgrade, should serve you well for quite a while.
  11. Tim, I'm at about the same stage in my astro journey as yourself and one of the most frustrating things I've done to date is aligning my polar scope to my mount. I've downloaded and perused heaps of 'instructions' and was getting nowhere, fast. I'm guessing, in my inexperience, that from your description above you may not have your mount correctly aligned. Your mount seems pretty much the same as my EQ6 so the polar scope alignment routine should be the same. This is the routine that eventually worked for me. Due to the lack of illumination in your polar scope you've already sussed out that this is a daytime job plus it is a whole lot easier to find the grub screws with the allen key in daylight. I actually did this exercise inside with a 2mm dot on a sheet of paper but hey, get out in the fresh air. This is probably best done without your scope mounted. 1. Remove the front and rear covers from your polar scope, drop the counterweight bar and rotate the DEC axis till you have a clear view of the reticle. 2. Use the altitude and azimuth adjusters to centre your target on the scope cross-hairs. Now rotate the RA axis 180° and if the dot is still centered no further adjustment is necessary and you should go buy a lottery ticket. 3. If the dot has wandered off centre when you rotate the mount 180°on the RA axis we now come to the fun part. Using the three grub screws, move the dot half way back toward the centre of the cross hairs. Unfortunately I can only suggest trial and error here as to which grub screw to use but I found that I had to back off two grub screws to adjust with the third one. Use only about I/4 of a turn max on the allen key at this point. 4. When you have done this return the mount to the upright position and using the altitude and azimuth adjusters re-align the dot onto the centre of the cross hairs. 5. Now swing the mount on the RA axis 180° in the opposite direction and using the grub screws again adjust the dot 1/2 way back to the centre of the cross hairs. 6. Swing the mount back to upright and hopefully at this point you are getting pretty close to having the dot centred. If not, repeat the above procedure of alt/az adjustment and swinging the mount both ways on the RA axis and use just tiny adjustments of the grub screws till your target does not move off the centre of the cross-hairs. The thing to remember is to use the ALT/AZ adjusters when the mount is upright and the grub screws when it is inverted. If you have followed this procedure I apologise for my unnecessary post. Good luck and clear skies. PS: I eventually put an 'O' ring onto the reticle holder to stop it falling out of place during my early ham-fisted attempts at adjusting the grub screws.
  12. Being an old fart, I have actually learnt a few things over the years, most the hard way, or perhaps read 'hard' as 'expensive'. You are doing all the sensible things, like researching, and asking questions of those who have BTDT. Probably the most important lesson I have learnt is that when you think that you have eliminated all the possibilities, and found the perfect bit of kit for your needs, go up one level. And I'm talking about mounts in particular. The EQ5/HEQ5 will possibly do the job today, but I can assure you that human nature being what it is, you will at some time, and likely sooner rather than later, want to go bigger and better with the gear you load it up with. If budget isn't a problem, do yourself a favour and go straight to an EQ6 PRO or equivalent.
  13. I did my polar scope alignment today, and a fair bit of yesterday. Probably the fiddliest thing I've ever done, and at times I felt like chucking the blumming thing away. I lost count of the number of times the reticle came loose and I had to remove the eyepiece and start again. Eventually I tried Dion's trick with an 'O' ring under the eyepiece and it not only stopped the reticle popping out but also sort of stabilised it enough so that I was eventually able to centre it, the operative word being 'centre'. I think the fresh approach today, and thinking about what I was trying to achieve, did the trick.
  14. How did you go with aligning your polar scope with your mount?
  15. @Tim, Open your SoulDBEollie.jpg in PS, go to Image/Adjustments/Exposure and have a little play with the Gamma Correction slider. You may (or may not) be pleasantly surprised.
  16. http://www.manualguru.com/orion/skyview-pro-9829/users-manual-2/page-6%C2%A0 The Astro Baby link in the above post is excellent with it's illustrations.
  17. I was working on it. I've just changed the link.
  18. Sorry, the Atlas is the EQ6 equivalent in Orion. Your EQ5 is basically the same mount, just a bit lighter. Possibly Orion's Sirius or Sky View Pro. Anyway the Polar Scope Alignment procedure is the same. Download this ..... http://www.manualguru.com/orion/skyview-pro-9829/users-manual-2/page-6 ' 'Alignment of the Polar Axis Finder Scope' If this procedure hasn't been done your mount could be all over the place. If you have done this procedure I apologise for my newbie fix for your tracking problems.
  19. Hi Marky, Let me preface my comments by saying that I'm very new to astro imaging and certainly no PS expert, mostly doddling along on a need to learn basis. I downloaded your <500kb image to have a play with and found I could really bump the colours using CS6's Image/Adjustments/Selective Colour tool which I find I can get better individual colour adjustment with than Chanel Mixer or Colour Balance. But then I don't really know what I'm doing. I wont post the result of my fiddle as at this stage I don't really know what a good astro shot should look like, and PP is also very subjective.
  20. I'm also new to all this, albeit with an EQ6, and find there are many things to do, and forget. Have you aligned you polar scope to your mount? I've also found the Atlas manual much easier to follow than the SkyWatcher version.
  21. Wow, you sure did strip it down. Hope you remembered where all the bits came from. As my mount is a new/unused one, I'm hoping I'm a few years away from doing the strip down.
  22. I have the Samyang 14mm f2.8 and can thoroughly recommend it. Quite sharp right to the edges. Not so good for architecture though, but if that was your genre you'd probably be looking at a T/S lens.
  23. Just read in your other thread that your upgrade kit had arrived. Looks like a fun time ahead. I also had thoughts doing of a strip-down, but as my mount is unused I decided to give it a run as is. It seems to rotate quite freely with no binding evident on either axis. I'll see what sort of grease is on the cogs when I do the motor change, although with gears turning at minimal speed on an unused mount, I really don't see the need to do a big overhaul. Not exactly like the wear and tear on a car bearing or cog spinning at 7-8,000 rpm is it. Good luck with your installation.
  24. Keep us updated, particularly with any little hints re installation. Mine's still a week away.
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