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Getting started in imaging.


jana
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After a bit of advice please, I have a 200pds on eq5 as my set up and love visual observing but I do think I would like to get some half decent images of what I see ( and what I don't ). I have a webcam and have had some luck on the moon, jupiter and saturn and this also makes me think I would like to catch a few images of things like m31/m42 etc. I have been thinking of getting a DSLR for some time and have been looking at a 1100d as its in my price range and reviews seem good. I know people say that for imaging a heq5 is the minimum you want but as new mount will be a long way off I am wondering would I get some "half decent" results with a 1100d with my current set up?

Also if the answer to that question is yes I could get some results attaching a DSLR to my setup what things would I have to have i.e how to capture images and process them as really not sure, would i need filters etc is it just like using the webcam or totally different?

Sorry to ask such a basic question but I really am not sure where to start. I don't want Hubble images just something to which I can say I took that and people could make out what it is.

Thanks for reading my silly questions and any replies.

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You should get away with the EQ5 as long as you keep the exposure time down. You don't say if you have any form of motor drive? It would be pretty well essential, as would good polar alignment. If you get these sorted then exposures of 30 sec to 1min should be possible but you will have to take many of them (say 100+) and be prepared to dump 30-40% of them due to trailing.

Processing can be with the freeware Deep Sky Stacker and, also free, GIMP - although Photoshop is much better if you have it.

Don't bother with filters (except maybe a light pollution filter if you need one). Clusters are the things to go for as they are "easy". Then perhaps the brighter galaxies and globulars. M42 is certainly bright enough to get good images with the sort of exposure times you could manage.

Also get a copy of Steve Richards book "Making Every Photon Count" - it is a mine of information and will help you on your journey.

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Hi,

I have a 1000D and a 250PDS. I use an Astronomik CLS light pollution filter, but that is optional, but advisable if you don't want 'brown sky'. You will definitely need a T Mount for a Canon EOS. That will attach to the camera body and then screw onto the T thread revealed when you unscrew the 1.25" nosepiece that came with the scope.

You may then encounter misshapen stars at the edge of your field of view, which is a trait of a reflector. Skywatcher make a coma corrector (for Newtonians) as do Baader (MPCC). Both work for my setup and act as a nosepiece to slip into the 2" drawtube ring bit (technical term) that also came with your scope. Either will attach to the T mount with their T threads.

Assuming the camera software is pretty much the same as for the 1000D (and I think it will be), it is excellent and allows you to remotely control the camera via a laptop/pc. You can then use liveview (seen on the laptop screen) to focus on a bright star and then make timed exposures, change ISO and various other settings with the camera control software.

For DSO's such as M42, you will get great results without even needing to align and stack files. This is M42 with probably a handful of frames and basic image processing that I took in the early days with my 1000D setup - https://picasaweb.google.com/103273140532065918082/Astrophotograhy#5434170983603301410

I use Nebulosity and that will also control the camera just as well as the Canon software, but it is not free. It does, however have a lot of scope for really making the most out of things. You can pre-process with darks, flats, bias frames to remove noise and artefacts and then align, stack, and image process your pre-processed light frames.

To sum up, the 1100D and 200PDS will be a great set up. You will get a nice wide field of view as well (maybe not quite fit Andromeda in, but close). However, you may find you want/have to spend a bit more to attach and then to improve on what you have, but the T mount will start you off.

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Cheers guys for the replies, yes my mount is driven with the synscan upgrade. I have seen many times on here the advice to get "every photon counts" so think I will invest in that asap.

I have also seen a lot on here where people talk about flats and subs and things and I think the lack of understanding of this has put me off a bit so will the book help to understand these things?

Also I have just gone over to using a mac as my laptop died and I always looked at the MacBooks thinking one day I will get one which I now have. Are there any major problems with using a macbook over pc or not?

Once again sorry for the sheer lack of knowledge!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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So camera, t ring and connect to scope should be able to produce some results as a start point then? thats what I was hoping for. will have to look into the compatibility with mac then.

once again thanks.

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So camera, t ring and connect to scope should be able to produce some results as a start point then? thats what I was hoping for. will have to look into the compatibility with mac then.

once again thanks.

Absolutely - M1, M42, M82/M81 all great targets at the moment. I'm sure you can hook up with a Mac, but yes, check.

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A few definitions for you:

"Lights": These are the pictures that you actually take of an object. They are also called "subs". EG a single one minute exposure of a galaxy is a "light" or "sub". If you take 20 one minute exposures you have 20 "subs" making a total exposure time of 20 minutes. You should record the exposure length, ISO value and temperature for each set of "subs". Why two names? Most folk talk of "subs" but Deep Sky Stacker calls them "Lights".

"Darks": These are picture that you take with the lens cap ON the camera! Yes really - pictures of nothing at all!! They do actually record artifacts produced by the camera's sensor during an exposure. Darks must be of the same exposure length and the same temperature as your "Lights". Take around 20-30 of them. I take mine on cloudy nights so I don't waste valuable imaging time - often I put the camera in the garage or observatory where the temperature is near to that of outside. You can build up a library of darks - which is why you need to keep careful records of things like temperature. (I have darks taken every 5° from -5 to +25 deg C. I use the nearest one to the temperature at which I took my Lights).

"Flats": These are short exposures taken using your camera/ telescope set up. It is essential that you use the set-up EXACTLY as it was for your lights - especially focus, so don't touch anything!. Normally I take flats immediately after I have finished taking my Lights. To take them you will need a light box or EL panel (electro luminescent panel) placed over the end of the scope to give an even illumination. Set your DSLR camera to "Av" so it will automatically expose correctly and fire off around 20-30 shots. These correct vignetting and dust bunnies in the optical train.

I have tried to keep the definitions simple. Hope this helps.

Edited by Bizibilder
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So once you have all your darks, subs and flats then you stack them using software i.e registax is that right? Would I still get some results without worrying about the darks etc to start?

I think for me its going to be a case of get the camera, connect it to the scope and try my luck and learn as I go along. Although I know as soon as I get into it a bit I will want to improve on them a bit so will try a bit harder. Going to order every photon counts and read as much as I can as can't get camera till i get my bonus in dec pay packet and with any luck will get one cheaper in sales!!! or if the buy/sell section makes a comeback in meantime.

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Oops!! Made a mistake - sorry. The correct stacking software for DSLR images of DSO's is Deep Sky Stacker (freeware). You load in your Lights, Darks and Flats and it does the job for you. (you can also stack data from different nights if you want to).

You can just load Lights and it will work. You will get gradients and vignetting (to varying degrees) but you will get an image! I worked with lights only for a while then started to take darks as well. It was a while before I made myself a lightbox and started to take flats.

If you spend hours taking images you can keep them and reprocess with darks later. You will need some software to do the final processing and GIMP (freeware) will start you off in the right direction until you can get something like Photoshop (You can get a serious discount on PS - PM me and I will give you details - all legal and honest!!)

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Ahh I'm just looking into the software options as I'm on a mac now and don't know what works with this. Am thinking of getting photoshop or the other option I have been thinking about is dual booting windows on here. Can you save the subs to sdcard and then transfer to laptop or do should you run direct through the laptop, just whilst starting I'm thinking as sure that when more serious will include a lot more kit then.

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Hi Jana

I have much the same set up. Its your lucky day I have just put up a ton of tutorials on my blog for processing your images as well as lots of info on astrophotography with the eq5 a canon camera and a 200p done in an easy to follow way not nerdy or over wordy. Hope it helps you out and any one else for that matter. www.astrocasto.blogspot.com :beer:;)

Sent from my GT-S5670 using Tapatalk

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Hope you get going on those astro pictures soon. i got a second hand canon 350d body only for 130 quid and 11 quid for the t adapter really good camera very happy with it. Its not modded yet but still takes great shots. :)

Sent from my GT-S5670 using Tapatalk

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Ive been thinking of getting a new 1100d as thats my sort of price range but to be honest I have also had a look at second hand 100d and 400d ones and are coming in a fair bit cheaper so may go for one of those and save a bit of cash for any extras to have to buy.

out of the 400 and 1000 which one is better for astro?

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Ive been thinking of getting a new 1100d as thats my sort of price range but to be honest I have also had a look at second hand 100d and 400d ones and are coming in a fair bit cheaper so may go for one of those and save a bit of cash for any extras to have to buy.

out of the 400 and 1000 which one is better for astro?

Looking at the specs on the Canon site, they are the same, apart from the 400D is based on the older DIGIC II computer bit and the 1000D uses the later DIGIC III. The latter uses less power and will probably be supported by more capture programs. I think Nebulosity supports both. Of course you may just use the native Canon software and then it is irrelevant. I can't speak for the 400D, but I can't fault my 1000D for 'anything' I use it for :-)

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  • 3 months later...
Ahh I'm just looking into the software options as I'm on a mac now and don't know what works with this. Am thinking of getting photoshop or the other option I have been thinking about is dual booting windows on here. Can you save the subs to sdcard and then transfer to laptop or do should you run direct through the laptop, just whilst starting I'm thinking as sure that when more serious will include a lot more kit then.

I also use a Mac and I am starting on this. I got Nebulosity and Lynkeos. Haven't used them since i am starting to acquire real state, but Will.

There is one link by someone here that takes you to a page with a listing of all astronomy software for windows and macs.

Edited by Walky
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