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Elm0

What should I consider when purchasing a DSLR

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Hi, 

Thinking of getting a DSLR. I have a bridge camera at the moment, but I am restricted to what that can do. ,Max 60sec exposure time and fixed lens. Was ok for some direct sky shots, but thats it. 

So, when purchasing a  DSLR, what should I be looking for. They range in pixels. i.e. 14mp to 24mp with very little chip size difference. 

Also, some seem to be HD 1080p movie and anything from 6400 to 25000 exposure levels.

Realistically, will that all make a difference for everyday DSO photos?

Looking to only spend a max £500 so anything thats going to cost the sale of a kidney is out the picture.

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Are you only going to use it for DSO? If so getting a Canon 1100 or S/H 450 and modding it for Ha might be your best bet. More software for controlling Canon cameras that most others.

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Well, I'll probably being doing a bit of everything, so modding would be out the question. They seem cheap enough, so could always buy another later if i wanted to have a dedicated camera.

They have 12mp cameras. I take it getting one with 24mp will make little difference in picture quality?

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Sorry, if I modded it. How do you go about doing that....any links?

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If you are also looking to use it for planets then look for the Canons which can do effectively crop in move mode as the ratio of image to sensor is greatly improved. I think this is the 600d but it might also be a couple others there is a long running thread on this.

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/208610-planetary-imaging-with-dslr-video-mode/?fromsearch=1

Canons also can take those clip in filters when astro modded.

What would I look for if buying one again (very happy with my Canon 1100d).

Connectiveity to my tablet (I have this and use it lots) as I don't have a laptop and negates the need for a flip out screen for night work and funny angles.

Video crop mode as I don't have this but I do own a webcam so it is not a disaster.

Mirror lock up as I don't have this but I guess it is not essential but a nice to have.

Buy from an authorised reseller otherwise warranty is pretty useless and not manufacturer supported.

You could get a astro modded ready Canon within your budget easy these would be I guess based on a camera that is second hand.

Edited by happy-kat

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Some cameras above the budget level have these benifits.

Flip screen much easier to achieve focus (i dont even use a bat mask anymore just focus on the dimmest star in view)

SD card slot on the side no more removing batteries to get to it.

Newer digic 5 proc

Video crop mode shooting

Mirror lock up function

Alan

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Get a Canon DSLR they are more commonly used and all the programs are geared towards them and the CR2 RAW files

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A new 1100D body is now under £200:  http://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk/Canon/Canon-Digital-SLRs/Canon-EOS-1100D-Body   and a good camera for astro work.  You can use it unmodded or get it professionally modded for around £150.  Unmodded only really means you may not get on too well with dim nebulae that are rich in Hydrogen emissions but that still leaves galaxies, clusters, globulars etc as well as the Moon and Sun (with appropriate filters!).  Should be enough to keep you going for a few years!

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Thanks. Some really helpful stuff there.

Seems a lot of people use these cameras. How do they fair against dedicated astro cameras like the an atik.

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I can't take an astro camera out with me on day trips and that occurs a lot more than getting a cloud free evening.

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A DSLR is more versatile i can go anywhere shoot day or night do HD video and with fast optics (sub F4) with a camera lens the gap between dedicated CCD and DSLR is not so big.

Alan

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Canon is the best regarded AP / everyday camera as it has most of the software allowing it to be used for Astro.

Carrying an ATIK round in the shops or on a picnic is going to get you some unusual looks, especially if you have an OTA and a bettery hanging off the end as they don't come with lenses or internal power supply..

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I would have thought, given your budget, that you should look at the second hand Canon DSLR market.

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As above. I use a standard 600d with the bundled EOS utilities software. Here are a couple of pics I took. You can do the filter modification later when you have the funds. Note that for planets you use movie crop mode or live view zoom which is best controlled by Backyard EOS.

dyhajase.jpg

tavu9yra.jpg

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Canon is the best regarded AP / everyday camera as it has most of the software allowing it to be used for Astro.

Carrying an ATIK round in the shops or on a picnic is going to get you some unusual looks, especially if you have an OTA and a bettery hanging off the end as they don't come with lenses or internal power supply..

 

Lol. Not the best idea. Just thinking if they are worth getting or the dslr is just as good.

As above. I use a standard 600d with the bundled EOS utilities software. Here are a couple of pics I took. You can do the filter modification later when you have the funds. Note that for planets you use movie crop mode or live view zoom which is best controlled by Backyard EOS.dyhajase.jpgtavu9yra.jpg

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

They are some great pictures. Hope I can produce half as good.

I decided to go with an EOS 100 D. Seems to be a step up from the 1100 and we'll wwithin budget.

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Hi, I use a Canon 550d and it is a pleasure to use in conjunction with Backyard EOS. I use it for planetary and DSOs and outperforms my Image Source camera on planets and my Orion G3 on DSOs. You only need to buy a Canon body if you are solely going to use it for AP and they can be found quite cheaply. I got mine from London camera Exchange for £200 and it had only taken about 1000 shots. This is an example taken with my 550d with my Celestron CPC.

Peter 

post-35423-0-94347100-1397040987_thumb.j

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Lol. Not the best idea. Just thinking if they are worth getting or the dslr is just as good.

They are some great pictures. Hope I can produce half as good.

I decided to go with an EOS 100 D. Seems to be a step up from the 1100 and we'll wwithin budget.

Hhhmm, not sure the 100D has the flip out screen.  The whole point of the other suggestions on this thread (like the 600D) is the flip out screen that enables you to focus your object easily.  If you don't have that you'll have to go through some strange body angles!

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You could go for a Modded 600D there £440 and work just as normal with some tweaking in the colour balance, here are a couple of pictures the first a 10 minute single sub of M51 with guiding....

m51-1600-600.jpg

This with a tweak in the colour balance #, if you have something like Photoshop a click on the colour balance pen saves any tweaking....

006SCOPE_OBBYVIEW.jpg

Bought mine from the follow company Juan is very good, full instruction if you don't have the Baader filter fitted, and loads of good review in the Supply section...

http://cheapastrophotography.vpweb.co.uk/

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Hhhmm, not sure the 100D has the flip out screen.  The whole point of the other suggestions on this thread (like the 600D) is the flip out screen that enables you to focus your object easily.  If you don't have that you'll have to go through some strange body angles!

No it doesn't have a flip out screen although it it a touchscreen. I didn't see that as a serious drawback. I've molded the oto/ rings to spin the Ota when needed.

I'm sure I'll be moaning in a few weeks time with a bad neck.

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Elmo, 

i first purchased a bridge cam and used it with gusto, like yourself it was ok

had fantastic daylight shots and fireworks no problem, the moon gave a lovely viewpoint,

But the camera had its good and bad points. 

i to looked for a new camera, i went second hand and chose Canon. 

i have the mobile phone, with camera, the notebook, with camera and a tablet and that to

yep had a camera lol, point is they all recorded movies. DO you want a camera with movie mode ?

next was family, yep they will at some time spy your nice black body electronic gizmo and fiddle with it.

so family proof, can they shove it to take picture mode and shoot n go, 

EXTRAS, yeah i got suckered , not only do you need camera but you need memory cards, so

this cost factor needs adding, higher the storage the more you fork out.

camera lenses, good idea, oh yeah. even the cheap kit lens 18-55 will give some decent shots

a 50mm will give you perfect portraits and a cheap long zoom lens will grab those lunar shots.

choosing a camera you really have to think about " yeah i will use it day and night " 

thats the downside, the bridge camera had all these lenses in one unit, but a DSLR does not

Secondhand, i paid £180 for a canon 350D boxed with 18-55 lens, a intervolmeter and a 90-300mm ef zoom lens

i got my setup from my local small secondhand camera store, those cheap places you tend to gaze in window and walk past.

so remember daytime and night time, do not make a choice just because its good taking shots at night. 

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The difference between my  1100D and the 600D are quite a few, buttons position better, memory card slot on the side, the flip screen so standing behind the scope and looking it to it, is worth the extra money just by itself, it just down to how much people want to spend ...

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another thing to consider is a compact system camera - its essentially the same electronic gubbins and chip as a DSLR (usually APS-C chips, but some of the cheaper ones are micros 4/3rd), but without the SLR part. In other words, it doesnt have a reflex mirror and no optical viewfinder, but has all the usual modes you would expect, ap priority, full manual etc etc etc

none of which are a major pain when using it for astro, as you want the mirror locked up anyway and you wont be using the optical viewfinder! Plus with no reflex mirror, the chip is a lot closer to the front of the camera body and therefore you may not experience any problems with a lack of 'in focus' that some other people have. And you'll have all the usual manual features to set what you need for long exposure and all the canon software should work with it.

For non astro stuff, its great because the camera body is that much smaller than a full size dslr. Dont worry about lenses, as the canon CSC uses the same lens mount as the other current canons.

i love mine, its a fab bit of kit and has the same sensor and firmware as its big brother, but it fits in my coat pocket when the 20-55 kit lens is on. No way a canon 350d will do that! 

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I did seriously consider a Canon EOS-M for the reasons given above.

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Thanks for all the info and pointers. I can see how the flip screen can be a good choice. Apart from that, the 100d seemed to tick a lot of boxes. 

Its a DIGIC 5 processor, 18mp sensor which is the same as a 650d/ 700d and more than the 1100d. It is much lighter. My hands aren't shovels, so the smaller body doesnt bother me, nor does less buttons. I imagine the lower weight also helps with mounting and balancing on the mount/ OTA etc.

The only difference between the 100d and 650d seems to be the flip screen, 1fps jpeg shot (5v4), 0.12s shutter lag, 1 cross point focus (dont really know what that is but 9 v 8 ) and battery power. The 100d beats the 1100d on all criteria as far as I can see.

However, apparently the 100d has lower noise at higher ISO, better image quality, color depth and a wider dynamic range.

Its £50 cheaper with a 25-55mm lens. Whether that £50 will be worth the flip screen, only time will tell. As i want an all purpose camera (not just astro), the smaller size also appeals when taking out.

I'll report back with some pictures and my views later when I 've had chance to play with it. 

Thanks again to all those who responded. Its helped a lot!

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