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Iron Lung

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Hi. I`m completely new to astrophotography but at the risk of sounding cocky I`m a pretty good landscape photographer. I am currently using a Nikon D3200. I find its image quality isn't so good and I`m not sure what it will be like for astrophotography. Also I`m not sure what other equipment I will need so It would be great if someone could tell me what else I need.

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Best thing you can do is buy the great book (Making Every Photon Counts) that will tell you everything you need to know.

Edited by wookie1965
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The "problem" with astrophotography is that:

1) The objects are dim, very dim, ISO 3200 dim.

2) Exposures of 120 second are common, exposures of 600 seconds are not rare, all at the ISO above.

3) You will actually need 10, 15, 20 exposures, as 1+2 above, to get enough to make one image.

4) The thing you are photographing is moving, trees and building have a habit of staying still.

5) The thing doesn't move in a straight line, it moves in an arc.

6) What starts out as the top ends up as the bottom = it rotates as it moves across the sky.

That is the main differences to photography. :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

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Just your camera on a tripod will get you some pretty decent shots from a dark site. Keep the focal length short (18mm short) and you should be able to manage 60 second or longer exposures without star trailing. Take multiple frames and stack them with software like Deep Sky Stacker for even better results.

In time you'll probably want to introduce some tracking and a telescope but that's a whole different ball game.

You'd do well to contact a local astro club and meet some of their imagers to see the kit they use, it will I'm sure vary from hundreds to thousands of pounds worth.

Edited by DeepThought
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I'd say that photography and astrophotography are similar in the same way that polo and waterpolo are similar :).

The knowledge that photography will bring will help but they really are different animals. I'd suggest doing as much reading and research as you can before forking out any money.

with a camera on a static tripod, I'd be going for exposures much shorter than 60 secs (closer to 20 for an 18mm lens). that and deliberately aiming for startrails.

here is a formula for working out exposure times before trailing starts

post-20406-0-59121700-1398030432_thumb.j

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I've seen some really decent 30 sec exposure's without the trails. I like star trails but I would much rather get into details of space with landscapes as foreground I'm sure I will need to do composite images e.g. over a min exposure for my foreground and 30 sec exposure for my sky. My favourite photographer is Peter Lik a landscape photographer by trade but he has a few astrphotographs and they are awe inspiring. Here is a link to his shot. Hope I am not breaking the rules here

http://www.lik.com/theshow/episode1/season1image5.html

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Iron lung.......Hi, Why do you doubt the image quality of the D3200? In many reviews it betters my D5000 for image quality!

Also note, The Book, Making Every Photon Count is now in its third edition,  get the 2014 copy .

I would say there's quite a difference to Day and Night. For Astro photography, you need to be recording your images in RAW, then processing and stacking them on a PC. Most of what's up there, cant be seen with the naked eye. But some amazing shots can be made following some simple guidelines. I've made a couple of snaps on my Dobsonian with the DSLR. Nothing too fancy, but I don't shoot in RAW , neither do I own any editing software at present.

The `book' and advice from here will soon have you on your way to some remarkable imagery.

Do a search in Discussions - Cameras  there's plenty folk using D3200

Edited by Charic
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My two cents, I image with the D3100 and find it really decent. The noise at iso1600 is very well controlled.

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This is 30 sec on a static tripod (18mm). zoom in and you'll see star trailing. but don't take my word for it.. next clear night set up your camera with a 18mm lens on a tripod, set iso quite high (say 3200) and take some 30 sec shots of bright stars. I'd be interested to see the results

post-20406-0-47709900-1398071470_thumb.j

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Iron lung.......Hi, Why do you doubt the image quality of the D3200? In many reviews it betters my D5000 for image quality!

Also note, The Book, Making Every Photon Count is now in its third edition,  get the 2014 copy .

I would say there's quite a difference to Day and Night. For Astro photography, you need to be recording your images in RAW, then processing and stacking them on a PC. Most of what's up there, cant be seen with the naked eye. But some amazing shots can be made following some simple guidelines. I've made a couple of snaps on my Dobsonian with the DSLR. Nothing too fancy, but I don't shoot in RAW , neither do I own any editing software at present.

The `book' and advice from here will soon have you on your way to some remarkable imagery.

Do a search in Discussions - Cameras  there's plenty folk using D3200

Hi. Don't get me wring I'm sure it a great camera, but I was using a cannon EOS 350D as my primary camera and I was getting great images of landscapes but with my 3200 the images aren't as good. It might just be a case of I haven't gotten used to it yet.

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