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Astropy

Astrophotography without telescope

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How far can one get with only a camera, maybe a DSLR with a reasonable size telephoto lens, and some form of tracking (maybe a eq mount or a barn door tracker)? If the tracking is good, could one equal the quality of pictures taken through a telescope, at least for DSOs?

Is anyone on here into this kind of photography? If so, please post your photos, show us what kind of pictures are possible with a simple setup like this!  :grin:

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I've never attempted this but plenty of folks have and it is a very realistic possibility. Someone else will comment on the equipment and lenses used, but meantime if you search the imaging forums for "Astrotrac" you're sure to find some dso pics taken with just a dslr and lens. :)

Edited by brantuk

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There are plenty of options available to that sort of imaging, check the widefield section of the forum.
Really the only limiting factor are the qauality lenses you use and just how long a focal length you are after, I think there comes a point when instead of spending loads on large telephoto lenses a telescope makes more sense unless you already have the lenses that is.
I tend to go up to a 300mm lens at most but it's not the sharpest of tools, there are some stunning pictures shot with just a 50mm lens too.

I have some pics with a dslr and lens here http://astropaz.weebly.com/pictures.html

Now in the right hands with someone who knows what they are doing the pictures could be a lot better.

Also as Brantuk mentioned above search terms like Astrotrac, Vixen Polarie and ioptron startracker which are dedicated mounts for this type of photography. Basically they are glorified barn door trackers but all a very good pieces of kit.

Edited by JB80

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AP with a camera and lens is a bit easier on the mount requirements you can start off with a barn door tracker or an EQ3-2 and a 50mm lens longer focal length lenses will be limited to 2 min subs but that can be enough to get reasonable images, the problem is that the very best lenses of 200-400mm FL can cost many times that of the best scopes so it isnt allways cheap.

The solution to the cost problem can be overcome a little by using old SLR lenses which will give reasonable performance for little money but again the very best do come at a price.

Alan

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I took this picture of M42 during the winter using a DSLR/Sigma zoom lens.  The things to be wary of are the odd eighteen-pointed stars which are a result of the (9-bladed) iris diaphragm, these can be avoided by running maximum-aperture or placing a circular aperture over the front element rather than using the inbuilt iris.  The second factor to bear in mind is the different colour-cast DSLR/lenses impart, giving a greener (or less red) tinge to everything.

Despite the differences, I find the images of reasonable quality, however the camera lens will cost a lot more than a better telescope!

13888857818_83ac13890a_c.jpgM42 Sigma Zoom by S.J.P, on Flickr

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Some of the best wide field images are taken with camera lenses- indeed many deep sky objects and comets are too big in the sky to shoot with a telescope and lend themselves better to camera lenses. 

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If you are not using an accurate mount keep the focal length right down and you'll get nice results. The longer the focal length the better your guiding has to be. I like lens imaging and images. This was autoguided and with a CCD camera and 60 hours of exposure (6x10 hour mosaic) but the lens was a mid range Samyang 85.

ORION%202014%20reprocessWEB-XL.jpg

All credit to this lens.

Olly

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If you are not using an accurate mount keep the focal length right down and you'll get nice results. The longer the focal length the better your guiding has to be. I like lens imaging and images. This was autoguided and with a CCD camera and 60 hours of exposure (6x10 hour mosaic) but the lens was a mid range Samyang 85.

All credit to this lens.

Olly

Wow, beautiful! Please excuse my ignorance, but what object is that? 

Also, did you use some kind of a filter to bring out those reds? H-alpha or something like that?

I do have an old Nikkor 50mm f1.8 prime lens, gonna give it a go with that and see what I can get  :grin:

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Can't seem to be able to edit my last post so I'll make a new one..

One more question that I have, is there such a thing as Narrowband Filters for Camera lenses? Because the only ones I can find online are 1.25" or 2" for telescopes.. Would they not work with a camera and that's why they are not sold, or am I just not searching right?  :huh:

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Wow Olly that's deep :shocked:

It's a fabulous image, and I really must add a nice wide-field image like this to my bucket-list.

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Wow, beautiful! Please excuse my ignorance, but what object is that? 

Also, did you use some kind of a filter to bring out those reds? H-alpha or something like that?

I do have an old Nikkor 50mm f1.8 prime lens, gonna give it a go with that and see what I can get  :grin:

It's Orion, the constellation. It was taken using a One Shot Colour CCD, 5 hours per panel, and a mono CCD with Ha filter, also 5 hours per panel. The Ha was blended with the red channel. I must confess that M42, the Horsehead and Flame and the WItch were enhanced using telescopic data but the lens did most of the work.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Rose or Heart nebula?

Olly's image is Barnard's Loop in Orion (plus a few other objects) . A standard 50mm camera lens will take it in- compared to Olly's image my own effort of Barnards Loop is not worthy of posting....

So I'll post an 80mm camera lens widefield shot of Cygnus instead! Single 15 minute sub I think?

DSCF7898_1024_zpsa33bf5b6.jpg

Full size link.

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f206/laser_jock99/ASTRONOMICAL/DSCF7898_1024_zpsa33bf5b6.jpg~original

Edited by laser_jock99
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http://www.astronomik.com/en/clip-filter-system.html

Astronomik have a clip in filter system that will work with any EF Canon lens but not the EF-S series.

I have an OIII filter but never used it as not sure how useful this would be on wide field targets.

Looks like a neat little addition, sadly I have a Nikon and that system is specifically for Canon  :embarassed:

After a quick google search I did find this:

"Gerd Neumann at Astronomik informs me that they are working on a clip-filter system for Nikon bodies that should be ready for sale by late summer." posted on a different forum in October 2013  :grin:

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Astrophotography with a lens is all i know as i havent quite saved enough for the scope i'm after yet. I use the great Canon EF200L 2.8 II. Many will back up what an excellent bit of glass this is although i am yet to realise its full potential, but i have just purchased a guiding setup which will help tremendously.

Heres a few images taken with the lens and DSLR:

gallery_26473_2565_7580.jpg

gallery_26473_2565_127348.jpg

gallery_26473_2565_43979.jpg

gallery_26473_2818_44225.jpg

And a couple with another great lens, the Canon 50mm 1.8

gallery_26473_2565_30770.jpg

gallery_26473_2565_56588.jpg

And to put Ollys awesome image of Orion into perspective, heres what an hours exposure with the 50mm will get you. I also used my images of the B33 and M42 for detail in this image.

gallery_26473_2818_74398.jpg

Check out the link in my signature if you want to see more, they are all taken with DSLR and lens.

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Those are beautiful! Hope I can get something like those in the future  :grin:

If I have a budget of around $300 for a new lens and I already own a Nikkor 50mm f1.8, what would you guys recommend as a worthy upgrade for AP? 

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You can certainly get away without a driven mount but a tripod is a must. I've shot Orion with a 50mm lens and a series of 4 second exposures (about 70 I think) then stacked those in DSS - just rotate the camera a little west after about 20 frames to compensate for earths rotation.

I've been playing with the iOptron Skytracker recently and have managed to image up to 600mm on it with resonable results - keeping exposures to about 1 min:

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/215837-ioptron-skytracker-v2-600mm-sigma-mirror-lens-m51/

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Although I don't tend to use a DSLR, almost all my imaging is with camera lenses.

I think Hutech do Nikon filters although no one advertises them so hardly one knows !  http://www.sciencecenter.net/hutech/nikon.htm

Looks like a neat little addition, sadly I have a Nikon and that system is specifically for Canon  :embarassed:

After a quick google search I did find this:

"Gerd Neumann at Astronomik informs me that they are working on a clip-filter system for Nikon bodies that should be ready for sale by late summer." posted on a different forum in October 2013  :grin:

To give you an idea of what I do look at the 2013 thread post 3 -  http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/203802-deep-sky-imaging-showcase-2013/

Lenses suit some but not others

Dave.

Edited by davew

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To answer your original question nebula, the following link will take you to an image I took with a Canon DSLR 650 with a 55-250mm Kit Lens. 

I only started 3 weeks ago and although the images are not great, lots of noise and hot pixels together with some star trailing thrown in, there is a certain ‘wow’ factor when you see these images processed in deep sky stacker for the first time.

Hope these help you get an idea of what you can get with a very simple set up.

Basic set up

Skywatcher Adventurer Mini & Tripod

Second Hand Canon 650D (unmodified)

55-250mm kit lens

The photos above were taken without light pollution filters, in a Bortle 8 zone, with a moon somewhere to the right. You can see my astronomy terminology is spot on :)

 

 

 

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TBH, I am becoming more interested in this form of wide-ish field with Canon (Samyang) lenses than I am wide field telescopes.  Indeed, my FSQ85 is starting to get a bit jealous and unloved.  For sure I think am going to sell the FSQ 0.73 reducer and put it towards a QHY camera to mate onto the Samyang lenses.

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Hi Red Dwarf,

I just got hold of a second hand Samyang 100mm 2.8 ED and its fabulous. The image quality is far superior to the 55-200mm Canon kit lens that I have. I just start astro-imaging and so far only using a Canon 650D and the above lens is getting me good results. I am not even close to describing myself as a novice, and am not an expert in image processing, but the image of the nebulae in Cygnus was the first result i got with the new Samyang Lens.

 

Cygnus_Nebulae_2019_30_06.jpg

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