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Hi All, I am new to this forum. I need suggestion on astro photography, since I will visit dark site soon.

I have Canon 600d and Canon 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 wide angle lens. For capturing milky way or sky, I would keep my dslr in manual mode - bulb mode, timer as 30 secs or less to make sure there are no star trails, f5 is minimum at 10mm and ISO between 400 - 1600? What settings should I keep? Also, how many similar images, including subs and flats should I take to get a good image?

The attached image is my second attempt to capture summer milky way.

summer milky way.jpg

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Guessing it is not in the image fully manual, the flash appears on or is it illumination from the rear ? If it is/was the flash there is an option to disable it somewhere.

Last time I tried something like that I set (I think) 20 second exposure, 10 second wait time and took either 12 or 15 exposures. Iso was set to 400 then I repeated with 800. I think that above 800 then the noise increases as the electronics boost the noise as well as the rest of the bits you want.

Focal length, cannot see why you do not use 18mm it is fairly wide, if f/5 is the biggest then f/5 it will have to be - f/5 seems a bit small.

Not sure but I think that any darks need to match the DSLR settings for the exposure, so scribble down the settings, and I suggest (likely 120% wrong) that you get about half as many darks as exposures. Put it this way that is what I did.

So if the exposures are say 12 exposures at ISO 400 for 20 seconds with a 10 second wait and F/5 then get 6 darks at the same.

If after the first batch you change to say 12 exposures ISO 800 then again get 6 darks at those settings.

Darks are easy - lens cap on, set up DSLR and interferometer, press the go button on the interferometer and put the whole lot is something dark until it has it's 6 exposures. They are easy and really help the final result.

I half suspect that after 12 exposures the software will have more problems getting everything aligned, the sky will have moved. Unless you have an EQ tracking mount I would not push your luck.

To keep the exposure time as set - say 20 seconds the switch off the noise reduction feature.

One other bit is cover the rear viewfinder as light can get in and cause problems.

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