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Imaging with Nikon D3100 through telescope

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I am very new to astrophotography, I'm struggling to currently get any image apart from bright objects, such as Vega and the moon.

I am taking images through my telescope using an adapter with a telescope eyepiece inside.

I can see the image I want through the viewfinder, but cannot using live view or when I take the photo.

I'm positive I'm using the incorrect settings, but unsure where to start as there are conflicting opinions everywhere!

Last night's attempt caught Vegas, and a lovely bright double star, but couldn't see M13 through live view though we could through the viewfinder.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Thank you.


Edited by Mazzy
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Excuse the quick reply, but I'm getting ready for work: for dimmer objects like M13 you'll need to use your manual camera controls to change your exposure settings (i.e., in this case, slow your shutter speed and/or open your aperture) to let in more light. I've been using my old Nikon D50 for imaging. I just got a Nikon D3200 with the live view but haven't used it for astrophotography yet. But what I do with my D50 is open my camera's aperture all the way (the smallest f setting your camera will allow, like f/2.8 or f/4 or something like that) and set my shutter speed to take, say from 10 to 30 second exposures. Maybe that's why you can't see anything in the live viewfinder; try changing your exposure settings (but the image may still be very dim). Now, for deep space photography, this assumes that you are using a tracking device on your telescope tripod to account for the motion of the earth, otherwise you're going to get trails on your image. The only way to get a steady, clear image of a dim celestial object like M13 is to have the telescope tracking its apparent motion across the sky since you're taking time exposure shots. The longer the exposure, the brighter the image, but it is critical that you have good tracking on your scope.

I hope this helps!


Edited by orion25
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Hi Mazzy!

I have a D3300, which is the same horse, different stall.

Like Reggie said, our DSLR's need longer exposures. Also, higher ISO settings help. Try ISO 1600, or ISO 3200.

I have often used my D3300 to do over night shoots for Time Lapse and Star Trails. Usual for me is ISO 1600 for those, Manual setting, and using an Intervalometer to control the shutter. Usually 25 seconds open, with 5 seconds for storage. Two frames a minute that way.

When I was beginning, I found my SD card was not fast enough to store the images. So now I only use the Extreme Pro SD cards. My D3300 is rated for a 64G card maximum. They are a bit pricey, but will store more than you want at a very fast rate. Check what the highest rated card is for your camera, then shop for that. :wink:

BTW,  When I tried imaging through my telescope I got very widefield images. The ring nebula was very tiny. If I didn't know what I was looking for I could have missed it. That's the bad news.

The good news is our DSLR's do take very nice wide images! 

Edited by SonnyE
After thought..
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On 16/08/2017 at 11:47, Mazzy said:

I am taking images through my telescope using an adapter with a telescope eyepiece inside.

If you're using a DSLR you shouldn't need the eyepiece... a T-ring (T2) adapter will fix your camera straight onto the focusser meaning you turn your scope into effectivly a giant camera lens.... take some test shots at different shutter speeds and ISO and see what works best for you.

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