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qisback

Kit improvement / usage advice

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qisback    1

Hi All,

As per my welcome thread, I'm rather new at Astro photography but not to photography in general as I've been taking photographs of a ether bands for a while.

As this is a rather new area I've pretty much visited the forums to get general comparisons and advice as well as dedicated photography forums, I'd appreciate if anyone could give me some pointers on the initial kit I have and if there is any way I could improve it or even use it more affectivly.

My main aim is for this to be a "mobile" setup which is currently ~21KG mainly due to camera kit weight and tripod.

I have a D7200 camera completely stock
70-300mm Nikon Lens (which is 105-450 equivalent on the D7200 body) - I'm intending on using this for deeper field photos
11-20mm Tokina Lens (which is APC-C so Nikon DX size)

I bought a star adventurer Astro kit (after taking the first 2 back as they came up with the flashing button error code), I did mount this on a carbon fibre travel tripod and found that it wasn't solid enough so purchased a Manfrotto 055XPro3 which is very heavy in comparison but very solid (for a "cheap" camera tripod).

On the advise of a mate who is seriously into his Astro photography I "Blindly"  (when I say blindly I mean without serious research) purchased a QHY Polemaster which I have to say I've really impressed with.

I bought a few 5M USB cables and a 5M active USB hub with a USB power adapter which hooks into a Anker 28600mAh battery.

I have a Lenovo T440 with spare batteries (manly because I can swap the battery in the field as they have an internal one too!

I'm currenty running a trail version of Backyard Nikon, however intend to purchase it.

 

If you haven't read my introduction thread yet, then I'm just about to travel to Crete which pretty much inspired my step into Astro photography so any last minute amendments welcome.

 

I'm sure at some point I will need to start a "I'm hooked, now what?" thread.

 

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Edited by qisback
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geordie85    360

It seems like you've got everything sorted. My advice would be to thoroughly test it out at home. 

Practice polar alignment, check that swapping batteries won't affect imaging whilst taking exposures. Test it's tracking over several hours. Test your lens to ensure there's no slippage on your focus. Check your lens in low temperatures to make sure dew won't be a problem. Practice taking flat frames. 

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kendg    176

Looks good. Unfortunately I think you are already hooked so good luck. :hello:

Best advice is above. Practice, practice, practice. 

I think you will find that the shorter lenses may work better so start with them and see how long of exposures you can get. You'll get experience with your kit and better chance of good results.

Once you get real comfortable, go longer.

1 small hint. Pay attention to the N/S switch. Get it wrong and you get really great star trails. :happy8: 

One additional item you might want to consider is an intervalometer.  Got mine on Amazon and it was pretty reasonable for a Neweer one. Make sure it uses AAA batteries and not the button batteries. They last a lot longer.

One last bit of advice, your hooked so enjoy the ride.

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qisback    1
7 hours ago, kendg said:

One additional item you might want to consider is an intervalometer.  Got mine on Amazon and it was pretty reasonable for a Neweer one. Make sure it uses AAA batteries and not the button batteries. They last a lot longer.

So intend to use backyard Nikon or qDSLR to act as a remote intervalometer either over cable or WiFi, is there any reason to use a dedicated one?

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

Edited by qisback

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ronin    3,670

What AP do you intend to do?

A DSLR and lens will do wide field, when Orion gets into the sky at a more sociable time and M42 is visible you are going to need more then a lens to obtain suitable images of it.

The one aspect of AP I have found is that there are at least 3 distinct areas.

Planetary imaging is generaly a Mak or SCT, a 2x barlow and a webcam to get a video.

Wide field where you can use a DSLR and lens on a mount as you have purchased.

AP such as many see is a camera, DSRL modified, or better mono AP camera (cooled?), and a suitable scope all on a fairly solid goto equitorial mount.

My usual concern is a bit like "binoculars or scope" when actually you will eventually get and use both, but spending on binoculars will delay the scope purchase. Have you bought the Star Adventurer kit when you want the results of the dedicated scope, camera and goto equitorial.

 

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kendg    176
6 hours ago, qisback said:

So intend to use backyard Nikon or qDSLR to act as a remote intervalometer either over cable or WiFi, is there any reason to use a dedicated one?

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

It's one of those "just in case" insurance policies. I've had to use mine a few times when my laptop had issues.

It's also great for doing things like HDR moonrise shots.

Something like this isn't too bad a price.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruili-Shutter-Release-Remote-Camera/dp/B01IF3UYH2/ref=pd_vtph_421_bs_tr_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=NQ52W1ND96R3V2WHD45S

 

Edited by kendg

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qisback    1
9 hours ago, ronin said:

What AP do you intend to do?

A DSLR and lens will do wide field, when Orion gets into the sky at a more sociable time and M42 is visible you are going to need more then a lens to obtain suitable images of it.

The one aspect of AP I have found is that there are at least 3 distinct areas.

Planetary imaging is generaly a Mak or SCT, a 2x barlow and a webcam to get a video.

Wide field where you can use a DSLR and lens on a mount as you have purchased.

AP such as many see is a camera, DSRL modified, or better mono AP camera (cooled?), and a suitable scope all on a fairly solid goto equitorial mount.

My usual concern is a bit like "binoculars or scope" when actually you will eventually get and use both, but spending on binoculars will delay the scope purchase. Have you bought the Star Adventurer kit when you want the results of the dedicated scope, camera and goto equitorial.

 

Thanks for your insight, so currently my main goal is to work out my goal, if that makes sense.

I think my main interest it in nebulas using a scope with a ccd or DSLR on an eq mount (I'm a bit of a techy so it'll all be computerised ofc), I have a friend on these forums who is helping me alot with the required kit; I just need a mount and I'm looking at/for a heq5pro. This should give me a good starter setup which if I find I'm not enjoying the cold nights and endless hours of setup then hopefully no harm done. There is also the fact that this could get very expensive very quick if I get the astro bug.

This kit is specifically for traveling and trying to use what I currently have to hand. I understand that it is more wide field and this does also interest me, from what I've been reading it's also all about practice.

Please tell me that seems a reasonably sensible approach?

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kendg    176

I think your approach is reasonable. Go with what you've got and push it to it's limits. Then you'll have a much better idea as to your next steps.

I think you also realize that the most important part of AP will be the mount so the HEQ5 or better is a reasonable starting point. As always, more is better when it comes to the mount. It will also work just fine with a DSLR and lenses until you make your next decision on the scope (or scopes) you want based on your interests.

 

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qisback    1
4 hours ago, kendg said:

It's one of those "just in case" insurance policies. I've had to use mine a few times when my laptop had issues.

It's also great for doing things like HDR moonrise shots.

Something like this isn't too bad a price.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruili-Shutter-Release-Remote-Camera/dp/B01IF3UYH2/ref=pd_vtph_421_bs_tr_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=NQ52W1ND96R3V2WHD45S

 

For a whole £13 I suppose it's not exactly going to break the bank to keep it on me just in case (breaking the bank comes when I get hooked). It would also save on battery as I'd normally use qDSLR for that if I didn't have my laptop which drains phone and camera battery using WiFi.

Thanks for the heads up, I'd hate to have ruined a night because the laptop is playing silly games.

 

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qisback    1

So guess what happened tonight? Laptop played silly games. I didn't realise the trial version on backyard Nikon required an internet connection, maybe it says somewhere? But I didn't see it. I fully intended in buying it anyway however why buy sooner than required? Because the trial very needs internet connectivity that's why! Heh!

So thankfully I had the mobile with qDSLR to so got a timed shooting session however I now fully understand and appreciate @kendg's advice, if I hadn't had my phone.....ruined night.....

Just so you know I wandered upto the Crete observatory and tapped on the door to ask for a tour, they were busy with work but said I could have a tour during the week, next time my kit will be ready!

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