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Hi all

I have had a look around for some help on where to start, all I have is a D3200 (Nik), a tripod and some IT expertise...

From a starting point of view, is it as simple as putting my camera on the tripod, hooking it up to the software and pushing some buttons? I don't have a TS currently so just basics to start and to get used to it all.

Any suggestions or videos to look at right from the beginning!

Thanks

Neo

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Hi Neo. It really depends what you want to get out of it all. If you want to do photography of the night sky through a camera then you'll also want what's called an "intervalometer" - pretty cheap but it's absolutely essential to long exposure photography which all astrophotography, bar lunar, will be. 

 

If you're unfamiliar with manual photography settings (mainly aperture, shutter speed/exposure, and ISO) then these should be high on the list for understanding how to get the best out of your equipment. What lenses do you have for your camera? Are there any dark sky sites or astronomy clubs near you that you could visit? The expertise of those at an astronomy club would be invaluable.

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Welcome to SGL!  here is a link to no nonsense basic SLR wide field astrophotography, and an inervalometer is a must. Maybe you may want to consider a small tracking mount for your SLR later like a Star Adventurer

for taking tighter, guided, shots of specific objects, theres much you can do just with an SLR as this video demonstrates.

 

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Thanks both, I have been using SLR for quite some time and seem 'ok' with how manual works (touch and go sometimes I admit).

I will check out the video to give me starting point, I was really after finding out if / what software can be used for usb cable control as well, are there any preference of software people like to use if anything?

I have a feeling my D3200 won't cut the butter when it comes to automation - I'm quite lucky to have my office next too my garden so running a cable being inside controlling everything seems more appealing!

Neo

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On the back of this, apart from the D3200 the lenses I own are:

Tamron AP 70-300
Nikon Standard 18-55
Nikon AF-S 35mm F/1.8G

Any suggestions what would be the best to tinker with? with no zoom on the prime not sure it will cut it, so perhaps the Tammy?

Edited by Neoburner

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Hi Neo,

It sounds like you have a very similar setup to mine. I have a D3100 and a D3400 with kit lenses, the Nikkor 35mm 1.8G and a Tamron 70-300 zoom. You should be able to use an intervalometer with your D3200. I picked up a cheap one from Amazon for £25 a couple of years ago and found it very handy. If you want to control your camera from a laptop instead, then DigiCamControl will handle things.

My preference is for the 35mm prime. It's only good for widefield, but it does better at collecting light compared to the others and gives sharp stars when stopped down to around 2.5 to 2.8. That said, it does suffer with some pincushion distortion which isn't usually noticable in normal photography, but does show with astrophotography and stacking. Sequator is probably the easiest stacking software for beginners, and it does have an option to correct the distortion.

It's not quite as simple as just putting a camera on a tripod and pushing some buttons, but if you are prepared to accept the limitations and you're happy with experimenting a bit then it can be done, and it's a good inexpensive introduction while you decide if astrophotography is for you

 

As an example of what can be done with that setup, this is Orion and the Rosette Nebula taken on a tripod. It's 60 subs of 9 seconds each with the D3100 and 35mm prime, at ISO1600 f2.8. Stacking was in Sequator and post processing in GIMP. I have some issues with light pollution at home, and there were a few subs with clouds in, so the edges are a bit messy. The Horsehead Nebula and Barnards Loop are just about visible, but the entry level Nikons are not capable of picking up the same range of wavelengths as the dedicated astrophotography cameras.

20181209-1-seq.thumb.jpg.b1130d3d30d641bda2c738d48c35a5a6.jpg

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