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Hi all, 

I got my first scope recently and spend basically every night, where the sky was not full of clouds, outside to get a grip on the basics like polar alignment, plate solving etc. And I can tell you it was not always fun and I have the theory now that astronomy stuff is only that expensive to prevent people to kick there telescopes when frustrated  :)

But as with all things practice makes perfect. I am finally able to get myself aligned properly platesolve my to wherever I need to be and get my target centered. 

Now I am shooting with an unmodified Canon 60d. And the quality of the images feels horrible. I looked up what it would cost to get it modified and it would land around 350-400€ 

Now I am wondering if its worth getting the camera modified or if I can invest 600-700 into a color ccd and be better off? 

I know that in the end I will want a mono color ccd with filterwheel but given the fact that I just started out with this and mono takes a lot more time and adds complexity like how much exposure per color etc I am not sure if this would be a good point to start with. 

So what do you think as seasoned experts? Mod the dslr go for cheapish color ccd or wait a bit get whatever I can out of my unmodded dslr and go straight for mono filter wheel etc? 

Thanks in advance. 

Ps gear is in the signature 

 

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Hi,

If you look around the forum you will see a lot of people produce spectacular images with unmodded cameras so my first instinct is that it’s less to do with the camera and more to do with something else. What that something else may be is hard to say without seeing any of your images. Right now I feel chasing better image quality by modding or going OSC CCD/ CMOS this early will likely frustrate you further and waste a lot of money in the process!

 

If you have decided you ultimately want to shoot mono then my advice would be stick to your 60D at the moment.  Post images, get feedback and when you know you’ve reached the limit of what your camera can give you make the jump to Mono CMOS/ CCD. 

 

Chris

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Posted (edited)

Hi.

I was in a very similar position to you three years ago (ED80 + Canon 70D) experiencing exactly the same feelings with what I considered to be disappointing images (except Andromeda which looked great!). Modding the 70D was never going to be an option for me; I also use the 70D a lot for everyday photography and really didn't like finding it covered in dew after a night of imaging.

I opted for the Atik414 osc and it transofrmed my imaging and gave me lots of pleasure to use. OSCs seem to be derided by many but they have their place and I still use mine for the ocassional astro session when I use the ED80 to which it is permanently attached and 'ready to go'.

I eventually progressed(?) / moved on to an Atik428ex mono and now a ZWO1600MM-Pro Cooled but I learnt so much from the osc. Have to say most of the time I now use the ASI1600 with either a Samyang 135mm or a WO-ZS71 but that is largely because my interest shifted from imaging galaxies to narrow band imaging of nebula.

Good luck!

Edited by Adreneline
Clarification

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Posted (edited)

You can get your camera modified much cheaper than what you have quoted

Camera modification: £55
Paypal payment fee + postage (Royal Mail Insured Next Day Special Delivery) = £19.75
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Total: £74.75
 
If you require a Baader filter replacement, £60 must be added to the final price.

https://www.cheapastrophotography.com/Customer-Modification-Service.html

Personally, I would "cut your teeth" on your Modified DSLR camera since you already have the camera and get plenty of practice, and then when you feel ready go straight for a Mono camera and filters.

Worked for me. 

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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I think you'd be much better off persevering with the DSLR, Once you go CCD Astro camera you need to introduce a laptop computer with capture software etc !!

I have been in this hobby for a number of years now and believe me, it took a lot of trial and effort before I saw some decent images. You should really get to know your gear

back to front, and concentrate on things like precise polar alignment etc, the rest will come with practice 😉

I still use a Canon 700d Un-Modded and I'm about to purchase a 5d full frame, I like the simplicity of the DSLR and I too am considering getting it Modded !!

I'll attach a picture I've taken with my modest setup, it's not the best I have seen but it's pretty good for the gear I'm using !!

Canon 700d + Star Adventurer + Sharpstar ED72 Scope 

Cheers Ivan

Eta Carinae Nebula 2019 Sharpstar.jpg

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A modded DSLR can give some really good results and,in my opinion, is less fuss to use when you are first starting out on imaging. It's amazing what post processing can achieve.

Peter

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@Icesheet yeah maybe you are right I can be a bit impatient if stuff does not work out. I am used to learn new things relatively quick and if it does not work out one is quick to blame technology instead of his own mistakes :)

@carastro I have not checked outside country services since I am reluctant to ship my camera abroad and Switzerland is not the cheapest place in the world :)

@Ivan Hancock really nice picture I wish I could get a shot like this. But it gives me hope seeing that is possible with unmodded dslr 

@Adreneline thanks for sharing. I think the asi 1600 will be my choice too but for now I can't spend that much again without getting in trouble with the wife :)

Thanks for all your input. I think I will be patient for the moment stick with my dslr unmodded and practice. Also share some pictures In The forum to get some feedback and help on what I can improve

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I would say that if you are really interesting in the hobby and have the funds then go straight for a mono ccd. Having moved from a dslr to ccd I found that using the ccd was a totally new experience and felt like I was starting again in may ways.

My experience with the dslr helped with setting up the mount, tracking and processing images to some extent. 

 

 

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On 08/07/2019 at 08:35, Icesheet said:

If you have decided you ultimately want to shoot mono then my advice would be stick to your 60D at the moment.  Post images, get feedback and when you know you’ve reached the limit of what your camera can give you make the jump to Mono CMOS/ CCD.

I would agree with this. You say the quality of your images "feels horrible", but this could be down to any number of things, including your post-processing and no amount of new camera would solve that.

A copy of this book is worth getting. Tons of good advice from someone who actually does imaging. Posting images will enable more informed feedback/advice.

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On 08/07/2019 at 09:45, carastro said:

You can get your camera modified much cheaper than what you have quoted

Camera modification: £55
Paypal payment fee + postage (Royal Mail Insured Next Day Special Delivery) = £19.75
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Total: £74.75
 
If you require a Baader filter replacement, £60 must be added to the final price.

https://www.cheapastrophotography.com/Customer-Modification-Service.html

Personally, I would "cut your teeth" on your Modified DSLR camera since you already have the camera and get plenty of practice, and then when you feel ready go straight for a Mono camera and filters.

Worked for me. 

Carole 

Exactly the route I've travelled.  Jumping straight into mono astro camera with a filter wheel is possibly too much to take on.  You will learn so much with just the DSLR.

John

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Being a modded DSLR imager and getting some results that I'm happy with, I recommend that you mod your DSLR and get to know AP with it before hand, especially when you're planning on going mono... buying a OSC camera as a stop gap seems like a waste... 

But I wouldn't mod a camera for the price you have quoted.. I modded my DSLR myself and I'll tell you that the job is not worth 300+ pound.... if you don't want to mod it yourself, than there are services that are 1/10th of that price like quoted by @carastro...

Later when you go mono, you can always use the DSLR for your color data, and use the mono as luma for detail.. that will cut your imaging time substantially not needing to expose RGB individually...

 

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I'm going to argue the other way but first let's get one thing sorted out: monochrome CCD with filters is faster than both one shot colour CCD and DSLR imaging. I did this image of the Heart nebula in only two hours and processed it quickly and simply. Each colour had 20 minutes and the H alpha had 1 hour.

spacer.png

This compares with the same equipment on the same target done 'properly' with well over 20 hours of data and complex processing:

spacer.png

I do not believe any one shot colour camera in an F5 system could match the first image in 2 hours.

In this case the speed in the first image came from the use of the Ha filter but it can also come from the luminance filter which is at least three times faster than a colour-filtered image whether that's from OSC or RGB filters. (OSC and RGB are pretty much equivalent.)

Personally I think that using the right tool for the job is always easier than using a multi-purpose tool or the wrong tool. I went straight into astrophotography with a mono CCD and almost no computing skills at all. It is often argued and assumed that you should go via DSLR into CCD but I don't agree with this. A number of people whom I've taught on my courses have said that they found DSLR to be a blind alley. Their words, not mine.

The big argument against CCD was cost, which is fair enough, but there are now dedicated and cooled CMOS cameras which are far cheaper than CCD and in my view they have introduced an exciting mid-cost alternative.

Olly

 

 

 

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Quote

@carastro I have not checked outside country services since I am reluctant to ship my camera abroad and Switzerland is not the cheapest place in the world :)

Ah, did not notice your location.

Yes I agree, get some practice with the camera you have and save up for a mono camera and filters.   Early images are not going to be fantastic anyway they require practice, and experience, so just use this time as a learning time.

If you did decide to get your camera modified, I still occasionally use mine for instance, Lunar eclipse, comets, Milky way, holiday travel with a mini mount when you can't take the full rig with you.

Carole 

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6 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

I'm going to argue the other way but first let's get one thing sorted out: monochrome CCD with filters is faster than both one shot colour CCD and DSLR imaging. I did this image of the Heart nebula in only two hours and processed it quickly and simply. Each colour had 20 minutes and the H alpha had 1 hour.

spacer.png

This compares with the same equipment on the same target done 'properly' with well over 20 hours of data and complex processing:

spacer.png

I do not believe any one shot colour camera in an F5 system could match the first image in 2 hours.

In this case the speed in the first image came from the use of the Ha filter but it can also come from the luminance filter which is at least three times faster than a colour-filtered image whether that's from OSC or RGB filters. (OSC and RGB are pretty much equivalent.)

Personally I think that using the right tool for the job is always easier than using a multi-purpose tool or the wrong tool. I went straight into astrophotography with a mono CCD and almost no computing skills at all. It is often argued and assumed that you should go via DSLR into CCD but I don't agree with this. A number of people whom I've taught on my courses have said that they found DSLR to be a blind alley. Their words, not mine.

The big argument against CCD was cost, which is fair enough, but there are now dedicated and cooled CMOS cameras which are far cheaper than CCD and in my view they have introduced an exciting mid-cost alternative.

Olly

 

 

 

Love it when people go against the flow :) I have to say it's quite convincing just a quick question if I may. With the first picture if you needed to improve on it would you increase time on rgb or spend more time on luminance or h Alpha? Is there a sound ratio to colour and luminance that you follow? 

Thanks

Gerry

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gerry Casa Christiana said:

Love it when people go against the flow :) I have to say it's quite convincing just a quick question if I may. With the first picture if you needed to improve on it would you increase time on rgb or spend more time on luminance or h Alpha? Is there a sound ratio to colour and luminance that you follow? 

Thanks

Gerry

I might add luminance or simply more RGB as a first step.

The colour to luminance ratio which I use depends very much on the target. If we are trying to capture faint dusty or other broadband signal it's the luminance which will find it so I'l shoot lots more luminance than colour, as in this example. https://www.astrobin.com/335042/?nc=user  The luminance found the difficult tidal tail. However, this makes the processing harder because you need various techniques to stop the luminance bleaching out all the colour. If keeping the star sizes down in a nebula shot is the priority then I might shoot no luminance at all and use the RGB as a vehicle to carry OIII and Ha and give naturally coloured small stars. There's no one answer but the great thing is that the mono camera gives you the flexibility to choose your approach.

The easiest processing comes from equal amounts of L and R and G and B.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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7 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

you need various techniques to stop the luminance bleaching out all the colour.

Olly,

Are these techniques likely to be covered in the various tutorials on LRGB processing or is it something different?

Thanks

John

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

I might add luminance or simply more RGB as a first step.

The colour to luminance ratio which I use depends very much on the target. If we are trying to capture faint dusty or other broadband signal it's the luminance which will find it so I'l shoot lots more luminance than colour, as in this example. https://www.astrobin.com/335042/?nc=user  The luminance found the difficult tidal tail. However, this makes the processing harder because you need various techniques to stop the luminance bleaching out all the colour. If keeping the star sizes down in a nebula shot is the priority then I might shoot no luminance at all and use the RGB as a vehicle to carry OIII and Ha and give naturally coloured small stars. There's no one answer but the great thing is that the mono camera gives you the flexibility to choose your approach.

The easiest processing comes from equal amounts of L and R and G and B.

Olly

I'm still on dslr and if price is no option God willing I would probably go mono there is still a temptation there to go one shot though. So even if you don't have a permanent setup you would say it's still faster? So using Ha on red and Oiii on blue and normal green for improving star colour and size? Learning a lot 

Thanks

Edited by Gerry Casa Christiana

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1 hour ago, Starwiz said:

Olly,

Are these techniques likely to be covered in the various tutorials on LRGB processing or is it something different?

Thanks

John

There must be tutorials out there on how to do it. I think I first came across this technique from Rob Gendler. The main thing with a very strong L layer is not to add it all at once. In Ps you can add it at only a low opacity as a top layer in blend mode luminosity, boost the saturation of the bottom RGB layer, blur the L layer, flatten and repeat. This adds the L a little at a time and boosts the colour saturation as you go. On the final iteration of adding the luminance you don't blur it and all the fine detail will be restored.

Olly

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23 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

There must be tutorials out there on how to do it. I think I first came across this technique from Rob Gendler. The main thing with a very strong L layer is not to add it all at once. In Ps you can add it at only a low opacity as a top layer in blend mode luminosity, boost the saturation of the bottom RGB layer, blur the L layer, flatten and repeat. This adds the L a little at a time and boosts the colour saturation as you go. On the final iteration of adding the luminance you don't blur it and all the fine detail will be restored.

Olly

Thanks Olly.

John

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Hi all, 

It's a while ago since I started this thread lots of work and then holidays. But I thought I leave an update for anyone else struggling. 

Reading the answers I felt that I wrongly blamed the equipment and should listen to the ancient wisdom of computer science that says. 95% of all issues are between monitor and chair :)

So I went back to reading to see what I  not doing right. Turns out Bias flat and dark frames have a huuuuuge impact on the quality of the stacked image. 

Did a couple of darks before but never bothered to do flats and bias since I read somewhere it just makes it easier in post if you add them. 

Now I know that is a massive understatement if not completely wrong. Before I ended up with a mess after doing some stretching and it took me hours and hours just to get a picture that does not totally suck. But it still was not pretty

Below the pictures of M31 first with just a stretch second with a bit more processing. Still need to work on processing but I am very happy with the outcome 

Thanks to all of you and for everybody else who starts this hobby and gets frustrated. Don't give up there is a lot to learn but it pays off in the end 

 

IMG_20190827_040959_741.thumb.jpg.19edb682334266b591b1ea261808cc5d.jpgIMG_20190828_003200_442.thumb.jpg.21b84bf80a6535e0eefe5f0b15c8fb4a.jpg

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On 28/08/2019 at 16:34, LordLoki said:

Hi all, 

It's a while ago since I started this thread lots of work and then holidays. But I thought I leave an update for anyone else struggling. 

Reading the answers I felt that I wrongly blamed the equipment and should listen to the ancient wisdom of computer science that says. 95% of all issues are between monitor and chair :)

So I went back to reading to see what I  not doing right. Turns out Bias flat and dark frames have a huuuuuge impact on the quality of the stacked image. 

Did a couple of darks before but never bothered to do flats and bias since I read somewhere it just makes it easier in post if you add them. 

Now I know that is a massive understatement if not completely wrong. Before I ended up with a mess after doing some stretching and it took me hours and hours just to get a picture that does not totally suck. But it still was not pretty

Below the pictures of M31 first with just a stretch second with a bit more processing. Still need to work on processing but I am very happy with the outcome 

Thanks to all of you and for everybody else who starts this hobby and gets frustrated. Don't give up there is a lot to learn but it pays off in the end 

 

IMG_20190827_040959_741.thumb.jpg.19edb682334266b591b1ea261808cc5d.jpgIMG_20190828_003200_442.thumb.jpg.21b84bf80a6535e0eefe5f0b15c8fb4a.jpg

Well done!  It looks better than my first M31.

John

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23 hours ago, Starwiz said:

Well done!  It looks better than my first M31.

John

Thanks I am flattered. I saw a picture of the horse head nebula you have done in another thread and that's one of my favorite shots 

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