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Posted (edited)

Hello

So as the title suggests, I am looking for advice regarding modifying a DLSR for astrophotography.

At the time of writing, I am using an unmodified Nikon D700 which I am planing to keep as is. The camera I am thinking about modifying is a Nikon D70, that is sitting on the shelf for the last few years, and is not being used at all.

 

I have been reading about it, and do not have any better idea what to do, so I decided to just ask.

Could anyone give me some advice as to if it's worth it, what modifications I should do, etc.

 

My Gear: Orion Astrograph f/4 8", SkyWatcher NEQ6-pro, Nikon D700, QHY5 and finderscope for guiding, PHD2, N.I.N.A.

Edited by Zynch

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Thanks for the suggestion, but the site only offers modifications for Canon cameras.

What I forgot to mention is, that I would probably do it myself, if I can find the replacement filters, which is proving hard, since most companies only sell ones for Canon cameras.

I know that LifePixel sells different filters, but I am looking for something from EU if possible to avoid having to pay customs.

 

So to rephrase my question what I am more interested in is where I could get replacement filters and what filter I should get since there are multiple different ones.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Zynch

As you already have the D70 and want to do it yourself then may I suggest you read these two links ?

http://astrosurf.com/buil/d70/ircut.htm

https://www.lifepixel.com/tutorials/infrared-diy-tutorials/nikon-d70-d70s

Although the camera had a very good CCD ( Not CMOS ) chip, as used in a few OSC cameras, it was never popular as an Astro camera due to the in camera processing it did. As a result of that the main use it had as a converted camera was for IR. I think you won't find a replacement piece of glass anywhere, which hasn't changed much in the last 15 years since it was introduced ! I have used its sister camera ( D50 ) as an IR cameras and it's pretty good for its age.

Be advised that there will be some Amp glow and the focus won't be accurate with no cover glass, nor will it focus to infinity with camera lenses. The same thing applies to all makes of course.

Other than that, have fun,

Dave.

Edited by davew

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Davew thanks for the links, I took a look at them, they are nice manuals on how to do it.

Should I just go for full-spectrum modification by just removing the filter, or would buying a different one from LifePixel be a better idea (as far as I can tell they are the only one, that sells them) and if so which one.

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54 minutes ago, Zynch said:

Should I just go for full-spectrum modification by just removing the filter, or would buying a different one from LifePixel be a better idea (as far as I can tell they are the only one, that sells them) and if so which one.

If you go full spectrum then you'll still need an IR filter somewhere when you do Astrophotos. ( For Astro we use IR block not IR pass unless that's your thing ) I think the LifePixel photos show an IR pass ! Be careful.

Before you plan on LifePixel as a supplier, I suggest you contact them first and see if they still do a filter for this camera. 

Dave.

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50 minutes ago, davew said:

If you go full spectrum then you'll still need an IR filter somewhere when you do Astrophotos. ( For Astro we use IR block not IR pass unless that's your thing ) I think the LifePixel photos show an IR pass ! Be careful.

Before you plan on LifePixel as a supplier, I suggest you contact them first and see if they still do a filter for this camera. 

Dave.

I was thinking about that. I think I could put a 2" IR block on my coma (I think it is the SkyWatcher 0.9x Coma Corrector - bought used, so no idea)

But I will probably get a IR cut filter for the camera itself. I do plan to check if they still have filters for this camera, but I can add it to the cart on their website.

So since I will most likely get a filter from LifePixel, which one should I go for:

    1) Standard Infrared (720 nm)    2) Enhanced Infrared (665 nm)    3) Super Color Infrared (590 nm)    4) Super Blue Infrared (blue + IR)    5) Deep B&W Infrared (830 nm)

 

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Those sound like IR photography filters to me. Not astrophotography. Contact them and see what they say but be sure to tell them your photo intentions. 

Dave.

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7 minutes ago, davew said:

Those sound like IR photography filters to me. Not astrophotography. Contact them and see what they say but be sure to tell them your photo intentions. 

Dave.

Yeah they are meant for photography. I will contact them and see what they say.

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I just heard back from LifePixel. They said that only their full-spectrum modification would be applicable for astrophotography.

I have also been thinking about it, and I came up with this: If I do the full-spectrum, I presume I will have to use filters. So in the case of LRGB filters, the L one is usualy already a IR cut filter, and the others are bandpass filters, so that should not be a problem if my thought process is correct.

So is my idea good, or would I always need a IR cut filter.

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After thinking overnight and a chat with some people, I got the idea, that maybe I should just sell the D70 and get a Canon camera, since they work better and are not limited to 30 sec of exposure when controlled from PC and I can get the filters from EU for cheaper for them.

So any recommendations for a camera to modify now. I will try to find a used one if possible, but have no idea about Canon models.

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Posted (edited)

If you are going to buy a Canon camera and then modify it, why don't you just buy one already modified.

Cheapastrophotography sells them already modified and I think many people on here have used them.  I can't actually recommend a particular model though, as I tend to use an old model and stick with it as I mainly do Mono CCD imaging and only occasionally have a use for a DSLR. 

https://cheapastrophotography.vpweb.co.uk/

Carole 

Edited by carastro

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The reason to do it myself is mainly that it is cheaper.

And where is the fun in buying a already modified camera.

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If you're going to modify a Canon, and are attaching to a scope so not bothered about loss of autofocus, then you remove one filter and retain the IR cut filter. 

Canon 450D has LiveView and is about the cheapest camera suitable for imaging. 

600D has an articulated screen which saves backache on some scopes. 

700D and newer can suffer from "banding" on long exposures due to the positioning of lines of AF sensors in the imaging chip. 

Michael 

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Why are you modifying a DSLR at all? 

The one thing you don't use is the Reflex ability of the camera - you are not using the through-the-lens viewfinder.  You have a telescope for that.

If you use a mirrorless camera, you can get equivalent functionality with less weight and you can go for a full spectrum conversion and then fit a clip-in filter to protect the sensor.

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That's a rather misleading reply.

Yes, a Canon M would be great for long exposure imaging. 

Trouble is, AFAIK you can't tether it to a PC to take exposures longer than 30 secs, or to focus using a decent size screen.

Back Yard EOS and APT don't list any M camera as compatible.

So Intervalometer and save to SD card.

I'm not sure if Full Spectrum plus a Clip-In filter is any improvement on just taking out the Ha robbing filter and leaving the IR filter in place to protect the sensor and to retain Sensor Cleaning.

Michael

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Michael you just resolved a big thing for me.

The camera actually has two filters and not just one as I originaly thought, which means, I would not need a replacement filter (I was afraid of leaving the sensor bare) because I would still have the second filter to protect it, which makes the modification way easier.

15 hours ago, bryand said:

Why are you modifying a DSLR at all? 

The one thing you don't use is the Reflex ability of the camera - you are not using the through-the-lens viewfinder.  You have a telescope for that.

If you use a mirrorless camera, you can get equivalent functionality with less weight and you can go for a full spectrum conversion and then fit a clip-in filter to protect the sensor.

Again it's because of the price, I can get a DSLR for cheaper than a mirrorles.

Just to check that I did not misinterpret information I read online, I can use a Canon DSLR with PC control (I use NINA) for exposures over 30 sec?

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4 hours ago, Zynch said:

Just to check that I did not misinterpret information I read online, I can use a Canon DSLR with PC control (I use NINA) for exposures over 30 sec?

Very early Canon DSLR's (300D, 350D, 400D and 20D, 20Da, 30D, 5D) only download via the USB, you have to use a serial cable to the shutter socket to get over 30 sec exposures.

All others except  the M series Mirrorless cameras have full control over the USB.

Read the Gary Honis instructions:

http://dslrmodifications.com/rebelmod450d1.html

Michael

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Thank you for confirming that, and for the guide.

I will most likely get a Canon camera and remove the filter myself, as it will be the cheapest and easiest to do.

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