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Astrid

Astrophotography camera

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Hello!

I need help in choosing an astrophotography camera. I don't know how much I need to invest for a good begginer one though. My current budget is 150 pounds... I know, not a lot, but I already spent 600 pounds for my telescope (I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just got a SW 200/1000 EQ5 and oh my God I just cannot wait for it to arrive arghh!!). 

I was thinking about getting a webcam first... but I would like to start with a DSLR (I really like the Canon 4000D or 2000D and it fits my budget). 

Are those 2 any good? Or should I rather get a webcam and save money for a more expensive DSLR like the 800D (that costs almost as much as my telescope =)) )? And if so, any good webcams that I can get purely for AP?

Edit: forgot to mention that I would like to do both deep sky and planets astrophotography...

 

Any help is appreciated! Thank you a lot and clear skies!

Edited by Astrid

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Which 200P did you get  ? the 200PDS is designed for photography having slightly shorter tube than the 200P.

You probably have to get a second hand DSLR for that sort of money but nothing earlier than  a Canon 450d

Dave

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Definitely look second hand for a DSLR in that price range. One camera for both AP and DSOs is a tricky call; you may do better to specialise initially. DSOs are by far the more challenging as ideally you want a cooled sensor so are in to specialist cameras (~£400 second-hand, £700+ new, and up from there); planetary targets are much brighter so don't need a cooled sensor or such high sensitivity.

You could look at things like the ZWO ASI120MC or 294 - these are fine for planetary (less good than a DSLR for resolution, but with faster refresh rates for lucky imaging) and can be repurposed as a guide camera if you want to transition to DSOs (and for most DSOs, guiding becomes a requirement pretty quickly).

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12 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

Which 200P did you get  ? the 200PDS is designed for photography having slightly shorter tube than the 200P.

You probably have to get a second hand DSLR for that sort of money but nothing earlier than  a Canon 450d

Dave

200P, not the PDS version.

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2 minutes ago, discardedastro said:

Definitely look second hand for a DSLR in that price range. One camera for both AP and DSOs is a tricky call; you may do better to specialise initially. DSOs are by far the more challenging as ideally you want a cooled sensor so are in to specialist cameras (~£400 second-hand, £700+ new, and up from there); planetary targets are much brighter so don't need a cooled sensor or such high sensitivity.

You could look at things like the ZWO ASI120MC or 294 - these are fine for planetary (less good than a DSLR for resolution, but with faster refresh rates for lucky imaging) and can be repurposed as a guide camera if you want to transition to DSOs (and for most DSOs, guiding becomes a requirement pretty quickly).

Yeah, I know... I'll definitely get a RA motor ... I just wanted to get a sense of the actual equatorial mount first. Thanks for the ZWO ASI120MC tip! It looks very nice. 

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Just now, Astrid said:

200P, not the PDS version.

People have problems reaching camera focus with the 200P, where did you buy it from, did they not give you any advice ?

Is it too late to change your order ? I think the 200PDS  is about 50 GBP more.

Dave

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6 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

People have problems reaching camera focus with the 200P, where did you buy it from, did they not give you any advice ?

Is it too late to change your order ? I think the 200PDS  is about 50 GBP more.

Dave

Oh... I bought it from a local retailer here in my country.

I already have the receipt :/, they told me something about the 150PDS. (I just looked on their site and they don't sell the 200PDS version... strange). 

I really hope I won't have problems with reaching camera focus... is there any way to fix it if it will happen? I'm hoping for the best...

Thank you.

Edit: I've found the PDS version of the 200P. It doesn't really contain a lot of information about it though. 

Edited by Astrid

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If its not too late, ask if you can exchange the 200P for the 150PDS. The 200 is a beast of a scope and the 150 will be much more manageable on an EQ5 mount.

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Just now, david_taurus83 said:

If its not too late, ask if you can exchange the 200P for the 150PDS. The 200 is a beast of a scope and the 150 will be much more manageable on an EQ5 mount.

I don't know... I would prefer a bigger aperture. I think it is too late though.

Daaamn this suckss 

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Just now, Astrid said:

I don't know... I would prefer a bigger aperture. I think it is too late though.

Daaamn this suckss 

People take great pics with little 50mm refractors. You dont need a 200mm mirror to start off with. I'd even recommend starting off with a 130PDS.

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This from the First Light Optics site

Dave

The new Sky-Watcher Explorer-200P DS has the same superb parabolic primary mirror as the Explorer-200P but features a 1.25"/2" Dual-Speed 10:1 ratio focuser for enhanced focus control and a shorter tube length with the secondary mirror positioned closer to the primary mirror for more convenient prime-focus photography. 

 

 

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To be devil's advocate - the 200P will probably work. It just may be a bit more challenging to work with. You can't easily "convert" between them, but if you have it, it'll certainly do fine for starters. It may just restrict you later down the line because of the limited backfocus - meaning that the camera will have to be close to the tube of the telescope, you won't be able to put much kit like filter wheels in the way. On the 200PDS, to get focus with a regular eyepiece a quite chunky extension tube is needed (2.5" or so if memory serves); when imaging you can take up almost all of this with extra optical bits like a filter wheel or coma corrector. In the 200P, the prime focus point is much closer to the body of the telescope, so as long as you're just putting a camera in without too great a flange-to-sensor distance, odds are good.

So if exchanging it wouldn't be an option, don't despair! It's also a great scope for visual use should you ever want to upgrade the imaging rig later.

 

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Perhaps there’s something I’m missing here but I’ve been using a DSLR with a 200P for years with absolutely no problem whatsoever reaching focus. Have they changed the design since I bought mine 9 years ago to prevent it being used for astrophotography? 

PS I’ve just checked the invoice ... I’ve had the telescope for 11 years! .... Mine is the Explorer 200P. I don’t know if that makes a difference. 

Edited by Ouroboros

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15 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

Perhaps there’s something I’m missing here but I’ve been using a DSLR with a 200P for years with absolutely no problem whatsoever reaching focus. Have they changed the design since I bought mine 9 years ago to prevent it being used fir astrophotography? 

Me neither

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1 hour ago, Ouroboros said:

Perhaps there’s something I’m missing here but I’ve been using a DSLR with a 200P for years with absolutely no problem whatsoever reaching focus

May be more to do with CCD setups

Dave

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4 hours ago, Astrid said:

Hello!

I need help in choosing an astrophotography camera. I don't know how much I need to invest for a good begginer one though. My current budget is 150 pounds... I know, not a lot, but I already spent 600 pounds for my telescope (I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just got a SW 200/1000 EQ5 and oh my God I just cannot wait for it to arrive arghh!!). 

I was thinking about getting a webcam first... but I would like to start with a DSLR (I really like the Canon 4000D or 2000D and it fits my budget). 

Are those 2 any good? Or should I rather get a webcam and save money for a more expensive DSLR like the 800D (that costs almost as much as my telescope =)) )? And if so, any good webcams that I can get purely for AP?

Edit: forgot to mention that I would like to do both deep sky and planets astrophotography...

 

Any help is appreciated! Thank you a lot and clear skies!

For the budget, you're going to need to choose either deep sky or planets. There's plenty of choice for planetary cams (and they can double as a guide cam for later) but for DSO you're basically looking at second hand DSLRs. You can get probably a second hand astromodded DSLR like a Canon 450D for £150 or less, or slightly newer model that's not modded. 

Whilst the advice to use a cooled cam isn't bad advice, that's going to cost you as much you've spent already or more, and there are plenty of good images taken with uncooled DSLRs.

Worth pointing out that the 200P is going to be very heavy to use with the EQ5 for imagine DSOs. Based on this alone, I'd probably suggest you start with planetary.

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I’m well-aware of the 10 or 12 kg EQ5 limit, but it should be fine since I’m planning on doing AP in a place with little to no wind. So i’ll try to load the mount as little as possible. 
Thanks for the advice everyone! I’m glad that there are people using the 200P with no problems. 

 

The ZWO ASI 120 MC-S (perhaps the cheapest ZWO I could find) seems cool, but as I read it is not really recommend for DSO. So I think I’ll stick to a DSLR. Whatsoever, I’m hoping to find a DSLR at a good price on Black Friday. But may I ask, are 2000D and 4000D good for AP? From your experience, is there a significant performance difference between those cheaper ones and a 200D, 800D, etc? 

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As above, I also did not have a problem achieving focus with my Canon 200D DSLR connected directly to the 200p telescope.

Edited by Chefgage

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If also looking to do planets with a DSLR then video crop mode support I gather is useful. If buying second hand then the canon 550d I gather can do video crop mode, i have no idea on the cameras you mention or whether they can but only through EOS Utilities.

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I've been using 200p for some years now.

It was fidgety getting exact focus with standard focuser.

After changing to dual speed focuser things are great.

I use it happily with DSLR or QHY8L ccd cameras.

Hth

 

Stu

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5 hours ago, Astrid said:

I’m well-aware of the 10 or 12 kg EQ5 limit, but it should be fine since I’m planning on doing AP in a place with little to no wind. So i’ll try to load the mount as little as possible. 
Thanks for the advice everyone! I’m glad that there are people using the 200P with no problems. 

The issue is that weight limit is for visual observation. The recommendation for imaging is only 6Kg. I started to run in to issues with 7Kg when imaging on my EQ5, and was often limited to shorter exposures.

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Update: 

I decided on getting the Canon 2000D. It looks like the best option for me right now, speaking about both performance and price. I will wait a bit though to catch a better price on black friday. 

The only concern I would have is the reaching focus thing. I'm hoping that I'll be able to reach focus with my SW 200P and Canon 2000D. *it's not like I believe in pseudoscience or anything, but 2 is my lucky number ;)*

Thanks a lot to everyone that helped! 

Edited by Astrid
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