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Please help me if you can - imaging star trails/metors with camera outside whilst sat indoors at pc?


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Hello and thankyou for any advice.  I would like to buy a camera, presumably with wifi, that I could set up in my garden, have it connected to my pc, and do 30second ish exposures or longer to capture star trails or meteors.  Have the results on my pc screen and control the camera remotely -  any advice if this is possible? - what do I need? and how to focus the camera to infinity if the focusing could be done remotely, I could take a picture, adjust focus till its correct?

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Wow, where to start.... and as Tomatobro asked, what's you budget.

If all you want is to capture star trails then a simple tripod, a camera that has exposure settings that offer 30s and 60s exposures along with manual operation.  Canon cameras have long been renowned for being the favorable astro imaging DSLR camera as their sensors have less noise and hot pixels than others.  They also have the ability to be controlled using a remote shutter control.  A wide angle lens will give you more sky coverage.  So you could stick the camera on the tripod, set the lense to focus at infinity, and then have a remote timer trigger the shutter to take as many pictures as you like and then process them the day after on your PC.    Most mid range DSLRs allow control of the camera via USB, so with a decent 5m active USB cable you can do all your imaging using applications such as APT or Backyard Eos.  These allow you to take individual frames, or you can set plans to take multiple exposures of  set length of the same target.  The results are shown in realtime on your PC screen once the exposure is complete.

Now if you want to be able to control the direction the camera is pointing, adjust the focus of any lens, and have the the set up track the target to counteract the Earth's rotation, and have any image taken appear on your PC screen in real time then you are looking at some specialist equipment that is going to set you back upwards of £1000 - £2000 as an entry point.  It also then borders on whether the set up is a computerised camera rig, or you go down the route of replacing the camera lens with a telescope and move into a full astronomy imaging rig...

 

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I do this all the time, I have a Canon 80D connected to my PC using EOS utilities over wi fi and can control all aspects of the camera and even microfocus the lens while watching the remote live view screen...

I plan to get a Skywatcher AZ GTI mount soon so I can the pan around the sky too all remotely of course.

Alan

Edited by Alien 13
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