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Astrophotography with old gear


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Hey all!

I am new to forum, and I have a question surrounding my gear and astrophotography. I am using a nikon d5000 along with a tamron 70-300mm telephoto lens, and am attempting to photograph deep sky objects by taking a lot of exposures and stacking them in deep sky stacker. Being that Nikon d5000 is a pretty old camera, and has very limitted ISO range, I am having trouble capturing deep sky objects. I can capture them well at about an 8 second expsure (at full ISO of 6400 and opening up the aperture) however at this point star trails become visible  whenever I am closer than about 150mm of zoom. I know that most people take about 2s exposures when not using a star tracker, however this is not sufficient for my camera to capture the object. Any tips or ways to get around this problem without purchasing new gear?

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Sorry but you need a faster camera sensor, or a tracking mount. Both involve spending.
A tracking mount will give you more flexibility for the future.

Something like an EQ5 with RA motor will be a big improvement without too much spend and you can fit a telescope.
Keep an eye on the SGL sale section.
Generally kit on here is in good condition, or has an honest description of 'warts'. Unlike some 2nd hand sites.

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I would say that the camera sensor is the least important issue, people get good results even with 10 year old DSLRs.

The key is for improving deep sky image is to get enough light on the sensor.

You either need to expose it for longer (so you need a tracking mount like the EQ5 or the Star Adventurer)

or you can use a very fast lens, for example I have used 50mm F1.8 Yongnuo lens to get reasonably good images of extended objects e.g. the Pleiades, or whole constellations.

With 50mm you can achieve 5-6 second exposures on a fixed tripod without star trails which at F/1.8 means 10 times more light that at F/5.6 with the Tamron.

But at some stage if you are serious about photographing DSO a tracking mount is unavoidable, otherwise there is no way you will get a minute long exposure without star trailing. The faint DSO definitely require long exposures especially if you use filters to cut light pollution.

Edited by Nik271
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When we talk about equipment matters people always say it doesn't matter, so you should do a lot with what you already have then without buying anything else because it doesn't matter not even to a point.

Buy the lens 135mm such as Samyang 135mm Nikon mount and you can get something, use 5sec exposures and take lots of them, maybe hundreds or even thousands depends on the target you capture and the sky quality.

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The only limit to anything is how creative and how well at problem solving you are.  At the moment, I've an EQ mount on order but my other one, it's one of the lowest bits of tech there is for a mount, two bits of wood, a door hinge, a few bolts and metal rods; also cost me about 15€ over what I had already to stick together.  One of the things I've found with looking up, half of the enjoyment/bedevilment (delete as applicable) is learning things and solving problems; and them solutions don't have to be expensive.

Here's a few links (same ones as I used) to get you started, and then if the bug bites you more, then after that it's up to you how you go.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_door_tracker

https://blarg.co.uk/astronomy/barn-door-tracker-calculator

https://partofthething.com/thoughts/making-a-cheap-and-simple-barn-door-star-tracker-with-software-tangent-correction-for-astrophotography/

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1 hour ago, BCN_Sean said:

The only limit to anything is how creative and how well at problem solving you are.  At the moment, I've an EQ mount on order but my other one, it's one of the lowest bits of tech there is for a mount, two bits of wood, a door hinge, a few bolts and metal rods; also cost me about 15€ over what I had already to stick together.  One of the things I've found with looking up, half of the enjoyment/bedevilment (delete as applicable) is learning things and solving problems; and them solutions don't have to be expensive.

Here's a few links (same ones as I used) to get you started, and then if the bug bites you more, then after that it's up to you how you go.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_door_tracker

https://blarg.co.uk/astronomy/barn-door-tracker-calculator

https://partofthething.com/thoughts/making-a-cheap-and-simple-barn-door-star-tracker-with-software-tangent-correction-for-astrophotography/

Thank you very much for that, but i will never go that route, first i never have any access to materials and machinery, and second those materials raw or others aren't very cheap here in my country, and at the end i won't saving big amount anyway and worse thing is i waste very long time to make one and still it is not that much reliable, so i better not start it to stop in the middle or even finish it after long time and then i stop astrophotography itself after that.

I don't mind if someone can do that for me and i pay him and it is cheaper, i prefer someone keep and skilled and have everything to make better than me, i have a nice mount already now, making another one to outperform it will be like a mission impossible to me, i am not in any situation now for buying materials and make the product by myself, i actually failed to make one simple tube to make something like 12" Newtonian or 14" Newtonian or even 12"-16" dobsonian.

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Hey all! 

Thanks so much for all of the responses! I agree with all of you that I am aware that the possibilities of astrophotography are pretty limited with what I have. However I also agree with you guys that I should further explore what I can do with what I have before getting more gear, as by taking lots of exposure and stacking, and things I should get better results. Thanks again for all the reply's!

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