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Help an enthusiastic beginner to decide between these DSLRs


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Hi everyone!

After a year with my bridge camera, I decided I want to get serious with astrophotography. Before and still, I use a Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ10002 camera for this type of photography, since I don't own a DSLR. Using this camera is tough, since it wasn't made for this in mind. But I want to learn more, and I think with this camera, I already reached the top that can be achieved with an equipment like this.

Since I started this hobby, I always wanted to photograph deep sky objects, I was always fascinated by them. I tried to photgraph at least the brightest and easiest ones like Andromeda, Orion Nebula or the Pleiades to get like at least a little detail after the stacking and processing, but mostly, I failed hard. Since I don't have a star tracker yet, it's even harder or just simply impossible.

So as I stated in the first sentence, I decided that I want to get serious with it and int the first round, I want to buy a tracker and a DSLR. The tracker is easier to decide, most likely, I will pick up a Star Adventurer GTi in the following months, but the DSLR camera... that's a whole different thing.

Since I'm thinking about Canon cameras, I mostly looked into the following ones: 450D, 600D, 60D, 700D, 70D, 2000D, maybe the 800D or the 80D

Most of you on this fourm have a larger knowledge about this topic and astrophotography in general, so I would like you to ask, which of these would be the most suitable for deep sky photography?
I also do star trails and nightscapes occasionally too, but I want to do deep sky mainly.
I read hear and there that jumping into the Canon brand isn't the best idea as a beginner, so I'm open to Nikon and Sony suggestions too, even other Canon cameras.

Thanks in advance, everybody. I really appreciate your time.
Have a clear night!

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Hi

Canon tends to be the most supported with astro software though wider camera brands support is better than it was. Some sony cameras don't do long exposures and like with some Nikon some models eat stars where the inbuilt algorithms think faint stars are noise and remove them.

A flip out screen is useful.

Had you also thought about an astro cam for your budget.

 

Edited by happy-kat
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4 hours ago, happy-kat said:

Hi

Canon tends to be the most supported with astro software though wider camera brands support is better than it was. Some sony cameras don't do long exposures and like with some Nikon some models eat stars where the inbuilt algorithms think faint stars are noise and remove them.

A flip out screen is useful.

Had you also thought about an astro cam for your budget.

 

Thanks for answering. I think I'll stick to canon then.  The only thing to decide is that which one body I'll buy. :)


Yes, I did consider some dedicated astro cameras, but in my mind, the first stepping stone of a natural progression in astrophotography is a DSLR on a star tracker.
Then buying a telescope and after that, an astro cam, then a better mount and the list goes on. But I might be wrong tough.

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54 minutes ago, Barna20 said:

Thanks for answering. I think I'll stick to canon then.  The only thing to decide is that which one body I'll buy. :)


Yes, I did consider some dedicated astro cameras, but in my mind, the first stepping stone of a natural progression in astrophotography is a DSLR on a star tracker.
Then buying a telescope and after that, an astro cam, then a better mount and the list goes on. But I might be wrong tough.

Do you intend to use the new DSLR for other photography, such as landscape, or are you keeping the Panasonic for that?

Do you want the camera to be stand-alone or are you happy to drag a laptop along with an astro-camera?

Of course, a dedicated astro-camera is ultimately the better device, but comes with baggage. I started with a DSLR, which I still use, but now also have a ZWO ASI178MM, which is currently very under-utilised. I'd like to do more with it but it is impractical for me to drag a laptop and the ZWO out to an observing site and set up.

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As stated above, any Canon will be a good choice, but make sure that it has a flip-out screen. An APS-C sensor should be cheaper, and good enough for the objects you want to photograph. I'm still a beginner myself, but I've been quite happy with my Canon 77D and, more recently, with an astro-modded Canon 700D. Now, if you are planning to buy a Star Adventurer, and you don't have any lenses for your DSRL... well, they are expensive, so you may want to skip that step and invest on a small refractor instead.

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Choose the 600D. They are by far the most plentyful in the 18MP+ range, and therefor the cheapest. The flip-out screen is VERY handy when you image without a computer, especially when you focus. And when you buy accesories, like coma correctors or field flatteneres, you often find ready-tuned solutions for this range of Canon cameras regarding backspacing etc. Not to mention the slip-in filters. And the 600D is very easy to astromod yourself, with the excellent guide made by Gary Honis. No welding, no pitfalls.

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I have a Cannon 450D. While it is a great camera, it's lacking. 

It rarely sees the light of day (let alone the night sky). IIRC, it has no movie recording function unless hardwired into a computer and using software called video capture (or similar). 

A flip out screen would would be a big advantage, which the 450D doesn't have. I also think exposure times are limited, so an external exposure timer would also be needed. 

As I said, my 450D rarely gets used for anything. My smart phone camera is all I need for my usage.

I am NOT into astro photography in any shape or form. 

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4 hours ago, Mandy D said:

Do you intend to use the new DSLR for other photography, such as landscape, or are you keeping the Panasonic for that?

Do you want the camera to be stand-alone or are you happy to drag a laptop along with an astro-camera?

Of course, a dedicated astro-camera is ultimately the better device, but comes with baggage. I started with a DSLR, which I still use, but now also have a ZWO ASI178MM, which is currently very under-utilised. I'd like to do more with it but it is impractical for me to drag a laptop and the ZWO out to an observing site and set up.

I would use the new one for astrophotography only, since the Panasonic one does a good job in every other style I do.

I always imagined myself shooting with an equatorial mount which has a telescope and an astro camera mounted and all these connected to a laptop. So yeah, I would be more than happy to do that!

I can understand your point, setting everything up can be a tiring thing, especially when you have a complex and heavy equipment. 
But still, astro cams have much much better specs. Something for something, I guess. 

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4 hours ago, Felias said:

As stated above, any Canon will be a good choice, but make sure that it has a flip-out screen. An APS-C sensor should be cheaper, and good enough for the objects you want to photograph. I'm still a beginner myself, but I've been quite happy with my Canon 77D and, more recently, with an astro-modded Canon 700D. Now, if you are planning to buy a Star Adventurer, and you don't have any lenses for your DSRL... well, they are expensive, so you may want to skip that step and invest on a small refractor instead.

When I started searching for a new camera, the flip out screen was a must have in my requirement list and an APS-C sensor too, since that base 1.6x (if I remember well) magnification will surely help the work with deep sky objects. I also considered the 77D but never looked into it, I guess I will check that tomorrow.

Good point on the lens topic. I'll try to buy a camera with two lens a 18-55mm kit lens and a 75-300mm, I don't have any plans to buy telephoto lens with larger zoom any time soon. I've got my eyes on the RedCat 51 APO and some other SkyWatcher APOs and refractors, but I don't really decided on this topic yet, I would pick one only after I bought the Star Adventurer GTi anyways. I think a telescope like those would be a good fit for a DSLR, but for a ZWO, they certainly would be.

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4 hours ago, Steve Ward said:

Which ever body you decide on I'd highly recommend visiting MPB and checking out their pre-owned selection.

I've had a number from them without issue , all came as described with a warranty too.

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk

Thank you for sharing this website Steve! I will definitely check this out.

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4 hours ago, Rallemikken said:

Choose the 600D. They are by far the most plentyful in the 18MP+ range, and therefor the cheapest. The flip-out screen is VERY handy when you image without a computer, especially when you focus. And when you buy accesories, like coma correctors or field flatteneres, you often find ready-tuned solutions for this range of Canon cameras regarding backspacing etc. Not to mention the slip-in filters. And the 600D is very easy to astromod yourself, with the excellent guide made by Gary Honis. No welding, no pitfalls.

You stated some solid facts about the 600D here that can't be overlooked, I don't say I understood every piece of information you said but you really got me hooked to it. :)
Above, Felias mentioned the 700D too as a very good one, so I think these two or migh even the 77D will be the cameras I choose from.

Originally, I wanted a 60D and then later on astro mod it, but I couldn't find a good deal for it since I started searching for a new camera. Can you say something about the 60D too? Does it do anything better than the 600D or I could just simply go with the 600D instead? 

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If you're going to be into the DSO for the long haul I would suggest keeping an open mind for a dedicated astro camera.

DSLRs are good self contained units and many people achieve excellent results, they're also good if youre on the move, I own an astro modded canon 600d, but ever since I started getting astro cameras it gets used less and less, even more so now I've got Eos to astro camera adaptors so I can use all my EFS and m42 lenses with them. Remember they are designed for the job, especially if you get a cooled camera, the level of noise will be dramatically less. You can dither to minimise walking noise but from my experience an astro camera trounces it every time, even a colour astro camera, a mono astro camera even more so as you're utilising every pixel on the sensor. 

Yes it'll cost more money, you can save a little if you have an existing computer/laptop you can use but I think long term you'll prefer it, and later down the line it's likely you'll want an astro camera anyway if you're seriously into it. Some of the newer uncooled astro cameras also are better for noise and amp glow management so cooling isn't even necessary so much anymore, if a DSLR can operate around 20+ Deg C it's no issue for an uncooled astro camera.

If you're keeping to a budget there's nothing wrong with a DSLR to start off with though.

Edited by Elp
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

I have a Cannon 450D. While it is a great camera, it's lacking. 

It rarely sees the light of day (let alone the night sky). IIRC, it has no movie recording function unless hardwired into a computer and using software called video capture (or similar). 

A flip out screen would would be a big advantage, which the 450D doesn't have. I also think exposure times are limited, so an external exposure timer would also be needed. 

As I said, my 450D rarely gets used for anything. My smart phone camera is all I need for my usage.

I am NOT into astro photography in any shape or form. 

I see Luke. When I saw it suggested here and there and I was skeptical too, since it's an old DSLR and lacks some of the features I want on a camera (like a flip out screen).
I'm glad you answered, so I can let that camera go calmly

Edited by Barna20
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3 minutes ago, Elp said:

If you're going to be into the DSO for the long haul I would suggest keeping an open mind for a dedicated astro camera.

DSLRs are good self contained units and many people achieve excellent results, they're also good if youre on the move, I own an astro modded canon 600d, but ever since I started getting astro cameras it gets used less and less, even more so now I've got Eos to astro camera adaptors so I can use all my EFS and m42 lenses with them. Remember they are designed for the job, especially if you get a cooled camera, the level of noise will be dramatically less. You can dither to minimise walking noise but from my experience an astro camera trounces it every time, even a colour astro camera, a mono astro camera even more so as you're utilising every pixel on the sensor. 

Yes it'll cost more money, you can save a little if you have an existing computer/laptop you can use but I think long term you'll prefer it, and later down the line it's likely you'll want an astro camera anyway if you're seriously into it. Some of the newer uncooled astro cameras also are better for noise and amp glow management so cooling isn't even necessary so much anymore, if a DSLR can operate around 20+ Deg C it's no issue for an uncooled astro camera.

If you're keeping to a budget there's nothing wrong with a DSLR to start off with.

EOS to astro camera adapters? I've never heard about a thing like that. Do you still use a star tracker ot a mount to hold it in place? It's really hard to imagine how you use it for me.

Yes, using an astro cam like a ZWO ASI, especially a cooled one would make a huge difference. Lower noise, better dynamic range and QE, it would clearly be a better choice, I had some thoughts on it and I still have.
Money is not an issue. I mean, sure, I don't have spare thousands to spend now, but for a hobby I like, where I want to get better and know more, I'm willing to spend money If needed. Oh, and of course, I don't want to buy everything at once, I simply don't have the resources for it right now.

I think I would keep it on a budget as for the start, I don't want the best right at the start, it would be a lot of thing to learn at the same time, and I couldn't yearn after better equipment. :D

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38 minutes ago, Barna20 said:

Thank you for sharing this website Steve! I will definitely check this out.

Another place I'd recommend is Wex Photographic in Norwich , they have a good selection of used Canons too.

 

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/used-dslrs/#p=categoryPath%3A"used>used-cameras>used-dslrs"&facet.multiselect=true&filter=brand_uFilter:"Canon"&fields=&sort=sellingPrice asc&pagetype=boolean&rows=12&start=0&version=V2&viewType=LIST&facet.version=V2

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39 minutes ago, Barna20 said:

EOS to astro camera adapters? I've never heard about a thing like that. Do you still use a star tracker ot a mount to hold it in place? It's really hard to imagine how you use it for me.

Adaptor is something like this:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-accessories/zwo-filter-drawer-for-canon-eos-lenses.html

 

This is my most compact rig which I can chop and change for dual or single purpose, astro cams or DSLR with DSLR lenses mounted onto an azgti:

 

 

 

 

And a few examples:

Mono astro cam and Samyang 135mm:

 

 

Colour uncooled astro cam and Samyang 135mm:

 

 

Mix of DSLR and mono astro cam and vintage lenses plus Samyang 135mm:

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, happy-kat said:

some Nikon some models eat stars where the inbuilt algorithms think faint stars are noise and remove them.

The last Nikon camera to do that was the D70 which was discontinued in 2006. So I think it's about time we stopped repeating this as it's no longer true :wink2:

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Yes, it's long gone. 

 

May I suggest Nikon D5600. Last of the D5*** line, flip out screen, very light, ISO invariant unlike Canon, and an excellent 24mp APS C sensor

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9 hours ago, Barna20 said:

Can you say something about the 60D too?

No, never used it. It's a crop sensor camera, not much different that the 600D. When it comes to DSLR's and astrophoto, the only thing three that really matters is that it's covered with drivers in software, that accesories are available, and that the sensor is of decent quality. Additinal options and functions in the menus don't really matter, you will not use them anyway. You set the ISO and expose for xx seconds, and take the raw data off the camera. It all boils down to your skills and the rest of your rig.

I have bought a used Canon 5D MkII this summer, paid 300£ for it. Looking forward to try it when it gets dark enough. I suggest you start with the cheaper 600D, and saves up for a fullframe later if you find the hobby interresting. I've done this only one season, and my log is online:  http://www.agle.no/astro/index.php

  All of theese images, with one exception (Canon 450D) was taken with a 600D. And I've just started....

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3 hours ago, 900SL said:

Couple of D5600 examples. I'm pretty happy with this as I picked it up on clearance. Not modded. 1333712530_Orion.jpg.190e2610a7d273417153411dfdabbd2e(1).thumb.jpg.349ecee4028b8d79a8a2490049b5c276.jpgresult.jpg.40eeb7d27b0f6e59c71eea929158bb20.thumb.jpg.f80dbbc170dd922e7d9baf5e7b47b8bf.jpg

Stunning images. A couple of good reasons there to buy Nikon! MPB have some used D5600s in, one with a shutter count of 38 - MPB - 20 available used from £419 - £484

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3 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

Stunning images. A couple of good reasons there to buy Nikon! MPB have some used D5600s in, one with a shutter count of 38 - MPB - 20 available used from £419 - £484

Thanks Mr Spock. From memory Orion with GT71, Pleiades with Samyang 135. The fold out screen is super useful

Edited by 900SL
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"450D, 600D, 60D, 700D, 70D, 2000D, maybe the 800D or the 80D"

Canon DSLR's are grouped by the number of digits in the model number, nnnnD to nD.

So the 2000D is a budget camera, the 6D is a prosumer camera.

But often a nnD is a nnnD with the same electronics in a metal case and with a few more switches.

If  you run tethered to a PC, the 550D is the same as a 600D, but without the flip screen, and is usually overlooked so cheaper.

Michael

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