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Best camera for deep sky work?


MartinB
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Martin i would go for the Sbig without dought why? because you can make a averstile system were you can use a proper focal reducer(get Dlsr FOV'S) and also much better RGB channels than a DSLR(Not mentioning the highrt sensitivity of the chip!). There some plus and minus points for both really DSLR not laptop easy setup etc etc..

James

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To my mind the DSLR is more portable as there are no wires to trip over and the camera can be slung around your neck. OTOH the CCD imaging can automatically do as many exposures as you like to an AVI which is then relatively easy to stack up.

WRT field of view, that obviously depends on your 'scope, if you have a long focal length (2000mm and up), then even the DSLR chip size is pretty zoomed in on things and the CCD, being a smaller chip, will restrict what you can image (or even locate on the chip). If your 'scope has a more moderate focal length, say 400 to 1000mm, then you might actually need the smaller chip in order to get a big enough image.

It really depends on what the target is, M31 is too big for my DSLR (small APS size chip) with the 200mm f/5 (1000mm focal length) in one frame but Saturn is still too small with the OMC140 140mm f/14 (2000mm focal length) and a webcam.

Changing image size for a visual observer is a trivial matter of swapping the eyepiece, for imaging you need to swap the 'scope, as the chip size is fixed.

You can use Barlow lenses to increase the image size, or a focal reducer to go the other way, but the range of options is more limited for the imager.

Prsonally, I'd go for a cheaper version of both (Nikon D200 and SC modified Toucam) for less cash and leave the exotic stuff for those who have deep pockets or who can earn a living at it.

Captain Chaos

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Come on Arthur, don't be bashful :lol: I was down at our local astro soc a couple of weeks back, this chap was slagging off astro CCD cameras saying a good DSLR was much better - more sensitive chips he said and much better value for money because of mass production economies. I think he's a bit of a "mixed up newark" actually but it was an interesting point of view.

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Well, a good DSLR may be better but not cost-effective these days. Once you have it modified (Trutek charge £300 I think) you need to filter it to use in normal mode. Amp glow is an issue past 60 secs. Why buy something that does most things averagely when you can get a camera specifically designed for the job? Most any DSLR will take pictures but what about resolution? Pixel size? Bit depth? I think that once you've used a properly designed astro cam then you will see why DSLR's are still a bit behind. OK - things may get better and technically you don't need a PS/laptop with the DSLR but then you need a perfect mount otherwise you're going to trail without guiding anyway.

Arthur - yup, rambling :lol:

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Hi Martin,

The thing i considered when looking at CCD imaging, was the most frequent conditions i would be working under. Heavy L.P, i couldn't justify to myself on £1k on a dedicated ccd + filters for the amount of "serious" playtime i would get out of it. So i opted for dslr + CLS Filter as i could use it for other things, and it was easier to get passed the wife as she saw it as a camera purchase for holidays, and i had other ulterior motives  :lol:, I accepted it's limitations ( ir filter ) and my limitations as a user. If i wanted "Best" and If i could afford a dedicated ccd and could get good use out of it i would jump at one. DSLR in my view is a comfortable compromise and is more than an expensive one trick pony.

Cheers

Gordon

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Must admit I'm a big Digi SLR fan too, I Like the relative simplicity and freedom of use (have enough expensive gear in the garden without having a laptop out there as well !,most of the stuff wouldn't mean much to the passing chav's :angry:but a laptop would be a prime target I guess), image quality wise I haven't any complaints printed out they can look stunning because of the high megapixel count I guess, I'm not sure but I think unless you spend thousands of pounds you don't get close to 8MP on a dedicated astro CCD, so the dedicated CCD images might look good on a computer display but any attempts to print them out wouldn't look so good, and put a lens on the SLR and some cracking widefield's are just a shutter press away (don't think a dedicated CCD can do those ?)

Only downside to me is that I have to manually be there and keep pressing the shutter waiting for the exposure to finish then press again etc for as many as I want to take where a CCD and lappy can do this sort of thing by it's self.

Alan.

just my 2p's worth :lol:

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Must say I'm inclined towards a dedicated astro CCD but not for a while yet - lots to learn with the Atik 2HS esp processing. 40 degrees below ambient temp, sensitivity profile, pixel size etc. Wouldn't want to be without laptop when imaging - access to other software eg starry night, focussing, guiding and most of all being able to see what is being imaged, so I think I would be using a laptop even with a DSLR. Wouldn't bankrupt myself for 8mp though. A lot of top astroimagers seem to be going the DSLR route though.

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Money no object the SBIG would be great. But i can't even justify to myself my current complete setup which is only worth £1500 all in (scope, mount, camera and accessories). No way i could justify a one trick pony astro CCD. My DSLR has to do it all - daytime snapshot, airshows and all astro stuff. No dedicated astro CCD on this planet is that versitile. And that's before you really reel off the DSLR's major pro's

self contained imaging system

ultra wide FOV

unbelieveably easy to use

cheap compared to a dedicated astro CCD. Getting competitive with trumped up webcams.

can easily be controlled via Laptop should you wish

cost can be justified if daytime photography is also an interest

there are downsides which Arthur has pointed out.

On a budget DSLR wins easily.

In a stand off between the 20Da and SBig not so easy. But for me the 20Da still nips it. It can do daytime/astro without need for a daytime filter. So it can justify it's existance for the 350 days of the year that its cloudy.

Russ

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I know that it has been mentioned about guiding without a lappy, When i am using it in my garden at home, then fine i can drag the laptop out,webcam, mains supply, beer so a dedicated ccd would be a winner for sure.(barring the LP) But when i go off to dark site ( for one off nights ) the dslr wins on portability and i use an illuminated reticle eypiece and go manual. But there has been the odd night when i have got back download my images and all were carp and out of focus as the dslr lcd screen is p!ss poor at displaying images well, which is a major dslr disadvantage. I think when you think "best" for dsi work, i think you also have to factor in how taleneted/patient the user is to show off the kits performance. Give me a sbig and i will show how carp my images will still be with it! :lol:

Gordon

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