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Imaging setup. 5 questions and in need of encouragement!


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Hello again folks,

For the last good few months I have been building up to a DSO imaging setup, ready for when the sky gets a bit darker. However I have a few questions and concerns I was hoping you could help me with, so here goes...

Q1..Is their a cheap or even better free alternative to MaximDl as it would be nice to have an all in one programe for guiding, image capture, focusing, deconvoloutoin, debuyering etc. Also must be compatable with a canon 300d, webcam (philips Vesta or so) and shoestring method to control the mount.

Q2..Have i gone and done the wrong thing by buying a IR removed canon 300D as from my research it looked to be a good option to get one that was moddified however I have just finished another astrophotography book and in it it mentioned that having the IR filter removed compleatly meant that all the images would then look un-naturaly red. I know i could then remove the red a little using PS but will i loose valuble data that way?

Q3..Is it necessary for me to get a focal reducer? I understand the point in them but for now can i get away with out one?

Q4..After reading numerous books I have learnt that part of the process of post processing with DSLR's is de-buyering. However i just dont get why? wont my images be in colour anyway and then i can just align stack and tweek? without spliting them into RGB then combining them again? Or is it to just have better control over the colours for PS or somthing?

Q5..Basicaly, how do you think im looking for my imaging setup? I have tried to do as much research as possible and with alot of help from you guys aswell. As money is tight i have gone for what I think is the best bang for buck, I still have a few more bits and bobs until i think im ready to give it a try. but in your opinion do you think I have made any grave mistakes on purchasing my equipment or is there any sudgestions to things i still need.

Equipment so far:

Orion ED80

CG-5

Dual axis motor upgrade

Canon 300d IR removed

Netbook (7hr batt)

Equipment to im hoping to get:

ST80 or similar (guide scope)

Philips Vesta modded webcam or similar (for guiding)

simplegpusb or shoestring gpusb and hand controller mod (for mount control)

2" extention tube (for focusing dslr)

Ok I know this is a big post with ALOT of questions, but i appreaciate any time you can spare me to help me on my way.

Im just a little concerned about how im doing and seen as ive only got you guys to answer my questions (sniff sniff) I could use a little pick me up and some encouragement LOL

A massive thank you in advance!

Michael.

Edited by msinclairinork
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Michael,

I'm sure there are many other lonely members out there...hopefully we can help!

1. Have a look a AstroArt 4, it will do everything you want. Also, but a little more difficult to use, the freeware IRIS from Christian Buil. It will do the processing but I'm not 100% sure about the telescope control.

Carte du Ciel V3 is also very handy ( freeware)

2. I use a 300D with the filter removed. Only real issue is that it no longer focuses with standard camera lenses, but for use on the telescope it's great. You can use the custom balance setting to reduce the excess red. ( The data is still there in the RAW file when you need it)

3. The focal reducer/ flatener can come later. It will help with the imaging of large DSO etc. Get a copy of CCD Inspector and use this to verify the FOV for your camera(s) and target objects.

4. With the Canon RAW files, any program you use to process the image (ie IRIS/ AA4) will automatically do the de-bayering for you. You don't have to do anything. Splitting the RGB channels is only used to change the colour balance depending on the filters etc you use. Don't worry about it.

5. The ED80 is a great starting point and will do the job for you.

I don't think a modified webcam is the best solution for guiding... think in terms of a QHY5 or similar.

Hope this helps, but feel free to keep posting your questions. There are many others would probably have the same concerns and will benefit from the replies.

Ken

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Q1. Have a look at AstroArt 4.0 You will have to see if has all the compatibility you need but it is far less expensive than Maxim. I have been using it for several years.

Q2 The DSLR guys will answer this.

Q3 You don't need a focal reducer but you will need a field flattener if you want to have sharp stars across all of you chip. However, a CCD camera with a chip that size would cost nearly £4K. Most of us put up with far smaller chips, so you could always just crop your image and use the best central part of it if cash is really tight. In reality the flatteners are also usually reducers anyway.

Q4 I will await the replies of the DSLR guys again. When I use a colour CCD I have to debayer it or the criss-cross pattern of the matrix is visible. Presumably the in-camera software of my daytime DSLR does this for me but how it works for astronomy processing I don't know.

Q5 I think you are looking good. I have no experience of webcam guiding but there are lots of folks out there who will help when the time comes. The ED80 is an imaging classic. I don't know the mount at all.

Olly

PS Ken, that was weird! When I clicked to submit this post my first sentence appeared but in a slightly diferent form. It was, in fact, your post that had just come in. I'm not copying you, honest!! We seem to agree, anyway...

Edited by ollypenrice
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Well cant thank you enough guys for taking your time to put my concernes to rest. That really has giving asured me i'm on the right track.

I have had a wee look at astro art however I didnt see any compatebility mentioned for the 300D or for ASCOM drivers however a little more googling might solve that.

As for the QHY5 am i right in saying its only conection is ST4? Because I would need USB so i could connect via the laptop then throught the gpusb to the hand contronler mod (god i cAn imagine the cables already!!) lol.

Honestly thank you very much for your time, as living on a small island doesnt give much hope to finding an experienced astrophotographerto guide me.

Thanks again,

Michael

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Michael,

next time we visit Orkney ( my wife just loves the place!) I can share some time and help!!

AA4 definately does work with the Canon cameras in RAW, and has the facility to talk to most (All?) mountings.

The QHY5 has a usb connection for camera control ( exposures, image downloads etc) and also a ST-4 socket which allows direct connection to the guide port on the mount. That way you don't need any shoestring adaptors etc. AA4 will also handle the imaging from QHY5. PHD is a good guide control program which works well with the QHY5.

I have this controlling my HEQ5pro mount for spectroscopy.

Ken

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Fan-bloomin-tasitic! Thank you so much for answering my questions that has plugged a significant gap in my understanding no doubt has the months roll on there will be plenty more gaps.

Yes ken that would be excelent! And in return i would happily take you and your wife out for dinner and a drink or somthing. Keep in touch.

Thanks again mate! :D

im much happier! Lol

Michael

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Just to second Ken on trying to go for a slightly more upmarket guider like the one he suggests. Guiding is one of the hardest bits and all help from the kit will be welcome, I promise you!

Olly

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I here you olly, and i am seriosly considering saving the extra but when you here of folks using cheap alternatives i.e philips toucam or meade dsi1, one cant help but be tempted. But like you say maybe better to go for somthing that involves less of a headache and more stability, perhaps even more so in my situation of just starting out.

Thanks again though for your help, this forum is truly a blessing.

Michael.

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Michael,

Hope this helps, but feel free to keep posting your questions. There are many others would probably have the same concerns and will benefit from the replies.

Ken

Very true, I'm one of them. Thanks to all!

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With a filter removed DSLR and a Frac you want to think about a filter for UV and IR Cut if you want to control star bloat..

This can be included in the LP filter but you need to watch which ones you buy...

You would need the Astonomik CLS-CCD variant not the straight CLS or something like a Hutech IDAS P2

CCD-Calc is the (Free) program for checking the FOV CCD-Inspector will allow you to check field curavture collimation etc but is a realtively costly purchase....

I use filter removed, filter replaced and Vanilla Canon DSLR for imaging and think they are great...

On a budget - For the capture part of the process have a look Yoddhas APT superb and for very little monney in deed he's an SGL member and is actively developing the software... Stack and calibrate the images in DSS and then post process in your fav general purpose Image manipulation program...

Peter...

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Q2 - I modded my Canon 1000D - removing the filter and added a screw on IR filter

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=buvir

Q3 get a flattener when you can may be this one but check it will fit

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=Skywatcher_Focal_Reducers

Q4 I use Deep sky stacker, free, it debayers, stacks, in fact does all for getting the stacked image to further process.

Q5 QHY5 in a finder would be a good option IMO - look up finder guider.

And if you haven't got it get

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=makin_every_photon_count

Pete

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To save on costs, you really don't necessarily need to have the webcam modded to be effective as guide cam. I use an unmodded Phillips spc900 for guiding, and can always find a star to guide on with my ST80 guidescope and PHD Guiding.

Edited by lukebl
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