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Running before I can walk...??


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Hi guys,

Thinking of getting into astrophotography. I've got an 8" LX10 (driven) and a Megrez 90. Got an old LPI (3 years old) which has seen next to no use. Work pressures soon after I bought it meant no time to get to grips with it. But I'm now enthused again, and about to take a career break, so I should have more time. I'd like to take deepsky stuff.

Now the question. Would I be better getting a new camera? or just better software (the stuff that came with the LPI was a nightmare to use)? or getting my husband's Canon DSLR on the case?

and if so, what would you recommend?

Many thanks

Helen

and just remembered - got a PST too! (it arrived yesterday - thanks Steve!)

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Get the Canon on the job first, as it's low cost and can get you going. Bear in mind that focusing a DSLR is a right pain, and until you guess it right you might be disappointed. Cheap disappointed is good though, better than the other kind. But if you get the focus bit sorted you have a big chip to collect the light on which lets you crop if necessary.

Personally I don't get on with my DSLR as I struggle to get the focus close enough, but I am aware that it's the best imaging tool that I own. My Nikon has issues with noise reduction that you won't have to deal with and the Canon has a more sensitive sensor. Have a go and see what happens is all I can say, save the megabucks for when you have had a bash with the stuff you have to hand.

The PST will be unrewarding, mostly, with the DSLR, as all the data will be in the red channel. The Ha wavelength that it transmits will only register on 1/4 of the sensor and that will fool the auto-exposure system into overexposing the image. Visually you are in for a treat with the PST, they're great fun, but you will need a monochrome imaing system to get the best from it for imaging.

As i said earlier, have a go and see what happens, it's very exciting when you open a black frame in Photoshop and stretch the histogram to see what you got.

Captain Chaos

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Hi Helen , well trust me to say , i would go a differnt way, having started with slr and not to happy , i went down the modded web cam route , this is so much easier , like seeing and downloading in seconds , this enables accurate focus , which is oh so important, there are several on the market , and also Atik have now come out with a new ccd below £400 , this is going to be a winner for sure , and will get anyone of to an excellent start in deep sky imaging, i know its maybe expensive for some pl , but i personally would want to get on the ladder of producing acceptable images to start , no one will get amazing results to start, it takes time to learn the art , for one the processing is in itself a huge learning curve , even now after several years ,i,m still learning things, anyway thats my input heheheh , whatever suits your pocket i guess ,

Good luck in whatever you decide , and i will look foward to your early images

Rog

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Hmmm. Thanks. If I was to take Rog's advice, would I be better with the b&w or colour version? I've read that mono is better, but to then get colour do I have to do mutiple exposures with different filters?? and without proper guiding would it still be worth it??

Thanks

Helen

PS If I decide to buy a camera now, I might just get lucky for Christmas (my husband's still asking for ideas!!!)

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Helen there is no easy solution to DSO iMAGING think carefully before you spend , its time consuming and alot of hard work , huge learning curve , but i love it , to get these images gives one great satisfaction , and now its becoming a pleasure when things are going well , but yes B/W without a doubt , shorter exposure times , and whats wrong with b/w , move on to colour when you have gained more experience ,

Cheers

Rog

:)

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I shall be starting imaging in the New Year with my DSLR. I have seen some wonderful results from Canon DSLRs and the fact that you don't need a laptop/power/leads appeals to me. Also, even if I spend only six months with the DSLR, the cost of 'proper' imaging devices will have dropped 8)

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very true Steve , but if you are doing serious stuff , i think u do need to get it modded, but its wonderful for wide field , you are right , there are a lot of good images to be got with it , but being colour , they do need very long exposures, what i,m trying to say is , you will be happy with the easy stuff , then the bug bites , and !!heck!! you have to step up a gear to achieve the more desired objects, i,m not knocking it Steve , i have one sitting here beside me , and cant wait to start using it, but i know in my heart , it will never compete with what i have now , but it will allow me to take on another side of DSO imaging,

Cheers

Rog

what a load of waffle ehehehh

But ya know what i mean

:)

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No Steve, it's not the proper imagers in mono thing at all. A newcomer will get faster results with a mono cam and an imperfect mount (thinking about alignment/PEC/guiding etc.) as the sensitivity of the mono chip will capture presentable images faster.

Arthur

PS - easier to process too :)

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OK guys I'm starting to understand a bit better (I think!). B&W is quicker and so more forgiving which means better (if not quite as pretty - I'm a woman, I like colour!) images at the start. I'm sure my LX10 set up will not be up to the necessary accuracy for long exposures, which is why I thought a webcam might be easier than the DSLR. Am I getting there...??

thanks

Helen

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The webcam based imaging cameras have such small chips that its important to get a short focal length which means lower f/ number (Megrez) and smaller aperture (Megrez). Aperture being better is not the case entirely with imaging, as the 'scopes are scaled up. A bigger 'scope gives you more magnification so with an SCT you will get awesome close ups of the moon, but most of the DSOs will be much too big to image. I regularly use a 135mm camera lens on my webcam and thats a 38mm aperture.

On the Megrez you will get more joy with imaging without a doubt because the f/ ratio means that the images will appear quicker.

Captain Chaos

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it depends Helen , on what equipment you have and how fast you can pick it up , for instance Martin ,came to me a short while ago and bought his first serious scope from me , showed him a few things i do, he went away , bought a modded web cam , get to grips with that , then moved up to true CCD imaging , and now is producing some really nice stuff , he however does put a lot into reading up and all processes etc and is a fast fast learner , so one cant put a time to it really , for instance i know a few ppl , and i hasten to add , not on this forum , who have stuck in a rut for years , so there ya go ,

Rog

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I decided to give the Canon DSLR a quick go tonight on the moon (had to make the most of the first partially clear night for ages and ages).

image.jpg

Megrez 90, Gibraltar Mount (undriven), digimax 8-24 zoom eyepiece, Canon attached with T-mount.

Focussing was a bit difficult.

Unprocessed image. How might I improve it with Photoshop Elements??

Thanks guys

Helen

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Thanks Steve - that looks better. I need to learn photoshop...! It's also been encouraging to read today that other people were having some problems with the moon last night.

I was using the digimax becaus of the ability to mount the camera. If I want to fix direct to the Megrez what do I need please?

Thanks

Helen

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Thanks Steve - that looks better. I need to learn photoshop...! It's also been encouraging to read today that other people were having some problems with the moon last night.

I was using the digimax becaus of the ability to mount the camera. If I want to fix direct to the Megrez what do I need please?

Thanks

Helen

I haven't used a Megrez but I'm pretty sure you will need a focus extender (in place of the diagonal) an adapter and a T-mount.

Nothing expensive :D

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