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Where to start in imaging?


nightvision
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Hi, I have been considering getting into imaging, been doing observational stuff for a long time. I once did photography (dark room etc). Can anyone provide a reasonable starting point. I am interested in DSO and building the image processing skills. I don't have any suitable equipment (12" dob and bins). I don't have a DSLR or goto-Eq mount so really starting from scratch.

What I know: Starting point.... 80mm apo and a decent mount? There seems to be so much equipment, filters, ccds etc. Limitations on budget but have plenty of time. What's the bottom rung on the CCD/camera ladder?

It would be great if some of the equipment-retailers sold starter kits.

Tony.

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The best palce to start in addition to askign questions on here in Steve Richards Steppenwolfs) book "Making Every Photon Count"... A very comprehensive introduction into all aspects of Astrophotogrpahy...

Written by a man who can and does...

Books - Making Every Photon Count - Steve Richards

IIRC Orion (US) were selling starterkits at one tieme using the starshoot CCD's...

Billy...

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80ED scope, HEQ5 syntrek/synscan mount, either GOTO handset or EQMOD/laptop, power supply and a Canon 1000D will get you started. Plus a decent computer to do the processing on. You'll want to add a cheap guiding solution shortly afterwards and possibly a field flattened / focal reducer.

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Totally agree with the above, pretty much what I started out with, but a 120ED scope. Of course, my wants and desires have moved on from there, but that's where it's all at just now!!

If you could give some kind of budget, that would be good - For example, my kit (scope, mount, flattener, 2 eye pieces and a T thread for DSLR connection) came to £2k - I've already got the photography stuff to didn't need to factor that into the equation.

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Hi Tony,

Checkout my signature down the bottom. I wanted to go into astro photography and had many discussions.

Whilst you may not need all of the kit I have bought it will give you an idea based on the help I have received here.

You obviously don't need the expensive cameras, as mentioned a low cost Canon DSLR will get you going.

Best regards

Chris

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More of the same from me. Short fast refractor autopguided by ST80 on HEQ5 or 6. Plus Steve's book!

This is not a starter setup, it is a widefield imaging setup to keep. I find our 85mm apo the most productive setup we have. It is fast and blithely carries on through wind and bad seeing when longer FLs have to be abandoned. I prefer CCD but it is obviously more expensive.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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Ok, here's another starting point.

Step 1) Get onto ebay, buy yourself a USED EOS300/350D with a lens (prob. just a basic zoom) for < £200 Get a remote release for it as well (another tenner)

Step 2) Make yourself a barndoor tracking mount. With a DSLR you can either go for the extra expense/complicatiosn of motorising it, or just make a manual one. Cost < £30

Step 3) Buy a fairly sturdy tripod to mount the barndoor on. You won't need it to go too high (in fact, the shorter you keep it, the less wobble you'l have)

step 4) Polar align the barndoor, point DSLR at sky, focus it

step 5) Take deep sky images of some fairly large DSOs with beytween 10 and 30 sec exposure times. Find out about image stacking

Then, come back here for more advice on image processing. As you go down the upgrade path (which you inevitably will), you can keep the DSLR for astrophotos, maybe get it modified to extend the deep-red sensitivity to H-alpha, buy a telescope+mount as others have recommended and an attachment for the camera.

Edited by pete_l
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Thanks for all the great advice. A lot to think about. Definitely buying the book. I have a SW 100 Ed-pro (F9) and the Canon 350 is certainly good value on ebay. I like that low cost barn door starting point.

While browsing on DP-review I noticed the Nikon D50 and others use CCD. I was surprised to see the preferred EOS series uses a cmos chip, I thought they produced more noise than a CCD, all very interesting.

Tony.

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Not much to add but I would seriously consider the DSLR selection. Imo, the Canon 300/350 were ok when nothing else was about almost 10 years ago but they have been superceded by significantly better cameras. I would say the 1000D is now the current budget camera to aim for, anything less and you will soon be looking for another camera.

Edited by Photosbykev
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