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Thread: Astro Glass?

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    Default Astro Glass?

    So some of you saw my post about tax returns earlier.
    I first wanted to do astro photography, and gave up when i realized all I'd need.

    But with this return, i can spare a bit of it towards that.
    So with a max of $2K, are there any good lenses I could get fro astro photography, or am i just better off getting a telescope and some adapter?

    I need to get a clock driven tripod too i guess...
    Your thoughts?

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    check out the following

    http://www.astromart.com/classifieds/

    also check out Cloudy nights (Google it) site is down at present for updates,,

    will offer you the best selection of some great pre-owned gear if your final decision is to go astro,,

    I know of no normal camera lens even with a TC mounted that will offer anything close to what you can obtain with a decent scope set up,,

    Derry

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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    There are a thousand ways you could go about this and much depends on what you want to image. You might image through an eyepiece attached to a telescope; you might image straight through the telescope or you might image through a camera lens.

    Cloudynights and Astromart are excellent suggestions.

    Try reading:

    "Digital SLR astrophotography" by Covington.

    Go to yahoo usergroups and search around there.

    Then, if you want to image galaxies well prepare to spend a lot of money, probably buy a Canon 40D or 5D and a decent mount with excellent tracking and a solid tripod. Also, brush up on your Zen meditation because you are in for some serious frustration before you get it right.

    I'm not saying imaging of clusters and galaxies cannot be done with Olympus but the ISO performance of Oly is poor by comparison and therefore you will need to take more exposures at a lower ISO to get the same results as the Canon.

    You will need stacking software (there is free stuff available).

    If you want to image planets that's a different kettle of fish and much easier. You still need a decent mount but the Oly will do a fine job on planets.

    Don't be put off as imaging is very rewarding but my advice would be don't spend ANY money on stuff until you have really resarched this hobby.

    By the way, if you are anywhere near New York there is an Astro-imaging conference taking place in Suffern on April 16th and 17th.

    http://www.rocklandastronomy.com/NEAIC/index.htm

    Good luck.
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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    Quote Originally Posted by moggi1964 View Post
    I'm not saying imaging of clusters and galaxies cannot be done with Olympus but the ISO performance of Oly is poor by comparison and therefore you will need to take more exposures at a lower ISO to get the same results as the Canon.
    Almost everything you say I agree with, but I dispute this point. It's true that the for equivalent MP count, fourthirds cameras give up about 1/2 of a stop in noise equivalence. But in astronomical use, this is almost irrelevant because focus stacking is the norm. It's typical to shoot at at lower sensitivities, and to shoot deep stacks. The deeper the stack, the less noise is an issue, and having to shoot at 200 ISO where another camera can shoot at 270 simply means either taking more or longer frames to even out the difference. In typical shooting situations, 20 vs 30 120second exposures, or 20 120second vs 20 180second exposures is no great hardship.

    Having to fight ones way past an overzealous IR cut filter is a far worse impediment, and if he's serious about deep space astro shooting, he should invest in a modified camera of any brand.

    Also, he should stay away from planetaries and smaller galaxies at first. Photograph the major asterisms and larger galaxies and emission nebulae until enough skill is gained to justify investing in a good equatorial mount (an EQ-6 or better) and some serious glass. Wide angle shots give the best eye candy anyway.

    Planets are also possible, but SLRs are at a major disadvantage here as their frame rates are too low to feed stacking software freely, and their sensors are pointlessly large. Inexpensive webcams and very long, quite slow telescopes dominate this area. It's not expensive to set up for, but it's a very different class of shooting.

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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    Quote Originally Posted by acme View Post
    ...... In typical shooting situations, 20 vs 30 120second exposures, or 20 120second vs 20 180second exposures is no great hardship.

    Having to fight ones way past an overzealous IR cut filter is a far worse impediment, and if he's serious about deep space astro shooting, he should invest in a modified camera of any brand.

    Also, he should stay away from planetaries and smaller galaxies at first. Photograph the major asterisms and larger galaxies and emission nebulae until enough skill is gained to justify investing in a good equatorial mount (an EQ-6 or better) and some serious glass. Wide angle shots give the best eye candy anyway.

    Planets are also possible, but SLRs are at a major disadvantage here as their frame rates are too low to feed stacking software freely, and their sensors are pointlessly large. Inexpensive webcams and very long, quite slow telescopes dominate this area. It's not expensive to set up for, but it's a very different class of shooting.
    My turn to disagree

    The longer he has to track the more opportunity for error in the mount to show up. If he had a guide scope and some guiding software then there's no problem but that is a whole different package.

    I do agree that a webcam (I just sold my Toucam - great planetary imager) is the best for planets but if he's just starting any shots of Saturn will blow his mind

    As for the IR; yup! Hutech seem to be all about Canon so I am not sure if he wouldn't be left with a DIY job.

    I have to say that the photo's I have seen on the Yahoo Oly. astro group just don't compare with the Canon stuff. That may be down to user or whatever else but all the top DSLR imagers that I know of (and some I know) use Canon. I do keep meaning to Google D700 astroimaging to see if anyone is using that puppy.

    I shot some ISO800 shots in Mass. last year and the noise was awful and those were only 30 second exposures. They did improve with stacking of course but my friend shot the same thing (same exposure time and same ISO) with his Rebel XTi and the difference was very noticeable.

    Anyway, shooting with ANYTHING is better than not shooting at all and I am sure we can definitely agree on THAT one
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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    Quote Originally Posted by moggi1964 View Post
    The longer he has to track the more opportunity for error in the mount to show up. If he had a guide scope and some guiding software then there's no problem but that is a whole different package.
    ...
    Anyway, shooting with ANYTHING is better than not shooting at all and I am sure we can definitely agree on THAT one

    But that's one of the side benefits of stacking. If you accidentally tapped the tube, or gust of wind caught you, a frame can be tossed out here or there and the end result won't suffer at all. Being able to shoot at higher ISOs is a convenience in astro shooting, but, unlike many terrestrial situations, it's not at all a requirement. Except in relation to a terrestrial reference (which could be better composited by a masked-in non tracking shot), most celestial objects don't have much apparent motion.

    I agree completely that he's getting good advice overall. Especially being directed toward cloudynights.

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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Propaganda Panda View Post
    So some of you saw my post about tax returns earlier.
    I first wanted to do astro photography, and gave up when i realized all I'd need.

    But with this return, i can spare a bit of it towards that.
    So with a max of $2K, are there any good lenses I could get fro astro photography, or am i just better off getting a telescope and some adapter?

    I need to get a clock driven tripod too i guess...
    Your thoughts?

    Thanks.
    Pentax 75mm SDHF telescope, exceptional optics, very flat field, and just under $1K. There are other scopes out there that will do the job but the Pentax was my choice. Check the recommended sites others have provided, as I do below.

    You will have to track so a driven equatorial mount is a must. Buy the most stout (biggest) equatorial mount you can afford... Vixen GP-DX is a good start. but there are plenty of others out there. Check Orion Telescopes, Astromart.com, Anacortes, CloudyNights.com and, astronomics.com.

    Don

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    Default Re: Astro Glass?

    The webcam thing fro shooting planets, seems interesting on its own. I'll look into this to feed my astronomy craze. I'll focus on better glass and lighting with my tax cash instead.

    Thanks guys.

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