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Astrophotography software?

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#1 nolev77

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 10:53 AM

I am new to astrophotography and this might be a question that is pounded into this forum like hail in a hailstorm, but what software is the BEST software to get started in taking pics? I will be shooting with a Nikon D40 dslr camera at prime focus in a Celestron 80ed scope. It is mounted on a Losmandy GM8. I have heard that Maxim DSLR is a good program, but is this all I need? What about focusing? Will Maxim DSLR help me focus as well or will I have to get a special focusing gadget and another program? I was looking a the Maxim DL site and I can't figure out if I would have to buy it and the Maxim DLSR along with it. Very confusing...any help to get me straightened out would be appreciated.

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#2 Raven911

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 06:10 PM

I do not know if there is a best or not. I find I usually need more than one program, as some do things better than others. A lot of them are free too.

I use Maxim DL, Pixinsight, Photoshop, and Deepsky Stacker the most. I have some other software, like StellarMagic, I use for specific things like deconvolutions (I find MaximDL too complex).

Download a few and see what works for you. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

#3 stefsaber

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:25 AM

Well, if you're just starting out try out DeepSkyStacker for stacking the images you take and Photoshop for editing the final stacked image. Be sure to shoot your images in RAW format, not jpeg, you'll be able to get the most out of editing them that way.

Now if you want to buy the cables to hook-up your mount to your computer, you can get a program such as Starry Night or another telescope guiding program to point your telescope to specific portions of the sky. However if you're interested in autoguiding your images you'll need a second scope and a webcam or DSI cam.

I'm not familiar at all with Maxim DSLR, but they do have a 30 day trial so it couldn't hurt to try it out either. I know from experience that DeepSkyStacker is free and fairly user friendly, so I'm more biased towards that.

If you want to truly understand astrophotography grab a copy of Jerry Lodriguss' Guide To Astrophotography, it really helped me! Link

#4 nolev77

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 10:10 PM

Thanks...I appreciate the info! I believe I will try the Deep Sky Stacker program first.

#5 Raven911

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 10:39 PM

The new version of DSS does a pretty good log stretch too. I like it a lot, but you still new to follow up with another program for final processing. Download the Pixinsight free edition. It will work pretty good for levels and curves and general image stuff. It is great for DSLR images once you learn it.

Good luck and have fun!

#6 imjeffp

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 12:00 PM

I really like Nebulosity. Neb2 (now in early beta) will integrate with PHD Guiding. Downside is that it doesn't control your Nikon--apparently there's an issue in getting the raw data from the camera.






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