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DSLR Camera Choices

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#1 ponz

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

Well, I pulled the trigger and have a decent AP setup on the way:
SKY-WATCHER PRO 80ED APO OTA
ORION ATLAS EQ-G GO-TO MOUNT
ORION MAGNIFICENT MINI AUTOGUIDR PKG
ORION SKYGLOW IMAGING 2" FILTER

NOW - the question is which camera to use?

I own a Sony a900 full frame.
My girlfriend owns:
Canon Xti
Nikon D5000

I'll swallow my pride and admit my Sony a900 exhibits tons of noise at high ISOs.

The Canon & Nikon blow my Sony (at HIGH ISOs), away in the noise department but are crop sensor cameras with fewer megapixels.

From what I've seen around here, many use the Canon Xti.

I don't dare ask my girlfriend if I can modify either of her cameras, I think :o

Your thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ponz

#2 astroRoy

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:51 PM

Calculate your budget, then choose one of the Modded Canons from one of the reputable dealers - there are lots of links on this site. Then buy Images Plus or download BYEos to control the camera. Don't forget to download EQMOD to control the mount. There is a little more to it than that, but these tips will get you started.

Roy

#3 proteus5

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:12 PM

Ponz,

I posted in your other thread, but I use a Canon T2i unmodded, and am having a blast. Plenty of stuff to image. I may get it modded this year though. I would say the Canon with Backyard EOS, and I second Roy, get EQMOD setup for the Atlas. (you can make your own USB cable for about $25) best thing I ever did!!. Polar alignment with EQMOD takes about 5 minutes with EQMODs routine. PHD with the mini guider gives me 10 min subs easy (longest I've tried) use the newest version, not the one that comes with the guider CD. I've been lucky I guess I've never had any of the problems with my guiding equipment that others have had. First time out the PHD graph was right down the middle, and all I did was the EQMOD Polar Alignment.

Don't worry about a modded camera for a while. Hone your data collection skills, and your post processing skills (the part I find really hard).

Since we have about the same equipment, feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Congrats and have fun!!!

#4 Hikari

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:14 PM

Why not start with your Sony? It should be very good and will give you more experience in which to make a better choice--there are a lot of photographers using worse cameras than an a900. The photographer makes a much greater impact to image quality than the gear.

#5 Raginar

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:36 AM

I agree with Hikari. Pick up a t-ring and a nosepiece from Agena and you'll be in business for 4-50 bucks :).

Then, you can make an informed decision after you've taken a few pictures. You might decided to skip DSLR work and move right to a cooled CCD setup.

GOod luck!

#6 terry59

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:46 AM

Each brand requires a different t-ring and capture software, unfortunately. Pick one and experiment. You don't want your gain to be too high anyway so experiment with ISO settings and exposure length. There are lot of different opinions on what is "right" but the only way to know is to try. To me that is half of the fun anyway and I end up with more knowledge and experience. Try 400 to 1600 for ISO. More important would be whether you get amp glow or not.

#7 ponz

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

Would you guys PLEASE help me with all of these acronyms?

Take a look above at proteus5 (Robert's) post. I must admit I'm clueless. Save me a couple of hours sifting through the forum, would ya? Or point me?

Backyard EOS
EQMOD
PHD

I have T-ring adapters for the Sony and the Canon.
I have an a/c adapter for the Sony and just ordered one for the Canon.

It would be nice to operate the rig on my laptop from inside the house.
I believe I will need a USB adapter for the ATLAS and an extremely long USB cable. A lengthy camera cable sounds more difficult???

I'm over at monoprice.com right now looking at cables.

Ponz

#8 Footbag

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

The only problem with that Canon is that it doesn't have live view. This comes in really handy when you need to focus.

I believe your Nikon does have this feature so it is possible that may work better. You may have to wait for some of the Nikon guys to chime in. There are specific programs they use for camera control that many Canon guys may not be familiar with.

If money was no object, I'd suggest buying a modded Canon with Live View, but you don't need it to start imaging. And I know you just spent a chunk. At this point, the best thing you can do is start using the equipment.

#9 ponz

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

My Sony doesn't have live view either. I'm certain it would yield the best resolution (being full frame and 24MP), except at much higher ISOs.

I'm over at www.monoprice.com right now looking for adapters and cables...I'd like to have all I need, in hand, when the equipment arrives

Ponz

#10 Footbag

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

BackyardEOS - Canon Camera Control software - good for focusing and setting up aquisition routines. Very reasonably priced.

http://www.backyardeos.com/

EQMOD - Open Source ASCOM mount control software - Allows you to control your mount from your computer.

http://eq-mod.sourceforge.net/

PHD - PHD guiding is autoguiding software that will come with your autoguiding pkg. I would download the newest version from their website.

http://www.stark-lab...phdguiding.html

#11 groz

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:06 PM

The only problem with that Canon is that it doesn't have live view. This comes in really handy when you need to focus.


Buy a bahtinov mask for focus, works fine without live view. We started using them a long time ago, with a nikon d50 and a canon 350, neither had live view, and focus was a simple project using 10 second exposures. Nails it dead on, every time.

#12 terry59

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

Would you guys PLEASE help me with all of these acronyms?

Take a look above at proteus5 (Robert's) post. I must admit I'm clueless. Save me a couple of hours sifting through the forum, would ya? Or point me?

Backyard EOS
EQMOD
PHD

I have T-ring adapters for the Sony and the Canon.
I have an a/c adapter for the Sony and just ordered one for the Canon.

It would be nice to operate the rig on my laptop from inside the house.
I believe I will need a USB adapter for the ATLAS and an extremely long USB cable. A lengthy camera cable sounds more difficult???

I'm over at monoprice.com right now looking at cables.

Ponz


Backyard EOS - software to control/capture images for Canon

EQMOD - Ues with ASCOM, a cable and planetarium software instead of the hand controller.

PHD - Push Here Dummy

TetherPro - The only real choice for Nikon control/capture with Windws at the moment.

If you have a desktop, set the laptop up near the mount and control things from inside using remote desktop.

You will also need shutter control hardware and software for shots >30 sec

#13 proteus5

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

Ponz,

Sorry for the acronyms. Looks like Terry and Adam supplied the links. Thanks guys.

As for running everything from inside, here's how I do it. I set everything up out in the yard with a laptop next to the scope. Camera, Guider, and Atlas mount connect to 3 USB ports on the laptop. I then start may capture. I have Teamviewer http://www.teamviewe...m/en/index.aspx installed on the laptop, and on a desktop in my basement. I use that to remotely control the laptop at the scope and monitor my capture and guiding.(at times I also use Teamviewer on my Android tablet to monitor/control everthing. This is nice as I can put it on the table next to the couch while watching TV). Of course this requires that you have wifi and it reaches from your house to the yard. (or you could run an ethernet cable out to the laptop at the scope. That would be cheaper than the long active USB cables). I also have network attached storage (NAS) on my network and my pictures are saved directly there instead of the laptop as they are downloaded from the camera. This allows me to bring up each picture as it's captured on the desktop to check quality without overloading the laptop out at the scope. Hope this helps and gives you some ideas. Sorry for any previous confusion that I may have caused you.

#14 ponz

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

The photographer makes a much greater impact to image quality than the gear.


Agreed - for conventional photography. But what about for AP? The a900 does not shine at ISOs above 800.

Ponz

#15 ponz

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

OK - Regarding cables and adapters. Am I correct in assuming I'll require the following:

1) Fore sure - a USB to Serial Convert Cable ( DB9M / USB A Male) - 3FT to operate the mount, from laptop, in lieu of the hand controller.
2)EITHER a lengthy USB 2.0 A Male to A Female Active Extension/Repeater Cable or lengthy ethernet cable or the teamviewer software to operate the laptop remotely.

What am I overlooking?

Thanks so much for everyone's patience with me...

Ponz

#16 zerro1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

What am I overlooking?


Wait till you have your mount and laptop setup and a camera capturing images, before you add the complexity of remote operation. Not everything always works well and play's with others.

If at all possible; stay away from Serial to USB adapters because the have a pretty high failure rate and many just don't work well to begin with.

USB2EQ6 these are better alternatives to the conventional adapter

#17 ponz

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

Look what I located and would like to share!

http://www.monoprice..._id=10311&cs...

#18 zerro1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

Look what I located and would like to share!

http://www.monoprice..._id=10311&cs...


Do you understand that this product will not allow direct communication with the Atlas mount without getting the EQDIR module as well?

#19 ponz

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:05 PM

Look what I located and would like to share!

http://www.monoprice..._id=10311&cs...


Do you understand that this product will not allow direct communication with the Atlas mount without getting the EQDIR module as well?


This?

http://www.store.sho...mages/eqdir.jpg

#20 zerro1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

Yep

#21 zerro1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:40 PM

The "USB2EQ6" is basically the EQDIR and the Serial to USB converter in one unit

#22 ponz

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:49 PM

The "USB2EQ6" is basically the EQDIR and the Serial to USB converter in one unit


OK - So that is all I will need to replace the hand controller with laptop?The USB2EQ, correct?

#23 zerro1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Yes for the Atlas/EQ6 = USB2EQ6

I have an Atlas that I use EQMOD to control. I started with the USB2EQ6 cable, but I do a lot of mobile imaging so USB ports were at a premium and my laptop's(Panasonic Toughbook CF-74) have the COM1/RS232/DB9 port. Rather than add another power consuming item ,namely a powered USB hub, I switched to the EQDIR module with a serial cable.



#24 ponz

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:27 PM

Thanks - I trust EQ6 = EQG

http://www.telescope.../Orion-Atlas...

#25 zerro1

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

Thanks - I trust EQ6 = EQG

http://www.telescope.../Orion-Atlas...


branding and paint color is the only difference that I know of. The Atlas EQ-G is the Orion labled one and EQ6 is the Synta labled Skywatcher






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