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Best dslr

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#1 foste1cc

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:21 PM

Hey everyone. I'm new here and just starting to get into astrophotography. I'm looking into getting a nice, used dslr from amazon or similar stores. Price shouldn't matter since i'm intending to buy used. From what I've read so far, CCD sensors seem to be the way to go for deep sky photography, which is my intention. When i search for the best dslr's everyone seems to have a different opinion and most cameras coming up were CMOS. So I decided to go to the pros and experienced astronomers here on CN in hopes some of you can give me tips and info on the best type of camera for deep sky imaging. Thanks in advanced guys!

#2 jgraham

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:26 PM

'Best' is always debatable, but if'n it were me I'd look for any Canon from the XSi onwards. I picked up my T2i camera body from Amazon for $495.

#3 zambonikane

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

you can also check out the canon website and look at a referb. Sometimes they offer 20% off. I bought my t2i from them and it looked brand new.

#4 Nils_Lars

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

I think CMOS in the form of a Modded DSLR is the best bang for the buck , CCD as a mono is if you have no budget and money is not a concern.

#5 foste1cc

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:37 PM

thanks for the reply guys! it's a huge help so far!
Nils Lars - what do you mean by modded dslr? i'm very new to this all. would i have to physically modify the camera after i get it??

#6 Hap Griffin

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:53 PM

For best results in astrophotography, yes. Stock DSLR's are notoriously blind to the hydrogen-alpha wavelength...the light that gives red emission nebula their strong red color. You can see details at the link in my signature.

#7 mmalik

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

Pick something out of the following Canons as you search; you'll need to modify all except 'a' ones which come modified. The one I use is this...; imaging results... of the same here. Thx

Note: Here... is what a DSLR modification is all about.

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#8 nofxrx

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:34 PM

OP, if money is really no object, look at getting
1) Canon 5D Mark III
2) Canon 6D (proving to be one of the best new cameras available)
3) Canon 5D Mark II..
Literally, un-debatable best DSLR for AP...FOR THE $$$!(right now, MINT used ones sell for ~$1200) I had one for nearly 2yrs and it was by far the best DSLR i had owned til then....I am now using a Nikon D800 ;)

If you do want nearly as good performance, I would strongly recommend the
4) Canon 60D
Then the
5) Canon T4i/T3i/T2i

All depending on your personal needs. Mainly, do you plan to use the camera for daytime as well??

And yes, like Erik mentioned, you WILL want to get your camera modified eventually.

For lots of GREAT info ***HERE***

Honestly, if just starting out, I would NOT put all of your $ into the camera...I would get a nice MODIFIED T2i/T3i, and then spend the rest of your budget on a GOOD GEM mount. Like the Orion Atlas EQ-G, Celestron CGEM / Celestron CGEM-DX, iOptron iEQ45, etc...
And then a nice imaging scope, like the AstroTech AT8IN, or AstroTech AT65EDQ, etc


Just examples...

And also a guide cam/CCD will be NEEDED, eventually...like the Orion SSAG AutoGuider, or the new QHY-5 Mono Planetary/AutoGuider CCD

If I was starting over, and had ~$5k in budget, I would no doubt go with:
Modified Canon 6D, AT8IN AND AT65EDQ, QHY-5 Mono, and CGEM-DX.

If less, I would substitute the Canon 6D for a T2i/T3i, saving ~$1400+..and then pick ONE scope. I would NOT lower my mount quality/cap just to fit the budget.
Get a good quality mount and build the rest around that...and also what you want to image..
Like if you want to shoot DSOs(Nebula, galaxies, clusters, etc), or if you want to do planetary imaging..etc..


I think maybe we should know your approximate budget..it would help in giving advice.. :)

I love spending other people's $$ :grin:

Cheers, and good luck!



#9 Footbag

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

You asked a tough question. You said your new so I'm just going to give you my general advice.

You asked what the best DSLR you can buy is and said money is no object because you are buying used. Well, with experience you can take amazing images with nothing more then a $300 Canon XS. A $3000 DSLR will allow you to take a slightly better image. Yes, only slightly better. Some high-end DSLR's have full-frame sensors which are larger. This gives you a larger FOV in your images, but also requires better optics.

Most use Canon DSLR's because there is more software and information out there for them. In general, the newer models have lower noise and that is what we want. Anything with "live view" feature will work, but I'd recommend something from the T1i. Mostly because used they're at a sweet spot. You could buy a used modded camera.

In regards to modding cameras, we remove one of the internal glass filters in the camera and replace it with a filter that allows H-alpha light to pass through to the sensor. This is for imaging red nebula. For most galaxies and many planetary nebula, this is not required. This is something you can DIY if you think you can handle it, or a vendor will do it for you. Or you don't have to do it, and just stay away from H-alpha targets. There's lots of other stuff up there.

When you modify the camera, it cannot be used for normal terrestrial photography without using a custom white balance. This is one additional step you will have to take for daytime photography. Yhe default white balance settings will no longer work. Or you can buy a filter that changes the WB of the modified camera.

All of that said, what is more important then the camera is a good stable tracking mount. That is the most important thing in astrophotography. You will need a mount that can easily handle all of the weight you put on it whether it's just a camera and small wide-field lens or a 20" RC. If you don't have a mount, then that is something to consider. As mounts get better and more expensive their precision and capacity increases.

You didn't mention whether you have a telescope or lens in mind either. But that would factor into the answer as well. If you already had great optics in mind, it may be a reason to go to a full frame $$$ camera. But if you don't then, I'd want to hang onto some budget for that.

This hobby redefines expensive, so I'm reluctant to suggest spending a lot of money on something when you may get better images spending it elsewhere. But, if you want to start taking some nice deep sky images, the camera is only a small factor. So rather then buying a high end DSLR, I'd put it into the mount.

#10 TopherTheME

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

I'm going to go against the grain and suggest a look into the Pentax K-5. Unmatched noise and dynamic range performance. Unquestionable superior image quality to any APS-C Canon or Nikon. Its also lighter than most of the competitors, is weather resistant, and cold proof. The only downside is that you wouldn't be able to use BYEOS.

#11 foste1cc

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:29 AM

GREAT advice! thanks for the input! all this information is helping out a TON!! :cool:

#12 foste1cc

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:39 AM

i have up to a couple grand max at the moment. wasn't looking to spend it all right now. was hoping a used camera wouldn't go for more than 2 or $300. Although the mount you bring up is great advice! i think i should defiantly invest in a new one as well. I have a celestron SCT 8SE with the stock mount. Would this mount for sure need to be replaced? or is it good enough to get by for starting off astrophotography?

#13 SteveRosenow

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:04 AM

Gonna suggest the Nikon D5100.

It bested Canon's EOS 5D MkII in noise performance and light sensitivity.

I've taken a host of photos with the D5100 I own, including a photo of the Great Orion Nebula with it that just recently achieved high-ranking status in Google Search results and ranked 45th out of 500 photos on Flickr's "Explore" in terms of photos uploaded on January 16th, and a photo of the Horsehead/Flame Nebula duo that made Astrobin's Facebook "pic-of-the-day".

Nikon right now is making huge waves in AP.

#14 bouffetout

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:48 AM

I bought a Canon T3 ( 1100D )$550 taxes inluded , and had it modified $250. So for $775 I have a 12.2 MP ready for astrophotography. The Canon 60D sells for over $1300 and does'nt offer that much more for the price. Live view is a must and working with EOS utility on a PC is just awesome.
Good luck !

#15 carlstronomy

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

I am just starting out in this field myself so can not offer the experience these guys can, but I bought a Canon 450d for $250 second hand with only 6000 actuations. There is so much to learn at the start getting the best probably is not that important. The money saved can be used on a guide camera and scope which you will also need the this type of photography. My 450d is giving me great results and as yet I have not modded this one and probably wont I will wait for my next upgrade. Sometimes a view from another person starting out can help a little.
Have fun along the way and the people here on this site are always here to help.

Carl

#16 Gary Honis

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:43 AM

Over time I have done testing of certain Canon DSLR models for dark frame noise and sensitivity and have the test results along with comparisons posted here:

http://garyhonis.com...comparison.html

Two popular camera models for astro imaging at this time are the T2i (550D) and the T3i (600D). If an articulating screen is important to you, the 600D (T3i) has that feature. For planetary imaging, the 550D (T2i) has an edge over the 600D (T3i) in that it can capture 640X480 video in crop mode at 60 fps versus 30 fps for the 600D (T3i). I own both cameras purchased as refurbished. Adorama, B&H Photo and Canon Direct are good sources for refurbished Canon models.

As a summary of test results, for a recent presentation that I made, I have a ranking of cameras considering noise and features. The camera models are in three groups for each with the best being at the top as shown below:

Attached Files



#17 rflinn68

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

I'm happy with our T3 (1100D). Just sent it to Gary Honis for the Baader mod. Some of the extra features like an artulating screen arent needed if you have BackYardEOS. LOVE BackYardEOS!

#18 nganga

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

Hey everyone. I'm new here and just starting to get into astrophotography. I'm looking into getting a nice, used dslr from amazon or similar stores. Price shouldn't matter since i'm intending to buy used. From what I've read so far, CCD sensors seem to be the way to go for deep sky photography, which is my intention. When i search for the best dslr's everyone seems to have a different opinion and most cameras coming up were CMOS. So I decided to go to the pros and experienced astronomers here on CN in hopes some of you can give me tips and info on the best type of camera for deep sky imaging. Thanks in advanced guys!


Hello, foste1cc,

As you may have gathered already, there is no one BEST dslr for AP. There may be some BEST BUYS, but that is a budget-dependent thing. One of the absolute masters of dslr AP still uses a T2i.

Any one of the newer crop of dslrs will do. Most use Canon for the same reason that a lot of people drive Hondas and Toyotas: proven reliable commodities with a large user base.

Just get it modified, and get a reliable mount, as someone has already mentioned.

Clem

#19 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:55 PM

I am going to mention another camera simply because no one else will. Check out the Panasonic GH3 mirror-less micro four thirds camera. It does in-camera RAW stacking that reduces noise which no other camera offers.

http://www.dpreview....anasonic_dmcgh3

It can also do in camera HDR stacking that eliminates noise as well as giving the perception of 6 stops more dynamic range.

It is quite good up to ISO 12,800 and actually usable up to ISO 25,600 when you use the in camera stacking.

It also has wireless built in so you can stream a live view from the camera to any Android or iPhone.

In addition it has 1080p @ 60 FPS recording and HDMI output with or without icons that can be useful when demonstrating in front of a large crowd.

It can be modified but that will cost you about $300.

Everyone else will mention Canon cameras for good reason. They are cheap and readily available on the used market. However, if you truly want a great camera that can produce fantastic images in-camera the GH3 is worth looking at.

At $1300 it isn’t cheap. However, it has no direct competition in the wireless area as of right now. It also makes one heck of a good everyday camera since the camera and lenses are so much lighter than other systems.

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#20 foste1cc

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

Man oh man im loving all these comments! Its great to hear so many different opinions. I've been glued to my computer every second i get looking up all the cameras you guys are mentioning. I'll for sure look into the gh3. Please keep the comments and opinions coming! I really appreciate them all!

#21 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

i have up to a couple grand max at the moment. wasn't looking to spend it all right now. was hoping a used camera wouldn't go for more than 2 or $300. Although the mount you bring up is great advice! i think i should defiantly invest in a new one as well. I have a celestron SCT 8SE with the stock mount. Would this mount for sure need to be replaced? or is it good enough to get by for starting off astrophotography?


At F10 and over 2000mm you will have to guide unless you use a focal reducer. However, using a focal reducer with a large sensor camera usually leads to coma issues.

Also you won’t be able to take long exposures with that mount. You will get field rotation issues if you go for several minute exposures.

You would be much better off spending your money on a fast scope(Low F number) and a GEM instead of spending a bunch on the camera. Spending the money on guiding will help also although that isn’t necessarily a requirement.

#22 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

If you are looking for a camera in the sub $300 range then look at the Panasonic G3 instead of the GH3.

The G3 really isn't anywhere near as good as the GH3 or most of the Canon's. However, they are dirt cheap on ebay($220-$280) and they can be modified easily.

http://www.ebay.com/...40&_nkw=Pana...

The G3 offers up to 4 minute and 16 second exposures and it has the lossless video crop mode that is essential for most solar system objects.

#23 Alex McConahay

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:53 PM

As you pick from that list, be sure to get something with LiveView and one-cable connections. This means, avoid the older cameras.....

Alex

#24 Tonk

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:15 PM

ISO 12,800 and actually usable up to ISO 25,600


Which is pointless for AP if this is over the unity gain of the camera - quoting the ISO nearest unity gain (1 photon => 1 ADU) would be useful

#25 TopherTheME

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:18 PM

As a couple others have stated I think you should be putting more attention to getting a new mount and scope rather than focusing on the camera. The 8se will probably be rather frustrating for you to use and you will outgrow its AP capabilities rather quickly. As far as cheap cameras go, I think just about any good used DSLR under $300 would work fine for just starting out.






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