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Hi everybody! New to astrophotography...

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#1 rbf3999

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

Hi guys...I'm hoping that I can get some answers here before I start beating my head on a wall :) I have purchased a Meade LX200GPS, and a Canon EOS 1000D(astro-modified) and all of the proper mounting gear within the last month or so. Needless to say, I have dropped a considerable amount of money on this hobby, but I don't have anybody that lives anywhere near me that knows how to do any of this, so I'm hoping I can get some answers to questions I have. Firstly, I see people online using LiveView to output to their laptops for astrophotography. I got this working with very little effort. Problem is, I cannot see anything! The output from LiveView does not resolve anything past perhaps magnitude 3. As long as I'm shooting Jupiter, I'm fine, but if I wish to photography anything deep sky, my output is straight black, so I don't even know where I'm pointed. Sure, I can take the camera out, and find what I want with an eyepiece, but the focus distance is totally different camera vs. eyepiece, so I have no idea whether i'm anywhere near focus for the camera, and as mentioned before, the screen shows straight black if there are no mag < 3 stars in the field. I see videos of people doing this using the output. Why is it not working for me? I'm using iso 1600, the highest it will go, and have tried several different capture settings to no avail. Any advice would be awesome, and please act like you're speaking to an idiot, because apparently you are :)

#2 guyroch

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:06 AM

Welcome to CN.

Live view is not meant to shoot deep sky targets; these requires long exposure of several minutes using BULB. Live view only shows a few milliseconds of data per frames so this is simply not enough.

As for finding your way with a connected DSLR... do you have a finder scope?

If not get this finder from Orion.
http://www.telescope...n-EZ-Finder-...

If you have a finder use it.

1) Put the finder on your scope
2) Put the eyepiece (not the camera) in your scope eyepiece holder.
3) Aim the scope at a bright star.
4) Center the star in the eyepiece field of view (FOV)
5) Adjust the finder so that the star is also centered in the finder scope

Your finder scope is now aligned with your scope optical train.

6) Remove the eyepiece (and diagonal) from the scope
7) Insert the camera.
8) Make sure the star is still centered in the finder scope, if not nudge your scope until it is. This should center the star on the camera as well since the finder is now perfectly aligned with the scope.
9) Adjust focus until you can resolved the star.

You may also want to consider a Bahtinov mask to achieve focus. They are wonderful and easy to use.

Oh, one last thing... I hope you have deep pockets... this hobby is addictive and there is no known cure... I call it AA for Astronomer Anonymous :)

Have fun,

Guylain

#3 fmhill

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:07 AM

Naaaw, your not an idiot!!! Looks to me that you've chosen well and are off to a good start...

I think your information about liveview's use ia a bit off the mark. Liveview has its purpose but you are right about it not showing much at lessor magnitudes. What you need to do is get a copy of BackyardEOS camera control software for your Canon, and learn how to use it. Join the http://groups.yahoo....up/BackyardEOS/

Users group, its a great place to find answers about anything involving astroimagng as well as about using BackyardEOS. Great group of friendly folks and run by the author of BYEOS, Guylain Rochon who is both a "advanced" amateur astronomer and a very clever software writer and quick to answer questions about BYEOS and its use...

#4 fmhill

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:09 AM

Boy, Guylain, your also a lot faster on the keyboard than I am... :jump:

#5 guyroch

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:22 AM

Guylain Rochon who is both a "advanced" amateur astronomer and a very clever software writer


I'm blushing now :bigblush:

Guylain

#6 Jeff2011

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:28 AM

I started out the hard way. Taking images with just the camera and no laptop. You will need to take test shots and not use liveview to frame your target if you can't see it in live view. The Orion nebula is a great first target since you can see the trapezium with live view. Also highly recommend the Bahtinov mask for focusing. If you focus with it on a bright star that is near your target first, then that will eliminate all doubts about the focus. You can make your own mask or buy one for about 20 bucks or so.

I have now acquired a netbook and have downloaded a trial of Backyard EOS. I hope to use it for the first time tonight if the weather permits. I think it is going to be a no brainer decision to purchase it. It is going to make my imaging so much easier.

#7 katie

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:45 AM

I have now acquired a netbook and have downloaded a trial of Backyard EOS. .... I think it is going to be a no brainer decision to purchase it. It is going to make my imaging so much easier.


It is a no-brainer to use as well.

I consider it the PHD (Push Here Dummy) of DSLR imaging software. I like it when smart people (Stark/Guylain) make it easy for my not-that-smart mind to make pretty pictures.

#8 rbf3999

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:21 AM

WOW! I am amazed at how quickly and thoroughly you folks came to my aid! Guylain, in your original post, I found myself thinking "why didn't I think of this?" LOL Awesome...that should make tonight's experience much more pleasant. I took some rather startling images with just a 100 dollar camera with an eyepiece superglued to it the other night :)
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#9 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:03 PM

I started out the hard way. Taking images with just the camera and no laptop.


It was only hard because of the camera you were using then. Plenty of the mirrorless micro four thirds cameras can do longer shutter durations in live view. That makes them perfect for doing focusing and centering of almost any DSO using only the camera's LCD.

The only reason I ever hook up a laptop to my scope is to guide it. Everything else is done with the camera only, No Bahtinov mask, no eyepieces, no Backyard EOS. Just put the camera on and start going right away.

#10 guyroch

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:17 PM

I took some rather startling images with just a 100 dollar camera with an eyepiece superglued to it the other night :)


What!!! No duct tape?

LOL

Guylain

#11 patrick2874

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:29 PM

awesome shots lol better than i have gotten i have a lx200 classic on a cg5asgt mount using i nikon d3100 but have not gotten that much detail on sat or jup yet.still need to buy a barlow but lunch money only comes so quick.lol

#12 rbf3999

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:05 PM

Patrick, it's easier than you might think. Just take high reasolution movie, at medium magnification, around F20-30, and use Registax and throw away most of your frames keeping only the top quality ones, then blow it up in photoshop and enhance the detail.

#13 shawnhar

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:31 PM

That's one hell of a start!

#14 Tom and Beth

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:41 PM

I have now acquired a netbook and have downloaded a trial of Backyard EOS. .... I think it is going to be a no brainer decision to purchase it. It is going to make my imaging so much easier.


It is a no-brainer to use as well.

I consider it the PHD (Push Here Dummy) of DSLR imaging software. I like it when smart people (Stark/Guylain) make it easy for my not-that-smart mind to make pretty pictures.


Amen to that! Gone are the old days of squinting into an EP for hours and hours, hoping you don't kick the tripod. With these two programs and a well aligned mount, the biggest issue is to make sure the battery doesn't die!

#15 mmalik

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:57 AM

Welcome to the forums; besides focusing on the bright star you could also use 5x and 10x zoom buttons at the back of the camera for fine focusing, if folks have not mentioned it already. Thx

Note: Some AP DSLR settings and processing instructions here...

#16 powerstroke01

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:05 AM

Welcome! Youve got the best astro forum on the net willing to help. :D

#17 fco_star

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:49 AM

WOW what a great start, I have been trying a shot like that and it didnt happen yet :(

#18 Nils_Lars

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:18 PM

Ya great opening round id say , DIY stuff rules!

Welcome to CN.

#19 rbf3999

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 04:43 PM

That backyard EOS software is outstanding! Thank you so much. I captured a nice 104. I had to borrow hubble's starfield, since mine trailed a bit, but the core 104 came out nice :)

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#20 guyroch

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:40 PM

That backyard EOS software is outstanding! Thank you so much. I captured a nice 104. I had to borrow hubble's starfield, since mine trailed a bit, but the core 104 came out nice :)


That sombrero galaxy is outstanding! Thank you so much for... well you know what.. the plug.

So the galaxy image is yours but the background star field is not? A nice blend.

Guylain

#21 Patrick

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:43 PM

Live view is not meant to shoot deep sky targets; these requires long exposure of several minutes using BULB. Live view only shows a few milliseconds of data per frames so this is simply not enough.



I take that to mean that live view only works on fairly bright stars, and therefore the Frame and Focus in BYEOS only really works when you have a bright star in the field. Even then, I'm not sure what the Frame part of that means since you can't see the object. I know I'm certainly missing something there, but what?

Patrick

#22 guyroch

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:53 PM

Live view is not meant to shoot deep sky targets; these requires long exposure of several minutes using BULB. Live view only shows a few milliseconds of data per frames so this is simply not enough.



I take that to mean that live view only works on fairly bright stars, and therefore the Frame and Focus in BYEOS only really works when you have a bright star in the field. Even then, I'm not sure what the Frame part of that means since you can't see the object. I know I'm certainly missing something there, but what?

Patrick


Patrick,

The framing process also involves slewing to nearby stars, center them, synch it with your planetarium software, repeat with a few nearby stars, then move to youy nearby target, take 1 minute shot (or less, just enough to see your target), nudge the scope for perfect framing, then move on to imaging.

F&F allows for both live view and still images. In F&F still images are small jpg instead of raw so download speed is much faster... and you can take bulb images as well for good framing so it definitely has its use case.

I'll be happy to have a more in-depth conversation around this topic but we'll need to move the conversation to the vendor forum.

I'm walking a fine line by posting here and I don't want to violate the TOS agreement.

Thank you

Guylain

#23 fmhill

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 04:45 PM

Patrick,
Maybe I can help. I am a regular user of BYEOS and for me Frame & Focus works great, its a powerful feature of the program.

However, you are correct that live view only shows bright objects and is of little use for framing. However, to the right of the image window in the lower section of the BYEOS display, I set the maximum ISO setting of my camera and then a exposure time that I know by experience gives a bright enough image so I can adjust the aim of the mount & telescope to give me the image framing I like. With my Canon 60Da camera the settings I use are ISO 6400, exposure 2 to 5 seconds is usually enough. Below the settings, the left most push-button allows you to make a single image or if you are focusing, the button to the right of it puts the imaging into a loop constantly refreshing the image being displayed... To cancel, in the upper left corner of the BYEOS window, under the counting wheel, click the abort button...

I find using the looping feature of Frame & Focus the solution to dim images in live view...

#24 Patrick

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:56 PM

Hi Frank,

you are correct that live view only shows bright objects and is of little use for framing.



Thanks for the explanation. I wasn't sure if it was me or the program that was a little unclear. The reason I say unclear is because when you go into Frame and Focus it automatically starts up Live View. For someone who doesn't understand that their camera won't pick up anything in Live View that is faint, it's a little confusing when nothing shows up on the screen.

to the right of the image window in the lower section of the BYEOS display, I set the maximum ISO setting of my camera and then a exposure time that I know by experience gives a bright enough image so I can adjust the aim of the mount & telescope to give me the image framing I like. With my Canon 60Da camera the settings I use are ISO 6400, exposure 2 to 5 seconds is usually enough. Below the settings, the left most push-button allows you to make a single image or if you are focusing, the button to the right of it puts the imaging into a loop constantly refreshing the image being displayed... To cancel, in the upper left corner of the BYEOS window, under the counting wheel, click the abort button...


Yes, I agree. I have used that feature and found it quite helpful. There's no question that BYEOS can be a handy tool.

Patrick

#25 patrick2874

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

will do thanks






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