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Astrophotography and Sketching >> DSLR & Digital Camera Astro Imaging & Processing

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foste1cc
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Reged: 01/06/13

Loc: Armada, MI
Best dslr
      #5633601 - 01/20/13 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!

Edited by foste1cc (01/20/13 05:31 PM)


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jgraham
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5633608 - 01/20/13 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.

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zambonikane
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: jgraham]
      #5633621 - 01/20/13 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.

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Nils_Lars
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: jgraham]
      #5633626 - 01/20/13 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.

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foste1cc
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Nils_Lars]
      #5633632 - 01/20/13 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??


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Hap Griffin
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5633852 - 01/20/13 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.

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mmalik
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5633876 - 01/20/13 08:17 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

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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nofxrx
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5633904 - 01/20/13 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 $$

Cheers, and good luck!



Edited by fishonkevin (01/21/13 01:15 AM)


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Footbag
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mmalik]
      #5633938 - 01/20/13 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.


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TopherTheME
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Footbag]
      #5634004 - 01/20/13 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.

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foste1cc
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: nofxrx]
      #5634385 - 01/21/13 06:29 AM

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

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foste1cc
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: nofxrx]
      #5634395 - 01/21/13 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?

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SteveRosenow
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5634417 - 01/21/13 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.


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bouffetout
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5634438 - 01/21/13 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 !


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carlstronomy
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: bouffetout]
      #5634533 - 01/21/13 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


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Gary Honis
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Reged: 12/15/04

Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5634585 - 01/21/13 09:43 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

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/DSLRcomparison.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:


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rflinn68
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Gary Honis]
      #5635069 - 01/21/13 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!

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nganga
super member


Reged: 03/16/08

Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5635132 - 01/21/13 02:51 PM

Quote:

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


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mpgxsvcd
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The GH3 is worth looking at. It is great for AP! new [Re: nganga]
      #5635253 - 01/21/13 03:55 PM Attachment (16 downloads)

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.com/products/panasonic/slrs/panasonic_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 isnít 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.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (01/21/13 03:58 PM)


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foste1cc
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Reged: 01/06/13

Loc: Armada, MI
Re: The GH3 is worth looking at. It is great for AP! new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5635263 - 01/21/13 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!

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mpgxsvcd
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5635266 - 01/21/13 04:05 PM

Quote:

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 wonít 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 isnít necessarily a requirement.


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mpgxsvcd
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Reged: 12/21/11

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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5635276 - 01/21/13 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/sch/Digital-Cameras-/31388/i.html?_from=R40&_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.


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Alex McConahay
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mmalik]
      #5635338 - 01/21/13 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


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Tonk
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5635380 - 01/21/13 05:15 PM

Quote:

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


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TopherTheME
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5635568 - 01/21/13 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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jhkayakr
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: TopherTheME]
      #5635594 - 01/21/13 07:32 PM

I'm quite happy with my Canon 6D.

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mpgxsvcd
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5635824 - 01/21/13 10:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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




It isn't pointless if you are unable to guide and the camera can do in-camera stacking to remove the excess noise.

I am not saying that shooting at these ISOs is ideal for all situations. However, for the case of an ALT AZ mount like the OP has you would need as fast a scope as possible and the ability to shoot an extremely high ISO.


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TopherTheME
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5635883 - 01/21/13 10:48 PM

Quote:

It isn't pointless if you are unable to guide and the camera can do in-camera stacking to remove the excess noise.

I am not saying that shooting at these ISOs is ideal for all situations. However, for the case of an ALT AZ mount like the OP has you would need as fast a scope as possible and the ability to shoot an extremely high ISO.




+1. This would make a lot of sense for someone on a budget interested in AP.


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Ducky62
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: TopherTheME]
      #5635983 - 01/21/13 11:41 PM

I've been shopping for a dSLR primarily for non-astro use. I have no astrophotography experience but as a cheapskate the cheapest dSLR deals I've seen are a T2i refurb w/ kit lens direct from Canon for just under $300 (probably over with tax and shipping)and a new Pentax K-01 mirrorless w/40mm prime lens from Amazon for $315 shipped. Neither deal is available right now but might come up again. I ordered the Pentax which has the same sensor as the K-5 mentioned upthread and can mount almost any Pentax film camera lens. I am going to play around with the Pentax for astro use.Once again, I was just looking for a cheap good camera and not intending it for dedicated AP.

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Tonk
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Ducky62]
      #5636212 - 01/22/13 04:24 AM

Quote:

It isn't pointless if you are unable to guide and the camera can do in-camera stacking to remove the excess noise.




I don't think you understand that once the ISO amplifier is converting the signal due to 1 photon to 1 digital unit then there are absolutely no gains to be made AT ALL going beyond this. All you are doing after this is wasting dynamic range within the digital storage and filling the gaps with random noise.

The other thing is the ISO amplifier has amplified the signal and the noise recorded by the sensor equally so the "excess" noise is a fallisy (bar the small amount of noise introduced by the amplifier) - so you still have the same signal/noise ratio.

Quote:

ability to shoot an extremely high ISO.




ISO setting does not change the sensitivity of your camera - maybe this is the origin of your misunderstanding.

ISO is all about mapping an analogue signal into a range of digital values. Say we have a 4 bit camera (for arguments sake) that records 16 different brightness levels. Say we set the camera to a very high ISO that has the camera working at twice unity gain so 1 photon is converted to the value 2, 2 photons to the value 4. You will see that only half the digital space is actually filled (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16). Now we add our noise say at (+/- 1) level to peturb these values and we end up noting that all values 1 to 16 are now apparently present if we record values over the whole image.

Hence it is entirely dillusional that cranking up ISO beyond this point (unity gain) is actually any help.

Using the in-camera stacking feature this way is just patching over a mistake with the ISO selection - sorry.

Now in-camera stacking at unity gain and below IS a benefit and I'd buy into that. Sure that camera may be good - but its not because of the super high ISO


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Footbag
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5636436 - 01/22/13 09:06 AM

Tonk is right about this. After unity gain, there is zero benefit in raising iso. In fact, if you are calibrating in post processing, it is introducing more noise and lessening dynamic range. You would be much better off shooting at unity gain, and selectively amplifying a post calibrated image in photoshop.

But, I can think of one place that high iso may be handy. If you have no intention of post processing, stacking or calibrating then you may choose to use it. Or if you are using a DSLR for video astronomy, it may be effective. The point is, your final image comes SOTC(straight out of the camera)

Otherwise, you are best imaging at unity gain for your camera, then doing your calibration, then doing your post processing.

Edited by Footbag (01/22/13 09:53 AM)


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mpgxsvcd
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5636447 - 01/22/13 09:10 AM

Quote:

Quote:

It isn't pointless if you are unable to guide and the camera can do in-camera stacking to remove the excess noise.




I don't think you understand that once the ISO amplifier is converting the signal due to 1 photon to 1 digital unit then there are absolutely no gains to be made AT ALL going beyond this. All you are doing after this is wasting dynamic range within the digital storage and filling the gaps with random noise.

Now in-camera stacking at unity gain and below IS a benefit and I'd buy into that. Sure that camera may be good - but its not because of the super high ISO





What you said technically is absolutely correct. That is absolutely true that increasing ISO past the point you referred to as ďunity gainĒ will decrease dynamic range and increase noise excessively. However, the stacking process in the GH3 reduces the noise significantly.

In addition that mode can compress the dynamic range of the scene by up to 6 stops. Now this isnít a true 6 stop gain in dynamic range. It is a software solution that basically compresses the scenes dynamic range for up to 6 stops. It is not the ideal method. However, it is very affective when you have limitations on the shutter durations you can use.

And that is where you neglected to factor in every parameter that matters. In a perfect world cost is no issue so you can say that everyone should guide, and buy a rock solid mount, and have a fully corrected large scope.

In reality we have budgets and in order to stay in those budgets we have to make compromises. In this situation shutter duration is going to be his biggest limitation. He simply isnít going to be able to track for very long without buying an entirely new setup.

The GH3 can give him a solution that will work with his current setup. It can do clean images at ISO 25,600 in seconds instead of minutes or stacks that take hours. Now they are not going to equal those hour long images because of the losses you mentioned. However, if he can get to 80%-90% of those images in 1/3rd the cost I would consider that a wise purchase.

The biggest issue right now is that most people in AP wonít dare to step outside the box and try something entirely different than what they are accustomed too. They stick with what they have been using for years and donít dare to try an entirely new approach.

The solutions I recommended are not the best all-around solutions. They have many limitations. However, for his specific situation that is about the only thing in his budget that is going to give him the ability to do good solar system objects along with good DSO images without changing his mount and perhaps scope.

Although your technical explanation was correct it really isnít helpful for his situation. If he tries to achieve the ideal parameters that you recommend with his current equipment he isnít going to be satisfied with the results. In addition, buying new equipment may or may not fit within his budget.

All I did was recommend two solutions that could work within his budget. The GH3 could work with his current equipment and the G3 is cheap enough where he could buy a new mount and scope and still stay within his budget(Although a T2i would probably fit that scenario just as well).

I didnít see any recommendations from you that would help him at all.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (01/22/13 09:16 AM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Footbag]
      #5636450 - 01/22/13 09:13 AM

Quote:

Tonk is right about this. After unity gain, there is zero benefit in raising iso. In fact, if you are calibrating in post processing, it is introducing more noise and lessening dynamic range. You would be much better off shooting at unity gain, and selectively amplifying a post calibrated image in photoshop.

But, I can think of one place that high iso may be handy. If you have no intention of post processing, stacking or calibrating then you may choose to use it. Or if you are using a DSLR for video astronomy, it may be effective.

Otherwise, you are best imaging at unity gain for your camera, then doing your calibration, then doing your post processing.




If you have tracking errors or field rotation nothing in Photoshop is going to fix that. The point here is that you will trade a little noise and a little less dynamic range to resolve the limitations of your mount.

I never said that what it does is not a lossy process. However, it is the only camera that can do it in-camera so that makes it very useful for people that have mount limitations.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (01/22/13 09:16 AM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636487 - 01/22/13 09:33 AM

You are missing the point. Nobody is suggesting lengthening the exposure and lowering the iso. Just lowering the iso. You can do all of the amplification in post processing. The key is to begin with the purest signal. This is what unity gain provides.

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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Footbag]
      #5636535 - 01/22/13 10:03 AM

Quote:

You are missing the point. Nobody is suggesting lengthening the exposure and lowering the iso. Just lowering the iso. You can do all of the amplification in post processing. The key is to begin with the purest signal. This is what unity gain provides.




Yes that is correct unless at unity gain a portion of the signal(either the dark areas or bright areas are clipped). Then you would have to use multiple images in order to be able to lift or pull down those areas in post processing.

That post processing can either happen in-camera or on a computer. I was simply providing a solution that is simpler in the fact that it does that post processing in camera and does it well. Stacking images on a computer is easy and cheap. Stacking and combining multiple exposures with different durations isnít always as straight forward and isnít always free on a computer.

The solutions I suggested are not the end all be all. They are just one approach that puts most of the processing solution in the camera.

I am not sure what ISO is the unity gain for the Canon cameras. I can only assume it is ISO 1600 since that is what ISO everyone uses. How many dark objects will get clipped at ISO 1600 with F10 or even F6.3 with a focal reducer and less than 1 minute exposures?


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636570 - 01/22/13 10:17 AM

Quote:

I never said that what it does is not a lossy process. However, it is the only camera that can do it in-camera so that makes it very useful for people that have mount limitations.




I'm wondering what real advantage exists between in camera "stacking" and doing it in software where the options are vast. Does the camera support Entropy Weighted, Sigma Kappa, Median, Min/max excluded or just average?

Second no matter what guiding you are using any mis alignment that the mount has from polar alignment accumulates over time (even if the stars in each frame are guided OK).

So I'm doubtful that frame registeration is going to hold say across the 6 hour imaging runs which I like to do. How does this camera cope with that?

So I'd rather collect all my frames and calibrate, register and stack after the event. I doubt any camera has the where-with-all to know how to any of this.

Or am I misunderstanding and by "stacking" do you actually mean in-camera noise reduction with an automaticaly taken dark????


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5636605 - 01/22/13 10:32 AM

The very little info I can find on this out in webland leads me to believe that its for HDR (high dynamic range) images - automagically take images at different exposures to compress into one - gets done for you.

Not sure how this helps with real stacking for DSO images other than a couple of the usual suspects like M42


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5636639 - 01/22/13 10:56 AM Attachment (24 downloads)

There are two modes on the GH3. One is an HDR mode that takes three separate images. The ISO is fixed but you can select up to ISO 25,600. You can also select whether it increases the duration by 1,2,or 3 stops up and down.

Now that is not all that this mode does. It also subtracts out the differences in noise from those three combined images. In addition it also has a setting to turn Aligning on or off.

I have no way of knowing what the algorithm is for this mode. It could be using anything. I donít contend that this mode does better stacking than a computer could do. However, it does do a better job with it than any other camera since it stacks the images to reduce noise as well as doing the Aligning and HDR process.

This is the mode that I think would help the OP the most with objects that are dark and have something bright near them. Orion is the best example but even the Horse Head has a bright star next to it.

The other mode has some limitations that make it not as useful for the OP but could be very intriguing for someone who is guiding. This mode allows you to stack an infinite number of RAW images in camera.

You have two choices here. You can either have it stack the RAW images to increase exposure. It is basically just summing the exposures. Or you can have it stack the RAW images to reduce noise just like our software programs do. Again I have no idea what algorithm it uses.

The RAW stacking mode is limited to ISO 1600 or less. I presume this is because that is the unity gain point for the GH3 like the Canon cameras. However, I have no evidence that supports that assumption.

The RAW stacking mode does not align the images so like you said you could not have any tracking errors at all. Guiding would probably eliminate this issue.

Here is an example of a single 8 second ISO 12,800 RAW image and then the equivalent stacked in camera HDR image below that.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (01/22/13 11:20 AM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636641 - 01/22/13 10:57 AM Attachment (28 downloads)

Stacked HDR image ISO 12,800

Edited by mpgxsvcd (01/22/13 10:57 AM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5636650 - 01/22/13 11:05 AM

Quote:


Or am I misunderstanding and by "stacking" do you actually mean in-camera noise reduction with an automatically taken dark????




No. In camera noise reduction dark frames is a completely separate option from any of the stacking modes on the GH3. You can do the dark frame subtraction in-camera with any of the stacking modes. However, they are both completely separate options and no I am not confusing them like your emoticon implies.


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636665 - 01/22/13 11:15 AM

Part of the problem is that you are expecting a novice user like the OP to want to get the absolute best image possible regardless of price. You may like to take ď6 hour imaging runsĒ but I think that is a little optimistic for the OP and his current equipment.

Judging by your equipment list I donít think any of those items will fit into the OPís budget. Your scope alone exceeds his entire budget. The entire setup I suggested would come in under his budget.

However, for someone who is guiding the RAW stacking process could be very interesting. I donít guide so I havenít played with it as much for AP. However, I have tested it indoors with a single spot light pointing at the camera to simulate extreme dynamic range.

It can do some really interesting things since it will stack images from entirely different exposure durations. You can also use the mode that reduces noise to completely eliminate noise. However, noise really isnít an issue at ISO 1600. I donít start to notice it until about ISO 6400.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (01/22/13 11:21 AM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636694 - 01/22/13 11:32 AM

Quote:

Part of the problem is that you are expecting a novice user like the OP to want to get the absolute best image possible regardless of price.




The $300 camera you suggested is cheaper then the $300 camera I suggested?


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Footbag]
      #5636749 - 01/22/13 12:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Part of the problem is that you are expecting a novice user like the OP to want to get the absolute best image possible regardless of price.




The $300 camera you suggested is cheaper then the $300 camera I suggested?




Yes the G3 is ($220-$280) like I said. That is cheaper than $300. Is it not? Significantly cheaper than $300 in my opinion.


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636780 - 01/22/13 12:21 PM

Once again guys, thank you so much for all the information. Seems like i may have a bad setup for AP? I just bought my scope last year and haven't even got to do any AP with it yet, but i saw in the manual it said its good for AP. I have the celestron nexstar 8se SCT. Stock mount, i bought a f/10-f/6.3 focal reducer and the necessary trings and t adapters to hook up my buddies dslrs to my scope. I just would like to purchase my own dslr for a cheap price in hopes of starting out AP. So am i pretty much screwed for starting out AP with the setup i have now? Or is it good enough to at least get decent pictures to start out with?

Also- i plan on building my own wedge for this mount. I've looked up many videos and sites on how to to do it, and since i work in a machine shop i figured i have all the right tools and measuring devices to make an accurate wedge. So with a wedge attached to the setup i have now be ok for starting off AP? I was also looking into getting orions cheap auto guider/ star tracker for a couple hundred $.

Would a tracker and wedge make up for some of the disadvantages in AP in my setup? I dont have many add-ons to my scope so there's little weight on the mount besides the scope and camera. Basically im looking for a way or loop hole around all the disadvantages for my setup without buying a new scope or mount (for the time being that is..)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636782 - 01/22/13 12:21 PM

The Canon XS and the G3 are both in the same price class. If you can find a used G3 in that price range, you can find a used XS just the same.

The OP originally asked what the "best" DSLR he could get for AP was. I advised him not to spend a lot on a high end camera as an entry level camera would do. Spending more on the mount and less on the camera is always good advice, and is something many newcomers don't full understand.

You seem to be advocating a camera based on a single convenience feature, which will lose it's usefulness once the user progresses beyond being a beginner.


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Footbag]
      #5636879 - 01/22/13 01:07 PM

Quote:


You seem to be advocating a camera based on a single convenience feature, which will lose it's usefulness once the user progresses beyond being a beginner.




I agree that the mount is most important, the scope is next, and the camera is a close third. However, that doesnít mean that a convenience features donít matter on a camera.

There is a lot more the GH3 can do than the things I have mentioned already. It is just that some of these things may or may not apply to the OP. He listed a broad term(DSO) for what he wanted to see. I would like to hear exactly what he is expecting to see.

Does he want to just see bright things like Orionís Nebula, the clusters, WhirlPool, RingÖ.etc. Or does he want to be able to point his scope at whatever dark object he wants and see it right then and there?

Here are the reasons I bought the GH3 for AP. I value being able to point my scope at just about any reasonable object(About Mag 12 or less) anyone asks for and show them what it looks like in color in less than 3 minutes above everything else.

However, I also like being able to stack just a few images and get good results without spending hours on a single subject. I value quantity of objects over absolute quality. That doesnít mean I donít want quality. I just donít want to spend and exorbitant amount of time eeking out the last few percent.

Here are the things that the GH3 can do that I have not found in any other single camera. If the OP is interested in these things then the GH3 might be worth looking at.

1. Being able to shoot at ISO 25,600 and not display exorbitant noise or overly aggressive noise reduction.

2. In camera RAW stacking including being able to stack images from different sections of space to create impossible shots like Orionís passing in front of the moon. Simply a novelty I want to try.

3. HDMI output at 1080p @ 60 FPS with the ability to have all of the information icons on screen or not have them at the flip of a switch.

4. Wireless capabilities to stream a semi live view to a tablet or phone within wireless range. Also be able to instantly transfer images to the tablet or phone straight from the camera.

5. 18 megapixels not because I want that much resolution. Instead I want it for the great cropped video mode for solar system objects.

6. For my telescope something in the 4/3Ē chip size is ideal. That allows me to get a full moon and Andromeda in a single frame and still be able to see the smaller objects as well.

7. 1080p Video @ 60 Frames Per second. A must for solar system objects.

8. A crop sensor mode that will allow me to get the equivalent field of view of adding a 4x barlow for video and at least a 2x for stills. I want it to be able to do the lossless cropping in real time live view.

9. At least a 10x instant crop mode for accurate focusing.

10. Adjustable shutter duration from 1/4000 of a second through at least 1 hour.

11. Real-time live view with shutter durations up to 8 seconds for accurate centering of dark objects.

12. In camera HDR capabilities to simulate an increase of dynamic range from 12 stops to up to 18 stops.

13. A fully electronic first and second curtain shutter to completely eliminate all shutter vibrations.

14. A built-in and fully customizable intervalometer. That would allow me to select any shutter duration and interval that I wanted without using a computer.

15. A flip out large LCD screen and a built-in viewfinder.

16. Incredible battery life. At least be able to shoot continuous images all night long on a single charge.

17. Complete weather sealing for those hot and humid nights where dew forms on everything.

18. Ability to modify the filter to be full spectrum.


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5636897 - 01/22/13 01:15 PM

Quote:

Also- i plan on building my own wedge for this mount.




That would go a long way to sorting out the first issue.

I would add that with a wedge you might consider a mounting bracket to piggy back a camera with a regular lens. I.e. don't actually shoot through the scope - yet. Starting out widefield is a much better option at the beginning as tracking errors and such are much more forgiving. There are plaenty of widefield targets to keep you going for a couple of years at least


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LeCarl
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5637930 - 01/22/13 10:45 PM

ah... new cam?

I paid my used camera:
my t2i last year 380$w/ship (sold for 420$)
my xs paid 170$ w/ship on ebay (sold 230$)
my 2 t3i for +-400$ each w/ship very used...

t3i genuine canon battery last 6h+ in summer
(2h on winter night at -20 and less)
Chinese battery cost 4-6$ and last 3/4 of the canon ones...

I have difficulty to think about buying brand new cam to open it and remove part, used is fine, astro object don't see scratch on body of the cams... mine have holes, cover removed, a lot of tripod scratch on it... metal tape

Physics say,
aps-c is way better than 4/3, and full is way better than aps-c

in cam processing??? why... it takes same time as separate anyway, then it save no time, it's better to have separate ones and can play with, fine details is in noise... (for camera)

Iso performance, Tonk say all truth, you must find the 1:1 ratio,... all about steps in ADC converter...

For me for DSO, to the deepest or not:
XSI minimum(found for 200-250$ used), t3i better(400-450 used), 6D seem wow, good big pixels microlens, 20mpx is more than enough... over-resolution, but can't find new used one, I leave time to develop software and filters...

xs and older cam is not as good... (need more skills for same good picture, yes, it mean you can do something with skills, but faster and easier is better, particularly for only 30-50$ more...)

I never seen a real dead canon camera yet, try to find one on ebay haha! moisture and cold... remove the battery and dry, never have been problem for dslr, have fun...!
see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1tTBncIsm8

Edited by LeCarl (01/22/13 10:56 PM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: LeCarl]
      #5637952 - 01/22/13 11:00 PM

I guess that Orion is a good valid target to test astromaterial?... it can be imaged in cellphone?! ;p

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Re: Best dslr new [Re: LeCarl]
      #5637981 - 01/22/13 11:14 PM

Quote:

xs and older cam is not as good... (need more skills for same good picture, yes, it mean you can do something with skills, but faster and easier is better, particularly for only 30-50$ more...)




But the XS is "newer" tech...I think you are talking about the XTi, which did not have LiveView and required a separate cable to shutter release...
I think you should have said/meant: "Anything older than the XS is not as good", meaning it does NOT include the XS in the statement...but; "XS and older" means the XS is included. And it shouldnt be..imo

XS has LiveView, no amp glow, is full controlled with a single USB, etc..
That is all we need for AP

Am I missing something?
Just trying to make sure no one gets the wrong impression about the "line" between 'old' tech and newer tech..

Only "negative" about the XS is the 12bit ADC...not a big deal at all imho


Cheers


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: LeCarl]
      #5638007 - 01/22/13 11:25 PM

Orion itself is a big constellation. Hard to tell how a camera would do on a typical deep space object just because it can image a constellation. However, if you are referring to the Orion Nebula--this is a large, spectacular, bright object....but it contains such a wide range of brightnesses that it is hard to image well in one shot.

Alex


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foste1cc
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5639204 - 01/23/13 04:32 PM

well, you guys convinced me to save up for a GEM. But in the mean time i'd like to buy my first DSLR. I'm pretty much stuck between the Cannon T2i and T3i. I found good deals on both of them online for only a few hundred each, so since i don't have any cameras of my own yet, i'd like to buy one of these cameras to start out with since they're cheap. I noticed the T2i has that in-camera stacking ability, but that the T3i has a TON more resolutions and more image ratios, as well as digital zoom (3-10x). I'm stuck between these two as of now, although i really appreciate all the input you guys have been able to give me on other cameras. but this is just my starter camera for now, i'll upgrade later on down the road..
SO WHICH DO YOU GUYS SUGGEST?? T2i or T3i


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5639269 - 01/23/13 05:19 PM

Quote:

noticed the T2i has that in-camera stacking ability




Really!? Sure its not in-camera noise reduction - different thing.

Quote:

but that the T3i has a TON more resolutions and more image ratios, as well as digital zoom (3-10x).




Non of this is relevant to DSO strophotography at all - you will be shooting in RAW mode and avoiding JPEG like the plague. Digital zoom is also irrelevant - note its not real zoom being only remapping pixels to different scales - you can do that any time after in any image editing software if you must!

Either camera would be excellent for AP - enjoy!


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5639306 - 01/23/13 05:46 PM

Here is a comparison of the T3i with the T2i and a few other cameras that a CN member posted. As you can see we are mostly concerned with the noise characteristics of the sensors. Between the two, there is no bad choice.

http://ghonis2.ho8.com//T3iReview/T3iReview.html


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: Tonk]
      #5639457 - 01/23/13 07:28 PM

My mistakes Tonk! you're correct. still learning all this stuff
i think im goin with the T2i


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LeCarl
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Re: Best dslr new [Re: nofxrx]
      #5641314 - 01/24/13 07:32 PM

Quote:

Quote:

xs and older cam is not as good... (need more skills for same good picture, yes, it mean you can do something with skills, but faster and easier is better, particularly for only 30-50$ more...)




But the XS is "newer" tech...I think you are talking about the XTi, which did not have LiveView and required a separate cable to shutter release...
I think you should have said/meant: "Anything older than the XS is not as good", meaning it does NOT include the XS in the statement...but; "XS and older" means the XS is included. And it shouldnt be..imo

XS has LiveView, no amp glow, is full controlled with a single USB, etc..
That is all we need for AP

Am I missing something?
Just trying to make sure no one gets the wrong impression about the "line" between 'old' tech and newer tech..

Only "negative" about the XS is the 12bit ADC...not a big deal at all imho


Cheers




Again something on my post...
(As I'm absolutely not English as primary language, sometime I loose my idea... please be comprehensive, hope you TRY to understand! haha!...)

ok, and tell me something about XS video quality?
seriously for 30-50$ more it is a way better an xsi or better... (I own an xti before... works but no live view!)

As I seen in review, the Digic 3 is supposed to not give same noise performance, 12 bit dac... anyway... buy an XS if you want...

Some month ago, I found the XS picture quality is not bad at all, but furthermore testing say the cam is limited...
Something I see a bit too, is that the XS saturate more easily on bright object... (use same setting/exposure as the t3i)

this is my opinion/test, not fact...
my +-15year old fujifilm 2600zoom takes pictures too, it was reviewed 5 stars on internet in 1998! now... can I take something with this today?... yes! absolutely, but something good? ...maybe with a LOT of effort/light/mosaic of picture to achieve same resolution compared to today's cheap point and shoot but compared with an 50-100$ today camera HAHA! (just funny to say... and think)
dslr is same, it's better to add some low end found on your pocket to own a real good used camera

Edited by LeCarl (01/24/13 07:38 PM)


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Re: Best dslr new [Re: LeCarl]
      #5641373 - 01/24/13 08:05 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

xs and older cam is not as good... (need more skills for same good picture, yes, it mean you can do something with skills, but faster and easier is better, particularly for only 30-50$ more...)




But the XS is "newer" tech...I think you are talking about the XTi, which did not have LiveView and required a separate cable to shutter release...
I think you should have said/meant: "Anything older than the XS is not as good", meaning it does NOT include the XS in the statement...but; "XS and older" means the XS is included. And it shouldnt be..imo

XS has LiveView, no amp glow, is full controlled with a single USB, etc..
That is all we need for AP

Am I missing something?
Just trying to make sure no one gets the wrong impression about the "line" between 'old' tech and newer tech..

Only "negative" about the XS is the 12bit ADC...not a big deal at all imho


Cheers




Again something on my post...
(As I'm absolutely not English as primary language, sometime I loose my idea... please be comprehensive, hope you TRY to understand! haha!...)

ok, and tell me something about XS video quality?
seriously for 30-50$ more it is a way better an xsi or better... (I own an xti before... works but no live view!)

As I seen in review, the Digic 3 is supposed to not give same noise performance, 12 bit dac... anyway... buy an XS if you want...

Some month ago, I found the XS picture quality is not bad at all, but furthermore testing say the cam is limited...
Something I see a bit too, is that the XS saturate more easily on bright object... (use same setting/exposure as the t3i)

this is my opinion/test, not fact...
my +-15year old fujifilm 2600zoom takes pictures too, it was reviewed 5 stars on internet in 1998! now... can I take something with this today?... yes! absolutely, but something good? ...maybe with a LOT of effort/light/mosaic of picture to achieve same resolution compared to today's cheap point and shoot but compared with an 50-100$ today camera HAHA! (just funny to say... and think)
dslr is same, it's better to add some low end found on your pocket to own a real good used camera




Dont worry about the language barrier! We will work it out!

NEITHER the XS or the XSi have video!!!
You have to go with a T1i or newer to get video. And even then I would recommend going for the T2i as a minimum as it has brilliant video features!

Regarding image quality, the XS is still VERY good! Even though "only" 12bit ADC..imho

Cheers!


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LeCarl
super member


Reged: 03/16/11

Re: Best dslr new [Re: nofxrx]
      #5641543 - 01/24/13 09:31 PM

Yes, for me the xs is the basic (live view)

I tried both (xs and xsi) in same night, lens, setup and I seen a good differences between the two... and if the 30$ mater that much... at the price of the gas tank... have fun with a less good cam at imaging...
for the xs at 170$ think about number 100% and xsi give 10-30% more good images, tell me if it is better or not for 30$... same as paying 2000$ more for an camera that NOT even do 200% the performance of the 300$ camera... ;p

When I buy things, I find the right one for my need... try to not overquality or supersede/overprice my budget... same as car, life...

anyway...

For fun,
thinking about ADC, 12 bit on stacking is not a real problem at all in stacked images?
if the scale/steps on value is coarse on 12 bit(less steps) (undersampling) it will be scaled up to 16 bit in DSS (or other) details on the end is near that one scaled in 14 bit...

I seen a report of a study that 8 bit vs 16 bit on stacking/processing
see:http://www.stark-labs.com/craig/articles/assets/BitDepthStacking.pdf

Edited by LeCarl (01/24/13 09:32 PM)


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Nightfly
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/20/07

Re: The GH3 is worth looking at. It is great for AP! new [Re: foste1cc]
      #5644716 - 01/26/13 04:50 PM

The Pentax K-01 does in-camera stacking in bulb mode (and other modes), but is limited to 9 subs per RAW file. It has decent Ha response as well for an unmodded camera.


Pentax K-01 50mm SMC Pentax A f/1.7 @ F/4.5 791 Seconds (~13 Minutes) ISO 1600 NR off.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/59003880/Taurus%20Gems.jpg

Did I mention it is cheap? About 300 clams for the body alone.


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