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HOW MUCH LONGER FOR FILM?

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#26 Thierry

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 01:39 PM

hi folks ;)
not in the center of subject, but it was said, so... would like some explanations more about difficulty of film astro-photography !
i understood it's very difficult on hi-speed refractors (F/D <5) to have a perfect focus : this needs some extra tool such as Rochi screen or knife-edge focuser...
but the more difficult seems to have a perfect polar alignment, then something like 30 minutes of perfect guiding (may now be done, partially, by auto-guiders)
did i understood all the problem, or is there some difficulties more ?

in a balance, digital needs lot of pics, and post-treatment needs good progs (PhotoShop f.e.) and experience with them to have the max advantages, and recent informatics (hi-speed proc + HDD space) : some $ more if u don't have it yet !

thanks Sam for this good thread ;)

#27 Nebhunter

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 01:54 PM

Don't worry about using film at this time. What you learn with film will carry over into digital down the road. You may not even bother with digital.

This "new" world moves very quickly, and new products and techniques are introduced by the hour. Don't get caught up in the race. If you have the equipment for film, and want to learn the art, then DO IT. I still love B&W photography. The use of filters, light and shadow, will produce stunning photo's that colour photo's can't touch. B&W is not for the masses. Film in astronomy is not for the masses. The masses will follow down the road of technology, with a few exceptions making their own path within that path.

The ART of creating a photo - seperates the artist from the masses, be it film, or digital. Film creates the PHOTO "at the lens" with skill and knowledge. Digital creates the IMAGE "at the computer" with skill and knowledge.

Life is an experience to be enjoyed. Don't worry about what the "others" are doing. I still love, and really enjoy turning an old British sports car. Changing the points, condenser, setting the valves, timing, and multiple carburators. Stuff that these generations won't ever see, let alone WANT to work with, with few exceptions. The joy of the WORK, the simplicity, and the final product of the test drive, makes the WORK worthwhile. Satisfaction achieved in YOUR labour of love is what it's all about.

I don't know where all this came from, but I hope I've used it up for the rest of this year.

#28 ClownFish

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:21 PM

WOW.. perfect! That's what I was trying to say for so long.
Do what is enjoyable. I enjoy sitting out under the stars and guiding a film photo. Other enjoy sitting at the desk and playing with digital images. What ever you enjoy - do it.

Theirry, yes focusing can be difficult, but some things can help. One is a better focusng screen in your camera (fine grain throughout - no split/viewer as normal), and better yet is a Ronchi focuser. I use the Stiletto.

Without the improved focusing screen you really need a Ronchi or Knife Edge focuser. You will waste many hours on blurred images otherwise.

Polar alignment is not difficult. You just can't cut corners. If you have AutoStar you are 1/2 way there. Just do a one-star alignment to imprive the POLAR MOUNT and then drift for 15 minutes (two or three drifts at 3-5 minutes each). Rememnber, in drift aligning you can tell in 1 minute if the scope is way off. Then you make a larger change than if it takes 5 minutes to see a DEC error. After about 5 to 10 minutes your alignment will be very good in the E/W direction. Now switch to the N/S alignment (looking east) and do the same. Once you learn just how far to move the mount based on what you see in the drift, you;ll be able to do this in all in 20 minutes or less. ESPECIALLY if you have a perm mount. I have one, and I can get my drift alignment to the point where I get ZERO dec drift in 30 minutes or more! But you do not always need that accuracy... if you keep your drift down to where you only see some DEC drift after 5 minutes, you'll have excellent pictures. The best thing I can say is practice. It just takes some practice and it will be easy!

I take this to the point of not using an autoguider. I feel closer to the photo that way. You can mix and match your technologies. If I could get my hands on a cold-camera I would use that also!

As far as prices being equal in the long run, that is true. But if he already has the film stuff, the initial cost is just film and deveopling.. remember he's just learning. He can learn to guide and get a feel for photography on the cheap with filmn - and then later, if he decides to continue - advance to digital with whatever new stuff is out there. It's all good!

CF

#29 Thierry

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 04:57 AM

wow, Nebhunter, what a fine answer :)
and thanks again Peter for the drift-align explanation !
better to learn with experienced guys :D
Peter, u said to initialize with AutoStar twice with ONE star... why not 3 stars, is not better ?

#30 ClownFish

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 07:08 AM

One-Star is the method to physically align the MOUNT.
When selected, the scope moves to Polaris, and then asks you to center Polaris in the eyepiece by moving the MOUNT (not the scope). After you adjust, you press the ENTER key and the scope moves to another star. At this star you use the Autostar keypad to center it. Then you SYNC on that star.
Next you use GOTO to go back to Polaris. If it's not centered you again make corrections to the MOUNT. (go only half the distance center Polaris).
Now use GOTO to go back to that other star and center with the hand controls and SYNC when done. This puts your MOUNT very close to the pole, good enough to begin DRIFT aligning.

Peter

#31 Nodda Duma

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 09:35 AM

One Star alignment will get you close enough to not have to Drift align (for up to 90 minute exposures) if you do it correctly. Accurate time, lat/long, leveling, and I use my 9mm eyepiece to line up on Polaris. Works really well. No field rotation at 90 minutes.

Cheers,
Jason

#32 raydar

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 10:50 AM

Peter, what are the specs to the image in that link you posted earlier in this thread?

Cheers

#33 ClownFish

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 10:50 AM

Which one?

#34 raydar

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 11:12 AM

lol, sorry mate,

This one

http://www.sweetwate...ginal300dpi.jpg

#35 ClownFish

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 11:18 AM

That was a 30 minute exposure on Fugichrome 400F Provia.
Shot with an Olympus OM-1 on a Meade LXD75 8" f/4 SN.
Hand guided with an Orion 910mm refractor.

Here's a digitaly enhanced copy:
http://www.sweetwate...AstrosM101.html

Peter

#36 redvis

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:25 PM

Clownfish,

Your dedication to film is truly an inspiration to me. I can't tell you how many of your shots I have shown my girlfriend in order to show her the potential of film astrophotography. You should be moderator of this forum, in my opinion! In fact, is there a way that we can "elect" you as moderator?

I just ordered my T-ring for my mom's old Pentax K-1000 and will be ordering a cable shutter release this week as well. I have also ordered Robert Reeves Wide-Field Astrophotography book and have already read through Covington's Astrophotography for the Amateur. I hope to try some star trails this weekend if I'm lucky!

Thanks for all the great pictures, advice, and encouragement!

Cameran

#37 ClownFish

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:35 PM

LOL - thanks Cameran.
About he trails - trust me, they will be easy! Just point, lock and wait. Your only concern is sky fog / light polution. Bracket your exposures (10, 20, 30 minutes etc)
If you KNOW you have a dark sky, try an hour!

Stop the lens down a notch. If it's an F/3 lens, shoot at F/4. This will allow you to shoot longer (more trails) and make the stars sharper at the edges.

Make sure the camera is very stable. A car going by, or wind, will ruin the shot. Use a tripod if you have one.

Try taking the shot with something in the foreground, like a tree or mountain. Any close buildngs with lights inside will light up the whole pic, so that's something to avoid.

Pointing at Polaris makes circles.
Pointing at the equator makes lines.
Everything else is curved.

The Perseids is comming Friday morning before dawn, and a few more Saturday morning. (0200-0400) Aim high NE, open the lens wide open (don't stop down), and lock for as long you want! I often stop after a nice bright meteor, but you may want to keep going and catch many on one print. Be beware, the longer you expose the lighter the background sky, and you may wash out fainter meteors.

Enjoy!

Peter

#38 Nebhunter

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 09:41 PM

Your pictures continue to impress. To those readers wanting to get into this hobby you need to ensure proper mount levelling, polar alignment, and drift alignment. A new thread was started in the Beginners Forum called Polar Alignment and Setting Circles 101. You MUST have a good set up BEFORE you even think of getting any good pictures other than the moon.

The moon is actually a good place to start. Big, bright, easier to focus, but still have to work at it due to the curvature of the surface or the depth of the craters. Play with F stop settings and bracket times. You will be amazed what a 1/30 of a second will produce at prime focus. A hat to cover the scope lens is best for longer exposures on planets. Do your focus and camera set up. Hold the hat over the scope lens (not touching) and trip the camera with the cable release. Wait about 10 seconds for everything to settle down as the slap of the mirror will produce vibrations in the scope and mount. Quickly move the hat away and start timing the exposure. Cover the lens with the hat before releasing the cable to prevent jiggles. You can also cover the lens quickly during exposures if lights from a car START to make an appearance or any other source. Remove the hat once the light is gone, and add to the exposure time. All I am trying to say is, start with something easy, and work your way into it. Everything that can go wrong - will go wrong. I had a good exposure going on Saturn when I could feel the vibrations in the ground from the approaching freight train. Too late.

Clownfish did not start making these great images on the first day. Take your images, and make lots on notes on F stop used, exposure times, film type and speed, etc, and check your local seeing conditions with www.cleardarksky.com BEFORE you go out.

I may be stating the obvious here, but sometimes the obvious needs stating.

#39 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:09 AM

Similar to digital imaging, file size is solely a function of scanner resolution when scanning film. Scanning a 35mm frame using a 16-bit 2400 ppi scanner and saving as a lossless file type will give you a file size of 15.4MB.

16-bit 4800 ppi scanner will give a file size of 61.7 MB. Someone correct these if I calculated wrong [(24mm/25.4) * (36mm/25.4) * 4800 * 4800 * 16/8]


You forgot to multiply by three for RGB. :foreheadslap:

A real world example: a 16-bit 2820 dpi scan from a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual III is 62 MB. It doesn't take long to fill a CD with these files. Good thing they're dirt cheap. (I should probably switch to DVD now, I suppose).

#40 Harry Pulley

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 08:07 AM

Someone asked for a good negative film that is readily available. I suggest Konica Centuria Super 800.

I bought an SBIG ST-5C a few years ago to use as an autoguider, started using it as an imager and had a lot of fun with it but I'm back to using film now, manually guided even, because the setup is just a lot simpler and I'm not tied to electrical cables or laptops. The polar alignment time is the same but it is much quicker to focus a film camera (with a magnifier) than I ever found CCD focus and the guiding setup is quicker too and I won't be fooled into picking another star.

I used to do some binoc and small scope observing while my CCD chugged away but I'm out there so I might as well guide (if I had a fully automated CCD setup that let me sleep I might think differently).

I wanted a bigger CCD but just can't afford one, especially one with the area of 35mm film. I also looked at selling my Canon FD kit and buying a Digital Rebel but even used I found I'd be going from a complete kit of prime lenses from circular fisheye to wide angle to 200mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/4L to just a couple of short primes or some cheap zooms with the digital camera.

They say that a digital camera pays for itself after you run 40 rolls through a film camera but by that time you'll want to upgrade your digital and the resale is like computers: almost nothing. Film cameras held their value a long time as the detector (the film) keeps getting better but to get a new detector in a digital camera you need a whole new camera. The prices will come down but how many people buy DSLRs these days? I don't know if we'll see the same prices as on film SLRs any time soon. Hopefully I'm wrong so I can get one but for now, I'm still sticking with film.

Harry

#41 Nodda Duma

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 02:43 PM

Hi Harry,

Do you use your VC200L for astrophotography? What are your thoughts on it and do you have any sample shots?

I've thought if I ever upgraded from my LX90, the VC200L might be a good replacement.

Thanks,
Jason

#42 Harry Pulley

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 03:14 PM

You can see my horribly out of date web site at http://ca.geocities..../astronomy.html for some samples. I got sidetracked by CCDs for a while but I'm back into film again now. Haven't scanned any recent work though.

It is temporarily a geocities site so not all the pictures are in the right place, sorry. If there are some you'd like to see, please let me know.

Harry

#43 RogeZ

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 08:30 PM

Clownfish, your devotion for film photography is admirable and thats something to be proud of. You have great astrophotos and you certainly enjoy the night sky your way and thats what everybody here does or tried to do.
Now a few points from my own experience.Film could be as good as you want it to be, but you cant shoot film in severe light pollution.Most CCDs are very forgiving in this area. I can shoot up to 2 min without any filtering in my mag2 sky. Second: Manual guiding could be seen as a real connection between the photographer and the photo, and thats nice, I have done it myself a couple of times, but after 2 hours my 18 year old neck is broken already, imagine those with older necks,autoguiding permits me to take pictures while virtually not being on the scope, which permits me to do visual with my DOB while I take pictures with the other setup. Talk about night fun! Third: When you compared images of both DSLR and Film, you take a single 30 min exposure on film vs 6x5min of DSLR. Not fair at all, take a single 30min exposure with a Canon 300D and it will surprise you. And my last point: You talk about cost being a factor in film being so great, and at the beginning it could be but after some time you may have spended more money on film and producing the actual photo than with DSLR.Also if your bought a 1000 scope, why not a 1000 camera?This is a 2min image from mag2 skies:Take care and enjoy the sky.

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  • 571388-Deep-Sky3-6.jpg


#44 ClownFish

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 09:25 PM

Why not a $1000 camera? It took me two years to save for a $1000 scope!
I'm not waiting another 2 years for a $1000 camera. Many of us do not have the means to spend a lot on hobbies. I get people all the time showing me fantastic photos take with their 14" RC scopes and $5000 CCD cameras. That's like a Ferrari pulling up next to my Neon and saying - hey get one of these, they drive better. I'm still on a 56K modem! (well, to be fair, that's all I can get out here in the middle of nowhere)! I think if you have very little money to put into a hobby, then film is the way to go.. it has nothing to do with long term financial sense.. it's only based on what you can afford NOW - and for the cost of a 35mm camera and some film, it can't be beat.

Also I see no difference between a 6x5 min DSLR shot and a 30 min film exposure. They are both 30 minutes of work right? I would have used a 30 minute single DSLR shot but I think it would be overexposed no?

Pete

PS: Nice shot of the Eagle!

#45 denise41

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 09:42 PM

Dear RogeZ;
I can't speak for Peter but you seem to have missed the gist of Peter's comparison. I think I can state it simply as the enjoyment of the journey not just the destination. At the end of the night you have a digital file while Peter has a slide or negative which he can turn into a digital file, print or project and until you have seen an astrophoto projected to 60x60 inches you haven't lived. It is truly stunning. So you see RogeZ each medium has it own advantages and can claim it's own following my preference happens to be film and manual guiding while you prefer a more turnkey approach. Who's to say which is better? To each his own.
Denise Libby

#46 ClownFish

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 10:07 PM

Folks... I'm not trying to make this a "Film vs Digital" comparison thread.
It's supposed to be simply "is film dead". And the answer is unequivocally "no". And then to add, there's no reason to throw away perfectly good film equipment when the end results are so wonderful, and finally, that film has a lower start-up cost than pure digital. If you have the funds, you can choose either, but if you don't - film will let you learn the craft inexpensively.

CF

#47 RogeZ

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 10:15 PM

As I said before, you could have a 40"RC and a 10k camera and dont enjoy the sky, then you're a loser, so we are all winners here.RogeZ

#48 Allaboutastro

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 04:14 AM

I agree totally with the subject of the thread...film is a great way to get into the hobby, takes a long while to outgrow, and will be around for quite a while still.

However, once you start posting comparison images it does begin to turn things into a CCD vs. film debate. Keep in mind that film images are most always taken in dark skies while CCD images are quite often taken in very LP skies, so you can't gain anything by timed comparisons.

I've imaged many years with both media and there is absolutely ZERO advantage that film has over my STL-11000, other than cost. However, I will say that film, when shot as you are susposed to shoot film, can still give better images than DSLRs...though DSLRs are so exciting because they CAN be shot in somewhat LP skies.

I too think that people are too quick to dismiss film as a great way to start in the hobby...but if you can't get to dark skies then digital will be preferrable.

#49 Allaboutastro

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 04:17 AM

BTW, I disagree totally with the comment that good CCD images are made with good processing. ALL good images are the result of having high quality data...period. Digital just makes it possible to attain better data compared to film in a wider variety of conditions and with a wider variety of equipment.

GIGO...garbage in, garbage out.

#50 Ty Williams

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 11:38 AM

While the OP has certainly long since made his decision regarding film vs. digital, I'm still going to toss my hat into the ring here. I work at a photographic retail store in the Midwest. One of my tasks right now is to find film for the store. "Find film", you ask? "Can't you just call up Kodak|Fuji|Agfa|Ilford and have some shipped?" The answer is "not any more". To my knowledge, none of those companies run their film lines year-round anymore. At certain points of the year I can get certain films direct from the manufacturer. At other points of the year, I'm out of luck. The majority of the film we sell is now bought from foreign mass merchants. Right now, all the Kodak color negative film on our shelves was bought from a South American wholesaler because Kodak backordered our order 4-6 months. The situation is the same with all the other manufacturers. We haven't been able to get film from Ilford in 14 months. For the moment, the customers aren't feeling the supply side shortfalls because I can still find alternative sources for the products they want. In another year... well, you may buy what I have to sell if you want anything at all.

Ilford is in bankruptcy. Kodak will cease production on black and white paper 12/32/5. They've also notified us that if we want black and white film from them to sell at this time next year we need to order it now and freeze it. Fuji announced projected EOL for their film procs.

Someone mentioned that there will be film as long as people want it, and I think that's true. However, it won't be from a major company, it won't be sold at the corner drug store, and it won't be cheap. The big players have moved entirely to digital. Their bottom line is now dependant on their digital sales. Their wet process lines are now a liability. The film manufacturers are the force pushing the world to digital.


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