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HOW MUCH LONGER FOR FILM?

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#76 D13x3

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:35 PM

The discussion of comparisons of camera prices along with the cost of processing film was interesting.

But, one important point was not addressed.

For me to give up film astrophotography and move into digital, is it not true that in addition to buying an expensive digital camera; wouldn't it be a good idea for me to also buy a computer plus the processing software that will be needed?

Isn't it more fair to include that extra expense and cash investment into such a discussion?

Seems to me, that runs the price of admission up pretty high!


Regards,

#77 ClownFish

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:41 PM

True, but most people browsing this ON-LINE forum already have the computer. If you don't have one and are at the library, school or work, then yes, it should be included.

I still think the experience of film, that is, it is so simple to set up, is the main attraction. Unless you're a computer geek who doesn't mind tinkering, then film still is the simplest way to go. IMHO!

#78 wilash

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 06:09 PM

Sam, the price comparison is not that simple. There is storage and software upgrade that for some reason people think are important - if it was good enough before, why upgrade it? If you really want accurate color, then you need to get all the color management stuff and spend the time keeping your system calibrated. And it seems like every day someone is releasing a "must have." Digital is not "free." For the average Joe, it is as close to free as you can get.

#79 Ty Williams

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 06:11 PM

DX13x3 is right, doing digital astrophotography pretty much requires a computer. However, CF also makes a valid point in that most amateur astronomers probably already own computers. For most digital imaging, a computer really isn't necessary. As I've mentioned before, I work at a camer store/photo lab. I'd say about 45-50% of our customers who shoot digital don't own a computer. So, really it isn't too necessary to own a computer. Until, that is, you want to do things like stack images. Most labs can't do that unless someone there has an interest in astrophotography.

Then look at someone like CF (CF, you were the one who owns a Nikon scanner, aren't you?) (if CF isn't the one, then just substitue the one who has the Coolscan), he does film astrophotography, but I can guarntee you he has more wrapped up in his scanner, software, computer, and a year's worth of film and processing than I do in my my camera and little computer.

I guess the point is you can spend what you want to spend. Picking between film and digital really just comes down to where you want your money to reside.

#80 wilash

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 07:16 PM

And then there are ludittes like me. I run the old chemical darkroom. I just think it is the best way to get the most from your film and it is fun. (I can can also take advantage of the folks dumping thier gear for digital stuff.)

#81 JohnH

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 10:55 PM

I got into astronomy before cameras and when I had cameras, I had already sold the home built Newt (glad you asked: 10" f/5.5 ground to around 1/3 wave. What do you expect from a grade 7 student?) Anyhow, after getting into Contax and Hasselblad, an old friend let me try doing some piggy back shots. The detail visible on Kodachrome 200 with a 200 mm f/2.8 Angineax lens of Orion and the surrounding area is fairly amazing.

#82 Thierry

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 02:14 AM

hi again ;)
long time before i read the complete thread again :smirk:
astrophoto is for me, only a way to go in sky's beauties...
if i could, i just have to look in my eyepieces ! sorrily, i have a bad seeing, myop & astigmat, and i've not $xK to buy the best mount+OTA ! here is my interest with astrophoto...
well, when films won't be available anymore, i hope been able to ground a big piece of glass and make my own 16" DOB for direct seeing :p

#83 ClownFish

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:38 AM

In the end it is all about having fun!
And to anwer this thread's main question, yes film will be here for a while. So if you have film equipment, use it. If you have nothing, then the choice is more difficult.
Oh by the way, I have a Minolta Elite 5400 slide scanner - so my investment in film is probably as much as a descent digital SLR. I just ENJOY film - and like I said, that's what counts!

CF

#84 D13x3

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:14 AM

Ty... Here comes a dumb question ...

You say, "Until, that is, you want to stack images."

I have been under the impression that in doing digital astrophotography, stacking images is always necessary -- and, a must.

Is it possible to produce good digital images with just one shot and no stacking?

:question:

Regards,

#85 Ty Williams

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 05:25 PM

D13x3, as can be seen from a post of mine from a couple of lines up, you can see I'm far from an expert at this yet. However, I think the answer to your question is sometimes. My understanding is that noise necessitates the stacking of digital images. If you avoid the noise, you avoid the need for stacking. Right now, I'm imaging by using the lowest ISO my camera offers. This increases the number of hot pixels and drastically increases the amp glow. However, both of those problems are removable with dark frame subtraction, which is something any competent lab will be able to do once you explain to them what you want. I can also raise the ISO somewhat, do the dark fram subtraction, and then Noise Ninja what's left (again, totally reasonable to expect a lab to do this). Obviously, this won't let you image something that's 14th magnitude, but I can easily get decent images of M13 and even M57 with this technique. Once I've gotten a good enough polar alignment that I won't be embarassed for you all to see them, I'll show you. That being said, I do intend to get this whole stacking thing figured out.

#86 Harry Pulley

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 10:09 PM

Ty... Here comes a dumb question ...

You say, "Until, that is, you want to stack images."

I have been under the impression that in doing digital astrophotography, stacking images is always necessary -- and, a must.

Is it possible to produce good digital images with just one shot and no stacking?

:question:

Regards,


You can get good digital images without stacking, though you'll usually require at least a dark and a flat frame. To get good results with one image you'll require a long exposure, rather than many short ones though even with one long one, digital images still have noise that you don't get with film which is why even a 'stack' or pair of two digital images is generally better as some of the noise is random (others, like read noise, may be non-random but some of it should come out with bias and dark frames).

You can stack film images too but you need a certain amount of time before you have a slide/negative which is dense enough to scan well, unlike digital images where low values can be added as long as there is some signal above the noise.

Harry

#87 Ty Williams

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 10:54 PM

The dark frame tames the non-random noise. Noise Ninja is an AWESOME tool that uses some pretty crazy math to determine what random noise from that camera looks like and remove it from the picture. It's pretty crazy how well it works. It was developed for reducing the noise in high ISO shots for pro work down to a saleable level, but it works pretty well for this purpose too.

W.R.T. flats, I'm lucky in that I had to replace my secondary. I selected an oversized mirror that gives me 100% illumination to the corners of my sensor. But don't film users have to worry about flats too?

#88 Harry Pulley

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 09:18 AM

Film users may have to worry about flats but because of the non-linear nature of film there isn't much you can do about it except in the old days to make a flat from the image you took, do a positive and stack it with the original. You can't take an image of a white wall for a short time and compare it to a sky shot with film like you can with CCD, they just won't match up so technically there aren't flat film frames you can take. You can make masks though either in wet or dry darkrooms to get rid of it.

With slides, of course if you're projecting them then they're raw! No stacking, no nothing, has to look good as shot. IMO, slides are the ultimate photographic medium as there is no hiding behind post processing aside from perhaps pushing the development.

I didn't have to break my secondary. My scope came with a huge one from the factory for very full illumination (100% without reducer, very good with reducer).

Harry

#89 Ty Williams

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 09:42 AM

It occurred to me that I used to use something that served the same purpose as a flat. I have and ultra-wide angle lens with a _terrible_ hot spot in the center (really, I suppose it's more precise to say it had horrid fall off). I ended up creating a piece of lith film with a lot of density in the center that reduced as it went out (like a circular gradient in PS). I'd put it between the enlarger lens and the paper to even out hot spot. Total pain in the butt, though not as much so as doing unsharp masking in the darkroom.

#90 stevecoe

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 02:24 AM

Howdy all;

I have had good luck with Fuji 800 print film. I have been using it for the past several years and I like the speed and small grain for a fast film. The color balance of the Milky Way is excellent with this film. Someone asked about print film and I wanted to jump in and answer that question.

Yes, there are fewer and fewer film astrophotographers around today, but I still enjoy the results I am getting and I think that it would take a digital photographer a lot more time to match the kind of results I am getting. I only am shooting piggyback, but it is enough for me to enjoy.

Some of my shots are posted on the Saguaro Astronomy Club web site at www.saguaroastro.org

Clear Skies to us all;
Steve Coe


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