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My Outing with Sigma ART 135mm and Orion in H-Alpha

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#1 Daniel Dance

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:40 AM

As usual, the weather has been horrendous in the East US and so far have only gotten out two nights the entire winter so far.

 

One week ago we did have an pretty fantastic night, albeit with a 1st quarter Moon.

 

Transparency and seeing were both great, much higher than usual for winter in the East Us.

A few of us ventured out on the very cold night to image.  Temperatures dropped into the single digits that night!

 

Arrived around 4:00pm and quickly shoveled off an area to set my equipment up.  There was about 4 inches of snow on the ground from the previous night.

 

46701781742_ccc1c23bfb_c.jpgAtsion Ranger Station, NJ by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr

 

Quickly set-up so I can enjoy my Wawa hoagie dinner before it started to get dark.

To keep warm, I had my trusty propane heater and about 8 layers of clothing.  The white plastic box inside my wood laptop box is an industrial 1W wireless router which I also use to remote into my mount laptop from a 2nd laptop that is in my vehicle.

 

45889571865_f9b25020c2_c.jpgAtsion Ranger Station, NJ - January 11th, 2019 by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr

 

As you can see, it got very cold.  It was nearly 5 degrees F by the time we left around 1:00am.  The conditions were still fantastic, but there isn't much to shoot with a 135mm when galaxy season constellations come up.  Wish I had brought my Takahashi 5" refractor with me.  Leo was nice and high around 1:00am.

 

Ice crystals everywhere.  Very cool.  They were almost 1/2" high in some places.

 

45889569915_83d0ac2a37_c.jpgAtsion Ranger Station, NJ - January 11th, 2019 by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr

 

That is one frozen mount. 

 

45889569555_9246f2331a_c.jpgAtsion Ranger Station, NJ - January 11th, 2019 by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr

 

Finally, here is the trophy of the night.  About 9 hours of cold and boredom to get this.

 

46816052101_8071a0acb7_b.jpgOrion in Hydrogen Alpha by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr

 

Image Specs:

 

Sigma ART 135mm Lens @ f4.0

ASI1600MM Cool CMOS camera

Astrodon 31mm 3nm Ha Filter

60 x 5 minute exposures, Gain 78

Extreme dithering

 

Enjoy!

 


 


Edited by Daniel Dance, 23 January 2019 - 08:42 AM.

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#2 APshooter

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:11 AM

I'd say the results were well worth, it great shot!

#3 44maurer

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 12:17 PM

Nice results, at least for the photo, not sure about the equipment.waytogo.gif waytogo.gif waytogo.gif



#4 lakeorion

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 10:00 PM

That's pretty awesome.



#5 mxcoppell

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 08:36 PM

Awesome work! Thanks for sharing Daniel!

 

(Especially thank you for posting the 135/1.8 testing result. Did you get the replacement back?)

 

Daniel, got 2 questions:

 

1. The halo around the bright stars is not from the filter right? Or it's the internal reflection of the image train?

2. Could you share what type of Moonlite focuser you chose for this setup? I am very interested in making one set for ultra-wide field imaging as well. 

 

Thanks!



#6 Bretw01

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Posted 03 March 2019 - 09:06 PM

Very nice image!



#7 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 07:09 AM

Awesome work! Thanks for sharing Daniel!

 

(Especially thank you for posting the 135/1.8 testing result. Did you get the replacement back?)

 

Daniel, got 2 questions:

 

1. The halo around the bright stars is not from the filter right? Or it's the internal reflection of the image train?

2. Could you share what type of Moonlite focuser you chose for this setup? I am very interested in making one set for ultra-wide field imaging as well. 

 

Thanks!

Thanks.

 

To answer your questions:

 

1.  From my  understanding, the halo is a known issue with the ASI1600 camera.  There are some scripts in PixIsnight available to remove the halo, but I have not tried using them.

 

2.  Simply email Ron at Moonlite and let him know what you want, and he will fill you in on what you need.  I think I spent about $800 on my entire focuser set-up after all the extra brackets I used to construct the mounting for this. 

 

I think the Moonlite focuser kit (Stepper Motor, USB controller, cable, L-bracket, and Belt) were about $500-600.


Edited by Daniel Dance, 04 March 2019 - 07:10 AM.

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#8 TareqPhoto

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 08:28 AM

It is definitely  nice image or results you go there, but i have only one question or confusion.

 

If you bought that Sigma lens which has F1.8 but you stopped it to F4, then what will make me to think about ignoring my Canon 135 F2 which i can use it at F4 too and go with Sigma? i am talking about only Astro and not general photography, there is also Samyang/Rokinon 135mm F2, i saw many used it at F2, but if that is also stopped down to f4, i don't see the point having one brand of this focal length and going to another brand newer and stopping it down, how much difference there will be anyway.



#9 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 09:01 AM

It is definitely  nice image or results you go there, but i have only one question or confusion.

 

If you bought that Sigma lens which has F1.8 but you stopped it to F4, then what will make me to think about ignoring my Canon 135 F2 which i can use it at F4 too and go with Sigma? i am talking about only Astro and not general photography, there is also Samyang/Rokinon 135mm F2, i saw many used it at F2, but if that is also stopped down to f4, i don't see the point having one brand of this focal length and going to another brand newer and stopping it down, how much difference there will be anyway.

You can't shoot lenses fully open for astrophotography - well you can, but the images will like garbage.  The coma is horrendous.  Typically, you want to stop them down to about f4.0 is most cases.

 

I also have the Samyang / Rokinon.  That definitely wants to be stopped down to a f4.0 minimum.  I also did not like the lens.  It felt very cheap and wasn't nearly as sharp as the Sigma or Canon.

 

If you already have Canon 135 f2.0, then you certainly don't need another 135mm.

 

Assume you need to shoot f4.0 for all lenses. 



#10 nimitz69

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 09:06 AM

 Very nice,  although I would have stopped with “ ..... and I had to shovel off 4” of snow from the night before.”  I admire you dedication ....


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#11 TareqPhoto

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 09:23 AM

You can't shoot lenses fully open for astrophotography - well you can, but the images will like garbage.  The coma is horrendous.  Typically, you want to stop them down to about f4.0 is most cases.

 

I also have the Samyang / Rokinon.  That definitely wants to be stopped down to a f4.0 minimum.  I also did not like the lens.  It felt very cheap and wasn't nearly as sharp as the Sigma or Canon.

 

If you already have Canon 135 f2.0, then you certainly don't need another 135mm.

 

Assume you need to shoot f4.0 for all lenses. 

That is great, after al i can always test first anyway, i will stop it down to F4 or even F4.5 and see.

 

How did you connect the lens to your camera and then how did you managed to mount it on the mount? And guiding added to the setup? an image with the tools name will help, i managed to connect large lenses, but they have kind of tripod collar or mount so it was easier to place a dovetail, but Canon 135mm doesn't come with any, not sure about Sigma as well.



#12 mxcoppell

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 09:47 AM

Thanks Daniel. I will certainly ask MoonLite for the focuser. That's really good information.

 

As of the Halo, I checked ASI1600 product manual (issued in 2016). It states:

 

6.5 Protect Window
There is a protect window before the sensor of ASI1600 camera. It’s an AR-AR coated BK7 glass, diameter is 32mm and 2mm thick.

 

Probably that's not the case as stated in the manual. My camera is ASI1600mm-Pro, which I believe it's the same design except the DDR buffering. I did experience the Halo with ZWO 7nm Ha but never with Astrodon 3nm Ha/S2/O3.

 

Also, greatly appreciate about your comments on Samyang 135/2. I was dancing between the decisions on Samyang or Sigma. Now it's clear. From some other Sigma 135 test shots available around, the f2.8 looks really good already (https://www.flickr.c...in/photostream/, almost no coma at the corners). Could you share how big is the difference between f2.8 and f4.0 on Sigma?  


Edited by mxcoppell, 04 March 2019 - 09:48 AM.


#13 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:05 AM

 

 

Also, greatly appreciate about your comments on Samyang 135/2. I was dancing between the decisions on Samyang or Sigma. Now it's clear. From some other Sigma 135 test shots available around, the f2.8 looks really good already (https://www.flickr.c...in/photostream/, almost no coma at the corners). Could you share how big is the difference between f2.8 and f4.0 on Sigma?  

Not sure how you are can be dancing between a Samyang or Sigma ART lens.  Those lens aren't even remotely comparable.  One is a $400 piece of Chinese junk and the other is nearly $1500 piece of Japanese designed premium glass.

 

I tried several Samyang lenses, and agree they are decent lenses if you are on a tight budget, but if you are looking for an extremely well designed and well made lens, then the Sigma ART is a no brainer.



#14 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:07 AM



That is great, after al i can always test first anyway, i will stop it down to F4 or even F4.5 and see.

 

How did you connect the lens to your camera and then how did you managed to mount it on the mount? And guiding added to the setup? an image with the tools name will help, i managed to connect large lenses, but they have kind of tripod collar or mount so it was easier to place a dovetail, but Canon 135mm doesn't come with any, not sure about Sigma as well.

44628986120_00862417d1_b.jpgIMG_6414 by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr


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#15 sink45ny

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:18 AM

Not sure how you are can be dancing between a Samyang or Sigma ART lens.  Those lens aren't even remotely comparable.  One is a $400 piece of Chinese junk and the other is nearly $1500 piece of Japanese designed premium glass.

 

I tried several Samyang lenses, and agree they are decent lenses if you are on a tight budget, but if you are looking for an extremely well designed and well made lens, then the Sigma ART is a no brainer.

Maybe renowned astrophotography Tony Hallas can convince you - https://www.youtube....oCJBLAYEs&t=12s

 

Starts at 9:45 into this video.


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#16 CableGuy

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 03:32 PM

Sigma art 18-35 and the 135 are superb, superb lenses! The 18-35 is my fav of all time for generally photography, wide field astro and infrared though.

 

AMAZING imaging and dedication! Looks great!

 

Where did you purchase the focuser assembly?


Edited by CableGuy, 04 March 2019 - 03:33 PM.


#17 calypsob

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:07 PM

Not sure how you are can be dancing between a Samyang or Sigma ART lens.  Those lens aren't even remotely comparable.  One is a $400 piece of Chinese junk and the other is nearly $1500 piece of Japanese designed premium glass.

 

I tried several Samyang lenses, and agree they are decent lenses if you are on a tight budget, but if you are looking for an extremely well designed and well made lens, then the Sigma ART is a no brainer.

Samyang is actually Korean. Their 135mm is glass fiber composite while the Sigma is aluminum. Both companies have slowly risen from their underdog status since their establishment, although Sigma has been around alot longer. Sigma does produce fantastic optics with their art line, yet they also still make these abysmal things as well https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B000ALLMI8 

 

IMO, In an astro imaging environment I would prefer glass fiber composite over aluminum because of the differences in coefficient of linear thermal expansion. Aluminum and glass contract at different rates and quickly lead to pinched optics depending on the rate at which they acclimate to temps. Very weird things start to happen especially when you dew heat the front end of a camera lens, which is loaded with other groups of glass all the way back to the rear bayonet. Fast apertures are very unforgiving to even the slightest disruptions from temperature and axial collimation. I see that you are stopping down to F4, which I feel should be pointed out. Some including myself may find this unacceptable, if your goal is to image at a fast aperture. Just about any 135mm stopped to F4 will yield a coma and abberation free field. The reason I make this objection is because the superiority of the optic would be designated by its performance wide open or at least at F2 along with other optics demonstrating a similar performance at this aperture.

 

The trouble that I usually see people having with fast optics is usually due to internal reflections from their filters or from using those terrible Chinese EF-T2 adapters which flex all over the place. The solution that you are using with the 3 point contact on the front of the lens is decent, but I found that 3d printing a ring to make direct contact puts less pressure on the cell. At these apertures you are dealing with sub mm movements that can completely disrupt the image quality.   Going back to the quality difference, one disadvantage the Samyang has is that the EF bayonet is mounted on glass fiber composite tubes which contain the threads, I am not sure why Samyang did this because it seems like it could fail and break the lens, the sigma is aluminum through out.  As for the Samyang being junk, I would disagree, the Samyang glass itself is a masterpiece of optical engineering and runs right along with the Zeiss 135mm APO easily, The Sigma is also a great lens and has the advantage of being stopped down from a faster aperture. I think in a side by side test the Sigma stopped to F2 would quit likely be sharper than the Samyang or the Zeiss.

 

I say all of this because I think it is a misrepresentation to call the Samyang junk, especially for beginning astronomer in the "what should I buy phase". These lenses have served me quite well over the years and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a way to utilize their time at a darksite.



#18 mxcoppell

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:21 PM

Wes, first thanks for your informational comment. Well said.

 

So, for fast 135mm lens using in astrophotography. I would assume Samyang/Sigma/Zeiss 135mm lenses would have very close performance (sharpness, coma etc) when they are stopped down to f2.8? I haven't seen any really high resolution test pictures from Samyang 135/2 like the one I posted in my previous comment. 

 

Also, would there be any difference in sample variation among the brands? For Samyang/Rokinon, I could get a nice 3D printed bracket (even with the guiding scope holder) from Philippe Leca. That will be a great help to setup things up.



#19 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:28 PM

Samyang is actually Korean. Their 135mm is glass fiber composite while the Sigma is aluminum. Both companies have slowly risen from their underdog status since their establishment, although Sigma has been around alot longer. Sigma does produce fantastic optics with their art line, yet they also still make these abysmal things as well https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B000ALLMI8

IMO, In an astro imaging environment I would prefer glass fiber composite over aluminum because of the differences in coefficient of linear thermal expansion. Aluminum and glass contract at different rates and quickly lead to pinched optics depending on the rate at which they acclimate to temps. Very weird things start to happen especially when you dew heat the front end of a camera lens, which is loaded with other groups of glass all the way back to the rear bayonet. Fast apertures are very unforgiving to even the slightest disruptions from temperature and axial collimation. I see that you are stopping down to F4, which I feel should be pointed out. Some including myself may find this unacceptable, if your goal is to image at a fast aperture. Just about any 135mm stopped to F4 will yield a coma and abberation free field. The reason I make this objection is because the superiority of the optic would be designated by its performance wide open or at least at F2 along with other optics demonstrating a similar performance at this aperture.

The trouble that I usually see people having with fast optics is usually due to internal reflections from their filters or from using those terrible Chinese EF-T2 adapters which flex all over the place. The solution that you are using with the 3 point contact on the front of the lens is decent, but I found that 3d printing a ring to make direct contact puts less pressure on the cell. At these apertures you are dealing with sub mm movements that can completely disrupt the image quality. Going back to the quality difference, one disadvantage the Samyang has is that the EF bayonet is mounted on glass fiber composite tubes which contain the threads, I am not sure why Samyang did this because it seems like it could fail and break the lens, the sigma is aluminum through out. As for the Samyang being junk, I would disagree, the Samyang glass itself is a masterpiece of optical engineering and runs right along with the Zeiss 135mm APO easily, The Sigma is also a great lens and has the advantage of being stopped down from a faster aperture. I think in a side by side test the Sigma stopped to F2 would quit likely be sharper than the Samyang or the Zeiss.

I say all of this because I think it is a misrepresentation to call the Samyang junk, especially for beginning astronomer in the "what should I buy phase". These lenses have served me quite well over the years and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a way to utilize their time at a darksite.

Well, even Ikea furniture looks good the first six months you own it.
I would still call Ikea furniture garbage.

I had four Sigma lenses. 14mm. 135mm, and 85mm. They all had some sort of mechanical issue after a couple months and had to be returned.

But i would agree. For a budget conscious beginner or amateur they may be a good option.

Edited by Daniel Dance, 04 March 2019 - 04:29 PM.


#20 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:35 PM

Samyang is actually Korean. Their 135mm is glass fiber composite while the Sigma is aluminum. Both companies have slowly risen from their underdog status since their establishment, although Sigma has been around alot longer. Sigma does produce fantastic optics with their art line, yet they also still make these abysmal things as well https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B000ALLMI8

IMO, In an astro imaging environment I would prefer glass fiber composite over aluminum because of the differences in coefficient of linear thermal expansion. Aluminum and glass contract at different rates and quickly lead to pinched optics depending on the rate at which they acclimate to temps. Very weird things start to happen especially when you dew heat the front end of a camera lens, which is loaded with other groups of glass all the way back to the rear bayonet. Fast apertures are very unforgiving to even the slightest disruptions from temperature and axial collimation. I see that you are stopping down to F4, which I feel should be pointed out. Some including myself may find this unacceptable, if your goal is to image at a fast aperture. Just about any 135mm stopped to F4 will yield a coma and abberation free field. The reason I make this objection is because the superiority of the optic would be designated by its performance wide open or at least at F2 along with other optics demonstrating a similar performance at this aperture.

The trouble that I usually see people having with fast optics is usually due to internal reflections from their filters or from using those terrible Chinese EF-T2 adapters which flex all over the place. The solution that you are using with the 3 point contact on the front of the lens is decent, but I found that 3d printing a ring to make direct contact puts less pressure on the cell. At these apertures you are dealing with sub mm movements that can completely disrupt the image quality. Going back to the quality difference, one disadvantage the Samyang has is that the EF bayonet is mounted on glass fiber composite tubes which contain the threads, I am not sure why Samyang did this because it seems like it could fail and break the lens, the sigma is aluminum through out. As for the Samyang being junk, I would disagree, the Samyang glass itself is a masterpiece of optical engineering and runs right along with the Zeiss 135mm APO easily, The Sigma is also a great lens and has the advantage of being stopped down from a faster aperture. I think in a side by side test the Sigma stopped to F2 would quit likely be sharper than the Samyang or the Zeiss.

I say all of this because I think it is a misrepresentation to call the Samyang junk, especially for beginning astronomer in the "what should I buy phase". These lenses have served me quite well over the years and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a way to utilize their time at a darksite.


Good point on the 3-point mounting. I could see how that could cause the lens cell to deflect.

#21 TareqPhoto

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:35 PM

Maybe renowned astrophotography Tony Hallas can convince you - https://www.youtube....oCJBLAYEs&t=12s

 

Starts at 9:45 into this video.

He mentioned EF 70-200 2.8 IS II, i have this one, i also have Canon 15mm Fisheye he mentioned, i don't have Nikon 14-24, but i do have Tamron 15-30 which in many reviews it shows that it is better than Nikon 14-24, only Nikon can go to 14mm about 1mm wider, but the quality the Tamron isn't any less and even considered as great for astrophotography wide field.

 

i have Canon 135mm F2, this lens once considered as the best 135mm out there, i think Zeiss and Samyang came after to take the carpet from beneath it, so it doesn't mean the Canon is suddenly bad, i asked if we stopped it down to F4 will it be good enough or not, after all i have to give it a try and see.



#22 TareqPhoto

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:37 PM

44628986120_00862417d1_b.jpgIMG_6414 by Daniel McCauley, on Flickr

I will never find out all the parts used here even if i spend my life researching.

 

Thank you very much for that image.



#23 mxcoppell

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:51 PM

I will never find out all the parts used here even if i spend my life researching.

 

Thank you very much for that image.

Indeed, Daniel's design is great. 

 

But I started to wonder one thing - the in focus position of a DSLR lens will be very close to infinity mark. Will there be enough space between the in-focus position and the focus ring turning-stop position, to complete an SGP auto focus procedure and form a "V" shape? 



#24 calypsob

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 04:52 PM

Well, even Ikea furniture looks good the first six months you own it.
I would still call Ikea furniture garbage.

I had four Sigma lenses. 14mm. 135mm, and 85mm. They all had some sort of mechanical issue after a couple months and had to be returned.

But i would agree. For a budget conscious beginner or amateur they may be a good option.

Im not really sure what particular issues you had with the lens. I went with 3 of these Samyangs because in my testing they outperformed the zeiss and the canon which were both $1,000.  I wanted something more modern to replace my 135mm Leica Elmarit whose build quality puts any other lens I have ever held in my hands to shame.  In the 2+ years I have owned the Samyangs, they have been fantastic workhorses. They are not built like a leica, but they definitely do not sit in the nifty fifty range either.




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