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Anyone using Compact Mirrorless Cameras for Astro Imaging

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#1 imk

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 06:16 PM

Hello,

Am new at astronomy (about a year) scope is LX90 8" and going to try my hand at some modest Astro Imaging, bit of moon, planets, star clusters etc.

And wondering if anyone is using Mirrorless Compacts, as i need a new modest camera for domestic so doubling up as Astro would be wonderful.

I have done some research and the Canon EOS M100 with PC USB or even Wifi to Canon Connect App to Android would seem to give me a good introduction point.

I appreciate that i may not get a good as results with a compact as a proper Astro Camera but this is very much dipping one toe in the water before making bigger commitments.

 

Also there is a LOT of astro photographic software plus ASCOM for camera out there and wondering if any is compatible with Canon compacts re remote operation etc.

Big question i know so do chip in with anything you feel relevant please.

 

Many thanks in advance imk 

 

.


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#2 classpath

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:40 PM

Have you considered BackyardEOS? Of course, it needs computer (laptop) though. 

 

I started with Sony a6000 Mirrorless. Eventually, I gave up and switched to dedicated astro image camera because Sony did not provide good sdk so there was no software which could automated process with it at that time. But Canon cameras have been supported by many software since long time ago like BackyardEOS or Sequence Generator Pro.



#3 imk

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 04:53 AM

Have you considered BackyardEOS? Of course, it needs computer (laptop) though. 

 

I started with Sony a6000 Mirrorless. Eventually, I gave up and switched to dedicated astro image camera because Sony did not provide good sdk so there was no software which could automated process with it at that time. But Canon cameras have been supported by many software since long time ago like BackyardEOS or Sequence Generator Pro.

 

Classpath,

Many thanks for the post, really enlightening i guessed there must have been software like BackyardEOS or Sequence Generator. but no idea how sophisticated.

Just had a brief look at both and I think one or similar is going to be very much part of my setup.

Thanks again imk



#4 RowlandC

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 08:15 AM

I've just started using a FujiFilm X-T1. Experimenting with in camera noise reduction and 30 second exposures at iso3200. If the camera is not modified for astro, I have found that converting the RAW files to RGB in a RAW converter such as dcraw first, seems to automatically multiply the R channel. The files are then aligned and stacked in your favourite astro program - no bias darks or flats - The results have been very acceptable Ha saturation compared to‪ the typically washed out bluish images we see taken with unmodified cameras.



#5 wsg89

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 05:32 PM

Sorry to be late for this thread.  I have just purchased a dedicated CMOS astro camera but prior to it I used an unmodded Sony a6500 for my first year in this great hobby. I still love how easy it is to use.  The bright view finder and especially the flip screen are perfect for Astrophotography.  The flip screen has a tap feature that is a 10X zoom which is fantastic for focusing.  I wish astro cameras had flip screens.

Go to Astrobin wsg89- all images shot with a6500, many unguided, most with no calibration files

 

 



#6 stubeeef

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 10:36 AM

I'm looking for a travel camera for low light and during movement, not on a tripod but hand held in a private plane.

 

A6xxx series is on a finalist list and I would like to dabble with unprocessed AP mostly planets and solar (I'm not a photographer, other than my iPhone haven't used a dedicated digital camera in about 7 yrs now). Hoping that a high ISO and some image stabilization would be perfect for screwing around at night and on night flights and some very very basic AP?

 

Am I right??

 

wsg89, can you link your pics? not astrobin savvy and couldn't find you in search function.


Edited by stubeeef, 30 April 2019 - 10:52 AM.


#7 gkarris

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:38 PM

This is my question too.

 

Though trying to get back into Astronomy, seems that hooking up dSLRs to telescopes add weight and may be a bit bulky.

 

This is true when hooking them up to an EQ mount/system.

 

I was wondering if using a Mirrorless Cameras which are inherently smaller work as well, especially hooking them up to smaller scopes and EQ mounting systems.

 

Thanks.



#8 imk

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 02:45 PM

After MUCH research i am thinking the Sony a6000 plus 16/50 lens fits the bill a treat for a pocket camera.

 

Plus for Astro/Wildlife

Can be powered from the USB port (either laptop or external power pak) so ideal for wildlife/astro

Has wired remotes (sony and 3rd party) that could be hacked to add motion sensor for wildlife.

Has tethering sony app via usb

Has download'able app to do intervalometer shooting

Apparently works with http://www.cloudmakers.eu/astrodslr/

With an adapter i can use my old Nikkor AI lenses with metering in AP/AV mode

Really light weight so not going to burden the mount when astro'ing

 

Knocks the legs of canon's M100 me thinking :-)


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#9 Cajundaddy

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 03:24 PM

I'll share my experience with the Olympus EM10 MkII micro 4/3 mirrorless.  I shoot mostly travel, wildlife, and portrait, but dabble in solar system photography and wide field DSO.  After shooting film AP for 10 years back in the 90s, this little camera has exceeded my expectations.

 

Plusses:

* The Micro 4/3 sensor is a good match for my C8, C90, and AT72ED scopes

* The camera is small, light weight, and has deep stand-alone capability for astro imaging.  (Bulb, time lapse, shutter delay, composite, and video sequences can all be programed in-camera.  No need for laptop connection)

* External camera control via wifi to a phone or tablet allow you to capture images from a warm tent or RV. 

 

Minuses:

* Small light camera means small light battery by design.  Not a problem for planetary but if you plan to shoot long exposure you will want to power it with a usb cord to power supply.

* Sensor noise is higher than Sony or Nikon

 

I don't expect to dive deep back into AP waters so it is a low priority for me but I have been surprised by this camera's capability for all around use including astro imaging.  As a travel camera it is superb, and about 1/2 the weight and bulk of a FF DSLR.


Edited by Cajundaddy, 19 May 2019 - 09:15 PM.

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#10 gkarris

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:28 PM

After MUCH research i am thinking the Sony a6000 plus 16/50 lens fits the bill a treat for a pocket camera.

 

 

 

I'll share my experience with the Olympus EM10 MkII micro 4/3 mirrorless.  I shoot mostly travel, wildlife, and portrait, but dabble in solar system photography and wide field DSO.  After shooting film AP for 10 years back in the 90s, this little camera has exceeded my expectations.

 

 

 

Is anyone having problems with dust on the sensor since it is so exposed?



#11 Cajundaddy

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:13 PM

Is anyone having problems with dust on the sensor since it is so exposed?

I have not but I am pretty careful about when and where I change lenses.  My camera has been on dozens of wildlife adventures including 21 day African trip with 5 game reserves.  I keep a lens in place at all times except a quick switch inside a car or in calm conditions.  The exterior has needed several cleanings but the sensor looks unmolested.



#12 GraySkies

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:23 AM

My primary imaging camera is a Nikon Z6 which I really enjoy because of the low noise floor and smooth dark frame bias.

I also use a full spectrum G5 and a E1 and other MFT Mirrorless Cameras for Imaging in tandem or specific targets were the Z6 would not preform well (Ha and SII heavy targets).

Overall I’m pretty happy with their performance but at some point I’ll move to mono-imaging dedicated Astro-Camera and Full set of filters, but that’s farther down the rabbit hole then I’m willing to go at the moment.

#13 t_image

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 09:08 AM

Is anyone having problems with dust on the sensor since it is so exposed?

Good question.

 I am happy to have immediate access to the encapsulating sensor cover glass,

so I can blow any dust off with a squeeze blower--solves 99.9% every time..But then I do the same with the lens as well. And I'm meticulous about putting the body cap and all lens caps back on lenses when finished (don't store the camera with lens attached either)...

Then there is the sensor brush if needed and my sensor swabs with pro fluid for the stubborn ones (maybe once every two months)....

I usually put a lens on and crank it to f/22 and point it towards a light source to betray any sensor dust besides visual inspection...Something you can't do with an optical viewfinder on a DSLR.....

Dust is a thing of life, I can't imagine with moving parts like a mirror that DSLR bodies stay dust free anyways...

And there is nothing to fear about the sensor and glass cover/ infrared block filter covering the electronic sensor.

It's pretty much like cleaning your auto window..Do it when needed....

I would be much more worried that a piece of dirt/sand would lodge in between shutter flaps and damage the shutter,

and to me a mirrorless camera has less threat since the shutter is not unfolded on most MILCs....



#14 gkarris

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 10:48 AM

After MUCH research i am thinking the Sony a6000 plus 16/50 lens fits the bill a treat for a pocket camera.

 

Thanks. 

 

I was thinking of trying out a Sony A3000, but it seems almost the size of a dSLR anyways, but the Sony small form factor cameras seem like they fit the bill for mounting on almost any scope.

 

So I ordered a used NEX-5N, was incredibly priced $135..

 

I don't know if it works with this model, but there seems a lot of software out there where you can view and control the camera from a laptop.


Edited by gkarris, 20 May 2019 - 12:21 PM.


#15 stubeeef

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:14 PM

Where did you order a NEX-5n from?



#16 gkarris

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:22 PM

Where did you order a NEX-5n from?

keh.com

 

Also just got my Canon T3i from them...

 

Awesome, awesome company...

 

Been buying/selling with them for about 20 years... :eek:


Edited by gkarris, 20 May 2019 - 12:22 PM.

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#17 Dann-Oh

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Posted Yesterday, 06:36 PM

After MUCH research i am thinking the Sony a6000 plus 16/50 lens fits the bill a treat for a pocket camera.

 

Plus for Astro/Wildlife

Can be powered from the USB port (either laptop or external power pak) so ideal for wildlife/astro

Has wired remotes (sony and 3rd party) that could be hacked to add motion sensor for wildlife.

Has tethering sony app via usb

Has download'able app to do intervalometer shooting

Apparently works with http://www.cloudmakers.eu/astrodslr/

With an adapter i can use my old Nikkor AI lenses with metering in AP/AV mode

Really light weight so not going to burden the mount when astro'ing

 

Knocks the legs of canon's M100 me thinking :-)

If you want to capture images AND power the camera you need the A6300 at a minimum.

 

I am currently imaging on a Sony A7iii, I am using the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, Canon 70-200mm f4 usm L, and Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 for my various photography needs. Both the Canon and the Simga lenses use the MC11 adapter.

 

Sigma 150-600mm:

M13: http://i64.tinypic.com/b6swft.jpg

Sun Spots: http://i64.tinypic.com/ff6dsk.jpg

Moon: http://i68.tinypic.com/25krghx.jpg

 

Tamron 28-75m:

Star Trails: http://i68.tinypic.com/2rr8e9d.jpg

 

If I were to get a new Mirrorless body I think I would purchase the Canon EOS R, or maybe even the EOS Rp.  The canon lenses are so much cheaper than Sonys and they are MUCH easier to find used. I also believe they are supported in the BackyardEOS platform.

 

I am at the point where I am ready to break down and go dedicated astro because there is no support for Sony.


Edited by Dann-Oh, Yesterday, 06:41 PM.


#18 t_image

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Posted Today, 01:57 AM

Eventually, I gave up and switched to dedicated astro image camera because Sony did not provide good sdk so there was no software which could automated process with it at that time.

 

I am at the point where I am ready to break down and go dedicated astro because there is no support for Sony.

 

I don't know why people keep making these claims? Dedicated astro is a great idea anyways, but back as far as 2014 I was automating my processes with my a7s with Sony RCC and a simple macro recorder.

And there is no need to re-hash debates, but these extreme perceptions above don't match reality.



#19 t_image

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Posted Today, 02:01 AM

If you want to capture images AND power the camera you need the A6300 at a minimum.......

I don't understand this comment either?

I've powered my a5000 for years on the same Sony dummy battery adapter that works with my a7s cameras.

And yes, all they all capture images AND stay powered.........




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