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Autoguiding with a DSLR?

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#1 hherzy

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 12:08 AM

I was just gifted a laptop for graduation, so Im very excited to begin auto-guiding. I don't have a CCD camera or auto-guiding camera, but I do have an extra Nikon D3200 laying around. How would I go about feeding the live feed of the camera into PHD? Or maybe it could take many short exposure shots and send them? Any help would be appreciated, i have much to learn.

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Edited by hherzy, 26 May 2019 - 04:23 AM.


#2 John Tucker

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 07:16 AM

I used to have a spare DSLR and I looked into this, but I don't think PhD2 or other guiding software will recognize a DSLR



#3 Alex McConahay

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 08:10 AM

That question has been discussed in various threads recently. The answer is generally that a DSLR is not a usable guide camera/ 

 

Alex



#4 kathyastro

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 08:20 AM

PHD2 would be able to handle it if there is an ASCOM driver for the camera.  Unfortunately, most DSLRs do not have ASCOM drivers.


Edited by kathyastro, 26 May 2019 - 08:20 AM.


#5 GoFish

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 08:22 AM

https://www.highpoin...mera-asi120mini



#6 RedLionNJ

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:21 AM

Not only is it unlikely you'll be able to find a way to autoguide with the Nikon, but if the image is representative of the intended set-up, it's unlikely guiding corrections would be effective with that rig. You have the largest piece of the mass on the side of the imaging OTA opposite the mount - if that is indeed an AVX, it's unlikely to be responsive enough to execute the appropriately-small corrections.

 

In engineering terms - the majority of the mass is just too far from the fulcrum. That may work with a heavier-duty, better-engineered mount, but the AVX is likely not up to it.


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#7 hherzy

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 05:47 PM

Not only is it unlikely you'll be able to find a way to autoguide with the Nikon, but if the image is representative of the intended set-up, it's unlikely guiding corrections would be effective with that rig. You have the largest piece of the mass on the side of the imaging OTA opposite the mount - if that is indeed an AVX, it's unlikely to be responsive enough to execute the appropriately-small corrections.

In engineering terms - the majority of the mass is just too far from the fulcrum. That may work with a heavier-duty, better-engineered mount, but the AVX is likely not up to it.

Guiding would still be a great help though as long as I don’t overload the mount, right? I could maybe modify one of my finder scopes to be the guide scope to eliminate most the weight.

Not sure if I remember right, but any webcam should work for a guide camera right? I could buy a cheap webcam and monkey it on to the finder.

Specifically, my problem is terrible walking noise and camera read noise. The automatic dithering in PHD and camera control would improve that immensely. Of course it will allow longer subs, but that’s not really my main focus.

This is why I do not want to purchase an expensive guide camera. I will if that’s the only way, but I suspect there has to be some cheaper way to assemble my equipment to get the same result.

Edited by hherzy, 26 May 2019 - 05:49 PM.


#8 hherzy

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 05:53 PM

PHD2 would be able to handle it if there is an ASCOM driver for the camera. Unfortunately, most DSLRs do not have ASCOM drivers.

I can’t say I fully understand what all this means but I found this

https://stargazerslo...rs-canon-nikon/

That seems to allow them to have an ascom driver but I might be completely wrong.


Another option I just read about would be to buy a spc900nc. It’s a cheap webcam which is suitable for auto guiding I think.

Edited by hherzy, 26 May 2019 - 06:05 PM.


#9 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:58 PM

A couple of problems with the DSLR or Webcam ideas.

  • The software compatibility problem.  To my knowledge, the D3200 doesn't / won't have an ASCOM driver.  It's barely supported by any software, for that matter.
  • DSLRs are relatively heavy.  Your AVX doesn't need any more weight on it.  The guideline is to try to keep the telescope, imaging camera, guider, and all the associated adapters and accessories to about half of the mount's capacity, which means about 15 lbs total on your AVX.  You can push that a bit, but the more you add, the trickier it will be to guide accurately. 
  • Dithering isn't really a good idea on an AVX mount.  If you do it, do it in RA only.  Try to keep the Dec bearing quiet.  Better is to optimize the ISO of your imaging camera to minimize the noise in the first place, but of course that means longer exposures, which requires a tighter guiding solution.  It's all a matter of tradeoffs.  You can push these things only just so far... 

The ASI 120mm mini isn't really all that expensive, and you'll have a much better result with a real guide camera mounted to a real 50-60mm guide scope.  It's a purchase that will work with other OTAs and mounts in the future, too.  A webcam in theory could work, but in practice they're not sensitive enough, don't have the resolution you need, and would need to be taken apart to get rid of the lens, and then somehow mounted to the guide scope.  You need a lot less sky per pixel than what a webcam gives you by itself, or a even webcam lashed to the finder scope.


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