Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

What are the advantages of film astrophotography?

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
59 replies to this topic

#26 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 09:51 AM

Cliff, let me give you the perspective of an absolute newby, about 1/2 step ahead of you. I too wanted to try astrophotography. I wasn't at all sure how to go about it so started looking at the various CCD cameras, DSLR cameras, etc. Even bought a Nexstar (which, BTW, I have failed still yet to get a really good picture from...).
Bottom line, it looked like it was going to take at least a couple of grand to get the equipment to get started-and, I KNOW my mount is not up to long exposures, not even thinking about the quality of my scope.. hummm....
Went to Ebay, got a slr body -shipped to my house- for less than $50... I figure for somewhere under $200, I'm in business-AT LEAST ENOUGH TO TRY IT OUT! Now, if it turns out to really be my cup of tea, well we all know the time X $ equation. If not, I'll resell most of what I'm buying and in the long run lose very little.
Hope this helps,
Hubert



Sounds like you're off on the right foot.
You will soon find that it is not as hard as you first imagined. Just remember that film needs lots of light on dark objects, and keeping it steady there is all the trick.
I started on stars,Globs, and Doubles and learned to guide on them.

Follow CF's outline and you will have success.

Rob :smirk:

#27 ClownFish

ClownFish

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,588
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 10:09 AM

This is why CCD astrophotography is often called IMAGING, and film astrophotography is called PHOTOGRAPHY.

I disagree that CCD imaging is way easier though. Look at the beginners struggling to produce quality results. But (and here's the key) watch how fast they go up the learning curve! n the time it takes a film newbie to get his first prints back, CC imagers showcase their errors, get feedback from others, and go back out and re-shoot... MANY times over! CCD imaging is by far the fastest way to learn astrophotography hands down.

Film astrophotography has a sense of nostalgia and a large feeling of ART or SOUL to it. It's like the difference between watercolor painting and desk-top illustration (I'm not knocking illustrators, they are artists too, but not like the hands-on, paint in your hair, stereotypical artist. Then again, modern computer graphic artists are rarely “starving" either!).

Just keep in mind, film and CCD imagers are both TOOLS in the hands of astronomers. Hey both produce great results to let us see clearly what our eyes alone can not.

This may be why science has also embraced CCD imaging (not counting the fact that their time is limited and cost is less of an issue). I hope not to offend the great work being done by CCD imagers; I think it’s all beautiful, and the Cosmos is filled with wonders I know I’ll never be able to capture well with film.

CF

#28 Paul Lennous

Paul Lennous

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 303
  • Joined: 05 Feb 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 11:24 AM

Don't forget about the sketchers, the ORIGINAL artists of astronomy. Have you seen some of the beautiful works they have created? In addidtion, they have the lowest cost entry into "imaging" by a LONG shot, (and a lot more patience ant talent than I have).

#29 inaPICle

inaPICle

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 278
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006

Posted 06 June 2006 - 11:43 AM

On another note, CCD imaging requires less attentiveness to error, thustly one can be less skillful at the scope, and still achieve a high degree of accurate images.



What a load of utter garbage

If anything CCD imaging pushes everything very much harder than film imaging does.

For any given image scale expressed arcseconds per square micron of dectector (since film does not have pixels) the issues are very similar. CCD will tend to be more demanding since guiding errors will show faster due to increased sensitivity, and generally resolution will be higher too so each individual excursion will have to be smaller too.

With film you have a little longer to put it right and a little more leeway with errors in the first place due to sensitivity and resolution respectivly.

This is amply shown by the fact that Losmandy had to change the manufacturing spec of the the worm gear since the original worm that worked fine with film was not up to the task of guiding CCD images at similar image scales. Hence the introduction of the high precision worm.

If you are comparing similar fields of view as opposed similar image scales then you are not comparing like to like.

Garbage in, garbage out applies to both film and CCD imaging. Film and CCD are both just photon detectors but with different characteristics. The same core issues plague both, and each has their own additional sets of issues to contend with.

Neither is simpler or harder at the scope if you are looking for quality images.

#30 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 11:48 AM

This is why CCD astrophotography is often called IMAGING, and film astrophotography is called PHOTOGRAPHY.

I disagree that CCD imaging is way easier though. Look at the beginners struggling to produce quality results. But (and here's the key) watch how fast they go up the learning curve! n the time it takes a film newbie to get his first prints back, CC imagers showcase their errors, get feedback from others, and go back out and re-shoot... MANY times over! CCD imaging is by far the fastest way to learn astrophotography hands down.

Film astrophotography has a sense of nostalgia and a large feeling of ART or SOUL to it. It's like the difference between watercolor painting and desk-top illustration (I'm not knocking illustrators, they are artists too, but not like the hands-on, paint in your hair, stereotypical artist. Then again, modern computer graphic artists are rarely “starving" either!).

Just keep in mind, film and CCD imagers are both TOOLS in the hands of astronomers. Hey both produce great results to let us see clearly what our eyes alone can not.

This may be why science has also embraced CCD imaging (not counting the fact that their time is limited and cost is less of an issue). I hope not to offend the great work being done by CCD imagers; I think it’s all beautiful, and the Cosmos is filled with wonders I know I’ll never be able to capture well with film.

CF



I agree completely. CCD imagers are doing wonderful things, and more power to the one who can couple computer skill with that required at the scope.

I just prefer to keep it simple. No wires, no cables, no computer, and no programing skill.

My camera is part of the scope, and it never detracts from the clean orderly lines that represent my scopes.
This is all of course my opinion.
Image of me and imaging scope. Note the control pad in my hand. That gives me control of slewing, focus,(Green scope) and hydraulic elevation. I set focus with Stiletto, so after that there is no touchy.

Final note: I manually guide with the big green scope :grin:

Rob :jump:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 987857-Picture_4745a.jpg


#31 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 12:01 PM

On another note, CCD imaging requires less attentiveness to error, thustly one can be less skillful at the scope, and still achieve a high degree of accurate images.


Oh, I wouldn't say that! For example, I need to adjust the Dec axis on one of my mounts because it has about 2 arc secs of backlash.

Where the operator fails, the softwhere pics up the ball. Introducing black frames for depth, and multi stacking for resolution,and color. All this being done in a fraction of the time. Even picking through images and sorting, selecting the best. Now who whouldn't want that?


The software can and does fail as well, and often times for very obscure reasons. CCD images require a lot of post processing and that takes as much, if not more, skill, experience and time as aquiring the images themselves. Of course you can go that route with film as well if you wish.

Personally, my profession, and aptitude requires a greater hands on approach. Film doesn't forget, it sees what you put in front of it, unlike CCD images that you can (through processes),eliminate all together, the images that represent the error.

CCD imaging has its roots with astronomy, and I for one welcome it. But on the other side of the coin, I prefer to *CREATE* the image, by my own skill,(Or lack of it) at the scope/camera rather then at the computer.


Interestly enough, my profession is in IT and often involves working on systems a couple thousand miles away so maybe its all just second nature to me. My brother is also in IT and he shoots landscapes with a 4"x5" view camera - he's also very much into the immediate hands-on aspect of it and will never bring computers into what he does.

#32 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 12:07 PM

I just prefer to keep it simple. No wires, no cables, no computer, and no programing skill.

My camera is part of the scope, and it never detracts from the clean orderly lines that represent my scopes.
This is all of course my opinion.


You wouldn't like my setup then, and this is just at the scope end!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 987872-892992-wires.jpg


#33 Paul Lennous

Paul Lennous

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 303
  • Joined: 05 Feb 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 01:11 PM

I think this topic can be expressed in several perspectives. Therefore I propose my list of reasons, broken down into specific categories:

Absolute Advantages Over Every Other Method:

Cost. I can get a brand new fully mechanical SLR film camera, with warranty, for $120.00 without trying too hard. A small CCD camera is at least $200. A digital DLR is at least $700. The higher resolution CCD cameras go for thousands of dollars. Many people can afford the incremental cost of developing film, but may not be able to justify the up-front cost of a high dollar imaging system. If you want to go cheaper, consider sketching.

Batteries. My fully mechanical film SLR uses no batteries at all in shooting astrophotos. (Yes, it does have a light meter, but this is unnecessary when shooting the sky.) Everything else uses power, which must be supplied from somewhere. I realize that this may be only minor to many people, but it is still an advantage, even if it is a small one. I also realize that this might not be an advantage for those with electronic shutters. The moral of the story is, if you are looking for a film camera for astrophotography, you are better off looking for one that has a mechanical shutter. That is one reason why many people look for those older cameras on Ebay.

Absolute Advantages Over Dedicated CCD Astro Cameras:

Versatility. I can use my SLR to shoot photos of other things besides the night sky. It works well at a picnic, birthday party, and a star party. In addition, it is easy to get lenses from fish-eye to telephoto for my SLR, and without the need for any special adapters.

Absolute Advantages Over DSLR's:

Hydrogen Alpha Sensitivity. By choosing the right film, my camera is very sensitive to hydrogen alpha emission lines. Most DSLR's are woefully insensitive to this region of the spectrum. I do realize that meny people do modify their DSLR's to increase their sensitivity, but my film camera already is sensitive and need no modification which voids its warranty (as wellas additional cost). In addition, the modification throws off the camera's white balancing, adding complexity to the process of taking any photos through it. I also realize that the 20DA is out on the market, but again at a large increase in cost even over traditional DSLR's.

Possible Advantages Over Other Means:

Image Texture. This is a matter of preference. Look at an image taken on film, and the same image taken using digital means. The texture and feel of each image will be dramatically different. Some may prefer the result of a film shot over that of a digital shot. (Personally, I like them both, kind of like the difference between a water color and an oil painting.)
Cabling. Some do not like the number of wires going from the telescope to the myriad of power supplies, laptops, etc. This may be either from an aesthetic point of view, or an awareness of ones own clumsiness (that would be me). Others may not see this as a problem.

Image size. With the exception of the ultra-high end CCD's and DSLR's film is a much larger format to work with. Throw in medium and large format film cameras, and there is nothing that can touch film. If you are working with large objects, (M31, NGC7000, etc.) than this can be an advantage. In addition, nothing can top a medium or large format camera taking a wide view image of the sky. However, this can also be a disadvantage for some telescopes which introduce coma, vignetting, flatness issues, and other off-axis problems.

Post Processing. I've taken a number of film shots, and have done no more processing than scanning the slide, cropping the image, and saving the result. Most digital images require stacking and post processing, both which can take time to learn, as well as more software to buy. While I see this as an advantage for film, others may think that the digital route has the advantage since a 10 minute ruined sub-frame is much easier to get over than a one hour single frame that may be the only representative of the target taken.

__________________________________

So, there is my list of advantages of film over other techniques. I did not talk about guiding (OAG vs. guide scope, hand vs. auto), mount types, or anything else other than the meduim and the necessary box to use that meduim. Those are outside of the topic header, and are worthy of headings all their own to let the opinions and light hearted jabs fly.

While this is a list of advantages that film has over other methods, it does not even remotely imply that these other methods do not have any other advantages over film. Each method, in fact, does have advantages over film, but these are better left to be discussed in another topic heading.

Personally, I enjoy both film and DSLR astrophotography. I find that film works best on the larger objects, nebulae, and galaxies with nebulae. I like the DSLR better for clusters and distant galaxies.

Finally, I enjoy images taken with all four methods; film, DSLR, CCD, and sketching. I have nothing but admiration fo r those putting out the time and effort to attempt such a demanding hobby.


Enough rambling for the moment. :blah: Feel free to amend this incomplete list.

#34 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 02:03 PM

Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On another note, CCD imaging requires less attentiveness to error, thustly one can be less skillful at the scope, and still achieve a high degree of accurate images.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Oh, I wouldn't say that! For example, I need to adjust the Dec axis on one of my mounts because it has about 2 arc secs of backlash.



But that issue is mount related, and will be a factor in film imaging as well. What I mean is, if you have a good PEC control, and a good guide CCD, you are relieved from the tediousness of using your own eye. And that requires a skill that is now left to a program, and CCD.

Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Where the operator fails, the softwhere pics up the ball. Introducing black frames for depth, and multi stacking for resolution,and color. All this being done in a fraction of the time. Even picking through images and sorting, selecting the best. Now who whouldn't want that?



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The software can and does fail as well, and often times for very obscure reasons. CCD images require a lot of post processing and that takes as much, if not more, skill, experience and time as aquiring the images themselves. Of course you can go that route with film as well if you wish.



Indeed, but I believe I was talking about the skill of actually getting the image, not the process of computer edditing after the fact. Yes, I agree, it takes computer skill to do this. But I am talking about photographic skill.

Rob

#35 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 02:09 PM

I just prefer to keep it simple. No wires, no cables, no computer, and no programing skill.

My camera is part of the scope, and it never detracts from the clean orderly lines that represent my scopes.
This is all of course my opinion.


You wouldn't like my setup then, and this is just at the scope end!


Oh, no, your gear is cool. I am not a fan of all the wires. Plus they contribute to error themselves. Drag on the mount, and a hazard if you are not mindful :shocked:

Please don't get me wrong, the gear in the hands of a skilled, and tolerant imager, can be unbeatable. :jump:

Rob(I just aint that guy)

#36 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 03:14 PM

Paul,

Very good post, I couldn't agree any more....

Rob(Just another opinion)

#37 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 03:28 PM

On another note, CCD imaging requires less attentiveness to error, thustly one can be less skillful at the scope, and still achieve a high degree of accurate images.



What a load of utter garbage

If anything CCD imaging pushes everything very much harder than film imaging does.

For any given image scale expressed arcseconds per square micron of dectector (since film does not have pixels) the issues are very similar. CCD will tend to be more demanding since guiding errors will show faster due to increased sensitivity, and generally resolution will be higher too so each individual excursion will have to be smaller too.

With film you have a little longer to put it right and a little more leeway with errors in the first place due to sensitivity and resolution respectivly.

This is amply shown by the fact that Losmandy had to change the manufacturing spec of the the worm gear since the original worm that worked fine with film was not up to the task of guiding CCD images at similar image scales. Hence the introduction of the high precision worm.

If you are comparing similar fields of view as opposed similar image scales then you are not comparing like to like.

Garbage in, garbage out applies to both film and CCD imaging. Film and CCD are both just photon detectors but with different characteristics. The same core issues plague both, and each has their own additional sets of issues to contend with.

Neither is simpler or harder at the scope if you are looking for quality images.



I believe you missed my point. The lack of skill on the imager is not meant to be an attack but an observation.

I have seen SLR photographers, sitting by their scope, viewing through their guide scope and being very mindful to corrections, and at the same time have seen CCD imagers after setting up their CCD cameras, both imaging and guiding, start imaging, and then grab a pair of binocs, and start viewing the sky, while their equipement does the work.

This is a very good example of the operator not applying themselves to the images gathering session, but more so relying on their programs to run PEC, Guiding, and photon gathering. I never mention that it takes less of a certain kind of skill to take CCD images. It does, but the CCD camera owner has more free time to let the expensive gear correct for every conceivable problem, then do it themselves.

That is all I meant by what I said. I agree with you that there is a lot to be expected from CCD imagers, and their gear. It is a tough job either way. Film, CCD. :smirk:

Rob :foreheadslap:

#38 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 03:58 PM

But that issue is mount related, and will be a factor in film imaging as well. What I mean is, if you have a good PEC control, and a good guide CCD, you are relieved from the tediousness of using your own eye. And that requires a skill that is now left to a program, and CCD.


Ah, OK. Well, technically, that's really autoguiding vs manual guiding and not whether you are imaging with film or a CCD. You can, and people do, autoguide while imaging with film and guide manually while imaging with a CCD. It seems kinda obvious though that manual guiding is probably much more common with film imagers and autoguiding more common with CCD imagers.

#39 TxStars

TxStars

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,018
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:03 PM

You can order prints up to 32"x40" here by CCD imagers such as Robert Gendler and Russ Croman.


Thank you for pointing out that there are some prints out there that are larger than 8" x 12" ...

Do you think I could buy that CCD for under 30K :question:

#40 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:18 PM


You can order prints up to 32"x40" here by CCD imagers such as Robert Gendler and Russ Croman.


Thank you for pointing out that there are some prints out there that are larger than 8" x 12" ...

Do you think I could buy that CCD for under 30K :question:


Yes:
http://www.buytelesc...?t=&pid=5777&m=

A good set of filters will cost about another 1K or so.

#41 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:22 PM

But that issue is mount related, and will be a factor in film imaging as well. What I mean is, if you have a good PEC control, and a good guide CCD, you are relieved from the tediousness of using your own eye. And that requires a skill that is now left to a program, and CCD.


Ah, OK. Well, technically, that's really autoguiding vs manual guiding and not whether you are imaging with film or a CCD. You can, and people do, autoguide while imaging with film and guide manually while imaging with a CCD. It seems kinda obvious though that manual guiding is probably much more common with film imagers and autoguiding more common with CCD imagers.



So it goes to show that those who find simplicity in CCD imaging also find it in Autoguiding as well.

But this wasn't my issue, you brought up the mount issue. I simply gleaned off the notion that either or, you had mount issues with film as well as CCD.

I guess the issue of start and walk away is what is the main theme. You can't walk away from film imaging as you can with CCD driven my a program. Isn't this correct as you see it?? :confused:

Rob :question:

#42 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:40 PM

But that issue is mount related, and will be a factor in film imaging as well. What I mean is, if you have a good PEC control, and a good guide CCD, you are relieved from the tediousness of using your own eye. And that requires a skill that is now left to a program, and CCD.


Ah, OK. Well, technically, that's really autoguiding vs manual guiding and not whether you are imaging with film or a CCD. You can, and people do, autoguide while imaging with film and guide manually while imaging with a CCD. It seems kinda obvious though that manual guiding is probably much more common with film imagers and autoguiding more common with CCD imagers.



So it goes to show that those who find simplicity in CCD imaging also find it in Autoguiding as well.

But this wasn't my issue, you brought up the mount issue. I simply gleaned off the notion that either or, you had mount issues with film as well as CCD.


I misunderstood what you were getting at, that's why I brought up the mount issue. Sorry for the confusion


I guess the issue of start and walk away is what is the main theme. You can't walk away from film imaging as you can with CCD driven my a program. Isn't this correct as you see it?? :confused:

Rob :question:


Sure you can start and walk away while imaging with film - by having a CCD do the guiding for you, and people do just that.

#43 ClownFish

ClownFish

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,588
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:48 PM

To get a free autoguider, find some enthusiastic high-school kid who is eager to help create some astrophotos. The science geeks are the best bet, but others can be found too. Then TRAIN them to simply manual GUIDE after you set up the equipment. The're eyesight is better, and with all the video games, they are alrerady cooordinated to use a hand controller.

Then you can set up your equipment, much as an autoguiding setup, but instead of electrical power, offer Mountain Dew or Jolt Cola to the human guider... er, student. Once trained, they work well, and you can pay them with a copy of the photo they they took!

As a side benifit, you get to teach someone who's stuck listening to you (while they are intently guiding) and you will probably help foster a new member into the astro community!

CF

#44 ClownFish

ClownFish

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,588
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:50 PM

PS: Do NOT go to a local school yard and ask for "any kids who want to hangout with you after dark behind your house". Not a good idea. First you should chat with the HS Science or photography teacher. :)

CF

#45 ClownFish

ClownFish

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,588
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 04:55 PM

I did this with a co-worker when we were both about 22 years old in the military stationed in Turkey. He took one of my best shots of M42... manualy guiding for 45 minutes with an f/5 6" Newt. The Dec control was with a cabled knob!

Anyway, after a year we drifted apart and I never saw him again. Then, 20 years later I got an email from him! He told me his one of his most memorable recolection of that time we spent together in Turkey was learning astronomy and taking that long picture.. which he said still hangs in his living room!

CF

#46 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 05:47 PM

To get a free autoguider, find some enthusiastic high-school kid who is eager to help create some astrophotos. The science geeks are the best bet, but others can be found too. Then TRAIN them to simply manual GUIDE after you set up the equipment. The're eyesight is better, and with all the video games, they are alrerady cooordinated to use a hand controller.


Like this! Although teenage sons are rather expensive :lol:

#47 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 06:06 PM

Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I guess the issue of start and walk away is what is the main theme. You can't walk away from film imaging as you can with CCD driven my a program. Isn't this correct as you see it??

Rob


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Sure you can start and walk away while imaging with film - by having a CCD do the guiding for you, and people do just that.



Indeed, but this technique still requires a CCD to make sure everyone is on the same page. Hence the removal of the human element.

It appears we keep vacillating from one distinct issue(guiding), to another, (imaging). That in part, is my fault I am sure.

I guess when the rubber hits the road, film is the least expensive media, initially. And skill is required for both film, and CCD imaging. Not exactly the same skill but the initial mental investment is the same. The drain on your computer savee can be the very thing that makes CCD too expensive for some.

How you plan to guide the session is another matter.. :smirk:

Rob(Hardened film user)

#48 rwiederrich

rwiederrich

    Goldfinger

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,426
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Posted 06 June 2006 - 06:18 PM

To get a free autoguider, find some enthusiastic high-school kid who is eager to help create some astrophotos. The science geeks are the best bet, but others can be found too. Then TRAIN them to simply manual GUIDE after you set up the equipment. The're eyesight is better, and with all the video games, they are alrerady cooordinated to use a hand controller.

Then you can set up your equipment, much as an autoguiding setup, but instead of electrical power, offer Mountain Dew or Jolt Cola to the human guider... er, student. Once trained, they work well, and you can pay them with a copy of the photo they they took!

As a side benifit, you get to teach someone who's stuck listening to you (while they are intently guiding) and you will probably help foster a new member into the astro community!

CF



I suspected you had crafted a means to indoctrinate the acute into *Guider manuality*. Mtn Dew donations aught to be part of the indoctrinational lectures... :grin: :grin:

Just think of the captive audience you will have when you begin to quize your pupil on Star Trek Trivia. Well maybe that can be Warhammer 40K trivia.... :crazy:

Rob(you guy you) :bow:

#49 Dean

Dean

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,454
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004

Posted 06 June 2006 - 07:08 PM

Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I guess the issue of start and walk away is what is the main theme. You can't walk away from film imaging as you can with CCD driven my a program. Isn't this correct as you see it??

Rob


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Sure you can start and walk away while imaging with film - by having a CCD do the guiding for you, and people do just that.



Indeed, but this technique still requires a CCD to make sure everyone is on the same page. Hence the removal of the human element.

It appears we keep vacillating from one distinct issue(guiding), to another, (imaging). That in part, is my fault I am sure.

I guess when the rubber hits the road, film is the least expensive media, initially. And skill is required for both film, and CCD imaging. Not exactly the same skill but the initial mental investment is the same. The drain on your computer savee can be the very thing that makes CCD too expensive for some.

How you plan to guide the session is another matter.. :smirk:

Rob(Hardened film user)


Yep ;)

#50 Allaboutastro

Allaboutastro

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,695
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2010

Posted 06 June 2006 - 08:28 PM

Interesting thread. Just a few random things to add...

1.) Film works by sensitizing the emulsion with heavy concentrations of photons per unit area. This means that f-focal is a key component per given aperture. HOWEVER, f-ratio doesn't have the same effect when the aperture changes. While the light cone remains the same steepness, f/10 on a 14" scope is hammering the film with MANY more photons than at f/10 on an 3" scope. So, film photography at f/10 is perfectly feasible if you have enough aperture. Sometimes I think we forget all the great shots taken of smaller objects taken by guys like Philip Perkins over the years with "slow" SCTs.

2.) Film photography isn't always without a larger startup cost. Yes, an old SLR can be cheap, but inevitably you start sinking more money into it when you figure out that you can't focus such a camera with the cruddy focus screen...which leads to knife-edge, ronchi, and even expensive camera prisms. I ended up putting more money into my Nikon F2 setup than even a new Digital Rebel once you add up the accessories.

3.) Film can yield great results, even today. While DSLRs are really popular right now, its not necessarily true that they can produce better images. I've seen some really good film stuff out there over the years...and while there is some good stuff being taken with DSLRs (especially modified ones), I've yet to see anything that total blows away film images.

4.) I don't think anybody has mentioned the importance of really dark skies with film. That's the advantage of digital cameras...you can shoot them in lesser skies, if needed. Even so, nothing beats dark skies, regardless of the media.

5.) Astrophotography is difficult...period. It was hard when shooting film, it is hard shooting digital. Better equipment and shorter focal lengths does yield a higher rate of success, but there is a certain amount of expertese to all types of imaging. Heck, just because you have $60k worth of high-tech equipment doesn't mean it works by itself. Just like any computer system, it must first be programmed...and that requires somebody who really knows what they are doing, able to speak the "language" of the system and able to troubleshoot all the problems that come up.

6.) I've always said that FOV is highly overrated. Unless all you care about is wide fields, then small CCD chips will work very well...looking at Mark Sibole's images with the DSI, that fact becomes quite obvious. Now, that might sound weird coming from a guy with 6.3 and 11 megapixel astro CCDs, ;) but for the most part such real-estate is quite often wasted, especially once you begin to specialize on specific types of objects. In such cases, resolution can be more necessary than FOV. So, while film and DSLRs do have really nice FOVs, I think we tend to overvalue that quite a bit.

7.) The cost of film, including processing and digitizing, isn't all that cheap. I'd agree that film is cheaper to start with when compared to a CCD, but at some point you WILL start to spend more than the CCD you could have had to begin with. Again, remember that you don't need the same FOV CCD chip to make the comparision, but rather the one you'd need to accomplish your goals. For example, after two years of E200 or 400F photography with a Nikon F2 (with "C" screen and DW-2 6x finder), you've spent quite a bit of money, especially if you image a lot. By that time, you might have spent so much that you could have purchased an SBIG ST-2000, in either single shot color or monochrome CCD...a camera that can shoot a lot more objects than film or DSLRs. Or, considering the success that can be had with a DSI-type camera, I don't think you should get into film images solely because of the cost savings.

8.) With reference to the last point, you can take as many images as you want with a CCD, throwing away what you don't like. Likewise, it costs you no extra money when you do want to shoot lots of shots with a CCD. The value of that is in FEEDBACK, which I believe is the most important aspect to improving in the hobby. You just don't get that with film.

9.) With film, print size is determined by the emulsion size...at some point, you will see too much graininess. But in the digital world where you can resample an image before printing, you don't need larger chips...merely good, well sampled data. I've got _portions_ of my CCD images that I could crop and blow up as large as I want and it'd still look great. I've seen 24" x 48" blow-ups from 2 to 3 megapixel cameras that would blow your mind...the better the quality of the image, the better it will enlarge for print.

10.) Autoguiding is hard to do. Great autoguiding seems almost impossible sometimes. Either way, it's a big accomplishment, not without lots of effort and know-how.


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics