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Starting with the Wrong gear. SCT, DSlR nikon 3400.

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#1 EEBA

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 06:14 PM

Hi, I started the hobby with the wrong equipment. Originally, I only was looking into viewing astronomy. Now, I want to do viewing and astrophotography. I started with a celestron 8se, SCT. Also, I already own a nikon d3400. I am still learning about the sky (barely 2 months having my scope) and I came with the idea that It will be good to have 2 telescopes. One, doing astrophotography and the second to see keep learning about the sky. Since it is expensive to get more equipment, and I already spent more than 2k in my first set, my buying will be progressive. In the mean while, I wanted to use my sct to start getting a grasp on AP. I got excited, I bought a used notebook for 200 dollars to capture images. While I was researching about capturing images for the nikon D3400, the astrobackyard nikon doesn't support this model, I also researched and intervalometer dows no fit this model neither. At this point, I feel like I am stucked. So is this camera useless? Eventhough, trevor from astrophotography backyard recommended it for begginers?. Is there any way I can overcome this problem? Or what is the next step I have to take.
I know many of you had struggled with all kind issues, especially at the beginning. Please share your advice.

Enrique

#2 nitegeezer

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 06:32 PM

I am not familiar with that particular camera, but most DSLRs have a delay and burst mode normally used for group photos so the photographer can also be in the picture. This works for AP because the delay allows the shaking from pushing the camera trigger to die out, and then it will take multiple exposures before another trigger is needed.
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#3 ToxMan

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:14 PM

The longest exposure you can take is 30 seconds. When this camera is attached to Celestron 8SE, your focal ratio is f10. So, you can't do longer exposures, and you are working at a high focal ratio for faint deep sky objects. That would be frustrating.

 

As I see your situation, you could sell your present camera, and get another more suitable camera for use with Backyard Nikon, and get those longer exposures. Camera needs bulb mode, some way to allow for longer exposures. With a focal reducer attached to your telescope, you could get your focal ratio down to f6.3, and use your present camera, then 30 second exposures may be sufficient, but it is a significant limitation. The other option is to change telescopes. But, if you enjoy viewing through your 8SE, and want to keep it, then you would want to go with a telescope that has a lower focal ratio, for instance, f4 or f5, with as much aperture and "good glass" as you can afford. Perhaps a small refractor, like 80mm, paired with your camera.

 

Don't let it get you down. A lot of us have had similar problems starting out as a beginner.


Edited by ToxMan, 28 March 2020 - 07:15 PM.

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#4 bridgman

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:23 PM

I believe DigiCam Control supports your D3400:

 

http://digicamcontrol.com/

 

There seems to be an infrared remote available from Nikon as well, although it doesn't have all the features of a typical intervalometer. That said, if you can open and close the shutter in Bulb mode with it that's a pretty good start:

 

https://en.nikon.ca/...(infrared).html

 

There also seem to be more remote control options available via phone/tablet than laptop, if that helps.


Edited by bridgman, 28 March 2020 - 07:47 PM.


#5 JDFlood

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:24 PM

You know everyone is different and the paths they take to get there. AP can be a real daunting new pursuit. One approach is to do it in a similar way that is easiest for visual. Start simple and easy with binoculars and add equipment as you learn to go deeper into the sky. For AP your camera and an inexpensive equatorial camera mount  like the iOptron sky tracker can let you do shots of large objects like the Andromeda Galaxy and others starting with 20 - 30 second exposures using a 100 - 200mmm camera lens. You can learn exposure, stacking tools, post processing, and work your way up to long exposures. Then you will have a very good idea of what kind of telescope you will want to use. You will probably be completely surprised with the incredible photos you can take with a camera.  Honestly until you know the myriad of thing you don’t know yet it is daunting task to deal with the mount stability, field of view, exposure, telescope type, reducer/flatterers, adapters, guide scopes... and ten more variables etc. you can do it, many have. But starting with a camera, then a wide field small refractor, then get a mount to support your long term “dream” AP system. 
 


Edited by JDFlood, 28 March 2020 - 07:29 PM.


#6 nitegeezer

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:38 PM

Before making any purchases or sales, give what you have a try, if for no other reason than to see what others are talking about. Also, it depends a lot on your expectations. This hobby has a long learning curve, so don't expect excellence with your first shot. Start out with brighter objects like M13, the star cluster in Hercules. Since this is only stars, the goal is to make everything pinpoint. This will show any focus issues that you need to learn anyway, and you can trade star trails for exposure and ISO. The more you can learn with what you have, the more informed you will be when you make a purchase. In the end, you may choose to have a separate AP rig, or maybe just tweak your system. Whatever you learn with long FL and large F ratio, the easier it will be if you decide to change those.
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#7 BeltofOrion

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:51 PM

The Nikon D3400 does have bulb mode. https://www.youtube....h?v=fmPJXV0kTCk

 

Don't know what your budget is, but this little device might interest you if you plan on purchasing a new camera. ( It don't think it supports the D3400.)  I don't have the CamRanger 2, but I do have the original CamRanger and it is pretty amazing. I can sit in my living room and take photos while the scope and camera are outside on the freezing patio. I can also change f stops, ISO, shutter speed, and even focusing. And I can preview what I shoot. https://camranger.com/


Edited by BeltofOrion, 28 March 2020 - 08:07 PM.


#8 17.5Dob

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:04 PM

The Nikon D3400 has bulb mode. https://www.youtube....h?v=fmPJXV0kTCk

Yes, but the problem is finding an intervalometer or software that allows computer control.



#9 Alen K

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 10:30 PM

There seems to be an infrared remote available from Nikon as well, although it doesn't have all the features of a typical intervalometer. That said, if you can open and close the shutter in Bulb mode with it that's a pretty good start:

 

https://en.nikon.ca/...(infrared).html

I was going to suggest this universal IR remote as a less expensive alternative (I bought two of them for my Pentax K-3II) but the D3400 is not listed as compatible, while the D3200 and D3300 are. Strange. 



#10 Mike Spooner

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 10:36 PM

I say give it try also! I'm a beginner, too, but using bright stuff I used single frames and am learning a lot about focusing, about tracking problems and a bit about enhancing. Just finding stuff can be a challenge but that's part of the fun at this early stage. I know stacking will come eventually but for now I'm having fun just getting a pretty picture!

Here's a 20 second jpeg shot at f/4.6 and probably 6400 iso. I used a hat trick to start the exposure so knock off 2 or 3 seconds while I let the shutter vibrations to settle down. I used a Nikon D750 so had some advantage with live view focusing (I'm not familiar with all the D3400 capabilities but I think your sensor should give similar results.) I used a very old PS version to adjust curves. It is noisy and all but it allowed me to experiment for those things I mentioned above. I'll also attach an M51 image (same parameters) I took a few nights ago. I did a bit of contrast and gamma enhancement but it's only one frame so nothing to write home about. I still like it though cause it's mine! smile.gif
image.jpeg
image.jpeg

Mike Spooner
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#11 StarmanDan

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 11:08 PM

While an SCT is certainly not the best scope to start with, you can get nice results if you are willing to put up with a lot of headaches. Here are some of my attempts with my SCT and DSLR:

https://imgur.com/a/RAyCZVH
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#12 EEBA

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 02:56 AM

I checked the cam ranger does not support d3400. Some body suggested digicam control, but I dont know if it is safe to install it in my computer.

#13 Sheridan

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 07:19 AM

Here is a link to an article that may help you

 

https://camerajabber...B88Q9QF6BAgFEAI

 

 It also says that some people have It also says that some people have had luck using a Sony intervalometer as it uses a micro USB port



#14 Huangdi

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 07:58 AM

Your camera is fine. Don't sell it. Especially not for a Canon with an inferior sensor 😅

From what I've gathered, there are ways to connect IR/BT remotes to the D3400, but it appears to be more complicated because NIKON removed the accessory port. I've been shooting with a D3300 for three years now and while I'm at a point where I would love automated dithering and plate solving, it's by no means necessary.

I'd even say it would complicate things for you to add another program such as SequenceGeneratorPro to the vast amount of things you have to learn.

1. You can use digicamcontrol to start with 30 second exposures and focusing aid, but it's less than ideal. Of all the Nikon cameras, you basically have the worst one for astrophotography. The sensor is great, but the camera is poorly designed. So if you choose to purchase a new one, get a D5300. Not much more expensive, but a huge improvement.

2. What mount do you use? Is it sturdy enough to hold your scope and track accurately? You'll be imaging at a high focal length, a high quality mount is important.

3. If you don't have one, get a focal reducer. The more you reduce, the less trouble you will have.

4. You will need an off-axis guiding setup to image for more than a few seconds, that means an off axis guider and a guide cam, such as the zwo asi 120mm

5. Don't be discouraged by this. It's a great hobby with many struggles. I'm sure you will overcome them and ultimately be glad you took the plunge.

#15 Sheridan

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 09:36 AM

 I would I would have to agree getting a focal reducer is probably a must. A number of years back I was Imaging with an 8-inch SCT, and without the focal reducer the stars were bloated oh, I'm driving I wouldn't even fit it was so large. I got some pretty decent images without using a guide which made it a little more interesting but it can be done. Honestly right now I'm having more fun what the sky guider Pro and the Nikon mounted on it with my 70 to 300 mm lens. The beauty of the skyguider pro in the camera is that is light and compact, and I can throw it in a plane without having it affect the weight and balance much.


Edited by Sheridan, 29 March 2020 - 09:39 AM.


#16 bridgman

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 09:45 AM

If you are limited to 30 second exposures with DigiCamControl then another option would be the IR remote. That, combined with Bulb setting, should allow arbitrary length exposures. I read a couple of posts from people using them that you could push the remote button once to open the shutter then push again to close it.

 

That said, without a wedge (and wedges have mixed reviews with 8SE's) you're going to be fairly limited in exposure time anyways.

 

I imagine you also have at least the stock Nikon lens ? If so then a piggyback adapter would probably be a fun way to get started. For all the great technology today some of my favorite astrophotos were taken with an old Pentax Spotmatic II piggybacked on a Questar that someone was nice enough to let me use at Stellafane.

 

https://www.astronom...copes-only.html


Edited by bridgman, 29 March 2020 - 09:57 AM.


#17 EEBA

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 03:25 PM

I have the focal reducer, for my sct 8 se. It is alt az mount. Also, I have thr little remote control which I used yesterday to take pictures of Saturn and jupiter. For first time.it wasn't to hard to take pictures of the planets, but I think since I couldn't make video, the quality wasn't great. I have such a great experience that I decided to buy a non expensive dedicated camera. I think they are around 200 dollars. I will also save the camera for auto guide in the future . For a possible refractor maybe in a few months from now.i will take a look to the phone app. I am still scared to use digicam pro if they has virus.

Enrique


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