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Nikon D800 opinions

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#1 Berrett

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:03 AM

I normally do all my imaging with my Canon, but recently I got a D800 for dirt cheap with the intention of getting it H-Alpha modded.  I know its a great camera for standard imaging, but am I better off just reselling it and getting something else to mod?  Preferably back in the Canon family.  Those of you that have it, what are your thoughts on it?  If you have images, all the better.

 

 

It would be used primarily on my Stellarvue SV70T-IS , with a little sidework on a 9.25 SCT.



#2 whwang

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:01 AM

D800 is a fantastic camera for astro.  Check my astrobin gallery.  Perhaps half of my recent photos were taken with D800.

 

The best/worst point about D800 is that it can accept the hacked firmware.  Indeed, it requires firmware hacking for high-quality calibration.  The hack will completely disable all in-camera processing for the raw files, leading to the kind of calibration quality that's typically only seen on dedicated cooled CCD/CMOS cameras.  Plus the modification, a D800 can outperform D810A in terms of image quality (but of course it will not have those astro-friendly function of D810A's).  

 

Make sure your Stellarvue has a good reducer or flattener that can cover the FF.



#3 Berrett

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:35 PM

Yeah the Stellarvue is a good to go, Its the IS version.  What is your astrobin profile?  Ill take a look


So this firmware hack sounds necessary. Are there good guides and is it something that can easily be done? I’m familiar with CHDK which is probably the Canon equivalent.


Edited by Berrett, 30 March 2020 - 02:39 PM.


#4 AgilityGuy

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:25 PM

I use a modified D800e along with an FSQ-106EDX4 so no flattener needed.  I'm generally satisfied with the results I can get using the camera and I haven't been using the firmware hack.  I initially tried the RAM hack that had been released by NikonHacker but using it precluded the use of Backyard Nikon which I used for image acquisition.  In some other thread here on CN I had asked if the firmware hack was compatible with BYN but didn't get an answer.   

 

I initially had my camera modified for Ha by LifePixel and the glass that was installed created halos around bright stars that made the images unusable.  Before modifying the camera I could point it at anything and halos were never a problem.  Subsequently I had it modified to full spectrum at another vendor and it's worked well with a UV/IR cut filter.

 

If you want to stay with a DSLR I think it's a great choice.  It gives you the option to shoot in either full frame or crop-sensor mode (APS-C sized image).   If your target fits in the APS-C area you can really reduce the file size coming out of the camera.  I should pursue the firmware hack a bit more extensively because it eliminates any in-camera processing which makes the images a bit more difficult to post-process and likely effects the ultimate quality of the images.

 

Several images from the camera are posted on my Astrobin site link below. 



#5 Berrett

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 05:30 PM

When you had it modified and had the halo issue, was it just a one time messup done by lifepixel?  Or is this a known issue that has been since corrected?  I would rather have just the HA mod done instead personally.



#6 AgilityGuy

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 07:16 PM

I honestly don't know.  I contacted him about the problem and the tone of the response seemed a bit defensive, at least to me.  Who knows, my message which included a sample image may have come across the same way to him. He stated he'd done quite a few of Nikon cameras and never had heard of the problem before. Which in truth and in fact he likely has but possibly not a D800e.  While I was mulling over what to do next I contacted KolariVision and had a good conversation with the owner.  He said the outcome with some Nikon models can be different.  Some will have the internal reflection problem while others won't - even with the same Ha modification.  He'd seen the problem before on several different models and the fix wasn't the same on each camera.  Since I was only planning to use the camera for astrophotography I had KolariVision do a full spectrum conversion which eliminated the problem.  

 

I'm reasonably sure I've seen others stating their D800 was Ha modified and I didn't notice the severe halos in their images  If you go that route I'd confirm that whoever does it has actually done that specific camera.  Also my camera is a D800e.  Nikon states it's supposed to be the same as the D800 but just doesn't have the anti-aliasing filter.  That said the D800e camera uses a different version of firmware than the D800.  It's possible there were other differences in the optical filters.



#7 whwang

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 09:23 PM

Yeah the Stellarvue is a good to go, Its the IS version.  What is your astrobin profile?  Ill take a look

Please check my signature.

 

 

So this firmware hack sounds necessary. Are there good guides and is it something that can easily be done? I’m familiar with CHDK which is probably the Canon equivalent.

 

 

https://nikonhacker.....php?f=2&t=2319

 

I wouldn't say it's necessary.  If you are an expert already, you won't be satisfied with D800 images, and the hacked D800 images will make you very happy.  On the other hand, if you are a beginner (I guess yes), you probably cannot tell what's the problem in the images produced by an unhacked D800.  So you may simply start using your D800 and enjoy its amazing sensitivity without worrying about the hack.  Just keep in mind that if one day you feel unsatisfied about D800's linearity, there is something that can turn D800 into a perfect camera.

 

 

 I initially tried the RAM hack that had been released by NikonHacker but using it precluded the use of Backyard Nikon which I used for image acquisition.  In some other thread here on CN I had asked if the firmware hack was compatible with BYN but didn't get an answer.   

 

 

There is an official answer about this on BYN's own user support forum. And the answer is no, BYN will not support it.  For my hacked D800, I use DigiCamControl.  When I use it in unhacked mode, BYN works perfectly.



#8 AgilityGuy

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 10:05 PM

There is an official answer about this on BYN's own user support forum. And the answer is no, BYN will not support it.  For my hacked D800, I use DigiCamControl.  When I use it in unhacked mode, BYN works perfectly.

Thank you.



#9 robbieg147

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Posted 01 April 2020 - 05:17 PM

I don't think your scope will cover the full frame D800 sensor, you will have heavy vignetting though you have the crop mode available.



#10 AgilityGuy

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Posted 01 April 2020 - 05:36 PM

You can check that here: https://astronomy.tools

 

Nothing lost by using crop mode, full frame or cropped, the images are very good.




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