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Nikon FX D850 or D780 for Wide-field Astrophotography?

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#1 RobM

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 03:21 PM

Here is a link to a wide-angle photo taken with the Nikon D850 45MP full frame DSLR & Nikon 18mm f/2.8 AF-D, f/2.8 for 30 seconds at ISO 6,400.  The D850 was released in early 2017 and then Nikon released the 24.5MP D780 in early 2020.

 

You can see the D850's circa 2017 sensor captures the Double Cluster in Perseus, as well as the M31 Galaxy.  Would the 3+ year newer Nikon sensor do any better with higher ISO performance?  I'd be using a tracker for 5 - 10 minute exposures with a variety of f1.8 - f4 Nikon prime lenses wide open at ISO equivalent of @12,500.

 

Suggestions???


Edited by RobM, 04 July 2020 - 03:22 PM.


#2 Huangdi

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 03:44 PM

Here is a link to a wide-angle photo taken with the Nikon D850 45MP full frame DSLR & Nikon 18mm f/2.8 AF-D, f/2.8 for 30 seconds at ISO 6,400.  The D850 was released in early 2017 and then Nikon released the 24.5MP D780 in early 2020.

 

You can see the D850's circa 2017 sensor captures the Double Cluster in Perseus, as well as the M31 Galaxy.  Would the 3+ year newer Nikon sensor do any better with higher ISO performance?  I'd be using a tracker for 5 - 10 minute exposures with a variety of f1.8 - f4 Nikon prime lenses wide open at ISO equivalent of @12,500.

 

Suggestions???

Wow, that's a very blue image.

 

If you take a 10 minute exposure with an F1.8 lens at ISO 12500, your image is most likely going to be white. I'm not sure why you would want to shoot at an ISO like that, even less with a Nikon.

 

Nikons work best at ISO 400-800 and if you have a tracker, you should keep the ISO that low. The reason why many people shoot at such high ISO's, is because they have to limit their exposure length to let's say 30 seconds, because of field rotation.

 

Since you would be shooting with a tracker however, you could shoot at the ISO sweet spot of the camera, which gives you a low read noise, high dynamic range image.

 

Both cameras have a very steep drop off in read noise. The D850 performs well at ISO 400, the D780 at 800. 

 

https://www.photonst...Charts/RN_e.htm

 

I think it's safe to say that the difference between these cameras is so marginal, it hardly matters for your purpose. I would go with the cheaper one :p


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#3 scopewizard

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 04:15 PM

I have a D850,

 

This image was taken in 10 secs at 25600 ISO in a 10"F5, no corrector or filter.

 

M13.JPG


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#4 spereira

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 04:25 PM

Moving to DSLR & Digital Camera Astro Imaging & Processing.

 

smp



#5 Arcamigo

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:13 PM

I have the D850. I agree with Huangdi's review. I think either camera would give you excellent wide field images. The only noticeable advantage would be in cropping those images, where the D850's higher pixel density would let you get more detail if you want to look at something more closely, however that might only show you focusing or star trail blurring. The image below was taken with a 20mm f/2.8 at ISO 2000 for 20 seconds. Focusing is off a bit.

 

DSC_0158.jpg


Edited by Arcamigo, 04 July 2020 - 05:14 PM.


#6 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:31 PM

Here is a link to a wide-angle photo taken with the Nikon D850 45MP full frame DSLR & Nikon 18mm f/2.8 AF-D, f/2.8 for 30 seconds at ISO 6,400. The D850 was released in early 2017 and then Nikon released the 24.5MP D780 in early 2020.

You can see the D850's circa 2017 sensor captures the Double Cluster in Perseus, as well as the M31 Galaxy. Would the 3+ year newer Nikon sensor do any better with higher ISO performance? I'd be using a tracker for 5 - 10 minute exposures with a variety of f1.8 - f4 Nikon prime lenses wide open at ISO equivalent of @12,500.

Suggestions???

With a tracker at 5-10 minutes and ISO 12000+ you'll blow out every image you take unless you shoot at f5 or more stopped down. I shoot my Z6/Z7 at iso 800 with my lenses at f1.8-f2.8 and my exposures are in the 1-3 minute range, any longer and I'm clipping highlights.

You can't go wrong with either camera, the D850 will be sharper since it lacks and anti-aliasing filter, it deliver finer resolved details due to the pixel scale differences, it'll have bigger files which will take up more space and require better computer hardware to process. The D780 will offer slightly higher quantum efficiency, slightly lower noise, slightly better dynamic range, but you'll be hard pressed to notice those differences when using the tracking mount. So pick one that fits your budget and resolution desires.

And a word of advice, never utilize Ken Rockwell anything for a camera decision, the dude is a hack. That's a very very awful nightscape image, fwiw (not your fault, just an example of how lousy Rockwell is).

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

#7 SandyHouTex

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:14 PM

With a tracker at 5-10 minutes and ISO 12000+ you'll blow out every image you take unless you shoot at f5 or more stopped down. I shoot my Z6/Z7 at iso 800 with my lenses at f1.8-f2.8 and my exposures are in the 1-3 minute range, any longer and I'm clipping highlights.

You can't go wrong with either camera, the D850 will be sharper since it lacks and anti-aliasing filter, it deliver finer resolved details due to the pixel scale differences, it'll have bigger files which will take up more space and require better computer hardware to process. The D780 will offer slightly higher quantum efficiency, slightly lower noise, slightly better dynamic range, but you'll be hard pressed to notice those differences when using the tracking mount. So pick one that fits your budget and resolution desires.

And a word of advice, never utilize Ken Rockwell anything for a camera decision, the dude is a hack. That's a very very awful nightscape image, fwiw (not your fault, just an example of how lousy Rockwell is).

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

i’ve been following Ken Rockwell for many years, and have bought most of my camera equipment based on his reviews, all of which have been spot on.  I’ve also bought some audio equipment he recommended which was fantastic.

 

I have the D850 and D750.  The D850 is a fantastic camera.  It’s sensor is just amazing.


Edited by SandyHouTex, 05 July 2020 - 08:16 PM.


#8 Huangdi

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 09:17 AM

i’ve been following Ken Rockwell for many years, and have bought most of my camera equipment based on his reviews, all of which have been spot on. I’ve also bought some audio equipment he recommended which was fantastic.

I have the D850 and D750. The D850 is a fantastic camera. It’s sensor is just amazing.


Idk who Ken Rockwell is, but he appears to be a landscape photographer. And a completely blue image of the milky way isn't exactly what I would call a good reference.

That being said, I don't think anyone would argue against the D850, or the D780. They're both fantastic cameras and more than good enough for simply wide field astrophotography.

#9 whwang

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 10:41 AM

You can do a search on Flickr using "D850 astrophotography" as keywords.  You can find many good examples, better than KR's.


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#10 Geoff40N

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 05:54 PM

The higher the ISO, the more noise you'll be dealing with in your images. This is another reason to avoid 5-figure ISO settings, as the amount of noise in the black fields in-between stars would be horrendous.



#11 scopewizard

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 09:00 PM

I never recommend ISO greater than 1600. With D850 with max ISO was a test to see how far I could push it. I normally use 800 or less.



#12 Kevin_A

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 10:30 AM

I only use my Nikon Z7 at iso 400 and max iso 800. It is basically the same as the D850 sensor.


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#13 jeff.bottman

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 10:51 AM

If money is an object, you may want to consider the D750, currently available for around $1k.  Same sensor as D780; I use a modified D750 and am very happy with it.  By comparison, I think the D850 is around $2.5k.  If interested, here's a link to my astrobin site, all images taken with D750.

 

https://www.astrobin...s/jeff.bottman/

 

 


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#14 Readerp

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 01:54 PM

Another option that sits between the D750/780 and the D850 is the D810.

 

Very capable with an excellent sensor. Can be had used with low milage for around $1.2k



#15 SandyHouTex

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 08:44 PM

The 750 is an awesome camera as well.



#16 Bill G.

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 09:38 PM

.

 

Both cameras have a very steep drop off in read noise. The D850 performs well at ISO 400, the D780 at 800. 

 

https://www.photonst...Charts/RN_e.htm

 

I think it's safe to say that the difference between these cameras is so marginal, it hardly matters for your purpose. I would go with the cheaper one tongue2.gif

Huangdi,

Thank you for that link!! I was wondering where the sweet spot is for the Nikon Z-6 iso. I had read on CN that 800 was it, nice to be able to confirm that. Also helpful for my D7000.

Bill G. 


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#17 Kevin_A

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Posted Yesterday, 01:43 PM

The D780 is not the same sensor as the D750. It is I believe a BSI CMOS sensor like the Z6 minus the on sensor A/F pixels.

I have both the Z6 and the D750  and both are great sensors except for the AA filters..... but for widefield it really does not matter.

The D780 will have less noise than the D750 due to the newer processor dual gain algorithm drop at ISO800 but all else will be equal basically except for price.

Both will be excellent for widefield and the larger pixels have huge well depth to avoid over saturation.


Edited by Kevin_A, Yesterday, 01:45 PM.



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