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Ambient night temp 85 & above worth using a DSLR?

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#1 HowardSD

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:00 PM

My question is basically the title to this thread. I live in Palm Springs and midnight temps have been in & around triple digits for the past 3 months, at last it's starting to cool to mid to high eighties. Trying to get started up again using my dslr on the night sky however after stacking and a few stretches my images are so grainy which i assume is due to the camera sensor not being able to cool at all... am I right or is it possible to take 30-50 images with a DSLR when the ambient temp is so high? I am looking into a cooled camera but for now best I have is my Nikon.



#2 Michael Covington

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 10:15 PM

Yes, certainly.  Which Nikon do you have?  My D5300 and D5500 are not very temperature-sensitive.  They may not perform as well as when cold, but they are quite usable.  Older sensors (15 years ago) had much more of a problem with heat sensitivity than newer ones.

You are taking dark frames, right?


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#3 HowardSD

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 11:26 PM

Yes, certainly.  Which Nikon do you have?  My D5300 and D5500 are not very temperature-sensitive.  They may not perform as well as when cold, but they are quite usable.  Older sensors (15 years ago) had much more of a problem with heat sensitivity than newer ones.

You are taking dark frames, right?

Hi Michael, I have the D5500 and yes i'm doing darks, flats no bias as currently my stacking software is incapable of adding the such, probably going to switch to APP now i'm able to get back into the hobby, not so much fun when midnight temps run into triple digits, lol

 

I'll have another go later tonight then, looks like clear skies again. I did make a stupid mistake last night, shot 4 hours of jpegs instead of Raw, forgot i'd been taking some regular photos this week, tried stacking those not really expecting too much and not much was what i got!

 

Thanks for the info, still early enough to get my gear out! :)



#4 spereira

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 07:38 AM

Moving to DSLR ...

 

smp



#5 DubbelDerp

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 08:45 AM

I shoot an older Canon with a fairly noisy sensor above 70F, and although my nighttime temps don't get nearly that high, I've shot in the upper 70's without too much of a problem. Make sure you're matching darks as closely as possible, dither aggressively, and it should be manageable.

 

What stacking software are you using that doesn't allow bias?



#6 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:02 AM

For flats to be applied correctly, there must be either flat darks or bias frames.  I recommend DeepSkyStacker (free).

 

But your grainy image doesn't sound like a temperature problem.  Grain is what we get when the images being stacked are relatively few and are underexposed.  (All astrophotos are underexposed -- some more than others.)

The D5500 is a very good choice of sensor for work at high temperatures.


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#7 asanmax

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 12:57 PM

Your D5500 will perform just fine. I'd recommend to turn off all in-camera noise reduction, e.g. high ISO or long exposure noise reduction.

Shoot in RAW of course and keep the ISO at 400 or 200 if shooting above 85 Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius. I typically use ISO 800 when shooting below 30 Celsius on my D5300, but I also live in a Bortle 8 zone, so I use filters.



#8 HowardSD

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 03:19 PM

I shoot an older Canon with a fairly noisy sensor above 70F, and although my nighttime temps don't get nearly that high, I've shot in the upper 70's without too much of a problem. Make sure you're matching darks as closely as possible, dither aggressively, and it should be manageable.

 

What stacking software are you using that doesn't allow bias?

The stacking software i'm currently using is a very basic one called "Starry sky stacker" for use on Mac comps... i'm a Mac only guy, never did get into windows of any kind! I'm most probably going to sign up for a year sub of APP, i did the trial and so much better results than "SSS" however my month long free trial ended as the night time temps were soaring, really not much fun trying to image when sweat is dripping in your eyes, lol

 

Now the temps are coming down, thankfully, so being outside is pleasant... the burden of southern California desert living, although clear nights register in the 300's which in part led me back into Astronomy coming from the San Diego coast... big difference!


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#9 HowardSD

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 03:28 PM

For flats to be applied correctly, there must be either flat darks or bias frames.  I recommend DeepSkyStacker (free).

 

But your grainy image doesn't sound like a temperature problem.  Grain is what we get when the images being stacked are relatively few and are underexposed.  (All astrophotos are underexposed -- some more than others.)

The D5500 is a very good choice of sensor for work at high temperatures.

I'll generally shoot for a minimum of 2 hours, so usually at least 40 subs @ 3 mins each, darks as it's at the end of the session rarely do more than a dozen. Flats I'll shoot the next day, have been using the t-shirt shooting at a blue sky but I've just purchased a light tablet to make it more convenient, quantity is usually about 20, which are stacked first to give me a master flat, idiosyncrasy of my basic stacking software... soon to be addressed as like i mentioned does not give me the option to add bias frames.

 

Should i shoot more darks?

Is there a ratio to use at all?



#10 DubbelDerp

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 04:21 PM

The stacking software i'm currently using is a very basic one called "Starry sky stacker" for use on Mac comps... i'm a Mac only guy, never did get into windows of any kind! I'm most probably going to sign up for a year sub of APP, i did the trial and so much better results than "SSS" however my month long free trial ended as the night time temps were soaring, really not much fun trying to image when sweat is dripping in your eyes, lol

Now the temps are coming down, thankfully, so being outside is pleasant... the burden of southern California desert living, although clear nights register in the 300's which in part led me back into Astronomy coming from the San Diego coast... big difference!


APP is good software.. I was having a conversation with another user, and he pointed out to me that you can actually apply flat darks/dark flats in SSS. I’ll see if I can find a link to a tutorial he posted, otherwise you might want to shoot a message to langman78. It looks like the newest version is quite capable, with being able to import raw files directly.

#11 jgraham

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 05:59 PM

Sure, it works fine. I had no real problems during previous summers with my Canon 450D, 550D, or 600D. I just finished my first summer using my Nikon D5300a and it did a fantastic job. Love it!



#12 bignerdguy

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 11:50 AM

I use a Canon 60D and live in Texas so i feel your pain.  Yes the images on my DSLR get a lot of noise when the temps are high.  You get around that with dark frames, bias frames, flats and heavy dithering the images.  Then when you process the images if you take a lot of subs you should be able to remove that noise.  Always shoot at the max ISO your camera can handle without too much noise, for us with older noisier CCD's ISO 800 is recommended as being the highest to use.  I tried recently to shoot in high 90's temps at ISO1600 and whoa, what a lot of noise.  However I was able to get rid of most of it when stacking and calibrating the image and then just smoothed out the rest in post processing.



#13 jgraham

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 05:00 PM

I am endlessly surprised at how well rough looking subs turn out after proper calibration. Post processing can be very effective at removing that last little bit of scruff.

Modern imaging is amazing. :)
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