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Is a full frame DSLR useful?

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#1 jmccown

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:52 AM

I'm trying to decide what kind of DSLR to get for both terrestrial and astrophotography. I've almost settled on a Canon EOS T7i. But I'm curious about something. Is it worth the extra $$$ to get a full frame camera? 



#2 PirateMike

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:41 AM

No. 



#3 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:44 AM

It has a bigger FOV yes but it that makes it more taxing for field flattening ...and it expensive.

 

I have a Canon 800D the is the one you are aiming at.T7i

 

It is really good, no banding, less noise,  i shoot on 400 iso. I like it guess it is a good DSLR camera for beginners.Tilt touch screen that really works good, wifi, etc

It is not waterproof or dustproof however..that is the only thing i am a bit concerned about in our humid automn evenings...and i could get it for a really good price because of the introduction of his successor the 850D.


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#4 mdavister

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:48 AM

It is a path I am venturing down right now. So far here is what I found:

  1. Large FOV, easier to frame extended objects and utilize the capabilities of quality modern telescopes.
  2. Good sensitivity, generally larger pixels, of course this depends on your particular camera.
  3. It can get expensive quickly, standard T-thread at 42mm is not wide enough, you need to push everything bigger (focuser drawtube, focal reducer/flattener, extention tubes, etc.)
  4. It demands more perfection on the optics for field curvature and tilt of the sensor.

I think that I am just a glutton for punishment and in a quest for "something better". :) I am liking the initial results, although I am still sorting out a lot of details.


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#5 whwang

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:08 AM

Definitely worth the money.  Larger FoV and more pixels = richer image.

 

Look at my Astrobin gallery and see for yourself.  Most of my images will be much harder or almost impossible to make if I use an APSC camera.


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#6 jmccown

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:16 AM

It is a path I am venturing down right now. So far here is what I found:

  1. Large FOV, easier to frame extended objects and utilize the capabilities of quality modern telescopes.
  2. Good sensitivity, generally larger pixels, of course this depends on your particular camera.
  3. It can get expensive quickly, standard T-thread at 42mm is not wide enough, you need to push everything bigger (focuser drawtube, focal reducer/flattener, extention tubes, etc.)
  4. It demands more perfection on the optics for field curvature and tilt of the sensor.

I think that I am just a glutton for punishment and in a quest for "something better". smile.gif I am liking the initial results, although I am still sorting out a lot of details.

What brand/model of full frame do you have, Mitch?



#7 endlessky

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:41 AM

In my opinion, no. Larger sensors require better optics and better flat-fields/correction in order to give you pinpoint, round stars all the way to the corners.

 

If you don't plan on spending a fortune on optics good enough to perform well on a full-frame, then it's pretty much wasted field of view, as you will be cropping down the results.


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#8 nofxrx

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:08 AM

Here's my :penny: :penny:

 

For AP, not really, with one caveat; if you have a scope capable of performing at full frame sensor size. If not, you could still crop the FF to an APS-C sized (or whatever looks best for your scope/FF combo), so not a "waste" IMHO.

For me it came down to image scale and image circle of my scope.

 

For terrestrial however, I love FF. The DoF you get (or dont, actually (i,e paper thin in some cases)) is remarkable when using fast glass. It really makes a huge difference to me personally as I love the amount of separation you can achieve between subject and background.

It's all personal taste IMHO, but I prefer FF for the "prints worthy of the wall".

YMMV.

Good luck!


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#9 Kevin_A

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:43 AM

If you want to pay a premium for a scope and flattener... sure.

But you have more scope choices with an APS-C size sensor.

I have both size sensors and scopes that can image with a Fullframe chip..... and most of the time I use my APS-C.

So if you have unlimited funds... go big, but its not necessary for achieving awesome images.

Most of the best imagers here on CN are not using fullframe cameras.... but some do.


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#10 piaras

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:19 PM

Buy 4 cameras! FF, APS-C, Planetary and Cooled CMOS. Not my deal. I have one camera FF and use it for everything but planetary. 
Just about every target except for M31 fits onto the smaller chips, but for wide field and daytime use, FF is the best fit.


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#11 asanmax

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:16 PM

I'm trying to decide what kind of DSLR to get for both terrestrial and astrophotography. I've almost settled on a Canon EOS T7i. But I'm curious about something. Is it worth the extra $$$ to get a full frame camera? 

Full frame is no doubt superior to a cropped sensor. Less noise, larger sensor area.

As others have pointed out, your optics should be capable of covering the whole sensor with a nice flat image.

If you do have a nice scope or a very high quality lens then you can go for an Ha modified full frame camera that has been calibrated so that autofocus is still working properly through the viewfinder.

In this case you will be able to use the camera for both daytime and astrophotography.

For daytime, you would just need to set up a custom white balance in camera.

 

Other than that, a cropped sensor camera is more versatile, you can use many lenses and scopes and filters etc.

The clip-in filters for cropped Canon cameras are easy to find and cheaper.

The noise is not a big problem if you shoot many subs and use dithering.



#12 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:01 PM

Buy 4 cameras! FF, APS-C, Planetary and Cooled CMOS. Not my deal. I have one camera FF and use it for everything but planetary. 
Just about every target except for M31 fits onto the smaller chips, but for wide field and daytime use, FF is the best fit.

lol...  I love that.. just get them all..

 

 

Full frame is no doubt superior to a cropped sensor. Less noise, larger sensor area.

As others have pointed out, your optics should be capable of covering the whole sensor with a nice flat image.

If you do have a nice scope or a very high quality lens then you can go for an Ha modified full frame camera that has been calibrated so that autofocus is still working properly through the viewfinder.

In this case you will be able to use the camera for both daytime and astrophotography.

For daytime, you would just need to set up a custom white balance in camera.

 

Other than that, a cropped sensor camera is more versatile, you can use many lenses and scopes and filters etc.

The clip-in filters for cropped Canon cameras are easy to find and cheaper.

The noise is not a big problem if you shoot many subs and use dithering.

I love full frame.  That is because astro is not the only photography I pursue.  With that, most of the comments here are a pretty accurate representation of the pro's and con's of each.
If you have the money, and you like to take pictures of worldly things, the IMO, a full frame is a great way to go. 

It all comes down to what you have, what you shoot, and what you want to shoot.  For all around astro use, I would go for the t7i, t6i, t6s, M6, M6II (My personal favorite). 

Been a canon shooter since the 80's, so I may be a bit biased because of glass. 

Good luck.


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#13 Grounddweller

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:41 PM

lol...  I love that.. just get them all..

 

 

I love full frame.  That is because astro is not the only photography I pursue.  With that, most of the comments here are a pretty accurate representation of the pro's and con's of each.
If you have the money, and you like to take pictures of worldly things, the IMO, a full frame is a great way to go. 

It all comes down to what you have, what you shoot, and what you want to shoot.  For all around astro use, I would go for the t7i, t6i, t6s, M6, M6II (My personal favorite). 

Been a canon shooter since the 80's, so I may be a bit biased because of glass. 

Good luck.

This is good to hear, I have a t6i that I have used with moderate success just as a stand-alone with zoom lenses piggy-backed on a mount some years ago when I lived under drier, Bortles 4 skies. Now I live in a more humid, Bortles 6 area, have access to Bortles 4 but can’t shake the humidity. This coupled with a switch from SCT to refractor, different Go-To mount and a varied work schedule has stunted my growth in this area. I have never looked to make this a major aspect of my astronomical experience as I enjoy visual astronomy very much but I still want to grow in this facet as well, but I will say that the learning curve is high, and you do have to learn to either live with or compensate for your environmental conditions or else the frustration may begin to mount up.


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#14 tonyt

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:58 PM

I've just started using FF and enjoy the extra field of view, but APSc is easier and cheaper.


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#15 piaras

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 09:18 AM

I really don’t understand the idea that APS chip is easier. When I had the XT and later T3i, (both modded) I was still cropping to remove defects from optics or the overlap on the edges. Even though most scopes with a field corrector does not cover a FF chip without light falloff, flats can fix most of that. The new R series Canon bodies are very close to the size and weight of the T series Rebels as well.

Pierre



#16 endlessky

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 09:45 AM

I was still cropping to remove defects from optics or the overlap on the edges. Even though most scopes with a field corrector does not cover a FF chip without light falloff, flats can fix most of that.

If you are already cropping an APS-C sensor because the optics are not even good enough to give you an area free of defects big enough to cover that sensor, anything bigger than the APS-C will be completely wasted, as you'll have to crop that as well.

Also, vignetting can be corrected with flats, but optical defects cannot. If the stars are aberrated, no flats can recover that. You'll have to crop the image. Since the amount of aberration is likely to increase the further you go from the center, if you are already cropping the APS-C, you'll be cropping anything beyond that, as well.

Larger sensors are only worth it if you have optics good enough to cover them.

#17 whwang

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:56 AM

The key factor is always how much budget you have and how much you want to invest in this hobby in short and long term.  You can see people who spend several tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of USD to build their own backyard or even remote observatories.  Comparing to that, an FF DSLR (or mirrorless) of two or three thousands of USD is just nothing.

 

But of course, one always starts from something small and cheap. Nothing wrong about that.  A small scope or camera lens on a tracker and an APS-C camera are a perfectly good starting point.

 

Once you get more budget and want to go further, typically the next step is to get a decent scope on a good mount.  Such a scope can usually cover FF with good image quality in the corners and usually costs more than (or at least comparable to) an FF camera.

 

The next step diverges from here.  Some people get dedicated, cooled, mono astro cameras.  This is a good idea for those who have to image in a warm place, or have to image under strong light pollution (using narrow-band filters).  Some others upgrade to FF cameras (or even medium format).  This is appealing to those who can image in cold and dark places, so they don't have to rely on cooling and NB filters.

 

Then the next step is big scope in a fixed observatory.  It's many people's dream, and many people reached there.  Here, people almost always use cooled mono cameras.  You don't usually find FF nor APS-C cameras here. This is not because of performance. If just in terms of sensor performance, commercial cameras with Canon or Sony sensors in a cold place can even outperform cooled Kodak CCDs.  Commercial cameras are not often used here simply because they are not designed to operate remotely.

 

Comparing to an APS-C DSLR/mirrorless, an FF is a very natural next step, provided that you have a good scope to cover it.  However, it's not the only possibility.  Depending on your imaging environment, a cooled mono camera can make sense as well.


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#18 Ettu

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 11:37 AM

It depends on the scope you have, or intend to get.

If it gives a flat field, and round stars to a 42mm circle, then get the FF camera,

If you don't have and don't intend to get such a scope, get the APS sized sensor,.

Moderately priced scopes that meet the wide/flat field criteria reasonably (to very) well include the Celestron Edge or Meade ACF scopes, and refractors with the Nagler-Petzvel design, such as the TeleVue NP series.



#19 piaras

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 12:24 PM

If you are already cropping an APS-C sensor because the optics are not even good enough to give you an area free of defects big enough to cover that sensor, anything bigger than the APS-C will be completely wasted, as you'll have to crop that as well.

Also, vignetting can be corrected with flats, but optical defects cannot. If the stars are aberrated, no flats can recover that. You'll have to crop the image. Since the amount of aberration is likely to increase the further you go from the center, if you are already cropping the APS-C, you'll be cropping anything beyond that, as well.

Larger sensors are only worth it if you have optics good enough to cover them.

Just random thoughts while on lunch

 

Most targets are so small, one has to crop so it is the center of attention and not the star field that covers the majority of the photo. Most scopes have a small area of corrected, thus most require a corrector. Even when using my Orion 80ED with crop sensor without a corrector I was getting good results on APS but the corrector makes it better.

Depends on the scope what the corrected image circle is, with or without accessory corrector. Now I have correctors for both refractors and I am not afraid to use a FF camera. Using quality lenses or scopes expands the capabilities while the FF camera uses the most that is offered by the system.

Since I have only the one camera day or night, that is my choice. A good friend has all 4 cameras and only planetary I feel lacking.

Pierre



#20 endlessky

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 12:43 PM

Just random thoughts while on lunch

 

Most targets are so small, one has to crop so it is the center of attention and not the star field that covers the majority of the photo. Most scopes have a small area of corrected, thus most require a corrector. Even when using my Orion 80ED with crop sensor without a corrector I was getting good results on APS but the corrector makes it better.

Depends on the scope what the corrected image circle is, with or without accessory corrector. Now I have correctors for both refractors and I am not afraid to use a FF camera. Using quality lenses or scopes expands the capabilities while the FF camera uses the most that is offered by the system.

Since I have only the one camera day or night, that is my choice. A good friend has all 4 cameras and only planetary I feel lacking.

Pierre

I think we are saying the same thing, just with different words.

 

I am not saying that large sensors are useless. I am saying that they are useful, provided that the lens/telescope is also good enough to cover the whole sensor.

 

If all you want is a stamp size piece of paper, you can start from a post-it, an A4 or an A0. You are cropping paper in all three cases, but the larger the piece of paper you start from, the more you are going to waste.



#21 robbieg147

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 05:39 AM

I'm trying to decide what kind of DSLR to get for both terrestrial and astrophotography. I've almost settled on a Canon EOS T7i. But I'm curious about something. Is it worth the extra $$$ to get a full frame camera? 

I would select your camera based on what you plan to use it for during normal use, and then just use it for Astro.

 

So for example if you want ultra thin depth of field or low light situations then go full frame. I often use my Olympus instead of my 6d where I need as much depth of field as possible F4 = F8 on a full frame in terms of depth of field and where tripods are not allowed, can hand hold my E1 mk3 for 5 seconds or more.

 

Whatever you buy sooner or latter you will upgrade to a dedicated cooled camera if you get keen.



#22 robbieg147

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 05:39 AM

I'm trying to decide what kind of DSLR to get for both terrestrial and astrophotography. I've almost settled on a Canon EOS T7i. But I'm curious about something. Is it worth the extra $$$ to get a full frame camera? 

I would select your camera based on what you plan to use it for during normal use, and then just use it for Astro.

 

So for example if you want ultra thin depth of field or low light situations then go full frame. I often use my Olympus instead of my 6d where I need as much depth of field as possible F4 = F8 on a full frame in terms of depth of field and where tripods are not allowed, can hand hold my E1 mk3 for 5 seconds or more.

 

Whatever you buy sooner or latter you will upgrade to a dedicated cooled camera if you get keen.




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