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Recommendation for entry level camera

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#1 tita

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 09:00 PM

I am just starting with amateur astronomy. I did have a refractor in my teens but that was a long time ago. I just got an EQ6-R pro and ordered an Edge 8 months ago but I am not sure when it will arrive. I do have a very simple Orion 4.5" reflector which I am using with the EQ6-R and I am blown away by the mount so far. I think I got how to polar align but since I am not tracking anything, I am not sure how good/bad a job I am doing.

 

I would like to get an entry level camera for when my Edge arrives. I want to stay under $400 for the camera.I looked at the ZWO ASI290MM. Ideally I would be able to use it for both planetary and DSO. I do realize that no camera can be good at both but I was hoping this entry level camera would be good for planets and okay for DSO so I can learn with it. I wanted a mono and I am willing to but the extra $$ for the filter wheel but I am open to other ideas. I am planning to do most of my observing on my backyard (bortle 7). From your experience, what do you think is the best approach?



#2 Gipht

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 09:59 PM

 A small sensor camera like the ASI290MM at the long focal length of the the Edge 8 would give you a very small field of view,  suitable to small  bright objects and planets.   That  would be a very difficult combination to learn DSO AP on.  Especially with a filter wheel and a LRGB filter set.  The filter wheel and filters could cost  several hundred dollars unless you found a good used set.

 

You have a great mount, which is the foundation of any good imaging kit.  If you have access to a DSLR, that would be an easier starting point for DSO AP.  The sensors are much larger then the ASI290MM, and the resulting field of view would be much larger.  The post processing is more straightforward, also.

 

If your primary interest is solar system photography then the Edge 8 is a great choice.  The longer focal lengths of SCT's and sensitivity to temperature changes makes them a bigger challenge to use for DSO's then a shorter focal length telescope. 


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#3 tita

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:19 PM

 A small sensor camera like the ASI290MM at the long focal length of the the Edge 8 would give you a very small field of view,  suitable to small  bright objects and planets.   That  would be a very difficult combination to learn DSO AP on.  Especially with a filter wheel and a LRGB filter set.  The filter wheel and filters could cost  several hundred dollars unless you found a good used set.

 

You have a great mount, which is the foundation of any good imaging kit.  If you have access to a DSLR, that would be an easier starting point for DSO AP.  The sensors are much larger then the ASI290MM, and the resulting field of view would be much larger.  The post processing is more straightforward, also.

 

If your primary interest is solar system photography then the Edge 8 is a great choice.  The longer focal lengths of SCT's and sensitivity to temperature changes makes them a bigger challenge to use for DSO's then a shorter focal length telescope. 

Thanks Gipht! Unfortunately I do not own a DSLR but maybe I should look for one instead of getting a specialized camera. Would the DSLR work for planets as well?

 

My main goal with the OTA+mount is for visual observation, maybe going to a star party occasionally. But I also would like to learn some astrophotography. It sounds like staying within the solar system might be my best choice for now. In the future, if I continue to be interested in pursuing astrophotography I can purchase an appropriate OTA. 


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#4 always_sleepy

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 11:37 PM

I would suggest a mirrorless over an SLR. To really nail focus you do it in live view anyways and you don't need the extra bulk and vibration of the mirror in an SLR. The sony nex (5R, 5T, 6) you can get for less than $200 (not full spectrum) used and yet they make great starter cameras. Then some day you can step it up to a cooled astro cam.
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#5 tita

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 12:21 AM

I would suggest a mirrorless over an SLR. To really nail focus you do it in live view anyways and you don't need the extra bulk and vibration of the mirror in an SLR. The sony nex (5R, 5T, 6) you can get for less than $200 (not full spectrum) used and yet they make great starter cameras. Then some day you can step it up to a cooled astro cam.

I like the price, thanks for the suggestion. I will search around to see if I can find one.



#6 always_sleepy

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 12:42 AM

Planetary and DSO really are kind of opposites. But if you want to play around with a camera that has the IMX290 sensor (actually the IMX291 but basically identical) for cheap, you could buy an Arducam imx291 board camera off Amazon for less than $50 or enclosed for $53 and a M12 to c mount adapter and then a c mount to 1.25" telescope adapter. It is not mono and can't do exposures longer than 500ms, but you can do color planetary with it. Stepping up a bit you could get the svbony sv305 at $130 ish. In the end though I agree with what has been said, this really is a small sensor for your scope, but it could work. An asi174 would probably be better (sorry just sold mine for $400). or if you got a sony a6300, a6400 or fuji xt30 you could shoot 4k video for planetary and then long exposures for deep sky, but those last three are out of your price range.

Edited by always_sleepy, 17 January 2021 - 02:26 AM.


#7 alphatripleplus

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 09:39 AM

 

 

I would like to get an entry level camera for when my Edge arrives. I want to stay under $400 for the camera.I looked at the ZWO ASI290MM. Ideally I would be able to use it for both planetary and DSO. I do realize that no camera can be good at both but I was hoping this entry level camera would be good for planets and okay for DSO so I can learn with it. I wanted a mono and I am willing to but the extra $$ for the filter wheel but I am open to other ideas. I am planning to do most of my observing on my backyard (bortle 7). From your experience, what do you think is the best approach?

It is true that a small sensor camera limits the field of view of  deep sky targets. However, I use an ASI290MM mini for EAA, and for many smaller targets (such as galaxies)  the field of view is adequate for with my C8 - but I operate the C8  with heavy focal reduction. I would recommend a focal reducer for your Edge scope, especially if you want to try a small sensor camera like the 290MM.



#8 Phil Sherman

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 09:04 PM

If you're looking at getting a DSLR, check out Canon's refurbished web site cameras. A couple to few hundred $ will get you a generation or two older camera that's a great starter option. Any Canon camera with live view will work well and can be controlled with "Backyard EOS". Download Mike Unsold's now free "ImagesPlus" for an image processing program that will do just about anything you'll need for a few years of learning image processing.  ImagesPlus may not handle the latest Canon camera image formats because the development kits for it were not available when Mike last updated the program. You can check the documentation to verify that a purchased camera stores images in a format that IP can process.




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