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Is it cheaper/easier to start with film?

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#26 ClownFish

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:38 AM

Jay, when you say "I'd recommend the SBIG ST-2000xm..." you're missing my point. In my post I said:

If you compare similar PRICED setups, film will outperform CCD imagers in image quality, resolution, and field of view. While expensive dedicated CCD imagers can be purchased that rival or out-perform film, their cost is far greater than a typical film setup.


The comparison I make is ONLY valid when comparing similar costs. I'm not saying a $50 Film SLR is better than a $4,000 dedicated CCD imager. I'm only making the point that when you have only $100 to spend, you can't do better than film. If Rev sticks a $50 used OM-1 with a $50 used 200mm telephoto piggyback on his SCT piggyback, he'll have an excellent platform to produce some excellent results.

No one here is suggesting he "sink tons of money into" his current system.
If he had an extra $3,000 or $4,000 to play with I don't think he would have stopped by this forum.

In the end, you use what you can afford, and hopefully you take the time to become skilled with it. I've seen a lot of poor images from systems costing $5K and higher.. the user makes all the difference in the world.

CF

#27 redvis

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:24 AM

I agree with you Clownfish. I'm pretty sure if Rev wanted advice on which CCD to buy he would be in the CCD forum and not here.

So maybe we should try to stay on topic in the film forum and talk about film and leave the CCD/DSLR talk to their appropriate forums :)

Cameran

#28 lineman_16735

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:10 AM

Couldn't agree more Cameran. To get the FOV of 35mm film you would need an SBIG STL 11000. Pretty pricey IMHO. Forgive me but the SBIG 2000 has no where near the resolution of 35mm film, not to mention 120. I could buy an SBIG 2000 but I really can't justify the cost when losing so much fov. I look at it like this: I can take 1 60 minute exposure scan it and do about 2 minutes of processing in PSCS and be ready for 20" prints. Roger Blake of Taurus Technologies gives a great talk on CCD/DSLR/Film. Without remember all of the technical data it according to Roger comes down to this Best DSLR, second film, third CCD. So many have gone to CCD because it is "The thing to do" and it is hard for someone to decide to take the film route when everyone is going digital. No one format is better than the other but to this day some of the best images IMHO are film based.

#29 FLNightSky

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 12:15 PM

Yes, you can certainly use your Fork mounted SCT. But remember, you MUST guide your shots so you will either need an Off-Axis Guider or a short tube/ long focal length (Mak) guidescope. Some have had good results with the Mak, which may be your best bet.


You can use a Maksutov Cassegrain as a guidescope? I thought that only refractors were good for that purpose.

#30 Allaboutastro

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 01:04 PM

Chris: In no way can film, any film, ever approach the resolutions attained with a CCD camera. I think you are confusing resolution a bit. There is no resolution difference between 35mm and 120 format films of the same emulsion...just an increase in FOV.

The increase in actual resolution in CCDs is so dramatic, you can tradeoff a lot of focal length (to give you the FOV you need with a certain chip) and still provide resolutions superior to film images.

Case in point...here is a full resolution cropping of the Markarian Chain I took with the 530mm refractor and a 9 micron pixel camera.

http://www.allabouta...RGBfullres.html

I would challenge you to find ANY film image, with any telescope, that yields better detail and resolution to this region.

Likewise, even shooting TechPan with a 2857mm instrument can't yield the resolution of a 530mm instrument with that same 9 micron pixel camera...

Just compare Chuck Vaughn's image of the North America Nebula area with my own...

http://astrophotogra...rc_ngc7000.html

http://www.allabouta...000cropping.jpg

Now granted, I shot mine with an H-alpha filter, but that kinda goes in favor of the point that you CAN use such methods with a CCD camera, another advantage that CCD's can utilize to give superior resolution. Also, keep in mind that my pixel sizes aren't exactly the smallest there is. I could have gotten even better resolution had I used an SBIG ST-10 with 6.8 micron pixels. I wouldn't say my image is particularly better from the standpoint of resolution, but neither is it worse...and I used only a 530mm, 4" instrument. Even so, I would challenge you, as well, to find a film image that surpasses Chuck's image above...it really is extraordinary.

CF: I got your point clearly. My point is clearly shown above. Because of this, you can't make a one to one price comparison based on film/chip size. You have to base it on actual sky coverage instead...and you just don't need a large CCD chip to get similar sky coverage if you choose the appropriate scope to match the CCD.

So, I know your point is on performance at the same price level...and I concur with you in many ways (which is why I'm still an advocate of film). It's just that many people think you have to get an equivalent sized CCD to make the comparison...and that's just not accurate. Even the lowly DSI Pro II when matched with something in the 300mm t0 500mm focal length range can yield surprising good resolution as compared to film...just look at Mark Sibole's images.

The problem is that the original poster is trying to find a chip to match his scope. I'm suggesting that he reevaluate his priority by perhaps looking for a different scope that might match a CCD that IS affordable to him and would thus provide an acceptable FOV.

#31 microbes

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 01:56 PM

Case in point...here is a full resolution cropping of the Markarian Chain I took with the 530mm refractor and a 9 micron pixel camera.

http://www.allabouta...RGBfullres.html

I would challenge you to find ANY film image, with any telescope, that yields better detail and resolution to this region.



I just looked up the list price on that camera... $8995.00. :bugeyes:

For that price it better take darn good pictures. I don't think anyone would expect a 50 year old 35mm SLR that costs $40 to match it, but if it takes a $9000 camera to make the point a CCD can be better than shooting with a $40 35mm film SLR, that says a heck of alot about shooting on film.

#32 eps0mu0

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:16 PM

Here comes a suggestion that might sound simplistic to the very experienced astrophotographers out there... but here is my newbie experience:
My first foray into astrophotography was a 35mm SLR with a $30 135mm f3.5 telephoto lens. I built a hand-driven barn-door tracker. The longest exposires I took were ~4min... about the limit that I could do without too many tracking mistakes (looking at a sweep second hand watch with a red LED while turning the tracking crank...). After I got the pictures back from the processor (these days, finding a good photo-processor might be your biggest problem)... wow!. the images were pretty decent given the amount of money spent.

The next step... piggy back the SLR onto an equatorially mounted scope with built in clock-drive. Still use 135mm telephoto... no guiding. The jury is still out on that one, since the scope was just acquired recently (about 20years since I did the barn-door tracker stuff), and no trips to dark skies have occurred.

In summary... if you want an easy start with film, use a SLR with telephoto lens... not too long focal length, no slower than f3.5. Use 400-800speed film. Exposure time 3-5min. You'll get good shots of larger objects. With the barn-door tracker, I was able to shoot Orion nebula, North America nebula,double cluster, Pleiades, the open clusters in the tail of scorpius (M7/8??). Globular clusters like M22 and M4 are less impressive, basically little fuzz-balls, but easily visible.
If you have the camera and lens just go for it... you'll have fun. Later on you can agonize about upgrading to CCD/DSLR/etc.
J.F.

#33 ClownFish

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:29 PM

The Mount lists for $12,500 and the scope for $4395. That's a $25,890 image. I'm not even going to comment.

This is getting way off track, and is not helping Rev. Keep it focused on the original question please.

I'm wondering if regular film is cheaper and/or easier to start with in astro-imaging


CF

#34 ClownFish

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:35 PM

FLNight, yes you can use a MAK as a guidescope. The problem is that you risk having the MAK's mirror slip, and then you'd mess up the guiding.

I would have never suggested the MAK, but another astrophotographer here (Rammysherriff) uses one with much success, and so I now say it's certainly possible.

CF

#35 UrbanStarSeeker

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 03:55 PM

maybe we should try to stay on topic in the film forum and talk about film and leave the CCD/DSLR talk to their appropriate forums


Honestly, this thread probably belongs in the Beginning Imaging forums, but since it's here, how is he going to get the answer to his question when most here are film-only folks. "Get out of my forum digital folks" isn't exactly helpful.

The Mount lists for $12,500 and the scope for $4395. That's a $25,890 image.


Clearly Jay was trying to clear up a misconception here and made a comparison on the high end of both formats to make his point. Bottom line is there's a reason why professional observatories pretty much all shoot digital now.

This is getting way off track, and is not helping Rev. Keep it focused on the original question please.

I'm wondering if regular film is cheaper and/or easier to start with in astro-imaging


Quite. Here's my perspective. Film's a pain in the butt. If you're shooting 1 hour images and stay up all night every clear night, you can only get about 6 images max per night, meaning you have to shoot 4 full nights to fill up a roll. Around here that can mean several weeks due to weather, moon, or other obligations to fill up the roll. Once that's done you have to take it or mail it to the processor and then wait some more. Once you get them back, you throw out some of them because they didn't turn out, then you scan them and do some processing on them. Then if you want prints of the good processed images you send them to the processor and wait some more (assuming you want real photographic prints as opposed to an inkjet type print). In addition you're more limited in the types of processing you can do to the image. Stacking or flat frames (if possible haven't heard a verdict on this) would have had to be planned when you took the images possibly weeks ago and cost money for each stacked sub to get a final image.

With digital, I take my flats, my lights, and as I'm tearing down, take my darks. After I get home from work, I throw out the bad images, then process the good images. Finally I take the good ones to the processor and wait. I don't waste time and money on images that don't turn out, and I have feedback on whether or not I need to reshoot a target by the following night. If it takes a month to shoot a full roll of film, I may have to wait until the next year to get another chance; if it's a comet or other transient object, I may just be S.O.L.

So here's the way I would approach the question of which camera to get:

1) If I needed a good digital camera for general use, then get a DSLR and use it for both daytime and astro use. A used Canon 300D or 350D is really quite reasonable. They also don't HAVE to be modified as has been implied in this thread. Yes, objects that produce a lot of Ha light will pose a problem for an unmodified DSLR, but there are plenty of broadband objects (clusters, galaxies, reflection nebula etc) that come out very well; even a lot of emmission nebula photograph ok, it's just that they will be weak in the red. Also I don't believe people have been getting new DSLRs every 3-4 years because they break, but because the tech has improved dramatically and they're just looking for an upgrade. I believe the tech is rapidly stabilizing and the newer DSLRs are going to be competing on features instead of image quality, so the major incentive to upgrade is fading away.

2) If you've already got an SLR or you can't afford a DSLR then yeah, film is probably the best choice.

3) If you're pretty sure you're going to really get into astrophotography, then save up your money and get a good SBIG CCD camera. This will provide you with the best possible images and provide upgrade paths that are not available via the DSLR/SLR route. For example, active optics units, narrow-band filters, infrared imaging, fully automated systems, etc.

Hope that helps,
Allan

#36 Allaboutastro

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:04 PM

Case in point...here is a full resolution cropping of the Markarian Chain I took with the 530mm refractor and a 9 micron pixel camera.

http://www.allabouta...RGBfullres.html

I would challenge you to find ANY film image, with any telescope, that yields better detail and resolution to this region.



I just looked up the list price on that camera... $8995.00. :bugeyes:

For that price it better take darn good pictures. I don't think anyone would expect a 50 year old 35mm SLR that costs $40 to match it, but if it takes a $9000 camera to make the point a CCD can be better than shooting with a $40 35mm film SLR, that says a heck of alot about shooting on film.


I was responding the statement that said film produces better resolution than CCDs. While the camera I used was expensive, the same can be said with even cheaper CCD cameras.

#37 Rev2010

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:06 PM

The problem is that the original poster is trying to find a chip to match his scope.


Actually, my original post was whether it's cheaper and easier to start with film ;) Having recently bought a 10" LX90 LNT scope I was hoping that I could take some simple images of some of the brighter objects like M42, M31, and the planets without having to spend too much more. Getting another scope, even a small one is pretty much out of the picture for me at the moment as space is becoming an issue in my house and for another scope I'd need a mount and I would want it to also be motor driven.

So I was looking for an easy way to do this with my current scope. I have no problem buying a focal reducer. But what I'm wondering is why I can't just mount a camera to my Baader Hyperion's - as they have attachments to connect a camera directly for afocal photography. Some info on it is on this page near the bottom:

http://www.telescope.../eyepieces.html

So I don't know, I thought this would be easier than it apparently seems to be. Guess I gotta do some more reading.


Rev.

#38 Allaboutastro

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:09 PM

Here comes a suggestion that might sound simplistic to the very experienced astrophotographers out there... but here is my newbie experience:
My first foray into astrophotography was a 35mm SLR with a $30 135mm f3.5 telephoto lens. I built a hand-driven barn-door tracker. The longest exposires I took were ~4min... about the limit that I could do without too many tracking mistakes (looking at a sweep second hand watch with a red LED while turning the tracking crank...). After I got the pictures back from the processor (these days, finding a good photo-processor might be your biggest problem)... wow!. the images were pretty decent given the amount of money spent.

The next step... piggy back the SLR onto an equatorially mounted scope with built in clock-drive. Still use 135mm telephoto... no guiding. The jury is still out on that one, since the scope was just acquired recently (about 20years since I did the barn-door tracker stuff), and no trips to dark skies have occurred.

In summary... if you want an easy start with film, use a SLR with telephoto lens... not too long focal length, no slower than f3.5. Use 400-800speed film. Exposure time 3-5min. You'll get good shots of larger objects. With the barn-door tracker, I was able to shoot Orion nebula, North America nebula,double cluster, Pleiades, the open clusters in the tail of scorpius (M7/8??). Globular clusters like M22 and M4 are less impressive, basically little fuzz-balls, but easily visible.
If you have the camera and lens just go for it... you'll have fun. Later on you can agonize about upgrading to CCD/DSLR/etc.
J.F.


This is great advice. If you are going to shoot film, this is the way to go.

It's not helpful to the original poster to tell him to spend a ton more money on his current setup only to put a film camera on the back of it. Done the right way, lots of success can be had with film...but you have to give yourself the opportunity for success...and shooting at 2500mm focal length, or even half that, is not in anybody's benefit.

#39 lineman_16735

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:15 PM

Hi Jay,

I think we both have differing views on resolution. To me resolution is measured in DPI. That being said how are you measuring resolution? megapixels? FWIW digital formats would have to be around 25 mp to equal 35mm film. Maybe I am confusing resolution? or am I? I reread my post and i did not say that film has better resolution than ccd I said SBIG's 2000 cam is no where near the resolution of film. I sense some hostility and this is not what i was trying to get out of this, just facts for my own and others benifit.

#40 Allaboutastro

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:23 PM

The problem is that the original poster is trying to find a chip to match his scope.


Actually, my original post was whether it's cheaper and easier to start with film ;) Having recently bought a 10" LX90 LNT scope I was hoping that I could take some simple images of some of the brighter objects like M42, M31, and the planets without having to spend too much more. Getting another scope, even a small one is pretty much out of the picture for me at the moment as space is becoming an issue in my house and for another scope I'd need a mount and I would want it to also be motor driven.

So I was looking for an easy way to do this with my current scope. I have no problem buying a focal reducer. But what I'm wondering is why I can't just mount a camera to my Baader Hyperion's - as they have attachments to connect a camera directly for afocal photography. Some info on it is on this page near the bottom:

http://www.telescope.../eyepieces.html

So I don't know, I thought this would be easier than it apparently seems to be. Guess I gotta do some more reading.


Rev.


Rev...

I respect that...but I believe everybody is telling you the same thing...it's not that easy. So instead, many of us are trying to give you alternatives.

I'm trying to lead you to this point as it pertains to the cost effectiveness of film vs. CCD. Since you are unwilling to give up your SCT, understandably so, it will require the purchase of a wedge. You will likely need an off-axis guider as well, and some method of focusing...or perhaps a guidescope piggybacked. The next step would be spending money on an autoguider, unless manually guiding appeals to you (which is NOT easy at 2500mm).

For a similar cost, you could piggyback a small refractor atop your LX90 and then you could use either film, DSLR, or astro CCD. A DSI would give sufficient FOV (and better resolution) with such a refractor (as compared to film) and you wouldn't have to put a lot of money into film focusers, film costs, and processing.

FOV is overrated...that the central point, in my mind. FOVs in the range of 35' to 60' are plenty for MOST all applications. So, a DSI well matched to a shorter focal length instrument or lens will be MORE cost effective than a film system, particularly if you are trying to shoot film at prime focus of your LX90...with or without a reducer, it doesn't matter.

Therefore, to answer you original question, "is film or digital more cost effective," the answer is "it depends." You can get absolute great results with CCDs without spending very much money at all, particularly if you already have a good tracking platform.

#41 Rev2010

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:33 PM

Thanks for that info Jay! Can I ask three questions?:

1. With CCD's don't you still need to guide? If not, why?

2. I had looked at the Orion Starshoot originally since the DSI Pro has the seperate RGB lenses that I don't want to deal with. The question is, the resolution on the images produced is 752 x 582. If one wanted to print a larger, say 8"x10", photo wouldn't film blowup a lot cleaner?

3. Meade makes an F3.3 reducer for use with CCD's, would that be adequate for using an Orion Starshoot with my SCT?

Thanks for all the help so far everyone. Sorry if "helping the noob" has led to any aggrevation :)


Rev.

#42 Allaboutastro

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:35 PM

Hi Jay,

I think we both have differing views on resolution. To me resolution is measured in DPI. That being said how are you measuring resolution? megapixels? FWIW digital formats would have to be around 25 mp to equal 35mm film. Maybe I am confusing resolution? or am I? I reread my post and i did not say that film has better resolution than ccd I said SBIG's 2000 cam is no where near the resolution of film. I sense some hostility and this is not what i was trying to get out of this, just facts for my own and others benifit.


That's not the measure of resolution. Resolution is not measured according to megapixels (or the print size). It's measured by angular sky coverage per unit area of the CCD or emulsion...a factor called "image scale" or, in CCD-speak, "sampling rate."

I can take a 1000 x 1000 pixel cropping (1 megapixel) from many of my images and print them to the size of a wall, if I wanted. This is because the image is well sampled to begin with. Number of pixels isn't important since you will "resample" the image digitally before printing anyway, adding pixels in the image to keep from pixellation. Therefore, your finished result becomes dependent on the QUALITY of the data you captured, not the number of pixels it took to capture whatever data you have.

This is one of the reasons why big megapixel cameras are so overrated. Even with smaller CCD chips you can get very high resolution images that will look good on even the largest of papers...as long as that CCD is matched with a scope that gives the FOV you require and you are using it on a platform that actually produces a good final result.

Give me a solid, accurate mount, as good small focal length instrument, and a DSI camera and I promise you I could produce a result that would make you think it's taken with a much bigger chip (or even a film camera). You can do the same...and you don't have to pay a lot of money to do it.

#43 UrbanStarSeeker

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:41 PM

To me resolution is measured in DPI. ... FWIW digital formats would have to be around 25 mp to equal 35mm film.


To put what Jay said another way, the maximum resolution of the image is limited by the aperture of your telescope, not by the recording medium.

And just for reference 25mp corresponds to a pixel size of about 5.9 microns. By the DPI logic, a Celestron NexImage would be higher resolution than film at 5.6 microns.

Allan

#44 Allaboutastro

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for that info Jay! Can I ask three questions?:

1. With CCD's don't you still need to guide? If not, why?

2. I had looked at the Orion Starshoot originally since the DSI Pro has the seperate RGB lenses that I don't want to deal with. The question is, the resolution on the images produced is 752 x 582. If one wanted to print a larger, say 8"x10", photo wouldn't film blowup a lot cleaner?

3. Meade makes an F3.3 reducer for use with CCD's, would that be adequate for using an Orion Starshoot with my SCT?

Thanks for all the help so far everyone. Sorry if "helping the noob" has led to any aggrevation :)


Rev.


Rev:

To answer your questions...

1.) Yes, you'd still need to quide for best results; however, because they are so much more sensitive you can get by with much shorter exposures, and that means you can get by without guiding for brighter objects. A 1 minute image with a Starshoot camera can give surprising detail...and if you PEC correct your SCT and align very well, you might not even need to guide.

2.) See my response above. Here's the problem. Let's say you want to blow up an image you just took of M101, which is rather large object by any measure. With a 35mm camera and small refractor, you might have a FOV of several degrees. M101 would take up a small portion of the center of the FOV despite the good size of the object. When you blow that image up, you'd be blowing up a LOT of empty space with it...and this is true of a great number of objects you'll likely shoot. Something like the DSI with a f/3.3 reduced SCT or small refractor, would frame many such objects very well. When you blow them up, you aren't blowing up a lot of empty space. So, the size of M101, regardless of the medium, is ultimately the same. To print such an image, the quality of the image you captured determines how will it blows up...not the number of pixels you took to capture it. So, in effect, because CCDs yield superior resolution, any particular OBJECT will blow up better than with film...that's the key.

Do yourself a favor and look at the quality of the images being taken with even small CCD chips, even by people here at Cloudy Nights. I'd be willing to bet it'll change your mind on the capabilities.

3.) Yes, an f/3.3 will work well with a Starshoot simply because the size of the chip does not exceed the "coverage" of the reducer. Anything larger would not be recommended, though you'd likely find even the f/6.3 a good match for medium sized CCD chips.

Again, film is great because you get lots of FOV for free. But even M42 looks small through a small refractor on 35mm film. I'd recommend trading off some of that real-estate for the sake of better resolution.

If you want wide, Milky Way types of fields, then by all means get an OM-1 or Nikon F camera and piggyback it atop your LX90 (with a wedge). But really, if you want great detail of the objects themselves (as opposed to multiple object views), then a smaller chip CCD might be all you need.

#45 lineman_16735

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:18 PM

[quote
That's not the measure of resolution. Resolution is not measured according to megapixels (or the print size). It's measured by angular sky coverage per unit area of the CCD or emulsion...a factor called "image scale" or, in CCD-speak, "sampling rate."

I can take a 1000 x 1000 pixel cropping (1 megapixel) from many of my images and print them to the size of a wall, if I wanted. This is because the image is well sampled to begin with. Number of pixels isn't important since you will "resample" the image digitally before printing anyway, adding pixels in the image to keep from pixellation. Therefore, your finished result becomes dependent on the QUALITY of the data you captured, not the number of pixels it took to capture whatever data you have.

This is one of the reasons why big megapixel cameras are so overrated. Even with smaller CCD chips you can get very high resolution images that will look good on even the largest of papers...as long as that CCD is matched with a scope that gives the FOV you require and you are using it on a platform that actually produces a good final result.

Give me a solid, accurate mount, as good small focal length instrument, and a DSI camera and I promise you I could produce a result that would make you think it's taken with a much bigger chip (or even a film camera). You can do the same...and you don't have to pay a lot of money to do it. [/quote]

Thanks for clarifying that for me I stand corrected and much better informed now.

#46 ClownFish

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:23 PM

Therefore, to answer you original question, "is film or digital more cost effective,"

.

I do not remember that being the question. It was "is film cheaper/easier" not "cost effective". Big difference. It's more cost effective to buy your own house with cash. How many of us can do that is another question.

CF

#47 Rev2010

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:29 PM

Thanks for all this awesome info! Now I'm really beginning to weight the pluses and minuses. By the way, sorry I didn't post this in the beginning imaging forum. I posted here cause I figured there would likely be more expertise present on film imaging and because I was more curious as to doing imaging with film. All in all if I decide to go CCD w/F3.3 reducer I guess I can wait till Christmas to request that as a gift from my wife :) But until then I just might pick up a Canon OM-1 from Ebay and an F6.3 reducer just to try to get my feet wet. I have another film question and a CCD question but I'm going to post them as seperate threads in their respective forums.

Oh and Jay... I said eariler that I didn't want to get another scope/mount but I realized after posting that everyone has said many times to simply piggyback the small scope so I feel stupid for overlooking that much more sensible option.


Rev.

#48 Nodda Duma

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:03 PM

quote

Chris: In no way can film, any film, ever approach the resolutions attained with a CCD camera. I think you are confusing resolution a bit. There is no resolution difference between 35mm and 120 format films of the same emulsion...just an increase in FOV.

endquote

Well either way we get pretty pictures.

Fine-grained astrophotography films such as Kodak E200 or Provia 400F have grain sizes on the order of 10 um. For those of us who still use it, Technical Pan Film can resolve up to 200 cycles / mm, or 5 um / cycle, meaning a grain size around 2.5 um...though in use I think it's more like 4 or 5 um...in either case a detector size that digital imagers are only now beginning to approach (and only within the price range of the most dedicated of amateur astrophotographers). The resolution "definitions" I see above refer to scaling of the image during post-processing, or matching up the optics or whatever...but do not refer to true resolving power of the imager. However, what can be done for CCD can also be done for film. Matching resolution of the detector to the optics is true not only for CCD but for film as well. Of course, not many of us have the luxury of the variable focal length telescope.

In fact, most of the requirements for film also apply to CCD imaging....the differences having to do with how the images are formed and recovered (ie chemical vs. electrical). Your optical system does not care what type of detector you use. Either one will give great results. However, if you don't have several K-dollars (as the defense industry refers to it...$1K's for every one else) to throw at a CCD imager (even DSLR), you simply cannot beat the cost per arcminute of a 35mm or medium format film's Field of View.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying CCDs are expensive. I'm just saying I'll dabble in the more "popular pursuit" when Canon 5Ds start selling for $100 on the used market.

A big argument for CCD imaging is the time savings w/ respect to exposure time. However, the high-quality CCD images that I see on the web all have total exposure times comparable to or even greater than those of film. The individual exposures are shorter (~5 minute range for CCD vs. 1 hour or so for film), however even at those exposure times...where you are really getting the photons packed in there...you still must guide (manually or auto) for *any* mount..CCD or film. Otherwise you're just not pushing your imager's abilities (and the edge of the envelope is where most of these debates reside).

In addition, film does not need or even want a laptop out in the field...a major point to consider for those of us who use and abuse technology day-in and day-out at work and want to escape it (at least to some extent) every now and then.

I would recommend the .64x (or f/6.4) focal reducer for use on an f/10 SCT. For only ~$100 for the reducer, the advantages to field of view, exposure time, and image quality are well worth it. Working at 2540 mm focal length is just too much for the LX mounts regardless of the type of imager you are using.

So to summarize since I rambled:

The point is...the system that works for CCD will work for film and vice versa.

The question is...do you want to use silver to capture your photons, or do you want to use silicon? Either way will work (but silicon costs a whole lot more).

-Jason

P.S. Jay, kind of embarrassed, but I went back to compare Chuck Vaughn's TP image to yours and I thought the TP image was your digital one and vice versa. I was surprised to read the caption. I guess the point is that they are both very good shots.

#49 redvis

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:35 PM

Honestly, this thread probably belongs in the Beginning Imaging forums, but since it's here, how is he going to get the answer to his question when most here are film-only folks. "Get out of my forum digital folks" isn't exactly helpful.


Well, perhaps we should just abolish forums because ultimately asking people to stay on topic (I know this is off topic) is pointless. While you are correct that it's not helpful, this forum often gets hit with digital folks coming and telling us about how digital is better, blah blah blah. You don't see film folks going into the other forums and saying "get a $50 slr and give the other $9,000 to charity" or "My $50 slr got a better widefield of cygnus - are those stars or digital noise?" or "wow your unmodified camera sure can't pick up the red nebulosity like Kodak E200, you should switch because you're wasting your time shooting unmodified" now do you? It's a simple matter of courtesy. If I want to eat Chinese food, I go to a Chinese restaurant. If I want Indian food then I'll go to an Indian restaurant. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that someone coming into a Chinese restaurant is actually looking for Indian food just because I know a lot about Indian food or think Indian food is superior. Now if he were to ask my opinion about Indian food that's a different story. Likewise here in this forum, if he's asking about film...I'm pretty sure he's asking about film.

Quite. Here's my perspective. Film's a pain in the butt. If you're shooting 1 hour images and stay up all night every clear night, you can only get about 6 images max per night, meaning you have to shoot 4 full nights to fill up a roll. Around here that can mean several weeks due to weather, moon, or other obligations to fill up the roll. Once that's done you have to take it or mail it to the processor and then wait some more. Once you get them back, you throw out some of them because they didn't turn out, then you scan them and do some processing on them. Then if you want prints of the good processed images you send them to the processor and wait some more (assuming you want real photographic prints as opposed to an inkjet type print). In addition you're more limited in the types of processing you can do to the image. Stacking or flat frames (if possible haven't heard a verdict on this) would have had to be planned when you took the images possibly weeks ago and cost money for each stacked sub to get a final image.


Well, I suppose all this time saving with digital for astro is nice if you're in some sort of "astrophotography race" but the last time I checked this was a hobby and not some sort of track & field event. Life's already fast-paced enough, the relentless pursuit of efficiency and speed is a dead end. Think about it: would a coin collector brag about how fast he collects his coins? So if I shoot a lot of bad pictures rapidly is that a good thing?
Shoot your film. If you are impatient, waste the rest of the roll by taking snapshots of your equipment or of other stuff (it'll still take you years to equal the cost of a DSLR) and get it developed. If you shoot excellent print films such as Super HQ 200 it'll take you 30 minutes to get it developed (negatives only). Many labs do slide film same day, some just one day.

Now I guess you could shoot 1 hour exposures if you were so inclined, but here's a few examples of sub-1 hour shots (almost all are 35 minutes) with Kodak E200 film:

NGC 7000
Gamma Cygni
M31
NGC 6995 area

Those are from my first night at a dark sky site. The images come nowhere near how large my scan is - something like 6000x4000.

My apologies for the rant, but it gets a bit irritating when you want to talk film and all the digital people keep coming in here and going off topic. It would be like the lunar folks coming into the solar forum. I think we can respect each other's interests without having to intrude on them because we feel one method of astrophotography is superior to another. Forums get deserted when there are too many off topic posts. While we do live in an era where almost everything is customizable (you don't even have to see the truth on the news if you don't want) there is a reason for that: people want to talk about some things and not others.

I've had modified DSLRs, SBIGs, DSIs. I use a SkyNyx 2-1M (moving up to a 2-2M soon) for solar work right now. I have nothing against digital. But when I'm talking about solar imaging in the solar forum, I would assume that others would not be interested in hearing about DSO film imaging- and if they are, they know where to find it.

Cameran

#50 ClownFish

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 11:50 PM

Ok, now that we have got that off our chest, I think it's time we move right along. REV, I think you have more then enough info to answer your original question as asked. Yes, film is "cheaper". Easy is a matter of opinion and experience. I find film to be very easy to use. I also would find a 10" SCT very difficult to use with film, but instead use the monster scope as a very expensive guidescope for piggyback work.

This thread is now officially over. People can go home now.
There's nothing more to see.

CF


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