Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Best Nikon option for Astrophotography

  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 NightTripper

NightTripper

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 32
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2022

Posted 20 November 2023 - 11:38 PM

I've got some old Nikon film camera equipment, including one of their early manual focus, but very sharp and color-corrected, ED 180mm f2.8 lenses. I also have some F mount adapters I can use for my telescopes.

 

So I'm wondering what's the most cost-effective Nikon digital camera that can use that old lens, as well as connecting to my AP Stowaway.

 

I don't (yet) have any autoguider. My only "astrophotography" equipment I have so far is a SVBony SV105 planetary camera and a smartphone adapter. smile.gif

 

Oh, I would be using this on my Great Polaris mount with the SkySensor 2000 PC Goto system.

 

I do have a near-mint Nikon FM-2N (with titanium shutter) that I might be willing to trade.

 

Any thoughts?


Edited by NightTripper, 20 November 2023 - 11:39 PM.


#2 moxican

moxican

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,117
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2011
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 21 November 2023 - 12:37 AM

If it has to be Nikon, then D5300 hands down...

I have AP cameras yet refuse to part from my D5300. Low read noise, decent pixel pitch, 14 bit and works great with the Nikkor 180 F2.8 AiS waytogo.gif


  • Kevin_A likes this

#3 NightTripper

NightTripper

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 32
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2022

Posted 21 November 2023 - 01:05 AM

Does the D5300 have an internal filter that has to be removed for astrophotography?

 

If it has to be Nikon, then D5300 hands down...

I have AP cameras yet refuse to part from my D5300. Low read noise, decent pixel pitch, 14 bit and works great with the Nikkor 180 F2.8 AiS waytogo.gif



#4 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,701
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 21 November 2023 - 01:06 AM

I would get an old Canon body and use a Nikon to EOS adapter. You could experience the dreaded color concentric rings issue with Nikon bodies, as well as Sony, Fuji, and even some new Canon mirrorless cameras. Some people don't seem to suffer from it. I have.

 

If you want extended sensititivity you will have to mod any camera, but you can use them as-is.


Edited by vidrazor, 21 November 2023 - 01:18 AM.


#5 james7ca

james7ca

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 12,851
  • Joined: 21 May 2011
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 21 November 2023 - 01:08 AM

Here is a website that talks about issues that impact DSLR-based astrophotography with references to some possible solutions (for Nikon that probably means an older, discontinued camera):

 

  https://www.markshel...ra_summary.html

 

There are also several threads here on CN that specifically discuss issues that affect Nikon cameras. Here is one example:

 

  https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10741252

 

Unfortunately, Nikon's newer digital cameras alter the RAW sensor data in a way that can introduce artifacts in astro images. That said, Canon also has issues but they are usually less severe than Nikon's.


  • colinrm likes this

#6 bobzeq25

bobzeq25

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 34,871
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2014

Posted 21 November 2023 - 01:21 AM

D5300/5500/5600, are all excellent.  ISO 200 is excellent with them.

 

They need to be modified if you want really good images of emission nebulae (like most DSLRs).  Bypass those targets, and there is no need.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 November 2023 - 01:21 AM.


#7 Pgblack

Pgblack

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 148
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2023

Posted 21 November 2023 - 01:35 AM

I have had great results with both the D5100 and the D7500, the latter in particular is very close in sensitivity and noise to my IMX571 cooled camera but obviously not in the Ha range as it's unmodified. I use my D7500 predominantly for sport and wildlife photography so didn't want to mod it hence I bought the AA26c (IMX571) and have to admit to being slightly disappointed that it wasn't the huge leap up in performance I had expected/hoped for. My understanding is that the newer Nikon's and no doubt Canon's are significantly better than the early digital Canon's in terms of noise etc.

#8 james7ca

james7ca

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 12,851
  • Joined: 21 May 2011
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 21 November 2023 - 02:07 AM

A note to the OP. Unfortunately, just because users are reporting "excellent" or "great" results with this or that Nikon that does NOT mean that you won't see problems given this same camera. Some of these issues will only show up under a given set of exposure, processing, or sky conditions (and thus may appear to be absent under different conditions). Similarly, it may depend upon how critical you are about your results and how closely you look at said images. Basically, YMMV with just about any Nikon digital camera. Generally speaking, Canon is probably a "safer" bet and you can get inexpensive adapters for your Nikon F-mount lenses that will allow them to be used manually on a Canon camera body (most easily on a Canon RF or EF-M lens mount).


  • colinrm and EPinNC like this

#9 EPinNC

EPinNC

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,659
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2021
  • Loc: Central North Carolina, USA

Posted 21 November 2023 - 08:11 AM

If you decide to go with a Nikon body, a couple of things:

 

When you say "early manual focus", do you mean the "non-AI" (auto-indexing) type of lenses?  Non-AI lenses will not work on newer Nikon bodies without some manual modification (i.e., metal grinding).  Take a look at this description.  "Newer" AI lenses should work just fine (though autofocus may or may not work).

 

You can get a used D5300 body for a pretty low price.  The D5600 is newer (and will thus cost more), but I think it has the same sensor.  Maybe some feature differences that probably don't make much difference.

 

My unmodified D5600 seems to be slightly better at picking up deep reds than my old D7000, but it's still doesn't get a lot of it.

 

CN user "sharkmelley" has done extensive analyses of the "Nikon Coloured Concentric Rings" issue.

I have an old D7000 that showed this problem, sometimes.  My newer D5600 does not seem to show this issue at all (at least not obviously).  There are many variables involved, and because one person sees it, or doesn't see it, it's difficult to say anything definitive.  james7ca makes this point well above.

 

Maybe get a cheap used D5300 and see how it goes?


Edited by EPinNC, 21 November 2023 - 08:12 AM.


#10 unimatrix0

unimatrix0

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,797
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2021

Posted 21 November 2023 - 08:42 AM

I would get an old Canon body and use a Nikon to EOS adapter. You could experience the dreaded color concentric rings issue with Nikon bodies, as well as Sony, Fuji, and even some new Canon mirrorless cameras. Some people don't seem to suffer from it. I have.

 

If you want extended sensititivity you will have to mod any camera, but you can use them as-is.

Lately I cannot get around the concentric ring issue with my D5600.  I have tried to make 2 sessions, but after developing them, the circles are there, and they are different exposures and settings. It is a gamble. The only way I was able to do one photo a while ago, because I used very short exposures at the lowest ISO. But that means I can't really shoot any Ha- rich regions with duo band filter which require longer exposures. I know some people don't get them, I have no idea how one camera of same model has them constantly, while the others don't. 

For the OP, I'd suggest to get a cheap Canon, but somewhat recent. Something like a Canon T7i or similar. Anything made in the past 4-5years are pretty good. 

BTW, Canon can have their own issues too, like horizontal banding is a common issue, that Pixinsight has a script specifically made to fix that problem. Again, not all Canon owners report having them. 

IMO, DSLRs for night shots can be a gamble, cheaper than dedicated cmos, but it's a throw of dice, not to mention their Quantum Efficiency is way lower than cooled Cmos 40-50% vs. 80-90% - something that most people keep forgetting. They are just not as efficient gathering photons. 


Edited by unimatrix0, 21 November 2023 - 08:49 AM.


#11 GR-Amateur

GR-Amateur

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 363
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2020

Posted 21 November 2023 - 08:53 AM

Cheap used d5300 works very nicely modded and maybe is the best value for money option out, there not to mention that probably is the easiest diy dslr mod if you follow full spectrum option.

Modifying a dslr is the only legit way to shot Ha regardless the body or maker.

I use to read numerous posts about how nice their nebula pics was with unmodified cameras… sorry guys, unmodded dslr and ha is a waste of time and energy (you hardly get 20% of the signal in 1 out of 4 red pixels of your rggb array .. as an indication, approximately you’ll be needing ~20 X times more exposure time compared to a mono camera.. and maybe you’ll not gonna be even close while your subs our going to be drawn into noise, do the math)

If you’re interested to shot only galaxies then yes you can get decent data with an unmodded dslr but for nebulas.. modification is the only way to go.

#12 EPinNC

EPinNC

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,659
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2021
  • Loc: Central North Carolina, USA

Posted 21 November 2023 - 09:28 AM

Lately I cannot get around the concentric ring issue with my D5600.  I have tried to make 2 sessions, but after developing them, the circles are there, and they are different exposures and settings. It is a gamble. The only way I was able to do one photo a while ago, because I used very short exposures at the lowest ISO. But that means I can't really shoot any Ha- rich regions with duo band filter which require longer exposures. I know some people don't get them, I have no idea how one camera of same model has them constantly, while the others don't. 

For the OP, I'd suggest to get a cheap Canon, but somewhat recent. Something like a Canon T7i or similar. Anything made in the past 4-5years are pretty good. 

BTW, Canon can have their own issues too, like horizontal banding is a common issue, that Pixinsight has a script specifically made to fix that problem. Again, not all Canon owners report having them. 

IMO, DSLRs for night shots can be a gamble, cheaper than dedicated cmos, but it's a throw of dice, not to mention their Quantum Efficiency is way lower than cooled Cmos 40-50% vs. 80-90% - something that most people keep forgetting. They are just not as efficient gathering photons. 

I was looking back through sharkmelley's (verrryyy long) thread, and I saw this from you where you seemed to be avoiding the ring problem:

 

https://www.cloudyni...8#entry12729224

 

I wonder what's different now.  This can be a difficult problem, with many variables involved.  Sort of like astrophotography in general lol.gif

 

I hope we're not making NightTripper's decision more difficult tongue2.gif



#13 Devonshire

Devonshire

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 684
  • Joined: 10 Mar 2017
  • Loc: S/W Ontario, Canada

Posted 21 November 2023 - 10:17 AM

I'm very happy with my Nikon D5300 - I've had no trouble with it. 

 

I did have it modded, but not by one of astro-services.  I sent mine to an independant camera repairman, who simply pulled the IR filter for me.  Not expensive.

 

As the camera is strictly for astro use, that's all I needed, as I will always have a filter of some kind in the light path.  

 

Hope this helps...



#14 moxican

moxican

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,117
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2011
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 21 November 2023 - 12:17 PM

I've also read about the "ring" issue, although I have never experienced it myself.
The D5300/5500/5600 all have the same sonsor, thus the extra money your paying for are extra in-camera features which I'm not sure an astrophotographer would need. The D5100 is good as well (same sensor as the ASI071MC) but I think the D5300 is better.
In terms of modifications for better H-alpha detection, all DSLR and mirrorless cameras have to be modifed (front filter element removal/replacment) unless you get an "a" designation camera.

I personally wouldn't worry about the ri g issues. A D5300 can be head for $200-$300. If it doesn't work out it still didn't break the bank and if it does it will be a great way to experience AP in any terms, and it will definitely ourperform a smartphone👍

Edited by moxican, 21 November 2023 - 12:19 PM.


#15 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,701
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 21 November 2023 - 02:36 PM

The D5100 is good as well (same sensor as the ASI071MC) but I think the D5300 is better.

The D5100 has no direct computer control however, it's needs an expensive serial cable in addition to the standard USB cable for computer control. I had a D5100 and replaced it with the D5300 for exactly that reason.

 

So if a Nikon DSLR is going to be chosen, the minimum body should be a D5300.



#16 Spaceman 56

Spaceman 56

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,002
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2022
  • Loc: New Zealand

Posted 21 November 2023 - 03:15 PM

I bought a D5600 Nikon.

 

Takes great shots, and all I added was an intervalometer which I got from Amazon for about $30 US.  get the wireless one. 

 

after a year or so I bought a ZWO 2600MC, which required a computer to run it. way more complicated. less fun. 

 

Spaceman



#17 Silent_Light

Silent_Light

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 436
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2022
  • Loc: West Of Denver Colorado

Posted 21 November 2023 - 03:17 PM

My 7000 and 7500 do a great job

#18 17.5Dob

17.5Dob

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,274
  • Joined: 21 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Colorado,USA

Posted 21 November 2023 - 07:17 PM

I've been shooting a D5300 for 10 years with never a single issue. All of these were taken with it.

53335155690_ec46484fe2_b.jpg


 53348127025_7cd348fdae_b.jpg

 


  • benzomobile, NightTripper and Knaplund like this

#19 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,701
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 21 November 2023 - 07:42 PM

I've been shooting a D5300 for 10 years with never a single issue. All of these were taken with it.

Unfortunately not everyone is as lucky.
 



#20 Kilohertz

Kilohertz

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 153
  • Joined: 06 Nov 2023
  • Loc: Slightly left of Vernon, BC

Posted 21 November 2023 - 09:06 PM

While we're talking Nikon, is the o l d   D200 even worth trying or is it too old?

 

Thx



#21 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,701
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 21 November 2023 - 11:48 PM

While we're talking Nikon, is the o l d   D200 even worth trying or is it too old?

If you already have the D200, and have no other immediate options, go ahead and use it. It does have a built-in intervalometer, so you could use that, although it will limit you to 30 second subs which, depending on what you're shooting, may be sufficient. Otherwise you will have to get yourself an external intervalometer to shoot longer subs, as you cannot control the D200 from a computer as far as I know. You will need to manually dither your session, or your session will suffer from walking noise. Looks like ISO 400 is the sweet spot for that camera.


  • Kilohertz likes this

#22 sharkmelley

sharkmelley

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,493
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2013
  • Loc: UK

Posted 22 November 2023 - 02:49 AM

This can be a difficult problem, with many variables involved. 

There are certainly many variables regarding the Nikon rings.  One important point to note is that their position and spacing depend on the background brightness in the exposure.  In fact, this is the main strategy used to diagnose them i.e. take a series of different brightness exposures and if the rings change position and spacing then they are not caused by optical effects but by in-camera raw-data processing.

 

The corollary is that if the brightness of the background sky is changing during an imaging session then the rings will move around from exposure to exposure and will no longer reinforce in the stacked image.  The same applies to flats i.e. if they are taken using a (changing) dusk sky then the rings will move around and may not be visible in the master flat.  On the other hand if flats are taken with a light panel (i.e. a constant brightness light source) then the rings are likely to be reinforced in the master flat and hence in the final stack.


  • EPinNC likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics