1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. smr

    smr

    Messages:
    761
    Name:
    Joel
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Hi all,

    Wondering if any of you have bought this mount? I purchased one today and hope to use it at the weekend, but have some questions...

    Firstly, I am a total and utter newbie when it comes to astro photography, but not photography in general. Therefore I was wondering if any of you would be so kind as to help me out and offer some advice so that I can avoid any frustrations by not having the right equipment before setting out to do my first astro imaging by not being able to because I am missing certain gear. We are forecast for clear skies on Saturday night and I was thinking of having a first go then.

    I have the following lenses and equipment - please could you tell me which lenses would work best for AP and which I should leave out.

    My gear and lenses lenses are as follows:

    Canon 80D DSLR
    Remote Canon Shutter release
    Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Tripod
    Manfrotto 3-Way Tilt Pan Head MHXPRO-3W

    Canon 24mm f/2.8
    Canon 50mm f/1.8
    Sigma 105mm f/2.8
    Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6
    Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6
    Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3

    Do I need a good ball head instead of the 3-Way head I currently have?

    If I want to take longer exposures to obtain more detail and better colours what would you recommend in terms of auto guiding ? There are so many options and I have no idea what would be suitable etc.. I have a laptop I could use for AP.

    Do I need an intervalometer ?

    I can't modify my Canon 80D as it's my only DSLR but in the future and if I pursue this hobby I could invest in another DSLR and have it modded, I started out with a 700D so know the older rebel series quite well.



    Any advice greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jannyfox

    Jannyfox

    Messages:
    2,398
    Name:
    Jan
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I'm not familiar with the tracker as I use a driven equatorial mount, but -
    If you've never done any astro at all before you'll almost certainly get more pleasing first results using a short fast lens so tracking accuracy is not so critical and exposure times can be longer.
    A 3 way head will be fine to get going. A ball head is useful if you're doing 'wide field' shots with a short lens as you can have the frame in any orientation you like. When I use my Siggy 150-600 I bolt it direct via the lens foot onto the dovetail bar that fits my mount's head and use it like a telescope.
    An intervalometer is a really useful thing to have as you just set it running and it takes care of the shutter for you. I commonly do 60+ exposures and I wouldn't like to do that with a ordinary remote release. Intervalometers are not exactly expensive. If you've never used one the 'interval' you set is exposure time plus time between exposures (I give at least 5 secs between to allow for downloading). A few people get caught out trying to set them up.
    Don't think about autoguiding yet (I have no idea how you'd do it on a tracker). Master the basics first.
    Don't worry about a modified camera yet either, however if you do go for it later an older Canon will do the job and do it well. My partner and I have an old 350D that's only ever been used for astro and has fairly recently been modded. I have also used my 550D. Of the two the 350 is easier to use as the back buttons are a lot more tactile so I can use the control by feel alone - very difficult with the 550.
    Build up the total exposure by taking lots of relatively short exposures and integrating them. With a short lens on a tracker, even if it's not perfectly aligned, you could probably go over 1 minute quite safely. Make sure everything is absolutely rigid, to the extent of not fully extending the tripod. As I'm not familiar with the tracker (I did read a review of it not long ago but it wasn't clear on some points) I don't know if it takes care of field rotation. If it doesn't a basic stacking program like Deep Sky Stacker might struggle with the integration, but I'm not sure. I haven't used it for a long time. I use PixInsight, but you really don't want to go near anything like that yet!
    You might have problems focusing. With a longer lens you can get a Bahtinov mask, which is a brilliant bit of kit, but with a short lens you won't be able to zoom in far enough to see the spikes. If the Moon or Venus are around you can autofocus on them (don't forget to then switch the lens to MF!). Otherwise a street light several miles away works. Or if your eyes are younger than mine manually focus or use live view. I can manually focus a long lens, check with the Bahtinov mask and it'll be spot on, but I struggle a bit with a short lens. Another advantage of starting out with a short lens is that since the stars are so small, focus isn't quite as critical.
    Go out with a fully charged battery and if you have spares, take them.
    Hope that helps a bit. Good luck.
     
    smr, Mark Johnson and drb5 like this.
  3. smr

    smr

    Messages:
    761
    Name:
    Joel
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Jan,

    Many thanks indeed for the detailed post, answered a lot of questions. I received my Star Adventurer today and have set everything up just to see how it all goes together. I guess the next step is to align with polaris etc. and then onto photographing the night sky.

    As I'll probably not be doing longer than an hour exposure to begin with (of short exposures like you said) would i need to think about dew etc. would dew build up on my lens in that amount of time ?
     
  4. Jannyfox

    Jannyfox

    Messages:
    2,398
    Name:
    Jan
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I've never had a problem with dew, but obviously it depends on the temperature/dew point conditions at the time. Use a lens hood - that should help, as will having the camera/lens out in the cold while you're setting up, not sitting in a nice warm house or car. If it does become a problem for you, you can buy little wraparound dew heaters, but you need to power them. If the air seems very 'dewy' you'll find conditions won't be the best for photography anyway. You'll probably find everything dews up as soon as you bring it back into a warm place, so it's a good idea to leave the camera with lens attached, lens cap off, out of its bag and let it dry off naturally.
     
    smr likes this.
  5. Gaz J

    Gaz J

    Messages:
    2,956
    Name:
    Gary
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Hi Joel

    I have one of these. I find the biggest problem is polar aligning. I used PS Polar Align when I started as this automatically logs your position and gives the position of Polaris that you need to match on the reticule.

    I would second Jan's advice to start with short focal length lenses. With a decent polar align ive had 7 minute exposures with a 17 mm lens.

    It takes a bit of getting used to so if results from your first time out aren't want you expect don't be too disappointed. The first time I went out with mine I simply spent several hours just practising with different exposures and set ups. Enjoy.
     
    smr and Jannyfox like this.
  6. smr

    smr

    Messages:
    761
    Name:
    Joel
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Thanks Gary,

    Tbh right now I'm wondering why the heck I bought it in the middle of December, it's bloody freezing outside! I'm a total amateur at this stuff and just stepped out to see if I could see Polaris for myself. But it's so cold and with the light pollution I'd had enough after a minute!

    I got the SA set up yesterday just to see how everything connects together, which was interesting, the manual isn't brilliant.

    Today I spent trying to work out how the polar scope alignment works and how I'd apply that when actually looking for Polaris and lining it all up. It doesn't seem easy. I've got an app called Polar align and I understand how to dial in the latitude on the wedge. I only just realised that polaris is supposed to be on the circle, I thought initially you had to aim the cross hair in the scope directly on Polaris but from the app I see it's where it is on the circle, or orbit that you need to line it up with.

    Then there's all the DSLR gear - I guess being into photography it sort of gives you a head start over someone who hasn't got lenses, tripods etc. I've got quite a few lenses and a tripod that will take the weight of the mount etc.

    I'm going to buy a dew heater strap with an external battery pack which looks decent enough, and then probably start with my EFS-24mm lens or EFS-50mm lens as opposed to the Sigma 105 2.8.

    edit - just read your post Jan thanks for that, I'll see how it goes with Dew then. tbh I have shot long exposures in cold temps before without dew problems, if its a problem theres a solution for it anyway.

    The thing which is puzzling me a bit now is how to actually shoot multiple exposures specifying the length of each exposure and how many are taken etc.

    The 80D has an internal intervalometer but it only lets you specify how many shots and the interval between each, not the duration of the exposure. So I installed DSLR controller and set the camera to bulb mode, chose time lapse settings but from there I'm a bit overwhelmed. I don't know how long the interval should be set to between each exposure for instance.

    It's a lot to take in and I feel a bit exhausted from what I have absorbed over the last few days.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 11:03 PM
  7. Jannyfox

    Jannyfox

    Messages:
    2,398
    Name:
    Jan
    Edit My Images:
    No
    For taking multiple exposures a proper intervalometer makes life easy (once you've figured it it, which isn't that hard but like everything these days instructions are are lacking). Look on Amazon and make sure you get the right one for your camera. You'll set -
    An initial delay. I normally set 10 sec as that gives me time to hang the intervalometer cable somewhere on the mount and let go of it. Mine gives me a few seconds beep countdown to the shutter firing
    The exposure, for example 60 sec
    The interval, which is the exposure plus a delay for the image to download to the card. I give it between 5 and 10 secs, so for a 60 sec exposure I'll set an interval between 65 and 70 sec
    Number of exposures
    Obviously the camera shutter speed needs to be set to bulb
    Astrophotography isn't as easy as a lot of people (scope, tracker manufacturers) make it out to be, but keep at it and you will get the hang of it. Find if there's an astronomical society local to you and there'll be someone there who can help.
     
  8. smr

    smr

    Messages:
    761
    Name:
    Joel
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Would i not be able to do this with my Canon 80D then? It has an interval timer built in.

    It lets me specify interval in hours minutes and seconds and number of shots

    edit - obviously i cant as i cant set the duration of each exposure...
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017 at 1:12 PM
  9. Jannyfox

    Jannyfox

    Messages:
    2,398
    Name:
    Jan
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I've never had a camera with a built in intervalometer so I don't know anything about them. If you can get it to work it'd be fine so long as you can control it remotely, as it'll be the last thing you set and you don't want to be touching the camera at that stage. I've never used DSLR controller either. There's a lot I don't know............................:)
     
  10. Steve B

    Steve B

    Messages:
    760
    Name:
    Steve Bennett
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Could you not use continuous shooting with a remote shutter release with a locking button?
    You would be limited to a max of 30 second exposures and you lose about 1 second between exposures while the mirror resets. No need to leave an interval between shots for the image to write to the card as the buffer will handle that, easily able to transfer a RAW + Large jpg to the card while the next exposure is being taken.
    I could be completely wrong here, having no real astro experience, just a bit of dabbling with startrails, so please ignore if I'm talking rubbish and misunderstood what you are trying to do.
     
  11. Gaz J

    Gaz J

    Messages:
    2,956
    Name:
    Gary
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I use a hahnel giga pro for mine. Easy enough to set up. Sticking to 30 second shots doesn't really give you much advantage over putting the camera on a tripod and using a wide angle lens. Being able to, for example, take a 4 minute shot at 20mm will allow you to shoot at a much lower ISO for a single image and hence a better starting point without resorting to noise reduction via stacking.
     

Share This Page