Credit goes to you mate ... your alignment, stacking, settings etc and that camera of yours for a first light are all working great with your refractor. It's picking up some great fine wisps and details and nebulosity. It just needs that color balance done LOL. It's going to be a GREAT camera for you.
Filter? None when its dark, mostly use Baader Moon and skyglow when at home trying to shoot through LP, or the Moon is up.
Never believe this,but a canon 450d astronomy modded has just came up for sale in the second hand astronomy equipment Facebook page I'm on,,under 1000 shutter count,camera body and charger £155 special delivery..em I said yes,,Ile take it,, waiting on reply .. Update guy confirms it's mine 😃
I had a perfect night last night for viewing. Dark no clouds etc. But it was cheap Tuesday at the movies and Julia was bored (she's a teacher so on holidays) so we went to see that cheery Scottish movie Sunset Song. Hoping for a good night tonight and get home early so i can colour balance.
The mod is not difficult to do. The Honis instructions are really well described. Although I'd be nervous with an expensive camera. All you need is a decent set of screwdrivers and some tweezers and a tooth pick.
And steady hands Chris! (unlike my shaky ol things. LOL)
It's got live-view and will work with your BYEOS so planets vids are able to be video'd and later stacked in autostakkart or registax etc. Great!
It still, even today, has one of the lowest noise outputs of any DSLR according to Gary Honis (the DSLR mod guy). Great again!
But ... it will only go a max of ISO1600. Just go with it and accept that. Actually, it almost means it is even easier to use! It means you are kinda limited to just cranking up the exposure time if its tough to shoot something. You dont need to worry about fiddling with both ISO and exposure time! LOL. So no biggie and almost an advantage.
I also mentioned to Chris a bit up in this thread about framing the object in the centre of your image or wherever you want it ... by cranking up ISO to 12,800 and using 4 to 8 sec shots to quickly frame it. You will just have to use one of your other scope/cams on your array to do that ... then switch to the 450d and know it's correctly framed cos you already framed in the other cams. No biggie.
And of course re-read the earlier post on creating a custom white balance for it or everything is red in the image.
I'm a dummy ... was just fooling around plugging the DSLR into my ED80 to find the focal point (Chris's wide field has inspired me!), and lo and behold in the EOS Utilities live view window is a histogram which is the white level curve so I've always ignored it. BUT ... underneath the histogram is a RGB 'tab' so you can colour balance in liveview if you want to. I will have to try that out at night and see how it goes. Will post up a quick vid on doing that. Hopefully will post it up sometime this arvo. Maybe BYEOS has similar thing. Cheers
The canon 450 was my first live view DSLR when I got my two 600s I gave Carol it,, this one was cheap so couldn't by pass it,, can't justify buying another expensive camera anger getting another scope a week ago ,,the 600d modded is £400+.
Forget I said about the histogram and white balancing in EOS Utils live view. I will put up a vid to explain it ... but for now just set a custom white balance and start shooting jpegs. They will come out nice.
As per our brief phone conversation just now Chris .... my current fav setting for both modded and unmodded Canon DSLR's is ...
30 secs @ iso800
AstroToaster - first press RESET button to reset all colors when a new shot comes in, then tick Logarithm checkbox .... set Expand gradient to 3 (be sure to click Apply Grad button to make that do its thing) ... set Saturation to 10 to 15'ish (look for redish and blueish stars but avoid making them too deeply/brightly colored) ... then slowly raise Black point slider while simultaneously watching the background, any faint galaxy arms and/or nebulosity when you are trying to get the background black. When happy, then look at the object and if the black point adjustment has faded the object a bit, slowly raise contrast to make it stand out.
Done ... you should have a very decent shot.
And ... just remember to not try and cheat nature ... if it is a heavily LP site then don't try to raise the black point to create a jet black background. You will loose detail ... called clipping the data. The sky is a very dark grey. Not jet black. If you have LP, then sky is a lighter grey ... so keep your background a bit lighter. Full moon its even light so make the background even lighter. At a really dark site, aim for a dark grey but avoid trying to get jet black.
Oh and dont forget ... click on the slider but then use the left and right keyboard arrow keys to adjust the sliders.
Thanks for the call and the tips. Moving the cursor - I was starting to get RSI. The lower ISO settings are nice. As you say less noisy and compared to the ZWO there's great dynamic range so the core of the lagoon isn't saturating. And You don't seem to lose too much detail. Started mucking around with the stacked images in astrotoaster to the settings you talk about above but too late, too zonked. Will sort the pics out tomorrow. And I like the lens gradient - helps adjust for the vignetting.
The camera battery is a pain in the neck - can't wait for the ebay bits to arrive so I can power it with the mount supply. My battery "quite literally" died just when I started speaking to you.
Might put some pics up in the IIS thread on video astro ! Might get AstroRon going again ....
Re DSLR goodness! Yes, I too was surprised right from the get go when I tried out my first night with the DSLR. I fully expected and indeed started out with ISO6400 IE really high gain, thinking the DSLR would be so insensitive. You read in the forums and stuff those comments. To my surprise, iso6400 overblew all the images (really bright backgrounds which should be dark) and so I ended up doing an astrojedi ... short exposures with high gain which he uses on the ZWO range of cams! So ISO6400 and I found 5 stacked frames of 4 seconds was enough to get clusters and globs, 8 seconds got nearly every neb, and 15 secs for galaxies. They weren't sharp as a tack, had noise and stuff ... but those really short exposures still produced images which IMO were as good or better than the ASI224, certainly waaaaay better than my old Mallincam, and looked as good as most EAA images posted on CN forum.
That was it ... I was hooked. Especially seeing pin-point razor sharp stars and fine details in dust and nebulosity compared to the other cams I had.
Then later seeing the AT writer/programmer and Mark Bahu and others broadcast on NSN using dslr's at traditional AP settings like lower iso like 1600 and shooting for 120 or 180 or more seconds and getting great images (but also guiding), I tried that. But it just takes sooooo long to see anything.
Experimentation ended up with me finding jpegs, iso800 30sec shots with those magic AT settings ... and I am happy. Pretty close to AstroPhoto quality with 9 x 30sec if it is a really dim object and in dark skies single 30 sec images ... and they are beautiful as per that 3 part video I posted earlier in this thread. Just bouncing from object to object and boom, single 30 sec shots ... like astrophotos.
Luv the DSLR!
The lens gradient is indeed interesting. Sometimes in heavily LP or moon 100% nights then dim objects are tough to get. If you stick to 30 sec shots you end up with severe vignetting with the central zone very bright and the edges very dark. It's all the LP and Moonglow pollution being captured by the sensor. If you stick to processing the 'normal' way and slowly Expand Gradient, and raise black point, twiddle with white point, contrast etc you often find it still very hard to get a decent image. The object in the overblown central zone often gets data severely lost in the process of raising black point and all the adjustments you do trying to get a decent picture. But, tip, if you see that severe vignetting and apply the lens gradient savagely so the central portion of the image becomes quite dark and the edges become quite overblown (like a reverse vignetting if you know what I mean) then you crop the dark central portion. The resultant cropped image is then almost dark from edge to edge ... and ... it seems to leave a lot of data / signal in that now darkened central zone of the image. So the crop which is quite dark right across the frame (cos you cropped it) is now able to be stretched, black and white point, contrast adjusted etc much more easily to bring out the detail. You often get a better final image doing it that way. Weird but true.
Last Edit: Sept 29, 2016 4:48:27 GMT by howie1: added guiding comment
Now sorted the colour balance on the modded Canon550D. So here's just two images from the last two nights. For these I used EOS Utilities and Astrotoaster, following Howie's guidelines. These were saved from astrotoaster so no post-processing.
First was 28/9, Lagoon+Trifid. 80mm refractor f5.9 (no reducers or filters). ISO1600 16x30sec subs.
Second was 29/9, Helix. 8" SCT F6.3 reducer but haven't worked out focal reduction yet. ISO 1600 18x60sec subs. I suppose this is a bit excessive at 18min but its fun fiddling the image while its stacking and it took me that long to figure out the ideal settings. I should go back and re-stack fewer subs in astrotoaster and see how much I need.
So Howie, in astrotoaster I used - the log setting (which amplifies the vignetting), expand=3, set the lens gradient so it was a bit dark in the centre, a little bit of saturation. And then pushed up the black level till it looked OK.
Great m8 and m20 Chris. And the Helix has dim surface brightness so at f/6 you've done well. Indeed, playing around with the settings is part of the fun. As per other posts ... the next day, copy all the jpegs (or RAW if you shot any) off to another folder, then at any time you can drag and drop them into the MONITOR folder and try experiments in the daytime to see how to treat them best when out there at night. Cheers
__________________________________________ Ken James - Snake Valley Australia CAMERAS: Samsung SCB-4000, Mallincam Xtreme & Xterminator, 3 different Revolution Imagers, 2 ToUcams, SX-5c, Canon 350d, 2 different IMX224's (an RI & RT) and an RT178. Broadcaster on NSN as 'Snake Valley Australia' HERE --> www.nightskiesnetwork.com/ - Video Astronomy Website: ballaratman.wix.com/videoastronomy
Top shot Chris. Like my Canon, where the reds always seem to come out a bit more magenta, so do your seem to be more magenta. Here's a tip in a video I just threw together on seeing your Helix shot. Like I have found it may help a bit more in your tweaking. As I say in the video, I have actually used Photo Gallery instead of AstroToaster or on the saved AstroToaster images, with great results ... and very, very simple workflow. Not in any way saying your Helix is a bad shot, BTW ... just saying here's another quick and easy tip which may help tease out that little bit extra which AT can't seem to get.
Thanks ken and howie. It looks brighter than that. And you can the bright corners due to using the lens gradient.
The 3 min exposure really brings up the colour. Even the first sub and the second sub crunches the noise. I know it shouldn't be different to 3x 1min but it seems better (maybe the read noise?). I also did some 1 & 2min subs so will put them together and compare.
What i also like about the Canon is the initial alignment. Real easy just using the telrad and camera's screen in live view. So don't have to drag the computer outside.