Stargazer New Member
- Skill Level
- Time with Product
May 12, 2008
- User Notes:
An All-Around Great DSLRPros:
Lightweight; Manual setting with “bulb”; CostCons:
I did a little astrophotography before the computer/digital age and it was quite a chore. I was coupling a Pentax Single Lens Reflex (SLR) to a Dynamax 8 and using an off-axis guider for manual guiding. The average exposure time was 20 to 30 minutes and trips to the chiropractor were frequent. There was the ritual of setting up in freezing temperatures, guiding without moving a muscle, and then sending the film in for development. The long wait for the film to return was often rewarded with a decent image or two...and a lot of unrecognizable smears!
With the new digital cameras on the scene and, because I like to do daytime photography as well as astrophotography, I needed a camera with the ability to remove and interchange lenses. I also needed the option of unlimited time exposure, reviewing the exposure, and a decent focusing screen.
The Canon XT (350D) offers all of these features plus light weight, good battery life, and available options that come in handy.
A remote shutter release is a must for AP as well as wildlife photography on a tripod. There are several ways of accomplishing this through the provided socket on the camera. I, personally, use an inexpensive “wireless” remote for daytime and an electronic timer output for astrophotography.
Another option that I've found very useful is the 2.5x right angle finder. This is an excellent accessory for obtaining critical focus (there are other means of getting that “exact” focus, but I find that the 2.5x right angle serves me well).
Without listing all of the features of the Canon XT, I would like to mention the functions that are most important to me for astrophotography as well as daytime photography.
- Able to capture images in RAW mode
- Manual setting with “bulb” (shutter stays open as long as shutter release is activated)
- LCD review screen
- Right angle finder option
So, if you're thinking of getting a good all around camera for daytime shots as well as AP, the Canon XT will do a good job of capturing that far off galaxy, that photo at the beach, or that bug crawling amongst your flowers.
nam2525 New Member
- Skill Level
- Time with Product
Jun 30, 2007
- User Notes:
Great Camera for Astrophotos and daylight photosPros:
Great quality, versatile, well designed, quick start up and download, etc.Cons:
Pricey, small heat bloom is noticeable on long exposuresComments:
I got this camera mainly for use with astrophotography. At the time, you could either spend $2000 or more for a true astrophoto camera from SBIG or something similar, or $1000 for the Canon which was an improvement over the 300D and could still be used for daylight photos as well. Now, adapters are available to use regular camera lenses with SBIG cameras, but I find the Canon is still more versatile and functional for both daytime and nighttime use.
There is automatic noise reduction, where it takes a photo with the shutter closed that is the same length as the main photo when the shutter was open, then it subtracts any hot pixels. OR, you could just use free programs like the amazing REGISTAX and stack photos on top of each other to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, or "clean up" the photo.
The Canon also has USB 2.0, a good quality zoom lens, 200 to 1600 ISO speed, and a host of other options, as well as an option to vary the brightness level on the LCD on the back. So far, it has taken some amazing shots of the Orion Nebula and Veil Nebula, as well as my cat in the backyard, and other animals around the house. On some of the longer exposures for astrophotography, there is a noticeable red heat bloom on the right side of the image, but this can be cropped out easily since the chip takes in such a huge field of view anyway. Also, with a chip this big at 8 megapixels, you really don't have to worry about mirror flop on an SCT knocking the target off the imaging chip (some older cameras had chips that were 700 pixels square or so....the Canon 350D is something like 3400 by 2200 or somewhere in that range).
The software that came with the camera also does a good job in allowing you to tweak the RAW images a bit. The software is easy to use and well designed. The camera also has a host of options available including an AC adapter. The battery life seems very long. I can image for sometimes 2 to 3 hours a night for a number of nights in a row before it needs recharging. The camera also writes the RAW images to the Flash card very quickly which is a big plus. It can also download images to the computer fairly quickly thanks to the USB 2.0.
There is a website called DPReview.com that has an extremely detailed review of this and many other cameras. Check there for the latest info on Digital SLRs.
If you want to do astrophotography and still be able to take photos of the family vacation, then a Digital SLR is the best way to go. They can be a bit pricey, but are still cheaper than cooled astro cameras like those from SBIG and others. I have not found cooling or the lack thereof to be much of an issue with this camera. I have gotten incredible photos with it, and I only started in astrophotography about 2 years ago! There are also versions of this camera available from places like Borg Hutech where they take out the infrared filter from the camera and you can capture hydrogen alpha light, which adds quite a bit of detail to an astrophoto, although mine is not one of these modified cameras.
Highly recommended as a great, all-purpose daytime and nighttime camera.Sort by