Monthly Archives: February 2011

Digital SLR for astrophotography

Initial experiments with my Fuji S9500 indicated that aside form short (30 second exposure) of the constellations it simply wasn’t going to measure up to the requirements of more serious astrophotography. There are two main problems 1) you are limited to 30 second exposures and 2) the lens (one of the reasons for purchasing this camera in the first place) makes it far too unwieldy for through the eyepiece imaging – and even if you get it in position the results are somewhat disappointing.

The photographic world having moved on somewhat since I purchased the S9500 it is now possible to pick up a digital SLR for a reasonable price on Ebay – so, after a few days searching I came across an immaculate Canon 300D which I was able to acquire for an excellent price. The 300D was on the market in 2003-2004 so is a few years old now. However, for first experiments at DSLR astrophotography it is ideal. Also required was a T2 fitting and remote cable switch – both also purchased from Ebay. I already had a T2 to 1.25″ adaptor from previous experiments with a Ricoh KR10 film camera some years ago, so I am now ready to go!

The kit that you can pick up cheaply nowadays is fairly remarkable. You will of course read that the Canon 550D knocks spots of the 300D, but just remember that 7 short years ago the 300D held the same status and was much sought after for astrophotography. It’s easily possible to get carried away with getting more megapixels from you camera – in the same way that more inches in your telescope aperture is often tempting, though we all know that there are trade-offs such as value for money and usability. At the end of the day I am quite happy to hang a £130 2nd hand camera off my telescope all night, whereas I probably wouldn’t if it were new and cost me getting on for £1000.