Using a compact digital Camera to capture shots

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Using a compact digital Camera to capture shots

Postby Jacques Reusens » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:26 am

[b]Hi All![/b]

Tried my hand at astro photography in daylight with limited success at first! No I wasn't affected by Lupus. To see if I could find a combination of lenses to use with my 10" Newtonian reflector, I focussed on a distant pine tree and observed good detail of fronds and pine cones. Then I wanted to use my Canon Ixus 70 compact (I think most other compacts will do) to see if I could capture a digital image of the pine cones. No amount of lens combinations, 3, 6, 12, 25mm and 2x Barlow would produce correct focus in my digital compact. All I got was the center dark spot and mirror focussed and some focused pine cones around the edges, hardly worth taking the picture.

Then I did the least scientific thing, I removed all eyepieces from the focus rack and put the camera up against the 2" adapter mount. Result fuzzy image, but at least no centre mirror focussed as a dark spot. Like a blood hound I smelt blood! If it was fuzzy, then it was a focus issue, not a problem of being out of focal range, as it was with the eyepieces. What was there to do? Yes! my old trusty Canon lenses from my 1970 FTB SLR. I had 28, 50, 125 200 and 400 mm plus 2x tube magnifier, all possible to move up to the 2" adapter. Tried all combinations, and none worked except the 28mm. I Put this hard up against the adapter, put the compact hard up against the back of this lens, set the compact to macro, zoomed to 6x digital, and Bingo!, a clear sharp image of pine cones and fronds popped up in the dispaly window, filling it completely. I could see the fronds moving in the wind, but the Ixus froze them to produce a clear sharp picture. I could even extend the digital zoom to 12x and the fronds and cones became even bigger, but still sharp. Wow, I was excited with this small forward step. All this was produced hand holding the camera!

The next challenge was to do night photography! The challenge here will be to 1) make a bracket to hold the camera steady, 2) figure out a way to get long exposures and 3) learn how to make the telescope track over this period of exposure, though I could always superimpose the digital photos.

Maybe someone will experiment (I will when I find the time) in solving the above restraints and achieve what I feel is possible, use a perfectly good high pixel compact to act as a digital image recorder at basically zero cost, as most people have such a camera already. If not, one of our stores offers 5 MPixel cameras for $30 or so, so these bargain basement cameras are around. They have to be better than the web cam cameras with their plastic lenses. The other beauty is that the camera does not have to be touched or modified. All you need is a wide angle lens around 25-28mm focal range and around 50-54mm diameter from an old SLR, and of course, a compact digital camera. You will be surprised how clear the images are.

Let's know what you think! and happy experimenting.
Jacques Reusens
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:34 am

RE: Using a compact digital Camera to capture shots

Postby steve00721 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:36 am

I too am experimenting with astro-photography with a compact - I'm not expecting too much, but think a few good shots of the moon are possible. After that I'm planning to see how far I can push it.

I've just got a camera mount (AC 629 from astro-engineering) but havent yet found the time to get some shots in - suffice to say I'll post some details up as soon as I do.
For anyone thinking of buying a similar design of mount, I've already discovered that if you try and use it with a newtonian reflector, the runner to bring the camera upto the EP position hits the scope tube - therefore a extension tube or barlow is required (unless you fancy hacking off the excess length of runner or have a diagonal handy).
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:45 pm

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