Cameras

The modern astronomy has a number of different attributes to those of yesteryear. in many cases they are into astrophotography or try at any length. I to have played with astrophotography and as such I own a number of different cameras which I have used to different success. The following is a list of my current imaging cameras and some comments on them.

Canon XSI Digital Camera — Current main imaging camera.

This camera is proving to be better than I could have imagined. It is an excellent all round performed and is capable of taking stunning day time photos as well as amazing deep sky images. The sensor is good enough in combination with the FLT to photo most of the images that i have wished to image. It absolutely excels in the wide filed in this mode. It does have a high background noise level in the warm summer months and also suffers a little from the very cold i.e. -30oC but what would not. Its red sensitivity is a little down but this is an unmodified version and that is to be expected with the canon filter in-place. I have found that using 10 min sub frames is easy and the amount of noise in spring time from the CCD is minimal to zero.

Meade DSI Pro – currently used for autoguiding. The DSI Pro is a great camera for the price point the version which has the manual filter option does appear to be a little more sensitive than the single shot color version. The Meade software is simple and intuitive for use and offers some great features if you have a modern Meade scope i.e. LX200 ACF. The software takes a lot of the anguish of taking and matching dark frames and has a great method for ensuring that the image stored is corrected. I found this a very simple camera to use and from what I have seen the latest versions of this camera are just as easy also. From the perspective as an autoguider this is an excellent camera and very cheap if you find one on E-Bay. I have never failed to find a suitable guide star with this camera and it works seamless even with my Mac…

Starlight Xpress MX5 Parallel — currently a camera which I do not use. it is a parallel version of the latest cameras. it is cooled and offers very low dark current and excellent images. Its chip size is small by modern standards but again this would make an excellent guide camera with the USB interface. This was my first camera and it introduced me to imaging with the LX200. This was a work horse but due to the lack of parallel ports on laptops or computers in general its use is now limited.

The EQ mount imaged here was very reliable but not robust enough for long term use. This has not gone and replaced with a Losmandy G11 Gemini mount. Although not the most user friendly mount in the world the quality of the workmanship and also the raw functionality of the mount is just above and beyond anything I have seen before.