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Advice on Canon DSLR's

Derbyshire Dave

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   It's Early days for me in the astronomy game, have just bought Altair 8 inch reflector, and would like to get a bit of advice on which DSLR would be good for Astro work. I would definitely like to stick with Canon.


   When we were at Kelling last month, Rob and Alan were mentioning both the 450d and 1100d. Have also heard/read about doing an Astro mod removing the filter from the camera, but that sounds a bit scary!!


   So which Canon would people suggest? I'm guessing..

       ..it would need liveview for focusing..

       ..would a swing out screen be handy?

       ..Do I need movie mode so I can stack frames?

       ..What sort of resolution do you need, and are the above cameras OK?

  Any thoughts would be very helpful, there's no real rush. I'm going to Wymeswold tomorrow and will try and discuss this there anyway,

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One thing i wish my camera had was a hinged screen.

I can get round that a bit by extending the tripod fully though.


I'm only 'a beginner' with astrophotography too really, but have used my DSLR to good effect on Lunar and white light solar.

I'm also into widefield stuff and am putting together a small travel system comprising a tracking mount and a few lenses. 

i want to add a small scope too when funds allow ; somewhere in the 300-400mm FL range.


Here's a US site you may find helpful with regard to  DSLR 'modding' for astro use.

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You can use Movie Mode for stacking but I prefer to take loads of stills and use Microsoft ICE. Registax doesn't work on DSLR stills unless you have a PC with LOADS of memory.

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Rob, Phil,

 Thank you. The modification is about 50 times scarier than I imagined! Gulp!  Off to Wymeswold tonight, so will try and pick up some tips of guys there too. Thanks again.

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Thanks Steve, I'm building up a good picture here now. Definitely interested in the Deep Sky side.


Can I ask another question? Actually two questions.


If have an 8 inch scope with 1000mm focal length, so understand that if I have a 20mm eyepiece, I will have 50 times mag. If I replace the eyepiece with the DSLR, any maybe put in a flip mirror for easy viewing (if I had one), how does the magnification work out in that case.


Second question, at Kelling I saw people with their DSLR bolted to the outside of the scope, rather than to the eyepiece. I guess that's to track the stars for long exposures, and, presumably get wider angle views?



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OK lets start from the begining

You would like to do deep sky imaging.

You need the best mount you can afford.EQ5pro Eq6 as a minimum.

I would suggest that you start with a small refractor - nothing wrong with the 200Newt but it will be a lot eaier with a small frac.

I usually suggest something in the Sw ED80 class

you will need to learn polar alignment. VITAL

You will need to be able to focus acturately. Bhatinov mask is good and not expensive.

You will no doubt want to guide the thing for better images so will need a method of guiding -finder guider is a great starting point (uses the finder with a webcam attached)

You will want some software for stacking -Deep sky stacker is good


and most of all an unlimited supply of patience.

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Hi Dave, as to modding (removing the filter) I really wouldn't beat yourself up over it or bother.  I think it gives an unpleasant artificial red cast to images (although some will disagree).  A whole load of trouble for little return and of course makes the camera harder to use for anything else.  Ive been doing DSLR work for years now and feel not the slightest inclination to change even my 450d over, even though I use the 70d normally now.

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I have both a 40D and a 50D, the 40D is modded and the 50D is not.  Using the DSLR for DSO's i would always use the modded as you

get more detail etc , but depends on what sort of image/detail you want. :)  Below is modded camera image of mine NGC7000, detail is much better,

this was my very first astro image :D 



Edited by Sheila
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Hi everybody,

          Thanks for all of the help here. I think that maybe I should learn to pace my thoughts about cameras here, and learn to walk before I can run!


         I have only just got the telescope, and I really need to spend some time and find more about it, and learn about what I can see with my increased pulling power.


         Then I'll obviously be tempted to attach a camera. I guess I'm thinking about a relatively low cost solution to do some imaging. I can't see me being interested in getting better and better images of planets, but I can see me being interested in taking long exposures off relatively dim objects. In other word trying to 'see' a bit deeper and a bit more than I can with the telescope alone. I can't see me, at this stage being able to afford to get anywhere near the pictures I have seen on his website. Sheila's photo here is stunning.


       So maybe around Xmas time I'll look to getting an SLR. I am tempted to get a modded 450 or 1100.


       Re Ibbo, Steve. Thank you. My mount is a Vixen Sphinx, which appears to be about equivalent of an EQ5. It has an internal polarscope, which I believe I am using correctly. Regarding the Bhatinov mask, that's really interesting, never heard of that before. I have had a play with Deep Sky Stacker, but obviously need to get a camera I can connect first.

      My Vixen mount has a input for a guide scope, but I will try and get some basic stuff going, and see what the issue are before buying a guide scope.


       Re Brantuk, thanks Kim. Good website, masses of really useful stuff on there. I'll try and bear all of that in mind.


       Re, Sheila. Wow! What can I say, I'll maybe and try and get there one day.



      And to everyone, thanks for help, and for your patience, I'll try and learn from all of your input.





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