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Messages - emag

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Canon General / Re: That's my money you are profiting from Canon!!!
« on: April 24, 2013, 01:00:56 PM »
Now you've done it, J.R.  You smacked that fire ant mound with a shovel. :D

Mr. Bean, what hemisphere was that top photo of the Milky Way shot from? 

Yeah, I noticed that also and checked Mr. Bean's profile real quick - Melbourne.  I had the pleasure of visiting Perth 30+ years ago, seeing Scorpius and the heart of the Milky Way overhead is something I'll never forget, back when I was in the navy and after a long cruise through dark skies on the Indian Ocean.  I know you're a night sky fan should treat yourself to a southern hemisphere trip sometime.  Milky Way, Coal Sack, Magellanic Clouds, Omega Centauri, all just spectacular.  Check out the Southern Skies Star Party at Lake Titicaca.

I don't dispute the simplicity of the '600 rule', but it is just that - simplistic.  A more rigorous calculation can be made and set up in a spreadsheet to determine maximum recommended imaging times for each lens/camera combination you might use.  A thorough explanation is at:

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: Canon Refurbished
« on: April 19, 2013, 11:47:26 PM »
Refurb=2x through Canon QC.  I'll buy refurb every time I can.

EOS Bodies / Re: Sell 60D now or after 70D is shipping?
« on: April 17, 2013, 09:28:14 AM »
Your 60D won't suddenly stop taking good photos when the 70D arrives....and I doubt the 70D will be a tremendous upgrade.  The 6D is already a good upgrade and prices are getting lower.  July 4th sales will probably be quite good if you can wait (apologies if you're not in the U.S.).  Personally, I'd keep the 60D and get the 6D.   Both have their advantages and similar operating controls.  Plus ML is already working on 60D.

Cory.Kaye....yes it's modified for greater nsitivity to near-IR

Canon General / Re: How do you buy equipment?
« on: April 16, 2013, 12:44:11 PM »
BillMeLater where accepted.  Gear usually gets no payment no interest for 6 mos. if paid in full within 6 mos..
I use this like others use CC, for the float.  I have $ in hand to pay for the gear but why use my money if I can use someone elses for nothing.

Ditto.  If I am willing to pay cash up front, then I'm willing to use someone else's cash up front and keep mine invested.  I've used BML a lot for smaller things, larger items get the 18 months no interest via Best Buy.  I've even been surprised while checking out at Best Buy and been told it's actually 24 months on occasion.  Set up an auto payment from my checking account and that's it.  But ALWAYS only for an item I'd be willing to pay cash for.  Would be nice if this hobby could pay for itself at some point, but if it doesn't I'll carry on the way I have.  I used to get decent annual bonuses from my employer but that's gone by the wayside as executive compensation has skyrocketed.  Company can't afford both ya know.

I have an astro modified 40D that I also used for everyday photos until I picked up a 60D.  My plan for some time has been to get a 6D or 5D3, sell the 40D and get the 60D modified.  That was the plan, anyway.  What's actually happened is that I've picked up some lighting gear and am looking at a robust ballhead and lenses instead of another body.  The 40D still takes incredible astro shots and the 60D does everything else well.  No sense selling what ain't broke and still works for what I do.  Heck, I still have my old G2, maybe I'll get it modified for IR.  Still like to get that 6D or 5D3, though.

Lenses / Re: Lightweight lens for backpacking and bicycle touring
« on: April 15, 2013, 08:36:57 PM »
What about the RokSamBower 14/2.8?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Any astrophotographers out there?
« on: April 10, 2013, 08:37:18 PM »
A good place to begin is an equatorial mount and a decent telephoto.  You have a much better chance of achieving pleasing results without too much frustration than you would trying to use a telescope as you're learning, plus the telephoto is good for general photography.  Most bang for your limited bucks.  My personal opinion is to forget the Astrotrak, your 70-200 will work fine on this mount:

For cameras, a good place to look is   You will often find modified Canons for sale at a good price.....much less than a 60Da.  For planets you'll want a telescope and webcam, the mount mentioned above may not be beefy enough.  You don't need a large scope but you do need a good mount.  The mount above, with an older, modified camera would set you back well under $1,000.  You could get a refurb 60D from Canon for cheap and have it modified to be the equivalent of a 60Da for far less than the price of a 60Da, but for that matter a T2i has the same sensor and will work the same when modified, a T3i would also give you the articulating LCD.  I've done planetary work with the crop video mode on the 60D through a telescope - it works, but isn't quite as good as a webcam type imager.  (I use a Philips SPC900NC).  A non-modified camera will work and get you on the learning curve, it just won't work as well as a modified camera.

The three images below were taken ~9 years ago with a Digital Rebel (300D) and a Sigma 70-200/2.8, the M42 image with a Kenko 2X telextender attached.     Pleiades w/sigma     Orion w/Sigma     M42 w/Sigma and 2X

In this discussion thread is a photo of a camera platform I put together from an old Celestron drive base and a tripod head.  Looks like a cross between Frankenstein and Rube Goldberg but it does the trick.

These mounts and others similar to it can often be found for reasonable prices at:

If you have a local astronomy club, by all means join it.  The one I belong to has a number of loaner scopes that people can check out for a month, great way to get your feet wet for cheap.  You'll also find a bunch of folks who will be more than happy to bend your ear if you have questions.  We have a potentially spectacular comet headed our way late this year, get some practice in now and you'll be able to capture some fine images when it arrives.

Macro / Re: Reverse a lens for macro.
« on: April 08, 2013, 04:35:25 PM »
You could also use an old EF 35-80 kit lens (they came on old rebel film cameras) & remove the front element. This gives you a crazy "zoom" macro that I believe goes beyond 1:1, but with no auto focus or working distance. If you just google "Canon 35-80mm macro mod" a bunch of things come up. You could but that lens for next to nothing.

Yup, got one of those also, but I prefer the 50/1.8 with extensions.   The modified 35-80 is almost a microscope.  I realize saying this might be tantamount to sacrilege to 'L' aficianados, but stopped down the 35-80 takes acceptable daylight photos also (as a normal lens)........not every shot needs a 24-70.  Think I paid 25$ for mine.

Macro / Re: Reverse a lens for macro.
« on: April 08, 2013, 01:20:05 PM »
I prefer to use extension rings.  I found a very inexpensive set at a department store photo section.  They're just tubes with electrical connections, no need to pay Canon price for them, and they'll work with any lens I want to use, including an old manual SMC Takumar with an adapter.

Lenses / Re: Moving on from 20D
« on: April 04, 2013, 09:00:10 AM »
You (OP) said nothing about price......therefore the 70-200/2.8II IS is the one, no question.  If you can, just get it.  If you have to stretch or wait a little while, it's worth it.  If it's out of the question for now and you don't want to miss shots, there are a number of very good compromises, sort through the ones recommended in the responses.  Can't go wrong with an L prime if that's the choice.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Resetting the shutter count
« on: April 04, 2013, 08:51:36 AM »
I perfectly know that in Canon they sell refurbished cameras with shutter count of 0

?????  I've bought refurbished from Canon, shutter counts were low but non-zero.  Wouldn't make sense for Canon to sell a refurb with zero shutter counts.  If anyone tried to tell me their camera had zero shutter counts I'd call shenanigans and refuse to deal with them, whether Canon or individual seller; it's like rolling back an odometer and says more about the seller than the equipment.

A standard technique for astrophotography is to take what are called 'dark frames'.  Not specifically applicable to your single exposure Milky Way photos, but still might be worth a try.  works like this:  A series of (let's say) 3 minute exposures are made of a galaxy/nebula/cluster or what have you.  From 'several' images to hundreds - these are called 'light frames'.  A series of dark frames are then taken by covering the lens and viewfinder and opening the shutter for the same amount of time used for the astrophotos - maybe 5, 7, or 9 frames.  (I use odd numbers because folks tell me I'm odd....)  The dark frames are averaged and that average image is then subracted from EACH of the light frames.  There is more to it, but that's a brief description.  Two free programs that automate much of the averaging, alignment and stacking are (my preferred) 'Deep Sky Stacker' and 'IRIS'.  There are others at various price points.  There are lots of variables to consider, for one, the temperature of your camera will gradually rise during an imaging session and plateau at some point - might take 30 minutes, might take two hours.  In-camera noise reduction is not usually very good for astro.

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