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Messages - emag

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226
Lenses / Re: 200mm F2 IS OR 135mm F2
« on: January 25, 2013, 05:55:12 PM »
I believe the author was a little naive in thinking that the lens would not have to be stopped down for astronomical purposes.  Stars are the ultimate challenge for any lens.  In fact, every lens has to be stopped down between 1 and 2 stops to get good stars in the corners.  As a result, the 200mm f/2.0 still has a speed advantage after stopping down, and the four inches of light gathering ability is nice too.  ;) 

Wade

I concur.  The lens excelled for his (way too many) cat, dog and baby photos.  Short of a Schmidt camera, nothing is going to do well for astro at f/2, and it requires a curved imaging surface.  The old 300/4L (non-IS), discontinued now but arguably Canon's best affordable long lens,  has always been considered sharp, but even it is best used at f/4.5 for astro.  I'd love to have a 200 that I can only use at a measly f/2.8 for astrophotos!

227
Landscape / Re: Spiral Arm of the Milky Way above the Texas Desert
« on: January 24, 2013, 02:02:08 PM »
Oh and what's the story with your equatorial mount?  Did you make that yourself?

Axilrod - the tripod, wedge and drive base are from an 8 inch Celestron I've had for 35 years, the optics are great but it needed to be on a better mount to reach its potential.  The wood is recycled from another project and the tripod head lives either on this mount or my home made slider depending on what I'm doing.  Older Celestron mounts come up for sale on Astromart once in a while when people transplant the scope to a better mount like I did.  There's another used equipment website I've used, I can't find it with Google but I have the link on my home computer, I'll PM you with it.  Orion sells a small equatorial setup as an intro to astrophotography but it just won't handle much weight.  A used CG5 or SkyViewPro mount for a good price would be an excellent setup, you wouldn't need the computerized version of either.  I use my old C8 mount setup for tracking with up to a 300/f4L.  Setting it vertical I can do panning time lapses.  I've even used it with the mount vertical and the camera pointed straight up in my back yard, the trees rotate around the perimeter of the frame while the stars slowly parade through....would be interesting to try in a place like Joshua Tree.  I'm blocked here at work from getting to the link, it's on YouTube, you should be able to find it with search terms 'emagowan' and 'SkySpin'.

228
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: I love big gear
« on: January 23, 2013, 02:02:16 PM »
Pansies  ;D

The LSST camera will be the largest digital camera ever constructed, measuring roughly 5' x 10'


229
Canon General / Re: IS canon 650D going to be discontinued?
« on: January 23, 2013, 09:44:15 AM »
650D/T4i, 600D/T3i and 60D are somewhat similar and will all work quite well.  650D/T4i is a current model which superseded and made (in many peoples' opinions) minor improvements to the 600D/T3i.  The 60D seems to be near the end of its current production life as evidenced by low to non-existent stock levels, a replacement model is anticipated soon.  The 7D, also near the end of its current production life, is also a fine camera and considered by many to be the best of the crop sensor cameras.  A replacement model is anticipated this year.  If I was in the market for any of these cameras, I'd be considering a refurb either direct from Canon or one of the large reputable dealers.  If I was buying for my daughter who was seriously considering a career, my choice for my daughter would be a 6D.  If I was looking for a first DSLR for myself I would either look for one of the refurbs above or spring for a new 6D.   A decision regarding what might be best for you and your daughter is also dependent on what type of photography she has an interest in.  This is a Canon forum and I admit to being somewhat of a Canon fanboy for my reasons, but honestly you wouldn't go wrong with any of the newer Nikon models either. 

230
Landscape / Re: Spiral Arm of the Milky Way above the Texas Desert
« on: January 22, 2013, 11:47:17 PM »
These were shot from VERY light polluted Pensacola Beach during a public stargaze.  Before and after gussying up to counter the light pollution.  They were taken with a modified 40D using a Sigma 70-200 at 200/2.8.  You can pick up a T3i for a song now and have it modified for astro work.  Plop it on an equatorial mount with a drive and you have a setup that can do some amazing work.  The camera is on my grab and go astrophoto setup.  The tripod and drive base are from an old scope that I have since mated to a much better computerized mount.  Nothing fancy but it does the job and fits neatly in my motorcyle sidecar when I don't feel like lugging the big guns.

231
Landscape / Re: Spiral Arm of the Milky Way above the Texas Desert
« on: January 22, 2013, 11:18:56 PM »

Go to the Indian Pass Peninsula! 

I'm in Pensacola, my astronomy club's dark site is in Blackwater River State forest, VERY nice in winter and about a 55 mile drive.  I do astronomy outreach for scout groups that have a campground farther into Blackwater Forest, spectacular skies and very stable air.  I frequently head to Gulf Islands National Seashore and nearby Big Lagoon State Park, they're both very close and dark towards the Gulf, not too shabby overhead.  Our summer skies are very hit and miss and any location is a serious mosquito feed on summer evenings - August is particularly useless, miserable humid and perpetual thunderstorms.  We do somewhat of a 'sidewalk astronomy' gaze at Pensacola Beach two nights per month in the warmer weather, near first quarter moon.  Lots of light pollution but with a modified camera and LPR filters it's surprising what can be picked out.  Meet a lot of interesting folks from all over who come for a few weeks.

232
Landscape / Re: Spiral Arm of the Milky Way above the Texas Desert
« on: January 22, 2013, 05:32:08 PM »
Hmmmmmm.....might want to check your AFMA.  You seem to be front focusing a parsec or two..... :o

Excellent work, I'm jealous of those skies.  I have 5 scopes, two cameras (one Ha modified), several equatorial mounts and a home made slider.....and the Florida panhandle hasn't had two clear nights in succession since mid-November....particularly on weekends!  Sheesh - I should probably drop the whole astrophotography thing and take up needlepoint.

233
EOS Bodies / Re: Yet Another 5D vs 7D Question
« on: January 22, 2013, 09:28:16 AM »
I would think the use of teleconverters would be a significant factor also.  You have not defined what you mean by "...quality of the pic....".  Having said that, I suspect you'll like the photos w/5D3 better - but will find the 7D with that combo is no slouch either.  At the very worst, you'll have better results than you could have achieved 5 or 6 years ago.  Shoot, enjoy and find what works for you.  Hope you can wait til June. :D

234
Software & Accessories / Photoshop error message
« on: January 17, 2013, 05:59:15 PM »
I've been using Photoshop 7 for like 10 years or however long it's been around.  Works for me and I can't justify the expense of current versions, although I did buy Elements 11 (okay) and LR (!!).  PS7 was working fine and one day refused to start up, with an error message regarding a TWAIN device communication issue.  Based on an internet search, this problem pops up now and then.  Removed/reinstalled, no help.  Even tried to install PS6, same error message, same result.  I've become fairly proficient with GIMP as a result, but I sure miss PS7.

The only unusual thing I did within a day or two prior to the error message - at a public stargaze with my astro club, I was switching between an astro modded 40D and a 60D on the scope taking photos tethered to my laptop.  A woman there was fascinated and I noticed she had a 7D on her neck (much more attractive than a goiter, I must say) so I made her evening by putting her 7D on the scope and taking a slew of photos for her, again tethered to the laptop.  IIRC, the error message appeared the first time I tried to open PS7 after that.

Laptop runs Vista 32 bit  (yeah. I know)

It won't be long until I upgrade computers and PS7 will probably install just fine in the new one, but this just nags at me.  Has anyone ever seen such a thing?

235
Low noise at high ISO, WiFi.  Works for me, that's a plus when it's hanging on the telescope.

236
Lenses / Re: Help with 360ยบ Panoramas
« on: January 17, 2013, 09:49:55 AM »
If this is something you're just starting on (panos), you might also consider Windows ICE and Photosynth.  Free and quite capable.  Not what a pro would use, I'm sure, but it gets you up and running quickly with fairly good results.  If it's something you find you want to pursue further, there are a number of paths you can take at various labor/expense levels and you'll find various user groups on the net devoted to panorama photography.  I've used lenses from 8mm fisheye to 200mm (on a crop camera) and try for a minimum 25% overlap between frames.  ICE does a pretty good job stitching all together.  It's not always perfect, but being a hobbyist with a full time job and other interests, it's good enough for my enjoyment.  YMMV.  I post on Photosynth as 'emag325', you can check out what can be done fairly quickly and easily at the amateur level.  PTGUI is excellent, but as a hobbyist, I don't feel the need to spend much on pano software......although it would be my first choice if I do.

237
Canon General / Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« on: January 16, 2013, 01:55:34 PM »


.........  I did my part as a citizen.  I can then claim that purchase as business expense.  Do what's logical and support your own local economy.........
[/quote]

Don't get the wrong tone from my response, no malice intended.  Many of us cannot claim a purchase as a business expense.  It makes a difference.  I have one local camera shop which I have occasionally shopped at.  I cannot justify the cost (to me) of big ticket items, I hope he can stay in business but I have my own bills to pay.  If I could expense it I would gladly bring him the business......as local pros do.

238
Canon General / Re: refurbished Canon 5d mk iii
« on: January 16, 2013, 09:52:57 AM »
Look at it this way - you now have a camera that has been through Canon's QC twice!  Forget those last minute second thoughts; keep, use and enjoy your camera.  I for one have no reservations buying refurb, it fits my wallet quite nicely.  Adorama stands behind refurb quality as evidenced by the warranty period.  I'm a moderately-heeled hobbyist, but much of my astronomy and photo equipment is used or refurb, I've had some of it for decades.  Over the years most of what I no longer have has been donated to my local rescue mission second hand store, my astronomy club for everyone to use and to people I know who can still find use for it even if I can't (not talking 600/4 lens type stuff here, of course).  The only time I think "What will this be worth in the future" is when making investments.

239
EOS Bodies / Re: EOS not good for NASA?
« on: January 15, 2013, 06:30:16 PM »
It's been many years, but....when Uncle Sam switched the equipment I used to work on from 70mm film to 35mm, modified Nikon bodies were used.  They proved to be more reliable when subjected to adverse conditions, primarily shock and vibration.  Some of the data to support that undoubtedly came from NASA, but I'm sure tax dollars were spent to confirm it.  Then again, we also continued to use Betamax long after it was dead in the civilian market.

240
HDR - High Dynamic Range / Re: Canon 5D mark 3 in-camera HDR shots
« on: January 13, 2013, 01:14:11 AM »
"... forget the nay sayers, you cannot please everyone ...
+1
I use HDR for a lot of my panos, but I PP in LR.  Having it in camera would be nice even though it might still need tweaking.

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