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 Post subject: Imaging with Canon DSLR
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:30 am 
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Hi Guys
I currently use a Canon 350D for imaging (along with its thermal noise issues)
I have recently acquired a Canon 30D and was wondering whether it would give better results (mailnly on the thermal noise issues etc)
thanks
Graham

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:57 am 
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Hi Graham,
Just been looking through the various forums and found your question.

My initial thoughts are that for astrophotography there would be little difference in terms of performance between the 350D and the 30D. Both have the same 'DIGIC 2' processor, same APS-C sized sensor and according to Canons website neither supports 'Liveview' shooting.

The 350D is one of Canons early generation entry level models while the 30D belongs to the enthusiasts range. From this point of view I would expect that the build quality and weather proofing of the 30D would be superior.

If improved noise handling is a factor then one of Canons full frame sensor cameras is what you would ideally need. Larger sensors handle noise better because the individual pixel size is greater. They also have a greater dynamic range. One of the most popular cameras in this range from Canon remains the 5D mark 2. I bought a used 5D mark 2 some time ago (upgrade from a 650D) and despite a very poor autofocus capability I think it is otherwise excellent. Because of their improved noise handling you will find that full frame DSLR cameras also offer an extended ISO range over their smaller sensor cousins.

Of course larger sensors are also more expensive and even a used 5D mark 2 body on its own (without a lens) will still cost you the best part of £1k.

Further to what I have said about Liveview - I see that a number of software utilities are now available that can give you a live view on a laptop/pc using a Canon DSLR even if the camera itself doesn't have this feature. BackyardEOS is one example. Liveview is very useful when it comes to focusing and framing.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:00 pm 
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A bit late but Live view with a fixed screen is not that much use on an SCT or using a camera lens with a tripod - by the time you elevate the telescope / lens the screen is at an angle where it is almost impossible to see it.

There is a way round it - Canon Cameras have the facility to play back the images via a video connection - it turns out that the video connection shows anything that is on the rear screen. If you obtain a USB video digitiser and plug this into a laptop you can use the laptop as a remote screen. Of course you do need to find the cable with the yellow video connector that came with the camera !

This also shows the menus so you can use it to adjust the settings as well. The other advantage is that using an external screen turns off the back screen and it's backlight and this reduces the heating of the CCD/CMOS chip so you get lower noise as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:24 pm 
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Thanks JohnM
Can you give me a link as to where to buy a USB video digitiser please
Graham

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:50 pm 
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Graham,

A search for 'usb video capture' device on any well known search engine should find a suitable device. It just needs to support the PAL TV standard - if you buy it from overseas it may only support NTSC so beware.

You might need to change the TV Output format in your camera to 'PAL'.

Prices seem to vary quite a lot but you don't need anything special for this application. It obviousally needs to work with your computer Operating System.

You should be able to see the input in Windows Media player or whatever you have on your system

Another option would be to use a small TV if you can still find one that has an analogue video input.

Let us know how you get on.

Regards

John

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:52 pm 
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Thanks John

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Skywatcher Panaview 32mm
Revelation 2" 42mm
William Optics Binoviewer
William Optics SCT Crayford Focuser
Olympus 8X40 DPS I binoculars


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:20 am 
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One thing to be aware of is that the yellow phono composite video cable was only supplied with the earlier cameras ( This is a 3.5mm audio Jack to Yellow RCA Phono lead).

Looking at the information for later cameras you need to buy an additional lead Stereo AV Cable avc-dc400st. You can also use a mini HDMI lead but in this case I think you will have to view it on a TV or monitor that has a HDMI connection. I have not tried it with the later cameras but the impression from the manual is that it should still work but no guarantees.

I have not seen any way to play HDMI video on a laptop, laptops with HDMI connections are 'out' only. So you need to buy the lead above and a USB Video Capture device to show the screen on your laptop. Some of the later cameras have a flip out screen so access is a bit easier so this may not be required but it depends on your telescope / mount.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:33 pm 
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I have done a bit of experimenting and one piece of (free) software that works quite well for displaying what is on the camera screen is the Astronomical Image Processing program IRIS. The programme website is here: http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/us/iris/iris.htm. This seems to worj with most versions of Windows - I run it under XP as that is the only OS my rather ancient USB capture device works under. No drivers for Linux or WIN7+ :(

Use the Video - Preview to show the video from your USB Capture device. The only downside is the size of the image window appears to be fixed so you can't expand it more however it is way bigger than the camera screen so easier to focus on.

Regards

John

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:23 am 
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Just been looking to see if the 30D has liveview and I can only conclude that it doesn't.

If it was me I would upgrade the 30D to a more recent model that does have liveview (ads regularly appear on UK Astro Buy and Sell for example) and then use the EOS Utility that allows you to control the camera on your laptop/PC and see the liveview.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:03 pm 
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I have now done some experimants with the Canon 70D using a Canon Stereo AV Cable avc-dc400st as I mentioned earlier. This has the same functionality as the video lead supplied with earlier canon cameras ie everthing that can be seen on the rear screen is available on the external video connection this includes Live View, replay of images, setting menus and information screens. You can also replay videos over this cable. There are two stero sound connections (Red & White) as well as the yellow composite video

The HDMI output also shows everything on the rear screen but will only drive a TV or projector. I am not sure what happens to the sound - it does not appear on my TV but that may be the TV's fault not the cable or camera.

Can anyone confirm does BackyardEOS allow you to see the menu settings and information screens or is it limited to images ?

John

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