Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?

Started Nov 8, 2017 | Questions thread
rnclark Senior Member • Posts: 3,755
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?

Guido FORRIER wrote:

A7S :

on this website you can find the data of most camera's

Yes, you can find data, but is it good data? Sensorgen crunches numbers from dxo. Some things are dubious in my opinion, and some data are just impossible, like 476% QE (Must be a glowing sensor ;-).

Note too that while I am referenced at the top of the main page, I have nothing to do with this site.

The  largest and best data on the net, see Photons to Photos:

But does not include dark current measurements, important to know in long exposures.

But like I've discussed before in these forums, read noise is irrelevant in night sky photography with fast lenses. The noise floor is the sky and thermal noise. And that thermal and sky noise limits dynamic range on the sky NOT read noise.

Example: 4-micron pixels will have a max signal capacity at ISO 1600 of about 2200 electrons (this is regardless of manufacturer and is a good value to about 20%). If the sky histogram level is at about 1/4 from the left edge on the camera LCD, that is around 70 electrons (noise sqrt(70) = 8.4 electrons, far above read noise that is in the couple of electron range. If at 1/3 histogram level, sky is around 100 electrons, noise 10. Thus dynamic range and noise floor are sky plus thermal noise limited, not the measured parameters on review sites reporting read noise and dynamic range based on read noise.

As I said early in this thread: "As we've seen in past discussions, the lens is far more important, given a relatively modern sensor. Nightscapes do not push a sensor unless you cripple it with a tiny aperture. Except for some models that eat stars, any recent camera, paired with a good lens, like 35 mm f/1.4 or24 f/1.4 will do a great job."

And reiterated by Mark: "In the end though, you won't disappointed by any modern FF camera. Coupled with a good fast lens it will collect photons fast enough that the minor differences between the individual sensors will not usually be of critical importance."

Focus on the stars with the lens, not obsess over sensors.


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