Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?

Started Nov 8, 2017 | Questions
1llusive
1llusive Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

landscaper1 wrote:

You might consider investing in some wide angle prime lenses. I own the Rokinon 24/1.4 and 35/1.4. They're less expensive than the Sigma Art offerings because they're strictly manual focus and aperture. I don't find that to be a problem since autofocus is pretty much useless at night.

And in the case of the 24, the Rokinon is actually better than the Sigma, because the latter needs to be stopped down to f/2.8-4 to get rid of comatic aberrations.

landscaper1
OP landscaper1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,554
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

Trollmannx wrote:

Selene wrote:

Hi Landscaper, I want to thank you for starting this thread, as I have learned a lot from it. I am just getting started with astrophotography and also have a 5dmkIv. I think I have done reasonably well with it and have seen others who have gotten wonderful astro shots with it (at the level of milky ways, star trails, auroras, etc--not talking about deep sky). My friends have gotten wonderful shots with 6ds and Nikon 810s. I am sure the Sonys are great cameras, but I am happy with the camera I have and am more concerned about camera lenses. Have been using a 16-35 2.8 mk III and a 15 2.8 fisheye. The latter is wonderful, but I am not all that wild about the fisheye effect.

Fish eye lenses have a trick up the sleeve - the contellations appear undistorted all over the field. Ordinary wide angle lenses distort the sky severely towards the corners.

So if wanting super wide vistas with easy recognizable constellations the fish eye lens might have something to offer. Love mine for that reason.

In any case, I have learned a lot from this thread, and I really appreciate the way you started it and kept it going. I know way more now than I did before I started reading it.

Granted, fisheyes will do that, but when you include landscape in the image the overall effect is, IMO, distracting from the scene being portrayed.

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Landscaper

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Selene Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

Thanks!!!  I will think about that!

rnclark Senior Member • Posts: 3,779
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

a7sastro wrote:

In point of fact, I don't know of any DSLR equipped with Live View that won't do that very same thing. Nothing remarkable about the A7s in that regard.

I guess you didn't watch the video.

In point of fact, I think you are confusing the concept of difference of degree.

I've never seen anyone's 6D, 5Dm4, or 810a do anything similar out at dark sites, when I loaned them my fast Canon or Nikon lenses to compare performance side by side.

I agree that sony has done a great job with their video being able to pull out faint things.  But the key to that success is not sensor sensitivity--it is filtering the data.  The posted video link illustrated that quite well: the filtering is so extreme that even in the web sized video (e.g. 640x480 or whatever the minimum was--it was mall on my screen) the filtering was evident, and stars were bloated blobs.  No different than binning to pull out faint signals, but at the loss of spatial resolution.  When the video jumps to the still image, it shows much higher resolution than the video, even at a tiny web sized image.  This is great for some situations and I wish canon would offer such a feature, but with the ability to turn on or off the filtering (which sony does not allow).  But for critical focusing on a nightscape or astrophoto, I want full resolution unfiltered live view image and that is exactly what canon (and I believe nikon) delivers.

And note, the author of that video no longer recommends sony for nightscapes due to the filtering of the raw data.

And if you actually dark adapt and have normal eyesight, you can probably see more detail in an optical viewfinder than any live video.  I certainly can and my eyesight is not up to normal.  The key is dark adapting and not using bright lights, especially bright red flashlights.

Again regardless of camera fanboys, with the right lens one can make great nightscape images with pretty much any recent model camera.  High ISO  performance is actually very close between all cameras and the main differences in results are 1) the lens to collect light. 2) the darkness of the site and light pollution, and 3) post processing skills.

Roger

bclaff Veteran Member • Posts: 8,682
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>
1

Trollmannx wrote:

Selene wrote:

Hi Landscaper, I want to thank you for starting this thread, as I have learned a lot from it. I am just getting started with astrophotography and also have a 5dmkIv. I think I have done reasonably well with it and have seen others who have gotten wonderful astro shots with it (at the level of milky ways, star trails, auroras, etc--not talking about deep sky). My friends have gotten wonderful shots with 6ds and Nikon 810s. I am sure the Sonys are great cameras, but I am happy with the camera I have and am more concerned about camera lenses. Have been using a 16-35 2.8 mk III and a 15 2.8 fisheye. The latter is wonderful, but I am not all that wild about the fisheye effect.

Fish eye lenses have a trick up the sleeve - the contellations appear undistorted all over the field. Ordinary wide angle lenses distort the sky severely towards the corners.

So if wanting super wide vistas with easy recognizable constellations the fish eye lens might have something to offer. Love mine for that reason.

And, FWIW, fish-eyes can be defished; right?

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Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

RustierOne
RustierOne Veteran Member • Posts: 4,314
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

bclaff wrote:

Trollmannx wrote:

Selene wrote:

Hi Landscaper, I want to thank you for starting this thread, as I have learned a lot from it. I am just getting started with astrophotography and also have a 5dmkIv. I think I have done reasonably well with it and have seen others who have gotten wonderful astro shots with it (at the level of milky ways, star trails, auroras, etc--not talking about deep sky). My friends have gotten wonderful shots with 6ds and Nikon 810s. I am sure the Sonys are great cameras, but I am happy with the camera I have and am more concerned about camera lenses. Have been using a 16-35 2.8 mk III and a 15 2.8 fisheye. The latter is wonderful, but I am not all that wild about the fisheye effect.

Fish eye lenses have a trick up the sleeve - the contellations appear undistorted all over the field. Ordinary wide angle lenses distort the sky severely towards the corners.

So if wanting super wide vistas with easy recognizable constellations the fish eye lens might have something to offer. Love mine for that reason.

And, FWIW, fish-eyes can be defished; right?

I too am not fond of the extreme curvature caused by a fisheye lens. But I've found use for mine (Samyang 8mm, f/2.8) by using one or both of the following:

  1. Compose the image so that all (even most) straight lines are radial to the center of the FOV
  2. Use a Photoshop plugin like Fisheye Hemi to remove most of the distortion. There must be other similar products.
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Best Regards,
Russ

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landscaper1
OP landscaper1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,554
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

bclaff wrote:

Trollmannx wrote:

Selene wrote:

Hi Landscaper, I want to thank you for starting this thread, as I have learned a lot from it. I am just getting started with astrophotography and also have a 5dmkIv. I think I have done reasonably well with it and have seen others who have gotten wonderful astro shots with it (at the level of milky ways, star trails, auroras, etc--not talking about deep sky). My friends have gotten wonderful shots with 6ds and Nikon 810s. I am sure the Sonys are great cameras, but I am happy with the camera I have and am more concerned about camera lenses. Have been using a 16-35 2.8 mk III and a 15 2.8 fisheye. The latter is wonderful, but I am not all that wild about the fisheye effect.

Fish eye lenses have a trick up the sleeve - the contellations appear undistorted all over the field. Ordinary wide angle lenses distort the sky severely towards the corners.

So if wanting super wide vistas with easy recognizable constellations the fish eye lens might have something to offer. Love mine for that reason.

And, FWIW, fish-eyes can be defished; right?

But if you're going to "de-fish" your fisheye images (and restore the distortion that fisheye lenses don't have), then what's the point of using a fisheye lens in the first place?

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Landscaper

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bclaff Veteran Member • Posts: 8,682
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

landscaper1 wrote:

bclaff wrote:

...

And, FWIW, fish-eyes can be defished; right?

But if you're going to "de-fish" your fisheye images (and restore the distortion that fisheye lenses don't have), then what's the point of using a fisheye lens in the first place?

Perhaps you already have a fish-eye if it can be defished there's no need for a rectlinear also.
Or perhaps you have a fish-eye and have the flexibility of using it either way.
Not saying you need to run out and get one; just options.

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Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

RustierOne
RustierOne Veteran Member • Posts: 4,314
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

landscaper1 wrote:

bclaff wrote:

Trollmannx wrote:

Selene wrote:

Hi Landscaper, I want to thank you for starting this thread, as I have learned a lot from it. I am just getting started with astrophotography and also have a 5dmkIv. I think I have done reasonably well with it and have seen others who have gotten wonderful astro shots with it (at the level of milky ways, star trails, auroras, etc--not talking about deep sky). My friends have gotten wonderful shots with 6ds and Nikon 810s. I am sure the Sonys are great cameras, but I am happy with the camera I have and am more concerned about camera lenses. Have been using a 16-35 2.8 mk III and a 15 2.8 fisheye. The latter is wonderful, but I am not all that wild about the fisheye effect.

Fish eye lenses have a trick up the sleeve - the contellations appear undistorted all over the field. Ordinary wide angle lenses distort the sky severely towards the corners.

So if wanting super wide vistas with easy recognizable constellations the fish eye lens might have something to offer. Love mine for that reason.

And, FWIW, fish-eyes can be defished; right?

But if you're going to "de-fish" your fisheye images (and restore the distortion that fisheye lenses don't have), then what's the point of using a fisheye lens in the first place?

One reason would be having the extra-wide field of view offered by the fisheye. If there are no straight landscape lines included in the FOV, it doesn't really matter if you defish or not. With all-sky Milky Way shots I seldom defish. Only if there's a straight line from a meteor or satellite trail do I defish to straighten out the distorted line.

I wish this danged auto-correction feature would quit changing defish to defuse! In any case this has been an interesting and far ranging thread. Thanks for starting it.

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Best Regards,
Russ

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landscaper1
OP landscaper1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,554
Re: one reason a7s is singularly different for ease of AP>

bclaff wrote:

landscaper1 wrote:

bclaff wrote:

...

And, FWIW, fish-eyes can be defished; right?

But if you're going to "de-fish" your fisheye images (and restore the distortion that fisheye lenses don't have), then what's the point of using a fisheye lens in the first place?

Perhaps you already have a fish-eye if it can be defished there's no need for a rectlinear also.
Or perhaps you have a fish-eye and have the flexibility of using it either way.
Not saying you need to run out and get one; just options.

Some might not agree, but my position is this.  Unless you plan to shoot undistorted star fields, your better off getting a rectilinear w/a lens.  While correcting for distortion is possible in PP, I believe the less done, the better.

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Landscaper

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Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,110
Re: Sony A7S

rnclark wrote:

sharkmelley wrote:

bclaff wrote:

sharkmelley wrote:
... Imagine a camera where you have the choice between pixels of 4 microns or of 8 microns. The per pixel read noise in either case would be the same since they use the same readout technology...

This is probably an erroneous assumption.

To maintain the same Full Well Capacity (FWC) per unit area the pixels will have different capacitors and the noise from the pixels will not be the same.

Regards,

Sure, I would expect the FWC per unit area to be maintained.

I was making the assumption (perhaps wrongly) that the accumulated charge from each pixel would go through the same ADC and so would suffer the same read noise.

Do you know what the effect might be on read noise of decreasing pixel size?

Mark

I see no correlation of read noise with pixel size. Also you are describing sensor noise + downstream electronics noise, which I now call apparent read noise. When I see just "read noise," I assume just sensor.

Regarding large versus small pixels and apparent read noise per pixel when the read noise per pixel is the same, the number of the noise per unit area on the sensor is not the whole story. If you make prints or display where the subject is the same size, with more pixels the noise will appear smaller. So what would be a better metric would be noise per unit area of the final presented image.

Roger

A7r2 images downsampled to A7s size show the same level of noise so this would be correct.

There does seem to be a correlation with speed of digitisation and read noise though.

My astro CCDs have 2 digitisation speed settings. The slower one is rated to 50% less read noise than the faster (8X faster) digitisation setting.

Greg.

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Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?
4

landscaper1 wrote:

Let's suppose someone is interested in doing night sky photography (sky plus landscape foreground) and he/she is not predisposed or otherwise committed to using any specific brand of camera or lenses.

Which make/model of DSLR or mirrorless camera body would provide "the Best" image capture with a minimum of noise?

Which make/model of DSLR or mirrorless camera body would be "2nd Best," and why is it only 2nd Best?

Please submit your recommendations and the reason(s) for them.

A hot question as it can tangle with brand loyalties.

I have used a Nikon D70, Canon 20D, 40D, Nikon D800e, Sony A&r, Sony A7r2, Sony Nex 6, Fuji XE1, XT1, XT2.

Of those my favourite is the A7r2 despite the star eater which does not seem to impact in my use of it. I am running an earlier V3.2 firmware. A7r was good as well. Perhaps in some ways its better than the A7r2 but overall I think the A7r2 is a bit better. A7r2 has a bit of amp glow which I don't recall on my A7r. A7r electronic viewfinder is cleaner at ISO6400 for focusing.

The D800e was also good. Again perhaps the better as it has a nicer noise pattern than the Sonys which can get wormy. D800 is about as large as you would want for a small tracker like Vixen Polarie. Perhaps it would be better matched with a heavier mount.

Fuji cameras do very well. Very low noise. My earlier Canons were very nice. I did telescope imaging with them.

Some criteria to judge the various cameras by:

1. High ISO noise. These days I don't think that is too much of an issue with any brand.

2. Size of sensor. I still see quite an improvement in nightscape type images from a full frame over APSc.

3. Amp glow. Amp glow is a magenta coloured area of the long exposure image that affects some cameras and some more than others. It usually is along one side or in the corners or along the bottom.

My Nikon D70 had it, Sony A7r2 has it slightly, Fuji XE1 had some, XT2 does not seem to have it. My Canons seemed pretty free of it.

4. Features that make life easier like tilting rear LCD screen, built in intervalometer, built in time lapse, allowing longer than 30 second exposures incamera, an evf. Also the lens focusing mechanism - mechanical or fly by wire.

5. Availability of suitable lenses.

6. Size, weight and cost.

7. Another point would be sensitivity. Some sensors are more sensitive than others to light

8. Other issues like sensor reflections, poor RAW converters, battery life, banding and excess noise in shadows, whether the sensor is ISO less or not (can you boost in post a lower ISO image and get the same level of noise or not?). Do you need to use an adapter for your camera or not ( no adapter is better). Software support for tethering etc.

9. For telescope astrophotography there are other factors that come into play which are probably not relevant for this thread.

For me Sony A7r2 is the best so far because its ultra sensitive (QE of around 70% or something ridiculously high), low noise, great ergonomics for this type of work (tilting screen, EVF for easy focusing, small and light). Downside is the star eater noise suppression filter you can't turn off and some minor amp glow. EVF is very noisy at ISO6400 for star focusing but easily useable still. It can use any lens. The camera is ISOless and low noise in shadows and images have a lot of processing latitude. Time lapse app available.

A7r3 is probably better but in some ways mainly better EVF. IQ may be much the same but I am curious if the new pixel shift system could be used for nightscapes. It may well work well on a tracked camera giving better colour than other cameras.

Fuji XT2 is an excellent astro camera. If you use the DPR comparison tool you will see the XT2 is one of the lowest noise APSc cameras. The Xtrans colour filter array is designed to reduce luminance noise by using a bigger block of pixels for creating an individual image pixel and its features are fabulous. Dual axis tilting screen, a cleaner EVF at high ISO for focusing, small and light and cheaper, it can use any lens (non Fuji need adapters), It has a built in intervalometer. It allows exposures up to 15minutes without having to use an external intervalometer. The Samyang 12mm F2 is cheap and wonderful for widefield nightscapes. Hard to fault this camera. Poor battery life is one negative. Same with Sony unless its A7r3. A7s to me has poor colour output, suffers from the star eater issue the most due to the larger pixels and is not really that useful for day photography with the lack of resolution. So Sony made a nightscape camera and then crippled it with poorly thought out noise suppression firmware.

Nikon D810a would also be a great choice but its extremely expensive, its large and heavy really requiring a larger and more expensive mount ( although I did use my D800e on a Vixen Polarie but you had to really tighten the mounting screws if you did a panned time lapse). Nikon seems to have tweaked the camera more than simply a different low pass filter. It also does not have an AA filter which simply reduces sharpness these days.

Its ISOless and has a builtin intervalometer and time lapse which outputs a movie file which is handy. Good battery life.

Canons have great software support for tethering but so does Nikon now. XT2 and Sony A7xx are controllable by smartphone (smartphones also give off a lot of light!).

I did not mention Pentax but they have that clever built in astro tracker system that leverages the IBIS stabilisation and GPS to track the stars. Its seems to work quite well but perhaps not as well as a separate tracker but still.

It also has that wonderful Sony 36mp full frame sensor, the same as in the D800X and Sony 7R. Its also very cheap.

The main weakness is lens choices.

Canon 5DIV seems to be good. 5D3 and below suffer from banding in shadows at higher ISO and excessive shadow noise. The sensors are not ISOless either. 6D seems the best pick even today. 5D2 is the minimum as it gets noisy at ISO3200 compared to the cleaner later models but I have still seen lots of great 5D2 nightscapes. I can't really comment on Canon's APSc models. They are prolific in the astro world The Canon 350D modified was an extremely popular astro camera and is cheap as chips. The 1100D seems also to be popular. If I were getting a Canon I think the 6D is still the Canon of choice despite the ergonomic issues (no tilt screen which would be a pain). I have read the 600D was not so good but can't really confirm it (a bit noisy). Roger often says the 7D2 is superior and I am sure it is but its a very expensive APSc camera being primarily targeted and built for the birds in flight market and so has an advanced AF system.

The Magic Lantern hack for Canon may add some functionality like built in intervalometer. I am not 100% sure what it offers.

So that is my take on camera choices.

Greg.

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RustierOne
RustierOne Veteran Member • Posts: 4,314
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

landscaper1 wrote:

Let's suppose someone is interested in doing night sky photography (sky plus landscape foreground) and he/she is not predisposed or otherwise committed to using any specific brand of camera or lenses.

Which make/model of DSLR or mirrorless camera body would provide "the Best" image capture with a minimum of noise?

Which make/model of DSLR or mirrorless camera body would be "2nd Best," and why is it only 2nd Best?

Please submit your recommendations and the reason(s) for them.

A hot question as it can tangle with brand loyalties.

I have used a Nikon D70, Canon 20D, 40D, Nikon D800e, Sony A&r, Sony A7r2, Sony Nex 6, Fuji XE1, XT1, XT2.

Of those my favourite is the A7r2 despite the star eater which does not seem to impact in my use of it. I am running an earlier V3.2 firmware. A7r was good as well. Perhaps in some ways its better than the A7r2 but overall I think the A7r2 is a bit better. A7r2 has a bit of amp glow which I don't recall on my A7r. A7r electronic viewfinder is cleaner at ISO6400 for focusing.

The D800e was also good. Again perhaps the better as it has a nicer noise pattern than the Sonys which can get wormy. D800 is about as large as you would want for a small tracker like Vixen Polarie. Perhaps it would be better matched with a heavier mount.

Fuji cameras do very well. Very low noise. My earlier Canons were very nice. I did telescope imaging with them.

Some criteria to judge the various cameras by:

1. High ISO noise. These days I don't think that is too much of an issue with any brand.

2. Size of sensor. I still see quite an improvement in nightscape type images from a full frame over APSc.

3. Amp glow. Amp glow is a magenta coloured area of the long exposure image that affects some cameras and some more than others. It usually is along one side or in the corners or along the bottom.

My Nikon D70 had it, Sony A7r2 has it slightly, Fuji XE1 had some, XT2 does not seem to have it. My Canons seemed pretty free of it.

4. Features that make life easier like tilting rear LCD screen, built in intervalometer, built in time lapse, allowing longer than 30 second exposures incamera, an evf. Also the lens focusing mechanism - mechanical or fly by wire.

5. Availability of suitable lenses.

6. Size, weight and cost.

7. Another point would be sensitivity. Some sensors are more sensitive than others to light

8. Other issues like sensor reflections, poor RAW converters, battery life, banding and excess noise in shadows, whether the sensor is ISO less or not (can you boost in post a lower ISO image and get the same level of noise or not?). Do you need to use an adapter for your camera or not ( no adapter is better). Software support for tethering etc.

9. For telescope astrophotography there are other factors that come into play which are probably not relevant for this thread.

For me Sony A7r2 is the best so far because its ultra sensitive (QE of around 70% or something ridiculously high), low noise, great ergonomics for this type of work (tilting screen, EVF for easy focusing, small and light). Downside is the star eater noise suppression filter you can't turn off and some minor amp glow. EVF is very noisy at ISO6400 for star focusing but easily useable still. It can use any lens. The camera is ISOless and low noise in shadows and images have a lot of processing latitude. Time lapse app available.

A7r3 is probably better but in some ways mainly better EVF. IQ may be much the same but I am curious if the new pixel shift system could be used for nightscapes. It may well work well on a tracked camera giving better colour than other cameras.

Fuji XT2 is an excellent astro camera. If you use the DPR comparison tool you will see the XT2 is one of the lowest noise APSc cameras. The Xtrans colour filter array is designed to reduce luminance noise by using a bigger block of pixels for creating an individual image pixel and its features are fabulous. Dual axis tilting screen, a cleaner EVF at high ISO for focusing, small and light and cheaper, it can use any lens (non Fuji need adapters), It has a built in intervalometer. It allows exposures up to 15minutes without having to use an external intervalometer. The Samyang 12mm F2 is cheap and wonderful for widefield nightscapes. Hard to fault this camera. Poor battery life is one negative. Same with Sony unless its A7r3. A7s to me has poor colour output, suffers from the star eater issue the most due to the larger pixels and is not really that useful for day photography with the lack of resolution. So Sony made a nightscape camera and then crippled it with poorly thought out noise suppression firmware.

Nikon D810a would also be a great choice but its extremely expensive, its large and heavy really requiring a larger and more expensive mount ( although I did use my D800e on a Vixen Polarie but you had to really tighten the mounting screws if you did a panned time lapse). Nikon seems to have tweaked the camera more than simply a different low pass filter. It also does not have an AA filter which simply reduces sharpness these days.

Its ISOless and has a builtin intervalometer and time lapse which outputs a movie file which is handy. Good battery life.

Canons have great software support for tethering but so does Nikon now. XT2 and Sony A7xx are controllable by smartphone (smartphones also give off a lot of light!).

I did not mention Pentax but they have that clever built in astro tracker system that leverages the IBIS stabilisation and GPS to track the stars. Its seems to work quite well but perhaps not as well as a separate tracker but still.

It also has that wonderful Sony 36mp full frame sensor, the same as in the D800X and Sony 7R. Its also very cheap.

The main weakness is lens choices.

Canon 5DIV seems to be good. 5D3 and below suffer from banding in shadows at higher ISO and excessive shadow noise. The sensors are not ISOless either. 6D seems the best pick even today. 5D2 is the minimum as it gets noisy at ISO3200 compared to the cleaner later models but I have still seen lots of great 5D2 nightscapes. I can't really comment on Canon's APSc models. They are prolific in the astro world The Canon 350D modified was an extremely popular astro camera and is cheap as chips. The 1100D seems also to be popular. If I were getting a Canon I think the 6D is still the Canon of choice despite the ergonomic issues (no tilt screen which would be a pain). I have read the 600D was not so good but can't really confirm it (a bit noisy). Roger often says the 7D2 is superior and I am sure it is but its a very expensive APSc camera being primarily targeted and built for the birds in flight market and so has an advanced AF system.

The Magic Lantern hack for Canon may add some functionality like built in intervalometer. I am not 100% sure what it offers.

So that is my take on camera choices.

Greg.

Wow, Greg! Thanks for the comments. They have given us a lot to consider. Are your comments based on experience as well as reports from others?

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Best Regards,
Russ

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kiwi2
kiwi2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,533
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I have used a Nikon D70, Canon 20D, 40D, Nikon D800e, Sony A&r, Sony A7r2, Sony Nex 6, Fuji XE1, XT1, XT2.

Nice write-up. "Best" of anything is subjective as most things have their pluses and minuses.

Fuji XT2 is an excellent astro camera. If you use the DPR comparison tool you will see the XT2 is one of the lowest noise APSc cameras. The Xtrans colour filter array is designed to reduce luminance noise by using a bigger block of pixels for creating an individual image pixel and its features are fabulous. Dual axis tilting screen, a cleaner EVF at high ISO for focusing, small and light and cheaper, it can use any lens (non Fuji need adapters), It has a built in intervalometer. It allows exposures up to 15minutes without having to use an external intervalometer. The Samyang 12mm F2 is cheap and wonderful for widefield nightscapes. Hard to fault this camera. Poor battery life is one negative. Same with Sony unless its A7r3. A7s to me has poor colour output, suffers from the star eater issue the most due to the larger pixels and is not really that useful for day photography with the lack of resolution. So Sony made a nightscape camera and then crippled it with poorly thought out noise suppression firmware.

You echo how I feel about my X-T2. I knew when I bought it that it wasn't going to be technically the best astro camera around. But as an overall package and a general use day to day camera as well, it was going to be the best to me for bang for the buck.

The thing is, it doesn't have hardly any colored chrominance noise. It mainly has luminance noise, so it looks more like old film grain and can clean up very well in post without all that digital looking colored noise lurking in the shadows...

 kiwi2's gear list:kiwi2's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T100 Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R +4 more
rnclark Senior Member • Posts: 3,779
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?
2

kiwi2 wrote:

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I have used a Nikon D70, Canon 20D, 40D, Nikon D800e, Sony A&r, Sony A7r2, Sony Nex 6, Fuji XE1, XT1, XT2.

Nice write-up. "Best" of anything is subjective as most things have their pluses and minuses.

Fuji XT2 is an excellent astro camera. If you use the DPR comparison tool you will see the XT2 is one of the lowest noise APSc cameras. The Xtrans colour filter array is designed to reduce luminance noise by using a bigger block of pixels for creating an individual image pixel and its features are fabulous. Dual axis tilting screen, a cleaner EVF at high ISO for focusing, small and light and cheaper, it can use any lens (non Fuji need adapters), It has a built in intervalometer. It allows exposures up to 15minutes without having to use an external intervalometer. The Samyang 12mm F2 is cheap and wonderful for widefield nightscapes. Hard to fault this camera. Poor battery life is one negative. Same with Sony unless its A7r3. A7s to me has poor colour output, suffers from the star eater issue the most due to the larger pixels and is not really that useful for day photography with the lack of resolution. So Sony made a nightscape camera and then crippled it with poorly thought out noise suppression firmware.

You echo how I feel about my X-T2. I knew when I bought it that it wasn't going to be technically the best astro camera around. But as an overall package and a general use day to day camera as well, it was going to be the best to me for bang for the buck.

The thing is, it doesn't have hardly any colored chrominance noise. It mainly has luminance noise, so it looks more like old film grain and can clean up very well in post without all that digital looking colored noise lurking in the shadows...

Boy you guys are still at it.  Don't be fooled: many things change in those dpreview comparisons.  XT-2: aps-c 3.93 micron pixels, 5DII: full frame 6.4 micron pixels, 80D: aps-c 3.7 micron pixel size, a6000: aps-c 3.92 micron pixels.  They change the lens between formats, and it looks like they change the focal length within formats too.  They keep f-ratio constant to keep exposure the same, but that means absolute light levels change, which means photon noise levels change.  Then the demosaicking algorithm changes between cameras. Small tweaks of settings in the raw converter will make huge changes in results.  Or a different raw converter, like rawtherapee will make huge improvements in results.

And the noise is not representative of the noise in a night sky image, which is dominated noise from the sky.

The only real issue between camera bodies are which ones have banding issues at the ISO used for night sky photography, and dpreview does not show banding. (The ancient generation 5DII has banding issues.)

No one should be doing night sky photography at iso 12800.

The differences between cameras in short exposure night sky images as by far more affected by the lens and exposure time (e.g. 20 versus 30 seconds).  The differences between modern cameras given the same lens is on the order of less than 1/3 of a stop.

OK, rant over--go back to obsessing over camera bodies.

Roger

kiwi2
kiwi2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,533
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?

rnclark wrote:

Boy you guys are still at it. Don't be fooled: many things change in those dpreview comparisons. XT-2: aps-c 3.93 micron pixels, 5DII: full frame 6.4 micron pixels, 80D: aps-c 3.7 micron pixel size, a6000: aps-c 3.92 micron pixels. They change the lens between formats, and it looks like they change the focal length within formats too. They keep f-ratio constant to keep exposure the same, but that means absolute light levels change, which means photon noise levels change. Then the demosaicking algorithm changes between cameras. Small tweaks of settings in the raw converter will make huge changes in results. Or a different raw converter, like rawtherapee will make huge improvements in results.

And the noise is not representative of the noise in a night sky image, which is dominated noise from the sky.

The only real issue between camera bodies are which ones have banding issues at the ISO used for night sky photography, and dpreview does not show banding. (The ancient generation 5DII has banding issues.)

No one should be doing night sky photography at iso 12800.

The differences between cameras in short exposure night sky images as by far more affected by the lens and exposure time (e.g. 20 versus 30 seconds). The differences between modern cameras given the same lens is on the order of less than 1/3 of a stop.

Here are some 100% crops from my Canon 100D and X-T2 of the camera produced jpgs with all the default settings at ISO 6400...

To me the Fuji is far more usable at higher ISOs.

I have always used the noise comparison here at dpreview with any potential camera purchase to gauge its usability for the nightscapes I like to do. It shows me what the market has to offer at the particular moment as far as noise goes and what to avoid.

 kiwi2's gear list:kiwi2's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T100 Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R +4 more
Trollmannx Senior Member • Posts: 5,526
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?
5

Just a comment to Roger ranting - absolutely perfect, fact filled and compressed, honest and unfiltered.

Terrific - but then I like it blunt and direct - free from rose colored glasses.

That said Roger is always friendly and helpful - always. Appreciate that very much.

Pesonal statement done - back to cameras and electrons not quite behaving as we wish them to do...

rnclark Senior Member • Posts: 3,779
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?
1

kiwi2 wrote:

rnclark wrote:

Boy you guys are still at it. Don't be fooled: many things change in those dpreview comparisons. XT-2: aps-c 3.93 micron pixels, 5DII: full frame 6.4 micron pixels, 80D: aps-c 3.7 micron pixel size, a6000: aps-c 3.92 micron pixels. They change the lens between formats, and it looks like they change the focal length within formats too. They keep f-ratio constant to keep exposure the same, but that means absolute light levels change, which means photon noise levels change. Then the demosaicking algorithm changes between cameras. Small tweaks of settings in the raw converter will make huge changes in results. Or a different raw converter, like rawtherapee will make huge improvements in results.

And the noise is not representative of the noise in a night sky image, which is dominated noise from the sky.

The only real issue between camera bodies are which ones have banding issues at the ISO used for night sky photography, and dpreview does not show banding. (The ancient generation 5DII has banding issues.)

No one should be doing night sky photography at iso 12800.

The differences between cameras in short exposure night sky images as by far more affected by the lens and exposure time (e.g. 20 versus 30 seconds). The differences between modern cameras given the same lens is on the order of less than 1/3 of a stop.

Here are some 100% crops from my Canon 100D and X-T2 of the camera produced jpgs with all the default settings at ISO 6400...

To me the Fuji is far more usable at higher ISOs.

I have always used the noise comparison here at dpreview with any potential camera purchase to gauge its usability for the nightscapes I like to do. It shows me what the market has to offer at the particular moment as far as noise goes and what to avoid.

Just to be clear, the dpreview comparison above is more about the changing lenses used than the sensor. DPreview changes focal length while keeping f-ratio constant. That means lens aperture area changes between cameras, thus the light delivered to the sensor is changing, and that means the amount of photon shot noise is different due to the lens, not the sensor.

Download the images and look at the exif to see what focal lengths and f-ratios were used. The Sony 7RII is full frame, so the use the longest focal length and largest aperture area. The Olympus is a 1/1.7" sensor which means something like a 4.5x crop, so they use a focal length ~4.5x shorter. if both lenses are the same f-ratio (which they will be), then the amount of light delivered to the Olympus sensor is ~ 4.5^2 ~ 20 times less than the light delivered to the Sony sensor. To be clear: IT IS THE LENSES USED THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, NOT THE SENSOR. This false internet idea of larger format sensors are more sensitive is now probably the biggest myth in photography. That is saying a lot because there are so many other competing myths.

Another big myth: ISO increases sensitivity. ISO does not change the amount of light the sensor collects.

The Canon 100D image made with a 14 mm f/5 lens has only a 14/5 = 2.8 mm diameter aperture, far smaller than a dark adapted human eye (about 7.5 mm diameter). The 14 mm f/5 collects some 7 times less light than the dark adapted human eye, and the human eye integrates 7 to 15 seconds in very low light.

Try putting a 24 mm f/1.4 (aperture 17.1 mm) on the 100D, and it will collect (17.1/2.8)^2 = 37 times more light! Want more field of view, just do a 2x2 or 3x3 mosaic and you'll end up with a far better image than you could ever do with the full frame sony (or any other recent full frame camera) with a14 mm f/5 lens, with far greater resolution, better star images and fainter detail. Want even better: use a 35 mm f/1.4 and collect 80 times more light, or a 50 mm f/1.4 and collect 170 times more light. See the pattern? The lens is the key and far far far outweighs the small differences in camera sensors.

For more information see:

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/characteristics-of-best-cameras-and-lenses-for-nightscape-astro-photography/

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/exposure/

Roger

landscaper1
OP landscaper1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,554
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?
1

rnclark wrote:

Just to be clear, the dpreview comparison above is more about the changing lenses used than the sensor. DPreview changes focal length while keeping f-ratio constant. That means lens aperture area changes between cameras, thus the light delivered to the sensor is changing, and that means the amount of photon shot noise is different due to the lens, not the sensor.

Download the images and look at the exif to see what focal lengths and f-ratios were used. The Sony 7RII is full frame, so the use the longest focal length and largest aperture area. The Olympus is a 1/1.7" sensor which means something like a 4.5x crop, so they use a focal length ~4.5x shorter. if both lenses are the same f-ratio (which they will be), then the amount of light delivered to the Olympus sensor is ~ 4.5^2 ~ 20 times less than the light delivered to the Sony sensor. To be clear: IT IS THE LENSES USED THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, NOT THE SENSOR. This false internet idea of larger format sensors are more sensitive is now probably the biggest myth in photography. That is saying a lot because there are so many other competing myths.

Another big myth: ISO increases sensitivity. ISO does not change the amount of light the sensor collects.

The Canon 100D image made with a 14 mm f/5 lens has only a 14/5 = 2.8 mm diameter aperture, far smaller than a dark adapted human eye (about 7.5 mm diameter). The 14 mm f/5 collects some 7 times less light than the dark adapted human eye, and the human eye integrates 7 to 15 seconds in very low light.

Try putting a 24 mm f/1.4 (aperture 17.1 mm) on the 100D, and it will collect (17.1/2.8)^2 = 37 times more light! Want more field of view, just do a 2x2 or 3x3 mosaic and you'll end up with a far better image than you could ever do with the full frame sony (or any other recent full frame camera) with a14 mm f/5 lens, with far greater resolution, better star images and fainter detail. Want even better: use a 35 mm f/1.4 and collect 80 times more light, or a 50 mm f/1.4 and collect 170 times more light. See the pattern? The lens is the key and far far far outweighs the small differences in camera sensors.

For more information see:

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/characteristics-of-best-cameras-and-lenses-for-nightscape-astro-photography/

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/exposure/

Roger

At what point, Roger, does one conclude that one is talking to a wall?  I'm continually amused and bemused when I read that some people are so wedded to what they've already purchased that they cannot bring themselves to admit that it wasn't all that they imagined it would be.

-- hide signature --

Landscaper

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RustierOne
RustierOne Veteran Member • Posts: 4,314
Re: Best DSLR or ILC for Night Sky Imaging?
1

landscaper1 wrote:

rnclark wrote:

Just to be clear, the dpreview comparison above is more about the changing lenses used than the sensor. DPreview changes focal length while keeping f-ratio constant. That means lens aperture area changes between cameras, thus the light delivered to the sensor is changing, and that means the amount of photon shot noise is different due to the lens, not the sensor.

Download the images and look at the exif to see what focal lengths and f-ratios were used. The Sony 7RII is full frame, so the use the longest focal length and largest aperture area. The Olympus is a 1/1.7" sensor which means something like a 4.5x crop, so they use a focal length ~4.5x shorter. if both lenses are the same f-ratio (which they will be), then the amount of light delivered to the Olympus sensor is ~ 4.5^2 ~ 20 times less than the light delivered to the Sony sensor. To be clear: IT IS THE LENSES USED THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, NOT THE SENSOR. This false internet idea of larger format sensors are more sensitive is now probably the biggest myth in photography. That is saying a lot because there are so many other competing myths.

Another big myth: ISO increases sensitivity. ISO does not change the amount of light the sensor collects.

The Canon 100D image made with a 14 mm f/5 lens has only a 14/5 = 2.8 mm diameter aperture, far smaller than a dark adapted human eye (about 7.5 mm diameter). The 14 mm f/5 collects some 7 times less light than the dark adapted human eye, and the human eye integrates 7 to 15 seconds in very low light.

Try putting a 24 mm f/1.4 (aperture 17.1 mm) on the 100D, and it will collect (17.1/2.8)^2 = 37 times more light! Want more field of view, just do a 2x2 or 3x3 mosaic and you'll end up with a far better image than you could ever do with the full frame sony (or any other recent full frame camera) with a14 mm f/5 lens, with far greater resolution, better star images and fainter detail. Want even better: use a 35 mm f/1.4 and collect 80 times more light, or a 50 mm f/1.4 and collect 170 times more light. See the pattern? The lens is the key and far far far outweighs the small differences in camera sensors.

For more information see:

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/characteristics-of-best-cameras-and-lenses-for-nightscape-astro-photography/

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/exposure/

Roger

At what point, Roger, does one conclude that one is talking to a wall? I'm continually amused and bemused when I read that some people are so wedded to what they've already purchased that they cannot bring themselves to admit that it wasn't all that they imagined it would be.

Yeah, it's all too easy to be a fanboy, thinking the camera is the key to good astrophotography. But Roger's article in the above link, though a bit to digest, clearly points out having a modern camera with large aperture lens goes a long way toward getting great astrophotos.

One has to admire Roger's knowledge and patience, despite sometimes "talking to a wall".

-- hide signature --

Best Regards,
Russ

 RustierOne's gear list:RustierOne's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS +4 more
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