20 Most Recent
Questions & Answers
Looking for tips with EI-2000
The basic recommendation is that beginners start with simple equipment and film and learn the basics before moving on in this hobby. This allows you to learn the important basics of telescopes and stronomical imaging and to discover your own likes and dislikes about this part of astronomy before you find yourself immersed in a lot of expensive and technologically advanced equipment. There are plenty of basic problems to learn about and to overcome in this field without finding oneself mired in the world of advanced gadgetry. We find that many amateurs who DIVE IN to the hobby become so overwhelmed by the problems of a vast sea of expensive and finicky equipment that they end up being totally discouraged by equipment related problems and never get to enjoy the real fun of astronomical imaging.
By starting off with a simple set of equipment (we do not mean cheap and inadequate!) and an inexpensive 35mm camera (and a good book!) you can learn about the basics of the hobby and the sky while reaping the rewards of some very respectable photographs and while avoiding outrageous cash outlays. While you learn about things like flexure and polar alignment and guestimating exposures you can knock off some really nice images and do all this without spending a bucket-load of cash.
While all the ads in magazines promise absolutely fantastic products to solve virtually any and all needs of the amateur there seems to be quite a gulf between advertising and reality. Even the astronomy oriented magazines do the amateur community a disservice by pushing the hype and the OOOO WOW features while refusing to conduct or publish honest product reviews that would be of great value to amateurs. Once you have a good background of hands-on experience at the telescope and look at and try out various gadgets that others have bought you can much better sort through all the advertising hype and decide which gadgets really offer you an advantage and (hopefully) avoid most of those that simple gobble up your hard earned cash. If you buy a polar alignment scope system knowing that it will help you to shorten the amount of time it takes to achieve accurate polar alignment you are far less likely to be disheartened than if you bought one believing that ads claiming that such a scope can provide perfect polar alignment in only minutes.
Even if you are completely mesmerized by the claims of CCD imaging enthusiasts and advertisements, we very *strongly* recommend that you begin on the silver halide road (film) and learn the basics of astro-imaging with a simple and inexpensive camera. You can learn how to use your mounting, learn about the effects of seeing and focus and learn how to guide using film and save thousands of dollars. You can do all this without getting into the nitty gritty details of film by sticking with color films and commercial processing labs. You can even begin to learn the basics of digital imaging and digital image processing ( assuming you or your family own a reasonable computer) by having your good film images scanned and converted into digital forms that you can tweak and manipulate using an image processing package on your home computer. At the same time, you can read and talk to others about the real realities of CCD imaging, you can learn to separate the hype from reality, learn its strong and weak points, learn all the basics of CCDs from reading and by the time you are well acquainted with the basics of astro-imaging you will be far better informed about CCDs and can hopefully make a much more well informed decision when you set out to buy such a system. Here is a comparison of a CCD and a photographic image, note the relative exposure times!
If all the ads and the hype have presented you with a picture which makes you think that by using all the latest gadgetry that you can just walk out and hook up a nice, new, shiny, expensive, high-tech imaging system out in the backyard and that all this fancy high-tech gear will then obey your voice commands slew over to the object that you want to image andautomatically take a really great image without you ever having to touch anything or learn the ins-and-outs of the equipment or the hobby then you can consider yourself a victim of advertising propaganda. You NEED to learn about astronomy and the astro-imaging aspects of the hobby as well as your equipment. While you learn you can get some really great images and do all this without sinking a small fortune into lots and lots of equipment and gadgets that you may or may not need to support the heavily hyped CCD imaging aspects of this hobby.
on Feb 15, 2006
Not finding what you are looking for?