Camera advice for a newbie

Use this section to discuss "standard" Baader/Coronado/ Lunt SolarView/ Daystar, etc… filters, cameras and scopes. No mods, just questions/ answers and reviews.
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rbenton
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Camera advice for a newbie

Post by rbenton » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:12 am

I am a photojournalist in Northern California. I am starting to plan for next year’s total solar eclipse, and I want to photograph the partial phases in H-alpha. I have done as much “Google” homework as I can and I think I will be buying a Lunt H-a scope (probably the 100). I am coming at this project from a photographic background with the ultimate goal of producing large prints of the sun. I originally thought I could shoot with a Nikon D810 DSLR, but now I realize why this is not a good choice for my purpose. I've narrowed my search for a suitable camera to the Point Grey Grasshopper (5mp) or perhaps an SBIG STF-8300M or STF-8050M. I could not find anyone on this forum using the SBIG cameras, so I wondered why not. They seem to be capable devices. Again I am new to all this, so I am reaching out for advice from the experts.
Thanks to all in advance.

Randall Benton | Senior Photographer
The Sacramento Bee
Rbenton@sacbee.com
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Derek Klepp
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by Derek Klepp » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:14 am

Google Averted Imagination.Alan Friedman is the expert on producing what you seek

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marktownley
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by marktownley » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:10 pm

I'd recommend the Point Grey Grasshopper 5Mp for what you want. Not familiar with the SBIG, but is it a single shot camera? The PGR is a video camera and you would be looking to stack images from it.
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Montana
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by Montana » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:04 am

I agree with both Derek and Mark. You want to shoot high frame rate video and stack the best images (must be monochrome) I would definitely go with the Grasshopper. The SBIG is for deep sky night photography.

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longtech
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by longtech » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:27 am

Hi Randall,
Welcome to the forum. I also came to astrophotography from a traditional photography as well as cinematography background.
To achieve good solar images you'll need a high frame rate monochrome imager however the popular solar cameras have really small sensors which will limit your print size.

As far as I know the only larger format high speed monochrome cameras come from RED Digital Cinema. I've been using their 19MP model which runs as fast as 120FPS. I often window it to 4K (8MP) since the stacking software struggles with anything much larger. I've been making 24x48" prints from this setup for an upcoming gallery show...how large do you intend print?

One more thing...make sure you get the B3400 blocking filter if you plan to use a full frame sensor or else the system will vignette.

-SP

Calavera
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by Calavera » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:46 pm

Hi together,

would like to join in this thread as I´m just looking around for an GOOD camera for halpha.

Actually I have the opportunity to buy one of the following ones:

Point Grey Grasshopper2 GS2-FW-14S5M - Sony ICX285
Point Grey GRAS-50S5M-C - Sony ICX625
Lumenera Lm165M - 1.4 MP, Sony ICX285 Sensor, mono

or a

ASI 174 MC cool

Most important is the use for ha but sometimes I maybe would like to use it for planets too (if usefull).

Which one would your prefere and what is a realistic price for them (all are used). I think the Grashoppers are just a little bit older - are they just good? or should I better go for a newer model?

Thanks a lot!
Chris
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_Zakalwe
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by _Zakalwe » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:42 am

rbenton wrote: perhaps an SBIG STF-8300M or STF-8050M. I could not find anyone on this forum using the SBIG cameras, so I wondered why not.
No one uses them because the S-BIGs are cameras for Deep Sky imaging. This is done by taking very long exposures (30 minutes is pretty commonplace) using a large sensor that is cooled way below freezing (think -40 C). Solar imaging uses cameras that take many frames per socond- in fact the exact opposite of deep sky imaging.

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rxdeath
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Re: Camera advice for a newbie

Post by rxdeath » Fri May 27, 2016 1:34 am

hi, i'm in sacramento with a lunt152, lunt100ds, and a 60ds. if you'd like to check out what we're talking about in real life, i'm happy to send you an email at your sacbee address and you can come to my house to check it out. i have a couple cameras as well, but the 174 which is pretty popular i have. i'm not as much of an expert at camera selection and specs as these guys, but if you'd like some real life time with these telescopes and cameras, i can help there. it's pretty hard to know what you want when you only see it on a webpage.

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