Using Your Canon Digital Rebel to take Photos with Your Best Orion Telescope!

by telescope review guide

For long-exposure, deep-sky astrophotography, the most important things to look for in a DSLR camera are low noise, high sensitivity and a good signal-to-noise ratio in the final output data.

Usability features, like live-view focusing, dust-reduction technology, and single-cable operation are also very attractive features to consider for astrophotography when choosing a camera.

I recommend Canon DSLR cameras over Nikon because of Canon’s proven performance, low-noise characteristics, and ease of use.

The Canon 50D is my top rated camera for it’s balance between performance and usability. It offers good signal-to-noise, live view focusing, one-cable operation, no amp glow and 14 bits of tonal depth.

The best entry-level DSLR for astrophotography is the Canon 1000D (Digital Rebel XS). It hits a very sweet spot in terms of its price-performance ratio.412bsbuxybl__sl160_

In making your decision, you will have to choose between price, performance, and features. Older cameras have excellent price-performance ratios and larger pixels that yield better signal-to-noise ratios, but many suffer from amp glow, a red glow in the corners and edges of a long exposure image caused by electronics associated with the camera’s sensor. Canon now turns these off during long exposures in their latest cameras (Canon 400D, 450D, 40D, 50D, 1000D). Amp glow can be removed in older cameras, however, with proper dark-frame calibration.

Newer cameras have reasonably good signal-to-noise ratios and also have very attractive features like live focus, but are more expensive.

Both Canon and Nikon offer very inexpensive entry-level DSLR cameras such as the Canon 1000D and the Nikon D40 that work remarkably well for astrophotography.

For general daytime photography and some fun astrophotography, try an unmodified stock camera. If you get really serious later about long-exposure deep-sky astrophotography of red emission nebulae, you can have your camera modified then.

Based on this analysis, if price is your primary consideration, the Canon 1000D is the camera you want. If you can afford the Canon 50D, it is an excellent camera with great usability features. If you want a Nikon system, then pick up a Nikon D40, or, if money is no object, a Nikon D3 or D300.

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