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Posted by Kip Crawford on April 25, 2002 19:20:22 UTC

You must remember that planets are tough for any camera to properly capture an image of. Digitals are almost (but not quite) the same as SLR's when it comes to f/stops and exposure times. Because of the fact that digi-cameras use a CCD chip these f/stops and exposure times will be different than SLR cameras. The principles remain the same...planets are sun reflected disks, they're close and they are bright. The one major difference between planets and ordinary objects is that planets exhibit color and close detail. Therefore focusing is essentially important. CCD chips are very light sensitive so exposure times are quite short. On regular film, 3 to 8 seconds is the norm. With a Digi camera 2 seconds or less is all that is needed.

Vignetting is something you want to avoid. Having the camera lens on the eyepiece is probably ideal. Using a longer focal length EP like a 25mm or even 17mm is perhaps the overall best. Using a EP like a 26mm you could possibly zoom in a little. My Olympus camera has a f/stop adjustment, but they don't call it that. I just use the LCD screen and adjust to either brighter (f/4 to f/1.8 respectfully) or dimmer (f/5 on up). You must bracket your shots. Take pics at lower and higher f/stopsd and exposure times.

I do not know your camera to give you proper advice, but there is a great setup you could do. You can go to www.scopetronix.com and get their adapter. Your camera should have a "OUTLINE" port to hook to a TV. I use a 13" color monitor outside and hook to the camera that is on an adapter. I get my target on the TV screen and adjust the camera accordingly. I either zoom, adjust the "brightness" (or f/stop), and further more...focusing. I can focus through the TV and because I am using "hands-off", I will get a much steadier image than trying to hand-hold for the shot.

Planets are tough to shoot. Jupiter and Saturn are on their way out for awhile. Usually late fall and early winter is best when the planets arehigh in the night sky. The higher they are the better. Less turbulance and the conditions are a little better. There is more I could add, but bracket your shots and experimnet with each exposure. This definitaly trial and error stuff. Good Luck!!

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