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Use Your Film Camera First

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Posted by Daniel Johnson on November 17, 2002 04:25:16 UTC

I have yet to dive into CCD for the many complex reasons mentioned by the previous writer. However, I'm doing digital photography anyway, just with film. It's an easier way to enter--then buy the expensive CCD later if you like it.
I do digital processing by having my local photo shop scan my best negatives at 3000 by 2000 pixels or better, with the highest JPEG quality (i.e. least compression). Then I process the results much as I would process a CCD image.
For this you'll need your scope, an equatorial wedge, a smaller guide scope (I use a Meade ETX 90 to guide my 10-inch LX200), and counterweights to balance the guide scope and camera, as well as a ring-rail set to hold the scope. Celestron's wedge looks flimsy to me--I mean, really flimsy. Check into other wedge options; surely someone makes an alternative. You'll also need a camera adapter for your camera (preferably 2-inch)--they come with T-threads, and you buy a specific adapter to join the T-threads to your brand of camera.
For the moon, you may be able to get by with the camera adapter and nothing else. A half-lit moon will fill a 35mm camera frame on an 11-inch SCT and make some mighty pretty photos.
For snapshots of the planets or the Moon consider a digital camera (not a dedicated CCD, just an ordinary digital camera), coupling it with the Scopetronix Digi-T adapter (at www.scopetronix.com ). This is much better than film for planets. Webcams also are good for planets.

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