Friday, January 15, 2021

It had been a long time since I last participated in photography, other than the odd snaps at family occasions. My previous interests lay around black & white photography, using my old Canon AV-1, developing each print in my home darkroom made up from second hand kit donated from various ex-enthusiasts. This phased out as I become more and more obsessed with computers (which I still am today) and found I had little time, or inclination to take photographs.

The increase of friends now owning digital cameras has influenced me in purchasing my own several years ago. First I bought a Fuji Finepix 4900z which came about after a recent trip to Barcelona and the experiences I had there with my Canon SLR (Film).  During the trip to Barcelona, at the picturesque Montserrat, or rather, at the end of my visit to Montserrat I realised that the film had not been loaded correctly in my camera.  This mistake had only occurred once before, from which I thought I had learned a good lesson.  I could not believe it had happened again due to my forgetfulness and lack of use of the camera.  Needless to say, I got no photos of Montserrat with that camera, which is a pity as I am sure they were the best photos I would have ever taken in my entire life :-)

Luckily, my girlfriend at the time (now my wife, and mother to my daughter) had been taking snaps with the automatic camera she was in charge of, so all was not lost.

The first digital camera I ever owned was a Fuji Finepix 4900 Zoom, which was purchased in June 2001.  In 2003 I purchased a Canon 10D Digital SLR (and sold my Fuji),  I needed to shift back to using SLR as I missed a lot of the features, such as viewing my composition through an optical viewfinder and the option to use multiple lenses.  The camera is much quicker than the Fuji for focusing, and the image quality is superior but then what do you expect since it did cost about 4 times as much.  Since the CMOS used to capture the image is slightly smaller than a 35mm film camera, you need to multiply the lens focal points by 1.6.  This in effect makes a 300mm become 480mm, however you do lose wide angle as a 28mm becomes 44.8mm.

Today I shoot with a Canon 40D after selling my 10D to a very good friend (you will see his name mentioned on this website),  who actually now also shoots with a 40D after giving the 10D to his wife :-)

Camera Kit

  • Canon 40D (modified for Astro) with 8GB CF Card + Battery Grip
  • Canon EFS IS 17-85mm
  • Sigma EX DC HSM 10-20mm
  • Sigma DG HSM 120-400mm (SOLD)
  • Sigma EX DG APO 1.4x Tele Converter (SOLD)
  • Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 (Cable release)
  • Canon Speedlite 550EX Flash
  • Lowepro Slingshot 200 AW
  • Lowepro Computrekker AW
  • Canon A3350 IS

Astro Kit

  • QHY8L One Shot Colour
  • Atik 314L+ Mono
  • Skywatcher Evostar-100ED DS-PRO with FinderScope and a selection of EPs
  • Skywatcher Evostar-80ED DS-PRO
  • Baader SteelTrack Focuser and SteelDrive Motor
  • ADM Dual Mount Bar
  • Celestron Finder Scope and QHY5 Guidecam
  • HiTec Electronic Focuser
  • 0.85x Focal Reducer x 2
  • HEQ5 Syntrek Mount
  • Hitec Astro EQDIR Adaptor
  • Astronomik Standard CLS Filter (EOS Clip)
  • Halfords Portable Power Pack 200
  • Dell Dual Core 1.8GHz with 4GB Ram Laptop and Dell 755 Optiplex OBS PC
  • Approx 3 miles of cables
  • Homemade dSLR Cooler
  • Lots of Flight Cases and a JCB Mobile Toolbox (I kid you not)

Astro Software

  • Astrophotographers Toolkit (APT)
  • Backyard EOS
  • Pixinsight
  • Astro Art 5
  • Cartes du Ciel
  • ASCOM Platform
  • PHD Guiding
  • Redscreen
  • AstroPlanner awesome for when the clouds are out


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