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Old Friday 17th May 2013, 18:56   #101
cango
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FernandoBatista View Post
The other is no possibility of using an external flash together with the EVF, that’s the main point for me, and the reason I’m not getting one.
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3483844

Control method ”Triggered and controlled by built-in flash (Olympus Wireless RC Flash system compatible)”

If you use the Olympus FL 50r, you could trigger it with the built-in flash - if I understand it right

I used to use mine that way with my E-3 http://www.birdforum.net/attachment....0&d=1300216785

I THINK it should work the same way, but of course, not sure.(don't have an e-p5 :-) )
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Old Friday 17th May 2013, 19:51   #102
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Well pointed.
But mostly I'll be using my camera/flash from the hide. The flash will be in front of the scope outside the hide, and the camera obviously inside. Between them is some kind of camo netting.

Will wireless trigger still work in these conditions? I really have no idea. And I don't want to find out it wont work after spending more than 1000€ on a camera/EVF. And even more for the Olympus flash.

I always preferred using cables myself, it's one more thing to be hanging from the camera but it's very reliable.

But it is solution, no doubt. If you can confirm it works it will be another choice to consider.
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Old Friday 17th May 2013, 20:15   #103
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Yes, I understand that it's a lot of money, for something that might not work to your liking.

Just wanted to point it out the possibility, that's all.

I haven't done much flash work, but have shot from inside my kitchen through a three glass window, with flash on a tripod out on the balcony, and that works (til the batteries are drained by the cold). The flash was to my right pointed forward to my line of sight. It communicates with the light from the built-in flash, and I first thought it could only work with a clean line of sight. But when I have it on the scope the sensor on the flash is pointed forward, yet it "sees" the light, and triggers the flash.

In your case, It might work - or not all the time. I wouldn't spend that much money, having already invested in flash/cables and such as you have.
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Old Saturday 18th May 2013, 12:28   #104
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If it works in those conditions most likely it will work with the netting between too. One more point for the little Olympus then :P

Actually I don't have any cables or flash anymore, I sold all my Nikon gear.

I'm still deciding witch system to go for, I'm using a Sony A65 for now but most likely I'll get something else by the end of the year.
Olympus focus peaking and IBIS is what attracts me the most so far, but we'll see, lot's of new and interesting cameras coming this year or early next year.
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Old Saturday 18th May 2013, 12:48   #105
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I hate it when manufacturers don't use DEDICATED connectors for flash and microphone. As you pointed out the E-P5 has that problem and my OM-D does as well. I can't connect a microphone and a flash at the same time.

Not that I want to use both at the same time but I would like to have both installed so that I can use one or the other at my choosing when using my scope. Booo Olympus !
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Old Tuesday 21st May 2013, 00:40   #106
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Hi Jules. I was thinking about the PEN E-P5 purely as a camera for digiscoping, when the rear LCD is more useful than a viewfinder (or is it?)

I have tried digiscoping in the past and have no plans to return to it. I am still using Olympus 4/3 gear and hope that Olympus will eventually produce the rumoured camera which will allow me to use my existing lenses, while providing fast and accurate focusing. The EM-5 is a lovely little camera but it's not for me, I'm afraid.

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Ron,
I saw a post at 43rumours about Olympus getting a sensor from Sony with onboard PDAF. The said it might even be coming in the next OMD (or the one after that)?

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Old Monday 3rd June 2013, 14:10   #107
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OMD-EM5 Focus Peaking

I just came across this thread at DPReview: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3289371 discussing how to emulate focus peaking using an Art Filter.

If it works it sounds to me like a better way than using the display magnification when photographing birds in motion/flight, since the drawback with the latter method is that you easily lose track of the subject.

Has anyone used this "Focus Peaking" feature, and how well does it perform?
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Old Monday 3rd June 2013, 15:14   #108
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I just came across this thread at DPReview: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3289371 discussing how to emulate focus peaking using an Art Filter.

If it works it sounds to me like a better way than using the display magnification when photographing birds in motion/flight, since the drawback with the latter method is that you easily lose track of the subject.

Has anyone used this "Focus Peaking" feature, and how well does it perform?
I've tried it Tord and it works quite well. However, I don't think it will be a good solution for birds in flight. You have to hold a Fn button to have it working... so I guess you'll run out of hands: focus peaking button, focus, scope movement, shutter. I hope there are no mosquitos...

IMO, display magnification is not much better. The MF Assist feature does not work because you are not using a lens: the lens focus ring must be rotated to make it work. However, the Magnify function works and you can set it for magnifications between 5X and 14X. The minimum 5X is still way too much for anything that moves: 600 x 2 x 5 = 6000mm. Even for stationary targets, I find it is too much: the smallest vibrations become large movements which make focusing quite difficult.

This thread on dPR will teach you all you need to know about the Magnify function:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51543327

I have not really tried BIF with a scope but I would not use the Magnify function nor Focus Peaking. I would quickly focus as well as possible and follow the bird with a high speed burst, hoping for the best. In theory, if you back focus a bit and follow the bird, one of your shots should be in focus - unless the bird is flying towards you, then you need to front focus.

Good luck. Fortunately, now that we have gone digital, photos cost nothing !
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Old Monday 3rd June 2013, 15:46   #109
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I've tried it Tord and it works quite well. However, I don't think it will be a good solution for birds in flight. You have to hold a Fn button to have it working... so I guess you'll run out of hands: focus peaking button, focus, scope movement, shutter. I hope there are no mosquitos...
!
I was not aware you need to keep a button pressed. I was planning to program the camera to assign one of the modes to it.


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Originally Posted by JGobeil View Post
IMO, display magnification is not much better. The MF Assist feature does not work because you are not using a lens: the lens focus ring must be rotated to make it work. However, the Magnify function works and you can set it for magnifications between 5X and 14X. The minimum 5X is still way too much for anything that moves: 600 x 2 x 5 = 6000mm. Even for stationary targets, I find it is too much: the smallest vibrations become large movements which make focusing quite difficult.
I have been using the MF assist with quite some success. You can assign a button e.g. typically F2 to toggle it on/off. And also remember changing the IS mode so that the image in the EVF is stabilized, it makes a big difference!

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Originally Posted by JGobeil View Post
This thread on dPR will teach you all you need to know about the Magnify function:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51543327

I have not really tried BIF with a scope but I would not use the Magnify function nor Focus Peaking. I would quickly focus as well as possible and follow the bird with a high speed burst, hoping for the best. In theory, if you back focus a bit and follow the bird, one of your shots should be in focus - unless the bird is flying towards you, then you need to front focus.

Good luck. Fortunately, now that we have gone digital, photos cost nothing !
Agree on the magnify function, tracking the subject even at 5X is very difficult and once you lose it it is almost impossible to locate it again unless you disengage the magification. I have had some success with BIF and scope with a AF confirm chipped 4/3 adapter and E620. However using the chip with EM5 puts the camera in non-working state. This is why I had hopes with the focus peaking. I might try it later today and see how well/bad it works.
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Old Friday 7th June 2013, 15:32   #110
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Finally... some interesting results

Big struggle with my scopes and the OM-D to get decent results. Finally, I'm beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel...

My problem ? I think I was trying to push the images too far. I'm used to crop quite a bit to compensate to the minimum reach of my lenses. This is just not possible when using a scope as a lens.

See these 2 examples where I compare photos taken with the Panasonic 100-300mm and 1) the Astro-Tech astro scope and 2) the Pentax 80ED spotting scope:

All photos have been processed in LR4 and PS to give the best picture possible, resized to 1000px, converted to sRGB and saved ad JPGs with 8/12 compression.


1- OM-D with Astro-Tech 80mm 550mm

This Mallard was shot at 43 meters.

Picture#1 is with the scope, no barlow, TC or TN. Calculated magnification is 1197mm. Photo is not cropped. ISO 800, 1/250 S. f/??.

Picture#2 is with the Panasonic 100-300mm lens at 300mm. Photo is cropped to bring the bird at the same size as photo #1. ISO 800, 1/2000 S. f/5.6.


2- OM-D with Pentax 80ED, Baader Hyperion 21mm Eyepiece and Olympus 12-50mm lens set at 50mm.

The rock is 228 meters away. Yes, 2 2 8 !

Picture#3 is with the Pentax 80ED, setup as above. Calculated magnification is 2246 mm. Photo is not cropped. ISO 800, 1/320 S., f/6.3.

Picture#4 is with the Panasonic 100-300mm lens at 300mm. Photo is cropped to bring the rock at the same size as photo #3. ISO 800, 1/2300 S., f/5.6.


Results

I think this is the way to evaluate the capability of a given setup. The idea is to see how much detail can be resolved from a given image at a distance. The only way to compare is to crop the image that has the least magnification to bring it to the same size as the other image and then to resize both images to the same size.

As you can see, in both examples the differences are not that great.

Comparing the Astro-Tech, Pics #1&2, shows that it cannot resolve as much detail as the Panasonic lens and that the depth of field is much narrower. Also, it has MUCH less contrast - you cannot see it because I have corrected it in post processing.

I'm not surprised because I suspect this scope is a factory second, given the price I paid. It is not branded but it is exactly similar to the original.

Comparing the Pentax is a big surprise considering the huge 228 meters distance. I think the scope resolves as much detail as the Panasonic lens. As a bonus, I get auto focus and zoom. Also, it is quite nice for videoscoping.

I know it is possible to do better but I am finally able to get decent results. The idea is not to crop the pictures taken with the scope except for minor adjustments - what you see is what you get, it cannot be improved. What do you think ?

I feel there is still room for improvement. I still have to test IBIS ON and OFF (here it is ON for all pics). With the Pentax, I have to test the lens with the Macro mode ON and OFF, and to a bit less magnification than 50mm which is not the best for this lens.
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Old Saturday 8th June 2013, 12:21   #111
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Well... I really blew it this time ! I'm trying so much to get decent results like you guys without any success that I get all mixed up. In the last post, I demonstrated that my 2 high magnification scopes cannot do better than my 300 mm camera lens... After posting, I came back to the pictures and realized the non sense.

What's wrong ? Why can't I get results.

Let's look at the components. First, the photographer: I think I'm a decent photographer. Have a look at my Web site and I think you'll agree I'm not that bad: http://julesgobeil.com/photo/portfolio/?lang=en

Then, there is the tripod and head. The tripod is a Benro Carbon C-168M8 and the head is a Velbon PH-157Q modified to take Arca-Swiss plates. I prefer to shoot low so I extend only the first 2 sections of the tripod legs. The setup is quite stable.

The camera is an Olympus OM-D EM-5. It works perfectly well with regular camera lenses and others have success using this model for digiscoping.

The Pentax PF-80ED with the Baader Hyperion 21mm eyepiece is very sharp as a spotting scope. I use the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens or the Sigma 30mm f/2.8. The lens is attached to the eyepiece by a stepping ring. First, I do a manual focus on the scope, then I take the picture on auto-focus.

The Astro-Tech 80ED 550mm is attached directly to the camera by a CNC T-Minus 2" Prime Focus Adapter for Micro 4/3. I also use a 2" 50mm extension tube to allow close focusing. It is very sharp when used as a spotting scope with a diagonal and the Hyperion 21mm eyepiece. Of course, it is manual focus only. For my tests I use all possible focus methods: 5X magnify, Focus peaking and bursts while slowly turning the focus knob on the scope. I take many pictures and keep the best one.

I don't understand what is wrong. Could I have 2 bad scopes ? Then, why are they sharp as spotting scopes ?

Can anybody help ?
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Old Saturday 8th June 2013, 13:08   #112
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Jules,

It's hard to say why. I don't think the OMD-EM5 is to blame, I am very pleased with it and I feel the quality of my pictures has improved quite a bit since I started using the OMD.

I use the IS.1 (remember to set the focal length!) and IS engaged upon press of the shutter release. I would say the IS is well performing, shake blur is well mitigated and times as long as 1/125s @600mm is no longer an issue.

I quite often use the 5X magnifier, on occasion 10X. Have tried using the Artfilter 11/mode 2 as well as focus aid, with mixed feelings and results.

The last samples you shared seem to be taken in not so favourable light conditions, risk is air dither caused by heat will be noticeable already at distances of 20 meters. I was on a late morning/midday session a couple of days ago where I got in principle 0% keepers. Exception some really short range shots at 10 meters.

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Old Saturday 8th June 2013, 13:31   #113
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Of course there's nothing wrong with your skills as a photographer. Your gear seem fine as well. Perhaps the expectations could be set too high? I mean, personally, I have found that shooting beyond 15-20 meter over water is always troublesome. I might be steady at hand, the gear is good - but the air can not be controlled. I know that with 600mm or more, one is always tempted to capture that bird 100 meters away. For record shot - yes. All else is so dependable on air/sun/etc that I don't usually bother. I always opt for getting closer - and if it's not possible, then I just observe - or record it in video! Found out that many shot that would be crappy stills, do just fine as video - specially when used with the cameras 2x converter (digital/crop converter).

At least, this is how I approach the dilemma of shooting at long distances. (and not being so pleased about the results)
One other thing is - practice, practice and practice. It took me nearly two years before I thought this was fun. (and a change of scope - or most important - the focuser)
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Old Saturday 8th June 2013, 15:56   #114
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Thank you Tord and Carlos,

I know that my camera skills are at least good enough for decent results. I also know that the camera and tripod are not at fault. The scopes ???

Yes, long distances over water are difficult but looking at the Grebes that Tord just posted, I know that my photos are not up to par - they don't even come close.

Can both scopes be bad ? Then, why are they very good as spotting scopes ? I suspect the cause is something else but I can't find what it is.

It is a fact that my eyes make manual focus difficult. However, I tried manual focus with the Panasonic 100-300mm lens and, when taking many pictures, more than half turn out to be in perfect focus. Also, I use auto-focus with the Pentax and the results are not better.

Am I trying to push it too far ? Maybe. With my 100-300mm lens, I figure I'm good until 15, maybe 20 meters. So I don't need a scope for those distances. I want a scope to be reliable from 20 to about 50 meters for reasonable quality pictures and from 50 to 200 meters as documents for bird ID and for rare finds. Presently, I can't do that, far from it. Yes, I could buy a SW 80ED - but I'm afraid it won't be much better and that makes me hesitate.
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Old Saturday 8th June 2013, 16:30   #115
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Jules,

Attached is a sample showing the effect of dithering due to variations in air temperature. This is a 1024x768 crop of the RAW file. Distance around 100 meters over water in mid day. Focus correct but this picture is just a mediocre record shot of what could have been a nice one. Pity since Sandwich Terns are a real rarity over here, endangered species, have not seen any for many years, and never courting...

Swan picture is taken almost at the same spot, one week earlier, but 1.5 hours after dawn.

And lastly, distance to Harriers is close to 150 meters. (This is taken with an e620, I am sure it would have been even better with the EM5).

So I am sure the SW80 can be pushed.

An SW80 could be the solution, and the cost is moderate. I am very happy with mine.
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Old Saturday 8th June 2013, 16:42   #116
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Jules,

Attached is a sample showing the effect of dithering due to variations in air temperature. This is a 1024x768 crop of the RAW file. Distance around 100 meters over water in mid day. Focus correct but this picture is just a mediocre record shot of what could have been a nice one. Pity since Sandwich Terns are a real rarity over here, endangered species, have not seen any for many years, and never courting...

Swan picture is taken almost at the same spot, one week earlier, but 1.5 hours after dawn.

And lastly, distance to Harriers is close to 150 meters. (This is taken with an e620, I am sure it would have been even better with the EM5).

So I am sure the SW80 can be pushed.

An SW80 could be the solution, and the cost is moderate. I am very happy with mine.
Thanks for this valuable info Tord. The picture of the Terns is about the same quality of a typical photo taken with the Astro-Tech. The Swan at 150 m. well... I'm jealous !!! I've never taken a photo that sharp with either scope - not at 150 m, not at 100 m., not even at 50 m.
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Old Sunday 9th June 2013, 00:34   #117
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If I stick a prism and eyepiece on my scope and photograph through it then I can't get photos as good as if took them at prime focus and cropped. That's with various eyepiece/lens combinations. With the SW80ED at prime focus I can crop to 100% if the air is good, the camera resolution or air quality is really the only limiting factor. In my gallery link most static photos are around the 30-40m distance. The flight shots of the Cormorant and Swans were around 300m. Most of the static photos were with a 1.4X TC while the flight shots were scope only and cropped. The tripod I used back then was a really cheap one with a fixed plate and the scope would wobble all over the place. It was so bad I rarely had any of the axis locked up.

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Old Sunday 9th June 2013, 00:57   #118
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If I stick a prism and eyepiece on my scope and photograph through it then I can't get photos as good as if took them at prime focus and cropped. That's with various eyepiece/lens combinations. ...

Paul.
Paul, I know how good your photos are. In fact, it's what's got me into astro-scoping. You've been a teacher for most of us on this forum and a very good one. Many thanks

Considering what you wrote above, how do you explain that what I see through a diagonal + EP + scope is MUCH sharper than the photographs I take with just a camera without lens + scope ?
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Old Monday 10th June 2013, 14:12   #119
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Paul, I know how good your photos are. In fact, it's what's got me into astro-scoping. You've been a teacher for most of us on this forum and a very good one. Many thanks

Considering what you wrote above, how do you explain that what I see through a diagonal + EP + scope is MUCH sharper than the photographs I take with just a camera without lens + scope ?
The human eye generally doesn't see any faults in optics, plus the brain is very good at filling in the gaps as it were. A camera will record everything just as it is.

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Old Sunday 22nd September 2013, 12:12   #120
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Sorry in advance for the noobie question, but why does it seem that 4/3s and M4/3s are so popular in digiscoping in general? (other than portability) Is is that you have to end up cropping to that size anyway because of vignetting when using something with an APS-C or larger sensor?
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2013, 13:00   #121
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Vignetting is not usually a problem with APS-C sensors, but only with full frame if the scope has only a 2" focuser. FF requires a 3" focuser. The 4/3 format is nice for scopes for two reasons, more reach and a closer to square format. I have both 4/3 (Oly E-30....maybe E-M1 sometime) and APS-C (Nikon d7000, maybe D7100 sometime) and although I normally prefer the 3/2 format for normal photography, I find 4/3 better for birds, which is about all I do with the scope anyway. Keep in mind that an APS-C sensor cropped to 4/3 format is only slightly larger than the 4/3 standard size. Enough bigger to give it a slight advantage in DR and noise, but not really a huge amount. There was quite a difference between the E-M5 and the D7000, but the difference between the E-M1 and the improver sensor in the D7100 seem to be more evenly matched. Still no figures from DxOMark to base this on, but the test shots I have seen indicate a big improvement in 4/3 sensor technology.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2013, 13:07   #122
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Sorry in advance for the noobie question, but why does it seem that 4/3s and M4/3s are so popular in digiscoping in general? (other than portability) Is is that you have to end up cropping to that size anyway because of vignetting when using something with an APS-C or larger sensor?
If your setup is well made with the right components, you should not have any vignetting. The M43 sensor is interesting because the sensor has a 2X crop factor. Your 600mm telescope becomes a 1200mm one. Since the aim of digiscoping is to get more reach, it is an important advantage.

Weight is another important factor, for 2 reasons. First, a telescope is quite heavy. Adding a 1.2 kg Canon 1D is much worse than an Olympus OM-D that weights only 425 g. It also causes less strain on the camera adapter and the focuser.

Here, on the Astro telescopes forum, the Oly OM-D is a popular camera. I use one and here is what I like the most about it:
  1. 2.0 crop factor
  2. Light weight
  3. It is an award winning excellent camera.
  4. Manual focusing is easy with the IBIS stabilizer and the 5-14X magnifier in the electronic viewfinder.
  5. The electronic viewfinder is excellent. You don't have to rely on the LCD.
  6. The sensor is not too noisy at ISO 800 and 1600, which is important because we need a lot of light to compensate for the high f/6+ ratio of or scopes.
Reading all this Micro Four-Thirds from the beginning will teach you all there is to know on the subject.


Regards
Jules
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2013, 13:11   #123
DanC.Licks
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"If I stick a prism and eyepiece on my scope and photograph through it then I can't get photos as good as if took them at prime focus and cropped."
The more glass you have between the subject and the sensor the more likely it will be for distortion to creep in. That is the beauty of using astroscopes as we do. They are so simple in design and there are only two or three glass elements, and if they are high quality a nice sharp image will be projected onto the sensor. (Astro guys require a field flattener so that stars on the edges of their shots are round and not oval). Run that image through an eyepiece and everything changes. They are ideally meant to project the image onto the retina of your eye and not on to the larger, flat surface of a sensor, and they are very likely not to be of the same quality glass as the scope lenses. They don't need to be for the reasons Paul mentioned.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2013, 17:36   #124
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Thanks a ton Dan and Jules for the prompt and informative answers. The Oly OM-D is what I have been leaning towards purchasing. It really seems like an incredible little camera, the only things that haven't completely sold me on it is the lack of 60p video and no electronic shutter option; guess you can't have it all in one camera. One clarification though please, would you not have the same reach as a 4/3s with a larger sensor if you just cropped it to 4/3s size? Sorry again for the tedious questions, about to buy my 1st "serious" camera. Also, anyone have an opinion on the OM-D for astophotography?

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Old Sunday 22nd September 2013, 18:13   #125
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Sure, but the question is what is the pixel pitch. For instance, a 36 MP FF Nikon D800 sensor, cropped to 4/3, would give you the equivalent of a 9 MP sensor. It would be great in terms of noise and DR, but lacking in fine detail compared to a 16MP OM-D sensor, and it would further limit your possibilities to crop even further, which we often need to do. To me the two best options are the new OM-D E-M1 or the Nikon D7100. There are others for sure, but those are the only two I am interested in.
The OM-D E-M5 seems to be a great camera for our kind of photography, and there are many on the used market now because of the E-M1. Tord, Carlos, and Jules all use it and swear by it.
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