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Essays

Astrophotography with the Nikon D100 Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera 

By Tim Hunter

 

Introductory Note:

This essay was originally written in November 2004.  It examines the Nikon D100 digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and its suitability for astrophotography.  The D100 was one of the first DSLR cameras that could emulate most of the features of an advanced film single lens reflex camera.  It has since been superseded by many digital models from Nikon, Canon, and other manufacturers.  The Canon 20da was expressly designed for astrophotography, and it is being used for wide field photography at the Grasslands Observatory.  The Canon 20da is no longer on the market, and there is no specific DSLR now currently designed or marketed for astrophotography.  There are several advanced DSLR models from Canon and Nikon that have features potentially favorable for astrophotography, mainly large chip size and low noise.  It is also to possible to have one of these cameras altered by second party vendors to make them more sensitive to red light.  The main limitation of the current DSLR cameras is their relatively poor sensitivity to red light, limiting their usefulness for imaging emission nebulae.  This limitation is not a problem for ordinary daytime photography or for low light level photography, such as nighttime sporting events. 

 
 

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