Sony A6000 for astrophotography part 2

Some people enjoy looking at the sky and observing the various deep sky objects out there. As for me, I would rather photograph these as it is more of a permanent record of the event. Hence the equipment I’ve accrued are more geared for imaging than observing.

Previously I had used the Sony A6000 with the William Optics 72 Megrez for astrophotography, mounted on the Astrotrac TT320X. I managed to image both the Andromeda galaxy and Pleiades during that first attempt with this camera. See here.

There were many signs that this would be a great camera for astrophotography, as it had addressed quite a few issues associated with earlier Sony E-mount models. Over the past week, I have had a few more opportunities to do further astrophotography with the Sony A6000. Read on to find out more.

Previous experience of the Sony A6000 in astrophotography:

1) It has a wired remote input to allow for use of intervalometer and taking time-lapse or multiple photos of extended lengths i.e. will allow us to do astrophotography in Bulb mode.

2) The sensor is sensitive enough to allow for liveview manual focus of stars to ensure critical focus is achieved (so far I have tested on up to f6 telescope using light pollution  filter – but I do need to try it with my 8″ f8 Ritchey-Chretien telescope).  I expect that it will work, which means no more need to use a Bahtinov mask and taking multiple shots while adjusting focus until critical focus is achieved (unlike the days when I used my modded Canon 500d for astrophotography).

3) The tiltable screen (as with many mirrorless cameras) works well for when the scope is pointing high up into the sky, as there is no need to crouch down low (which I had to do with the Canon 500d which lacks a tiltable screen) to see the image. This feature is a real back saver.

4) The Dark frames from the Sony A6000 are not noisy even with long exposures – which means that even without cooling, it works pretty well for long exposures (great for astrophotography).

On Monday night last week, the sky was clear and I took the opportunity to image Comet Lovejoy – something I have been wanting to do for a very long time since hearing about it. This is my first time imaging a Comet, so it was great when I managed to capture the images of it (and Pleiades). For that post, read here.

On Saturday night, the skies were clear around 8pm. I quickly set up the Astrotrac and the Sony A6000 with Sony FE 70-200mm F4 OSS lens for imaging of the Orion nebula. The setup (using intervalometer remote) was then left to take images while I was having dinner with my family. I took 12 x 2 min subs and 27 x 1 min subs @ 200mm ISO 800 F4. These were then stacked in Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) – I think I have finally cracked it on how to use DSS with my current setup (but I will post on this in a separate thread).

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