DSLR and CCD cameras

Canon EOS 20D

Digital SLRs are relatively easy to use and as I already had this camera I still use it occasionally for shots of the moon, it would be suitable to use for some of the easier deep sky objects as well and a lot of people use it with great success. The downside is that it's pixels aren't very big and it cannot be used in binning mode as can be done with CCD cameras.

Starlight Xpress SXVF M7C

This was my second CCD camera after my run of bad luck with Meade equipment (I had previously used the DSI pro), it is fairly flexible and can be used with a wide range of telescopes. It's chip is made up of 436,000, 8.2 x 8.4uM pixels in a 6.3 x 4.76mm array and uses a CMYG filter matrix which I found to be it's only disadvantage in that it is harder to get an accurate colour than RGB. All my earlier images taken with my Meade system were taken with this camera. It is also prone to venetian blind effect if you don't get the settings right.

Starlight Xpress M7C

Starlight Xpress SXVF M8C

I bought this camera primarily for use with short focus refractors, it is very high resolution and the chip is made up of 3,980,000 3.125uM pixels in a 7.225 x 5.375mm array, the small pixels make this camera unsuitable for long focal length telescopes although I have tried it with the C14 and got a usable image of M57. Due to the very small pixel size the camera is relatively insensitive compared to other cameras and long exposure times are necessary. Most of the images on this site have so far been taken with this camera and the William Optics Zenithstar 66. The image shows the camera with focal reducer/flattener and extension tube attached ready to connect to the telescope.

Starlight Xpress M8C

Starlight Xpress SXVF H36 and Lodestar autoguiding camera

The main disadvantage with my other two cameras is the small field of view due to the small chip size so I decided to venture into the large format world and I chose the H36 which has a chip made up of 16,085,120 x 7.4uM square pixels in a 36.3 x 24.2mm array. So far the only image I have taken with this camera was a daylight picture with a 200mm telephoto lens (see under miscellaneous in image gallery) but it shows great promise. I am waiting for some brackets and adaptors so that I can try it with the William Optics Megrez 90 and my soon to be arriving TMB 115. It is possible to use this camera on the C14 in binned mode but unfortunately I need a very still night which tends to be once in a blue moon. The camera is monochrome which gives more flexibility as far as filtration is concerned. I have a filter wheel and full set of LRGB and emission line filters on the way for future use.

Starlight Xpress H36 + lodestar

Starlight Xpress Lodestar

This was a surprise Christmas present from my girlfriend which, when I get everything up and running as I want it, will be used to autoguide the telescope so longer exposures will be possible. As can be seen from the image the Lodestar (on the right) is tiny in comparison with the H36 both from a chip size and camera size point of view.

Starlight Xpress H36 + lodestar
Below is an image of the imaging train with the TMB 115 f7 APO, 3.5" Starlight extension tube, TMB field flattener, FLI filter wheel and Starlight Xpress SXVF H36 camera. I have been imaging with this combination now for a couple of months and the results are very promising

Imaging train ready for all night session