I continue to be amazed at the newest Digital SLR technology. My friend and astroimaging partner Brent Maynard performed the necessary modifications on one of the latest cameras from Canon, the T1i. You can find a blog post about this modification by clicking on the "equipment" category or going to the post on January 30. The latest crop of DSLR are offering mind-boggling ISO 3200 and 6400 ISOs and so I just had to test the performance of these cameras at that ISO. All of this is driven by the "expose to the right" mantra espoused by Michael Reichmann (look for a future blog on this.) So the modified Canon T1i gathered first light at the Winter Star Party in Febuary 2010. I mainly imaged at ISO 3200 and found the results to be outstanding. Upon returning home, the previous blog recounts my motivation for trying the new camera in our own Donald C. Martin Observatory. Although now I wanted to give the ISO 6400 a try with a light pollution filter in the camera body to aid in gathering a high quality signal.
The results are posted today of M42, The Great Nebula in Orion. It was a very nice first experiment with the gear and I can't wait to work on some of the summer Milky Way objects with the C14 scope and AP 1200 mount with the Canon T1I camera.
The details of the image are that it is a mosaic of two frames, each with approximately 50 minutes of data comprised of individual 1 minute exposures at ISO 6400. There was a third group of exposures used to capture the dynamic range of the core where exposures where 5 seconds in duration for 1 minute total. All images were processed in Adobe Light Room, the TIFFs were then stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and the combined image was processed in Adobe Photoshop CS4.
I hope you enjoy the image and I look forward to capturing more Milky Way objects this summer. Please click on the image to access the color gallery and then click on the Great Orion thumbnail for a larger presentation.