Imaging with a 35mm Camera


.Imaging with a 35mm camera is probably the easiest and cheapest way to get started in Astrophotography. My choice of camera was easy - I already had an OM1n camera for my general photographic work, so this was what I used for my astro work. I was also fortunate, as several features of the OM 1 series camera help in astrophotography.

1) Ability to change focusing screen

2) A good range of quality and also cheap lenses available.

3) Manual focus - so not as popular so keeping the price down.

4) A mirror lock up facility

5) Manual operation without battery needed for Bulb release.

Going through these in order, the focusing screen in 'normal' operation is usually too dark for focusing on astronomical therefore the ability to put an alternative screen in which makes focusing easier is of great advantage.

A large range of lenses from an 8mm Fish Eye - through to large telephotos, means different fields of view can be obtained of a given event.

Manual focus, autofocus is not needed and if you have it switch to manual to stop the focusing jumping around.

Mirror lock up facility allows you to lock the mirror up after focusing, therefore avoiding shutter vibration. The traditional 'top hat' technique of opening the shutter and uncovering the OTA after things have settled down can also be employed on longer exposures.

Having a camera which does not need a battery to keep the shutter open means that you can operate for long exposure without your battery draining in the middle of a photo session.

There are four main types of photography : Static camera with lens pointed at the sky with a tripod, without a drive - (can also be driven for better images, and pin point stars - not trails), prime focus where the camera is placed at the prime focus of a telescope in place of an eyepiece, Eyepiece projection where an eyepiece is used to project an image onto the film plane, and afocal where the camera lens is pointed down the eyepiece to image through the complete optical system.

Various examples of these applications can be found on the following links.

Static Camera - Prime Focus - Afocal - Eyepiece Projection


For more details on Astrophotography I recommend:

Michael Covingtons Book - Astrophotography for the Amateur


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