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Need advice/tips for my first DSLR imaging session


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Hello fellow Stargazer's,


I'm preparing for my first serious imaging session and there are some things that I'm still not clear about. Mainly, the sequence / flow for getting everything going.

My setup is the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTI eq mount, Canon EOS 5D MkiV DSLR, and the ZWO ASI120MM Camera on the ZWO 30mm f/4 Mini Guide Scope.   


Once I get my tripod as perfectly level as possible, then attaching and balancing my EQ mount, what's next (after powering everything up)?


1. Do I Polar Align first, or do I use the Guidescope to lock in on a star first?  

2. What Apps/Programs should I have running on my computer? I have everything from the complete ASCOM suite, to PHD2, to Stellarium etc... On my phone I have PS Align Pro for polar alignment, and SynScan Pro for controlling my mount.

3. Lastly, is there an app or program that I can use to tell my camera to capture like 30 exposure's at 10 seconds each for example? I've experimented with Canon's EOS Utility which allows me to set the ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed from my computer, but it only does one image at a time. 


Please help. Thanks.


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Hi Jamie,

I too use an earlier generation  SA mount with a Canon camera (600D) for my grab and go wide field imaging rig. I also recently acquired the ZWO mini guide scope, which I've mounted on the Canon DSLR via a universal L bracket. I use my old ASI120MM camera for guiding. Here's a photo of my rig.



I'll try to answer your questions below.

1. Yes, first try to get reasonably accurately polar aligned. I just use the iluminated polar reticule, which I find is adequate for up to 3 minute exposures at the image scale I'm using, but you could use something like SharpCap's polar alignment routine, or a Polemaster camera (which I do have for my main rig), to dial in better, but I've never tried them for the SA rig.

2. PHD2 for guiding is a good option and there are some polar alignment tools there that you could check out too.

3. There are several camera capture tools that will control your camera, but you could also consider using an intervolometer, which is what you can see attached to the hot shoe of my 600D (NB the hot shoe isn't doing anything other than providing a convenient place to secure the intervolometer). That allows me to capture to the camera's SD card, which is especially convenient for short unguided exposures, when I don't want to set up the laptop. If I want to capture longer guided exposures to my laptop I use a very old capture program called ImagesPlus Camera Control, which is now free to download (see the 2nd link on this page http://www.mlunsold.com/ILOrdering.html), but I don't know if it will control your 5D MkIV. I understood that the Canon EOS utility allows you to set multiple exposures, so I'm surprised at your commentl, but I've never used it, so perhaps I'm wrong. However, as I said, there's a bunch of fairly cheap camera capture software options out there.

Good luck.

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