Canon EOS 1000D DSLR [Digital Single Lens Reflex]

For a long time already I had admired the fine DSLR images produced by collague astronomers, and of course I wanted to have such a camera too.
I already owned a Nikon 995 Coolpix digital camera but this camera is much too noisy and not sensitive enough IMHO, so I longed for a real DSRL.
Alas: I lacked the funds, but recently I received some extra pocket money from an unexpected source :o)

Selecting the right camera is tough: there are so many around and I did not know the pros and cons of the cameras on the market, both for astro and 'normal' purposes.
My good friend Rob Kantelberg helped me greatly and I am indebted to him for his valuable advice.
The Canon 1000D has lots of features and can be used for deepsky imaging even without modification (although with the IR filter removed it performs much better). Also the Canon 1000D has low noise, especially compared with the 350D and the like, so less hot pixels..
And the Live View feature is gold in the bank: marvellous for fine focusing ! And I could buy the camera at a friendly price.

Accessories for Canon EOS 1000D DSLR

For astro use I bought the following accessories, mainly to be used in combination with my William Optics Zenithstar 80ED II APO



220V AC Power Adapter [batteries cannot cope with longer imaging sessions]


EOS to T2 ring


William Optics Focal Reducer 0.8x 2" type III [wider FOV + Coma Correction]


Canon EOS Ha 12 nm 2" Clip Filter


Canon EOS CLS 2" Clip Filter [anti Light Pollution]


Extension Tube 2" - 50mm Length [I already owned one but I list it here nonetheless]

EOS-T2 adapter with T2-1.25 inch nose piece.
This nose piece enables me to use e.g. my barlows and Televue Powermates: very nice to image Solar System objects.


RS60-E3 Remote Switch. Intended use: mainly for normal photography, but you never know :o)
The switch is simple yet effective: half push for focus, full push to take the picture, or push the switch forward to lock the shutter open [for BULB imaging].
When pressed forward, the switch locks and the shutter remains open until you pull the switch back into place.

Some thoughts about Astro Imaging with the Canon EOS 1000D

December 18, 2009: still bad weather conditions so all my investigations are taking place indoors.
For the time being I will use EOS Utilities for imaging, in spite of the fact that I dislike the GUI: especially entering the numeric values in the control panel is no fun.
Also the possibilities to enter the filename are limited: no pulldown menus for what kind of equipment was used such as optics, barlows/focal reducer, filter(s), nor the kind of captured frames: light/dark/bias/flat. Of course astronomers try to avoid having to use the keyboard in the dark. A positive note: there is a pulldown of previously used filenames which then can be adapted to the current imaging session.

The EOS Utilities Live View of course is magnificent for focusing, but a major disadvantage is that the Live View window simply is far too bright and destroys your night vision [at least it kills mine].
Even worse: no alternative skins are available and a nice 'Night Vision' utility like NiteView has no control over the skin either: it remains too bright.

So for focusing I will turn to the Live View panel of the freeware EOS Camera Movie Record which indeed does obey NiteView and thus does not destroy my night vision.
Of course EOS Camera Movie Record provides a zooming feature, and on top of that my Toshiba laptop features a zooming utility that requires you to press the Fn key and the space bar. Successive presses of the space bar give 1x, 2x and normal zoom levels.

For BULB ( i.e. Deep Sky) imaging I will use the EOS Utilities, because during the imaging I will be indoors so my night vision will be destroyed anyhow.
Of course the Deep Sky imaging will be in RAW mode.
For imaging in "Streaming Webcam Mode" [mainly Sun, Moon and the brighter planets] I will use EOS Camera Movie Record.
When setting up the imaging I will be in my observatory, but after that I can return to the comfort of my home

Please note the following:

The battery cover must be fully closed or else your USB connection becomes unreliable because the camera switches off and on: that tiny protrusion is of vital importance!

Preparing my setup
I did some indoors tests of the Canon 1000D camera in combination with my William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO and the WO 0.8 Focal Reducer and also in 'Prime Focus' (see below). With my Meade Focal Reducer f/3.3 I could not reach focus because of lack of inward travel.
The tests were carried out indoors because of the bad weather.

Focusing tryout in daylight [with the WO 0.8 Focal Reducer in the optical train].
I wanted to find out how far the focuser of my William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO should be extended from the OTA in order to be more or less in focus.
This is very useful to know when preparing for an imaging session: at least you see something :o)
The answer then was: 60mm [with the WO 0.8 Focal Reducer in the optical train], but the correct value is: 57mm.
Focusing tryout in daylight [with the WO 0.8 Focal Reducer in the optical train].
I wanted to find out how far the focuser of my William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO should be extended from the OTA in order to be more or less in focus.
This is very useful to know when preparing for an imaging session: at least you see something :o)
The answer then was: 60mm [with the WO 0.8 Focal Reducer in the optical train], but the correct value is: 57mm.
The final test of course is "under the stars".
On January 14, 2010 it was clear and I found out the correct focuser-out value: 57mm [with the WO 0.8 Focal Reducer and the Astronomik CLS Clip Filter in the optical train].
I wanted to find out how far the focuser of my William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO should be extended from the OTA in order to be more or less in focus.
The answer is: 23mm [after including a 5cm extender].
Focusing tryout in daylight [prime focus].
A closer look at the 2-inch to T2 adapter and more here

First Results

M44 - The Beehive - Open Cluster.
First light for my [unmodified] Canon EOS 1000D DSLR camera.
January 14, 2010 22:12 - 22:54 UT.
Imaging: William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO with William Optics 0.8 Focal reducer operating at f/5.4 [focal length approx 435mm] and Canon 1000D DSLR [unmodified] with Astronomik CLS clip filter.
Exposures: 20x120s [RAW]; ISO 400, unguided. Darks and bias subs, no flats.
Imaging: Live View focusing with Movrec and captured with Canon EOS Utilities.
Post processing: Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop.
Note: the spikes are caused by my diffraction spikes mask, which I forgot to remove ...
M45 - The Pleiades - "The Seven Sisters"
January 20, 2010 19:47 - 21:46 UT.
Imaging: William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO with William Optics 0.8 Focal reducer operating at f/5.4 [focal length approx 435mm] and Canon 1000D DSLR [unmodified] with Astronomik CLS clip filter.
Exposures: 12x120s [RAW]; ISO 800, autoguided with LX200 and SC3 modified webcam. Darks and bias subs, no flats.
Post processing: Deep Sky Stacker, PixInsight LE [DBE+Hist+Curves], NeatImage and Photoshop [with a lot of guidance from Rob Kantelberg]
Mars
February 16, 2010 21:16 - 21:22 UT.
Imaging: LX200 10-inch f/10 with 5x Powermate operating at f/50 [focal length 12500mm], Canon 1000D DSLR camera [unmodified], no filters.
Captured in Movrec LiveView, 5x zoom [click here to view the Movrec capture screen], 343 seconds @ 19fps giving 6395 frames.
Camera settings: Tv, ISO 400, exposure 1/15s, manual White Balance: colour temperature 4200K.
Altitude : 53.7 degrees, True distance: 0.7083695 AU [106 million km].

White Balance with Astronomik CLS Clip Filter installed

Of course I wanted to make a White Balance image with the Astronomik CLS Clip Filter installed, but that immediately gave a problem: I could not mount the standard 18-55mm kit lens, as that collided with the Clip Filter !
My solution: I mounted the EOS-T2 Ring and as the T2 thread also accepts M42 thread - only more or less so gently gently please ! - I could use my 135mm SLR Photolens, which nicely reached focus.
So I waited for the sun to shine and imaged a sheet of white paper. That's all.

Canon 1000D with Astronomik Clip Filter and EOS-T2 Ring.
Canon 1000D with Astronomik Clip Filter, EOS-T2 Ring and M42 135mm SLR Photolens

Interesting links

The Canon EOS 1000D compared.
Canon 400D, 450D and 1000D - side-by-side feature comparison
Nikon and Canon DSLR Cameras Compared [huge table by Jerry Lodriguss]

The Canon EOS 1000D Modification.
Gary Honis - Removal of IR Cut Filter for Astrophotography & Infrared Imaging
Gary Honis - Removal of IR Cut Filter: How-To Video
Christian Buil - Evaluation of the Baader IR correction filter [after modification]
Christian Buil - Canon EOS 350D - IR-CUT Filter removal, performance and sample images
Hutech/Canon Spectrum-Enhanced Digital SLR Cameras
Gary Honis - comparing the modified Canon Rebel T1i (500D) - XSi (450D) and XS (1000D)

The Canon EOS 1000D Live View: for focusing and imaging.
Gary Honis - Canon EOS Utility & Live View for Camera Control when Astro-Imaging
Chernov Alexey - EOS Camera Movie Record [Download]
Sylvain Weiller - Canon EOS with Live View in High Speed Streaming mode
Sylvain Weiller - Canon EOS with Live View - exploding balloon