Aurora Camera

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  • 08-23-2008, 09:13 AM
    Phaeton
    2 Attachment(s)
    Aurora Camera
    Hi Guys;

    I'm looking for a digital camera to use for Aurora photography, during the last Solar Maximum I used film but for the next one I would like to use both, most photographers have switched to digital only. I have been through the archives of this forum to learn what I could about digital cameras and it was very helpful, thanks to all.

    I have checked all photos of the Aurora posted this year in the Spaceweather Aurora Archives to see what the others were using and by far most of them are using Cannon. I made a list of the cameras, lens and F stops they all used and made up my own grading system for their pictures (good, better and best) to help with my decision. After a $7,000 sticker shock I came back to reality and decided to find the best camera I could get for Aurora photography that would fit my meager budget, I'm looking for a good camera for about $600.

    I would like to know what you think of this combination and will it provide a good quality Aurora photo or could anyone suggest a better camera within the $600 range?

    Canon EOS Digital Rebel xTi (EOS-400D) 10.1 Megapixel
    SLR Digital Camera Body (Black) ............................................$249.0 0
    Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM AutoFocus Ultra Wide Angle........... $364.00
    Total.........$613.00

    Warm Regards
    Bill
    ^v^
  • 08-27-2008, 01:09 PM
    Phaeton
    Re: Aurora Camera
    I just looked over this post and realized I missed my most important question, and that is regarding temperature.

    During the last solar cycle most of the aurora photographers were using film cameras in the beginning but during those years of maximum more and more were going to digital. The main complaint about digital was battery performance in freezing temperatures.
    I have never owned a canon and am not locked into the brand but most of the current aurora photographers are using canon so I thought they may have solved the battery problem, but I'm open to any brand that can do the job.

    The camera will just be a tool to record the experience but it's the hunt I enjoy, not only those freezing nights with my camera and dog but tracking the incoming plasma with early warning satellites located a million miles from earth and being out there to witness impact. This was not possible before the internet so it's relatively new.

    You know what they say about looking to good to be true, well, here it is.

    I ordered this camera and lens,

    first; I got an e-mail regarding the camera body informing me that they had sold out and the camera was back ordered and could take 8 weeks to fill the order.

    edit; I was wrong about the lens it's on the way and should be here today :), the second e-mail was about the second camera I ordered, they are sold out too.

    Happy Trails,
    the unsuccessful shopper
    Bill
    ^v^
  • 08-27-2008, 02:13 PM
    Canuck935
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Any of the current DSLR's from any brand is more than capable in fulfilling your needs.

    Battery life is indeed the limiting factor when in cold temperatures. No matter what camera you buy make sure to pick up an extra battery or two. When you are out shooting in the cold, keep the extras in your pockets to keep them warm. When the one in the camera poops out, swap it with one from your pocket. After the cold battery warms back up it will be ready to go again.
  • 08-28-2008, 06:05 AM
    Phaeton
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Thank you Canuck935, very helpful information. I was considering a long life battery (I think it was 5 hours) but several smaller batteries would be better and not as costly.

    The only digital camera I have is a Kodak EasyShare CX4300, 3.2MP, I use it for work and it's been a great little camera. This is probably a really dumb question but as you can see my digital experience is really limited.

    I'm going to use this camera for the Aurora and most likely use a 30 second exposure for my shots, the question is does the battery use more power when the shutter is open for 30 seconds than it does for just a normal photo?

    Bill
    ^v^
  • 08-28-2008, 08:37 AM
    Canuck935
    Re: Aurora Camera
    The answer is yes, absolutely. Unlike film where the camera just needs to open the shutter and let light onto the film, with digital the camera needs to open the shutter, supply power to the sensor, then process and save that data for every exposure. The longer the exposure, the more power that gets consumed.
  • 08-28-2008, 09:27 AM
    dumpy
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Where did you buy your camera from?? the claims of long life batteries and the sold out e-mail make me nervous you got duped by Broadway Photo (or one of their pseudonyms or a similar grey market operation). For your sake I really hope it wasn't.

    On the battery front, yes several smaller capacity batteries would be better in this situation as you are really fighting your batteries getting cold, not running out of juice. As Cannuck suggested keeping them in your pocket is certainly the best way to go.

    If you have any type of camera cover that works while shooting or could fashion one out of fleece or something, I would use that and put a hand warmer packet in with the camera. I have used this trick for many years while skiing to keep my music going. From cassette tapes to MiniDisc to Mp3 it has worked for me. Although that is in a jacket pocket, but without the hand warmer packet the batteries get hypothermia far sooner.

    Good luck!!!
  • 08-28-2008, 02:08 PM
    Phaeton
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Thank you Canuck935 and dumpy, now I know to avoid the cheap batteries and select them for quality, I think the canon battery that comes with the camera has a good reputation.

    dumpy; it wasn't Broadway photo but I think they fell from the same tree. They are called Techondigital, after I ordered the camera I got an e-mail wanting me to call them and confirm the order. I have been doing woodcarvings for several years and have placed more orders for tools and wood over the internet than I care to admit but have never had anyone ask me to call them to confirm an order, so the red flags went up. When I called them the first thing he said was "what battery do you want with the camera"? I said I would just take the one that is advertised and he said it would only last 20 minutes but the 5 hour battery would be much better. When I insisted on the battery that was advertised he said the camera was backordered and would take 8 weeks to fill the order so I cancelled the order. They now have my name, address, phone number and credit card information
    and I'm a little uneasy about that.

    The second order was with Lenses N'More, I received an e-mail from them saying the camera was sold out but they now have my personal information too.

    I wish I had checked the post in the "Camera Dealer Feedback" forum for trusted sites before I ordered anything but I know better now.
    Here are their ratings
    Techondigital 0/10 for 6mo and 0/10 lifetime
    Lenses N'More 0.25/10 6mo and 0.17/10 lifetime

    The only thing I have bought so far was the lens from Adorama and I feel a little better about that one but after the experience I had with the others I'll hold off on the praise until I see the lens.

    Adorama 8.77/10 6mo and 8.09/10 lifetime

    Thanks Guys
    Happy Trails
    Bill
    ^v^
  • 08-28-2008, 02:14 PM
    Canuck935
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Well I am glad you didn't end up giving those guys your money. Always a good idea to check out the sellers first. A lot of people don't recognize, or simply ignore, the red flags that prompted you to cancel your orders.
  • 08-28-2008, 05:19 PM
    Phaeton
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Hey guy's; My new lens just came in from Adorama ....... I will have to give them two thumbs-up. ! !

    The order was placed on Tuesday and it was delivered today, Thursday, so that will be one thumb up. !

    The lens was used (rated as "condition E"= Excellent; Shows normal wear, might have minor scratches, glass clean.) and it is at least that good! so they get a big thumbs up for this one too.

    I'm half way there
    Later
    Bill
    ^v^
  • 08-29-2008, 01:59 AM
    kamaldeep
    Re: Aurora Camera
    More information required about this Camera
  • 08-29-2008, 06:00 AM
    dumpy
    Re: Aurora Camera
    That is absolutely a similar scam as Bway photo, good move canceling the order. There is no such thing as 20 minute or 5 hour battery for a camera. They just aren't advertised or sold that way. If a camera uses a proprietary rechargeable battery, it should come with it and be of at least "standard quality". This is how manufacturers ship their stuff. The 20 minute battery stuff is pure bull.

    the basic rule of thumb to avoid these Bway style scams is, find their address, if they are in Brooklyn stay away. B&H is the exception to this, they are an incredibly reputable dealer whose warehouse is in Brooklyn.
    Although I bet these scams will start moving their operations elsewhere soon.

    I've never purchased from Adorama, but I do know that they are very reputable, you made a good move there.
  • 08-29-2008, 12:39 PM
    Phaeton
    Re: Aurora Camera
    Thanks dumpy, I ordered a camera from them this morning but I really blew my budget:)

    kamaldeep,

    The Canon Digital Rebel XTI (North America) or Canon EOS 400D (Europe/Asia)
    is an SLR camera that was released in August 2006. It will take 30 second exposures without a Remote control (cable-release) or it will take longer exposures in bulb mode.

    http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosdigital3/index.html

    It looks like any one of the cameras listed on this link below would be good for photographing the Aurora. http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/...300Dastro.html

    I think the pictures on this link by J. Dana Hrubes from the South Pole where he said it was -84F when he took the pictures with his Canon 400D is what got me thinking about this one. The working temperature for this camera is 32F and oddly enough so is mine, it's got to be a really GOOD storm to get me away from the wood stove when it below freezing.
    http://spaceweather.com/aurora/gallery_01jul08.htm

    Happy Trails
    Bill
    ^v^
  • 09-04-2008, 08:04 AM
    Phaeton
    3 Attachment(s)
    Re: Aurora Camera New Pics
    I have been trying out my new camera and I think I'm in love, it will be perfect for the Aurora. Here are a few pictures from wide to close using the 20mm lens.

    The first picture is Sunup at the Ocean City pier, second is the wild ponies of Assateague Island (home of Misty of Chincoteague) and the last one is my cat Sunny.

    I will have to take the instruction manual with me for a while until I learn my way around this camera but I really like it, and I think the 20mm lens will work for all shots for a while.

    Happy Trails
    Bill
    ^v^