Canon 700D and 1200D Modification

I have modified two DSLR cameras for my colleagues, for astrophotography use. It involves the removal of the stock UV-IR filter, making the camera more sensitive to H-alpha wavelengths, as Canon’s standard (stock) filter blocks this part of the spectrum.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related link:
View posts on camera modification projects

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Off-Axis Guider (OAG)

I have built a DIY off-axis guider (OAG) using a mirror from a DSLR camera, some tube extenders (2 in and 1.25 in diameter), and a webcam. Best guiding performance currently at 0.33″ (arcsecond) RMS error, at 900 mm focal length, using a mount with DIY controller.

In off-axis guiding, the telescope functions both as an imaging scope and a guide scope. In this configuration, a mirror or a prism receives a portion of the light without blocking the main imaging sensor, sending the light to a guide camera. The critical component in this DIY is a high-quality mirror, which I happen to have found in a non-working Canon 1100D. To build the OAG, I removed the lens from a Barlow so I could get a 1.25 inch barrel for the webcam attachment, and then fastened it perpendicular to a 2 inch extender, where an appropriate side hole has been made. I then fabricated a small mirror mount (like a secondary mirror mount in a Newtonian) using some brass material, to send the reflected light on to the side. The placement of the mirror and the proper spacing to achieve focus required trial-and-error. To use the OAG, focus the main camera first, and then slide the guide camera (webcam) in or out to achieve focus.

I have tested the off-axis guider to work with the SPC900NC web camera, Kenko NES mount, Sky-Watcher Equinox 100ED, and an ASI 533, with best guiding performance at 0.33″ (arcseconds) at 900 mm focal length. I tried using the ASI 533 as a guide camera and found out that the mirror fully illuminates the full width of the sensor, which means a dedicated OAG camera with large sensor (such as those using the Sony IMX 174 sensor) should be fully-illuminated as well.

To watch a video showing this DIY off-axis guider, click here. To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related link: Kenko NES Mount

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Electronic Microfocuser

When imaging targets using a DSLR lens, achieving proper focus may be difficult even when using a Bahtinov mask. Focus adjustments involving very small and precise steps can be achieved using a microfocusing mechanism. In this DIY project, I have modified a Canon 50 mm f/1.8 lens and tapped onto its built in electronic microfocuser.

The focuser is ASCOM compliant and works with astronomy software such as the Nighttime Imaging N Astronomy (NINA) for automated focusing during unattended imaging. It runs on the firmware developed by R. Brown (2021). The modification should work with any lens with built in electronic focusers. To watch a demo video about this microfocuser project, click here.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here. To get a copy of the sketch, please email eteny@nightskyinfocus.com.

Related link: DIY Electronic Automatic Focuser for Telescopes

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

FujiFilm X-A1 Filter Modification

I have performed a filter modification on a Fujifilm X-A1 for a colleague. It involves the removal of the stock UV-IR filter, making the camera more sensitive to H-alpha wavelengths. This modification is helpful only when shooting targets with H-alpha emissions, as Fujifilm’s X-A1’s standard (stock) filter blocks this part of the spectrum.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related link: View posts on camera modification projects

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Intervalometer

I’ve built a simple DIY intervalometer for deep-sky imaging, to enable my DSLR camera to take a series of photos of galaxies and nebula. It features a rotary dial with preset exposure times. When used with an autoguider setup, the intervalometer allows taking unattended exposures, while the telescope tracks a galaxy or nebula.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here. To get a copy of the sketch, please email eteny@nightskyinfocus.com.

Related links:
Remote Shutter Canon 50D
1990 Kenko NES Equatorial Mount
Ultra-Portable DIY Tracker

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Shutter Switch | Canon 50D

I’ve built a remote shutter switch for my Canon 50D to enable it to take exposures longer than 30 seconds, which is essential in astrophotography. Since the camera already has a battery grip, I just bypassed the battery grip’s shutter button and put an external switch. To make it removable, I used a wire that plugs into a socket hidden neatly in the battery compartment.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.
Related link: Connecting a DSLR to a Telescope

Related link: DIY Intervalometer

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Battery Adapter for DSLR

I’ve built a DIY battery adapter for a Canon 1100D using a 12V power connector, a power supply regulator, and housing of an old battery. The DIY adapter provides power to the DSLR from a DIY field battery for extended use during imaging sessions.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.
Related link: Field Battery

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Dashcam as Planetary Camera

I repurposed my old dash camera (Polaroid N302) as a planetary camera. The lens was removed and replaced with a webcam-to-telescope adapter and then mounted on to a 4 in diameter, 900 mm focal length Sky-Watcher 100ED telescope on a tracking mount.

A pair of 2x Barlows were used to further magnify the image (3600 mm effective focal length). To watch a video about this dashcam planetary camera, click here.

Related link: View posts on camera modification projects

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Canon 450D, 1000D, and 1100D DSLR Filter Modification

I have performed filter modifications on a number of DSLR cameras for me and my colleagues. It involves the removal of the stock UV-IR filter, making the camera more sensitive to H-alpha wavelengths. This modification is helpful only when shooting targets with H-alpha emissions, as Canon’s standard (stock) filter blocks this part of the spectrum.

Here are sample images taken with the modified cameras. Take note of the shift in white balance (reddish hue), which is to be expected in this type of modification.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related link: View posts on camera modification projects

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

Peltier-Cooled DSLR Project

During an exposure, the imaging sensor of a DSLR warms up, resulting to noisy images. By cooling down the sensor, it is possible to eliminate or somehow minimize this thermal noise.

I have made a number of attempts to accomplish this with a Canon 450D and a Peltier module, however, it appears it is very difficult to implement without running into problems such as condensation and frosting.

M42 imaged with a Peltier-cooled filter-modified Canon 450D. No dark frames were used in this image. Image processed in SIRIL. The DSLR’s stock filter was replaced with a Baader UV-IR blocking filter.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Related link: View posts on camera modification projects

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines

DIY Logitech 4000 Guide Camera

The Logitech 4000 webcam is capable of imaging planets and can be modified to take long exposure images to serve as a guide camera. The modification requires a serial port to externally control the camera’s exposure time using a guiding software such as GuideMaster and PHD Guiding.

The long- exposure modification allows the camera to detect faint guide stars, which is a useful feature for a guide camera. The diagram shown here was a modified version of M. Burri’s (2002) parallel port interface for a Logitech 3000 which I have adapted to work with the newer Logitech 4000 and a serial port.

To view posts on DIY projects and astronomical equipment, click here.

Night Sky in Focus | Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano | Manila, Philippines