DIY Cable Release

Anyone familiar with basic camera settings like shutter speed, ISO, and aperture (f/ratio) is more than capable of capturing decent astrophotos like constellations, meteors, planetary and lunar alignments, Iridium flares, ISS flybys, star trails, and even the Milky Way. In most cases, only a DSLR-on-a-tripod setup is required. In some instances, however, an additional accessory called a cable release becomes a necessity, and without it, it is simply impossible to take advantage of the most useful feature of a DSLR camera: the bulb setting. This article explains why such an accessory is important and how you can build one (for Canon DSLRs) that performs technically the same function, equally as reliable, but costs just a fraction of the commercially available counterpart (and the best part is, you actually built it yourself!).

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IR-modified Canon PowerShot S3IS

The modification involves physically removing the “hot plate”, a kind of filter that blocks infrared light. Manufacturers install it in cameras in order to correct for the reddish hue inherent to CCD or CMOS sensors. Removing such filter makes the camera more sensitive to IR and as well as H-alpha wavelengths, which is particularly useful in deep-sky photography.

Canon S3IS point-and-shoot camera modified for astrophotography (afocal imaging)

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