A New Camera – The Canon 6D

What to do when you get a check from selling some time-lapse footage? Go out and buy another camera, of course. Just a case of using hobby income to support the hobby. The curious coincidence of the check arrival and a very nice package deal at B&H Photo helped in the process.

Rasalhague mugging for the camera. Canon 6D and 50mm f/1.8 lens
The new camera is a Canon 6D, my first full-frame digital camera. I have been considering the purchase for quite a while, basically since the camera was first announced just over a year ago.

The real attraction to me is the low noise performance of the full frame sensor. This is critical when shooting in the dark for nightscapes and for astrophotography. The camera is currently one of the best on the market, beating out the more expensive Canon 5D MkII and MkIII’s. I am looking forward to what this camera can do when mounted to a telescope or paired with a fast lens in the dark.

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Canon Introduces the 60Da

Most of my astrophotos are taken with my venerable Canon 20Da, a special version of the EOS 20D that was produced for astrophotography. Normal DSLR cameras work quite well for astrophotography, with one major drawback… The filter placed in front of the sensor blocks much of the Hα light emitted by many nebulae.

Orion Nebula
NGC1976 or M42, the Great Orion Nebula, taken with the Canon 20Da and a AT6RC telescope.
This light, emitted at 656mn, a wavelength deep in the red, give emission nebulae their characteristic shades of rich red. Hα is the strongest component of light produced by emission nebulae. Without this light, the nebulae will often appear bluish in photographs, as the next strongest component OIII dominates.

Specifically for astrophotography, Canon produced a special version of the 20D with a re-designed filter that allowed Hα light to reach the sensor, the Canon 20Da. The camera also featured on-screen focusing, a feature now found on most DLSR cameras, but unusual back in 2005.

The 20Da was discontinued in 2006. Astrophotographers wanting a DSLR camera with a filter that admits Hα light must buy a standard camera and remove the filter, or have it modified by specialist that offers a conversion service.

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