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Digital Astrophotography sticks to the basics and doesn’t overwhelm you with too much information.

Book Review: Digital Astrophotography: A Guide To Capturing The Cosmos by Stefan Seip

The thought of trying to do digital astrophotography can appear to be a complex combination of expensive equipment and Herculean knowledge that goes beyond what most of us are ready or capable to undertake. Digital Astrophotography: A Guide To Capturing The Cosmos was written as a step-by-step guide to remove many of these barriers to entry.

Sure, there is some expense and some techniques you will need to work with, but by providing all the knowledge and information, it will now be easier to dip your feet in to the universal waters. Digital Astrophotography is 147 pages in length and is divided into five chapters.

Chapter 1, “Before you Start,” is provided to give you some background about what this book is all about and to provide a proper introduction to astrophotography. It is helpful for you to have some background about the celestial objects you want to photograph, as that is not the main focus of this book.

As with everything else, it is always best to start off small and work your way up. Because of the advances in technology, it is much easier to get good results even with small telescopes and inexpensive digital cameras. Here you will learn about the appropriate telescopes, interaction of camera and telescope, and how they work together.

Chapter 2, “The Digital Compact Camera,” goes into the characteristics of a digital compact camera. This chapter goes through the suitable motifs for this type of camera, how to work with and without a telescope, and what the advantages and disadvantages are to working with this type of camera. It also goes in to the kind of useful accessories for working with a digital compact camera and how to take longer exposures, as well as how to process your images.

Chapter 3, “The Webcam,” begins by describing what a webcam is; this is your standard web camera used for video conferencing and video phone calls. Ideal objects for use with a web cam are objects within our solar system. With a webcam you can quickly capture close-ups of details of the sun and moon. Please read the warnings. Chapter 3 describes how to set up the web cam, position it, and get it focused. Also discussed is how to process your images and the tools you will need.

Chapter 4, “The Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera,” discusses why the DSLR is considered one of the best types of cameras for astrophotography. It explains what can be done with and without a telescope, the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of camera, tips for buying a DSLR, and what the useful accessories are for a kind of camera.

This chapter goes into how to take astrophotos with the camera by beginning with mounting on a telescope, photographing through the telescope, focusing, and guiding the camera/telescope for longer exposures. Finally it ends with how to process your images once you collect them.

Chapter 5, “The Astronomical CCD Camera,” explains how the astronomical CDD camera is considered the Rolls-Royce of astrophotography cameras, especially with regard to deep space objects. As with the Rolls-Royce, the cost can be expensive. The camera starts at $700 and from there, pardon the pun, the sky is the limit. As with the other chapters, discussed are advantages and disadvantages, buying tips, and how to process your images.

While everyone admires the images that have been captured from space, especially deep space, most feel this is something beyond their ability no matter what their finances are able to provide. Digital Astrophotography shows that even on a modest budget, one can get into astrophotography. While there are costs involved, the results can be spectacular. Digital Astrophotography is concise, easily read, and very up to date. If you are contemplating astrophotography, this is probably the best primer on the subject.

Digital Astrophotography, unlike many books on the subject, does not overwhelm you with too much information that it becomes incomprehensible. Rather, it sticks to the basics while providing a large amount of information. If you have any interest in astrophotography, then Digital Astrophotography: A Guide To Capturing The Cosmos is highly recommended.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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