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Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT)

Canon.jpg (34550 bytes)

The picture above shows the camera when I bought it with the twin lens kit.  These lenses are terrible for astrophotography.  They suffer from distortion and color fringing.  Ditch them both and buy a cheap Canon 50mm f1.8 EF II   Plastic Fantastic which is an astonishingly sharp little lens for widefields (and it's very cheap!).  I also find that the Canon 200mm f2.8 L USM II is a good lens for astrophotography.

Attribute Value
Model Canon EOS 350D
Pixels 8.0 Megapixels  (3456 x 2304 pixels) RAW or JPG or both
Analog to Digital conversion 12 bit
Chip Area (Form factor) 22.2mm x 14.8 mm   (known as APS form factor)
Pixel size 6.4 um x 6.4 um
Sampling (50mm lens) 26.5 arcseconds per pixel 25.3 degrees field of view
Sampling (200mm lens) 6.64 arcseconds per pixel   6.4 degrees field of view
Sampling (480mm lens) 2.75 arcseconds per pixel   2.6 degrees field of view
Sampling (600mm lens) 2.20 arcseconds per pixel   2.2 degrees field of view
Sampling (812mm lens) 1.63 arcseconds per pixel   1.5 degrees field of view
ISO values 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

The Canon DSLR was the camera of choice for many amateur astrophotographers when I bought it in 2006.  It's a couple of generations of camera old by now.  It has been superceded by the Canon 400D, 450D, 1000D, 40D, 50D (I think I've got them all - maybe not...) but the 350D continues to be a great workhorse for me.   I'd hate to check the shutter count because it must be measured in the tens of thousands.  It's hit the concrete twice in its life - (without taking a single scratch mind you) - once when a cat jumped on the tripod and knocked it to the ground, and once when the SN-8 OTA fell off the mount.  It still works exactly as good as the day I bought it.  A fantastic, robust, and generally wonderful camera for astrophotography.  From what I hear the later Canon cameras are even better!   Especially the ones with the Liveview function of which I am very jealous.

It is possible to modify this camera to remove the infra-red filter that covers the CMOS chip, however doing this is a very delicate operation not to be undertaken lightly.  Hutech in the USA will do it for a fee.  It costs around $US 400.  You can also buy modified cameras from Hutech and others new (covered by warranty).  Modified cameras are much more sensitive in the red and infra-red spectrum around the Hydrogen alpha wavelength.  This means that a modified camera will capture MUCH more of the important red light from a H-a nebula than an unmodded camera.
I want to keep mine unmodded - for the moment.


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Updated August 2009

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