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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old June 3rd, 2006, 01:43 AM   #1
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Aiming at Saturn's Rings

This target was not nearly as easy as shooting the moons of Jupiter. As you can see from the three included blow-ups, the reach just isn't quite there, the rings just barely resolve. Anyway here are a variety of shutter speeds... exposure was as open as it would go at this focal length. The better shots have a shutter speed of 1/30th. And this is how I'm spending Friday night, while the wife is at a horse show and the rest of the world is out partying... man I feel old! But the point is, yes that's the Rings of Saturn from an XL H1, the stock 20x HD lens and the 1.6x extender.
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Aiming at Saturn's Rings-img_4610.jpg   Aiming at Saturn's Rings-img_4612.jpg  

Aiming at Saturn's Rings-img_4617.jpg   Aiming at Saturn's Rings-img_4619.jpg  

Aiming at Saturn's Rings-img_4629.jpg  
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 02:28 AM   #2
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awsome .

stil though, its just a yellow dot on the pics.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 02:51 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting, Chris! How exciting!
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 07:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
And this is how I'm spending Friday night, while the wife is at a horse show and the rest of the world is out partying... man I feel old!
But no hangover! Again, as with the Jupiter shots, I'm surprised at what the stock camera + 1.6 extender can do. I wonder how the EF adaptor and some long L glass would do? Maybe we don't need to service Hubble after all. ;-)
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:00 AM   #5
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bring that badboy to colorado, and i can mount up the sigma 300-800mm lens, plus extenders. we'll be walking on saturn!
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:02 AM   #6
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Better yet, Meryem -- win that free H1 in Littleton next week and do it yourself!
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:09 AM   #7
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wishing and hoping! that'd be a big fish to reel in!
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Old June 6th, 2006, 01:30 AM   #8
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Another stab at Saturn...

This time with an odd mix, XL H1 plus 1.6x extender plus EF adapter plus 70-300mm Sigma telephoto zoom. Very difficult set-up, very touchy to focus, and when the target is only slightly out of focus, it disappears from view completely. Plus, the more the image is magnified, the more the speed of the Earth's rotation is amplified, making the target appear to move out of the field of view very quickly! A little bit better in terms of results though.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #9
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what i wanna know is...how are you managing to find saturn and get your camera focused on it???
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Old June 6th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #10
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Finding Saturn with the naked eye is easy... it's in the western sky shortly after sundown. Just locate the easily found Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, and go up and to the left. Saturn is the bright yellow "star" nearby (now look back along the ecliptic plane toward the southeast for the brightest object in the sky other than the moon, which will be the first "star" of the evening... that's Jupiter). Look for Mars also, bright and red in the western sky not far from Saturn.

Actually getting Saturn into the H1's field of view is another trick though. I start with the stock 20x HD lens, set critical focus to infinity, go to full wide and max aperture, low shutter and +12db gain. These settings cause the stellar objects to easily appear in the EVF, artificially brightened. Once aimed at Saturn, zoom in full tele, losing several f/stops of course. Make sue the planet is centered in the middle of the field of view. Then *quickly* and *carefully* power down to standby, change to the EF lens combo set to full wide, and power back up. If you're not fast enough, your target will have drifted out of view due to the speed of the Earth's rotation. If you bump the camera, you'll have to start all over again.

Rock the focus on the EF lens and you should see Saturn snap into view. Zoom in to full tele and adjust focus again. You'll have to re-frame a few times while setting up the image controls for the shot, due to the speed of the drift. Patience and diligence (not to mention better glass) should produce shots of the planet far superior to the ones I've posted above.
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Old June 10th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #11
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Yes, it's a big thing, a HD camcorder with 3 CCD and changeable lenses and not a camera with single Bayer mosaic chip. Strange, but this is the best way to the real astronomic or high altitude airplane spotting.

The next step is a XL H1 with a reflex mirror.
Please try this at home!
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Old June 10th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #12
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Well I think the biggest difference between this procedure, using the XL H1 video camcorder, compared to traditional astrophotography is not about 3CCD vs. single CMOS. Instead, it's the fact that the XL H1 has a maximum shutter drag of 1/4 or 1/3 second as opposed to the very long exposures which can be achieved with still photography cameras. I'm using a video camcorder on an alt-azimuth mount and taking a quick snapshot. Usually in astrophotography you've got the camera on a clock-driven equatorial mount, tracking a stellar object for long periods of time with the shutter held open to gather more light, producing images that we can't see with the naked eye. We can't do that with the XL H1 or any conventional DV or HD video camcorder. But I think it's pretty cool that we can get at least some kind of a result using a tool that was never designed for this specific purpose.

I see this is your first post -- welcome to DV Info Net,
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Old June 10th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #13
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Chris, arn't there consumerish tracking telescopes the use PC software to track these planets? I seem to remember years back in a science mag, (Omni I think it was) had an article about one. Anyway, just imagine piggybacking a cam on one of those?

Good fun stuff. Now I'd like to see comets, or watching the launch and orbit of a space shuttle. That would be neat.
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Old June 11th, 2006, 11:19 AM   #14
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On the subject of the solar system...During one of the nights at a lake in France last week, the air was clear and the moon bright, as it slid slowly across the night sky.

I rigged up an XL2 + 600mm ED-IF Nikkor on a sturdy tripod and obtained some awesome moon footage - my best yet. Watching the footage on 16:9 widescreen at home felt almost like I was walking on the surface, with every crater shown in stark relief as the partial moon crept slowly across the frame. The night chorus of frogs, crickets, coots and nightjar added extra atmosphere, and I can't wait to add some background music to the storyline as part of the main DVD.
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Old June 11th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #15
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Hi!
In the winter of 2000, I try to show the Saturn's ring and the Jupiter's moons to my friend with my selfmade-tunning russian tourist lens telescope.
The result of my work was an almost two times bigger magnification, but the array goes smaller, the picture goes darker and my tripod was very poor quality.
So it was very cold and my show failed. My friends could not wait for me.

So it was 6 years ago and I remember, my dream at this time was a real time connection with a wide screen notebook, and useing some high resolution thing.
So this wishlist in today is not a dream for more.
The next: XL H1 with 8/500 reflex mirror and the subject is a high altitude airplane...
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