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Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos

29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933952161
ISBN-10: 1933952164
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Rocky Nook (December 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933952164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933952161
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Charles Hall on July 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading up on astrophotography but I'm still a rank beginner, so I'm shocked to meet a book that seems too shallow even for me. Here's how the book's contents break down:

13 pages - Introduction
22 pages - Compact Digital Camera
26 pages - Webcam
32 pages - DSLR
42 pages - CCD (SBIG, Starlight Xpress)

Choice of a telescope is limited to a half page discussion in the introduction. There a picture of an equatorial mounting, nothing more. The Meade LPI is given two sentences. For CCD cameras, only the SBIG and Starlight Xpress get a mention. There is no index.

One interesting aspect of the book is the large number of formulas for helping you estimate optimum magnification, angle of view, etc. But overall, this book is trying to cover too much material to do any of it well.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ivan W. Ong on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Astrophotography is an area in the hobby where most beginners feel a measure of intimidation- from the high cost of equipment, the myriad jargon tossed around in amateur astronomy forums on the web, and a seemingly confusing and endless selection of knobs, plates, adapters, scopes, mounts, tripods, cameras, etc. available in the market place. But most folks are hooked the moment they take a photo of the moon or a planet through a small digital camera or even a cell phone cam.

Seip's book is concise, highly readable and an up-to-date book on amateur astrophotography. It is clear and well written and perhaps the best primer to read when one is contemplating delving into this area of the hobby.

I would have liked to see a little more elaboration on guiding (manual and auto), on focusing a DSLR (that's what most people start dabbling in), and on the importance of a good mount-perhaps an appendix guide on mount recommendations, stability considerations, the concept of PEC and maybe on drift alignment (a proper mount is the biggest success factor in astrophotography), but this information can be easily found elsewhere on the web and in books (Ron Wodaski has an excellent section on telescope and mount selection and considerations in his book that bears reading). All in all, an excellent book. I enjoyed reading it very much.

Lastly, if you see Seip's astrophotography photos on the web, you will realize how spectacular his photos (and skills) are. Perhaps it is a reflection of his humility that he avoids showcasing his jaw-dropping photos in his own book!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By JC on March 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Many of us have been impressed by the images made by Stefan Seip, an astro-photographer based in Stuttgart Germany. His shots of Comet Machholz against the Pleiades and Venus at inferior conjunction framed by wispy clouds are stunning examples of what digital imaging technology can produce when directed by a discerning eye.

So, even though I'm a committed visual observer, when Seip's "Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Universe" became available (It was first published in German under the title "Astrofotografie digital") I thought what better photographer to acquaint me with what's become such a huge part of the astronomy hobby. And I was right. As an intro, it's superb.

His book is an attractive soft cover volume, profusely illustrated in color and printed on a heavy weight glossy paper with lots of open margins for notes. It enjoys two clear advantages over some other digital astrophotography texts. First, it does not limit itself to one particular type of digital tool/photography and two, being published this year, its camera and software references should be up to date.

A short introductory chapter, "Before You Start" addresses some basics and presents some terms and concepts which will figure in later discussions.

Then comes the heart of the book: four chapters, each treating a type of camera available to today's digital astro-imager:

- Compact Digital Cameras
- Webcams
- Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR)
- Charged Coupled Device Cameras (CCD)

Within each chapter, Seip

- explains the characteristics of the specific camera type and
mentions its advantages and disadvantages

- mentions the types of photographs suited to it, e.g.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By steveeb on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am relatively new to the hobby of astrophotography, however, I've done a lot of research online through astrophoto websites and by joining forums dedicated to the subject. Wanting to increase my knowledge, I bought this book for two reasons: First of all it's a newly published book, so I figured it would have information pertaining to the latest cameras, devices, and software available. Secondly, I read all the 5 star reviews here on Amazon which sealed the deal for me.

I'm sorry I ever bought it. The book felt very disjointed. It felt like every paragraph introduced you to a new topic, but never really explained anything. By the end of the paragraph you would be wanting more, only for the book to go on about something new.

To make things worse, the book is filled with sentences that will leave you scratching your head. Here's a perfect example from page 27. And I quote:

"If your camera does not allow the complete manual setting of the exposure, you may be able to use the camera's exposure compensation. For example, if the automatic mode produces over exposures, you can try a manual correction selecting shorter exposures."

What was that he said?? Ok, maybe he'll explain it clearer in the next paragraph... Not.

On the subject of processing your photos, telling me to open Photoshop and click and drag on the curve to adjust the colors doesn't quite cut it. Can we be a little more specific?? Here's the quote:

"In order to create an impressive nighttime image, the following menu item is more helpful: Image->Adjustments->Curves...
As shown in the curves dialog box, you can click and drag on the straight line with the mouse to change the shape of the curve.
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