Work, illness, weather, etc etc. Life stuff. But it's not like I've been idle. No sir. In a fit of pique I turned my back on my beloved T2i DSLR and purchased a bright shiny new QSI 583. I finally got frustrated with 1.) lack of red sensitivity (I never modded the camera) and 2.) headaches of "one-shot color". The latter which includes a variety of sub issues like dealing with bayer/de-bayering, color balance, and taking good quality flats with very small focal length (<100mm) lenses. A full explanation would take a multi-part post which I may yet write up ... someday. Let's just say I fought the good fight, learned a great deal in 7 months, and decided to change one hair-shirt for another.
The DSLR will retain it's place for "regular" photography and astro-landscapes. But for deep sky work count me a convert to the new challenges of CCD. There are some great KAF8300 CCD chip cameras out there but I selected the QSI for a couple reasons. The integrated filter wheel is the bees knees. I wanted something compact for continuing work on the Astrotrac. And I loved the idea of the off-axis guider with the pickoff mirror *before* the filter wheel for those times when I image with the refractor. The camera is fully compatible with all my EOS lenses so I was good to go out of the box (purchased with the EOS adapter of course). Note that the off-axis guider does not work with camera lenses ... back focus issues ... but the camera design is flexible enough to remove the OAG with just a few screws and replace with a thinner coverplate. Nifty.
I'm not taking responsibility for all the planet's "end-times" weather and natural disasters but the new gear / bad weather correlation sure seems to hold. If it was me, my apologies to humanity. What is certain is that there have been precious few clear moonless nights to play with my new toy. The down time was useful to do some serious gear-fu and I'll post a few pics of the progress below.
|New QSI 583 with Canon 200mm EF-L f/2.8|
My solution was to purchase a Canon tripod lens mount - the white thingy in the picture above. I was concerned about how firmly it would hold everything but I can report it is rock solid. Just loosen the white knob, rotate in place, re-tighten. The center of the frame remains, uh, centered. It really works. Just be sure you don't cheap out and buy an aftermarket lens mount. Close your eyes, spend the $ and get the official Canon one. My bet is you will end up buying one anyway after your e-bay knockoff fails to please.
|Micro focus gizmo|
|Mounted on the Astrotrac|
|All ready for some clear skies. Waiting ... waiting ... waiting ...|