When I saw the transit of Venus, part of the fun I had was snapping a few pictures and then later putting them together to make a stacked image of the transit. To get my pictures I used the afocal method by simply holding up my simple point and shoot camera to the eyepiece and snapping a few pictures. As I don’t have the steadiest hands in the world, this would sometimes give me shaking images.
Recently, I wanted to add a little more stability to my astrophotography without having to upgrade my little point and shoot camera (as my little Canon Powershot A570 and I have had some great adventures). I decided to started looking at various universal mounts that would hang my camera right onto the eyepiece.
I tried a couple universal camera mounts from friends, but they just weren’t for me. They worked well, but I found that setting them up was awkward and a little frustrating at times. I also found that I would often leave one of my two eyepieces in the mount to avoid the hassle of setting it up every time I went out, leaving me with just the other one to stargaze with.
Here I’ll add a little disclaimer. If you are just getting into astrophotography and are not sure about the hobby, I would suggest using the handheld method or at most investing in a universal mount. If you find yourself still hooked a little while down the road you can look into some other options, like the one that follows.
Looking for another solution I turned to my camera. One of the neat things about the A570 when it came out was that you could buy an adapter to mount a telephoto or wide-angle lens on it. I never bought the adapter, thinking I could always pick it up later if I wanted. Of course, my camera quickly fell out of date and the adapters disappeared just as quickly from local suppliers.
I searched the internet to see if these adapters still existed somewhere and to see if someone had found a way to jury-rig them for astrophotography. After various permutations of Canon A570, lens, adapter and astrophotography, I stumbled on TelescopeAdapters.com.
They had all kinds of adapters for SLRs, DSLRs and for a number of point and shoot models as well. I browsed through their catalogue and sure enough found one for my camera that would allow me to attach a T-ring to my camera.
I e-mailed back and forth with one of their sales reps to make sure it would work with my camera and to find out what other pieces I would need to get the hole thing up and running. They offered great help with good advice and in the end they pointed me to a kit with the adapter, T-ring and a digital T-ring adapter for an eyepiece. I also let myself splurge and I picked up the MaxView 40 eyepiece that I saw on one of their pages.
I had been considering getting a low power eyepiece for some time and the fact that the MaxView’s eyeguard screws off to reveal a T-thread made it a great two-in -one for me that I didn’t want to pass up.
In the end everything ran me more than a universal camera mount (about a $160 for everything compared to $30 to $50 for a universal mount), but I am having a great time just using the eyepiece and am also enjoying the slow, and at times frustrating, learning curve of this great new hobby. Now that you’ve read through this lengthy post, here are some photos I’ve managed to take with my new equipment.