After about 10 years of indecision, I finally bought a digital SLR camera. The Pentax K-r. A colleague at my astronomy society had one so I was aware of its capabilities. The first requirement was to be able to use my existing collection of K and KA lenses that date back to the 1980s. The K-r is very backward compatible in this regard. One feature used in the model choice was interval shooting for time-lapse. This will give me the ability to survey the night sky for an extended period in my aurora hunts. The jpeg image at right is one frame from a test run at interval shooting. 28mm lens aimed at a truck hubcap to make a fish-eye image, ISO 1600, 15 second exposure at F2.8. On later inspection 30 seconds or a higher ISO value would have been better. Also after about 2 hours dew descended on the mirror ending the show. Click on the image for a more detailed view. It is a mirror image with South at top, West to the right. Crux is just visible in the upper centre portion.
I'll see if I can upload the short time-lapse movie later.
I want to do Bulb setting and long exposures, but where is the cable release? One thing with the new cameras is the absence of a cable release socket. Pentax insist on an IR remote control (at additional expence of course), but I found that my old Sony VCR remote controls index search button will fire off the shutter. You have to set up remote control in the cameras menu first so that one button push will open the shutter then a later button push will close it. Easy.
So now I am ready to try some guided long exposures, but as expected with all new adventures in astronomy, it has rained for three days now. Hmm.