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I performed astrophotography at the time where CCD were experimental devices. The world has changed, my immediate passions too, and today my camera is a compact (but enough for everyday use) consumer-level IXUS 70. Very soon I am going to the southern hemisphere for the first time, and I would love to have the chance of taking some pics of the sky there. How can I achieve something with such hardware ? Tips, tricks, hacks both pre and post-production are very welcome.

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Equipment:

In any case get the CHDK, a firmware-upgrade loading from SD-card every time at startup. With this nice software a longer-time exposure and bracketing, be it exposure or aperture-bracketing will be available as will a RAW (you won't shoot fast so you won't care about the slowdown for this RAW). IXUS 70 is listed.

A bean bag or gorillapod for stabilizing during the shots. Full tripod would be a bit of an overkill.

Maybe a filter-adapter and ND8 if you want to catch landscape and stars in longtime-exposures, something like this picture of a slope at night (15s, only three stars to be seen).

Technique:

Use manual exposure/aperture and delayed trigger (same reason as for the bean-bag/gorillapod) und manual setting of distance (avoids the endless focussing). Make yourself at home with using these controls.

As for what to combine (stars, moon, clouds, landscape) and what to take a photo of: your fantasy ;)

Take a look at the right side of the page, there are some recommended questions with the same content, covering more aspects of astrophotography.

  • I just installed CHDK... it's a can of worms... but really great stuff. Thanks ! – Stefano Borini Feb 12 '11 at 18:41

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