Image Processing Hardware Back | Up | Next

The digital darkroom: computer, monitor, printer.


  • Desktop - Dell - Obviously, you will need a computer to view and process your images. The faster the better, but you would be surprised how powerful an inexpensive computer is these days.

  • Laptop - Dell - For work in the field at remote locations, especially on long trips to dark skies. A laptop computer can be used to check focus and framing, automate image capture, and check tracking and guiding. Don't forget you will need a 12-volt deep-cycle battery and 12-volt power adapter to power the laptop for use during an all-night astrophotography session.

LCD Monitor - You will need a good LCD monitor to view and process your images on. Look for a graphics monitor with an IPS display.

Hardly anyone is making CRT monitors anymore, so you can pretty much forget about finding one.

Monitor Calibration Hardware - Although you can calibrate your monitor with software, a hardware monitor calibration device works much better and is more accurate.

RAM (Random Access Memory) - Like money, you can never have enough RAM. RAM can be obtained really inexpensively from a very reputable manufacturer like Crucial. They have a great web page where they find out exactly which computer you have and recommend the exact kind of RAM that you need. I recommend 2 Gigabytes of RAM at a minimum.

Compact Flash Card Reader - Your camera can be hooked up to the computer via the USB cable and you can download images like that, but why subject your expensive DSLR camera to that additional wear and tear?

You can use an inexpensive card reader such to download images from your memory cards after a night's astrophotography session.

CD or DVD Writer - A lot of data is produced when you shoot astrophotos with a DSLR camera. You really need to archive them permanently on some type of optical media. If you save them on your hard drive, and you have a hard drive crash, or lightening hits your home, you may lose all of your images. I write a CD-R or DVD on a high quality media like Mitsui or Taiyo Yuden after each nights astrophotography session. You should be able to pick up a good CD/DVD writer these days for a very inexpensive price.

Printer - A desktop inkjet printer can be used to print your astrophotos. Epson and Canon make some very good color printers.

Or, believe it or not, you can save $200 to $500 and have your images printed by Adorama Pix. For extremely reasonable prices, they produce excellent prints. They also offer mounting and framing.

*Prices and availability of all items are subject to change without notice by the vendors and manufacturers.

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