The electronic shutter runs the battery down in 30 minutes whereupon the shutter closes. This IS a problem for long exposure photography. I feed the 18 Volt LX-200 power line through a little box containing a Radio Shack voltage regulator. The regulator provides a 6 Volt line for the camera. I use a battery-size wooden dowel with thumbtacks in each end to replace the battery. The 6 Volt line is soldered to one of the thumbtacks and the ground line is soldered to the other thumbtack. Works great.
Since I have not been able to get a brighter focussing screen, I have had to make do with the standard screen. My focussing screen has a clear area in the center with a split line used for focussing. If images that cross the split line are linear, then the focus is good. I use Jupiter or some other object with a well-defined diameter if possible to adjust the focus. This has worked well. I am getting photographs that are focussed well. Focussing is extremely important. I sometimes spend 10 minutes or more making sure it is right.
I purchased a right-angle attachment that allows me to adjust the focus from a better angle. I modified it to provide some magnification which has aided greatly.
I almost didn't discover the last item in the "disadvantage" list above. A friend and I went out to photograph meteors during the 1994 Perseid shower. I used Ektachrome 400 and he used a 400 speed Kodak print film. He got meteors and I didn't although I was sure I should have had some. I had star trails but no meteors. I did not discover what had happened until he and I went out to photograph Comet Hyakutake. He got comet and I didn't. We were both using the same film (Konika 3200), same exposure times (10 seconds to 5 minutes), approximately the same 50 mm lenses. My photos came out black. At home the next day, I decided something must be happening with the camera. I opened the back, put it into bulb mode and held the shutter down while I looked through the camera. I was totally surprised to see the diaphragm immediately stop down to a pinpoint! This does not happen on any of the other settings. I would think that the only reason one would go to bulb mode would be because one didn't have enough light. An automatic stop-down would therefore be the "wrongest" possible thing to do but Canon does it anyway. The solution is simple however once you know what the problem is - simply operate the camera in non-automatic mode and leave the diaphragm wide open. I returned the next night to photograph Hyakutake and this time it worked. I got comet.
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Howard C. Anderson
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