I was planning on using a 300 mm Nikon lens or Orion ST80 mm refractor attached to my Canon EOS T3i/600D to image the eclipse. Since I will be traveling by jet and rental car I didn't want to bring a big telescope and heavy mount. Also, I want to use Backyard EOS on my computer to automate control of the camera so I can enjoy the eclipse with minimal tinkering during the eclipse.
Original Equipment List
Lens - Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED
Telescope - Orion Short Tube 80 mm
Camera - Canon T3i/computer wire connection
Adapter - Fotodiox Nikon to Canon
Adapter - T-adapter for Canon cameras to telescopes
Camera Tripod - Manfrotto
Computer - HP Envy
Computer Shade - LapDome
Right off the bat, the Fotodiox Nikon to Canon adapter that I have used a few times over the past couple years broke so I ordered a new one. It does not fill me with confidence. Since I could not test the lens method I decided to go with the telescope test.
This actually worked pretty well. Unless the camera gives me much better results, I like the telescope method. The camera with a T-adapter screws directly focuser and I can adjust the orientation of the camera. The LapDome is a must if you are using a computer for camera control as it would be impossible to see the screen during the day. I took a few test shots to see what I would get. I will test the automation at a later date.
As shown on the photo, I set sun just to to the left of the box. After 5 minutes it was still in the field of view (FOV). It looks like one or two adjustments during the eclipse is all that is necessary to keep the sun in the FOV. Although the Manfrotto tripod held the equipment it was not easy to do minor adjustments with the camera tripod. I have a an Explore Scientific Twilight I portable tripod that would work great if I were driving to the eclipse but it is hardly portable enough for the airplane. I saw that Explore Scientific has a Twilight Nano tripod which may be exactly what I am looking for. It is a telescope tripod which has the fine adjustments and can handle up 14 lbs but is much smaller than the Twilight I so I ordered it from High Point Scientific.
The camera plus Nikon 300mm lens (3.8 lbs)
The camera plus ST80 refractor (5.8 lbs)
Automation sequence using Backyard EOS
5 min before/after
1 min before/after
Comments are welcome...