Star photography

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Trying to teach myself about star photography but looking for some tricks. I went out with my 35 1.8 last night and had a very difficult time focusing since i cant manual to infinity. I'm taking a trip up to NH next weekend and hoping to refine my skills up there, so looking for some input. Plan to bring my 35 and 12-24, might just take the fisheye for a spin as well and just shoot directly up :)

Thoughts on best combo/settings for some nice crisp photos? All my gear is in my sig.

P.s. I obviously will be bringing a tripod.

Thanks!
Nick
 
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The movement of the earth will be your sharpness killer, so use the highest iso you can and still get clean results. Also use the largest aperture you can but avoid wide open, as it often is not very sharp. Back when I had a D100, I got some very decent star pics with my 12-24. The Andromeda galaxy stood out even though I couldn't see it with my naked eye.

Keep your shutter speed as fast as you can to minimise earth motion blur. With a wide angle you can probably get by with six seconds or faster. Even better if you can put your camera on a motorized telescope mount. Then you can use low iso and stop down to the lens' sweet spot.
 
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i found i link once with a calculation for the longest shutter speed to focal length before star trails appear.........
Can't find it now!!!
The wider the lens the longer your shutter speed can be!

Anyone know this calculation?!?!?
 
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i found i link once with a calculation for the longest shutter speed to focal length before star trails appear.........
Can't find it now!!!
The wider the lens the longer your shutter speed can be!

Anyone know this calculation?!?!?
I have checked exif on many using 12-14 mm and on those even 25 seconds are hardly evident. In fact I would not doubt that many of the flaws I have seen is the result of camera movement
 
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With respect to focusing, the easiest thing is, while there's still enough light, focus on something really far away. Then switch off the autofocus and don't touch the manual focus ring until you're done with the astrophotography. This also is helpful with things like fireworks, though for fireworks usually you can stop down to maybe f/8 and use the infinity setting of the lens - DOF will cover any focus errors.
 
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We can't see the stars to focus in the viewfinder, but just turn off AF, and use Live View, and zoom it to near maximum, and you can see them to focus manually (for smallest brightest sharpest points). Then you can turn off Live View.

My experience on a fixed tripod, about 20 seconds (maybe 25) is maximum with 14mm (due to rotation of sky). Each doubling of focal length is 2x magnification which ought to cut that acceptable time in half.
 

Commodorefirst

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Here is a post of mine from a thread in this forum.

My standard max is as follows:

14mm I can see trailing after 35 seconds (I use 30) , 24mm I limit it to 25 seconds. 50mm 15 seconds, 105 mm 6 seconds, 200 mm 3 seconds. those are my real life figures with my images and seeing nice decent light points.

And always use a tripod or set the camera down on the ground.

even at 24mm, things aren't always crystal sharp at 25, but the amount of light you gather vs 20 seconds is pretty different.

http://wadedowdy.zenfolio.com/p262599777/e26baf98c
The link takes you to a few of my pics,

What is important, is tripod and either timer release or remove release to remove vibrations, along with any light nearby in the area.
 

Commodorefirst

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Also for your D7000 and DX body, with your 35mm try 15 seconds at ISO 1600 and 3200,

With your 12-24 try 12mm at 25 seconds. My timings are with my D3 and D3s FX. Don't forget to turn on Long Exposure NR if the d7000 has it. This will take a same number of second shot of dark frame and subract the noise from the image, will give much cleaner images without stacking and other things folks use.

My shots are single image shots.
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info guys! I'll practice some tonight with all the info ya'll gave me and try to get some good stuff. I'll post back with what I have.
 
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Do you guys think my 12-24 will be to slow? I'll bring it anyway but I obviously want to use the best lens possible, and I'm thinking my 35 1.8 would be better since its faster :) Learning A LOT with the given information btw, I appreciate it!
 
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Try them both. 12mm shows a wider view, which does not show the movement as bad, but f/4 is twice slower than f/2.8, so exposure will need twice the seconds or ISO, both difficult.

35mm is closer to telephoto, and F/2 is twice faster than f/2/8, offsetting the motion, the fewer seconds minimizing movement the 3x greater magnification would show.

Or of course, some sort of drive mount to make the camera follow the motion solves many problems. See http://www.google.com/search?q=barn+door+tracker for a simple method. This is just a couple of boards, a hinge, and a small ball mount. You turn a long screw one turn per minute to drive the tracker.
 
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Commodorefirst

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Try them both. 12mm shows a wider view, which does not show the movement as bad, but f/4 is twice slower than f/2.8, so exposure will need twice the seconds or ISO, both difficult.

35mm is closer to telephoto, and F/2 is twice faster than f/2/8, offsetting the motion, the fewer seconds minimizing movement the 3x greater magnification would show.

Or of course, some sort of drive mount to make the camera follow the motion solves many problems. See http://www.google.com/search?q=barn+door+tracker for a simple method. This is just a couple of boards, a hinge, and a small ball mount. You turn a long screw one turn per minute to drive the tracker.
good points Wayne, I forgot all about it being a f4 lens. I used to own this glass, but memory fades with time. :wink:
 
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