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Echoes1024
Feb 10, 2006, 12:46 PM
I'm trying to take a picture of the moon, I'm using a 500mm fixed F8 lens with a 1.6x tele-converter on a D100 which has a lens factor of 1.5. So I think the focal length becomes: 1.5 * 500 * 1.5 = 1200mm (i hope this is the right way to calculate!).

Anyhow, as you can imagine its very hard to keep the camera steady on a tripod with such a long lens, I've tried using a timer with no luck. There are still slight vibrations. The lens is "Non-CPU" so I have to expose and focus manually. The focusing is easy, I just set the lens to "Infinity". As for exposure, I've found that I get the best results with a shutter speed of 1/30 with a fixed F8 aperture. But this is resulting in a slight blur of the image. I don't think that the image is out of focus because I shot one at 1/125 and that was quite sharp but yes, underexposed. So I'm confused here... should I increase the ISO? But I'm afraid that will add digital grain. I don't have a remote or cable release for the camera either.

What do you guys suggest?



iGary
Feb 10, 2006, 12:54 PM
I'm trying to take a picture of the moon, I'm using a 500mm fixed F8 lens with a 1.6x tele-converter on a D100 which has a lens factor of 1.5. So I think the focal length becomes: 1.5 * 500 * 1.5 = 1200mm (i hope this is the right way to calculate!).

Anyhow, as you can imagine its very hard to keep the camera steady on a tripod with such a long lens, I've tried using a timer with no luck. There are still slight vibrations. The lens is "Non-CPU" so I have to expose and focus manually. The focusing is easy, I just set the lens to "Infinity". As for exposure, I've found that I get the best results with a shutter speed of 1/30 with a fixed F8 aperture. But this is resulting in a slight blur of the image. I don't think that the image is out of focus because I shot one at 1/125 and that was quite sharp but yes, underexposed. So I'm confused here... should I increase the ISO? But I'm afraid that will add digital grain. I don't have a remote or cable release for the camera either.

What do you guys suggest?

Up the ISO, shorten your tripod to its shortest length, try to shoot at 1/500th and treat yourself to Noise Ninja. Remotes are cheap - get one.

That all should help.

Echoes1024
Feb 10, 2006, 01:08 PM
Up the ISO, shorten your tripod to its shortest length, try to shoot at 1/500th and treat yourself to Noise Ninja. Remotes are cheap - get one.

That all should help.

Umm... do you really think it would be possible to shoot at 1/500? I shot at 1/125 and the pic was dark. Would the ISO help that much? :eek:

And as for the remote... I would get one except its not available where I live... :mad:

arogge
Feb 10, 2006, 02:15 PM
Have you used mirror lockup or "anti-mirror shock"?

pdpfilms
Feb 10, 2006, 02:22 PM
Have you used mirror lockup or "anti-mirror shock"?
Mirror lockup in combination with a timer will eliminate all vibrations.

However:

Blur may be occurring at 1/30 due to movements of the moon itself. At 1200mm (equivalent), you're pretty close in there. And try just sitting and watching the moon through your camera for a few seconds... you'll see its movement at that magnification is quite visible. So I would also suggest upping the shutter speed to at least 1/60, along with the ISO.

Abstract
Feb 10, 2006, 03:00 PM
What ISO are you using it at right now? You told us the shutter speeds, but if you're using your camera at ISO 200 or 400 or something, then yes, up the ISO to 800 and increase the shutter speed.

Lower the tripod to it's shortest point as well, like iGary suggested.

Blur may be occurring at 1/30 due to movements of the moon itself.

Wow, never thought of that.

And speaking of things you'd never think of, the light from the moon may not come straight into your camera. Ever wonder why stars look like they twinkle? Air flows, and air density at a particular location in the sky will constantly change. For example, the small patch of air to your left side may not be exaaaaactly the same as the patch of air to your right side even though they're so close together (a bad, exaggerated example). This is a bigger issue high up in the atmosphere, and since light is passing through different densities of air that's also constantly changing, light travelling from the moon through the Earth's atmosphere is constantly bending by a different amount due to these air density fluctuations. This is why stars look like they're twinkling, and hence why you may not get a steady shot of the sky at 1/30 second shutter speed.

Poeben
Feb 11, 2006, 01:35 AM
I would shoot at a minimum of 1/250 second. Remember the moon is a sunlit subject, so you should use a similar exposure to that of a daytime sunlit subject. At 1/30 you will definitely get blur from the movement of the moon/earth/camera etc especially with a long lens.

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 12:13 PM
If things are sharp at faster shutter speeds, then obviously something is moving. Shorten the tripod, watch out for wind, enable mirror lockup and use the self timer.

I'm kinda surprised that you would call a reflex lens with a 1.5x (I don't know of any high end ones, all the high end teleconverters I know are 1.4x) sharp anyway. It isn't not sharp because of blooming or anything?

Maybe you can coordinate all of the mac rumors people to flash the moon at the same time, allowing you some more light.

Echoes1024
Feb 11, 2006, 01:16 PM
Well the thought of the movement of the moon did occur to me but I didn't didn't it would be noticeable...

And what is a mirror lock up? (Sorry, I'm new to photography!). Does the D100 have it? I really should read the manual.


I'm kinda surprised that you would call a reflex lens with a 1.5x (I don't know of any high end ones, all the high end teleconverters I know are 1.4x) sharp anyway. It isn't not sharp because of blooming or anything?

Well... the D100 and the lens aren't mine, they belong to my dad. I, personally, use a Coolpix 8800 but yeah now I wish I had bought the D50. The lens is quite old, I think he used it with his F3 or F4. And so I don't know really know about the lens' resolution but I've attached 2 pictures. One taken at 1/125th and the other at 1/30, maybe you can tell if the lens is good or not? I don't know much about tele-converters either, do they make a lens resolution worse?

whocares
Feb 11, 2006, 01:34 PM
The 125th sec. one looks like it's not suffering from "mirror slap" to me. It looks more like the softness is due to the 500mm reflex lense + teleconverter combo.

Try boosting the ISO higher to get a higher shutter speed and a bit more exposure (maybe 250th and ISO x4). Also try removing the teleconverter; you may get better results.

I tried photographing the moon with a 500mm reflex. I wasn't pleased with the results. The 500mm went to eBay.

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 02:39 PM
I'm not sure here, but maybe we're seeing blooming on the second image. By using brightness and contrast I can make the second image a lot brighter/usable. You should try the same thing, maybe try a shot at say 1/100 and see if you can't improve apon this. I would NOT raise the ISO. The images you showed are already a little noise, and I think it will only get worse if you start boosting it, as it is the D100 can't shoot less than ISO 200. I think with the various suggestions here (D100's mirror lockup can be found under Custom Function 24 and causes the mirror to lock up 1/2 second before shutter opens) you'll probably catch a few good images that can be made better in post.

Might as well take every combination you can think of, 1/125-1/30, and see which ones are usable, and then take off the TC and see if things are better. I wager they won't be, simply because even though resolution goes down when using TC's its generally still better than cropping.

iGary
Feb 11, 2006, 02:55 PM
It's savable, although the noise produced from bringing up the exposure isn't so desirable.

Do what Jared said and keep trying different combinations. :)

http://web.mac.com/garybooberry/iWeb/Site/Library%207_files/DSC_0001.jpg

Abstract
Feb 11, 2006, 03:41 PM
Um.....repeat question: What ISO are you using?

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 03:53 PM
Um.....repeat question: What ISO are you using?
He's probably using ISO 200, its the lowest the D100 can do.

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 03:56 PM
It's savable, although the noise produced from bringing up the exposure isn't so desirable.

Do what Jared said and keep trying different combinations. :)

Our meathods must differ a little bit, mine didn't get that much shadow noise. Never the less, maybe running it through some noise ninja would work (I cannot I don't have it on this computer at the moment).

Abstract
Feb 11, 2006, 05:35 PM
He's probably using ISO 200, its the lowest the D100 can do.

Why is he "probably" using 200? I wanna know how much more he can crank the ISO, and therefore use a faster shutter speed.

This entire thread is getting kind of cyclic if he doesn't reshoot and tell us how it went.

whocares
Feb 11, 2006, 06:28 PM
Why is he "probably" using 200? I wanna know how much more he can crank the ISO, and therefore use a faster shutter speed.

Probably up to 1,600, but it gets very noisy (the range is 200-1600 I think on a D100).
I find noise to be acceptable on a D70s up to 800. And I've found a great (not cheap but not ludicrously expensive either) PS filter that does a great job at reducing noise. It's called Noise Ninja.

Echoes1024
Feb 11, 2006, 07:05 PM
Um.....repeat question: What ISO are you using?

I'm sorry, I completely missed your post. My ISO is at 200...

Echoes1024
Feb 11, 2006, 07:24 PM
Well ok, I'm going to try different combinations tonight. Increase the ISO, use a faster shutter speed etc. I'll take shots with and without the tele-converter. The only reason I'm using this lens is because of the huge magnification, I do have a 70-200 but that won't go anywhere near this, obviously; though its resolution is quite good.

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 07:43 PM
Why is he "probably" using 200? I wanna know how much more he can crank the ISO, and therefore use a faster shutter speed.

This entire thread is getting kind of cyclic if he doesn't reshoot and tell us how it went.

I think a black background+white/grey moon is possibly the worst time ever to "crank" up the ISO. There is generally way more noise in dark and colorless subjects. And the D100 goes all the way up to 6400, but I don't think I'd use over 200, MAYBE 400 if it was necessary.

Abstract
Feb 11, 2006, 07:58 PM
The D100 goes up to 6400? No way! :eek:

I think it likely goes to ISO 1600 as well, but I think that at ISO 800, his image quality will still be ok. Howver, dark areas will be a problem like you pointed out, but if he takes 2 photos, one at ISO 800 or 1600, and one at ISO 200, and then "cut out" the moon from the ISO 200 image and layer it on top of the ISO 1600 image so that the moon from the ISO 1600 image is used, while the black areas from the ISO 200 image is used. I don't know how to do this myself, but people who use Photoshop can do this sort of thing quite easily once they learn how.

Echoes1024
Feb 11, 2006, 08:02 PM
I think a black background+white/grey moon is possibly the worst time ever to "crank" up the ISO. There is generally way more noise in dark and colorless subjects. And the D100 goes all the way up to 6400, but I don't think I'd use over 200, MAYBE 400 if it was necessary.

Yeah, I guess but I don't really have another option to try... First I'll shoot at ISO 200 and vary the shutter-speed between 1/30-1/125 and then then I'll try shooting with a higher ISO, i'll apply noise reduction to shots which are grainy. Maybe I'll get a good picture using one of the above methods...

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 08:02 PM
The D100 goes up to 6400? No way! :eek:

I think it likely goes to ISO 1600 as well, but I think that at ISO 800, his image quality will still be ok. Howver, dark areas will be a problem like you pointed out, but if he takes 2 photos, one at ISO 800 or 1600, and one at ISO 200, and then "cut out" the moon from the ISO 200 image and layer it on top of the ISO 1600 image so that the moon from the ISO 1600 image is used, while the black areas from the ISO 200 image is used. I don't know how to do this myself, but people who use Photoshop can do this sort of thing quite easily once they learn how.
I think it might look goofy though, and just to make sure.... do you not believe me about iso 6400?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond100/page16.asp

Echoes1024
Feb 11, 2006, 08:19 PM
What about the D100's built-in Noise Reduction? Would that give better results then Noise Ninja or other similar software?

jared_kipe
Feb 11, 2006, 08:29 PM
Nah, normally built in noise reduction takes out hot pixels, but not noise.

Abstract
Feb 11, 2006, 10:16 PM
The camera isn't going to be as good at noise reduction as Noise Ninja.

I think it might look goofy though, and just to make sure.... do you not believe me about iso 6400?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond100/page16.asp

Well then I stand corrected. I didn't think Nikon had anything beyond 3200, which already seems high.

Echoes1024
Apr 13, 2006, 11:56 PM
Ok, first of all I am extremely sorry to revive such an old thread but I recently got some time to finally shoot some pictures of the moon. I did succeed this time but the image lacks detail. Why could this be? Do you think the lens isn't of good quality? I'm using a Mirror lens F8 500mm coupled with a 1.6 tele-converter on a D100 which has a lens-factor of 1.5x. So I get a focal length of around 1200mm.

ISO: 400
Shutter speed: 1/125th
Aperture: F8

This what came out:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v496/saadabbasi/Moon.jpg

As you can see the image is pretty soft... not sharp as it should be. Is this the lens? Or are there still some slight vibrations which are causing this?

OutThere
Apr 14, 2006, 08:46 AM
Remember that even with the best of equipment and setup, photos of the moon from the earth's surface can never be quite as sharp as you want them to be, simply because you're shooting through several miles of swirling atmospheric gasses.

They'll be sharpest when the moon is as directly overhead, and therefore you're shooting through the least amount of air.

In general, shooting the moon (haha) tends to be frustrating and not very rewarding (believe it or not, the majority of moon shots look exactly the same! ;) ), but the big advantage of knowing how to do it well is that when there is an eclipse, you're ready. Eclipses are damn cool.

jared_kipe
Apr 14, 2006, 11:42 AM
The mirror lenses are never that great in quality, Sigma doesn't even make one anymore, so that might be a problem. You could try to shoot the moon when its more on the horizon, thus you can use a shorter shutter speed. Shoot in raw, and then mask out the black and sharpen it up a little.

Echoes1024
Apr 14, 2006, 01:02 PM
Thank you to both of you for your suggestions. I'll try them tomorrow evening. :)

PS: I have a 80-200mm F2.8 lens, that will translate into a 300mm onto a D100, do you think that will have more detail then this one?

What image would you rather take? The larger, but soft, by the 1200mm or a 4 times smaller but more sharper and detailed by the 300mm?

rjphoto
Apr 14, 2006, 01:08 PM
Good grief, I can't believe everyone missed 2 major things here...

1. by using the x-converter you are also changing the F-stop, not just the focal length of the lens.

2. The Moon is a Sun lite object... you should use the same exposure as you would shooting in broad day light here on earth. The higher the shutter speed the better becasue there is movement in the Moon and unless you are using a release cable you will get camera shake. (You can also use the self timer to let the camera shake settle down before the exposure starts.)

Try changing the ISO and bracket the shutter speed 8 or 10 exposures.

Clix Pix
Apr 14, 2006, 01:21 PM
Well, of course the image of the moon is soft.... everyone knows that the moon is made of green cheese!! :D :D :D

jared_kipe
Apr 14, 2006, 02:32 PM
Good grief, I can't believe everyone missed 2 major things here...

1. by using the x-converter you are also changing the F-stop, not just the focal length of the lens.

2. The Moon is a Sun lite object... you should use the same exposure as you would shooting in broad day light here on earth. The higher the shutter speed the better becasue there is movement in the Moon and unless you are using a release cable you will get camera shake. (You can also use the self timer to let the camera shake settle down before the exposure starts.)

Try changing the ISO and bracket the shutter speed 8 or 10 exposures.
What?
Of course it changes the aperture. Is that not perfectly obvious?

The moon might as well be lit by a candle, what does the light source have to do with anything? It is also obvious to say he should need a relatively fast shutter speed - because the moon is moving. I already said that.
But what you're saying is what we call a logical falacy. Lets say I want to shoot a building under daylight. If the building isn't moving it doesn't matter what shutter speed I use. So just because its lit by the sun doesn't mean you need to use ... daylight exposure speeds?? It should occours to you that that statement is rediculous.

EDIT: I just went back to see Echo was shooting at 1/125. That is fast enough. Unless wind or something is shaking the camera I would think that shutter speed is fast enough to stop the moon's movement.

EDIT2: Looking back at the previous posts again I would have to say you have gotten as sharp as its going to get with that combination. Try without the teleconverter. the 80-200 would probably be shaper, but not when you consider the difference in focal length. You've done everything you can, you're just at the limits of your technology.

rjphoto
Apr 14, 2006, 03:25 PM
What?
Of course it changes the aperture. Is that not perfectly obvious?

The moon might as well be lit by a candle, what does the light source have to do with anything? It is also obvious to say he should need a relatively fast shutter speed - because the moon is moving. I already said that.
But what you're saying is what we call a logical falacy. Lets say I want to shoot a building under daylight. If the building isn't moving it doesn't matter what shutter speed I use. So just because its lit by the sun doesn't mean you need to use ... daylight exposure speeds?? It should occours to you that that statement is rediculous.

No, it is not perfectly obvious to a novis. They think that since they are using an F8 lens that is what they will get. Add the X-converter to the equation and it changes. If they are doing manual calcualtions of the exposure, that has to be factored in. By bracketing the exposure several stops above and below the normal "Day Light" exposure will give decent results.
Logical Falacy? No, I've photograhed the moon many times using this "RULE OF THUMB". Including several hours on my back on the cold ground one November photographing an eclips from begining to end.

f16 at 1/60th of a second with ISO 100...try it and see.

From New York Institute of Photography: http://www.nyip.com/tips/current/eclipse1104.php
Exposure
Since the moon is a sunlit object, the "sunny 16" rule applies. (This is an easy-to-remember trick for photographing any sunlit subject that photographers relied upon prior to the days of autoexposure.) Simply put, the correct exposure for an object lit by bright sun can be a shutter speed of 1/the ISO of the film you're using, with an aperture of ƒ/16. For example, if you're using an ISO 400 speed film, a good starting point for a correct exposure of the moon would be ƒ/16 at 1/400. Since most cameras don't have a shutter speed setting of 1/400, we would suggest bracketing the exposure and making one at 1/250 at ƒ/16, and one at 1/500 at ƒ/16.


Don't trust me, check out:
http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/howtophoto/

rjphoto
Apr 14, 2006, 03:36 PM
See if the lens has a tripod mount on it.

That's a pretting big lens and it is more than likely moving the camera.

Again like jared_kipe said, lose the x-converter and try the other lens.


AND Bracket the exposure.

Tonight should be a good night to shoot the moon........

jared_kipe
Apr 14, 2006, 04:22 PM
I wouldn't try the 200mm lens. Its just too short.

As to what the above guy is talking about.... for one thing his lens is fixed at f8. And I assume his TC eats just over 1 stop of light. Maybe 1 and a third.

Anyway, he's not having a problem metering for it, its just that its soft. But I really don't think it will get any better even if he boosts ISO to get faster shutter, or just underexposes and does levels in software.

Oh and his lens isn't too big at all, and its really light. Reflex lenses are basically empty air. Think of a mini satellite dish with hollow tube around it.

Echoes1024
Apr 14, 2006, 09:58 PM
I'm not making any calculations (being a rookie and all! :P). And I know I can bracket, but I just vary the shutter speed manually. That is take 2 shots at 1/30th then 1/60th and so on. Ofcourse I vary the ISO speed as well otherwise the moon would be unexposed. Is there any other advantage to bracketing that I don't know of?

jared_kipe
Apr 15, 2006, 12:19 AM
I'm not making any calculations (being a rookie and all! :P). And I know I can bracket, but I just vary the shutter speed manually. That is take 2 shots at 1/30th then 1/60th and so on. Ofcourse I vary the ISO speed as well otherwise the moon would be unexposed. Is there any other advantage to bracketing that I don't know of?
Just that it does it for you quickly, I don't use it myself, takes too long to setup. Its easier for me to do the way you're doing. Plus I don't know if it can bracket changing the iso instead of aperture.

Clix Pix
Apr 15, 2006, 07:25 AM
Someone on the Nikon Cafe website used a D2x, a 2x TC and the Sigma "Bigma" lens on the Bogen 3252 tripod with a long lens support. He used mirror lockup and got a stunning moon shot.... unfortunately he didn't provide his exif with specifics. The particular photo is at http://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=69497&page=2

Echoes1024
Apr 15, 2006, 07:15 PM
Someone on the Nikon Cafe website used a D2x, a 2x TC and the Sigma "Bigma" lens on the Bogen 3252 tripod with a long lens support. He used mirror lockup and got a stunning moon shot.... unfortunately he didn't provide his exif with specifics. The particular photo is at http://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=69497&page=2

Now those are STUNNING! I wanna do that :(

jared_kipe
Apr 16, 2006, 12:04 PM
Now those are STUNNING! I wanna do that :(
Lens must be the problem then. He's using a modern "nice" lens, and a modern teleconverter. You shouldn't be surprised your old mirror lens isn't up to the task.