Newbie Moon photography kit question.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kenoh, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I am a real beginner in photography - I enjoy it but I am a newbie so please be tolerant.

    I bought myself a Canon 1100d entry dSLR in February and I am still learning to take a good picture as in composition, lighting and colour. I am enjoying the learning journey and I am chuffed at how much better pictures I now take. I know I need to buy a better camera at some point but cant decide. 7d/6d/5dmkii... am I really THAT into it? - sorry

    However, I particularly enjoy trying to take pictures of the moon. I have my 1100d with a couple of lenses, the 18-55mm kit, the 75-300mm kit, 50mm f2.8 and a 18-200mm and a tripod. So I have toys to play with.

    I find taking photos of the moon are better on the 300mm lens as opposed to the 200mm. The extra zoom (please dont lecture on the terminology - I know I am a noob but let me enjoy my ignorance a little longer :) ) outweighing the IQ of the 200mm (dont laugh, photosnobs I know both lenses are entry level and no match for L series).

    So here is my question, how best can i take the next step? do I go to a prime 400mm L series or 100-400 L lens at £1000? or would I be better getting a 6 inch newtonian (or similar) telescope and an adapter for £350?

    Are both options a waste of time given the limitations of my camera? am I going to want to take deeper space pictures once I get a decent moon shot?

    Budget wise, £1500 is about the top end I would go to. Not for financial reasons, just the caveat that I just might not be THAT into it.

    Advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    K.
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego CA, USA
    #2
    If your intention is to capture an image of the moon with the maximum possible detail, an image where the moon fills the image, you will need a lens with a focal length of 3000mm or so. That would be sort of an impractical and expensive lens for most people. So you might be better off with an inexpensive astronomical telescope, possibly something you can buy used. An astronomical telescope is likely to include a clock-drive that will compensate for the Earth's rotation and allow you to take longer exposures.
     
  3. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #3
    To expand on the good advice of PsudoPowerPoint - if you are that passionate about astronomical photos, you are going to end up with a telescope in the end. It is more expensive to buy something less, and then upgrade than to just bite the bullet and get what you need know. Especially if you end upgrading through several steps before getting the telescope. Perhaps you can share ownership with someone who has a different schedule. You get the telescope on good moon nights, and they get on nights when the moon is dark and what they want to see more visible?
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #4
    Just as a reference, this is a shot of the moon I did with my 120-400 Sigma at 400mm. The image isn't cropped.

    [​IMG]
    EXIF Summary: 1/80s f/11.0 ISO100 400mm

    Dale
     
  5. kenoh, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #5
    Designer Dale, that is exactly what I want to do but my 300 is not getting the detail - it is a very cheap lens with basic optics.

    I was looking at the Sigmas and thinking that as I am not looking for professional pictures that are printed large scale then the Sigma would be ideal.

    What do you think of that lens?

    Thanks

    Ken.

    ----------

    Thank you sir. I know that to get a really close shot I would need a massive bit of glass. While a 3000mm lens would be great, I wouldnt like the lifting gear to get it in the garden! would be good though right? :) That was why I was thinking about a 4-6 inch telescope with a motor drive to track. I also thought that that may then lead to me trying astrophotography but right now, I am happy to do what Designer Dale does above.

    I love the details around the edges. My attempts right now are a little blurred.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #6
    This is exactly what I am trying to achieve. Thanks for posting the picture and EXIF detail.

    Really appreciate the guidance.

    ----------

    Thank you very much. This is what I was thinking. I suppose wanted some one who knows what they were doing to confirm I was being silly.

    Thanks.
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #7
    Here's a link for anyone interested: http://astropix.com/

    There's also an Astrophotography thread in this sub-forum. I think the title is Full Moon Fever.

    Dale
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    #8
    To get great pictures of the moon, you would most likely need a telescope. A 5" or 6" catadioptric (i.e. mirror) scope would be a good choice. Remember the moon is illuminated by the same sun that we are so the exposure is basically the same as noon daylight: f/11 with your iso as your shutter speed. Some of the computer controlled Schmidt/Cassegrain designs are not all that expensive. The motor drive in the scope will keep the moon centered for you but it's not necessary for the exposure since the exposure time will be relatively short. A used scope may be a bit less than your price point and people often buy a small scope and then upgrade to a larger one because they want more light gathering power for fainter objects.
    just a thought of mine...
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    I think I would bypass the 400mm lens and go for a telescope adaptor. DesignerDale's shot is nice and sharp but you can already see the limitations of the focal length with the moon only taking up a fraction of the frame. Any other planet is going to be a tiny speck and you will soon be moving on.

    Just the advice from someone who has spent far too much on stop-gap equipment which goes on Ebay after a few months to fund what I really should have bought!
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Huntington, WV
    #10
    Here's one i did. Taken with my 300mm f/4 L. Cropped, obviously. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #11
    Thanks Everyone.

    I think I am decided that the telescope option is the one I need to look at as it gives greater flexibility for a lower price point - now there is a rare situation in todays world!

    Guys, thank you for taking the time to answer my newbie question. Now I need to focus on getting the image I see in my head onto the sensor!!! :)

    ----------

    beautiful! I wish I could get them that nice on mine.
     

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