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03-27-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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What do you need for photographing the moon and the planets ?

Just wondering what equipment is needed for photographing the moon and planets. Also the prices involved in this.

03-27-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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Moon is easy. 300mm lens will do fine if you can crop. Depends on whether you want just the moon or are trying for a scenic with some landscape involved as well. I have taken good shots of just the moon with a 400mm lens and also with the 400mm and a 2x teleconverter (800mm equivalent) but you could get the same image by using a shorter lens and cropping. Good solid tripod and remote release are required with those focal lengths though. Haze, cloud etc. will severely degrade the image so picking your night is important. Also, light pollution from city or other lights will affect the image.

Be aware that the moon moves rapidly. Setting your shutter speed too slow will cause blur. Fortunately it is quite bright as well so a reasonable shutter speed is not hard to get. Use the lowest ISO you can achieve to keep the noise as low as possible.

Pricing? You could get a DA L 55-300mm for less than $200 most likely, a Takumar 300mm prime for about the same, add a 2x doubler to the Takumar and you get 600mm. A good tripod and head combo $200 and up. Those are all very bottom level pricing, you could easily spend $8,000 for an FA*600mm and a Gitzo tripod with Acratech head. Depends on your budget and your image quality requirements. I see you already have the DA L 55-300mm so try that first. If you have a teleconverter try that too although image quality usually suffers a bit.

No idea about shooting planets though. Maybe a telescope and adapter?
03-27-2012, 09:49 AM   #3
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I'm hardly an expert on this subject, but you may want to expand just a little on what you want to accomplish to get the best advise. What you may need to shoot the planets well should do a good job for the moon, but probably not the other way around.
The moon is relatively close compared to the planets and a good, fast telephoto, solid tripod, good clear sky and the rule of 500 and you should get a very nice image. Great images of the planets would most likely require a whole new level of equipment. The focal length required to get a good shot of Saturn for instance would most likely require tracking the planet to get sufficient light.
There you go ... I've done shot all of my knowledge.
03-27-2012, 10:40 AM   #4
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And of course the moon is a sunlit object, so you might start with the sunny f16 rule: f16 and shutter speed of 1 over the ASA, or that newfangled ISO.

Hawki, is the "rule of 500" you cited a restatement of sunny f16?

03-27-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by StDevious Quote
Just wondering what equipment is needed for photographing the moon and planets.
For Sol 3, the kit lens works fine!
03-27-2012, 10:52 AM   #6
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The moon is actually really really bright in comparison to everything else. If you are shooting with a 300mm, you can get very good settings (low ISO, small aperture, fast shutter speeds) if you want to expose to see details on the moon.
03-27-2012, 11:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
And of course the moon is a sunlit object, so you might start with the sunny f16 rule: f16 and shutter speed of 1 over the ASA, or that newfangled ISO.

Hawki, is the "rule of 500" you cited a restatement of sunny f16?
No ... it's a calculation of how long of an exposure you can take with a given focal length before you have trails on your subject caused by the Earth's rotation. Essentially, if you are shooting a 50mm lens, it would equate to 500/50=10 seconds max exposure

cheers
03-27-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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The largest planet (venus at its closest) is about 1/30th the size of the moon. So you need substantially more resolution to see the planets than to see the moon.


Angular diameter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

03-27-2012, 01:05 PM   #9
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Dave, cool. You really are the king of diagrams =)
03-27-2012, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
Dave, cool. You really are the king of diagrams =)
Thanks! I [heart] diagrams!
03-27-2012, 01:55 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hawki Quote
No ... it's a calculation of how long of an exposure you can take with a given focal length before you have trails on your subject caused by the Earth's rotation. Essentially, if you are shooting a 50mm lens, it would equate to 500/50=10 seconds max exposure

cheers
Kewl! A little item worth knowing. So, using a 500 mm lens on my K10d it would yield a 1 second exposure. Is this independent of film or sensor size?

Thanks!
03-27-2012, 04:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
For Sol 3, the kit lens works fine!
Unfortunately, the kit lens doesn't fit the whole planet in the frame. You may find a circular fisheye more satisfactory for photographing that planet.
03-27-2012, 05:15 PM   #13
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Also try not to photograph the moon when it is full. It is tempting but it will appear rather flat. Try a couple days before (or after) full moon and you get some very nice shadows on the craters that give a 3-D feel.
03-27-2012, 05:31 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
And of course the moon is a sunlit object, so you might start with the sunny f16 rule: f16 and shutter speed of 1 over the ASA, or that newfangled ISO.

Hawki, is the "rule of 500" you cited a restatement of sunny f16?
I was taught the Moony 11 rule...f11 and 1/ISO
03-27-2012, 07:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by alphanerd Quote
Unfortunately, the kit lens doesn't fit the whole planet in the frame. You may find a circular fisheye more satisfactory for photographing that planet.
But if you can find a high enough vantage point....
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