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02-18-2019, 07:22 PM - 1 Like   #1
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A Tale of 2.5 Lenses - The Moon, 55-300, and 500mm

I took some moon shots tonight - I've attached the best three to this post. First, the 55-300. Second, a Tamron 500mm Adaptall-2 SP (55BB). Thjird, the same lens, but with the 1.4x TC attached. Some editing in LR - the same for all three to heighten and darken contrast and cropped to approx the same size.

(I was fairly happy with all three. I should go get my Soligor 450mm, but I'm tired at this point.)

I think that I want to take a bunch more when the moon is less full and more accessible. However, of the three, I like the non-TC 500mm the best. I wasn't sure if that lens was going to do well, but it did.

Is there a filter for bright moon photos that would fit the Tamron 55BB?

Edit: I see the focus didn't quite come in on the third one. I cannot decide if I am missing the fine focus, or the TC is off. I'll have to try the TC on one of my 60-300s to see what happens.

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Last edited by jawats; 02-18-2019 at 07:29 PM.
02-18-2019, 07:39 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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Nice pictures!

Your desire to take pictures when the moon is less full has a very good reason.

Taking a picture of a totally-full moon is like taking portraits with only an on-camera pop-up flash -- the alignment of the light-source, subject, and camera is so close that the subject has no shadows which makes it look flat and soft.

Offset lighting of peoples' faces (and the moon's face) helps brings out the shape, detail, and texture of the subject.
02-18-2019, 10:00 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jawats Quote
Is there a filter for bright moon photos that would fit the Tamron 55BB?
No need for filters - just adjust your exposure length (use the looney 11 rule: shutter speed about equal to 1/ISO for aperture of f11; although I prefer an aperture of f8). For ISO 100-200 or so, your exposure lengths can be around ~ 1/100 or less, to avoid blur due to camera motion. Use 2-second lockup mode. No problem with lunar motion during exposure: the moon moves around 15 arcseconds per time second due to Earth rotation. Unless you have a super-duper telephoto lens, your resolution due to atmospheric seeing and/or pixel scale will be more than arcseconds.
02-19-2019, 03:56 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Use Live View 100% zoom to focus manually. You may need to stop down and turn the screen brightness down while you do this.

02-19-2019, 06:48 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Nice pictures!

Your desire to take pictures when the moon is less full has a very good reason.

Taking a picture of a totally-full moon is like taking portraits with only an on-camera pop-up flash -- the alignment of the light-source, subject, and camera is so close that the subject has no shadows which makes it look flat and soft.

Offset lighting of peoples' faces (and the moon's face) helps brings out the shape, detail, and texture of the subject.
I have definitely noticed that. I've been thinking about combining pictures of the moon in other-than-full phase to combine different detailed aspects into one "full" moon.
02-19-2019, 07:17 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jawats Quote
I have definitely noticed that. I've been thinking about combining pictures of the moon in other-than-full phase to combine different detailed aspects into one "full" moon.
Interesting idea. Any ideas on how to handle shadows?
02-19-2019, 07:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
No need for filters - just adjust your exposure length (use the looney 11 rule: shutter speed about equal to 1/ISO for aperture of f11; although I prefer an aperture of f8). For ISO 100-200 or so, your exposure lengths can be around ~ 1/100 or less, to avoid blur due to camera motion. Use 2-second lockup mode. No problem with lunar motion during exposure: the moon moves around 15 arcseconds per time second due to Earth rotation. Unless you have a super-duper telephoto lens, your resolution due to atmospheric seeing and/or pixel scale will be more than arcseconds.
So, my middle photo, at 1/500, ISO 200, and f8 - may have actually been a bit slow? Perhaps 1/750 or 1/800?

---------- Post added 02-19-19 at 07:27 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jgnfld Quote
Interesting idea. Any ideas on how to handle shadows?
Not yet - the idea is in its infancy. However, as I work on it (soon to switch careers for more time), I will be here chatting about it.

---------- Post added 02-19-19 at 07:27 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Use Live View 100% zoom to focus manually. You may need to stop down and turn the screen brightness down while you do this.
I have used it. I can almost never get as clear or close as I can through the eyepiece.
02-19-2019, 08:07 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jawats Quote
I have used it. I can almost never get as clear or close as I can through the eyepiece
Sorry but that makes no sense. If you use LV: 1. you are seeing the exact image the sensor sees, so there can be no possibility of FF/BF due to a misaligned AF sensor/mirror assembly....and 2. in 100% LV the image is huge, you cannot possibly focus better with the eyepiece.

I assume you are using a tripod ?

02-19-2019, 09:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Sorry but that makes no sense. If you use LV: 1. you are seeing the exact image the sensor sees, so there can be no possibility of FF/BF due to a misaligned AF sensor/mirror assembly....and 2. in 100% LV the image is huge, you cannot possibly focus better with the eyepiece.

I assume you are using a tripod ?
I am using a tripod. It may not make sense to you, but it works well for me.
02-19-2019, 09:22 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jawats Quote
I am using a tripod. It may not make sense to you, but it works well for me.

One bit of advice that may have flown by in the discussion: Do you know how to zoom your Live View view? That allows very fine focus. Try it out and see.

That said, any remotely affordable SLR camera lens taking single exposures is never going to be crystal clear. For that you need some sort of real astrographic setup.

That said #2, this is why various stacking techniques were developed. They can really help.

Last edited by jgnfld; 02-19-2019 at 09:37 AM.
02-19-2019, 09:24 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jawats Quote
I have definitely noticed that. I've been thinking about combining pictures of the moon in other-than-full phase to combine different detailed aspects into one "full" moon.
I think that was the idea behind the National Geographic moon map released 50 years ago (! HOLY CRAP) this month. Each feature was rendered as if it were being lit from one side, a physical impossibility. but it does make for a nicely readable map. Good luck in your lunar shooting! Keep us posted how it goes.
02-19-2019, 09:32 AM   #12
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One other trick that was pointed out to me relative to focusing on the moon in Live View is to use Movie mode instead of Photo. For some reason Movie is better able to deal with the extremely bright object and high contrast and allow good focusing. Then once you get the focus nailed, switch back to Photo mode.
02-19-2019, 11:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgnfld Quote
One bit of advice that may have flown by in the discussion: Do you know how to zoom your Live View view? That allows very fine focus. Try it out and see.

That said, any remotely affordable SLR camera lens taking single exposures is never going to be crystal clear. For that you need some sort of real astrographic setup.

That said #2, this is why various stacking techniques were developed. They can really help.
I purchased a tracker this Christmas. I haven't had nights that are both clear enough and warm enough that I want to spend time aligning and fiddling with the tracker. With that said, for moon photography, I may end up getting a decent telescope at some point.

---------- Post added 02-19-19 at 11:04 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by SteveinSLC Quote
One other trick that was pointed out to me relative to focusing on the moon in Live View is to use Movie mode instead of Photo. For some reason Movie is better able to deal with the extremely bright object and high contrast and allow good focusing. Then once you get the focus nailed, switch back to Photo mode.
That's a good idea! I will give it a shot. Also, have you ever tried the astrostacking with movie recordings on a Pentax?

---------- Post added 02-19-19 at 11:06 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Thagomizer Quote
I think that was the idea behind the National Geographic moon map released 50 years ago (! HOLY CRAP) this month. Each feature was rendered as if it were being lit from one side, a physical impossibility. but it does make for a nicely readable map. Good luck in your lunar shooting! Keep us posted how it goes.
Thank you! I shall do.
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