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Almost Full Moon
Lens: Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 DL Macre Super + Quantaray 2X AF Teleconverter Camera: Pentax K-x Photo Location: Blandon, Pa ISO: 200 Shutter Speed: 1/60s Aperture: F9.5 
Posted By: tpg2, 10-16-2010, 09:04 AM

I always had a passion to take the best moon photos possible. I've been outside a number of times as the moon is rising and taking photos by the hundreds. All of the pics I took dissapointed me because I can't get the moon in perfect focus. I'm using a Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 lens with a Quantaray 2X teleconverter all connected to a Pentax K-x (love this camera). As I'm focusing, I can hear the focus indicator "beep" and see the light of the focus indicator flicker but never get it to stay lit for the few seconds I'm shooting pictures. My idea is that if I'm close to seeing the indicator flicker, I start to shoot then refocus.
I'm thinking that the teleconverter's the culprit...then maybe the operator (me). Can anyone give me their thought about this?
Take a look at the pics and let me know. I really want to take good, clear pics of the moon just to show off. Thanks!

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10-16-2010, 09:26 AM   #2
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Tom, moon shots look simple and in a way the are but there a a few things to consider: You don't need auto focus, it's at infinity. You do need a really sturdy tripod, at those focal lengths the slightest breeze will blur it. I use the wireless remote and three second delay. Here is my latest one:
10-16-2010, 09:47 AM   #3
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Hi Heinrich, thanks for the reply!
I do use a tripod and also manual a 2 second delay with the timer. As I'm taking photos, it appears that infinity isn't where the perfect spot is, that's why I think it's the teleconverter. Just using the the sigma 70-300mm telephoto lens by it's self, I get good focusing on any subject, auto or manual.
10-16-2010, 09:49 AM   #4
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Heinrich, your shot of the moon!!

10-16-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
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There are 2 versions of that Sigma and the APO version is slightly higher quality. You are probably right about the tele-converter being the main culprit, though.
10-17-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
Ananta Androscoggin

Thinking about orbital mechanics -- which I know absolutely NONE of the math for -- the Moon's orbit is not circular, it is eliptical. It is not only moving left-to-right (or whichever crosswise way your vantage point puts you), it is also moving either closer to you or farther away, depending on whether it is heading towards orbital apogee or perigee at that moment.

Which means basically, that if one could set up one's tripod at the center of the Earth at the point at the center of gravity for the Moon's orbital path, even there you couldn't escape the Moon's multiple (visual) motions.

Hmmmm . . . I understand that some telescopes have drives that keep them pointed at a specific point in the sky as the world keeps spinning . . . Keeping you aimed at a fixed star over time is one thing, but do they also have settings for the Moon's more complex motions?

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