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02-13-2017, 07:03 AM   #1
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Live view manual focusing issue - Focusing on full moon

I'm having trouble manually focusing my 70-300 lens on the moon in live view. It never stops down enough for me to see the details on the moon to focus. It is simply a white ball no matter how much I close the aperture and reduce the shutter speed. I have a Sony NEX 7 mirrorless that does this easily.
What am I doing wrong? I've tried manually stopping down the aperture ring and this does nothing. I might have to get a magnifying eyepiece for the viewfinder, but you would think a pro camera would be able to deal with this issue.

Thanks for any help.

02-13-2017, 07:19 AM   #2
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Some points and some questions-

You do not need to worry so much about focus with the Moon. Set the camera to manual focus and set the lens to infinity. I know auto focus systems can get confused with the dark background, so this I find is much simpler.

As for the Moon being washed out, is the camera set to Auto ISO? If so, the ISO is going high all the time due to the ark backgroud of the sky. Try setting your camera to ISO 100 or 200 and set the camera to 1/60 of a second at f8 and see if that doesn't work out for you. If not perfect, you should be close.

Best regards,
02-13-2017, 07:45 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
Some points and some questions-

You do not need to worry so much about focus with the Moon. Set the camera to manual focus and set the lens to infinity. I know auto focus systems can get confused with the dark background, so this I find is much simpler.

As for the Moon being washed out, is the camera set to Auto ISO? If so, the ISO is going high all the time due to the ark backgroud of the sky. Try setting your camera to ISO 100 or 200 and set the camera to 1/60 of a second at f8 and see if that doesn't work out for you. If not perfect, you should be close.

Best regards,
Thanks, the problem is that my lens focuses past infinity and the adjustments are very slight. The camera was set to ISO 100 in manual mode. Live view just does not stop down no matter what aperture and shutter speed I choose. Is this a known issue or am I doing something wrong?
02-13-2017, 08:37 AM   #4
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What lens is it ?

Manually stopping down wont help, you should stop down using the e-dial and should see a reduction in brightness in live view as you do so.

The other thing to do is reduce the brightness of the display using the outdoor view setting (fx2 button by default)

02-13-2017, 08:47 AM   #5
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Did you set the camera to spot metering? (Matrix and Center-Weighed will overexpose.)
02-13-2017, 08:59 AM   #6
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This ^
Spot metering + exposure compensation way down.
02-13-2017, 09:04 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
What lens is it ?

Manually stopping down wont help, you should stop down using the e-dial and should see a reduction in brightness in live view as you do so.

The other thing to do is reduce the brightness of the display using the outdoor view setting (fx2 button by default)
What I've noticed is that Live View will not stop down any more than -5EV from proper exposure, no matter what manual exposure you set. The outdoor view setting may help. I will try later. My cheap mirrorless Sony would stop down to black in the Live View. I was hoping I was doing something wrong. Maybe not.

The lens I was using is my Promaster 70-300. Doesn't matter what lens I have on it.
02-13-2017, 09:14 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarcL Quote
What am I doing wrong? I've tried manually stopping down the aperture ring and this does nothing. I might have to get a magnifying eyepiece for the viewfinder, but you would think a pro camera would be able to deal with this issue.
Aperture ring? What lens are you shooting with? Edit: I see from your comment above that it is a Promaster 70-300.

QuoteOriginally posted by MarcL Quote
Thanks, the problem is that my lens focuses past infinity and the adjustments are very slight. The camera was set to ISO 100 in manual mode. Live view just does not stop down no matter what aperture and shutter speed I choose.
The way I read this, your complaint is that the display does not darken for easier manual focus as you choose higher shutter speeds or smaller apertures.

QuoteOriginally posted by MarcL Quote
Is this a known issue or am I doing something wrong?
What you are experiencing is not an issue, a bug,a design fault, or even a deficiency, though coming from the NEX, it is a reasonable enough for you to be puzzled. Live view on Pentax dSLRs does not generally dim in response to changes in exposure settings in the same manner as your Sony. Instead the display adjusts to reflect the brightness of the subject. This is true even when using the optical DOF preview when the lens is stopped down.*

Where it has trouble is for subjects such as the moon where the camera attempts to find a middle ground between the bright surface of moon and the extremely dark background. Here are a few suggestions and work-arounds for your moon work:
  • Center point auto focus may be adequate for focusing
  • If using manual focus in live view, find a bright star and focus on it instead (use magnified live view) and then frame the moon for your shot. Some users find it helpful to tape the focus ring in place after attaining focus.
  • Exposure can be a challenge as well. Even with spot metering and your lens at 300mm the meter may be thrown off by the dark background. Fortunately, there is a useful convention for moon exposure called the "Luney-11 Rule". It is a variation of the so-called "Sunny-16 Rule" for daylight exposure and is based on the fact that the surface of the moon is essentially a sunlit landscape. In simple terms, use a shutter speed of 1/(ISO setting) and an aperture of f/11.
If you still need to dim the screen beyond what is available as menu settings, there is one case where the live view screen brightness follows changes to the exposure settings. That one case is with exposure compensation (EC). The screen will dim or brighten with EC changes. Remember that using that hack will affect exposure, so be sure and change it back. Edit: Exposure compensation will only provide exposure emulation when an automated exposure mode is selected and does not do so for M or X modes.


Steve

* Most SLR lenses and cameras feature automatic aperture actuation and open aperture metering meaning that the lens aperture is usually full open (or nearly so) except when actually doing the exposure.


Last edited by stevebrot; 02-13-2017 at 04:54 PM.
02-13-2017, 09:55 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarcL Quote
I'm having trouble manually focusing my 70-300 lens on the moon in live view. It never stops down enough for me to see the details on the moon to focus. It is simply a white ball no matter how much I close the aperture and reduce the shutter speed. I have a Sony NEX 7 mirrorless that does this easily.
What am I doing wrong? I've tried manually stopping down the aperture ring and this does nothing. I might have to get a magnifying eyepiece for the viewfinder, but you would think a pro camera would be able to deal with this issue.

Thanks for any help.

You can get some very sharp photos of the moon using live view with manual focus. I have never been able to get sharp photos of the moon focusing to infinity, just doesn't work for me. I am assuming the K1 works similar to my K3 in live view. Are you using the Live View Zoom Function by pressing the OK button then turning the front E dial to zoom further. Also you need to turn on focus peaking its default is off, I think. As far as setting I use manual setting spot metering ISO 200 around f/9 to f/11 and 1/160 shutter speed on my K3 your K1 may be slightly different. 1/60 shutter speed is way too slow, the moon is actually moving pretty fast. I use a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro which ain't the sharpest lens around for sure. I hope you are using a tripod which is sturdy enough and a remote trigger of some sort.


Good Luck



Last edited by Larrymc; 02-13-2017 at 11:39 AM.
02-13-2017, 10:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Larrymc Quote
the moon is actually moving pretty fast
Good point!!! It can easily move out of the frame before one is fully set to do the exposure! It is also moving fast enough to blur.


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02-13-2017, 10:35 AM   #11
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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been using exposure compensation. What I noted above is that the Live View will only stop down to a max of -5EV from normal exposure. I will try using spot metering instead tonight. That is my problem. If I can stop down -5EV from the moon instead of black sky, I will have enough detail to focus on.
02-13-2017, 11:36 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarcL Quote
What I noted above is that the Live View will only stop down to a max of -5EV from normal exposure. I will try using spot metering instead tonight. That is my problem. If I can stop down -5EV from the moon instead of black sky, I will have enough detail to focus on.
Are you sure it is the display brightness? How is that lens when coupled to your NEX 7? Do you have adequate resolution and contrast with the Promaster to focus with that camera?


Steve
02-13-2017, 12:04 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
You do not need to worry so much about focus with the Moon. Set the camera to manual focus and set the lens to infinity. I know auto focus systems can get confused with the dark background, so this I find is much simpler.
With long zooms the infinity mark is usually not reliable, so I'm afraid (at least based on my experience) that focusing is actually a big part of it. Plus a "fast enough" shutter speed and a sturdy tripod.

Also, some cheaper zooms simple aren't sharp enough to resolve the moon well.

I had a similar issue when shooting the moon recently, because the LV image was too bright for me to discern the craters. What I ended up doing to focus was looking at the edge of the moon, with full zoom, and minimizing the amount of green/purple fringing (spherochromatism). In between there lies the perfect focus point
02-13-2017, 12:23 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
What I ended up doing to focus was looking at the edge of the moon, with full zoom, and minimizing the amount of green/purple fringing (spherochromatism). In between there lies the perfect focus point
Now that is a new one and an excellent suggestion!


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02-13-2017, 01:39 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarcL Quote
Thanks for the suggestions. I have been using exposure compensation. What I noted above is that the Live View will only stop down to a max of -5EV from normal exposure. I will try using spot metering instead tonight. That is my problem. If I can stop down -5EV from the moon instead of black sky, I will have enough detail to focus on.


Try manual mode and forget about EV compensation, especially don't use EV compensation when in manual mode all that does is bias the exposure meter. Spot metering and spot focus work best and try to focus on the edge of the moon where the features have more detail, also anticipate the arc of travel so the moon won't move out of frame quickly. Again Good Luck
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