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08-11-2016, 09:25 AM - 6 Likes   #1
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Sunspots and Pixel Shift

For several years I've used my K30 (together with a Sigma 150-500 and DIY solar filter) to take pictures of sunspots. Today I tried the K-70 using the Pixel Shift feature. I wasn't expecting much as I assumed the resolution of the lens was the limiting factor. However, the results are WAY better than I ever achieved with the K30 - not sure how to explain this.

Looking forward to trying the moon next!

Below is a 100% crop (after much stretching of levels in PP)

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08-11-2016, 09:57 AM   #2
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I'm not an astronomer, but I think you've done very well with the K-70 and your post-processing technique. Neat.

QuoteOriginally posted by planteater Quote
Looking forward to trying the moon next!
On the other hand, it might be difficult to find sunspots there.

Looking forward to your moon shots, and any other celestial subjects!

- Craig
08-11-2016, 10:32 AM   #3
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Looks like dust spots on your sensor... only kidding . Very impressive!
08-11-2016, 11:29 AM   #4
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looks good to me! great job.

08-11-2016, 12:43 PM   #5
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Nice! I think the increased resolution will really help out for astro shots.

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08-11-2016, 01:08 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by planteater Quote
For several years I've used my K30 (together with a Sigma 150-500 and DIY solar filter) to take pictures of sunspots. Today I tried the K-70 using the Pixel Shift feature. I wasn't expecting much as I assumed the resolution of the lens was the limiting factor. However, the results are WAY better than I ever achieved with the K30 - not sure how to explain this.
Nice. I am a professional solar physicist, so I appreciate your efforts. Can you tell us more about your solar filter?

It would be interesting to try pixel-shift with a much longer lens; well, actually, with an amateur astronomical telescope. However, the real limiting factor would be "seeing", i.e., atmospheric turbulence. No matter how high your resolution, you won't get past this. Modern large professional solar telescopes such as the Swedish Solar Telescope on La Palma use adaptive optics to keep this in check. Or we go to spacecraft to avoid it altogether. These are out of amateur reach of course, but it certainly is nice to see what can be achieved with a humble Pentax DSLR.

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 08-15-2016 at 01:32 PM.
08-11-2016, 01:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by darylk Quote
Looks like dust spots on your sensor... only kidding . Very impressive!
That's why you use "rocket" blower to clean them! (Although you'd need the REALLY big one for those spots.)
08-11-2016, 02:12 PM   #8
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can you describe your DIY solar filter? I assume a solar filter is just a stronger ND filter? or does it notch out specific wavelengths?

I used a 9-stop ND and was able to see sunspots during an eclipse once, but was all the way out at 1/8000th : Sun Spots

08-11-2016, 03:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
can you describe your DIY solar filter? I assume a solar filter is just a stronger ND filter?

It's a sheet of Baadar Solar film taped to a cardboard box that fits over the Sigma lens hood.
08-11-2016, 03:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by planteater Quote
It's a sheet of Baadar Solar film taped to a cardboard box that fits over the Sigma lens hood.
thank you
07-15-2017, 09:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by planteater Quote
For several years I've used my K30 (together with a Sigma 150-500 and DIY solar filter) to take pictures of sunspots. Today I tried the K-70 using the Pixel Shift feature. I wasn't expecting much as I assumed the resolution of the lens was the limiting factor. However, the results are WAY better than I ever achieved with the K30 - not sure how to explain this.

Looking forward to trying the moon next!

Below is a 100% crop (after much stretching of levels in PP)
amazing! I have both a K70 and a sigma 150-500, and a film solar filter. I've not been able to get more than just the ring of the sun. What settings did you use? Were you at 500mm on the lens? Will I get more detail with a small aperture and longer ss? You rock!
07-15-2017, 10:29 AM   #12
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Very impressed with these results from what is for this type of activity, humble kit. Always more questions though...
I imagine only live view is suitable for this type of shot?
Could the sensor be damaged by insufficient filtering?, I note Mike was at the limit with a 9 stop filter.
Good luck with the moon as well, I have tried at 300 mm and found it moves too fast for Pixel shift, but filling the frame more at 500 mm and under exposing could get the speed up where it works, costs nothing to try.
07-16-2017, 06:01 PM   #13
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Oh my goodness!. I've a Sigma 50-500mm that I've been using for lunar photography, it's time to get out there and shoot the sun once I've affixed the appropriate filter of course.
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