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11-08-2019, 02:32 PM - 1 Like   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
Thanks a bunch for taking the time to write this, and answer questions.

I spent time this evening reading through the thread and trying to digest the info. One of the projects I set for myself this year is to try some astro between Oct and Feb.

I figured I'd start with something easy to find, like the constellation Orion. Probably with the DFA*50 on my K-1.

After getting the basics down, I hope to tighten the view a bit and try to isolate the Orion Nebula.

Debating whether or not to invest in a light pollution filter. There's still a mix of LED, Incandescent, Sodium and Mercury lights here, and I doubt I'll be able to get out to dark skies for most of these attempts.
In your neck of the woods Orion will rise about completely above the horizon at around 11:00 pm. A 50mm lens is good for Orion because it just about perfectly covers the sensor. If you're looking for something else astro to shoot, the Pleiades cluster in the constellation Taurus rises above the horizon at about 6:00pm and is visible all night.


I'd suggest a 200mm and the Astrotracer function.

There are three meteor showers coming up between now and February. The Leonids peak on November 17-18. The Geminids peak on December 13-14. The full moon is Dec. 12th so it isn't an ideal time but it's a big shower. The peak of the Quantarids shower is January 3-4. It could be a pretty good show.



I'd use a 50mm or a 28mm for meteor showers.

There's also the International space station.



and Iridium flares.




Shedules for the ISS and Iridium flares can be found here Heavens-Above

11-08-2019, 03:18 PM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by gifthorse Quote
In your neck of the woods Orion will rise about completely above the horizon at around 11:00 pm. A 50mm lens is good for Orion because it just about perfectly covers the sensor. If you're looking for something else astro to shoot, the Pleiades cluster in the constellation Taurus rises above the horizon at about 6:00pm and is visible all night.


I'd suggest a 200mm and the Astrotracer function.

There are three meteor showers coming up between now and February. The Leonids peak on November 17-18. The Geminids peak on December 13-14. The full moon is Dec. 12th so it isn't an ideal time but it's a big shower. The peak of the Quantarids shower is January 3-4. It could be a pretty good show.



I'd use a 50mm or a 28mm for meteor showers.

There's also the International space station.



and Iridium flares.




Shedules for the ISS and Iridium flares can be found here Heavens-Above
Thanks for the info. I have quite a bit to learn, and I'm sure it'll be a long learning curve. Hoping to have fun with it.
11-19-2019, 01:29 PM - 1 Like   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
I figured I'd start with something easy to find, like the constellation Orion. Probably with the DFA*50 on my K-1.
A constelation is always a nice thing to start with and you will probably get the Orion nebula showing up fairly nicely with the 50mm and K-1. I've gotten it in untracked shots with my S-M-C 28mm f/3.5 Takumar and the K-3. The Orion Nebula is always a good starter target as is the Pleiades as they are big, bright, and easy to find.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
After getting the basics down, I hope to tighten the view a bit and try to isolate the Orion Nebula.
A 300mm lens would provide a nice view of it with running man also in the frame. With a 300 and a K-1 you should also be able to get the horsehead nebula and flame nebula in the frame as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
Debating whether or not to invest in a light pollution filter. There's still a mix of LED, Incandescent, Sodium and Mercury lights here, and I doubt I'll be able to get out to dark skies for most of these attempts.
They Hoya red Intensifier is a good option and isn't that expensive at about $80 for a 77mm filter thread size one so get that one and some stepdown rings and use it on a bunch of lenses. That is what I did and since you are going from a bigger filter to smaller lens you don't need to worry about vignetting. If you really get into things then spending some more on a better light pollution filter might be warranted, but if you just want to play some the hoya filter is a cheap way to start. Even if moderately dark skies a light pollution filter will help with the sky glow near the horizon where you will still have problems from lights off in the distance.
11-20-2019, 06:58 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
A constelation is always a nice thing to start with and you will probably get the Orion nebula showing up fairly nicely with the 50mm and K-1. I've gotten it in untracked shots with my S-M-C 28mm f/3.5 Takumar and the K-3. The Orion Nebula is always a good starter target as is the Pleiades as they are big, bright, and easy to find.


A 300mm lens would provide a nice view of it with running man also in the frame. With a 300 and a K-1 you should also be able to get the horsehead nebula and flame nebula in the frame as well.



They Hoya red Intensifier is a good option and isn't that expensive at about $80 for a 77mm filter thread size one so get that one and some stepdown rings and use it on a bunch of lenses. That is what I did and since you are going from a bigger filter to smaller lens you don't need to worry about vignetting. If you really get into things then spending some more on a better light pollution filter might be warranted, but if you just want to play some the hoya filter is a cheap way to start. Even if moderately dark skies a light pollution filter will help with the sky glow near the horizon where you will still have problems from lights off in the distance.
Thanks for the info. This thread has a lot of great knowledge to digest. Need to do a few more read-throughs and watch some videos. And decide which stacking program to try.

I'll have to dig out my stack of rings and see if I already have 77 to 72.

11-20-2019, 11:05 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
And decide which stacking program to try.
Start with Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) it is free and when you start out it won't be the limiting factor in your pictures. Beyond cropping the image don't do any actual editing in it though as it really sucks for that.

I don't know if earlier in the thread if I mentioned some video tutorials on editing but some that I got referred to by one of the greats over in the astro group
. Some of them are pretty quite but they cover the basics that will be applicable to almost everything you will want to do with editing astro images. There are a lot more techniques that are available and a lot more software but knowing these basics will still be applicable with those as well.
11-20-2019, 11:44 PM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
Start with Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) it is free and when you start out it won't be the limiting factor in your pictures. Beyond cropping the image don't do any actual editing in it though as it really sucks for that.

I don't know if earlier in the thread if I mentioned some video tutorials on editing but some that I got referred to by one of the greats over in the astro group is this series. Some of them are pretty quite but they cover the basics that will be applicable to almost everything you will want to do with editing astro images. There are a lot more techniques that are available and a lot more software but knowing these basics will still be applicable with those as well.
Thanks. I may have to adapt a bit on the processing as I'm using Affinity and an older version of DXO. It's going to interesting once I get started.
11-21-2019, 10:05 AM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentikonian Quote
Thanks. I may have to adapt a bit on the processing as I'm using Affinity and an older version of DXO. It's going to interesting once I get started.
You may want to learn GIMP. I've not used Affinity or DXO so I'm not sure how they stack up against photoshop but you would be looking for almost a 1:1 feature map of the techniques mentioned in the videos and with only some minor trickery GIMP can do that. I still use photoshop CS3 for some editing of astro images and even the current Creative Cloud version of photoshop doesn't allow much 32bit per channel edits like the current GIMP does.
11-21-2019, 01:02 PM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
You may want to learn GIMP. I've not used Affinity or DXO so I'm not sure how they stack up against photoshop but you would be looking for almost a 1:1 feature map of the techniques mentioned in the videos and with only some minor trickery GIMP can do that. I still use photoshop CS3 for some editing of astro images and even the current Creative Cloud version of photoshop doesn't allow much 32bit per channel edits like the current GIMP does.
Last time I tried GIMP was years ago, and didn't like the experience. I understand they've made updates/ changes, so I'll give them another look when I have the time.

11-20-2020, 07:08 PM   #69
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Hi MossyRocks.I'd like to thank you for sharing this.It is making my start in Astro much easier than if I hadn't this thread.

I am finding this invaluable.By far the easiest to understand guide I have found.
Cheers,Gerry.
12-07-2020, 10:56 PM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
As promised here are some pictures. Note that there has been a fair amount of post processing with these.

A stacked image of orion taken with my 35mm plastic fantastic. My best guess for the settings used here were ISO 400 at a few seconds. I don't know how many images were stacked as this was one of my very first attempts.


Here we have the big dipper. This is a stack of 10 images 15 second exposures taken with my 28mm SMC Takumar. ISO 400 fairly early in the evening. This was cropped down to this size. I combined the stacked sky with one of the foreground exposures so that the trees weren't blurred to get this.


Here we have Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons. This was a single 1 second exposure at ISO 400. I used my Sigma 300mm F/4 APO lens. Note the slight trailing from the movement. This is a 100% crop.


This is one that I captured recently. It is M51 and it was in the park behind my house about an hour after sunset. It was captured using astrotracer with the K-3 amd Sigma 300mm F/4 APO lens. This is a 100% crop. 18 20 second exposures at F/4 at ISO 800. There was a lot of light as the last picture was taken on a little more than an hour after sunset with a 3/4 moon up, with haze and humidity in the summer air, in a bright Bortle 8 area.


This is a picture taken using astro tracer and my 55mm SMC Takumar of the orion constellation. The Orion nebula is clearly there. The blurring of the foreground is because astro tracer keeps the stars stationary. I believe that this was a stack of 6 60 second exposures at ISO 100 with the lens stopped down to F/8.
Wow I love that ink blue sky. Thank you for the helpful article.
12-16-2020, 01:30 PM   #71
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Any luck using a KP and Pluto Trigger?
12-17-2020, 09:08 PM   #72
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This may not be the proper thread to get a good answer to this question, but I'm thinking about buying a K-1 II camera and am wondering what advantages or pluses (vs. negatives) such a full-frame Pentax camera has with respect to APS-C Pentax cameras for astrophotography specifically. I know that there are smaller pixels in the K-3 cameras than in the K-1 cameras, and this is somewhat significant for long-telephoto imaging of the moon and planets (i.e., you want smaller pixel sizes). Does anybody have experience doing astrophotography with both the K-1 and K-3 (or KP or K-5) cameras, for example, who can comment based on comparative experiences using both FF and APS-C sensors for night-time imaging?
12-28-2020, 03:32 PM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by cometguy Quote
This may not be the proper thread to get a good answer to this question, but I'm thinking about buying a K-1 II camera and am wondering what advantages or pluses (vs. negatives) such a full-frame Pentax camera has with respect to APS-C Pentax cameras for astrophotography specifically. I know that there are smaller pixels in the K-3 cameras than in the K-1 cameras, and this is somewhat significant for long-telephoto imaging of the moon and planets (i.e., you want smaller pixel sizes). Does anybody have experience doing astrophotography with both the K-1 and K-3 (or KP or K-5) cameras, for example, who can comment based on comparative experiences using both FF and APS-C sensors for night-time imaging?
This is a topic of much discussion. Unfortunately from my understanding of things there isn't a clear good answer. The best way to answer is with another question. What do you want to shoot?

You mentioned the moon and planets which are very different from shooting deep sky objects. Because these objects are bright light gathering isn't any where near the issue it is with deep sky objects. For things like that look for focal length and adapting a telescope. It won't matter much what camera you hang off the back.

Beyond that do you prefer panoramas and wide shots of the night sky, or do you want to chase objects like what is in the Messier catalogue?

That is an important consideration as you are looking to compare the framing you get with each camera+lens combination to the amount of dynamic range you get with that same camera-lens setup.

In general if I needed to buy a camera now It would be a hard choice between the K-1ii and KP but for my use case of going after DSOs the KP would be a slightly better choice. However I currently am under the assumption that the K-3iii will be a very clear upgrade for astro shooting. Personally I like to look here to compare dynamic range at the ISOs I would shoot at. When looking at the regular K-1 and K-3 the K-1 offers a bit less than 1 stop more dynamic range when shooting at ISO 3200. However I would have to use a longer lens to get the same framing on the K-1. This would result in me having to run a 600mm lens instead of my 400mm, but using that 600mm lens I give up a stop of light since there isn't a 600mm f/2.8 lens that I can stick in front of my camera. So by using the K3 + SMC A* 400mm f/2.8 ED [IF] I get better performance than running a K-1 and any of the * 600mm f/4 lenses, also from what I have read the 400/2.8 is a better sharper lens anyways. However running an APS-C camera for wide astro shots actually hurts me as really wide lenses tend to get slower. I have the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D but to get a similar wide shot with a K-1 one could use an 18mm lens. The 12/2.8 is fairly fast (and it is a really good astro lens), but getting a similar fast or faster lens that gives similar framing on full frame is doable. So after taking a quick look over in the lens review section there is the Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS which would give a bit wider framing on full frame than my 12mm on APS-C but that lens is a whole stop faster than my 12mm. Also since the K-1 has almost another stop worth of dynamic range that setup would provide a little less than 2 stops more of usable data with each shot. However that 12mm can do longer untracked exposures than the 16mm without showing trails so that eats some of that 2 stops but not even an entire stop's worth so the K-1 is still a clear winner.

So with those 2 quick examples hopefully I have clarified things some and said that it is a maybe. Figure out your use case and then figure out the best combination. Astrophotography sadly is one area of photography where throwing money/gear at the problem more often than not does dramatically improve the result. When the K-3iii comes out it will very clearly be the best option for a Pentax astro camera (my educated guess and opinion) but I would then assume that the next iteration of the K-1 would again lead to the analysis above being the correct method of analysis.
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