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08-12-2010, 03:37 PM   #1
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I'm clueless and need help fast!

Hi all,
I'm new to the site and am what you all may call a brand new weener to digital photography! More about me later though! tonight we have a massive meteor shower hitting the world and i would love to get some pics! However I'm that new i can't get the camera to focus as i point it to the sky! I have a K200d and a 18 -55 lens, which can be changed to a 50 - 200 if I'm told it's better! Any help? Sooner the better as its's nealy midnight here and I have to look after the kids in the morning as it's their summer hols!lol

Last edited by john shannow; 08-12-2010 at 03:45 PM.
08-12-2010, 03:41 PM   #2
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Simply set your camera to manual focus and focus your lens all the way to infinity

A longer lens like the 50-200mm would likely be better, but that doesn't mean you can't get a nice picture of the meteor shower with the 18-55mm.

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08-12-2010, 03:42 PM   #3
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If the moon is visible then point the camera at that and focus, or just use manual focus but you'll need some point of reference like the moon to know weather you're in focus or not. It's tricky

Just so you understand why, the AF needs contrast to find focus, if you point at a plain and even colored object like the night sky then there's no way it can focus, same thing if you point it at a white piece of paper or an patch of clear blue sky. It also needs a sufficient amount of light so AF at night is even tricker
08-12-2010, 03:48 PM   #4
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you also might want to have longer exposures. Set your shutter to 5, 10, 20 seconds per shot. you can also switch to "B". That, with a remote (either plug in or IR) will allow you to hold the shutter open for as long as you want.

That will help to gather more light and (hopefully!) more meteors in the same frames. Good luck and I hope you get some great shots!!!

08-12-2010, 03:51 PM   #5
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cheers to you and Adam! I'll try the change of lense and let you know! It's a bit cloudy though so that's not helping with the infinity thing, just doesn't seem to want to go there? I'll try again and get back!
08-12-2010, 04:00 PM   #6
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Also, I hope you get clear bright skies! They are supposed to be without moon and clouds here - so it should be a wonderful night!
08-12-2010, 04:04 PM   #7
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I have tried switching to B, It's not happening, ( I don't have a remote control yet! It's inbound ) I have the tri-pod but still it won't let me focus and take the pic!
08-12-2010, 04:23 PM   #8
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nightmare, the skies above my house are clear but are surounded by cloud!what setting do i need this camera on! It just woill not work for me!!

08-12-2010, 04:41 PM   #9
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Well, the sky's have now cleared, if only for a short while! not many shooting stars though from my perspective. Cheers for all your help tonight!Hope we will all talk soon!
08-12-2010, 09:42 PM   #10
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John, some thoughts. The wider lens will give you a better shot at getting a meteor in the frame. I'd give it a go at 18mm and you might try to include some tree branches or the horizon for interest.

Then, use a tripod, set the camera to manual focus and set the lens at infinity. Then, go to manual mode on the camera "M" and set your aperture at the max - I think f4 for that lens is the max??. Try setting different shutter speeds - start with maybe 10 seconds, then try 20 seconds, maybe even 30 seconds. Make sure you use the 2 sec self-timer as it will lock up the mirror and help prevent camera shake. Oh, yeah, turn off shake reduction (not used when the camera is on a tripod).

I'm heading out in about 30 minutes to give it a go myself - good luck.
08-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #11
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I think you might be misunderstanding. Setting your lens to infinity is done by flipping the switch on the front of the camera to manual focus (not the dial on the top of the camera to M, which is for exposure, not focus) and turning the focus ring on your lens yourself. There is no way a cloud can prevent you from doing that. It's a completely manual operation.

I'd suggest visiting a local library of bookstore and getting a basic book on photography to help you understand the fundamentals here. Pretty much all SLR's are the same as far as these concepts go.

Realisitcally, though, you are unlkely to learn enough in a day to get to the point of taking good meteor photographs, though. You'll never get close by just pointing at the sky and waiting for a meteor than snapping - the meteor will be long gone before you and the camera react. Astrophotography requires kind of special set of skills (as well as a tripod and/or other special equipment) - although many books on photography will have a chapter on that subject.

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