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Thread: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

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    Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    About to embark on a trip to the darkest parts of Oregon / Washington next week and I expect to be shooting just my IQ150 with various lenses. Given that quite a few folks here have shot milky way shots with this combo (albeit mostly the 645Z) I was wondering about best exposures?

    My default approach would be to shoot 1/15s or less at f/4 (my max tech cam lens aperture) and ISO 3200 or 6400 with a 32HR or 35mm LS. I might also use my FPS and Canon 17TSE as either wide open or f/4. Obviously ISO 3200 is prefered but I was wondering how other folks had fared?

    Any suggestions and experiences welcome!

    Thanks in advance.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Hi Graham a few thoughts.

    The M way is the place for a fast lens F1.4 to F2.8 even with higher ISO. Not sure if either the Rodie or 35LS will allow enough light in howeverbtheybwpuldbwotk fine for star trails and stacking. The Canon would be my first choice but for sure try the others.

    Time of exposure 15 sec max or you will start to see excess trailing.

    You might also look up Adam Woodwoth as he has published a ton on technique for the M Way.

    I will be interested to see your results with the 150 at 3200 or 6400 as I am not sure how much noise will be there. I would allow the dark frame on some shots and then without on others. Adam uses a nice method of stacking several frames which seems to reduce noise.

    A Coleman lantern or similar is great to light foreground elements much less harsh than normal flashlight painting.

    Edit: here is a link to Adam's site:

    Milky Way Creative Edits Video — Adam Woodworth Photography

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Paul got this one right and beat me to it: on the accounts of aperture and exposure duration.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by BlinkingEye View Post
    Paul got this one right and beat me to it: on the accounts of aperture and exposure duration.
    Yes ive shot many with my regular dslrs at 3200/6400 ISO and f/2.8 at 20s or so. Ditto star trails with the IQ and P+ backs but not really tried star fields with the MF hence the question. I may just bring along the A7RII (wishing i handnt sold the A7s now!) for these shots with the canon glass or even my 16-35 zeiss again.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Graham

    I shoot loads at night, the cmos sensor in the Leica S was absolutely brilliant at night stuff, I'd expect the Phase to be just as good. One thing I noticed with lots of cameras is it's worth running a series of exposures at different ISO's because I have always found that shooting at ISO800 and pushing in post much cleaner than shooting higher ISO's. I'm generally capturing aurora but found with the S and a 24mm that I couldn't shoot longer than 8 to 10 seconds without getting slight star movement, I guess it's personal as to how much is acceptable. Shoot at night before you go, just to see how long you can go and how high ISO you can accept for noise. The S is the best camera I have used for aurora but I appreciate it's different for stars alone. I shot a load of milky way shots a few years back in Mozambique with an RX1, surprising how well it did.

    Let us know how you get on, good luck!

    Mat

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    My preference for MW shots is to use longer exposures (say 30s). Yes, you will get streaking, but, in exchange, you will see much better the structures of our Galaxy. f/4 is not really fast enough, but maybe it will do.
    I find that streaking (if not excessive) is an acceptable price to pay to get more photons from the MW.

    And if there still a bit of room in the car, a small sky tracker (there are several, like the Vixen Polarie, iOptron SkyTracker, etc) would be great. It allows to expose for 1-2 minutes or more (or do stacks of 30s exposures of the sky) without streaking. Of course, due to the rotation, the foreground becomes blurred, but that can easily be dealt with in PS (just take one exposure without rotation and blend it with the sky).


    Have fun !

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Hi Graham,
    I wait to see the result !
    It's always interesting to see this kind of images, I never tried with my H5D-50c and I'm curious to see.
    Reading on astro photographer forum many are making multiple exposure at 3200, then align and mean them on photoshop or dedicated software, other are using an astro polar mount with motor to follow the stars enabling longer exposures etc. etc.
    There are many ways, I think the 50 CMOS alone can lead to good result... we will see..

    Enjoy ! Domenico.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Hi Graham,

    The best setup for the 50MP CMOS back would be Samyang / Rokinon 24mm f1.4 / T1.5 Canon mount via Alpa 12 FPS. (You could also try the Sigma 20mm f1.4 Canon mount but I haven't tested the image circle on the 50MP back.)

    Suggested parameter would be wide open (f1.4), 15 seconds, ISO 1600 for single exposure without equatorial mount.

    If you bother do stacking with PixInsight then I would recommend wide open (f1.4), 8 seconds, ISO 3200 for at least 16 frames.

    If you shoot with equatorial mount then stay at ISO 400 and do long exposure with it!

    Good luck

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Hmm, the Rockinon is a good idea assuming that it covers the image circle of IQ150.

    I have this lens already in Nikon mount for this exact purpose and use it with my Sony today. I hadn't thought to mount it to use on the FPS. Since it's manual, a Nikon -> EOS adapter should allow me to mount it I guess.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Actually you might find that the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower 14mm F2.8 does better, as wide open there is virtually no coma.

    The Rokinon 24mm 1.4 shows coma from around 1.4 to at least 2.2. It IMO is only just a bit better than the Sigma 24mm 1.4 on coma, which was a disappointment for me. For me Milky Way and coma just don't mix, sure you can go to a center crop,and on the IQ150, for sure you will have a lot of resolution.

    The 14mm on the other hand never disappoints.

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    I have had pretty good results shooting the 645Z with f4 @ ISO6400. The sky areas are usually acceptable and clean up pretty well; dark foreground regions much less so, and need blending with files shot at lower ISOs to bring those out properly. I wish there were a faster wide angle available to enable 3200 or even 1600, as that would be a lot better, but nothing exists other than the 35mm f3.5 (which isn't really wide enough and it's not much faster) - a 21mm f2.4 would be nice!

    Of course the optimum would be to shoot a wide field with a longer f2.8 lens and do loads of stitching, but just too much like hard work, even for an obsessive like me.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Actually you might find that the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower 14mm F2.8 does better, as wide open there is virtually no coma.
    ....

    The 14mm on the other hand never disappoints.

    Paul C
    Luckily I also have this one too!

    I'll pick up a Nikon F to EOS converter and test it out. I see no reason, other than perhaps image circle, why this shouldn't work. (heck nice round images might be artistically interesting!)


    Graham
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Actually you might find that the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower 14mm F2.8 does better, as wide open there is virtually no coma.

    The Rokinon 24mm 1.4 shows coma from around 1.4 to at least 2.2. It IMO is only just a bit better than the Sigma 24mm 1.4 on coma, which was a disappointment for me. For me Milky Way and coma just don't mix, sure you can go to a center crop,and on the IQ150, for sure you will have a lot of resolution.

    The 14mm on the other hand never disappoints.

    Paul C
    Not sure whether the Rokinon / Samyang 14mm f2.8 covers the image circle of the IQ150 fine, however there is one thing I'm pretty sure about: there is a 2-stop difference of aperture between f1.4 and f2.8. Even if you take into consideration the longer exposure time of the 14mm, the 24mm f1.4 is still going to offer better image quality. Light transmission is the bottleneck of milky way photography, not resolution nor coma.

    Here is a table for astrophotography rating of lenses before the Sigma 20mm f1.4 became available:

    Name:  astrophoto_rating.jpg
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Size:  470.9 KB

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Some of these wides vignette heavily, maybe one needs to take that into account when picking out the best lens?

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Not sure whether the Rokinon / Samyang 14mm f2.8 covers the image circle of the IQ150 fine, however there is one thing I'm pretty sure about: there is a 2-stop difference of aperture between f1.4 and f2.8. Even if you take into consideration the longer exposure time of the 14mm, the 24mm f1.4 is still going to offer better image quality. Light transmission is the bottleneck of milky way photography, not resolution nor coma.

    Here is a table for astrophotography rating of lenses before the Sigma 20mm f1.4 became available:

    Name:  astrophoto_rating.jpg
Views: 1177
Size:  470.9 KB
    As one who has done this type of photography for years I fully understand the need for light transmission for the milky way. However there is nothing WORSE than a series of shots ruined by excessive coma as the stars will all have wings. If you feel this is not a huge issue then I would totally disagree. I currently don't know of any 1.4 lens from 14mm to 24 that does not produce excessive coma. And with either the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 or the highly esteemed Nikon 24mm 1.4 the coma from F 1.4 to 2.0 is so bad that you will end up cropping down to a APC C sized frame and that still won't get rid of all of it. By the time you adjust the aperture to where the coma is minimum, you have lost any advantage for light transmission. The 14mm 2.8 Samyang, is still considered by photographers who work at night as one of the best lenses on the market due to it's total lack of coma, and these same photographers understand the compromise they are making over light transmission for low coma.

    Coma is the single most destructive problem there is after noise.

    You can't imagine the time it takes to attempt to manually correct for this and the Rokinon 24 is not a good player wide open not even close. As I stated it only becomes useable after F2.2.

    I'm my geo the wider the better so the 24 really won't work anyway. If you are shooting monument valley the 24 focal would work fine. For me just shooting the sky is not what I am after but instead I attempt to combine some landscape elements and 24 mm does not give enough sky after cropping out the coma.

    Adam Woodworth has pioneered a lot of great techniques and his work is often shot with an F 2.8 lens wide open.

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Into The Night Photography: Overcoming Coma Aberration - Part 2

    Also have anyone try the Leica Super-Elmarit-R 15mm F2.8? When I get the chance I will test it on the A7Sii.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    As one who has done this type of photography for years I fully understand the need for light transmission for the milky way. However there is nothing WORSE than a series of shots ruined by excessive coma as the stars will all have wings. If you feel this is not a huge issue then I would totally disagree. I currently don't know of any 1.4 lens from 14mm to 24 that does not produce excessive coma. And with either the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 or the highly esteemed Nikon 24mm 1.4 the coma from F 1.4 to 2.0 is so bad that you will end up cropping down to a APC C sized frame and that still won't get rid of all of it. By the time you adjust the aperture to where the coma is minimum, you have lost any advantage for light transmission. The 14mm 2.8 Samyang, is still considered by photographers who work at night as one of the best lenses on the market due to it's total lack of coma, and these same photographers understand the compromise they are making over light transmission for low coma.

    Coma is the single most destructive problem there is after noise.

    You can't imagine the time it takes to attempt to manually correct for this and the Rokinon 24 is not a good player wide open not even close. As I stated it only becomes useable after F2.2.

    I'm my geo the wider the better so the 24 really won't work anyway. If you are shooting monument valley the 24 focal would work fine. For me just shooting the sky is not what I am after but instead I attempt to combine some landscape elements and 24 mm does not give enough sky after cropping out the coma.

    Adam Woodworth has pioneered a lot of great techniques and his work is often shot with an F 2.8 lens wide open.

    Paul C
    Option One: 24mm f1.4 8s ISO3200 with some coma
    Option Two: 14mm f2.8 15s ISO6400

    I would certainly prefer Option One. Coma adds special mood towards the stars, while high ISO noise destroys the purpose of high number of pixels.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Thanks for all of the advice. In the end I used my XF/IQ150 and a Phase One 28D @ f/5. The iOptron StarTracker held the weight ok:

    XF IQ150 1600 ISO 3m 30s @ f/5
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Btw, I have to say that the Sony CMOS sensor in the IQx50 absolutely rocks!! The sad thing is that now I KNOW that I need an IQ3 100. Not in 2016 but maybe 2017 ...
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice. In the end I used my XF/IQ150 and a Phase One 28D @ f/5. The iOptron StarTracker held the weight ok:

    XF IQ150 1600 ISO 3m 30s @ f/5
    Fabulous shot Graham. The distant hills and impressionistic, yellow blur of the wheat(?) really enhance the image.


    Tom
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Yellow blur is actually the foreground of a lake bed. The iOptron StarTracker moves the camera to counter the spin of the earth which will blur anything that isn't in the sky. In this case I got away with it due to the shift of the scene up to leave a hard horizon.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Nice image, Graham
    Where is this? looks like Cali desert
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor View Post
    Where is this? looks like Cali desert
    Alvord Lake, near Fields Oregon. (Aka literally the middle of nowhere!)
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Sigma 20mm f1.4, ISO 400, 30s

    No obvious coma wide open

    This is the power of f1.4 - no need for tracking mount / foreground is not blurred

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    ? No coma

    The image is pretty small bit there appear to be plenty on wings on the Stars towards the edge? That is coma.

    I have said lens and mine has the same amount wide open or worse. Takes f2.2 before totally gone.

    Sure can be cropped out. And I agree about the range of available light wide open sad it marred by coma.

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    ? No coma

    The image is pretty small bit there appear to be plenty on wings on the Stars towards the edge? That is coma.

    I have said lens and mine has the same amount wide open or worse. Takes f2.2 before totally gone.

    Sure can be cropped out. And I agree about the range of available light wide open sad it marred by coma.

    Paul C
    No that is not coma. It's star trails. If it was coma then you would expect the same for both corners.

    The Sigma 20mm f1.4 was designed to correct coma towards some good extent (when compared against previous f1.4 lenses).

    You do not observe obvious coma until you enlarge the picture but before you can observe coma noise would destruct the image quality first if it was shot with smaller aperture.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    I fully understand star trial photography.

    I would need to see your shot at higher res. Star trails are equal in volume of light your shot shows what appears to be coma with a bright star and wings and it only shows in the corners where coma is always the worst. Wings from the center of a brighter subject are not trails trails are the same in brightness even at 30 sec.

    I realize at 30 sec you will show trails so I can't tell for sure from your image.

    However your 30 seconds is too long an exposure as you will have bluer in the Milky Way at exposure times that long. It will now show at the size of your posted image but should show at full size. The longest exposure I have seen that works is around 15 seconds maybe 17 depending on the night.

    As for the 20 Sigma 1.4. Do a bit of reading from others and please don't quote the marketing hype from sigma to me. I have followed this lens from day of annoucement and it not coma free wide open. No one who has shot one has reported this either and there are plenty of reviews showing the effects of coma. I had high hopes Sigma could produce such a fast wide without coma but they did not albeit the coma is better than what the Sigma 24 shows.

    If your lens is coma free wide open you have an extraordinary copy with optical quality that no one else has seen. Just google coma and sigma 20mm 1.4 you will find plenty of examples.

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    As for the 20 Sigma 1.4. Do a bit of reading from others and please don't quote the marketing hype from sigma to me. I have followed this lens from day of annoucement and it not coma free wide open. No one who has shot one has reported this either and there are plenty of reviews showing the effects of coma. I had high hopes Sigma could produce such a fast wide without coma but they did not albeit the coma is better than what the Sigma 24 shows.

    If your lens is coma free wide open you have an extraordinary copy with optical quality that no one else has seen. Just google coma and sigma 20mm 1.4 you will find plenty of examples.

    Paul C
    The problem is that when you look into higher resolution, you would notice the noise of f2.8 shots before you notice the coma of f1.4 shots.

    If you use tracking mount (which ruins the foreground) then it's worth using the f2.8 lenses to minimize coma. You can grab coma test results from lenstip and the Sigma 20mm f1.4 is indeed not bad at all when compared against other f1.4 lenses:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Btw, even though I didn't do it in my shot, the normal approach to using the tracking mount is to shoot a static foreground image and merge with the tracked sliding image that will typically mess the foreground due to movement. It's just a matter of time & technique.

    Would I prefer ISO 6400 @ f/1.4 on MFDB? Sure I would. In the meantime you can do very well using a tracking mount and typical medium format f stops.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    As one who has done this type of photography for years I fully understand the need for light transmission for the milky way. However there is nothing WORSE than a series of shots ruined by excessive coma as the stars will all have wings. If you feel this is not a huge issue then I would totally disagree. I currently don't know of any 1.4 lens from 14mm to 24 that does not produce excessive coma. And with either the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 or the highly esteemed Nikon 24mm 1.4 the coma from F 1.4 to 2.0 is so bad that you will end up cropping down to a APC C sized frame and that still won't get rid of all of it. By the time you adjust the aperture to where the coma is minimum, you have lost any advantage for light transmission. The 14mm 2.8 Samyang, is still considered by photographers who work at night as one of the best lenses on the market due to it's total lack of coma, and these same photographers understand the compromise they are making over light transmission for low coma.

    Coma is the single most destructive problem there is after noise.

    You can't imagine the time it takes to attempt to manually correct for this and the Rokinon 24 is not a good player wide open not even close. As I stated it only becomes useable after F2.2.

    I'm my geo the wider the better so the 24 really won't work anyway. If you are shooting monument valley the 24 focal would work fine. For me just shooting the sky is not what I am after but instead I attempt to combine some landscape elements and 24 mm does not give enough sky after cropping out the coma.

    Adam Woodworth has pioneered a lot of great techniques and his work is often shot with an F 2.8 lens wide open.

    Paul C
    I agree that the 14mm f2.8 lenses are good choices to get started with as they produce less coma and don't require excessive amount of work. However for more advanced Milky Way shooters, when taken stacking and stitching into consideration, then the 24mm f1.4 lenses beat the 14mm f2.8 lenses by a fairly good amount of margin.

    First of all, when you do stitching, the coma regions would in most cases be automatically eliminated as shown below (because the corners would almost always be cropped away in the process of stitching):

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    Secondly, let's do some simple calculations:

    For a given interval of 430 seconds, shooting with these two different lenses leads to two different strategies:

    a) 14mm f2.8 ISO 6400 15 seconds each frame; shoot 29 frames in the same direction
    b) 24mm f1.4 ISO 2500 9 seconds each frame; shoot 8 frames in each direction, and shoot in 6 different directions for the stitch (i.e. 6x8=48 frames in total)

    After stacking, the pixel-level SNR of a) is ISO 6400/29^.5 = ISO 1200, and the pixel-level SNR of b) is ISO 2500/8^.5 = ISO 800.

    After stitching, both options provide the same angle of view (i.e. 114 diagonal), however the stitching option provides almost 6 times the number of pixels.

    To sum up, for the same 8 minutes of shooting, 14mm f2.8 would provide you 36MP ISO 1200 image quality, while 24mm f1.4 would provide you 180MP ISO 800 image quality. Clearly the f1.4 lens is a winner here. This is why medium format lenses are not favored in this application as they are too slow.
    Last edited by voidshatter; 7th June 2016 at 05:01. Reason: Calculation errors

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Btw, even though I didn't do it in my shot, the normal approach to using the tracking mount is to shoot a static foreground image and merge with the tracked sliding image that will typically mess the foreground due to movement. It's just a matter of time & technique.

    Would I prefer ISO 6400 @ f/1.4 on MFDB? Sure I would. In the meantime you can do very well using a tracking mount and typical medium format f stops.
    I totally agree that you could do a composite of two images. However there are two disadvantages:

    a) For my example post there the foreground is a tree and it would be difficult to do the layer mask work (even with sophisticated luminosity masks); you would have to shoot the sky in a different location to avoid the blurred tree ruining the sky.

    b) It is quite usual that the color temperature shifts quickly during the whole process and there is a significant difference of color temperature between your foreground shot and your tracked sky shot. Surely you could manipulate the color temperature and do the composite anyway but that may be denied by some landscape photographers as it's no different from downloading Milky Way materials and doing the composite work with any foreground you shoot (or download).

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    ? No coma

    The image is pretty small bit there appear to be plenty on wings on the Stars towards the edge? That is coma.
    No. Wings towards the edge are surely star trails. Coma is always in the tangential direction and is never in the radial direction. Coma will also appear in all corners not just in one corner.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    At F1.4 the 20mm produces coma, period. As your lens tip shots show. Yes it may be better than the 24 1.4 but it's still there and from my testing, and others who shoot the night sky on regular basis, the 20mm 1.4 coma is still pretty harsh, especially when the lens is in exact focus. The astro community had high hopes for this particular lens and it is a great lens, but for night skies, not wide open. Most times in y area it's not wide enough anyway to really get a good composition.

    As for your shot, many of the stars towards the edges of the frame appear to have taken on a triangular appearance, which is coma. But without being able to view your shot at higher res, then I can't tell for sure. But the Milky Way in the US is in a southern sky right now, and star trails looking south always take on a very definite pattern. But always a single line, nothing above and below, which is what I see. Please provide a 100% crop of the upper right, and left areas if you can.

    The exposure is for 30 seconds if I read the meta correctly, thus you will show trails and your milky way will be slightly blurred when viewed at 100% against the trails, which to me is distracting. Again, can't tell if that is the case in your shot without viewing at 100%, but for me it's always been the case, past 17 seconds.

    As for higher ISO, and noise, it's a compromise for sure, but there are way to stack, even for the Milky way, where the noise is less, shooting at ISO 6400 or 3200, not wide open, Adam Woodworth's techniques show how to do this. His compositions are the champs of night sky landscapes.

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    At F1.4 the 20mm produces coma, period. As your lens tip shots show. Yes it may be better than the 24 1.4 but it's still there and from my testing, and others who shoot the night sky on regular basis, the 20mm 1.4 coma is still pretty harsh, especially when the lens is in exact focus. The astro community had high hopes for this particular lens and it is a great lens, but for night skies, not wide open. Paul C
    For single exposure yes. For my method of stitching I mentioned above no there is no coma because coma is cropped away in the stitching procedure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Most times in y area it's not wide enough anyway to really get a good composition. Paul C
    For single exposure then yes. For my method of stitching I mentioned above then no. I can get even wider than 11mm's angle of view if I want.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    As for your shot, many of the stars towards the edges of the frame appear to have taken on a triangular appearance, which is coma. But without being able to view your shot at higher res, then I can't tell for sure. But the Milky Way in the US is in a southern sky right now, and star trails looking south always take on a very definite pattern. But always a single line, nothing above and below, which is what I see. Please provide a 100% crop of the upper right, and left areas if you can.

    The exposure is for 30 seconds if I read the meta correctly, thus you will show trails and your milky way will be slightly blurred when viewed at 100% against the trails, which to me is distracting. Again, can't tell if that is the case in your shot without viewing at 100%, but for me it's always been the case, past 17 seconds.
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    Here is the 100% crop of the image. What you see in the smaller version is star trails instead of coma. As I don't own the lens I can't be sure but I tend to tell that the lens is a bit off-centered because the top left corner is out of focus. Yes you can observe a small amount of coma but it's simply not visible in smaller prints (before noise is visible while you enlarge).

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    As for higher ISO, and noise, it's a compromise for sure, but there are way to stack, even for the Milky way, where the noise is less, shooting at ISO 6400 or 3200, not wide open, Adam Woodworth's techniques show how to do this. His compositions are the champs of night sky landscapes.
    This is not a valid argument as I could also apply your logic and claim that the Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6 Sony FE Mount (fullframe) is better than your 14mm f2.8.

    My argument is that given the same amount of time, the 24mm f1.4 (wide open) produces a better final result when compared against the 14mm f2.8, if you shoot in the way I mentioned above (stacking + stitching). The 24mm f1.4 uses the same amount of time for exposure to produce the same angle of view for your composition (which is coma-free thanks to stitching), but gives you a better SNR and a significantly larger number of pixels.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Thanks for the crops, I agree traditional star trails. And with that much trailing, the milky way should be slightly blurred when you view it at 100% on a single exposure, since the trails will be in tack focus and the movement of the nebula makes it hard to view, as your eyes will focus on the sharp trails.

    And sure you can use the 20 1.4 wide open for traditional star trail photography and the coma will not show, but since I tend to work with partial moon for illumination, wide open is too much.

    The Milky Way, is another subject totally, and much hard to work with for sure.

    The method that Adam Woodworth uses, combines higher ISO work, with F 2.8 glass, or higher and he is using even ISO 12800 on the D810A. The best Nikon for the Milky way for me is the D750 as it's higher ISO range is 3x cleaner than the D810, per Adam's research the D810A does much better but it's just to expensive for me to justify and the camera won't work well in normal lighting. http://www.adamwoodworth.com/ I would love to travel to some of his spots.


    I agree with all your points on faster glass over tracking hardware, even though as shown by Graham, the tracking hardware can produce wonderful results. And the difference between what you can capture at F 1.4 and F 2.8 is also impressive. I have just resorted to cropping out the edges with shots from the 20mm 1.4 and using the center, also tend to use the 4:3 Nikon D810 crop when I have that camera on, or on the D750 as it takes out the vast majority of the areas with coma. There is also a coma brush you can easily make in Photoshop, that will do a wonderful job of removing the wings, just takes a ton of time, but works good on the brighter stars which display the greater amount of coma.

    Sad to see the Sigma off center, but that is common on their lenses, as I had to purchase 3 24mm 1.4 lenses before I found one not off center on one side or the other and the lens I ended up with is still not quite perfect, but gets the job done.

    The other issue of course with the F 1.4 is the extremely shallow DOF exhibited, so working in a combination shoot, attempting to pull in parts of the surrounding landscape can be difficult with out a focus stack, but it can be done.

    All this just points out how much work is needed to be done to really capture such a shot, and sadly the vast majority of viewers tend to take it for granted and or feel it's faked in some way (general perception of most digital photography now).

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    The method that Adam Woodworth uses, combines higher ISO work, with F 2.8 glass, or higher and he is using even ISO 12800 on the D810A. The best Nikon for the Milky way for me is the D750 as it's higher ISO range is 3x cleaner than the D810, per Adam's research the D810A does much better but it's just to expensive for me to justify and the camera won't work well in normal lighting. Adam Woodworth Photography I would love to travel to some of his spots.
    Actually the Nikon D810A is the only camera I plan to keep (and I might just sell off all my medium format gear as well).

    The main advantage of the Nikon D810A is being able to push shadow like crazy for high ISO long exposures without getting flooded by the purple noise. Below shows a comparison between the D800E vs the D810A, for ISO 12800, 8 seconds each frame, 16 frames each camera stacked, +5EV push:

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    I sold my D800E straight away after I tested the D810A. Thanks to the RAW files of the D810A I could abuse it and shoot the milky way when there is no moon, without any artificial light (so that the whole scene is natural), without having to capture any darkframes to generate the master darkframe before stacking. This makes the shooting extremely flexible, i.e. there is no requirement for the heavy tracking mount equipment, no requirement for same humidity and temperature, no need for extra battery life / extra time / extra storage to capture darkframes etc. I could just shoot whatever I want and try out lots of compositions on the fly. (example 1, example 2)

    Many people claim that the D810A is not recommended for general photography, but I see it in different ways. I get better skin tone with the D810A and I also get better colors of the sunset/morning glow. Nikon has published some comparisons at their website: Nikon D810A - General Subjects

    Another good side of the D810A is its slow speed of depreciation - normal cameras would update so fast, e.g. D800E is succeeded by D810, 5DM3 is succeeded by 5DSR, and IQ3 80MP is succeeded by IQ3 100MP etc. But specialized cameras like the D810A do not update so frequently and hence can be used for a long time.

    The only downside of the D810A is that the lowest native base ISO is ISO 200 instead of D810's ISO 64. That means more than 1 stop of less dynamic range for low ISO landscape photography.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Stunning images, Yunli

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Getting away from MFD quick, but yes the D810A is a wonder, but it's flip is the point you mention, loss of DR at low ISO, I guess a bit similar to the D5, even though the 810A has a sony sensor.

    For me the solution was the D750, I don't need the extra res for night work, and it's full frame, and if you look at Adam's comparisons, very close in high ISO performance to the 810A. The 810A is 3.8K now seems to have gone up possibly. And I just don't shoot that much Milky Way to justify it.

    I keep my eyes open for a used D810A however.

    Also I believe the 800E was the worst with the red channel noise, I don't see that as much with the regular 810, however I agree it's not as clean as the 810A

    Paul C

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Graham, care to share your thoughts on the iOptron tracker? I weighed my 28, XF and IQ and came up with 7.2 pounds which looks to be about 1/2 a pounder the weight limit. How difficult was it to set up? Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    I too am curious about the SkyTracker as well as a comparison to the Sky Watcher (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...zed_mount.html) It's about the same price but has a higher weight rating. I also looks more "astronomical" in terms of design and accessories such as wedge mount and counter-weight.

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    I've been experimenting piggybacking off a 6" telescope with tracking using both a Sony A7rII and my XF/IQ180. The camera piggybacks on top of the scope and provides a very stable base to shoot from. Sadly I've only been able to use it here in Tucson with light pollution however it looks good (I should have more within a week or so).

    We just returned from Mexican Hat UT where there was an over abundance of dark skies and used a Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker with the Sony A7r II with great results. The Polarie is similar to the iOptron with a smaller payload.

    Don
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    This thread totally moved into a different direction than the OP's intent.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Graham, care to share your thoughts on the iOptron tracker? I weighed my 28, XF and IQ and came up with 7.2 pounds which looks to be about 1/2 a pounder the weight limit. How difficult was it to set up? Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

    Don
    You are picking the wrong tool for the job. With 28mm f4.5 wide open you would need to track the sky for something like ISO 3200 and 150 seconds, or equivalently ISO 35 and 3.8 hours. Given that the weather can change fast and cloud can move in, and that the sun rises in just a few hours time, realistically a CCD digital back like the IQ180 is not going to do the job for you, as high ISO / long exposure is the worst use case, and it's nearly impossible for you to shoot any darkframe with the battery you carry, and the timeline is not practical for you to maintain the humidity and temperature.

    Even if you can successfully track the sky, you would have a hard time dealing with complicated foreground for composition in Photoshop. (And good luck with shooting the even darker foreground when it's far beyond your light's reach.)

    Even a cheapo APSC kit like Nikon D3300 ($550) + Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 ($450) can do a much better job than your medium format CCD gear shooting the Milky Way.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Graham, care to share your thoughts on the iOptron tracker? I weighed my 28, XF and IQ and came up with 7.2 pounds which looks to be about 1/2 a pounder the weight limit. How difficult was it to set up? Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

    Don
    Don, I had no problems using a D4 head on the StarTracker with XF, IQ150 and 28D on it. I don't think that I'd go much heavier but it seemed to work just fine. Next time I'd use something lighter like an Acratech or ball head to make adjustments of the camera easier.

    Set up is relatively easy so long as you do it early just after civil twilight or even the beginning of astronomical twilight but before total darkness if the sky is full. You need to align the StartTracker with the pole star and apply an offset based on your lat/long/time etc which iOptron's app will tell you. You can use the small hole in the StarTracker to crudely align with polaris and then use the scope to align more accurately and to move polaris to the correct offset position on the projected grid.

    The unit is probably good for 3-4 minutes of powered rotation with this set up to avoid any slight tracking of the stars.

    Hope that helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    You are picking the wrong tool for the job.
    Well, if all you want to take with you is your Phase One XF & back, who is to say that it is 'wrong'? Sure there are EASIER systems to use but if you only want to travel with a single system this outfit gives you that option.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Don, I had no problems using a D4 head on the StarTracker with XF, IQ150 and 28D on it. I don't think that I'd go much heavier but it seemed to work just fine. Next time I'd use something lighter like an Acratech or ball head to make adjustments of the camera easier.

    Set up is relatively easy so long as you do it early just after civil twilight or even the beginning of astronomical twilight but before total darkness if the sky is full. You need to align the StartTracker with the pole star and apply an offset based on your lat/long/time etc which iOptron's app will tell you. You can use the small hole in the StarTracker to crudely align with polaris and then use the scope to align more accurately and to move polaris to the correct offset position on the projected grid.

    The unit is probably good for 3-4 minutes of powered rotation with this set up to avoid any slight tracking of the stars.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks for the info Graham. I've been experimenting with piggybacking both the XF and A7rII sitting on top of a Celestron Advanced VX 6" telescope. This system has both a guide camera as well as auto goto functions and while it handles the weight of either system very well it requires 4-large Pelican cases and fully assembled weighs north of 35 pounds. The good news is I can capture at lower ISO for longer times and use any of my P1 lenses. I now have the iOptron Skytracker (Sandy calls it the Graham tracker) and it seems to be a very convenient travel package. I've weighed the XF with the 35mm and found it weighs in as over 8 lbs so that means the 40-80 and 75-150 will also be too heavy. Luckily enough I also have the 28 and just picked up a 200 APO (at SK Grimes getting the mounting fixed).

    Currently I can choose between the Celestron (I'll try and get an image of the setup posted soon) that can handle just about any weight I put on it and the iOptron that can handle 2-lens on the XF or anything on the Sony. Weight issues aside, I can go several minutes with the Celestron. The Celestron is slated for ground travel and the iOptron air.



    Well, if all you want to take with you is your Phase One XF & back, who is to say that it is 'wrong'? Sure there are EASIER systems to use but if you only want to travel with a single system this outfit gives you that option.
    There really isn't such a thing as the "wrong camera" so long as you have one and know the limitations. I currently use 2-systems, Phase One IQ180 which has its limitation for this application and a Sony A7r II which with the proper lenses rocks (I've taken great single image files as low as 8-seconds with ISO 4000 and f/0.95. I should be getting a CCD camera for the Celestron next year for deep space imaging.

    Anyway thanks for the information.

    Don
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Well, if all you want to take with you is your Phase One XF & back, who is to say that it is 'wrong'? Sure there are EASIER systems to use but if you only want to travel with a single system this outfit gives you that option.
    But in addition to a Phase One system, a Nikon D3300 is surely much lighter and smaller than a tracking mount system Unless you're using a CMOS digital back, you're not gonna achieve better results with a CCD back with a tracking mount than a Nikon D3300 without a tracking mount.

    This is also one reason why I tend to sell off medium format gear - One 35mm format system is good enough for almost every aspect of work and is portable for whatever journey I'd like. Who knows how many years the IQ3 100MP will last.. Perhaps as lucky as the IQ180 for 5 years (but had been good at dynamic range for only 1 year before D800E was released), or as unlucky as the P65+ for 3 years. Technology advancement eventually washes away the image quality advantages - and what's leftover would just be the contents of the photos. Wanna do fancy Milky Way landscape? CCD is out of the game. Wanna do fancy backlight long exposure landscape? CCD is out of the game. Wanna get creative capture from a different point of view? Sorry the much smaller sensors carried by the cheapo DJI drones do a much better job than those medium format cameras sitting on classical and well-photographed iconic sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    There really isn't such a thing as the "wrong camera" so long as you have one and know the limitations.
    Really? IQ180 is not a wrong choice for Milky Way landscape? Well I hope you've got a clue of whatever you plan to shoot and good luck with that.

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    Thumbs up Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Hi Graham,

    I follow this thread since the beginning as I was interested too about making a milky way photo from the mountains of my region, finally I've choose to use the HCD-28mm @ F4, ISO 6400, and exposures of 32 to 45s, without a star tracking mount or other device.
    To get a high portion of the sky above I opted to shot portrait making a multi shot collage at home using PTGUI pro, here's the result :



    Using 45s I found the milky way have more color detail and the star trails are very limited as the maximum time to use is around 23s considering the relative focal length (45 is the double, and a little trail is present but acceptable (also for large prints).

    Enjoy, Domenico.
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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Nice job!

    Id be interested in seeing how much tracking you saw as I have to shoot under 20s even on my Sony a7rii to avoid trailing stars.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Shooting Milky Way shots with the 50mp CMOS backs

    Great shot for sure. I would love to get to a spot where the Milky Way is laid out horizontally, but in my locals it's almost always vertical or on a vertical layout.

    I am also surprised at 45 seconds, that you don't have a optical blur issue since for exposures that long the stars will trail and be in sharp focus and the milky way will also move but as a mass and is blurred a bit, so your eyes look to the star trails and the milky way seems harder to view at 100% or printed. But it worked and looks great for sure.

    I have also wondered how PtGui would handle a scene like this, looks like it had no problems, good to know.

    Paul C

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