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Thread: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

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    Senior Member dave.gt's Avatar
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    Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Somehow, I feel that this question will lead down a long expensive road.

    But I have you guys to ask how to get started if one wants to test the waters of Astrophotography. There are so many questions about where to start; how do you learn?; equipment, etc.

    I wish there was a course or a structured curriculum for someone wanting to learn just enough to get a Milky Way image or three to start out. Maybe there is?

    Any thoughts on getting started would be much appreciated!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Dave, there are tons of resources. I would start with the subfield of wide-field astrophotography, which is using a camera and photographic optics on a tracking mount of some kind. Just google books on astrophotography to get started. There are plenty of online resources, which you can google as well. One of the best forums for astrophotography is Cloudy Nights (being if it were not cloudy, you would be outside under the stars, rather than on a forum).

    A quick into to wide field (this book also covers film):http://www.willbell.com/new/pdfs/widefieldchapter01.pdf

    Another resource: https://www.lonelyspeck.com/astrophotography-101/
    Last edited by Shashin; 12th January 2019 at 20:04.
    Will

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    Lightbulb Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Hi Dave,

    Your main problem will be finding a location with sufficiently low ambient illumination that you can see and photograph the stars. Atlanta is a very large metropolitan area, shooting lots of light upward. That masks the stars.

    Do you expect to travel for your photos or do it locally?

    Astrophotography can be divided into two broad general categories...

    1- Short exposures - Hand-held or tripod makes little difference. You need fast film or high-ISO digital sensors to enable reasonably fast shutter speeds. A common subject in this category is the moon, using longer focal-length lenses.

    2 - Long exposures - Often called "star trails", with times measured in minutes or even hours. Any such exposures require a tripod with a "tracking" mount that emulates the earth's rotation. You commonly use normal to wide-angle lenses for these, although any focal length can be used that captures the desired image.

    Regardless of the type of exposure, the equipment is generally the same. Regular cameras with fast lenses and high film/sensor speed.

    - Leigh
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    Somehow, I feel that this question will lead down a long expensive road.
    Fortunately, you have come to Dante's forum. We will be right behind you all the way.
    Will

    http://www.hakusancreation.com
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Astrophotography is not a MF question. Actually, MF cameras are not well suited for astrophotography:
    -telescopes are not designed to cover a MF sensor
    -MF lenses are not very fast.

    Of course, it is possible to practice astrophotography with a MF camera, it just is more difficult than needed. If you want to practice the easy way, get yourself a Pentax K1 and a fast 35mm or 50mm lens. The K1 has a built-in autotracking function: http://gippslandimages.com.au/pentax...tracer-review/
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Dave, now we all know why it's so much fun "initially" to follow Dante...LOL! When I was in my pre teen/early teen years (and we are talking about the earliest Pentax Spotmatic film body days), I was an avid amateur astronomy buff and would venture out in sub 15 F temps at 2am in the early morning hrs, hooked up my Spotmatic body to my relatively large refractor telescope and shot away...from closeups of the moon (esp when a lunar eclipse occurred), rings of Saturn and sometimes one or two of the bright planets and nearby stars. If it was on a weekend, I ran into the house upon 1st signs of daylight to develop and print my images. A few years later, I went wide field, sans telescope in a nearby park, first with brief exposures without a tracking device and later on tried longer exposures with rudimentary tracking. As mentioned by others, the issue is avoiding urban light. Where I lived, that proved more difficult than the actual photography itself.


    Obviously, all I described was very rudimentary compared what is done today but just getting out there with what you have already and maybe along with a small investment (tracking device or possibly a lightly used Pentax K1) , it can be the beginning of very satisfactory and satisfying results. It will be trial and error and of course, and if using digital, there is little to loose and you can make adjustments in very short order. Its easy to get hooked on just going outside and shooting some frames and see what you obtained and take it from there. Combine this with excellent advice you'll receive here in the forums and from those who have extensive experience. Keep us posted on your choices and experiences, as its an area of photography I would love to find more time to invest in...especially combined with interesting landscapes. Just have fun and dress warm .

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 13th January 2019 at 05:40.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    This YouTube channel should prove to be very helpful:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs0...sok-qW9c8XomPQ
    E.J. Peiker
    www.EJPhoto.com
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Ed shows very fine example here.

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    was researching something similar last week..came across these shot with GFX50s

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/128489...6/45689529911/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/128489...6/45689176781/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/45689493391

    love the 110 f2 shot

    and loads of pentax 645Z shots here >

    https://www.astrobin.com/users/hojong.lin/
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by jerome_m View Post
    Astrophotography is not a MF question. Actually, MF cameras are not well suited for astrophotography:
    -telescopes are not designed to cover a MF sensor
    -MF lenses are not very fast.

    Of course, it is possible to practice astrophotography with a MF camera, it just is more difficult than needed. If you want to practice the easy way, get yourself a Pentax K1 and a fast 35mm or 50mm lens. The K1 has a built-in autotracking function: http://gippslandimages.com.au/pentax...tracer-review/
    I have used my old MF camera for astrophotography. Yes, other cameras may be easier, but not in any fundamental way. Yes, few telescopes (mostly from Takahashi (and fortunately, very expensive)), but starting with a telescope is not the easiest or cheapest approach. Yes, MF lenses are slower than other formats, but they are faster than telescopes and most photographic optics need to be stopped down, making the benefit of smaller formats less clear. And once you are on a tracking mount, the speed of the optics become even less of a problem. The K-1 tracking function is limited in that sense. But you can get Milky Way images on a static mount.
    Will

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by jerome_m View Post
    Astrophotography is not a MF question. Actually, MF cameras are not well suited for astrophotography:
    -telescopes are not designed to cover a MF sensor
    -MF lenses are not very fast.

    Of course, it is possible to practice astrophotography with a MF camera, it just is more difficult than needed. If you want to practice the easy way, get yourself a Pentax K1 and a fast 35mm or 50mm lens. The K1 has a built-in autotracking function: http://gippslandimages.com.au/pentax...tracer-review/
    [OFF TOPIC] As a guy with an 8-inch Go To reflector, a Hyperstar attachment, ATIK CCD, and more telescope gear than I have a place to keep, I am embarrassed to admit that I did not know about the Pentax Astrotracer functionality. While the Pentax doesn't replace the viewing pleasure of looking at deep space objects, it does appear to make certain types of astrophotography much easier. And, if I am understanding what I am reading, especially the review you linked here, it has a major benefit compared to add-on trackers of working equally easily in Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Polar alignment of trackers in the NH is not that difficult, especially if you have any scope experience at all. But south of the equator is another story.

    What's also nice about the K1 is that, while built like a tank, it is not a 1-trick pony like a tracker & mount. Traveling with that rig takes up valuable pack &/or luggage space/weight. The K1 can take the place of many other DSLRs, depending on one's shooting goals. Lens selection is not large but, again, for travel, doesn't really have to be. The K1 plus a Sigma 35/1.4 Art would be a decent combo. Intriguing. Thanks for this Jerome. I know that some older Nikon F-mounts can be mounted on K mounts without locking; anyone know if that's true of any of the Zeiss Distagons or Otus/Milvus? What a great combo they would be for this purpose. [/OFF TOPIC]
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Pentax, K1, came so close. I have used one for 2 years now for Milkyway work. But have slowly moved to the D810A.

    Biggest issue with any camera/lens is coma, and most fast wides have it, and many P1 not so fast wides have it. Coma ruins the individual stars towards the edge of the frame, with butterfly wings and other aberrations.

    Pentax, with the K1, since it has IBIS, allows for tracking the stars for up to 5 minutes. This allows you to get past your F 1.4 to F 2.8 range and move to more like F 3.5 to F4, much less coma. There are two issues however:

    1. retofocus lenses (most wides) only track in the center of the frame
    2. White dots.

    The first issue really effects the shot as you still get trails towards the edge of the frame. Center, when in good focus is amazing, both with details and clean files, but you still see normal trails with 14mm, 20mm, 25mm and some even on 35mm with a 50mm, not an problem. In my area you can't get much with a 50mm lens, and you need a 14mm, so much of the astrotracker, feature of the K1 is ruled out by distortion.

    White dots, which Nikon quickly resolve on their D810 (uses same sensor as K1), sadly Pentax never fixed this with firmware, so the longer you go the more the white dots appear. Capture One can remove a lot of these without star removal but many times I want to use LR and nothing on the Adobe side will get rid of it.

    The D810A has a cleaner base ISO, and can get similar results, and since your exposures are max 17 sec, few to no trails.

    If you want to do traditional star trail work, which I prefer since you can use the moon for illumination, any camera works well. Just need a good work flow and clear night sky. You can read more about that workflow here, in a article I wrote a few years back.

    http://photosofarkansas.com/2014/09/...raphy-results/

    Lot of fun, but a lot of work in post, and most folks seem feel it's all fake anyway (and much of the current Milkyway work does involve some near fakery with the combinations, but it does look nice.

    To me MF is totally overkill. Even star trail work, (due to the stacking required and huge file sizes which create a massive smart object). But I have respect for those like Craig Stocks who have taken the time to create a workflow and have produced some really nice shots, (some of his have been posted on this site). Overkill for me as MF wides are not fast enough, F 3.5 being the fastest P1 I know of and the gear is just harder to work with at night in total darkness, unlike 35mm gear.

    Paul C
    Paul Caldwell
    [email protected]
    www.photosofarkansas.com
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Hmmm. I have an 810A, which has mostly been gathering dust, I hate to admit. This is good info Paul, thanks. I have not read much yet about the K1, and was not aware they had not addressed the white noise problem.

    And thanks for your link. Extremely instructive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Pentax, K1, came so close. I have used one for 2 years now for Milkyway work. But have slowly moved to the D810A.

    Biggest issue with any camera/lens is coma, and most fast wides have it, and many P1 not so fast wides have it. Coma ruins the individual stars towards the edge of the frame, with butterfly wings and other aberrations.

    Pentax, with the K1, since it has IBIS, allows for tracking the stars for up to 5 minutes. This allows you to get past your F 1.4 to F 2.8 range and move to more like F 3.5 to F4, much less coma. There are two issues however:

    1. retofocus lenses (most wides) only track in the center of the frame
    2. White dots.

    The first issue really effects the shot as you still get trails towards the edge of the frame. Center, when in good focus is amazing, both with details and clean files, but you still see normal trails with 14mm, 20mm, 25mm and some even on 35mm with a 50mm, not an problem. In my area you can't get much with a 50mm lens, and you need a 14mm, so much of the astrotracker, feature of the K1 is ruled out by distortion.

    White dots, which Nikon quickly resolve on their D810 (uses same sensor as K1), sadly Pentax never fixed this with firmware, so the longer you go the more the white dots appear. Capture One can remove a lot of these without star removal but many times I want to use LR and nothing on the Adobe side will get rid of it.

    The D810A has a cleaner base ISO, and can get similar results, and since your exposures are max 17 sec, few to no trails.

    If you want to do traditional star trail work, which I prefer since you can use the moon for illumination, any camera works well. Just need a good work flow and clear night sky. You can read more about that workflow here, in a article I wrote a few years back.

    http://photosofarkansas.com/2014/09/...raphy-results/

    Lot of fun, but a lot of work in post, and most folks seem feel it's all fake anyway (and much of the current Milkyway work does involve some near fakery with the combinations, but it does look nice.

    To me MF is totally overkill. Even star trail work, (due to the stacking required and huge file sizes which create a massive smart object). But I have respect for those like Craig Stocks who have taken the time to create a workflow and have produced some really nice shots, (some of his have been posted on this site). Overkill for me as MF wides are not fast enough, F 3.5 being the fastest P1 I know of and the gear is just harder to work with at night in total darkness, unlike 35mm gear.

    Paul C
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Time to narrow the discussion for me, although others may prefer different equipment.

    My equipment is MFD. The Studio is kind enough to allow me to use it when I need it and there is no option for other gear, regardless.

    So, yes, I can figure out how to use it for Astro Photography, but I need to understand the technical aspects of well, heck, simply finding the Milky Way at various times of the year. And stars. And planets ... etc. It is somewhat complicated.

    I need to start with the basic information. That is how embarrassingly ignorant I am of the subject.

    But with your help to locate resources and locations to use for shooting, maybe I will get there, LOL!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Best way to find it is a app like SkyView. iPhone. Assuming same for android

    Shows it in the sky at all times and as earth moves during the night where the Milky Way will be.

    Best times in North America are between March and October. Winter skies not so good.

    Find a clear night away from city lights then wait on total darkness then look up. Jew is amazing but the camera will capture so much more.

    Check out Adam Woodworth. I believe that is his name. Has done more than most on bringing such photographic work to the popularity level its become.

    Paul C

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    So, yes, I can figure out how to use it for Astro Photography, but I need to understand the technical aspects of well, heck, simply finding the Milky Way at various times of the year. And stars. And planets ... etc. It is somewhat complicated.
    Hi Dave,

    I would +1 Sashin's suggestion of checking out https://www.lonelyspeck.com/astrophotography-101/. The tutorials on the site range from basic to heavy duty. While they are primarily about FF digital, much of the info is sensor agnostic. It also contains info on software such as "Starry Landscape Stacker" that would be at least as useful for MF as FF, perhaps more so.

    Regarding finding constellations, planets, there are a lot of good IOS apps (I don't have Android) such as Star Walk, Sky Guide and Dark Sky, just to name a few.

    Best way to learn is probably to do some research and then get out and have at it. Speaking from personal experience, even if first attempts are less than stellar (pardon the pun), you still have the experience of being out under the night sky.

    Good luck!

    John
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    I had mixed results while I was using Phase One getting the best results with the IQ1-100. I now use the GFX50s which has been a huge upgrade in Milky Way shots.

    There is the rule of 500 when shooting night shots and wanting crisp stars. Divide 500 by the focal length in order to get a shutter speed long enough to capture the stars. This works well on any full frame sensor. What I've done is factor the 80% crop into the equation.

    Full frame at 24mm I works out something like 20.83 seconds so I use 20-seconds on a Sony A7rIII beginning the ISO at 800 and working up and down till I like it.

    The GFX is a tad more complicated - that same 24mm forks like this. Divide 500/24=20.83*80%=16.666 seconds. I would use 16-seconds and since I'm using the GFX I'd set the beginning ISO at 1000 and work upwards. It works for me.

    Look for the darkest nights of the month which usually begin a couple days prior and after the new moon. Clear cool nights works well and expect to be outdoors between 2 and 4 am.

    I've stabilized a camera on a telescope (XF/IQ) I've also used a small tracker using the Sony/GFX all of which allow for long shutter times while tracking. I reduced it all to just a tripod, no sleep and the 500 rule.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    These are with a Pentax 645D and tracker. I think the exposure was about 3-5 minutes and simply using the 55mm normal lens.





    And this is just shooting under moonlight with the 645D



    But the Milky Way is not rocket science: this is with a Sony RX-1 and fixed tripod:



    There are really two Milky Ways available to you, the winter and summer. The summer in the southern sky is the more impressive, but the winter has some wonderful detail--if you see Orion, you are looking at the winter Milky Way. In reality, you just need a few fairly well-known constellations to find your way around the sky. It also help to know the direction to look, so know which way is N, S, E, and W is useful (my wife has a hard time with this). There are lots of places on the internet to tell you what is up in the evening, for example: https://in-the-sky.org/skymap2.php But a search for night sky charts or what is out tonight will get you hits.

    But as the joke goes, how hard is it to observe the stars; don't you just go outside and look up?
    Will

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Best way to find it is a app like SkyView. iPhone. Assuming same for android

    Shows it in the sky at all times and as earth moves during the night where the Milky Way will be.

    Best times in North America are between March and October. Winter skies not so good.

    Find a clear night away from city lights then wait on total darkness then look up. Jew is amazing but the camera will capture so much more.

    Check out Adam Woodworth. I believe that is his name. Has done more than most on bringing such photographic work to the popularity level its become.

    Paul C
    Checked out the Skyview app! I was wondering if it would be good to use. Thsnks, Paul!. Now to look up Adam Woodworth!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Will,

    Nice images, thanks so much!

    The links you gave me have been keeping me busy this afternoon!

    Looking up around here means looking into the light dome from the megalopolis 40 miles north of home. That being, of course the 120+ mile urban sprawl of Atlanta. But I can drive an hour south or three hours north of Atlanta to Brasstown Bald, but not too excited about the hundred of deer along the way. I need a cabin somewhere. Or a beach condo. Hmmmm...

    This could be fun depending on where we wind up....

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    These are with a Pentax 645D and tracker. I think the exposure was about 3-5 minutes and simply using the 55mm normal lens.





    And this is just shooting under moonlight with the 645D



    But the Milky Way is not rocket science: this is with a Sony RX-1 and fixed tripod:



    There are really two Milky Ways available to you, the winter and summer. The summer in the southern sky is the more impressive, but the winter has some wonderful detail--if you see Orion, you are looking at the winter Milky Way. In reality, you just need a few fairly well-known constellations to find your way around the sky. It also help to know the direction to look, so know which way is N, S, E, and W is useful (my wife has a hard time with this). There are lots of places on the internet to tell you what is up in the evening, for example: https://in-the-sky.org/skymap2.php But a search for night sky charts or what is out tonight will get you hits.

    But as the joke goes, how hard is it to observe the stars; don't you just go outside and look up?
    Dave (GT)

    Best quote of the day: "Always be kind to others, behind every face is some kind of pain."

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    I had mixed results while I was using Phase One getting the best results with the IQ1-100. I now use the GFX50s which has been a huge upgrade in Milky Way shots.

    There is the rule of 500 when shooting night shots and wanting crisp stars. Divide 500 by the focal length in order to get a shutter speed long enough to capture the stars. This works well on any full frame sensor. What I've done is factor the 80% crop into the equation.

    Full frame at 24mm I works out something like 20.83 seconds so I use 20-seconds on a Sony A7rIII beginning the ISO at 800 and working up and down till I like it.

    The GFX is a tad more complicated - that same 24mm forks like this. Divide 500/24=20.83*80%=16.666 seconds. I would use 16-seconds and since I'm using the GFX I'd set the beginning ISO at 1000 and work upwards. It works for me.

    Look for the darkest nights of the month which usually begin a couple days prior and after the new moon. Clear cool nights works well and expect to be outdoors between 2 and 4 am.

    I've stabilized a camera on a telescope (XF/IQ) I've also used a small tracker using the Sony/GFX all of which allow for long shutter times while tracking. I reduced it all to just a tripod, no sleep and the 500 rule.
    Don,

    Thanks! That is great information! The rule of 500.... who knew?

    How would I factor the H5D-50c with an 80mm lens?
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejpeiker View Post
    This YouTube channel should prove to be very helpful:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs0...sok-qW9c8XomPQ
    E.J....,

    Thanks so much for the link!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    Will,

    Nice images, thanks so much!

    The links you gave me have been keeping me busy this afternoon!

    Looking up around here means looking into the light dome from the megalopolis 40 miles north of home. That being, of course the 120+ mile urban sprawl of Atlanta. But I can drive an hour south or three hours north of Atlanta to Brasstown Bald, but not too excited about the hundred of deer along the way. I need a cabin somewhere. Or a beach condo. Hmmmm...

    This could be fun depending on where we wind up....
    Dave, I would not worry about reaching dark skies too much. You can get quite a bit in less than idea situations. While this is not a city, the combination of a crescent moon and village lights did not wash out the Milky Way in this image (Fuji X Pro2, not MFD).



    This was just after sunset when my wife and I stopped by the side of the road to eat our sandwiches. Sony RX-1 on a fixed tripod.



    It might have helped being in Acadia National Park, but still, don't let perfection get in the way of good enough.

    More importantly, have fun. Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are going to get something interesting.
    Will

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by drunkenspyder View Post
    Hmmm. I have an 810A, which has mostly been gathering dust, I hate to admit. This is good info Paul, thanks. I have not read much yet about the K1, and was not aware they had not addressed the white noise problem.

    And thanks for your link. Extremely instructive.
    Wow... I would love the D810a!!! It would be fantastic for my needs in the near future.
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Thought I'd share this test I did last year. GFX50s, GF23mm f/4 8-seconds ISO 4000 shot April 21, 2018 at 0251 hrs
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Hi Dave,
    Let me recommend this wonderful app for iOS (also for Android):
    www.photopills.com
    Best regards,
    Herbert
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Thought I'd share this test I did last year. GFX50s, GF23mm f/4 8-seconds ISO 4000 shot April 21, 2018 at 0251 hrs
    Oh, yeah!!!!!

    The 50 sensor is absolutely capable of beautiful Astro work! Love that image, Don.

    So what is the crop factor on the GFX50s?
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    Oh, yeah!!!!!The 50 sensor is absolutely capable of beautiful Astro work! Love that image, Don.So what is the crop factor on the GFX50s?
    The crop is the same as what the P30 was/is which is around 80% or Crop factor for Fujifilm GFX system = 43.27/54.78 = 0.79 easier to just figure 80%...
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Most of these were shot with a 645Z... (the details show which camera was used).

    Not perfect, but delighted to discuss what was involved in shooting them.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/160639...57632566383126
    Ed Hurst, www.spiffingpics.com
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Breath-taking, Ed!!!!

    Time for a cup of coffee to allow the impressions of those images to sink in. Your Flickr pages are like my first motorcycle trip to Daytona Bike Week years ago with total sensory overload! ...so much to see, so many questions.

    Thanks, Ed! I will be in touch soon. The links and advice already in this thread have dominated my time the past couple of days, so thanks to all!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Ed,

    I am slowly working my way through your amazing website. Your images are generating more questions. I will be in touch as soon as I can get my head around them.

    Thanks!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    In the meantime, we finally had clear skies for a couple of days this past weekend. Just for grins, I was wondering what the H5D with the 80mm lens would do if I literally pointed the camera at the sky and played around with varying exposures.

    After a few tries, my exposure time came down to less than 6 seconds. Some as low as 2 or 3 seconds and the stars were circular, so I presume the 500 Rule works!

    Processing was interesting and the files are certainly malleable.

    But,

    The results were merely interesting and not worthy of sharing. Clearly, the 80mm lens is less than acceptable for what I envision, but then I knew that already. I remember riding the RK many times on tour over the years and wondering what was up an interesting road or where the many roads led. And sometimes I would take those roads only to be disappointed.

    But my questions were answered and my knowledge of the area increased immensely.

    This Astro "thing" is like that. Thanks to all for your comments and advice.
    Dave (GT)

    Best quote of the day: "Always be kind to others, behind every face is some kind of pain."
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Dave, that is the best way to learn. I would probably point my 80mm at the belt of Orion. The summer Milky Way is a richer target, but the winter one still has some gems.
    Will

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Thanks, Will,

    I need all the encouragement I can get at this point.
    The gear is an issue I will work around, but like all things it will take time. It's a good thing the Milky Way Season is a few months away giving me time to practice.
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Ive never been able to feel satisfied with any of my night sky pictures. I think the fundamental problem is that stars a pinpoints of light with a wide range of brightness levels. We cant represent pinpoints with 8 to 10 stops of varying levels of white so instead we represent stars as spots of varying sizes rather than brightness.

    Add to that the problem of lens aberrations that distort the point of light so its not round and its very hard to create a wide field view of a star field that looks and feels like a true night sky. But its a fun challenge and I keep looking for the magic technique that will bring it all together.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Stocks View Post
    I’ve never been able to feel satisfied with any of my night sky pictures. I think the fundamental problem is that stars a pinpoints of light with a wide range of brightness levels. We can’t represent pinpoints with 8 to 10 stops of varying levels of white so instead we represent stars as spots of varying sizes rather than brightness.

    Add to that the problem of lens aberrations that distort the point of light so it’s not round and it’s very hard to create a wide field view of a star field that looks and feels like a true night sky. But it’s a fun challenge and I keep looking for the magic technique that will bring it all together.
    Hi, Craig,

    I understand that feeling. Somehow I feel the same way about a lot of my work, always have over the years, so maybe it is just a personality thing unique to me but it does keep me striving to do better on the next image. I personally enjoy your images very much.

    There are so many images by other photographers that just blow me away and when I look closely at those, I see exactly what you described but the images are breath-taking. Landscapes really add to the composition and mood. And, of course, the images should be judged, imho, by looking at a print from the proper viewing distance. But pixel peeping can change our perception of a beautiful image.

    As Will mentioned, our imperfect eyesight and the physical limitations of seeing small points of light millions of miles away is what it is. I still cannot get my head around that... reflected light on a relatively tiny object being seen from our location lightyears away...

    Whatever you are doing, just keep on doing it, I know I appreciate all the hard work!
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    GFX50s GF250 with 1.4 f/5.6 1/100 ISO 1000 processed in C1-12
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    Hi, Craig,


    As Will mentioned, our imperfect eyesight and the physical limitations of seeing small points of light millions of miles away is what it is. I still cannot get my head around that...
    In the case of individual stars, tens of trillions to hundreds of quadrillions of miles away (the nearest star [besides the sun] is over 20 trillion miles away and our own little galaxy is 600 quadrillion miles across, assuming I didn't misplace a decimal). The universe is a *very* big place and we are almost inconceivably tiny.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by sog1927 View Post
    In the case of individual stars, tens of trillions to hundreds of quadrillions of miles away (the nearest star [besides the sun] is over 20 trillion miles away and our own little galaxy is 600 quadrillion miles across, assuming I didn't misplace a decimal). The universe is a *very* big place and we are almost inconceivably tiny.
    ^^^This is amazing!^^^

    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    You guys knew this was coming didn't you?

    I am now inching closer to becoming sucked into the black hole of "Astrophotography"!

    Here are two questions that confirm your devious encouragement regarding luring to the night skies:

    1. With the Milky Way Season still a few months away from us here in the north and central portions of the State of Georgia, what are the best options for shooting right now?
    2. If I would like to photograph deeper into Space, what telescopes would you recommend for shooting something like the Horse Head Nebula in Orion?
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    2. If I would like to photograph deeper into Space, what telescopes would you recommend for shooting something like the Horse Head Nebula in Orion?
    Lock up the credit card and fire up YouTube. Check out the AstroBackyard channel.

    There are lots of decisions about telescopes but the mount might be even more important.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    ^^^This is amazing!^^^

    But wait! There's more! The "Pisces-Cetus supercluster" (the large collection of galaxies which contains our own Milky Way galaxy) is a filament a billion light-years long (nearly 6 sextillion miles). And it's just a small fraction of the observable universe. While the universe is believed to be "only" a little over 13 billion years old, the diameter of the observable universe is nearly 100 billion light years, or almost 600 sextillion miles (this is the "comoving distance", which takes into account the expansion of the universe *since* the light from the most distant objects was emitted -for a discussion of this see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe). That doesn't count the portions of the universe which we will never be able to observe because their light will *never* reach us, assuming they exist .

    Like I said: big place, tiny people.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    I use a refractor for wide-field views like the Horsehead nebula in Orion and a reflective type, Maksutov-Cassegrain, for planetary/lunar. I also have a solar telescope just for looking at the sun. Lot's of info online. I like the cloudy nights website (https://www.cloudynights.com/index/). They are VERY newbie friendly. At this point, you don't want to use your MF gear to take pics, the smaller CMOS cameras, ZWI for only one example, will far exceed those using regular cameras.

    Good luck as you thought Dante was wicked in this forum, you've got a new blood-letting experience heading right at you.

    Joel
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    You might want to check these great folks out - https://starizona.com/

    They've built a couple systems that are currently in the ISS
    Don Libby
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Stocks View Post
    Lock up the credit card and fire up YouTube. Check out the AstroBackyard channel.

    There are lots of decisions about telescopes but the mount might be even more important.
    Thanks, Dante....er, I mean, Craig!!!!

    It occurs to me, we are all doomed in this business. I appreciate all the help, I need it! LOL...
    Last edited by dave.gt; 1st February 2019 at 13:59.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Wait a minute... is? No, I mean.., crap, there are too many zeroes there. I need to
    get my calculator!

    Quote Originally Posted by sog1927 View Post
    But wait! There's more! The "Pisces-Cetus supercluster" (the large collection of galaxies which contains our own Milky Way galaxy) is a filament a billion light-years long (nearly 6 sextillion miles). And it's just a small fraction of the observable universe. While the universe is believed to be "only" a little over 13 billion years old, the diameter of the observable universe is nearly 100 billion light years, or almost 600 sextillion miles (this is the "comoving distance", which takes into account the expansion of the universe *since* the light from the most distant objects was emitted -for a discussion of this see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe). That doesn't count the portions of the universe which we will never be able to observe because their light will *never* reach us, assuming they exist .

    Like I said: big place, tiny people.
    Dave (GT)

    Best quote of the day: "Always be kind to others, behind every face is some kind of pain."

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by sog1927 View Post
    But wait! There's more! The "Pisces-Cetus supercluster" (the large collection of galaxies which contains our own Milky Way galaxy) is a filament a billion light-years long (nearly 6 sextillion miles). And it's just a small fraction of the observable universe. While the universe is believed to be "only" a little over 13 billion years old, the diameter of the observable universe is nearly 100 billion light years, or almost 600 sextillion miles (this is the "comoving distance", which takes into account the expansion of the universe *since* the light from the most distant objects was emitted -for a discussion of this see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe). That doesn't count the portions of the universe which we will never be able to observe because their light will *never* reach us, assuming they exist .

    Like I said: big place, tiny people.
    Warning! Models are not necessarily reality. Red shift and distance are pretty well established, but comoving distance is just a coordinate choice in cosmology. We CAN'T see anything more than 13.7 billion lightyears away. We can make all sorts of guesses about "where is it now", but a) we don't know and b) it certainly doesn't look like what we see, as it has aged several billion years since then. Heck, when the background radiation we're now seeing was produced, it was just a few thousand light years away.

    My favorite How Big is a Galaxy fact: Look at a picture of, say, Andromeda on your monitor. Make it fill the screen. During your lifetime, light will move about one pixel.

    M
    Last edited by MGrayson; 1st February 2019 at 12:01.
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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    So, the universe is a "ball", according to the link. What lies outside of the universe "ball"?

    Not sure how to relate to that with a photograph, but I am thinking about it.
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    Thanks, Dante....er, I mean, Craig!!!!

    You guys are so naughty.




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    Re: Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    Warning! Models are not necessarily reality. Red shift and distance are pretty well established, but comoving distance is just a coordinate choice in cosmology. We CAN'T see anything more than 13.7 billion lightyears away. We can make all sorts of guesses about "where is it now", but a) we don't know and b) it certainly doesn't look like what we see, as it has aged several billion years since then. Heck, when the background radiation we're now seeing was produced, it was just a few thousand light years away.
    Hence my careful use of the weasel words "believed to be".

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    My favorite How Big is a Galaxy fact: Look at a picture of, say, Andromeda on your monitor. Make it fill the screen. During your lifetime, light will move about one pixel.

    M
    I like that. A lot.
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