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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:06 pm 
Hi astroman,

Please don't hesitate to pester us with your questions!!!!! :P

We're all here to learn and there are many people who can offer you advice about compact cameras here too!!! So, I'd urge you to consider sticking around for a bit longer!!!! :P

Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Hi astroman, yes as Mark says, THIS is the forum you're looking for!

Feel free to ask here...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 12:55 am 
I appreciate the sentiment, and don't get me wrong, I will be posting questions here, but what I wanted to avoid was, a) asking basic digital photography questions that I can read about myself, b) asking questions about my specific make and model, that may not be of interest to everyone (thus monopolizing the moderator's time), and c) posting a question each day, overstaying my welcome. So, that's where I was coming from. I looked over at dslrtips.com, but, as the name states, it's more geared toward SLR cameras (and I am finding that the compact are a very different animal).

So, to start, does anyone know why I can't get a clean shot of the moon? When I hold down the focus, it gets clear for a split second, then loses focus. At this point, I don't think it's a matter of mode, since it's a focus issue.* I'm going to try to focus on a distant street light next time, and hope that it does not refocus when I pan to the moon. Even if this works, it seems like there should be a better way (ideally, I would like to avoid light polluted areas, thus, no street lights to use). Has anyone else had better luck? (also, should I be starting separate threads for these questions?) Thanks again.

* I should note: moon was close to full (very bright), and local conditions are also very bright (lots of light-posts).


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 Post subject: Moon
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:30 pm 
I've taken hundreds of shots of the moon, and saved only one, with an FZ50 (haven't tried with the TZ5 at night, but have a decent daytime moon pic). I would suggest trying spot focus, and normal (not intel) mode. Using the FZ50 I found that 1/250 second was best at default aperture, but with TZ5 you should try to aim around the edges until the moon is semi-bright, somewhere between the extremes. Without a filter, the moon tends to burn out the image, which is near impossible to fix later.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 3:16 pm 
Long ago when I took a Nikon-sponsored photography class, the instructor noted that "It's a sunny day on the moon." So you do NOT want to use the Starry Sky mode for moon pics (unless your intent is an over-exposed moon).

As dalethorn suggests, use spot focus and metering, and I'd also add that you might want prefer EZoom for the maximum image size. Then try different exposure compensation settings for the desired exposure. You'll be surprised how little exposure is required.

The difficulty comes if you want a picture of the moon plus a planet, or moon-illuminated clouds. It's not so easy to get the exposure that shows moon details while also capturing the much lower EV details around it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:25 pm 
All good advice, but it seems that you are a step beyond where I am. I haven't even got to the over/under exposed point yet, I'm still trying to get the camera to focus. Thank you. I will try what I can (the next clear night) and relay my results. Being the "mental giant" that I am, it didn't even occur to me (until I got back inside) that I was wasting my time taking full moon pictures in any night mode. Live and learn. Thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 11:03 pm 
To adjust exposure, which you'll definitely want to do for better pics with your TZ5, in 'Normal' mode press the top of the four-way controller (marked "+/-") once, then press left (reduce exposure = darken) or right (increase exposure = brighten). The LCD will show the effect as you change this setting.

If you then press the center ("menu/set") button, that setting will be saved until you change it again. Many of us with TZ3's (and TZ5's?) keep it at -1/3 or -2/3 for all pictures. The setting will be retained when you turn the camera off. Not sure if it retained from Normal to iAuto mode since I'm still using a TZ3.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 8:37 am 
Any tips for astroman that will help him focus correctly???

Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 3:24 pm 
astroman,

Have you turned OFF Continuous AutoFocus in the menu? I would recommend that you do so.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 5:30 pm 
Thanks again for the replies. Yes, my continuous focus is off; I've only played with it once, and, to be honest, am too new at this to have really noticed a difference. Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating with me enough to try the moon again, yet. I went out last night and learned that screwing with the manual white balance, when I don't know what I'm doing, can really mess up the shots.

So, if you have your camera set, permanently, to a -1/3, how does that affect indoor shots? I thought that I had read that this camera needed all the help it could get (light wise) for indoor exposures.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 5:44 am 
Well, I'm still not pleased with my results yet, but I now have more than a white blob to show for my efforts. I think it was a matter of understanding metering and AF Mode settings. I think I may need to learn more about the camera, then drive to a dark site with a tripod to go any further. Nothing I tried could get the TZ5 to focus on Jupiter, but I remind myself to stick to realistic expectations. Thanks again for the help.

-Kris


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 5:20 pm 
Im afraid you havent got enough power/magnification on the zoom for a good photograph of Jupiter.
I would recommend a DSLR and a telescope for lunar/planetary.
You would need an equatorial mount for a longer exposure of the more dimmer planets like Saturn.

The MOST important thing you can accuire is PATIENCE for astrophotgraphy.

When I bought my first real telescope 20 years ago {TeleVue Oracle 3} we had solid cloud for six weeks!

Patience is the name of the game.

Even when the sky is clear and the moon is in perfect position you may still have very poor "seeing conditions" this is turbulance in the atmosphere and its the bane of lunar/planetary observers.
The moons features would be blurry and bubbling.

Stick with it though.


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 Post subject: Jupiter
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 9:52 pm 
If you have some decent binoculars and the proper camera mount for them, you should be able to photograph Jupiter. But with a telescope of decent power (225x in my case), you also need a motor mount due to rapid movement at that magnification.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 10:37 pm 
I tend to move a lot, so portable is the name of the game (not to mention that I'm on my own lugging gear out to a dark site; thus the sale of my 11" Schmitt-Cassegrain years ago). What I have left is a set of 20 X 80 Celestron binoculars, and a very dusty Meade ETX-125. Much to my shame, I never really got the hang of aligning it properly, so the drive never really followed point well. Added to the, much bemoaned by me, lack of even remotely dark skies, or local dark site, my efforts towards astro-photography are half-hearted at best. Is there a camera mount for the TZ series? That sounds like fun.

An unrelated question here: digital zoom vs mega-pixel size. I have been experimenting with moon shots. Am I better off using the optical zoom, with a large file size, and zooming post-processing to see detail, or will I get a better result using a digital zoom, sacrificing size, and not zooming post-processing? I know it seems like I should just try both and see (and I have); however, I am not confident in my abilities to control all the other variables involved. I don't want some other factor to throw off my comparisons. Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 7:27 am 
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Hi Astroman, I've split this topic at your Jupiter shot and posted it in the Technical section as that's where all the astrophotography stuff can be found... cheers!


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