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 Post subject: Shooting the Moon
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:01 pm 
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Hi folks,

Another shot of the Moon, this time on the wane. My EOS 40D was at the telescope's prime focus. As before I used a Powermate™ 4x "extender" to achieve an effective focal length of 1920mm at f/27.2 ( the telescope has a native focal length of 480mm at f/6.8 ). I had the 40D hooked up via an USB link so that I could control various shooting parameters from the notebook and also view each shot on a big screen as it was taken. I also used the remote Live View to assess the focus. As usual this was the biggest challenge of the session as the slightest touch on the telescope's manual focus knob was enough to completely blur the image on the notebook screen for several seconds until the vibrations died down. Pixel peeping later showed some red and green colour fringes at different parts of the image so I still don't think the focus was perfect. Almost makes me wish I had a motorised focuser.

ISO 1000, 1920mm, f/27.2 and with a manual exposure of 1/83rd of a second. Mirror lock-up was not enabled this time (I forgot :oops: ). The shots were triggered from the notebook. Significant post-processing was done using Photoshop CS2. The image is clickable if you want to download the 1.6MB full size picture.

Image

Still lots of room for improvement and somehow I don't think that I will ever achieve the levels of clarity available from a webcam - see here for how good they can be.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:10 pm 
Thats a very nice shot. I tried taking a shot of the moon the other day and it was nowhere near as detailed. I suppose my current equipment is not enough if I intend to take this up seriously.

The link you provided on the webcams doesn't seem to work. I googled "webcam astrophotography" and they really do seem be clearer. How is this possible with such a small sensor? I doubt that any webcams were designed with focus on the image quality, at least not to the extent of a DSLR.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:17 pm 
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grahamnp wrote:
Thats a very nice shot.
.
The link you provided on the webcams doesn't seem to work.

Thanks. The link is still working for me but here it is "in the clear" http://www.robertreeves.com/webcam.htm.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:20 pm 
It still doesn't work but since it works for you I suppose it's a problem on my end. :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:54 pm 
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.
It works here with both Firefox (my preferred browser) and IE, both under Windows XP.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:20 pm 
Great Shot Bob !
Looks good to me ! :wink:

As for the link - sorry - not working for me, tried it http://www.robertreeves.com/ same. :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:56 pm 
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Hmm, both links work ok for me, Graham. Do you have any restrictions in Malaysia with the internet?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:13 am 
Not that i know of, the restrictions I mean.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:39 am 
I've never heard of any restrictions either, this has never happened before. Well I tried it through a proxy server and it works fine. Great link, now that I've read it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:12 am 
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Hi folks,

Good grief, it's been over two years since I added to this thread. :shock:

Back in October 2007 I wrote that "I don't think that I will ever achieve the levels of clarity available from a webcam". Well, I still don't have a webcam but I do have a 5D Mark II and now that I also once more have a functioning notebook computer I set to work this evening. My normal interest is stellar photography but with a nearly full moon spoiling that party but with "seeing" pretty good it seemed like a good time to shoot the moon. Normally a full moon is pretty boring so I wasn't expecting much, mentally putting this evening's effort down as a trial run.

The setup is identical as before, except for the 5D2 of course, and I used the notebook to display a Live View image from the camera so I could adjust focus accurately. Once done and with the camera already set up to record movies I disconnected the notebook and took about two and a half minutes of video.

I'll cheerfully admit that I have no idea what settings the camera was using (apart from 1080p/24). Once back in the warm I converted the "MOV" file from the camera into an "AVI" file so that it could be read by RegiStax. It's the first time I've used that program so I accepted it's default settings and let it loose. In the end I did three passes with the final pass using the whole of the final image from pass two as a reference. RegiStax is an amazing program as not only did it do a great job of selecting the good images (final stack was from 3383 images) and then aligning and stacking them but it also removed a few dust spots automatically as well.

I exported the RegiStax final image as a 16 bit TIFF file. I then had to open it in PhotoShop and save it once again before I could persuade Adobe Bridge that it could be sent to CameraRaw where I processed for white balance, did some initial sharpening and then applied extreme values of Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation (65 each). I then opened the image in PhotoShop where I rotated it to roughly north up and applied some more sharpening and a "curve" to enhance the contrast a bit more. One extra step I also had to perform, unfortunately, was a little desaturation of the "yellows" along one edge of the moon to get rid of some colour fringing. The final step was a very small reduction in size to be a bit more forum friendly. Anyway, that's enough talk - here's the result:
    Image
It looks like RegiStax has also coped with, or removed frames with, any "jello" effect as well, Unfortunately the one thing it couldn't cope with is that however I tried to frame it the camera's sensor was just a tiny bit too small, hence the clipped edge. Not a problem when the Moon isn't full, of course.

The processing was very aggressive, as noted, in order to emphasise the Moon's natural colouration. I also probably overdid the sharpening but that's a matter of taste and I wanted to pull as much detail as possible out of what is normally the Moon's least photogenic phase. Hope you like it. 8)

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:09 pm 
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Hi folks,

I've had time to run the AVI through RegiStax for a second time today, this time trying to follow the excellent tutorial by Bob Pilz Processing Lunar AVI's Using RegiStax 5. I still don't understand half of what's going on but the result is an improvement I think. Processing in CameraRaw was very similar except I used a much more reasonable setting of 25 for clarity and a much less aggressive further sharpening. Once in PhotoShop I followed a similar approach but again applied less sharpening. Because I only asked RegiStax to use the best 600 frames the inherent image noise was, from memory, a little higher than last night's output so I also applied a fairly light noise reduction using Topaz Labs PhotoShop filter. The only downside to this is that somewhere along the way RegiStax clipped the other side of the Moon as well and it also failed to remove the dust spots which I've now identified as having been on my TeleVue PowerMate. I'm still a long way down the RegiStax learning curve! Anyway, enough talk: here's the second attempt which you can compare with the one above if you wish. I am certainly much happier with the result. 8)
    Image
Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Definitely interesting. I haven't tried using high frame count shots yet but you almost make me want to try myself.

I just had a quick play on the 1st image in PS, trying out a small radius sharpen on it (0.5 pixel radius, strength to taste). It really crisps it up close to that of the 2nd shot.

Do you think you have low enough noise to try a colour enhanced moon?

I also see the moon is up again and must be pretty close to full. The sky isn't clear right now though. Might have to dust off the scope later as I haven't shot the moon in a while myself.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:17 pm 
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Hi popo,

It's a matter of personal preference, of course, but for me the image above is an enhanced colour version. I'm also definitely happier with the detail on the second version which looks far more natural to my eyes, particularly around the Mare Crisium. And I had to employ far less sharpening to get it as well.

As I discovered last night once one has the focus set correctly this is such an easy technique to employ at the telescope. Even easier if one could start movie shooting from the EOS utility software but maybe I overlooked the right button? And as someone who's already played with RegiStax I think you'd be ahead of me on the PP stakes. If your local skies do clear then your 7D's crop factor might work in your favour depending on the focal length of your telescope so get on out there and start shooting if you can. 8)

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Those are very nice images Bob - the second one is also preferrable in my view.

I hadn't thought about capturing eyepiece projected images using DSLR video before then running it through a stacking program. Nice workflow and obviously you also get the benefit of working with a 2 Megapixel HD frame rather than 0.3 Megapixel VGA. DSLRs really have revolutionised astro-photography.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:37 pm 
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I haven't decided to use a scope yet... still being lazy. Moon is up, and it is clear enough to try for a detail shoot. But with my scope, I can't really do video on it. As you might recall in the past I have seen the whole moon fit or clip in frame depending on how close it is.

If I did video, I'll probably use the 100-400, perhaps with a TC. Then I can just let the moon drift through the shot. Of course this does trade off resolution.

Thinking more, think I'll just stick out the 100-400 tonight for a video attempt like yourself. The scope I'll leave for another phase and more interesting details.

On processing, while I have tried registax before, I wasn't really using it as designed. I only had few DSLR frames and it chokes on those. As for the small radius sharpening, I hate to admit that was a relatively new technique for me. I was dabbling with low strength higher radius (several pixel) previously which has a much higher risk of haloing effects, but now I love the small radius as it still gives a nice perceptive sharpening without as many side effects.

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Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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