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Old Jan 12, 2009, 2:07 PM   #11
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The settings used for the photo I posted are 1/250, F5.6, ISO 200


I know the moon seems like it should be an easy thing to photograph, but it's not. At least it wasn't for me anyway. I had many bad shots before I started to get the hang of it. Many of my first shots looked much worse than the one you posted.


Use a tripod
Use the self timer
Turn IS off
Use about F5.6 or a little higher
Make the camera focus a couple times before you take the shot
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 12:10 AM   #12
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Hagar,... thanks for responding. I assume you have read the other posts on this thread. An f stop of 5.6 on your zoom lens is not recommed to get a clear picture, unless the Sigma 30-300 mm has a much better f stop.

I should have remmebered all the problems I have had with many lenses at the wide open setting. Somehow you got it done so you must have some very good glass,.. at least at the high Zoom. I assume that lens does not have IS, so that would not have been availabe. The new Canon 75-300 AF lens I have does not have IS.

I'm going to shoot some more shots tonight and try the correct settings. While I was at the max zoom for many of my pictures, I did shoot a couple at the same settings at about 250 MM, but they did not come out any better. I think the real improvement will when I get the f stop up to 11. The increase in the DOF for that lense should be a lot better. You would think that the distance to the Moon would be close to infinity, but of course it is not.

One other request to those reading this thread. Can someone suggest a simple way to reduce the size of 12 Megapixel image to under the 250 kb limit of this web site. I've done it by cropping the image and then saving a new jpg in varible compression. However this is trial and error and wastes a lot of time.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 2:09 AM   #13
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Well I made the shots, but of course the Moon is shrinking tonight. the picture is better but the final focus is still not that good. I did some cropping andauto corrected the image which gave it more contrast. I think the difficulty in focuing is do to the bad contrast that we have in the target.

I shot this in Manual mode at F10, 1/60s, ISO 200. The camera is still in AI Servo AF. I tried the same shot in Single spot but saw no difference.

It is very difficult to get autoFocus on such a low contrast image. It probably would bebetter if I focused on the top edge of themoon where there is more contrast and light and dark shadows.


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Old Jan 13, 2009, 2:25 AM   #14
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trigger1937 wrote:
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It is very difficult to get autoFocus on such a low contrast image. It probably would bebetter if I focused on the top edge of themoon where there is more contrast and light and dark shadows.
It's not only that but also when a lens is approaching infinity the accuracy is really not that great and I was never successful until I could use live view and then zoom to 10x magnification on the screen to get pretty close. Have you given this a try? When you are using MF you will find that you are moving the focus ring only a fraction of a degree which is what makes it difficult.

As for the question re focusing past infinity I believe that this is due to allowing the lens to slightly change optical characteristics with environmental conditions. However I could be wrong.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 9:26 AM   #15
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FYI - Best moon shot yet:
http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/107812069
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 10:57 AM   #16
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Marc H, I stand corrected... 5 seconds is a bit off if your using tele extensions and such. I was only recalling using my 70 - 200. If your into 500mm + extensions then of course that 5 seconds needs to be cut substantially.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 6:20 PM   #17
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Mark,...Thanks for the suggestion. I have used Live view before but it is pretty awkward, and I would have to stand on my head to do that but I will give it a try.

I've looked at several other moon shots posted and many of them have the same effect of not having sharp imagegs except at the edge where there are high contrast edges. The bright center is so white and has very littel contrast, so that seems to be why it does not appear to be in focus.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 7:06 PM   #18
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It depends how you expose the shot, if you use a faster shutter speed, lower ISO or narrower aperture then you can bring the brightness down on the over exposed area.

I have found that it is easiest for me to use a low stool when shooting the moon and using live view so I can monitor the screen easily. So far this has been the best use of live view that I've found for my shooting. Did you check out the photos a few of us took at the link I posted near the top of this thread?
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Old Jan 14, 2009, 1:52 AM   #19
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Well I tried the Live View shot and used all of the suggestions provided. The shot cam out OK, but wasn't a great improvement in sharpness. The image was shot at 1/40s at F/10 and 300mm. The manual focus at even 5X is so sensitive you basically have no fine resolution. So I put the image into PS Elements 3.0 anddid some basic adjustments, I stepped up the sharpness and midtone 1 click. The result were much more statisfactory.

Others have comments about the basic softness of XSi on any jpg image and to the fact that most P&S are internally set for a much higher number. In looking at the manual, the default is 2 out of 7 steps. Does anyone have any data as to what the default sharpness setting is in most of the Canon Powershot family of P&S? I would like to come up to a compromise number to set my camera at since it is clear that DSLR's are basically set to very low levels, much lower than we are used to.


Buy the way, did anyone happen to notice that someone has landed on the Moon and has built a pretty large Campfire. The Fire can be seen as s very BRIGHT spot at the very top center of my shot and the smoke is blowing SouthWest from that fire.That guy is gona get busted.
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Old Jan 27, 2009, 12:08 AM   #20
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I think those are pretty decent. I cant remember which Canon lens is the good one, the 75-300, or the 70-300? I think the 75-300 is the soft one.

Anyway, with my Tamron 70-300 I have to use a max focal length of 200, and then stop down to about f/8 to get a reasonably sharp shot.
You should be able to get decent handheld shots at those at around iso 200/400.

Have you tried sharpening in Photoshop?

If you want the really good shots, you have to invest in sharper lenses. I know its not fun spending lots of $$$$ on better equipment all the time, but sadly thats what we have to do. I myself am struggling with the decision on whether or not to get a bigma...
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