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kazuya Oct 24, 2015 6:09 AM

photographing the moon
Im quite a competent photographer, currently using a Nikon D90
for some reason ive become fascinated by the moon and I find myself wanting to take closer and closer pics, unfortunately as usual this is when it starts to become expensive, so ive been looking for budget ways to try and achieve this.
this leads me to mirror lenses, very cheap and quite powerful, but would I get decent pics?
I know about the drawbacks like fixed aperture, hard to focus, camera shake and manual mode only, but as its sole purpose would be to photograph the moon this wouldn't be a problem. so none of that bothers me, and if i came away with one good shot after a nights shooting id feel it was worth it.
on ebay they sell 500mm with a 2x TC for about 100 as my camera is a two thirds then thats going to give me quite some range in total.

at the moment im using my Nikon vr 70-300 with a tenko 1.4 TC and here's what im getting with that

obviously its had some PP work, i suppose my question is will i get much better with a 500mm + 2x TC or do you think ill be disappointed with results, or should i take a punt and experiment?

also if i upgraded to a full frame camera obviously id lose some zoom from what im used to but would this be counter acted by the better detail and cropping

thanks for any info guys

TCav Oct 24, 2015 9:13 AM

Catadioptric (Mirror) lenses have fewer polished surfaces, so they tend to be sharper, and since there's little refracting going on you'll get less chromatic aberration than you're getting now. But these are all things that wouldn't be visible in the reduced resolution image you posted here anyway, and the Nikon 70-300 VR and the Kenko 1.4X TC are pretty good to start with. So I don't think you'd notice much difference with your 12MP D90.

VTphotog Oct 24, 2015 10:09 AM

"Good" mirror lenses should be excellent for your purpose. There are, however, two ways to make them, and only one of those ways results in a 'good' lens.
The silvered surface (aluminized, actually) can be on the front of the mirror (first surface), but then must be coated to prevent oxidation.
The mirror may also be sivered on the back side (second surface), and then painted, which is a much cheaper process.
With the second type, the light travels through the glass of the mirror twice, which compounds any imperfections, but with the first surface mirror, it is reflected directly, resulting in a much better lens.
If the manufacturer doesn't specifically tell you it is a first surface mirror, it probably isn't.
You may be better served by finding a small catadioptric telescope and picking up a T-mount.

kazuya Oct 24, 2015 12:26 PM

ok so mirror lenses would be good for photographing the moon, as long as its a decent one and TCav your saying id probably be better off with a higher megapixel camera as well.
say I was to go mad and buy myself a D7500, been thing about it for a while anyway as my D90 is quite old now, and if I combined that with a mirror lens id be able to get some nice shots of the moon?

TCav Oct 24, 2015 12:44 PM

The catadioptric lenses widely available for interchangeable lens cameras are mostly made by Samyang, a well known manufacturer of quality optics, but are sold under a variety of brand names (Vivitar, Bower, Pro-Optic, Rokinon, etc.) Kenko, also a well known manufacturer of quality optics, recently entered the market, and their offerings are distinguished by atypical focal lengths.

If you can find the focal length and aperture you like, your next criterion should be price, though you probably won't see a lot of variation there.

TCav Oct 24, 2015 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by kazuya (Post 1394452)
say I was to go mad and buy myself a D7500, been thing about it for a while anyway as my D90 is quite old now, and if I combined that with a mirror lens id be able to get some nice shots of the moon?

I'd go with a 24MP body and the lens you've got now, to see what you'd get with that, but considering the low price of a catadioptric lens, it would be hard not to go that route.

kazuya Oct 24, 2015 12:54 PM

thanks for the advice ive seen a few old Nikon 500mm catadioptric lenses for sale so im just researching those.

also some of the lenses have the old M42 mount and you use a nikon adaptor, am I right in thinking this stops you from focusing at infinity? and would this be a problem for me with the moon?

TCav Oct 24, 2015 1:29 PM

The M42 lens mount has a flange focal distance of 45.46 mm, while the Nikon F-Mount has a flange focal distance of 46.5 mm. So, yes, a M42 lens would not focus at infinity when adapted to the Nikon F-Mount. That is, unless the M42 to F-Mount adapter had a negative thickness.

markbrown14 Dec 5, 2015 2:52 AM

photographing the moon
Its really a very Interesting work to do that Photography the Moon

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