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Old Jun 14, 2014, 9:22 AM   #41
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Default Now to the E-M1

Since last post I did buy an E-M1. It was sooner than I'd hoped for because of a sizeable factory rebate available here in May and June. A case of missing out on a good deal unless I jumped right now...

So, now getting used to the E-M1 and what a bit of sophisticated kit compared to an E-520. Thankfully there are some good setting guides around, like the one here http://www.biofos.com/mft/omd_em1_settings.html.

I'm taking advantage of the custom Mode Dial feature and changing Photo Story mode to an AstroPhotography mode via one of the custom MySet's.
Art Mode will probably go next for Macro work or something similar.

Anyway.
Astro Mode has these settings thus far and I wonder if anyone can suggest anything else I should consider from any night shooting experience.

Manual Mode
Manual focus
ISO 3200 (just a starting point)
Noise Reduction ON
Noise filter OFF
MF Assist ON
Live Time ON

Martin
PS. Has anyone yet created a Mode Dial ring sticker that be written on ?
I guess individual mode stickers could be made if not, like to replace Art with Astro...
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Old Jun 14, 2014, 9:14 PM   #42
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Congrats on the camera Sneeze. It's a fun, fun device that opens a lot of possibilities.

Not that I've taken a lot of astro-landscapes but looking trough a few of mine I see ISO 800 was used quite a bit (see attached). I look forward to seeing your results.
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Old Jun 15, 2014, 2:30 AM   #43
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Pointed into the milky way with M. Zuiko 12-40 at 12mm 15 sec f2.8 ISO 800 100% crop. Not a nightscape or astro-landscape as such but interesting to see what the sensor can pick up in 15 seconds.
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Old Jul 4, 2014, 8:55 AM   #44
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[QUOTE=ramcewan;1370372]It is also on the E-M1, not sure if it will get pushed down to the prior models that don't share that image processing engine.

Steve Huff mentions it in his excellent write up of the E-M1, including two sample photos where the feature was used for light writing





Now that I have the E-M1, it seems that Live Composite is NOT on it, it was Live Time that was used in the Steve Huff review.

Um bugger, I was looking forward to trying Live Composite for Astrophotography (it just has the Live Time & Live Bulb).

Last edited by mr.sneezy; Jul 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM.
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Old Dec 21, 2014, 8:08 AM   #45
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Default Update, with the E-M1

It's been some six months or so, and finally I've had some time and the right night conditions in the right place to try the new E-M1 for Landscape Astro. Compared to the E-520 it's an order of magnitude better

I have taken a batch of images at various ISO and times, and will play with Olympus Viewer (or GIMP as well) and then DeepSky Stacker.

For now here's a single shot that is taken in the same conditions and same ISO1600 as the last of the three shots I put in post 35 on this thread from the E-520.
The lens is also better, it's now a 12-60mm F2.8, so that's helped a lot too...
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Old Dec 21, 2014, 9:50 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sneezy View Post
It's been some six months or so, and finally I've had some time and the right night conditions in the right place to try the new E-M1 for Landscape Astro. Compared to the E-520 it's an order of magnitude better

I have taken a batch of images at various ISO and times, and will play with Olympus Viewer (or GIMP as well) and then DeepSky Stacker.

For now here's a single shot that is taken in the same conditions and same ISO1600 as the last of the three shots I put in post 35 on this thread from the E-520.
The lens is also better, it's now a 12-60mm F2.8, so that's helped a lot too...
Hey Mr. Sneezy,

that looks pretty good to me, sounds like you are making some progress working toward finding the right settings, I am interested to hear more. I also now own an E-M1 so I'm interested in doing some of the same stuff you are.

How did you focus? I've found that to be an issue for me personally trying to get a good infinity focus.

Also I did find some good info on a site called lonelyspeck. I like their exposure calculator since it works for 4/3 sensors as well.

http://www.lonelyspeck.com/how-to-ma...ky-way-galaxy/

One other thing I am considering picking up the new Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 12mm f2.0 which is getting good reviews for astro photography.

I have a Lumix 14mm f2.5 but being a focus by-wire pancake hitting infinity is far from easy, I also have the Zuiko 14-54 f2.8-3.5 mkII which has a focus scale but when I plug into the calculator for exposure times at even ISO 6400 I'm past the point where I start getting star trails.
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Old Dec 21, 2014, 9:54 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramcewan View Post
How did you focus? I've found that to be an issue for me personally trying to get a good infinity focus.

Also I did find some good info on a site called lonelyspeck. I like their exposure calculator since it works for 4/3 sensors as well.

http://www.lonelyspeck.com/how-to-ma...ky-way-galaxy/

One other thing I am considering picking up the new Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 12mm f2.0 which is getting good reviews for astro photography.

I have a Lumix 14mm f2.5 but being a focus by-wire pancake hitting infinity is far from easy, I also have the Zuiko 14-54 f2.8-3.5 mkII which has a focus scale but when I plug into the calculator for exposure times at even ISO 6400 I'm past the point where I start getting star trails.
I focus in MF as you'd expect, but I use the magnify option for MF (Settings Menu A, AF/MF submenu, MF Assist, Magnify). What I've been doing is setting the zoom to what I need (usually 12mm) then point the camera at a big bright star, getting it dead in the middle of the central focus guide box (while tripod mounted of course). Then I adjust manual focus using the LCD panel for viewing. With Magnify 'On' it auto zooms to the center of the frame and detail is high enough to get a sharp focus. Then I move the camera to the part of the sky I want and shoot my sequence, without touching the focus ring again. Infinity is slightly back from full on my 12-60mm F2.8 SWD.

Lonelyspeck is a great Astro information site. I started with recommended settings, but ultimately experimented with exposure time to find the start of star trails on my particular lens. The 12-60mm at 12mm is about 20 seconds max, found by closely checking out a series of images at increasing exposure times. The same lens when used at 60mm can only go to 10 seconds before unworkable trails...

The Rokinon 12mm F2.0 should be a great Astro lens. I'd love to try one out myself (anyone with one in Adelaide want to meet up for some Astro shooting ?).

The Zuiko 14-54mm F2.8 should be OK, since it's close to mine at the wide end I'd try no more than 15-20 seconds, as ISO1600 to ISO6400 and see how it looks.

I've just started to play with software called Deep Sky Stacker. With this you shoot multiple frames at the same exposure and the software stacks them for you. Random noise should reduce, contrast between light and dark objects should increase. The software can use calibration shots taken with the lens cap on to remove more noise as well.
http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html
For landscapes there is going to be some photo editing needed to retain the land parts of the images.

PS. Live Composite is now in the E-M1 through the V2 firmware. I'm curious to see if it can be harnessed for Astro imaging.

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Old Dec 21, 2014, 11:46 PM   #48
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That's a pretty cool shot sneezy. And it's nice to hear I'm not the only one who was able to pull off using magnify to focus on a bright star. It's kind of astonishing really and speaks well to the quality of the EM1 EVF.

BTW - If you are going to get into stacking here's a good tutorial about the process. At 24 minutes it's longer than I usually watch but he does a good job explaining what's involved and uses DeepSkyTracker in the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0JSTF8SGi4

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Old Dec 25, 2014, 9:46 PM   #49
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Default some Christmas nightscapes

Well it was a balmy (for new England) Christmas with highs near 60F degrees, as such this evening the temps were in the bearable mid-40s. All the day's fun was done and the crescent moon which came up early had already set below the horizon on a clear but windy night. I figured I may as well give a it a try with some little astro-photography. Now I am not really too far from civilization so the sky is far from absent of light pollution. I hope for some darker skies next time I'm up in Maine but for now this was fun to experiment. I shot these all with the E-M1 and the Lumix G 14mm f2.5. I found it pretty straightforward to use the magnify option to focus now that I understand how to use it thanks to Mr. Sneezy! I've got a long way to go before I am near what I want so take these as what they are, experimentation.

I think this was one of the better ones; ISO 3200, 20 second exposure at f5.6 (Orion's belt is visible through the trees)

Christmas Night Stars and Trees by ramcewan, on Flickr

this was ISO 3200, f2.5 and a 13 second exposure.

Christmas Night Stars by ramcewan, on Flickr

and this last one I pushed it up to ISO 6400, f2.5 and 20 second exposure

Christmas Night Stars by ramcewan, on Flickr


I definitely see the light pollution at these levels, but surprisingly the noise is fairly manageable. I did really have to play a bit in LR though to get these where I wanted, pushing blacks down most all the way, exposure was also pushed down especially in the last shot which was a reddish mess out of the camera, likewise I pushed contrast up a bit.

What I do notice in all of them is there is substantial CA which is fairly characteristic of Panasonic's lenses. I think I may have to give it a shot with the Zuiko 14-54mm mk II which hasn't really shown any such CA.

I still have much to learn on the post side and the optimum settings but I see a lot of potential in this sensor when and if I can get it right under dark enough skies.
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Last edited by ramcewan; Dec 25, 2014 at 9:49 PM.
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Old Dec 25, 2014, 10:24 PM   #50
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okay I just had a bit of a read on white balance and using contrast curves instead of the contrast slider in LR and did a re-work of the second of the shots above. I set the WB down to around 3900 which helped to reduce the orange glow. I also corrected for vignetting and found the CA corrections at the same time. I also turned down the saturation on the blues. I think the end result is much closer to what one normally expects to see for an astro photographic and I am pretty happy with it (although there is more to achieve for sure!).

Christmas Stars Rework by ramcewan, on Flickr
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