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Old Jan 5, 2009, 7:18 PM   #1
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As we get quite a few questions about moon shooting be it what kit is needed or what settings will get the results desired.

That being the case and as I've not tried to shoot the moon for a long time and also never with any real success I thought I would give it another go tonight.

The kit.

I shot with two camera options both have similar pixel counts but different ratios (3:2 and 4:3). If you shoot with the same lens specs but withhigher/lower pixel counts then you will geta larger/smaller shot when at 100% etc.

Camera 1, Canon SX1 point and shoot. This has a focal length equivalent to 560mm in 35mm terms (for those with a dSLR that has a 1.5x crop then this would be the same as using a 373mm lens) so something that a lot of people will be able to attain.

Camera 2, Canon 1D mkIII with Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 with a Sigma 2x TC and a Tamron 2x TC giving a total focal length of 1200mm or 1560mm in 35mm terms.

Other essential equipment is remote shutter release (or use the timer) and a sturdy tripod. I use a velbon carbon tripod which is great for my normal use but at the extreme focal lengths here the wobble took about 15 seconds to get to a reasonable level.

With both cameras I used manual focus and having live view on the mkIII has for the first time allowed be to get close to the focus that I want but I didn't quite nail it.

Settings SX1 I shot in Av wide open

Exposure Time = 1/125"
F Number = F5.7
ISO Speed Ratings = 200

Settings 1D mkIII shot in manual

Exposure Time = 1/100"
F Number = F16
Exposure Program = Manual
ISO Speed Ratings = 1000

OK the part you are all waiting for (assuming that you haven't fallen asleep )the photos.

SX1 Full photo



SX1 Crop



SX1 100% Crop



1D mkIII Full photo



1D mkIII Crop 1



1D mkIII Crop 2



1D mkIII 100% Crop



So as can be seen from the last 2 with the 1D then I didn't quite nail the focus and also probably stopping down slightly more might have helped with sharpness, but we get into the battle of nose, shutter speed etc. You will be amazed how fast the moon is moving and how often you will need to recompose.

Well that was my little bit of fun for the evening and I hope you enjoyed it and that you might find it helpful when thinking about shooting the moon!!

If you have some shots you would like to share please feel free to post here. Please include settings, camera, lens etc etc so people can see what is possible. I might give this a bash again to see if I can get slightly better results but it was just too cold tonight.

In case you winder what the 1D and lens setup look like here is a quick pic.



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Old Jan 5, 2009, 7:57 PM   #2
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Hi Mark. Very good moon shots! Here is one I did last month. I used a tripod, Auto focus (not that it really matters at that distance!), ISO 200, 1/200sec, F9 and shot in RAW. I used the Canon 100-400 4.5-5.6L @400mm. It was also a very, very clear, crisp night.

The first is with out a crop. very minor levels and shadow/highlight adjustments were made.

The second is cropped quit a bit but the detail is still there.

Hope I was able to help a little.

Mugmar


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Old Jan 5, 2009, 7:59 PM   #3
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 6:46 AM   #4
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I really would have had a full moon so hopefully will get a chance to try again in a few days as it looks very cool

I made a quick video at the same time which some might find interesting.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=6kM0O5...eature=channel
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 9:36 AM   #5
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Thank you for this post. I am really interested in doing moon shots with an slr. Will an xs or xsi work good and what lens would I need for it?
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 11:20 AM   #6
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The camera will certainly do what is needed and depending on your expectations then you will need to look at lens options.

As you can see I was working at 1200mm and Mugmar was working at 400mm so you can see the sort of results you can expect. You could happily use a 2 x converter with the 400mm lens that Mugmar has to make 800mm.

If you check out http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/moon_shotsthere are some of the best Moon shots I've seen anywhere and there are a selection of lens and camera options.

So pretty much the longer focal length the better but remember the longer the focal length the better the tripod needs to be to get a shot without wobble.
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 6:22 PM   #7
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Mark, your advice on tripod is right on. Once you start stacking together heavy lenses and increasing the focal length, stability becomes more and more of a problem. Each of the following shots was taken with a Pentax K20d, with a Sigma 50-500 and a 2X Sigma TC...giving an effective length of 1000mm. In all three cases, shutter was triggered remotely to minimize camera shake

Full moon, ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/100, -0.3EV



First shot was taken in mid-October. The crescent which follows was about two weeks later. It was shot at ISO 640, f/8.0, and 1/60, and + 0.7 EV. A couple of things to note--First, note how much less light with which I was working on the crescent moon. ISO had to go up, EV was up, and shutter speed was down. Second, the f/stop values shown are as read by the camera and do not reflect the 2-stop loss from using the teleconverter.



Finally, a shot taken in late afternoon shortly before sundown. ISO 160, f/6.7, 1/60, and + 0.7EV.



C & C welcome.

Paul
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 6:31 PM   #8
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I really love the last one that is fantastic!!!!

Do you have a 100% crop as I would love to see the quality.
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 7:41 PM   #9
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Thanks, Mark. Attached is a 100% crop. I took out a little noise before posting. The level of detail isn't as sharp as what you got with the Mark III.

Paul
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 7:53 PM   #10
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Hey Paul, still not bad though and when we are looking at such things I always thing it is worth showing a 100% crop so people know how to gauge what their results are like in comparison.

I guess you used the same process of live view focus with the K20D? I never could get even a reasonable shot pre live view and then being able to use 10x zoom on that. I think I will have to output live at some point to a monitor/tv to see how things look and for a bit of fun :-).

I'm tempted to get out and add a 1.4x TC into the mix to give 1680mm a try . It is at times like this that I wish I had a 50D as the extra mp as well as a 1.6 rather than 1.3 crop would be great. Using a 1.6x crop on a 1680mm lens is a 35mm equiv of 2688mm, how cool is that???? LOL.

OK, I really should stop mentally spending all my cash as I'm meant to be holding out for a 5D mkII later this year. However I've been discussing with JohnG about the possibility of selling the 30D, 5D and 1D mkIII as well as my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, Sigma 17-70 and Sigma 10-20 (all three lenses should have been sold ages ago) and replace with a 50D and 5D mkII. It would make a pretty nice setup, but I still don't like to think about getting rid of the mkIII at the moment as I've not even had it a year.
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