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help with dslr moon


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i just cant seem to get good pics of the moon with my dslr and 50-250mm lens.

others seem to get great images, but mine just turn out like the one ive attached. can anyone offer any tips, or do i just need a bigger and better lens and or camera?

taken with 400d 50-250 mm ef-s is zoom lens, on a tripod with remote shutter. around F/7 ish with exp around 1/20 ( i took lots to experiment, cant rmemeber exactly what his one was)

thanks

tom

*EDIT* and it looks sooo blurry, but in the viewfinder it looked soo crisp and clean. so why isnt the image coming out so crisp?

post-25906-13387761951_thumb.jpg

Edited by chemtom24
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Hi Tom, I would set your camera mode to full Manual Mode. Then set your ISO to 100. Make sure 'Auto ISO' is turned Off. Now set your aperture to f/11. Followed by setting your shutter speed to 1/125. You have to set your lens to manual focus and set your focus to infinity. Be careful while setting the focus to infinity, as some lenses allow focusing beyond infinity. I have used it many times for my moon photography and it works great! Good luck! :)

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telrad - it was on manual. iso was set to 100. lens was manual focus - there is no inifinty marking on the focus ring, but there is slight play after crisp focus which turns the moon blurry, so i assume this is 'past' infinity.

so other than the shutter speed and F stop, i dont know what im doing wrong :)

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Hi chemtom, after reading this thread I just went out and took a few snaps with my 450D. I was at 290mm on my zoom lens and I found that at 1/100 and 1/160 gave best results.

The first pic is 1/160 and second 1/100, nevermind the tree infront.

They are at f/8, if that helps for comparison I don't know.

Infinity can be hard to get if you have to track back, I have to go back a certain distance once I reach the end of focus. If it is crisp in the viewfinder but not on the picture have you tried the diopter (viewfinder dial) which can change the focus of the viewfinder, it should be a little wheel next to the VF.

post-21042-133877619523_thumb.jpg

post-21042-133877619528_thumb.jpg

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Tom,

As others have said I think your problem is primarily poor focus. For my DSLR shots I never use manual focus - this is too difficult to get spot-on.

I'm not familiar with the Canon (being a Nikon user) but try using spot-focus mode, focussing on the limb of the moon which is the area of highest contrast.

I'd also say your shutter speed is also too slow. Although probably not a problem with the image you've posted, 1/20 will risk a small degree of motion blur, even though your camera is on a tripod. With the moon at a fullish phase, your shutter speed should be closer to normal terrestrial exposure settings.

With a 250mm lens, you should be using speeds of at least 1/125 or shorter if possible. Use Manual mode and bracket your exposures to find the best setting. If necessary, increase the ISO to 200 or 400 if your camera noise control can take this without introducing too much noise. (With the large crops you are having to do, noise may become a problem).

I would stop your lens down a couple of stops from full aperture. Don't go below f8 as this won't improve the IQ.

I think you also have to accept that the quality of a zoom lens is never going to be as good as a prime, and 250mm is a little short to allow big crops.

That said, try and improve your focus technique and I think you'll get some pleasing shots.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Astrokev
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Also you really need a lot more focal length to fill the frame more therefore you will need to crop less giving you more pixels on target.

Full frame image taken with a 1.6x (18 megapixel) crop factor DSLR

5379638618_99fe6080e5.jpg

Moon 23 Jan by Mark Payne - Catching up, on Flickr

And the cropped version of the same image

5384461425_498e09ebc1.jpg

Lunar terminator 23 Jan 2011 by Mark Payne - Catching up, on Flickr

These were taken at 1400mm focal length using my telescope and stacked teleconverters. Your 400D is perfect, you just need more focal length :)

I try and aim for approx 1/60 second or more when mounted on a very sturdy tripod with the ISO as low as possible, usually around ISO 200.

Its a shame the 400D does not have liveview as this really helps with nailing focus accurately.

Mark

Edited by MjrTom
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Also, have you actually tried using autofocus to get your focus? I.e. aim a focus point at the edge of the moon, use autofocus, then switch AF off on the lens, then reframe before shooting.

On my 7D through a 200mm lens, I get good results with autofocus.

Saying that, it does pay to learn how to focus manually.

Another possible reason for blurred image other than focus is camera shake due to the mirror movement. Does your camera have mirror lockup? That is worth a try.

And also consider that seeing could be affecting what you see in the shot even though it looks crisp visually. Our eyes are very good at seeing sharp detail in things that are being blurred by bad seeing. Cameras cannot.

Cheers

Ian

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I agree - it looks like a focus issue.

For comparison purposes, this is an experimental shot of the moon taken last week with an Olympus E3 and Zuiko 50-200mm zoom at 200mm. Hand held using auto-focus. ISO400, f4 at 1/250 RAW.

post-26576-133877619655_thumb.jpg

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thanks for all the replies B) its nice to have such friendly helpful people to pose questions to :)

does anyone know if a camera can have problems focussing at long distance yet still be good on short distance? I have multiple example shots of close up sharp images, so it CAN achieve focus, and very sharply at that, its just soo hard to get it on a long distance subject - even something say 40metres away.

I do have a neximage and in a couple of weeks time when i get home il have a go with my new focal reducer and hoepfully get some full moon shots of a mich hgher quality than the dslr anyway - but its annoying havng this camera and not knowing how to use the darn thing properly!

I only got the dslr because i wanted to do dso imaging with the scope - i think i would be much better off with a comapct P&S for normal photography! :)

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The 55-250 IS lens is pretty good for this sort of thing, but... bear in mind 250mm is way, way too short to get decent detail levels. Handheld, well, kneeling and resting your elbow on your knee will work perfectly well. I used to use ISO100, 250mm, f/5.6 (lens on autofocus) with my 450d (not enough of a difference to be an issue here) and get good results.

The EXIF is in the border

IMG_9559-Version2.jpg

And the crop

IMG_9559.jpg

The reason for the beyond infinity focus, is apparently to allow for thermal changes in the lens itself. It's also best to wait for the moon to get as high as possible before taking the shot.

As for your question on focus at a distance and closeup, there's more to it than that... focus is only part of the story (albeit a critical one), you're getting into the realms of depth of field when you start changing the distance between subject and lens... The amount of sharp data in a photo is dependant on 3 things.. 1) focus, 2) aperture 3) working distance. The larger the aperture (the smaller the number) the less of the depth of the view is in focus. But... the further you are away from something, the greater the sharp area in an image for the same aperture setting. If you get into the minimum focus distance of the 55-250 (1.1m) you get really shallow depth of field at f/5.6 but at infinity, the depth of field is much greater (at 200mm, at 80m distance, you get 35.6m in sharp focus, whereas at 1.1m, you get maybe a few mm, and actually have to go to f/32 [not a good idea due to other issues] to get 10cm in sharp focus).

I hope all that helps and makes sense.

Edited by jgs001
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The 55-250 IS lens is pretty good for this sort of thing, but... bear in mind 250mm is way, way too short to get decent detail levels. Handheld, well, kneeling and resting your elbow on your knee will work perfectly well. I used to use ISO100, 250mm, f/5.6 (lens on autofocus) with my 450d (not enough of a difference to be an issue here) and get good results.

The EXIF is in the border

IMG_9559-Version2.jpg

And the crop

IMG_9559.jpg

The reason for the beyond infinity focus, is apparently to allow for thermal changes in the lens itself. It's also best to wait for the moon to get as high as possible before taking the shot.

John, these are fantastic images! :)

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thanks for all the replies B) its nice to have such friendly helpful people to pose questions to :)

- but its annoying havng this camera and not knowing how to use the darn thing properly!

! :)

You may be familiar with the acronym RTFM ? :mad:

Regarding focussing at different distances, it's possible that your focus mode selection is wrong. Difficult to say for sure without more info about your settings (and again, as a Nikon user, I'm not sure of the correct terms to use for your cam' since Canon terminology is often different to Nikon for these things. Some of the Canon users will I'm sure help on this).

Check your cameras ability to focus on distant subjects by selecting spot-focussing (or the Canon equivalent) so that you can be sure of the target the camera is trying to focus on. Nikon has a setting that focusses on the nearest object the camera sees, so it's possible you have the setting wrong.

Looking at your image, the blurring is definitely poor focus and not motion blur.

Regarding image scale, as I said in an earlier post (and as said by others also) your 250mm is really a little too short, but it's capable of better images than you've managed so far, so persevere with the focus.

Ideally you need a longer focal length - either by getting a longer lens (ideally a prime rather than zoom), or use teleconverters. Good pictures posted by MjrTom, but be aware that the 7D and stacked Canon TC's come with a hefty price tag, which are not a useful comparison with your kit, but do show what's possible if you throw money at it.

Keep practising and don't forget to have fun (that's what it's all about after all :eek:)

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Yes very true the cost of the teleconverters is quite pricy however the same could be achieved by using a 3x or 5x barlow for a lot less money, my reasons for using the TC's was that was what I had to hand. (I'm an avid nature photographer more than an amateur astronomer)

These photos were more to show how much focal length is required to do it justice.

I really need to pick up a 5x powermate some time...

Edited by MjrTom
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As for your question on focus at a distance and closeup, there's more to it than that... focus is only part of the story (albeit a critical one), you're getting into the realms of depth of field when you start changing the distance between subject and lens... The amount of sharp data in a photo is dependant on 3 things.. 1) focus, 2) aperture 3) working distance. The larger the aperture (the smaller the number) the less of the depth of the view is in focus. But... the further you are away from something, the greater the sharp area in an image for the same aperture setting. If you get into the minimum focus distance of the 55-250 (1.1m) you get really shallow depth of field at f/5.6 but at infinity, the depth of field is much greater (at 200mm, at 80m distance, you get 35.6m in sharp focus, whereas at 1.1m, you get maybe a few mm, and actually have to go to f/32 [not a good idea due to other issues] to get 10cm in sharp focus).

Yes, at infinity, depth of field is not really an issue, which is why I suggested not dropping below f8 in an earlier post. At this distance, far better to capture as much light as possible by keeping the lens fairly open (but not at the widest aperture since most consumer lenses are not as sharp at fully open apertures. Most lenses are at their sharpest when closed down a couple of stops).

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Yes very true the cost of the teleconverters is quite pricy however the same could be achieved by using a 3x or 5x barlow for a lot less money, my reasons for using the TC's was that was what I had to hand. (I'm an avid nature photographer more than an amateur astronomer)

These photos were more to show how much focal length is required to do it justice.

I really need to pick up a 5x powermate some time...

Yep, point taken and I agree.

You've got some nice kit there in your sig! I also do battle with wildlife photography (there's a link to my wildlife blog from my astronomy blog in my sig). Different to astro photography but equally challenging.... the subjects tend to move a bit faster though :) , which adds to the enjoyment - and thrill - when you get a few good captures!

Liverpool AS - ah yes, as a born and bred scouser, I remember it well....

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Yep, point taken and I agree.

You've got some nice kit there in your sig! I also do battle with wildlife photography (there's a link to my wildlife blog from my astronomy blog in my sig). Different to astro photography but equally challenging.... the subjects tend to move a bit faster though B) , which adds to the enjoyment - and thrill - when you get a few good captures!

Liverpool AS - ah yes, as a born and bred scouser, I remember it well....

Cheers Kevin, Yes nature is challenging in a whole different way but no less challanging than I find Astronomy at times :)

Yeah been a member of LAS for a while now although i'm from Birmingham originally, just about the worst place to live for LP.

At least Merseyside is a bit better in that respect. :)

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Cheers Kevin, Yes nature is challenging in a whole different way but no less challanging than I find Astronomy at times :)

Yeah been a member of LAS for a while now although i'm from Birmingham originally, just about the worst place to live for LP.

At least Merseyside is a bit better in that respect. :)

Yeah, St.Helens isn't too bad I guess.

I grew up and lived in Melling (between Kirby and Maghull). Lovely village to grow up in, but has changed a lot since I left in the 80's. Not sure I'd ever want to go back now!

My male-line grandfather was from Birmingham (Aston and Ladywood area). Small world.

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Yes, at infinity, depth of field is not really an issue, which is why I suggested not dropping below f8 in an earlier post. At this distance, far better to capture as much light as possible by keeping the lens fairly open (but not at the widest aperture since most consumer lenses are not as sharp at fully open apertures. Most lenses are at their sharpest when closed down a couple of stops).

I agree with you Kevin, but before I learnt about the sharpness on lenses... I got used to using the 55-250 wide open and the results seemed pretty good.

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I agree with you Kevin, but before I learnt about the sharpness on lenses... I got used to using the 55-250 wide open and the results seemed pretty good.

Yep, I've certainly admired many of the images you've posted.:)

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