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Shooting Star Trails and Timelapses - Advice please


the lemming
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I've had a couple of attempts at Star Trails and Timelapses with mixed results but I'm not exactly sure how to get the best results and what software to use in post production.

I have a Panasonic GH5, 7.5mm lens (f2.0), sturdy tripod with a fluid head as I mainly do videoing stuff in daylight.

I would appreciate advice on stuff like:

  • If I should turn on or off Noise Reduction.
  • How long I keep the shutter open.
  • What ISO to use. My camera is practically ISO invariant but I never know where to keep the sweet spot.
  • What software is novice proof with good enough results to keep me happy.

This is my first and only attempt last year and I can't remember what I did, however I did use some software to stack the images. Doh!

Builder on the roof

 

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As mentioned above, I find starstax is good. For timelapse I use LR Timelapse but you also need adobe lightroom for that.

I use a Canon DSLR and I don't use in camera NR, I find it can soften things, with long exposures and lowish ISO and stacking I don't think its that important + you can always do NR when processing the final image if required. Not sure about your camera tbh.

Length of open shutter time, I go for as long as possible on my locked open intervalometer = 30secs for me, it doesn't matter if the stars start to trail in the individual images. Longer open shutter = lower ISO = less noise.

For ISO I just take a couple of test shots and see. For my Canon 6D I find 30 secs at 500 ISO gives pleasing trails, less than that and they are a little sparse, more than that and the sky gets busy ! Depends on the effect you are looking for I guess.

Easiest way to check all of these things is just to try a range of different settings for some short test runs and then stack them into a star trail to see what the result is. I did this and this is how I ended up with my go to settings for most star trails = 30 secs & 500-1000 ISO depending on the situation.

I have a few star trails here along with the settings used for each one

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132427272@N04/albums/72157655067298718/with/31468538285/

Good luck !

bamburgh-trails.jpg

Duns-castle-stars 2000.jpg

Edited by Spaced Out
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3 hours ago, Spaced Out said:

As mentioned above, I find starstax is good. For timelapse I use LR Timelapse but you also need adobe lightroom for that.

I use a Canon DSLR and I don't use in camera NR, I find it can soften things, with long exposures and lowish ISO and stacking I don't think its that important + you can always do NR when processing the final image if required. Not sure about your camera tbh.

Length of open shutter time, I go for as long as possible on my locked open intervalometer = 30secs for me, it doesn't matter if the stars start to trail in the individual images. Longer open shutter = lower ISO = less noise.

For ISO I just take a couple of test shots and see. For my Canon 6D I find 30 secs at 500 ISO gives pleasing trails, less than that and they are a little sparse, more than that and the sky gets busy ! Depends on the effect you are looking for I guess.

Easiest way to check all of these things is just to try a range of different settings for some short test runs and then stack them into a star trail to see what the result is. I did this and this is how I ended up with my go to settings for most star trails = 30 secs & 500-1000 ISO depending on the situation.

I have a few star trails here along with the settings used for each one

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132427272@N04/albums/72157655067298718/with/31468538285/

Good luck !

Some great advice there.

 

Unfortunately my Panasonic GH5 got very noisy photographing the Milky Way this year when I turned off NR creating hot pixels. It spoiled all my images as I could not get rid of all the hot pixels. The shutter was open for 25 seconds. Maybe the ISO at 5000 was the problem. 😥

1 How to eliminate hot pixels?

 

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