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Andrew Reid

Can you shoot the international space station with a Micro Four Thirds camera?

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This video of the international space station passing the moon has become quite famous on the internet, demonstrating as it does the unusual abilities of the Nikon P900, a super-zoom consumer camera which costs around $700.

Can we do better with a 'proper' camera?

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony Cameras

 

Love the article, Andrew! Thanks, a super fun read and a bit of basic math is a great joy to keep the creative  possibilities of different tools in perspective. On the GH5 in HD Ex Tele mode should have a crop factor of 5.6 compared to full frame photo cams, the same like  cropped HD from the UHD 1.4 Ex Tele mode of the GH5. So a 600mm on GH5 with cropped HD from the 1.4 UHD Ex Tele mode would become like a 3360mm, that speedboosted by factor 0.7 gives us 2300mm compared to photo full frame for a HD glimpse on the moon.

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5 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I know nothing about telescopes.

Any info, bring it on.

Here's a sort of uber-imaging setup with a 9.25" aperture/2350mm f/10 Schmidt-Cassegraine compound scope with an afocal imaging setup about 15 years ago: Sony TRV-900 3-CCD VHF camcorder with full man. controls, SS down to 1/2 sec connected to a telescope eyepiece (this is the "afocal" setup) which is connected to a 3X TC (Barlow lens in astro lingo). The Jupiter images filled about 2/3 frame height with the Sony at about 10X zoom. This method makes finding the object pretty easy zoomed out, works well in spite of the huge # of optical elements involved, and zoomed-in gives enormous mag. - maybe ~ 20-25 meters EFL @ f/100?

The film clips were processed in Registax, which selected the sharpest (due to brief reductions in atmospheric turbulence), stacked 400-600, which accentuated common detail features, than a complex multistage "wavelet" sharpening routine. The first Jupiter image was from the steadiest "seeing" conditions I've ever had - in the Florida Panhandle. The Mars image at it's historic closest approach in 9/3/03, from southern Mexico.

2-C9-25&SonyTRV-900Mounting.jpg

1-JupiterDualTransit 04-3-30 Final.jpg

2-JupiterDualTransit 3-30-04 detail-3.jpg

3-Jupiter 04-03-29 Final.jpg

Mars 9-3-03 4-34UT.jpg

Saturn 11-23-02 714 FinalLg.jpg

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On my GH5 I actually purchased a 400mm FD lens on ebay for $300, especially for moon shots, which gives me, if my crop info is right:

  • Regular 4K (no crop): 800mm
  • 4k crop (1.4 crop via ex tele mode enable in the GH5 menu): 1120mm
  • 1080 crop (2.7 crop via ex tele mode enable in the GH5 menu): 2160 mm

Personally I usually shoot the moon in 800mm or 1120mm "modes" because longer focals are hard to managed in terms of vibration. In body IS can help but it can also get confused on the tripod and be counter productive. Past 1000mm or so, simple light wind can have an effect on the camera shake especially with long and heavy tele lenses which extend far in front of the camera mounting point (because of the arm effect that amplifies the vibration). To counter this I purchase an adaptable tele support. This way I can balance the setup and move the support point forward.

Another point is that the moon moves quite fast and tighter focal is harder to frame.

Finally, wide aperture lens doesn't matter much for moon shoots. I find myself closing the aperture down to f/5 or f8 for full moon shoot. It's bright !

You can also get the FD 300mm for $50-100 on ebay. All you need is a cheap $25 ring adapter.

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In terms of ex-tele on the GH5, might as well you shoot in open gate anamorphic as that uses the full sensor resolution, then you can crop 1080p from that in post, rather than bake the framing in-camera with ex-tele.

Regarding the crop factors, I simplified things to only horizontal crop factor... if you take into account diagonal of 16:9 you might see slightly different numbers.

What is everybody using for their longest telephoto zooms or primes? Would be great to see a list of options to consider, outside of just the ones I am thinking about.

Canon 400mm F5.6L has AF and looks like nice 1.2kg alternative to the 5kg Canon FD 400mm F2.8L. Add that to the list.

3 hours ago, Peter Berry said:

Here's a sort of uber-imaging setup with a 9.25" aperture/2350mm f/10 Schmidt-Cassegraine compound scope with an afocal imaging setup about 15 years ago: Sony TRV-900 3-CCD VHF camcorder with full man.

1-JupiterDualTransit 04-3-30 Final.jpg

 

Wow. Did you ever try this setup with a more modern camera? Imagine that telescope with a D850!!

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7 hours ago, Roberto Tolin Sommer said:

5 years ago i made a photo of the ISS with my GH3. I made it in photo mode with a old russian 1.000mm catadioptric lens. It was incredibly difficult to find the tiny point in the viewfinder and mantain the hight speed across the sky. I made a few dozens shots and one was sharp. It was pure luck at 1/125s. This is a 100% pixels crop.

iss.jpg

Amazing shot.

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16 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

In terms of ex-tele on the GH5, might as well you shoot in open gate anamorphic as that uses the full sensor resolution, then you can crop 1080p from that in post, rather than bake the framing in-camera with ex-tele.

Regarding the crop factors, I simplified things to only horizontal crop factor... if you take into account diagonal of 16:9 you might see slightly different numbers.

What is everybody using for their longest telephoto zooms or primes? Would be great to see a list of options to consider, outside of just the ones I am thinking about.

Canon 400mm F5.6L has AF and looks like nice 1.2kg alternative to the 5kg Canon FD 400mm F2.8L. Add that to the list.

Wow. Did you ever try this setup with a more modern camera? Imagine that telescope with a D850!!

Andrew, the problem with a much larger sensor than the tiny video chips of yore is that you have to use a significant zoom lens on the camera (or a long FL prime) to couple to the scope eyepiece/TC train. I've tried my GH4 w/ the compact Panny 14-140, but just too bulky, with a relatively small circular image shown, or no focus-able image all. My next iteration was the Sony HC1 FHD camcorder, but never found suitable astronomic "seeing" to warrant the time and effort of setup with the 9.25" f/10 scope.

What I have done with it is total solar eclipse recording of solar flares and detached prominences, but with a very compact and excellent 4" 1000mm f/10 reflex scope w/ tube length only 8" using an eyepiece coupled to the Sony lens, but no TC. First pic below with the VGA res. TRV-900 of the striking detached prominence - Africa '01; the second with the FHD Sony of the "hedgerow prominences" I've not seen imaged in this detail - Turkey '06. For the recent eclipse I viewed and imaged from Madras, Oregon, I used my GH5, Canon 100-400-II w/ 2X TC shooting 4K in ETC crop mode (2.7X crop factor), plus 2X dig zoom or this to 1080p res and 5.4X factor = 4320mm EFL. Tech. screwups on my part nixed any views of the pretty unimpressive flares at this mag.

C-DetachedProm - Web.jpg

B-2nd Contact - Web.jpg

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its all the framing: That thing moves across the sky fast.  I connected my gx85 to a mates gimbal mounted 600mmf4 with 2x teleconverter. chasing that thing accross the sky was hilarious.  I thought they were all blurry , but a while later I found a couple of shots where you could discern the shape.   This is jupiter shot the same night with the d810:

18221579_10211041277480907_6231473787841

The gx85 was shot wide open, stopping down a bit helped a lot, but M43 not great when pushing isos, so the final results from d810/ gx85 were about the same.  

The takehome was: plan like buggery: dont try to follow it accross the sky, use a telescope ;)

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better solution is gh4r not gh5 2.3x recropped to 1080 captured in 10bit on shogun. more or minus with speedbooster 0.64 even 0.54 for bmmc or 2x multiplier. bye gh5! isnt your time. gh4r rocks! why? ;) cos is the truth. buy used gh4 an a7s with shogun!

2,3×2×2×600
=5.520mm :):):)

other story with a6500 with natural zoom! hahaha

but someone can say "oh no is f12" too dark! wroooooooooong! the moon is like a lamp! try with a cellphone and see how low set automatic aperture ;)

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