Poor quality of lunar images with 20D/C90

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I have a relatively new DSLR and an old (~ 1980, black tube) Celestron
C90. The other light I tried taking a picture of the full moon with
the camera at prime focus (tripod, ASA 1600, 1/800, remote release
after ~10 sec of MLU), and the results were reasonably well-exposed
but very fuzzy (and noisy: maybe ISO 200 or 400 would be better). I
was using an Olympus Varimagni right angle finder attached to the
camera. This gives a 2.5x magnification of the viewfinder, and I got
the focus as sharp as I could. The view through the 20D viewfinder is
horrible, though . . . I wish the screen had at least a small spot of
fine-grained matte. There's a picture at:

http://home.comcast.net/~jgates777/Moon.html

I thought that perhaps the 'scope was damaged or had deteriorated in
some way, but visual observations (30mm Kellner) look very sharp. So,
I have a few questions:

1. Is it normal for lunar astrophotographs to have much lower
resolution than visual images?
2. Since the 'scope focuses "beyond infinity", it is very
difficult to focus on the screen in a Canon 20D. Do you have any tips
for manual focusing with a DSLR, or is it largely trial and error
("Jeff R." at sci.astro.amateur recommended a Hoffman mask)?
3. The tripod I was using was an old, cheap Velbon (~$25 new) I
bought for a video project, and is none too stable. If you touch the
'scope at all the image dances all over the place. After some
research, I've ordered a Bogen / Manfrotto 3246 with 488RC2 Midi
Ballhead that will be used primary for daylight photography, but it
hasn't arrived yet. Would you folks with experience expect this to be
any better?

I understand that the 'scope is not the greatest, and this was my first
try at lunar imaging, but my images look nowhere near as good as those
I've seen from similar setups. I don't expect miracles, but these
pictures are pretty sad. Any suggestions?
 
G

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Nominally it's about 1000mm f11, but I have read that the effective
aperture is more like f12.5 (as Ray Fisher suggests below). I'd
believe you about the exposure, but I read ISO 1600, 1/1800 from the
EXIF data and if anything the image looks underexposed.
 
G

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I understand that there is not a lot of aperture with the C90, but
I've seen other C90 shots via afocal methods that are far better.
The link that Basiltoo posted below, for example
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1010&message=14611149
shows what I would call very fine detail from such a small scope.
Admittedly, it's not a full moon, and the shodw adds quite a bit of
perceived detail. I'll try a less than full moon next time and play
around with the ISO/exposure tradeoff. Perhaps the new tripod will
help. Thanks for the comments and suggestions.
 
G

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Well, I'm not really attempting to get into astrophotography with
this sort of telescope. I just thought a moon shot would be
interesting. Getting an astronomical tripod seems a bit of overkill
unless I'm attempting guided exposures of planets and deep space
objects. If I were going to do that, I'd probably figure out a way
to spring for a telescope with at least 8" of aperture. But, as I
said, I did spring for a substantially better tripod for terrestrial
work, and hopefully that will help a bit.
 
G

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Yes, I used MLU and a cable release. I waited for approximately 10
seconds after MLU before tripping the shutter.
 
G

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Yes, saw that the other night. In fact, that image is was prompted me
to try a moon shot --- I wanted to see how well my (much older, well
traveled) C90 could do. Not very well, it seems.
 
G

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Was you tripod sitting on a deck or on solid ground? A deck may be
suject to vibrations, although your shutter speed was quite high.

I have a C90 (older, orange) that I have been waiting to use with my
D70 to get some moon pictures. I say waiting because I have a
restricted view from my house due to hills and trees and the moon
hasn't been in position yet. Also coincidentally, I have been putting
up with a shakey Veblon for years and just recently bought a Manfretto
tripod. So far I have just tried to shoot some star trails with the
camera and a lens, but had trouble at first until I moved the tripod
off of the deck.
 

Bob

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On 24 Sep 2005 11:05:23 -0700, "jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote:

>I have a relatively new DSLR and an old (~ 1980, black tube) Celestron
>C90. The other light I tried taking a picture of the full moon with
>the camera at prime focus (tripod, ASA 1600, 1/800, remote release
>after ~10 sec of MLU), and the results were reasonably well-exposed
>but very fuzzy (and noisy: maybe ISO 200 or 400 would be better). I
>was using an Olympus Varimagni right angle finder attached to the
>camera. This gives a 2.5x magnification of the viewfinder, and I got
>the focus as sharp as I could. The view through the 20D viewfinder is
>horrible, though . . . I wish the screen had at least a small spot of
>fine-grained matte. There's a picture at:
>
>http://home.comcast.net/~jgates777/Moon.html
>
>I thought that perhaps the 'scope was damaged or had deteriorated in
>some way, but visual observations (30mm Kellner) look very sharp. So,
>I have a few questions:
>
> 1. Is it normal for lunar astrophotographs to have much lower
>resolution than visual images?
> 2. Since the 'scope focuses "beyond infinity", it is very
>difficult to focus on the screen in a Canon 20D. Do you have any tips
>for manual focusing with a DSLR, or is it largely trial and error
>("Jeff R." at sci.astro.amateur recommended a Hoffman mask)?
> 3. The tripod I was using was an old, cheap Velbon (~$25 new) I
>bought for a video project, and is none too stable. If you touch the
>'scope at all the image dances all over the place. After some
>research, I've ordered a Bogen / Manfrotto 3246 with 488RC2 Midi
>Ballhead that will be used primary for daylight photography, but it
>hasn't arrived yet. Would you folks with experience expect this to be
>any better?
>
>I understand that the 'scope is not the greatest, and this was my first
>try at lunar imaging, but my images look nowhere near as good as those
>I've seen from similar setups. I don't expect miracles, but these
>pictures are pretty sad. Any suggestions?

Your picture is fuzzy, alright! Mine are a little bit better, but not by a
lot... I just got a scope to use with my D70.... and yes its dam hard to focus!

I was shooting at 1/250 sec, ISO 800. The scope is a 4" MAK-CAS 1300mm f/13.

I was told that I would be better off with a scope with f/6 or so... maybe next
year!

Tripod is a Slik very heavy model (cost as much as the scope!) good for normal
photography, but it too shakes the moon if you touch it! I use the IR remote.

I'm going to try damping out vibration with an old coat or something and see if
that helps.

I will post a moon pic on alt.binaries.photos.original for you to see.
 

dylan

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Whats the f number of the scope ?.
You should be able to expose the moon at approx f8, 1/250th with ISO 100.
You are right focussing can be difficult !
 

Jim

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"jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote in message
news:1127585123.145180.137920@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> 3. The tripod I was using was an old, cheap Velbon (~$25 new) I
> bought for a video project, and is none too stable. If you touch the
> 'scope at all the image dances all over the place.
Why not get the tripod that Celestron sells for such a scope? It seems to
me that you are trying to get good photographs with equipment that is
totally inadequate (except for the scope that is).
Jim
 
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"jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote in news:1127585123.145180.137920
@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:

> I have a relatively new DSLR and an old (~ 1980, black tube) Celestron
> C90. The other light I tried taking a picture of the full moon with
> the camera at prime focus (tripod, ASA 1600, 1/800, remote release
> after ~10 sec of MLU), and the results were reasonably well-exposed
> but very fuzzy

You might find this thread interesting:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1010&message=14611149

--
Regards,
Baz
 
G

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In article <1127585123.145180.137920@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
"jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote:

> I have a relatively new DSLR and an old (~ 1980, black tube) Celestron
> C90. The other light I tried taking a picture of the full moon with
> the camera at prime focus (tripod, ASA 1600, 1/800, remote release
> after ~10 sec of MLU), and the results were reasonably well-exposed
> but very fuzzy (and noisy: maybe ISO 200 or 400 would be better).

Hey! I used to have a C80 when I was a kid! Tied it to a Pentax.

There is no need for that fast of ASA. I used to shoot 200 ASA and as
slow as 1/125 and get sharply exposed moon shots. That ASA speed is
probably where most of the fuzziness is coming from. Yeah, no need to
shoot at 1/800.

Also, the exposure for a mostly full moon like that is the same for a
sunny day (sunny/16).

What kind of DSLR and what mode are you in? JPEG or RAW?

look!
http://www.weasner.com/etx/guests/guests_moon.html

> I
> was using an Olympus Varimagni right angle finder attached to the
> camera. This gives a 2.5x magnification of the viewfinder, and I got
> the focus as sharp as I could. The view through the 20D viewfinder is
> horrible, though . . . I wish the screen had at least a small spot of
> fine-grained matte. There's a picture at:
>
> http://home.comcast.net/~jgates777/Moon.html
>
> I thought that perhaps the 'scope was damaged or had deteriorated in
> some way, but visual observations (30mm Kellner) look very sharp. So,
> I have a few questions:
>
> 1. Is it normal for lunar astrophotographs to have much lower
> resolution than visual images?
> 2. Since the 'scope focuses "beyond infinity", it is very
> difficult to focus on the screen in a Canon 20D. Do you have any tips
> for manual focusing with a DSLR, or is it largely trial and error
> ("Jeff R." at sci.astro.amateur recommended a Hoffman mask)?
> 3. The tripod I was using was an old, cheap Velbon (~$25 new) I
> bought for a video project, and is none too stable. If you touch the
> 'scope at all the image dances all over the place. After some
> research, I've ordered a Bogen / Manfrotto 3246 with 488RC2 Midi
> Ballhead that will be used primary for daylight photography, but it
> hasn't arrived yet. Would you folks with experience expect this to be
> any better?
>
> I understand that the 'scope is not the greatest, and this was my first
> try at lunar imaging, but my images look nowhere near as good as those
> I've seen from similar setups. I don't expect miracles, but these
> pictures are pretty sad. Any suggestions?




--

Photographs by Christian Bonanno
http://christianbonanno.com/
 
G

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No, I can't use a shaky foundation as an excuse: the tripod was
sitting with legs and centerpost fully collapsed on a concrete
driveway. I was, however, shooting over the top of my house because,
like you, I am surrounded by obstructions (mostly 60' oak trees).
There was not a substantial temperature differential between indoor and
outdoor temperature at the time, although there was quite a bit of sun
load on the attic during the day and there might have been some
convection currents and turbulence above the roof.

In reality, however, I think the main problem was focus. I've not
used a D70, though I have a number of friends who own and absolutely
love them. I hope for your sake that the Nikon has a better screen
than the 20D. As I indicated above, I'll try focusing on a single
star before trying the moon the next time. I'll also try to let the
moon get higher in the sky (assuming the clouds ever break up).

It's ironic in a way, but I used to shoot my Olympus OM-1 and OM-2
cameras, and though the 20D would be a step up in quality and
flexibility. In many ways it is, but I sure do miss that bright
viewfinder and fine matte screen (when I needed it). Anyway, good luck
with your moon shots. If mine ever get better I'll repost here and
tell y'all how I did it. If they don't . . . well, there's always
macro work and the grandkids!
 

Rich

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On 24 Sep 2005 15:01:18 -0700, "jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote:

>Well, I'm not really attempting to get into astrophotography with
>this sort of telescope. I just thought a moon shot would be
>interesting. Getting an astronomical tripod seems a bit of overkill
>unless I'm attempting guided exposures of planets and deep space
>objects. If I were going to do that, I'd probably figure out a way
>to spring for a telescope with at least 8" of aperture. But, as I
>said, I did spring for a substantially better tripod for terrestrial
>work, and hopefully that will help a bit.

You'll get 100x better shots by simply buying a Philips Tuocam Pro
webcam, stacking about 200-800 video images (30 per second)
with software like Registax and letting it process the image for
you. DSLRs are NOT a good solution for lunar or planetary
photography.
-Rich
 

Charles

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On 24 Sep 2005 21:13:46 -0700, "jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote:

>No, I can't use a shaky foundation as an excuse: the tripod was
>sitting with legs and centerpost fully collapsed on a concrete
>driveway. I was, however, shooting over the top of my house because,
>like you, I am surrounded by obstructions (mostly 60' oak trees).
>There was not a substantial temperature differential between indoor and
>outdoor temperature at the time, although there was quite a bit of sun
>load on the attic during the day and there might have been some
>convection currents and turbulence above the roof.
>
>In reality, however, I think the main problem was focus. I've not
>used a D70, though I have a number of friends who own and absolutely
>love them. I hope for your sake that the Nikon has a better screen
>than the 20D. As I indicated above, I'll try focusing on a single
>star before trying the moon the next time. I'll also try to let the
>moon get higher in the sky (assuming the clouds ever break up).
>
>It's ironic in a way, but I used to shoot my Olympus OM-1 and OM-2
>cameras, and though the 20D would be a step up in quality and
>flexibility. In many ways it is, but I sure do miss that bright
>viewfinder and fine matte screen (when I needed it). Anyway, good luck
>with your moon shots. If mine ever get better I'll repost here and
>tell y'all how I did it. If they don't . . . well, there's always
>macro work and the grandkids!


why not post your message in alt.binaries.pictures.astro.

There's some clever people there.
 
G

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jess wrote:

> As I indicated above, I'll try focusing on a single
> star before trying the moon the next time. I'll also try to let the
> moon get higher in the sky (assuming the clouds ever break up).
>
If you think focusing on the moon is hard, wait until you try to focus
on a tiny star. I was thinking of doing the opposite: waiting until the
moon was in view so I could focus at it and then move over to also do
some star trails.
 
G

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You may be right. I was hoping to try last night but the cloud cover
is 100% in the DC area. I'm going to try the Hoffman mask idea and
try it on a couple of stars.
 
G

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jess wrote:
> You may be right. I was hoping to try last night but the cloud cover
> is 100% in the DC area. I'm going to try the Hoffman mask idea and
> try it on a couple of stars.
>
Jess,
You might try DSLRfocus. It is a free program, I believe.
You do need a laptop. It reads out the image from the camera
and displays it magnified on the screen so you can check focus.
You still manually focus, but it gives you the information you need.
I wonder about modifying one of those right angle finders to give
higher magnification for focusing.

Another alternative is some company sells a gadget you put in the
focuser (if I remember right, a knife edge at the right distance so
you can do a Foucault test on a star, a very precise way to
get focus), then lock the focuser, pull out the device, and put in
the camera. I'll try and find the link, as I was planning to
buy one myself.

Ignore the people saying the 20D is not good for astrophotography.
In fact, it is the camera of choice these days for deep sky.

Here is a moon shot, limited by lens and seeing:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries/gallery.astrophoto-1/web/moon-JZ3F3658-60-c-5x-700.html

Roger
 
G

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Rich wrote:

> On 24 Sep 2005 15:01:18 -0700, "jess" <jgates@erols.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Well, I'm not really attempting to get into astrophotography with
>>this sort of telescope. I just thought a moon shot would be
>>interesting. Getting an astronomical tripod seems a bit of overkill
>>unless I'm attempting guided exposures of planets and deep space
>>objects. If I were going to do that, I'd probably figure out a way
>>to spring for a telescope with at least 8" of aperture. But, as I
>>said, I did spring for a substantially better tripod for terrestrial
>>work, and hopefully that will help a bit.
>
>
> You'll get 100x better shots by simply buying a Philips Tuocam Pro
> webcam, stacking about 200-800 video images (30 per second)
> with software like Registax and letting it process the image for
> you. DSLRs are NOT a good solution for lunar or planetary
> photography.
> -Rich

While this method gets a good image, it would be extremely difficult
to image the whole moon at high resolution. You would end up
needing to mosaic thousands of images, a task I've not seen anyone
do. Webcams work well for small subjects, like planets (as viewed from
Earth--no wise cracks, I know planets are big; they just appear small
when viewed from Earth).

A large megapixel DSLR is the ideal tool to image subjects like the moon.

Roger
 
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