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Photography Techniques and Equipment This forum is for the discussion of technical details of how to take good pictures as well as discuss the equipment used in that pursuit.

Moon photo tests using Nikon D850
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Old 05-02-2018, 01:43 PM   #1
Rich Z
Moon photo tests using Nikon D850

Night before last I wanted to try out the new Nikon D850 with a few longer lenses I have to see how well it would capture images of the moon. I mounted everything on my motorized tripod for astrophotography work so I could more easily track the moon and keep the camera as steady as I could. Honestly, I really need a remote shutter trigger for this purpose, as just putting my hand on the camera introduces a lot of jitter, which is certainly reflected in the photos taken. Anyway, here is the results I got.

Nikkor 500mm reflex lens:



Nikkor 1000mm reflex lens:



Sigma 50-500mm zoom lens:



Now to compare the above with an image I took using my Nikon Coolpix P900 camera with it's integral 24-2000mm zoom lens.



Personally, I think I'll stick to the P900 for photographs of the moon. Unless further trials using a remote shutter trigger improve the results I got from the D850 substantially.
 
Old 05-07-2018, 04:10 AM   #2
mcrowland
Those are some cool pics Rich! I'd agree that the P900 shot has the best contrast and look.
You can really see the detail of the craters on the Western edge.

Southern Tycho and the Northern crater Plato stand out; the crater Grimaldi (@8o'clock) looks like a scar, kinda like hunk of cheese was torn out of it.

It's amazing, photos of the cosmos. I have a time-lapse photo of the Nebula in Orion's Belt. The colors are stunning.

I look forward to seeing more of your astrophotography.
 
Old 05-07-2018, 07:40 AM   #3
Dragonling
Interesting to compare these. You might get better results with a remote shutter for sure, but I'm really just blown away by that P900.

Here is a shot from the Sony a6500 with a Sigma 150-600mm taken from a tripod with a remote: https://flic.kr/p/YYjD6C I think we lost a bit of contrast overall (though I'm not looking on a good monitor right now), but I'm really pleased with the detail on the left edge. I'd bet with a remote you could get similar results if not better ones.
 
Old 05-07-2018, 08:56 AM   #4
Rich Z
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonling View Post
Interesting to compare these. You might get better results with a remote shutter for sure, but I'm really just blown away by that P900.

Here is a shot from the Sony a6500 with a Sigma 150-600mm taken from a tripod with a remote: https://flic.kr/p/YYjD6C I think we lost a bit of contrast overall (though I'm not looking on a good monitor right now), but I'm really pleased with the detail on the left edge. I'd bet with a remote you could get similar results if not better ones.
Yeah, that looks very sharp. Sigma does make some nice lenses, but it seems that you have to be selective with any brand, and sometimes individual lenses will be better or worse than the average. I've got a 24-120 Nikkor lens that just is not as sharp as I would like, so even top of the line brand names can have some poor samples in the batch. But I think I've become pickier of this sharpness thing than I used to be.

I may have gotten better shots had I boosted the ISO setting too, to increase the shutter speed. But this was just a quick trial run to compare the lenses I was trying out. Nikon has a 200-500 lens that people are raving about that is relatively inexpensive compared to their prime long lenses. Just no way in hell I'm going to be paying $10,000+ for a lens! Plus those things are a whole lot heavier than I want to be toting around on a camera anyway. Trying to hand hold some of the larger lenses I already have are getting to be a challenge since my hands aren't as steady as they used to be.

One of these days I need to figure out how to align that astro tripod head I have so it will actually track the moon. But I'm guessing it will need to be dead on to get the really sharp pictures that I want. Problem is, that the alignment procedure requires identifying stars, which I don't have a clue about. So it has always seemed like a lot of work for something that I would take down after trying a few photos from the rig. I guess the alignment gets easier with experience, though.
 
Old 05-07-2018, 09:37 AM   #5
Dragonling
There are apps for identifying constellations. Might be helpful in identifying stars for the alignment? I have used Google Sky before.
 
Old 05-07-2018, 11:25 AM   #6
Rich Z
Yeah, I might have to look into something like that.

I was out last night doing some test shots with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 a Tamron 15-30 f2.8 lens, first to try to capture the horde of lightning bugs around here, and then to see how the star field would look using those lenses. Results were disappointing. First off it is extremely difficult getting the focus correct. Apparently "infinity" doesn't work as well as you would think it should. Especially with the depth of field being so narrow with those large apertures.

I played around with the ISO settings on the 15-30 and I could definitely see more stars showing up the higher the setting. All exposures were at 30 seconds, which is max in the camera. Maybe the 50mm f1.4 could benefit from higher ISO values, but I didn't try that yet.

Not sure I could ever get the lightning bug shots to work out. They seem bright to the naked eye, but apparently not so much to the camera sensor.
 

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