Advice on using EPL5 for Astro photography

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ivoire, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
    mike
    I have a chance to visit a Dark Night event where astro viewing/photography will be an all night gathering in Michigan on July 6th. If any of you are doing this with mft i'd appreciate any tips or assistance on getting set up. I have the EPL5 with 14mm, 30mm, 45mm lenses and a E620 ft with 10-20mm, 14-42mm and 50-150mm lenses.

    The event is free and open to the public should any of you have the time/inclination.

    International Dark Sky Park - Emmet County, Michigan
     
  2. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    251
    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Frank
    before you go do some test pictures in your area at night with your gear. if you bring both cameras you may want two tripods and two remotes to fire them. the m 4/3 will give better results than the 620 but bring it for backup. i would suggest shooting raw so you can may adjustments. on the m 4/3 you also want to review your 'noise' settings and decide if you want to use the 'long exp' correction setting.
    just a few thoughts
     
  3. betamax

    betamax Mu-43 Regular

    195
    May 7, 2011
    NSW, Australia
    Alan
    Definitely do some testing in your backyard before you go. I find the P14 wide open good enough. Using the P14 as a guide, wide open, shoot at ISO1600 for 10 seconds. Raw. Auto noise correction. Adjust ISO up or down (and speed obviously) to your liking, but shooting raw gives you enough leeway to adjust it in PP.

    I actually just place the camera on the ground, or chair, with 2 second shutter delay, and use the LCD to pivot it depending on where you want to shoot, but at an event, with lots of people you'll probably want a steady tripod.

    I set focus to manual. I'm too lazy to read the manual to see if the lens can be set to infinity via the camera. It's darn hard to focus without an EVF but it's doable. I normally point at a very distant street or house light off into the horizon and focus using that, which is normally good enough for infinity.

    Even at 10 second you get a slight star trail effect, but it's normally not noticeable unless you plan on printing it to pixel level.

    Long exposures for star trails require a remote release and multiple 30 min. exposures, and the correct noise settings. I've only done one 30 minute exposure, but I had noise reduction off, and there was sensor noise everywhere.

    You probably want the 10-20 if shooting the milky way, as it's a bit tight on the 14mm.

    good luck, and show us the results :)
     
  4. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    The 30mm and 45mm should definitely be useful with their wide aperture, which will allow shorter shutter speeds (to eliminate star trails) and lower ISO (less noise). I use the two second self timer to fire the shutter, definitely with IBIS off and long exposure noise reduction on (where the camera takes a second "dark" frame of the same shutter speed after your shot and subtracts any hot pixels away). The FL will be short enough to include some of the landscape. I shoot in Aperture Priority mode with a wide open aperture, and use exposure compensation to get something looking decent on live view. I shoot in RAW for more latitude in postprocessing. Shutter speed should be fast enough to eliminate star "smearing" - stars become potato shaped blobs if too long. Experimentation will let you know what's acceptable to you. Focussing with native lenses is easier if you turn "Reset lens" on - the lens will reset to infinity after each power off, but you may need to confirm infinity by using MF and manual focus assist to focus on a bright object you want in focus (the moon or a planet - I believe the moon isn't at infinity for most lenses).

    My friend and neighbour Bart Busshots has a great guide to astrophotography with basic gear on his site - Tips for Photographing Stars With Basic Equipment : Bart Busschots and has slides from a presentation here - Photographing the Heavens on a Budget : Bart Busschots - both are very well worth reading, Bart has taken some fantastic shots and has a great depth of knowledge on the topic.

    Here's one of my favourite shots, taken with my E-P1 and 50mm f/1.8:

    8625139091_44b24d62f6_c.
    Comet PANSTARRS and M31 Andromeda by Ciaran C Reilly, on Flickr
     
  5. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
    mike
    Thanks for the tips and links. I have a few days in the country to try out diff settings. Your comments give me a base to start the tests. Now I just have to hope for a clear night.

    CiaranCReilly... I like your image, that's what i'm hoping to get. I thought the 30 or 45 should be the best choices and you image confirms it.
     
  6. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    Good luck and don't forget to show us how you got on!
     
  7. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Ciaran,

    Is that a comet in your shot?
     
  8. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    Yeah, it's comet PANSTARRS taken in April when it was visible over Ireland