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Best m4/3rds camera for astrophotography?

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by grcolts, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. grcolts

    grcolts Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Feb 1, 2010
    Texas
    Gary
    Was curious to see what micro-fourthirds body everyone considers the best for shooting astrophotography/landscapes? I was looking at the specs of the new Panasonic G7 and it says the bulb mode is for only 2 minutes, which would be fine for some shots but for star trails, it would not be so fine. Also, it offers both a mechanical shutter and an electronic shutter, and I was wondering which would be best to use? So, would either of the two Olympus models be better suited? I had read somewhere that the OMD-E1 was not great for astrophotography? If so, how about the new OMD-5Mark II? I am looking at all options and am not tied to one particular camera. I am just trying to decide best where to put my money as I will be shooting mostly landscapes/astro-landscapes,etc. Looking forward to seeing all your opinions! Thanks in advance...
    GR
     
  2. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I can't answer your question, but I have read that in older models (in the GM1) the electronic shutter has a lower DR than the regular shutter. Possibly that has been worked on, and the benefit of the E-shutter is that it has zero vibration.
     
  3. nublar

    nublar Mu-43 Regular

    159
    Jan 22, 2013
    SOCAL
    EM-5, EM-1, or EM-10 with live composite
     
  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For star trails, live composite works great, but for everything else it's back to basics. For astrophotography you basically have to shoot raw, so new in camera processing engines become irrelevant.

    I would say that anything with the newer 16MP sensor would do well, especially one with a weak AA filter, as long as you use it in mechanical mode to get full DR. A larger body is preferable to a tiny one due to better hear dissipation.

    A notable outlier is the E-M1 - it's still in the top class catergory, but suffers a little bit with very long exposures if you don't use dark frame subtraction due to its PDAF array. I haven't noticed anything worth complaining about in my astrophotography between E-M1 and E-M5 though.
     
  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I'd probably recommend the GH3, E-M10, or E-M5 (or II) since the Sony sensor seems to do a bit better at very long exposures (wouldn't recommend the GX7 that I have for this specific application, though love it elsewhere). The GH4 looks like it could be even better, since it has a different sensor than the G7 or the GX7 that has a maximum bulb time of 60 minutes, likely due to its huge heat dissipation requirements for 200 mbps video.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I've noticed the bottom of the sensor on the E-M1 (top of the picture) gets warmer over longer exposures and has more noise at high ISOs, it's only a very small amount though. I've actually found it gets worse with if you use dark frame subtraction as the dark frame subtracts more on some channels than others and skews the exposure across the frame (thus if you were stacking in post it's a non issue as you manually do dark frames), I'm not entirely sure what causes it however it only happens on exposures over 10-15s or so at ISO's over 3200 (So if you were doing single exposures with dark frame subtraction). I haven't noticed many problems in real world conditions, tests with a lens cap on and the resulting noise boosted several stops in post do not reflect real world conditions of what happens with the camera.

    Overall it's a pretty good camera to work with, I suspect the E-M5 or GH4 would be better however as they don't show the same issues even when pushed harder.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  7. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Dec 8, 2012
  8. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    Olympus E-M10 works great for me, the built in time lapse feature is handy for creating multiple exposures for stacking.

    By comparison, I'd say that the E-M10 is considerably better than the Canon 700D for astrophotography. I was going to keep the 700D body specifically for AP, but the E-M10 was much better so I sold the Canon. Check out some of my posts to get an idea of what I've managed so far with the E-M10.

    https://www.mu-43.com/threads/72527/
    https://www.mu-43.com/threads/72096/
    https://www.mu-43.com/threads/72360/
    https://www.mu-43.com/threads/73826/
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've been pretty surprised as well - my m4/3 astrophotography attempts have looked much better and had lower noise than most of the APS-C examples that I've seen. A lot of it comes down to technique to be honest.

    I've gone through these stages:
    1) Single shot long exposure
    2) Multiple shot stack
    3) 2 with foreground and blending
    4) 3 with better PP technique
    5) 4 but with better control of exposure and less light pollution, even better PP technique

    The amazing thing is now that I'm at stage 5, even when I go back and re-process the RAWs taken at stage 3 and 4, the results are vastly superior.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    Agree with this, technique and post processing are a huge piece of the puzzle. I've learned so much over the 3+ years I've been doing astrophotography and there is still so much more to go.
     
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Does the screen position have anything to do with this subject?
    E-M5/E-M10/e-pL7 with flip screen, E-M5MkII with swivel-out screen...
     
  12. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    That's a good point and in my personal opinion a swivel-out touch screen is advantageous, although I've never had any issues using the flip screen on the E-M10.
     
  13. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    In this particular application I'd agree that swivel is ever so slightly better, as I'm often taking vertical shots pointing somewhat upwards. It's really not a big deal though, given that it's on a tripod it's just as easy to tilt the screen 90 degrees and look from the side.
     
  14. grcolts

    grcolts Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Feb 1, 2010
    Texas
    Gary
    Your images are very compelling for the Olympus OM-10! Thank you for sharing these astro images!
    GR
     
  15. grcolts

    grcolts Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Feb 1, 2010
    Texas
    Gary
    Just to add to the tilting vs truly articulating screens, one reason I like the articulating screen is that when one is not using it the screen can be turned around for protection against the camera. Tilting screens cannot do that. Otherwise, I agree both screens can get the job done.
     
  16. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
  17. Machi

    Machi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    May 23, 2015
    There is interesting comparison here. As most of the new Olympus models share the same Sony sensor (IMX109), I suppose that they are better choice for astrophotography. But you can found the same sensor also in few Panasonic models (GH3) so there will be probably no significant difference.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    Good find; the output from the E-PM2 certainly looks better than the GH4 in this application, I wonder how much of that difference is down to the stock filter being removed?

    The E-M10 not having an anti-aliasing filter might provide a small advantage over cameras with an AA filter fitted, it must be reducing the light throughput at least to small degree.
     
  19. grcolts

    grcolts Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Feb 1, 2010
    Texas
    Gary
    Yes, that was an interesting read. Thank you for sharing that link.
    GR
     
  20. grcolts

    grcolts Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Feb 1, 2010
    Texas
    Gary
    The Olympus OMD-10 has produced some very nice astro images for sure. I have been reviewing some on Flickr and have been pretty impressed. After seeing that the OMD-10 does not have an anti-aliasing filter, I checked my EPL-7 since it has much in common with the OMD-10 but the EPL-7 does have that filter in place. I plan on testing my EPL-7 for astro-shooting soon. Originally, I bought that camera for its smaller size to take with me on my bicycling rides. And, for that purpose it works out very well. I not thought of using it for any astro-shooting but now think I will definitely test it out to see just what it can do. Anyone here using this camera for astro imaging?
    So, from reading replies it sounds like a m4/3rds camera without an anti-aliasing filter and with the Sony sensor would be a good choice for shooting astro-landscapes.
    GR