Can't focus on the moon

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by sinclair, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    I've tried a few time to take moon shots. I have a Canon FL 55-135mm lens and a focal doubler for the FL/FD mount. I put the two on my GF5 and tried to take photos of the moon. But it seems I can't focus on it. If I could just turn the focus ring a bit more it'd make it, but seems to keep coming up shy. I thought maybe I had a bad adaptor, so I went inside and using all three of my Canon lenses measured them at 5, 7, and 10 feet. They call came in correctly. To do this, I pulled out my tape measure, and set the camera (on tripod) film plane to wall distance, then focused the lens and looked to see what it was. They all matched. So I pulled out my AE-1 and put the lens on it and measured to the wall again, and it was correct. Then I went outside and tried to focus on the moon. I had forgotten how hard it was to focus the Canon in low light. But it had the same issue. Thinking the doubler was at fault, I pulled it out and the zoom lens on the AE-1 still couldn't focus on the moon. Is this a common "problem" of these old FL/FD lenses? What can I do to get that last bit? Does the lens need to come closer or farther from the sensor to get that focus "past infinity"? Below is the image I got. It is cropped a bit. I can post the 1x1 image if you'd like.

  2. Stephen

    Stephen Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 2, 2013
    Pound to a penny it is the adaptor, they are notorious for being a bit out, usually allowing beyond infinity a bit, to cover themselves, but if not reaching infinity, it is a few thou too thick.
    Try releasing the inner ring, it will have set screws. usually in the outer rim, and re-seating it. Apart from getting it altered in a lathe, take it back and exchange it.
    The close up settings appearing right are covered up by the depth of field, it is infinity setting that is more critical. I am curious the AE-1 has the same issue, but maybe the screen is off as well, if not then, it's a bad lens, but that's unlikely with Canon.

  3. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Since the AE-1 matches the failure of m43 body + adapter the problem is obviously the lens and not the adapter.

    It need to move closer to the film/sensor.

    It may be possible to adjust the lens' focusing ring. The infinity stop is usually part of the focusing ring and not the actual moving optical barrel. You can often loosen some very small set screws in the focusing grip, turn the grip to a slightly closer focus setting without actually turning the inside helicoid, and then retightening the small set screws. The lens would then focus to a further distance when it hits the infinity stop. Done carefully, you should be able to achieve a very small "beyond infinity" focus when the grip hits the stop.
  4. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    There is no adjusting the adaptor, it's a solid piece. I got it off of eBay after searching Google for recommendations. I'll have to try taking photos with my other two FL/FD lenses to see if they have the same issue on the moon for focusing. This will help narrow down the cause. I'll also look at the lens and see if there is anything I can adjust to get the front to have a bit more twist. Here's the lens and converter on my GF5.

  5. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    If you set it to the minimum distance on the focus scale, is that the actual focus point?
  6. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    The actual minimum isn't marked on the lens. The last mark is 2 meters, but it still turns past that.

    Here is another shot, unprocessed and at 1x1. All my other lenses, including the Pany kit lens, did about the same or worse. Maybe I should just get a really cheap adaptor that has the reputation of focusing past infinity and then actually get what I need. for long shots.

  7. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Looks like a lot of lens for the tripod - maybe not. That strap is not helping anything - anything that can create movement will create movement and result in soft images.

    Try to focus on a star - really good test for sharp focus is a star. Believe it of not (hyperfocal phooey) the focus position for stars is beyond that of the moon. If you can get stars then you can get the moon and the problem is not focus distance.

    Pretty much everything in the universe will conspire to ruin any and all astro images. Even with everything perfect the atmosperics can make everything mushy. Even in the borderlands the air can be moist up high and the thermal gradients stir things up. Even a modest telescope that you can monitor the "seeing" will help show the futility of creating a good image. Set up a small scope and visually monitor so you can see in real time what the air mass is doing to your subject. Even without a telescope watch the stars and if they are twinkly then you got problems (obvious twinkling ~40 degrees above the horizon is doom). It is not always the gear that holds one back - sometimes the conditions are stacked against one and all.

    Ever wonder why they build them fancy telescopes in such far away exotic locales? Not so much for the darkness but for he stability of the local air mass. Even that is not guarantee which is why they all use fancy adaptive optics (and even that is not enough sometimes).

    Rob's Home Page!
    That background moon shot is a composite of 6 images taken at ~1400mm focal length with 1/10,000 sec exposure time culled from ~300 images. I sorted and sifted that mess to find the few images that had the most stable air and patched up the mosaic. They call it "lucky imaging" - basically spray and pray - take a gob of images under the best conditions possible and hope for the best.

    I'm not sure that image has survived the last ten years ... I'll try to find it and post if interested. That camera was a crappy security video camera hacked to take stills.
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Maybe, but not in any lenses I ever took apart. There is usually a separate screw that hits a stop inside the lens. If one were to remove that screw it is possible the lens could be disassembled (and not in a good way) by turning the focus ring repeatedly - I advise against fiddling with the lens.

    The adapter may need tweaking (solid or not). I'd prefer to remove lens side of the adapter and then sand down the remaining part then remount the lens side parts and check for infinity focus. This operation is not always possible with all adapters. Can't really tell from your photo much about the adapter.

    All my adapters have a chrome plated silver part that actually has the lugs/etc for mounting the lens. This silver piece is attached with 3-4 little screws - there may well be some other parts underneath so be careful when removing. Once the silver part is off just solid metal with the screw holes is revealed and that surface can be sanded with a good quality sand paper on a firm flat surface (technique is hard to explain but rotate the part was you sand - swipe then turn then swipe, etc). Using a 200-300 grit paper will be quite mild and take some time (if you have a micrometer measure your progress) - check for infinity focus every 0.005" removed.

    Unless you are really concerned about losing the close focus ability then do not worry about taking off a bit too much from the adapter. If too much is taken off the adapter then surely you will get infinity and beyond but close focus distance will also stretch out a bit.
  9. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    This is the adaptor I got. I thought I had posted a link already. as for modding the lens, I'm not about to try it, since it seems to be a rare lens. There is a UV filter on it, would that have any impact on the long end? I'd be rather shocked if it did, maybe I'll try it in a couple of nights from now (I'm rather busy the next couple of evenings.).
    I really like this adaptor because it doesn't have that ring on it you have to turn to make the aperture work. And I'm not sure what I'd have to mod on this one to get the lens closer. Guess it's time to look at some really cheap ones to mod.
  10. Stephen

    Stephen Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 2, 2013
    The adaptor is not the cause, as it is a solidly Canon type from Europe and not a Chinese made economy type. The Chinese are more easily altered, but as it is a Canon Prime on a good adaptor, then other things must be going on, conditions, stabilty etc. The poster location might be a clue, is it heat haze?
  11. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Real Name:
    Well, that 2nd shot isn't too bad considering it is a 100% crop. Considering you're not working with a real telephoto long lens, have to crop quite a bit, are using a front filter and a 2x teleconverter, nothing to do with the adapter I think that is the best you're going to get. The real weak link in here is the teleconverter - anything but the most modern teleconverters are pretty making pretty bad images unfortunately! Couple a 2x teleconverter (that makes the lens lose 2 stops of light) with a (guessing) zoom of average aperture range (f3.5 perhaps?) and that is how the moon is going to turn out.

    I am curious what aperture the lens is set to, and the shutter speed/ISO being used? There could also be actual movement of the moon involved here too if you're down under 1/100th of a second.
  12. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    I do live in a hotter state than most, Arizona, but the evenings are in the mid 70's to 80's (depending on the night) when I shoot. I also noticed this problem shortly after I got everything, but I wasn't focusing on a moon shot per say at the time. And those nights I had to wear a coat to stand outside. I'll have to go back and look to see if I did a moon focused shot, or was just shooting in the direction of the moon.
  13. Low-fi

    Low-fi New to Mu-43

    Feb 25, 2013
    Hi all, good insights, I've tried some moon shots with limited success.

    I've been running into a different (but related) issue: When I point manual focus telephoto lenses toward the moon at night, the camera (E-PM1) bumps up the exposure/preview on the LCD or viewfinder, presumably to compensate for the large amount of darkness in the rest of the frame. This blows out the detail on the moon and makes it a solid white disc, which is impossible to focus on accurately. Has anyone experienced this and/or have any workarounds?
  14. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    To me it just looks like the typical issue of focal doubler optics being somewhat unsharp.
  15. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    Only removing it doesn't help things.

    As for the blowout of the moon, yes, that is true on my camera as well. But the camera has a zoom in for manual focus setting that I use, and then the moon takes up most of the screen, and it corrects the exposure to focus. But I do have to remember to be in manual mode to set exposure to take the photo so that it doesn't blow out.
  16. sugarbaker

    sugarbaker Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Dial in some negative exposure compensation, or expiriment in manual exposure mode. It should compensate on your display.
  17. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Real Name:
    Try going a bit closer.
  18. scottz

    scottz Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Littleton, CO
    My E-PL1 has a menu choice for Live View Boost. Try turning that off if you have that option.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Mu-43 mobile app
  19. scottz

    scottz Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    Littleton, CO

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Mu-43 mobile app
  20. Anthon

    Anthon Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2012
    There's something bad in your adapter

    Please note that most adapters are a bit more thick than it should to allow all lens to focus infinity. This means that to focus to infinity you should turn the zoom ring and stop it before the infinity mark

    This is a 100% crop from this night, with a FD 135mm f2.8 at f8 and 1/250

    Supermoon por Antomur, en Flickr