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In search of astrophotography 101 (In search of help).

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by Sniksekk, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Hi there.

    I just bought myself a OMD EM-10 with Olympus 17mm 1.8 and 45mm 1.8.

    I live in a really light-intensive major city, so I have no easy fast way of trying and failing in astrophotography (I did not know this was possible, but thanks to this forum, I now know it`s possible, just not how it`s possible).

    In about a month, I`m going for a vacation in a low-light countryside next to a abandoned castle, and I think it would be really great to try to take some astro-pictures of that environment with one of my lenses or both.

    So, I need some help.
    Is there a walkthrough out there that I can read to get a quick explanation? And do I need to buy anything else ? (One guy here used a filter that I`ve never seen before).
    Btw, I`ve got "Creative Cloud" package with Lightroom and Photoshop.

    I`m sorry if this is posted in the wrong forums, if it is, can some kind Admin move it?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Depends on what you are looking for. You could setup on a tripod and just shoot some long exposures at about 10-15s and get some widefield star astrophotography.
     
  3. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Will I then be able to see more stars in a picture then with my bare eye?
    I came across a small walk-through mentioning focus-erea - infinity. That`s atlast a possibility with 17mm :)
     
  4. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    Do you want Milky way with foreground? Or just stars as points? Or star trails? Or deep space like nebulae?

    Where in the world are you going to be vacationing (southern or northern hemisphere)?

    At a minimum, you will need a tripod or some other object (bean bag) that can hold the camera steady over a period of at least 15 seconds. Good to have - remote release.
     
  5. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Oh, got a tripod. :D Benro Carbon.
    Northern Hemisphere is my location.
    Remote release, the olympus app with Iphone?

    But yeah your first line maritan. "Milky way with foreground" would make me happy.
    If it`s possible without buying to much gear (filters etc no problem) but I just want to try out this exiting "new" way of taking photos (new to me anyways).
    I`m not to keen to buy to much expencive gear (just above 100 euro would work, but that`s about my limit) since I have no idea if this is something that I fall in love with.
    My view on this is, this is really exciting, I want to try it.
    Preferably as cheap as possible, and if this is something I love, then I`ll buy some more advanced gear.
     
  6. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I've found one that is DSLR-centric: http://astropix.com

    Also, Google the 500 rule.

    I feel the lack of m4/3 focused tutorials. Not to promote myself, but I'm starting a m4/3 centric blog that will, among other things, talk about nature and travel photography. I am a self-taught amateur and want to provide these blogs with the perspective of one still learning and does not have a professional's point of view. Astrophotography is one that I intend to write about it as I tackle it, but haven't done so yet for much the same reason as you.
     
  7. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    I think you have all the equipment you need. I personally have a wired remote release, so I can't vouch for the iPhone app, but if that works, great.

    You just need to make sure you know how to use your equipment now - start with 15 seconds at f2 at ISO 3200. See what you get and go from there.

    While a lot of tutorials are indeed DSLR oriented, you can easily adapt them for your own use - I found http://www.lonelyspeck.com/ to be a great resource.

    ETA - Use an app like Stellarium on your computer, or a sky tracker of some kind on your phone to know where the Milky Way will be in the night sky when you get out there. The hardest part of Milky Way photography? Getting out of bed in the dead of night and setting things up in darkness.
     
  8. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Thanks maritan I`ll read that. :D
     
  9. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Yeah lots of different ways of doing it. With the equipment you have I would maybe suggest star trails as that doesn't require a really wide and fast lens. One thing I cant stress enough is to practice before you go out. Yes even at home with your light pollution. This is one I did under heavy light pollution.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/siftu/15291771652/in/set-72157647058081291

    Also you need to have some idea of the sky. Where is north or south (depending on which hemisphere you are in)? Is the moon going to be up? Do I want the moon or do you go out when its set? There are lots of apps for your smartphone to help out with the night sky. I use stellarium and TPE mainly.

    If you want the stars as points you can try
    http://www.lonelyspeck.com/milky-way-exposure-calculator/
    That will give you an idea how long you can keep the shutter open for and the ISO settings required for your particular lens and sensor. If you adjust anything drop the iso. Use blank frames for noise reduction. For your camera and 17mm lens it suggests 15 second, iso 6400 at f1.8 if you want the stars are points. For me that iso is too high but you might be fine with that.

    I always set my white balance manually and manual focus. Don't just focus at infinity, use the lcd/evf and make sure the stars are nice points. I would suggest magnifying on some of the brightest stars or distant light sources (moon or whatever) and focusing.

    Like most photography this requires a little knowledge and just time in the field to know what works.

    I have never done the deep space objects, I'm more into the landscape astro when I get the chance so cant comment on that. Also note I haven't even tried it yet with my e-m10 as I'm only recently switched over from a crop dslr.
     
  10. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Preplanning, knowing which sky objects are where, and knowing the 500 rule are the main things, as others have mentioned. I use SkEye for Android with its time machine feature to simulate where constellations will be in the future.

    If you want your foreground to be visible in a really dark environment, take a torch (you'll need to light paint it). In a city this isn't necessary as the foreground is likely to be more brightly lit.

    Don't be afraid to use a slightly higher ISO (otherwise you don't be able to expose the Milky Way), enable 'Noise Reduction' for long exposures (dark frame subtraction). The noise will be pretty strong after the level of post processing required to bring out the Milky Way, but once you've got dealing with a single frame sorted you can start stacking multiple to reduce the noise.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Thanks a lot guys.
    Waging: I came across the 500 rule at Lonely Speck when I read that page, and understood it`s important role in calculations. Torch was a nice touch! I`ll bring another one for this purpose in case I need it.
    Sitfu: I understand your point, and point taken. I need to try this out before my vacation. Working on details now :)
     
  12. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Apr 7, 2015
    Sorry to bump this thread again, but I have two more question at the moment.

    If I use Voigtländer 17,5mm 0.95 wide open, could I then turn down the ISO so the picture is less noisy?
    The reason to crank up the ISO, is because of the apperature on oly 17mm 1.8?
     
  13. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Yes, use the calculator I linked above. it shows you can use iso 800 (maybe less) for the 0.95 and iso 1600 for the 1.8.

    You crank up the iso because you have already maxed out the other settings for the exposure (shutter speed of 15 seconds and aperture of f1.8 etc). The only thing left is to increase the iso so you get the desired exposure.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    I'm sure you're aware, but doesn't hurt to point out - at f/0.95, you're going to lose significant sharpness away from the centre, meaning your stars towards the edge of the shot are going to be blobs rather than points.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I personally use a Bower 14mm f/2.8 which is a full frame lens (but not very big) with a Mitakon focal reducer to get 10mm f/1.4, which is equiv to 20mm full frame. With this setup, I can do ISO 800 most of the time and ISO 1250 in some other instances. Using the m43 latest sensors, I would not go beyond ISO 3200 or shoot at 3200 as it is just too noisy even with DFS (Dark Frame Subtraction), loss of detail and color vibrancy. I found that with ISO 800, this becomes more acceptable if I'm comparing with full frame. The 14mm Bower is the same as Samyang which is well rated by lonelyspeck and is quite affordable.
    I got this lens with the focal reducer for a total of $359. It's pretty sharp, little to no COMA abberations and the lens isn't too big and pretty sharp even @ 1.4.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    That sounds ideal. Do you have any sample shots? Very cheap way to get into astro/landscape for m43
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    @bikerhiker@bikerhiker - I'd love to see fully size sample shots too. How is the corner sharpness? I was planning on going the same route but didn't since I couldn't find any samples to show how the combination worked.
     
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  18. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Also every focal reducer I see has a 1 stop increase. How do you get 2 stops?
     
  19. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    The Samyang/Bower/Rokinon 14mm lens is excellent for corner sharpness (see Lonelyspeck site for review) if you have a good copy (QC not good for Bower) but corner sharpness suffer because of my Mitakon focal reducer. It is not as good as with a Metabones Speedbooster @ f/1.4 (setting), which is the ideal combination but very pricey. I will post some samples when I get a chance.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  20. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    634
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    It's 2 stops. 1 stop would be F2.0

    ApertureAndShutterSpeedChart.jpg