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LUMIX G9 for Milky Way?

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by ToxicTabasco, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Recently tested the LUMIX G9 for Milky Way Galaxy photography. While heading back to the parking area at Mono Lake (a dark night sky area), I noticed the milky way over the South. Although late in the year for Milky Way, and no good foreground to work with, time was tight, and I figured why not give the G9 a test. The time was about 2040hrs. The sky was clear and temps in the 60s perfect for milky way photography.

    Below are a series of photos that may help others see the potential for using the LUMIX G9 to shoot the Milky Way.

    The following are 3 RW2 shots straight out the camera before any editing. Reason for 3pix is for Panoramas and auto stitch to get more resolution, detail, and one more process of NR editing.
    5 Sep Mono G9 (578).jpg
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    5 Sep Mono G9 (579).jpg
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    5 Sep Mono G9 (580).jpg
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    The next shot is the auto stitched version of the 3 above, with editing and NR applied 2x, once before auto stitch, and again after.
    5 Sep Mono G9 (578)_stitch.jpg
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    The following was done at 3200 ISO for 20 seconds. Same editing and auto stitch process. Seems the 3200 ISO has more contrast in the Galaxy core vs the above version at 6400 ISO. And, has brighter orb like stars due to the extra 5 seconds of exposure.

    5 Sep Mono G9 (572)_stitch.jpg
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    I shoot a lot of night sky photography with APSC, and the MFT is quite close in performance to the Nikon D5500 and D7200. I'm looking forward to next year for the milky way season to capture some galaxy horizon panoramas with foreground interest.

    From these examples, what do you thinks works best 3200 ISO at 20 sec vs 6400 ISO 15 sec?

    Please share your experience and examples. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
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  2. Jay_M

    Jay_M Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    490
    Jul 30, 2018
    AZ
    Nice work. The only thing I can really add is that fine details and color really starts to fall apart above 3200 ISO. I would try to bring that down with maybe a faster lens?
     
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  3. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Thank you. I agree, 6400 ISO is pushing it, and the 12mm f/1.4 may be the key to these panorama shots. I usually don't get a lot of color in the night sky. Can't wait to get out there next year at a better location with foreground. Some light paint on the foreground with low power LED lamps really bring in the color and detail.
     
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  4. opiecat

    opiecat Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Mar 17, 2017
    nice shots. which lens did you use for these? did you use any tracking motor?
     
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  5. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Thanks opiecat. I used the 12-35 f/2.8 II. No tracking motor. Just 10 to 15 second exposure with in camera NR on.
     
  6. Bushboy

    Bushboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    623
    Apr 22, 2018
    Aotearoa
    Charlie
    Excellent. Love the last one with the plane.
    I have no experience with this, but one day hope to give it a go. Seems quite difficult what with all the post processing and that.
    Getting a great foreground is very important. Good luck, keep the pics coming.
     
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  7. ISO3200 is my limit on the 16MP OM-Ds using the 7.5mm FE at f/3.5. ISO1600 is more common when using 8-18mm at f/2.8. The FoV is wider so I can get away with longer exposures to compensate for lower ISO. I tend to stack DFS applied light frames to reduce noise.
     
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  8. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    That's a great technique to use. My plan now is the 15mm f/1.7 for the panoramas. This will make capture faster with 13 sec shutters at ISO 3200 or 6400. Seems ISO 3200 really makes the stars brighter. Good for the milky way, but the other stars become too bright. I may need to work around it with some masking or layers to tone down the contrast.
     
  9. Mike Wingate

    Mike Wingate Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 21, 2017
    Altrincham
    Mike Wingate
    How about a Mars Bar?
     
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  10. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Thanks Bushboy. Actually, the most challenging aspect of milky way landscapes is finding a real dark sky area, and timing the rise of the milky way and moon.

    As for the capture, the key to milky way is getting the right exposure to work with. It's much like shooting B&W film. Trial and error will be needed. But once you find the limits for noise and ISO, you can shoot in any low light situation and know where the limits are.

    As for the editing/processing, it's really limited to very small contrast, and WB adjustments. As well as the balance of NR and sharpening. Layering and masking also helps but really not needed for the milky way landscape.

    Because the ISOs are pushed to the limits, color and detail will be maxed out. And what light is captured will be all that can be worked with in editing. Much different than daytime photo where the raw file captures it's full dynamic range of WB color, and detail in highlights and shadows. With long exposure high ISO, optimal exposure is the key to a bright milky way. That, and a very dark night sky area.

    Anyway, hope this helps. Give it a try, you'll be surprised what you and your camera can capture.
     
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  11. Mike Peters

    Mike Peters Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    180
    Jun 19, 2016
    Mike Peters
    I got this on my G9 last September in Montauk, NY with my GH5, iso 3200, f2.0, 15 seconds with a Laowa 7.5mm...
    092918_8210_Montauk.jpg
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  12. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    Great results. Miles better than I can get with my GX7. New sensors are way better with dark current noise...
     
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  13. travelbug

    travelbug Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Oct 20, 2014
    i have a shot with the g9 and pana leica 12-60 which was lent to me by our brand ambassador for a milky shoot. however its a stack of 4 iso4000 images, im not sure if people would be interested to see that
     
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  14. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Great shot. It must have been a real dark night, as many stars can be seen.
     
  15. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Yes, any milky way shots are welcomed. The Milky Way has been elusive this year. The weather's been windy, and cloudy all year. There may have been 2 or 3 nights where the sky cleared in the early morning. But, I missed it. Thus, look forward to seeing any milky way shots.
     
  16. Mike Peters

    Mike Peters Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    180
    Jun 19, 2016
    Mike Peters
    Thank you. The eastern tip of the south fork of Long Island is pretty dark, thankfully!
     
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  17. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    It's been a cloudy year for the Milky Way here in the SouthWest US. Still waiting for a clear night sky for the milky way horizon shot.

    The following are a couple of pics from the Mono Lake parking lot with the G9, the panorama may not have any EXIF data. G9 and 12-35 II at 12mm, ISO 3200, 13 sec.
    5 Sep Mono G9 (569)_stitch.jpg
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    5 Sep Mono G9 (565).jpg
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    A few days after I started this thread, I headed to the Grand Canyon North Rim to get some shots with the G9 and same lens. Forgot to post the follow up pics. Thus, here they are.

    The following are 4 shots that make up a panorama. There should be EXIF data.
    If not, same settings 12mm, ISO 3200, 13 sec exposure at f/2.8.
    13 Sep G9 GCNR-281.jpg
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    13 Sep G9 GCNR-282.jpg
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    13 Sep G9 GCNR-283.jpg
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    13 Sep G9 GCNR-284.jpg
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    The following is the stitched panorama of the 4 pics above.
    13 Sep G9 GCNR-281_stitch.jpg
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    This final pic is a panorama with a foreground layered in to the panorama.
    13 Sep G9 GCNR-287_stitch.jpg
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    Seems with the 4:3 aspect ratio, horizontal orientation will do fine for multi row panoramas. Nevertheless, a month after taking these pics with the 12-35 at f/2.8, I got a 15mm f/1.7 for the low light night sky panoramas. It's been over 6 months waiting for the opportunity to use it on the Milky Way, but the weather here has not allowed it to happen. Next opportunity is the 1st week of May, then the heat starts up.

    Anyway, hope this info can help anyone wanting to shoot the Milky Way with micro four thirds. Thanks for viewing.
     
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  18. PGW

    PGW New to Mu-43

    6
    Apr 6, 2016
    I am sure full frame is better, but the G9 is good enough for me. I took these the other night near Fort Davis, Texas. These are static shots with no tracker. I did a few 20/30 shot sets to stack but I haven't processed those yet.

    G9/PL12mm F1.4 - 15 seconds - Iso 2500 - waiting for the moon to set but it lit up the scenery pretty well.

    P1033255.JPG
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    G9/PL 12mm F1.4 - 15 seconds - Iso 1600
    P1033316.JPG
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  19. fader

    fader Mu-43 Top Veteran

    852
    Aug 20, 2016
    Intermittent Globe Trotter
    Isaac

    That last image looks great. Look forward to shots with the new lens!
     
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  20. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Thank you Fader. On June 3, I took a chance with clouds up during the sunset. And, by the end of twilight, the sky cleared (except for some haze on the horizon). Thus, my first crack at the Milky Way with the Lumix G9 and Pana/Leica 15mm f/1.7: it was a long 9 months of waiting. And, the results were pretty good. Most likely the last chance for the horizon milky way this year. Here are the results.

    A shot at the end of blue hour (About 2100 hrs), and the milky ways is rising
    3 Jun MPN MW G9 (86)_stitch-2.jpg
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    Below, further down the road near the water tanks. A 2 row panorama.
    3 Jun MPN MW G9 (108)_stitch.jpg
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    Below a 3 row panorama, and last milky way horizon shot for the year (for me anyway).
    3 Jun MPN MW G9 (118)_stitch.jpg
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    Test results of the milky way photography with Lumix G9.
    The outcomes are IME as good as my Nikon D5500 and D7200. With light painting, colors and details in the foreground can be enhanced for more dynamics of the overall shot. The G9 will do one shot milky way exposures with fast wide lenses. However, IME Multi shot panoramas allow for 2 stops more noise reduction, and almost no sharpening is needed on the RW2 files. Thus, ISO 3200 @ 13 seconds is my standard for the dark night long exposures. And sometimes I'll use ISO 6400 with 10 second exposures. Nevertheless, either can be used shooting panorama with great outcomes as APSC cameras.

    As for the lenses. Seems the 15mm f/1.7 prime allows a lot more light vs a f/2.8 zoom. That extra 1.4 stops of light also allows for faster shutter speeds like 13 seconds vs 15 or 20 seconds. Thus, the optimal exposure I found with this set up is f/1.7 at 15mm, 13 second shutter, with ISO 3200 or 10 seconds at ISO 6400.

    Keep in mind that the long exposure works for me and the look I go for with the milky way horizon shot. This is just one way to get this type of shot. There are many other techniques and settings that others use for the look they want.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck on your milky way adventures.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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