Night shot on the mountains, glowing tents?

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by mievil, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. mievil

    mievil Mu-43 Regular

    190
    May 17, 2013
    San Diego
    We are about to bag a peak and I have been itching to do one of those beautiful shots where there is the glowing tent and the span of the Milky Way overhead on the side of the mountain.

    Has anyone done this with a mu-43? What lens did you use? I know I can do it with my FF and a 14mm fixed, but I don't wanna lug all that weight up the hill.
     
  2. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    exactly what worked for you on your FF dslr will do the job

    just divide focal length by two and if you happen to get better F for that lens then great.

    A quick google gives:
    Milky way. Olympus 17mm f1.8
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, I've seen it done here. Which body do you have?
     
  4. mievil

    mievil Mu-43 Regular

    190
    May 17, 2013
    San Diego

    That image does not show a tent. ;) FWIW, I have not done it with my FF. I know it can be done with my FF setup, but I have not done it. I am looking for a specific example of a u4/3 shot.

    I have an E-M5. I missed that in the original post. :)
     
  5. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    ... seems to

    its not the best but there it is ...

    If you were a practicing photographer with a digital camera why not go out and take a few and see?

    ... or were you after someone to tell you the settings?

    As I said before, what ever settings / lens / fstops that work on FF will work on m43. You'll benefit on DoF on m43 because f2.8 is wider DoF than on FF

    Here is another example from 1 minute of googling

    lit-tent-stars-photograph-01.

    so, that would be 12mm @ 30sec with an f1.4 lens

    Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Lens for Micro Four Thirds RK12M-MFT

    which is about a stop darker than a 1.4 but who knows what the transmission differences are ... so you need 60sec?

    Here is a few grab shots without any extensive planning just off my balcony

    in my view ...: The Sky is Blue - even at night

    one learns a lot from experiments
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    The E-M5 is probably the best mu43 body for long exposures... Use the 500 rule (500 / focal length in 35mm equivalent) to calculate max exposure without motion blur in the stars.
    E.g. 12mm lens is 24mm eq, so 500/24 ~ 20, so shutter speed should be 1/20 or faster.
    Some people use 400 instead, which gives longer shutters but possibly some visible blur.

    Make sure the "Noise Reduction" setting is Auto, this will double the time to take each pic as it takes a second dark frame with each shot.
    Use RAW.

    You can use Live Time if you want to see the pic 'develop' on screen during the exposure. Practice at home first.

    A couple picture threads I found...
    Camping under a billion stars
    Joshua Tree, rock climbing and otherwise
    A Long weekend in the Eastern Sierra (9 images)


    There is another one here somewhere with some great fisheye pics in the Rockies, but in can't find it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
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  7. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
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  8. Sam00

    Sam00 Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    Nov 6, 2015
    Al Namas, Saudi Arabia
    Sammy
    If cellphone camera did it then hellyeah M43 will do it.
    it's all about the right technique.

    These photos made by Ian Norman and his cellphone oneplus One

    oneplus-one-smartphone-astrophotography-milky-way-2-768x1024.

    oneplus-one-smartphone-astrophotography-milky-way-4-768x1024.
     
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  9. mievil

    mievil Mu-43 Regular

    190
    May 17, 2013
    San Diego
    Thanks, guys. The image here:

    lit-tent-stars-photograph-01.

    Is pretty much what I'm looking for. I don't see the lens used in that pic, though. The other one in the "Eastern Sierra" Thread on the top was good as well with the 12-40.

    I'm looking for the lens to use. I tried a 12 Oly prime before with the E-M5 and did not like the results, and most of the other shots above are too grainy for what I am looking for. I can lug my FF up with my Rok 14mm and I know I can get the shot with that and know the settings. But I just can't find much with the Oly in searching that actually looks acceptable for what I am after. That 12-40 shot was pretty darn good, though. That's a heavy lens, though. I'll look into the 12mm Rok, but I don't know how different that will be than the Oly 12mm. I was figuring on buying a Sony RX100 for daily duties anyway and I have seen long exp shots with that as well, but they too are just too grainy for my tastes.
     
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Grain is caused by noise, not by a fast lens.
    Noise usually comes from high ISO or pushing an underexposed image in post.
     
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  11. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    646
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    The rokinon 12mm on something like a a6000/a6300 would be pretty hard to beat for a small astro package, with the stop faster lens on the aps-c sensor it should give you similar results the 14mm f2.8 on FF. I have had the 14mm on my a7ii and I must admit I didn't like taking it out.

    Saying that for what I do (couple of times a year) the m43 cams work just fine. The rokinon 7.5 FE is also something to consider. Stacking and correct exposure also helps. I have printed the one linked above at 13"x19" "Timeless" in the Eastern Sierra and you have to look very close into the sky to see noise. I have also printed my NZ shot at 13x19 and I cant see any noise but I stacked that one.
     
  12. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Dec 8, 2012
    I think the best would be the Oly 8mm f1.8 fisheye, but a 12mm does pretty well with the Milky Way, especially if you're willing to do some 2-6 shot panos for a wider field of view. For the 12s, of course the new f1.4 panasonic would be best, but the Oly or Rok f2 will do decent.

    Lighting the tent will just be trial and error for exposure. You could have someone in the tent and instruct them to turn on a light when you start your exposure and then off after 5-10 seconds, and then play with the on time to get the exposure right.

    The a5100 is the same sensor as the a6000 and even smaller, lighter, and cheaper. That with the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm is untouchable for a lightweight milkyway camera. There's only a few full frame lenses that can do better on full frame cameras, and are way bigger packages.
     
  13. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    ...And an f2.8 12-40mm is not going to be better than an f2.0 12mm
     
  14. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Experimenting is definitely good, but when working on these shots the iteration time is very high. Each exposure you take is at least one minute (30s + 30s dark frame subtraction in camera), and sometimes longer depending on your focal length. So it can be frustrating to experiment too aimlessly, since cloud cover is often variable, and it's only so much fun to squat outside in the dark for hours waiting for your camera to finish making its exposures...

    So I will say that knowing a few rules of thumb in terms of settings before you experiment is really valuable. Mostly, the "Rule of 500" to avoid star-trailing. It really makes a big difference in the visual crispness of these milky-way photos. So you need to divide 500 by your (FF-equivalent) focal length to find out your maximum shutter speed. In the above case with a 12 (24mm) FL, 20 seconds would probably have worked a bit better than 30s, but 30s seems passable. But doubling the exposure time up to 60s would be a definite no-no, as your star background will be blurry, and you might not even notice it when previewing it on the camera, only to discover your disappointment at home looking at it on the big screen!

    So yeah, make sure that rather than doubling shutter time, you double ISO instead. Take multiple exposures and stack to reduce noise. Also take a few exposures (distributed throughout your shooting, but at the end in particular), with the lens cap on to make "dark frames" which you can use to reduce noise in post. Since sensor noise is a product of heat buildup, and long exposures work the sensor hard, you'll find that the last exposures of the night are likely the noisiest. That is, unless it's cold up there, in which case you've got natural refrigeration for your camera...
     
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  15. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Until the PL12 is released, the current best option is the 8mm PRO FE. You really want something that is faster than f/2 and wide enough to capture the tent and the sky. The PL15 may be an option, as it's an f/1.7 lens and moderately wide.

    This is all assuming that you want to do this in a single exposure. Why not just do two images: one for the foreground/tent, and another for the sky. Then simply mask and blend them in PS.

    If you do want to do it in a single exposure though, you can rent the lens you want to use so that you can avoid purchasing it if it's not something that you're going to be using regularly.
     
  16. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    on that point I was surprised how good the noise was on my G1 when I first got it.

    It wasn't for years that I tweaked to the fact that -20C in Finland was helping that ;-)

    I know that experience takes time to gather. I guess that's why its important to have it.
     
  17. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    indeed ... and also worth remembering is that f stop is NOT a reliable measure of how much light is transmitted (hence T stops)

    I've found that as a general rule of thumb (all other being equal) that the more elements a lens has the less transmission it will give. So (for instance) my nFD200f4 at f5.6 transmits more light than my Panasonic 45-200 does at 200mm f5.6 - its non trivial too at about a stop

    This means that you can actually get a faster shutter or a lower ISO
     
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  18. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Agreed. With all the discussion about aperture values, it's a bit misleading. All you really care about in a situation like this is getting enough light to hit the sensor in a given amount of time to properly expose the image, without needing a shutter speed that's long enough to cause star trails.

    In a situation like this, as you mentioned, it's really the t-stops that are an important unit, NOT the f-stop. But there are many people who aren't familiar with t-stops, since photography lenses are marked with f-stops (unlike cinema lenses which use t-stops, and rightly so since maintaining a single exposure is often more important in video than it is in photography).

    In general though, a lower f-stop yields a lower t-stop, but as you demonstrated, the t-stop is based on transmission of the lens.
     
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  19. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    646
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    pl12 f1.4 probably isn't worth it for astro since you can get the a5100/a6000 + rokinon 12mm f2 for less than that single lens if that is your main purpose for it. The r12 + a5100/a6000 will be wider a FoV allowing longer shutter time. The 1 stop difference in lens performance is similar to the difference in sensor performance between the two so you still might end up being ahead with that option in both performance and price!. Best case performance will be similar but I wonder if the a5100 + r12 will be smaller and lighter than a m43 with the pl12 (I haven't looked into it).
     
  20. mievil

    mievil Mu-43 Regular

    190
    May 17, 2013
    San Diego

    Thank you. The Oly 12 has such a small glass element that there just isn't much light transmission there. That's why I am specifically looking for what lens has been used for shots like this as indicated in the OP, and not really asking for what lens has the lowest f.

    This will definitely not be a long time usage thing and renting is a very viable option. But, renting with such a narrow window is difficult since I will be doing trial and error with the camera AND the lens, where if I can use my current body I am already familiar with it. The Fish is a good idea. I wish I had kept my old one. I have not tried panos EVER and have always wanted to. I know great results can be had. I don't know what would happen with a night pano since you are talking about the stars being in different positions at every shutter click? Stacking just seems like something would inevitably be wrong.

    Personal history is I have never used a software package before, so I think that a single exposure is where I'm going here. I am willing to learn, but don't have time to experiment. I have a 4yo and live in the dense city so finding time to get out in the dark dark and try things just ain't happening.

    I will definitely try different time lengths on the tent lights. We'll have 6 tents so it may be challenging coordinating, but I think once that magic time length is found we will be good to go. I have a little led solar inflatable lamp that I'll be using. Also need to find a high lumen focusable head lamp for another shot I want to try.

    Sigh. I think it is really just gonna come down to me fighting the weight and bringing the FF and the Rok simply for comfort level just for this series of night shots and winging it. If I can get 1 decent shot, it'll make lugging that weight worth it. But I am selling this damn thing when I get back. haha
     
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