Panasonic 7-14 for starscapes?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by danska, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    Hi guys,

    I have the chance to get some really great Milky Way shots in the next few days. Heading over to an area of my state that has pretty low light pollution. I've been reading a lot about shooting the Milky Way, and I'm in luck as moon will be going down at about 11 and a bit past that the next few nights. As I'm trying to go as wide as possible, I'm wondering if anyone has ever used this lens before. On the wide end of that lens, it looks like I can get up to a 42 second exposure or so before I get star trails, but I'm wondering if the slower aperture is going to make all of this too difficult without using really high ISO. My only other option is the 14mm Panasonic which gives me a little over a full stop more, but at the cost of half the time for star trails. Also concerned with vignetting from the 14mm when shot wide-open. I'll have two bodies with plates but only one tripod, I have the 7-14,14,25,45 to work with.

    I'd like to get some input from people that have done this type of thing before. I don't want to miss my opportunities here! I'll have some hills in the foreground so I think I can make it interesting. If anyone wants to take a peek in Stellarium of where I will be shooting from it's 47.53N 120.1W @ 2000ft. Will attempt shooting towards the S-SW and follow the Milky Way.

    Any input or advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Mu-43 Veteran

    448
    Feb 15, 2011
    Its really hard with even F2.8, I would say you need the 12mm F2 or the 25mm F1.4.
     
  3. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    477
    Aug 16, 2012
    Yoiu can still get good starscapes even with the 25mm - certainly enough for the central portion of the milky way. You still have a 50 degree field of view.

    Aperture is king with this.
     
  4. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    I personally tried the 7-14mm just last weekend at the Grand Canyon. I had the camera set at the widest aperture (f/4) and shutter speed at 30s. I had to bump up the ISO to 6400 before I could see anything approaching the Milky Way in the shot, and it was just WAYYY too noisy to be any good, even after PP.

    Example:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/debit72/7846810462/" title="P1220903 by debit72, on Flickr"> 7846810462_461c59623e_z. "640" height="480" alt="P1220903"></a>
     
  5. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    Thanks guys. I've been digging around flickr and found a few shots from people using an aperture of f4. Most however were using somewhere from f2-2.8 with fairly wide angle lenses. Looks like the 7-14 max aperture will make it a challenge. I'll try a few testers just for kicks and then switch to the PL25 to take advantage of that wider f-stop. The part that worries me about using the PL25 wide open is the coma and vignetting that occur at f1.4. Not sure if this will make the best representation of stars near the edges of the frame.
     
  6. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    477
    Aug 16, 2012
    How big are you going to print?

    I'm pretty sure that 2x the light will more than make up for any coma if you want any detail. I took some pics last year in Death Valley at F2 and a 50mm lens (on full frame) - they were far nicer than the ones I took in Yosemite with an ultra wide 12mm (on full frame) at F4...
     
  7. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris
  8. cariocaleo

    cariocaleo Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Jul 30, 2012
    Let us know how it went and post the pics... I live close to a rural area and I may take a trip myself to attempt that
     
  9. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    No, not in this case. I don't want to get star trails at this point. I think, but don't know, that aperture in that case wouldn't necessarily be as critical since that is a super long exposure. I would have to keep below 42 seconds with the 7-14 (@7mm) to keep the stars nice and sharp.
     
  10. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    Good to know. I was thinking that stopping the PL25 down to f2 would get rid of a lot of the light fall off. Only problem I see with that focal length is that I'm only left with a 12 second exposure time using the rule of 600, what were your exposure times like with the 50mm? Wish I had the Oly 12mm for the weekend!
     
  11. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    danska, it sounds like you're using some kind of calculation. Can you share the resource you are quoting?
     
  12. dannat

    dannat Mu-43 Regular

    174
    May 2, 2010
    Melbourne Australia
    F4 on mu4/3 means you need to get long exposures, prob 60 sec or so- you need tracking fr this though. Mu4/3 you really need the 12/2, of either of the pana's 20 or 25
     
  13. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    477
    Aug 16, 2012
    Think I was at 30 seconds and ISO 800 on a Canon 5D2 from memory. I was getting elongation of the stars on 50mm, but I was able to pull quite a bit of detail out from the Milky Way. Unfortunately, it's a balancing act - long exposure, low signal and high-ish ISO (for small points!) together with slowly moving objects. You might give the long exposure NR a go.

    Why not set it up somewhere relatively dark locally and try to see what you can get away with. Light pollution will stop you seeing the detail, but you will probably get an idea of what compromises you'll have to deal with without being on the spot and having to make the decision then and there....
     
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  14. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    I'm using a calculation called the rule of 600. Found it from researching astro-photography a bit. It states that 600/Focal Length in FF terms, will give you the maximum amount of time before the stars start to trail or create ellipsoidal shapes.

    Thanks very much for the info and suggestion. Sure does seem to be a balancing act of all the exposure factors. I've found some shots up to 6400 ISO on the OM-D that looked pretty decent, but my favorite ones were usually at 1600. I will try out some exposure times tonight. I'm probably going over to that area tonight, but will just do some testing and try to get further into shooting tomorrow, it's going to be a bit of a hike where I need to get up to.
     
  15. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    263
    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Earlier this Summer, I tried Milky Way photographs with the 7-14 on an EM5 in a pretty dark mountain environment at about 7400 feet of altitude. With the lens at 7mm, f/4, ISO 3200, I was able to get good results with exposures of about 30s (much longer at 7mm and the stars start to show movement). The files require fairly heavy PP in LR4, but I was able to obtain results that I think would print reasonably well up to about 9x12. My composition included reflection of the MW in a still lake, which increases the difficulty level.

    Either the Oly 12mm f/2 or the PL 25mm f/1.4 would give about one extra stop of light gathering ability after you factor in the shorter exposure times possible with the longer lenses, but I prefer the compositions you can get at 7mm. Stopping the PL25 down to f/2 leaves you with no light gathering advantage over the 7mm at f/4.
     
  16. O2BanRRT

    O2BanRRT Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Jun 25, 2012
    Waterloo, Ontario (Canada)
    Jean
    Disclaimer -->I have no particular expertise in Starscape photography.

    I have been working on a spreadsheet to help me determine what lens are appropriate for my intended use. I am interested in Starscapes.

    Enter the ISO you intend to use in the top left Yellow highlighted cell and go to the row that corresponds to your intended activity and you will see the suggested shutter speed at various apertures.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhZov7eZo3fndC1TOEg3elVTWmFaTE8tTHFDNEVBdnc#gid=0

    The EV (Exposure Values) have been taken from various photographs and wikipedia. I would appreciate feedback from those more knowledgeable than I.

    Hope the sheet is of some use.
     
  17. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    0. Use maximum iso, that's right maximum ISO and lower shutter speed for framing. After you see what you like, use ISO&shutter you wanted in first place, so it comes nice and clean.
    You might want to check your shooting location the day before and visualise your shot during daytime.
    1. make sure you put something in the foreground, Milky Way alone is not that interesting. (You might event want to try light-painting your foreground with a flashlight.) If you have a tree, leaves tend to move during exposure. You might get big smudge instead of a tree. Dead trees are a fun option.
    2. shoot RAW (+JPEG if you want)
    extra:
    3. turn off noise reduction in camera, it will only use your precious time.
    4. shoot dark frames manually, you'll also need a few bias frames. Use Deep Sky Stacker (freeware!) to align stars and reduce noise. You can (must) import RAW in DSS and it will yield excellent results. Mind you that once it alignes stars and compesates for Earth movement, your ground will be messed up. You can stack ground later, and it is far easier to do it in PS cause you dont have to tilt it in a wicked ways.

    As for lens...I've tried with kit lens 14-45@3.5 without luck. But I did my shots with G1 you have OMD, you might have better results due to better higher ISO.

    Good luck and bring something warm :biggrin:
     
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  18. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    Great info F1L1P.

    Definitely going to hike up to my spot before nightfall to make sure it's easily accessible in the dark and to get some idea of how I want to frame things. Not much foliage up there besides sage brush and dead trees, and then a hill line in front of me. The combination of those things ought to give me something interesting to put in the frame. The stacking thing I could probably work with, but I don't have PS, so I'm not sure I could get the results like you did in the image I commented on of yours yesterday.

    If I'm shooting a dark frame, do I need to use the same exposure values as the one I want to work with? All I've tried before is the mode where the camera takes a second frame that is dark and blends them automatically (assuming this is what you say to turn off).

    Really appreciate your input on this!
     
  19. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    Did some testing tonight. PL25 was working the best. Here is one from the 14mm pancake that came out okay. Just shot off my deck. The hike and better location will come tomorrow! 20 second exposure @ f2.8


    P8240086.jpg by danska8, on Flickr
     
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  20. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    477
    Aug 16, 2012
    Yes. And at the same time. It needs to be as close as you can to the exposed frame.

    He is, yes, as if you are shooting a number of light frames (i.e. exposed frames) you can shoot, say, 30 at 30 secs each followed by 5 dark frames at 30 secs each. It saves you 25 x 30 secs.

    Deep sky stacker is freeware - I've never had great results with it when I've been on a static tripod - your mileage may vary.

    Personally, I'd start out simple and take single shots and not try and combine shots using software. It's easier to understand what's happening with single shots.

    RAW is a must.