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Recommendations for moon photography lens

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by nandystam, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. nandystam

    nandystam Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Aug 16, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Looking at recommendations for a suitable lens to do moon photography (only the moon, not in landscape), with a budget of around US$200. I know for this money you won't get amazing results, but it's really only to use infrequently and learn from as I'm starting from the start for this kind of photography. I won't be shooting handheld. I don't mind if it's legacy glass and manual focus. At the moment I've been able to find the following lenses in that price range:

    • Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm, and other brand 70-210mm lenses
    • Various legacy 300mm f4 prime lens (Olympus OM or Canon FD/nFD)
    • Tamron 500mm f8 55B mirror lens
    • 4/3rds Sigma 50-500 (non IS version)
    I know there's probably a ton of different options apart from what I have listed, and I don't mind other suggestions.

    I guess it's a choice between legacy zooms, primes, mirror lens (the Tamron seems to be the best of those) or the Bigma?
     
  2. Andrewmap

    Andrewmap Mu-43 Regular

    149
    Jun 5, 2018
    Derby, United Kingdom
    Martin
    I have Vivitar Series 1 70-210 (Nikon mount & adapter, giving a 35mm equivalance of 140-420mm) and the image size is fair but does not fill the screen: you need to be looking at 300mm (600mm 35mm equivalent) minimum focal length to get a decent sized image; legacy glass (Nikon, Canon, etc.) are all worth looking at with an adapter.

    Another possibility is a spotting scope, tripod and camera adapter; the spotting scope can be used for other purposes as well if you are into wildlife, say.

    When the moon is low down, you have a lot of atmosphere to look through, so wait for the moon to rise a bit before shooting, as I note you are not bothered about moon landscapes. I would also recommend checking out The Photographer's Ephemeris online, as this will give you rise and set times for the Sun and Moon for almost any where on the planet.

    Many, many years ago I had a 6" f5 reflector telescope (with an equitorial mount) and got some decent sized images on 35mm film, but then again, the base focal length was 30" (762mm); when you actually used another lens in between (with an adapter) I could get a full frame moon shot quite easily at medium shutter speeds.

    But most of all enjoy what you do and experiment: good luck.
     
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  3. If you can find a legacy mirror lens that will probably work.
     
  4. Andrewmap

    Andrewmap Mu-43 Regular

    149
    Jun 5, 2018
    Derby, United Kingdom
    Martin
    Manual focus lenses should be OK, the problem will be getting it sharp on the screen.

    Ffordes in the UK have quite a few long focal length manual lenses on their stock list.
     
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  5. I tend to MF on the moon in magnified view even on my AF lenses. For some reason the AF doesn't work that well...
     
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  6. Cederic

    Cederic Mu-43 Veteran

    472
    Nov 14, 2012
    Nottingham
    A second-hand copy of the 12mm f2 might come in under budget, and you'll get excellent sharpness.

    Just move a little closer and it'll fill the frame fine.
    _-L.
    E-PL5    LUMIX G VARIO 100-300/F4.0-5.6    300mm    f/6.3    1/320s    ISO 200


    If this is just exploratory would the Panasonic 100-300 suffice? Those are quite cheap but excellent value, and would give you a lot of flexibility and options for other photography too.

    Although.. I'm still learning how to shoot the moon myself.
    _-22-L.
    E-M1MarkII    LUMIX G VARIO 100-300/F4.0-5.6    300mm    f/11.0    1/1250s    ISO 1600
     
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  7. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    507
    Apr 24, 2018
    First question, how BIG do you want the moon in the frame?
    This will define the focal length you need.

    If you want it to fill the frame as much as possible, forget anything shorter than 400mm. I would go as long as I could afford.
    A somewhat cheap, simple long focal length lens, may do the job for you. Like this one:

    I think there is an online program that will compute the focal length.

    For example, this shot is an uncropped image with a 500mm lens on a DX (1.5x crop) camera.
    DSC_8942b.
    NIKON D7200    ---    500mm    f/8.0    1/500s    ISO 1000
     
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  8. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    987
    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Have you looked at the Moon shoots thread? Moon shoots
    Maybe you can find some help there?
    I use the P100-300 I handheld and it works OK for me. But the Moon will not fill the frame on that one, you need something longer for that, probably more than 600mm in µ43. (So if I remember the equivalence right a FF (or 35mm as I like to call it) 300mm could be somewhere to start.)
     
  9. Cederic

    Cederic Mu-43 Veteran

    472
    Nov 14, 2012
    Nottingham
    Wouldn't a full frame 300mm lens used with micro 4/3 still be a 300mm lens? The focal length doesn't change, just the angle bounding the field of view - so the same x2 crop factor that the 100-300 would enjoy at the telephoto end.
     
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  10. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    987
    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I don't use adapted lenses so I might well be wrong, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I am.

    An adapted lens is put on an adapter to get the focal plane at the same distance from the the back of the lens as in FF.
    Since we have a crop factor of 2 our sensor is about 1/4 the size of the FF sensor, this means that only 1/4 of the lenses area is used (?), so a 100mm FF with an adapter will give the same angle of view as an 200mm µ43 lens.

    Equivalence is a topic that has been discussed many times on this forum, I'm sure you can find better explanations than mine above.
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    507
    Apr 24, 2018
    Yes and no.

    quote:
    A 100mm FF with an adapter will give the same angle of view as an 200mm µ43 lens.

    corrected:
    A 100mm lens with an adapter on a m4/3 camera, will give the same angle of view as a 200mm lens on a FF camera.​

    A lens focal length DOES NOT CHANGE, no matter what camera you put it on.
    What does change is the Field of View, or magnification ratio, based on the film/sensor size.

    It is this dang "equivalent focal length" term that is confusing and easy to get confused.

    I prefer to use magnification, as it eliminates the confusing "equivalent focal length" term and comes to a format neutral number.
    focal length / normal lens = magnification
    FF: 100mm / 50mm = 2x
    FF: 200mm / 50mm = 4x
    m4/3: 100mm / 25mm = 4x
    m4/3: 200mm / 25mm = 8x

    A 100mm lens on a FF camera is a 2x lens, a 100mm lens on a m4/3 camera is a 4x lens.
    A 200mm lens on a FF camera is a 4x lens, a 100mm lens on a m4/3 camera is a 4x lens.

    The other thing is, many of the new people have never used a 35mm film camera or a FF/FX camera, so they have no idea what the FoV of a 100mm lens on a FF camera looks like. So this "equivalent focal length" means nothing to them, and just confuses the issue.
     
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  12. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    987
    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    How does this relate to adapted lenses? A normal lens for µ43 is about 25mm, so a lens made for a FF camera that is 200mm will be a 8x lens?
    Or is it 200/25 = 16x?
    I'm getting more confused!
     
  13. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    507
    Apr 24, 2018
    An adapted lens that does not have optics in the adapter is the same focal length.
    So a 200mm FF lens on a m4/3 is
    200 / 25 = 8x​

    If the adapter has optics, such as with the focal reducer adapters, the magnification is changed/reduced by what the optics does to the magnification.
     
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  14. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Oct 16, 2016
    From what I understand if you want the same field of view that you get from a 50mm FF lens you would need to use a 25mm M43 lens. So the Pana 100-400mm would be the equivalent of a 200-800mm in terms of FoV on a FF camera.

    If your budget is U$200 max, then consider an Opteka 650-1300mm. It's manual focusing. You can get it with a M43 adapter. Amazon and eBay tends to have them for about U$180. I have actually been thinking of getting one to try moon shots. There is a video posted by someone who tried it out on a couple of Lumix cameras.

     
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  15. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    984
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    A 200mm lens mounted on FF will give you a 4X magnification (200/50=4)
    The same lens mounted on m4/3 will give you a view similar to 400mm on FF, or 8X magnification. (200/25=8)
     
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  16. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    984
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    I looked at this as a little side experiment, but there are a number of reports of flaking coating coming off of the lens, and covering the sensor/inside of the camera. It wasn't worth the risk for my purposes (just to play around with), but others might not take issue with it.
     
  17. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    984
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    IMHO, I would not buy a dedicated lens for photographing the moon. Pretty much every picture of the moon that I have ever seen looks about the same. Now, if you want to take pictures of it anyway (I'm pretty sure that everyone on this forum has at least tried), I would recommend using a lens that you'll use for something else, too. The first version of 100-300 can take pics of the moon and can be had for about $300. It is also great for a bunch of other things. Just about any 300mm+ legacy lens could also be used, but you might not get much other use out of it. Or just get a cheap telescope, watch the moon, then google pics later. Of the lenses you listed, I would go for the Bigma.
    I would also be a terrible astronomer, so take this with a grain of salt, and don't let me discourage you too much.
     
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  18. Machi

    Machi Mu-43 Veteran

    474
    May 23, 2015
    For the Moon Tamron 500mm f/8 is probably the best. It's one of the best mirror lenses and lack of chromatic aberrations is a big plus in case of the Moon photography.
    There is lots of examples on the net, I like this one with multiple shots of the Moon by different lenses.
    But I took nice images also with similarly old cheap zoom Cosina (Super Cosina) 100-500mm f/5.6-8 MC MACRO.
     
  19. dirtdevil

    dirtdevil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    651
    Apr 9, 2017
    I used a 400mm with a teleconverter and I still want more.
     
  20. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    507
    Apr 24, 2018
    That video showed me more about the problems of atmospheric distortion on LONG range shots than the lens itself.
    That is a HUGE amount of magnification. 1300mm / 25mm = 52x
    That might be a fun lens to play with, when you want to really REACH out there. But as the video shows, the atmospheric distortion become really apparent.
     
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