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ki_cz
2008-Feb-05, 10:34 AM
double post, sorry! Please delete!

ki_cz
2008-Feb-05, 10:35 AM
After dragging as many friends as I could muster for the Sunday night/Saturday morning viewing, I decided that something like this is seriously too great to not be shared by more people.

I'm looking for recommendations for a film camera setup, not necessarily for astrophotography, but for shots of stars/the moon without necessarily using a telescope. For now I'm just looking to take pictures of some of the nice formations that show up, with sharp images, maybe some star trails, but not necessarily looking into getting closeups of nebulae, planets, etc. Basically just want to try my best to make things look like they do to my eyes!

I'm not sure if I would need a really elaborate setup for this, but I was hoping that somebody could give me some decent ideas for a film based setup, while not getting too expensive. Thanks for the help, and hopefully eventually I'll have some pictures to show!

Tog
2008-Feb-05, 10:47 AM
Edit: Could a mod move this to the other thread?

Welcome to the board.

Getting started is pretty easy. I've taken some decent pictures of alignments with compact digital cameras. Stuff you will need at a bare minimum is:

Camera
Tripod
Patience

If you go with a 35mm SLR you'll want to get one that has a bulb setting and a way to trip the shutter with a wireless remote or a cable. If those aren't an option, then you can use the self timer (Digital compact some SLRs).

Fast film (400) gives shorter exposure times, but the results can be really grainy. 100 makes for sharper pictures, but the images are more prone to streak due the longer exposures.

Here is a link (http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/astro/) to get you started.

At the bottom is a link to free software, one of which is an exposure guide. You tell it the type of film, the subject, and the f-stop, and it tells you the exposure time. Check back for much more info from people with a lot more experience with it.:)

ki_cz
2008-Feb-05, 11:22 AM
Thanks for replying! My problem is that all over the web, I have found a lot of information about technique/when/where to go, but not too much on what I should be looking for in the actual camera/lens.

I've been doing a lot of research for night photography, looking for a film camera that would serve the purposes I need. I've learned that one of the more important things is that the shutter being open shouldn't affect battery drain (for star trail shots), that I need to be careful about dew, and that it will take a tonne of practice, but in terms of what kind of equipment I should buy, I'm still lost.

I'm basically looking for a decent priced body/lenses for taking pictures of the stars, moon, and maybe occasionally star trails if I'm in the mood. I just want to try and get the pictures to look as close as possible to what I see, which means that clarity/focus will be extremely important, so therefore I'll have to make sure that the exposures aren't *too* long (I think).

I'm really open to suggestions, and am looking for any help while keeping the budget reasonable. I live in Central Europe, so I have a lot of access to old Russian bodies/lenses as well.

Thanks for the help!

hhEb09'1
2008-Feb-05, 01:30 PM
Edit: Could a mod move this to the other thread?
This one:
After dragging as many friends as I could muster for the Sunday night/Saturday morning viewing, I decided that something like this is seriously too great to not be shared by more people.

I'm looking for recommendations for a film camera setup, not necessarily for astrophotography, but for shots of stars/the moon without necessarily using a telescope. For now I'm just looking to take pictures of some of the nice formations that show up, with sharp images, maybe some star trails, but not necessarily looking into getting closeups of nebulae, planets, etc. Basically just want to try my best to make things look like they do to my eyes!

I'm not sure if I would need a really elaborate setup for this, but I was hoping that somebody could give me some decent ideas for a film based setup, while not getting too expensive. Thanks for the help, and hopefully eventually I'll have some pictures to show!:)

Tog
2008-Feb-05, 01:40 PM
Okay, starting with the basics,lets' look at an SLR, or Single Lens Reflex Camera. This is the basic 35mm camera with a detachable lens. We'll use an all manual one for this example. The camera consists of two parts. The lens, and the body.

The lens does the focusing and houses the iris. The iris does basically what the iris in your eye does, it make a bigger or smaller hole to allow more or less light to come in. For the camera this adjusts the f ratio which we'll get to in a bit.

The body houses the flip mirror, the view finder, the shutter and the film.

When you look through a camera the light comes in through the lens. Whatever the iris doesn't block goes on through to the flip mirror. This redirects the light up to the roof prism and out through the view finder. Usually, the view finder is etched with a couple of circles and some diamond shapes to make focus easier. More on that below as well.

To take a picture, you have to cock the shutter. This is done with the thumb lever. Moving it will cock the shutter spring and advance the film one frame. Cocking the shutter means that it is set into the "firing position". When the shutter release is pressed, a lot of stuff happens very quickly. I'm not 100% sure of the order, so we'll start at the front. The first thing that happens is the iris closes down to the setting chosen. For most astrophotography, this will be wide open, or one stop short of it, meaning a smaller number. f/2 is a bigger opening than f/4.

The next thing that happens is the flip mirror will flip up against the bottom of the roof prism. This allows the light to pass directly from the lens to the film.

Finally the shutter opens. In my old Minlota, the shutter is a paid of black, cloth screens. When they snap, the first part moves from the right side of the camera to the left creating an opening to expose the film to the light. Once the exposure time has passed, the second part moves from the right to the left to close the gap and to make sure that the left edge of the frame got the same amount of light as the right. This all takes place in as little as 1/1000 of a second.


Here are where things can go wrong. With normal lenses, it's not a big problem, but with long lenses, (higher magnification) the flip mirror is heavy enough and moves with enough force to shake the camera vertically, causing streaking. This longer the focal length of the lens the more obvious this will be. Some camera have a "mirror lock-up" which is a manual lever that will move the mirror to the up position before the shutter is released. This will eliminate the mirror slap and is a very good feature in an astro-camera.

Aside from that, you want a camera with a "B" or Bulb setting. This is on the dial with the exposure times. Normally, this is a wheel in the top that will count down from 1000 (or 500, or 2000) and get cut in half each time.
1000
500
250
125
60
30
15
8
4
2
1
B
These numbers are the fractions of a second the shutter will be open. a setting of 500 means 1/500 of a second, while a setting of 2 means 1/2. A setting of "B" means the shutter will be open for as long as the button is held. This is where a CABLE RELEASE will be very useful. This is a long cord that screws into the top of the shutter button. It allows for the button to be presses without actually touching the camera. Cameras that can accept this will have a hole in the top of the shutter button which is normally pressed with the right index finger. Doing this with an electric camera (almost all autowinding) will run down the battery due to it taking power to hold the shutter open.

Some cameras will also have a view finder that can be removed and replaced by one without the etching. This is nice for astrophotos since there just isn't usually enough to see to get a good focus. On the other hand, most lenses will allow you to just set focus for infinity and be fine, so that's not critical.

So my list of stuff to look for, in order of importance would be:

1: Manual camera
2: Bulb Setting
3: Cable release capability
4: Mirror lock up
5: Replaceable viewfinder.

1-3 are critical
4 is really important
5 is a nice bonus if you can get it

In the US, it's possible to find cameras that are well suited in pawn shops and second hand stores. People get rid of the older ones to get the new totally automatic cameras.

Hope this helps.

Tog
2008-Feb-05, 01:41 PM
This one::) When I replied the first time, both were active. I have chosen-- poorly:)

Jim
2008-Feb-05, 05:57 PM
Threads merged.

Welcome to BAUT, ki_cz!

ki_cz
2008-Feb-05, 06:22 PM
Threads merged.

Welcome to BAUT, ki_cz!

Thanks, thanks for the great answer tog. I've been doing some more research on moon/star photography and while I'm getting more familiar with the techniques, I'm getting less familiar with whether or not what I have in my mind is actually possible.

I'm guessing that first off, I'd need a lens that's at least 100mm, in order to get enough zoom, would this be sufficient?

I've also been looking at medium format cameras, because I could at least blow it up more with hopefully less grain. I'm kind of looking to see if what I want to do is possible, basically clear pictures of the moon/stars without using a telescope, or a ridiculously expensive telephoto lens ... but at the moment I'm getting a bit lost in all of the information that I'm going through!

One of the problems that I've read about is that I need to be able to keep the exposure time fairly low, so that the movement of the stars/planets/moon doesn't come into play and I can keep it all sharp. The problem with this would be keeping the picture bright enough is my guess.

It would be nice if I already had some equipment to experiment with, but unfortunately I don't, so I'm looking for what I can get, for a reasonable price, that might have the potential for some decent shots. I definitely have more time than money, and am willing to put in the work, if it's possible!

This is kind of an example of what I would like to achieve:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/crew/exp7/luletters/graphics/ll_iss007e10974.jpg

of course this is taken from an aircraft, but I'm just looking to get sharp moon details, and if there is a conjunction, or something similar, be able to pick up the stars...