Large format astrophotography
Posted 09 November 2013 - 08:02 PM
Posted 20 November 2013 - 11:26 PM
Posted 21 November 2013 - 03:29 PM
Anything over 300 is definitely in the area of specialized use. The lenses are unusual and harder to find. Extra long bellows beyond the normal are needed as is physical extension of the camera. Vibration becomes an issue at these magnifications, so extra-solid camera support is also mandatory.
As an example I've attached a photo of my 600mm f/9 telephoto lens. To make this optic work it needs a minimum of 480mm of bellows. To focus closer than infinity (such as landscapes), it needs even more bellows than that. The lens by itself is five pounds. The metal camera and extra fittings place the whole setup around twenty pounds of weight. The camera assembly in its entirety is over two feet long--for a camera that's not compact by any means. At this magnification vibration in the system can easily render the image on film unsharp so it also needs very solid support.
To use this lens for astrophotography it would need a substantial equatorial mount far more robust than what I have. While the requirements of this lens on a camera are tough, it is an amazing optic. (This lens allows me to isolate details in landscape photos with great clarity). Yet it's not for everyone--one look at the setup readily shows the extraordinary requirements needed for a long focal length optic.
Posted 22 November 2013 - 08:20 AM
I quit film astrophotography not a long while ago. Until 2009, I shoot medium format. The reason is exactly what you said, print quality (although I don't do real dark room work myself). I thought about going to large format for years, but I'd never pulled the trigger, primarily because the limited choices of films. Another reason is the worry of camera flexure. I was not convinced that large format cameras can be rigid enough for hour-long exposures. (Your results proves me wrong.) To overcome this, I was thinking about making an astrophoto-only large format camera without using any moving parts like the monorail. I never had a chance to actually do this. On the other hand, I mosaicked digitized medium format images (from 2 6x7 images, to mosaics as large as 20 6x7 images) to achieve the print quality that's equivalent to large formats.
Now I am a completely digital shooter, but your pictures remind me the good old days. Hope one day I will pick up film again. Please do share with us if you make new pictures.
Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:10 AM
Posted 22 November 2013 - 03:48 PM
Jason, that's very likely true. That a normal large format camera with all the moving and folding parts can be used at all for astrophotography still strikes me as amazing. Every instinct would say it couldn't be done and yet surprisingly it can.
The 600 is an extreme example. It's a seriously long lens on a 4x5 and rare to see. Its use is within possibility yet I figure with my equatorial mount it would also be about as stable as a tank balancing on toothpicks. That's why I suggested 300mm as the comfortable and practical limit. I've successfully used my 300mm f/5.6 (pictured at the beginning of the thread) for years without problems.
Posted 26 November 2013 - 02:22 PM
Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:46 AM
Thanks for the compliment Hikari. The Horseman camera is a pleasure to work with. It's my hope to continue to put it to good use for many, many more years to come.
Posted 09 December 2013 - 03:32 PM
Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:10 AM
Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:22 AM
Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:51 PM
The 2.7 focuser worked well for 6x7 work if I remember correctly. I think the 4" focuser was used for 4"x5". Either way, I'd like to see what your getting with this setup. I've contemplated a project using a fast Aero Ektar or equivelent lens and a rigid lensholder with 4x5 film holder.
Post 'em when you get 'em.
Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:47 PM
- C5dad likes this
Posted 11 December 2013 - 01:29 AM
Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:18 PM
Fun stuff Gary.
Posted 12 December 2013 - 11:12 AM
Posted 14 December 2013 - 08:07 PM
Posted 15 December 2013 - 04:49 PM
Posted 22 October 2014 - 08:13 AM
Interesting presentation of your film-based widefield astrophoto technique and equipment. Very impressive, thank you for sharing!
Posted 19 January 2016 - 10:38 AM
this is not completely accurate., there are older american and german made optics used in 220/120 film as well as
polaroid that are intended ,or can be adapted for astronomical photography. zeiss copy lenses work well.
polaroid made a oscillograph lens that has a f/stop>1.9
used to be that university astronomy programs would sell off there older equipment to finance newer equipment. true bargins
to had? (long gone these days.) but these older pieces of glass "art" are still around. you gotta hunt for 'em though?
if you go and inquire you may be able to find this fine older equipment(if you do however find this stuff? do not "ebay it.)
Posted 20 April 2016 - 08:50 AM
Hmmm now I feel like getting my Linhoff Tech IV and Nikkor 210mm 5.6 out of storage... I have some Provia and Tmax in the freezer...
Posted 04 October 2018 - 06:11 AM
my name is Francesco Del Conte, I am a visual artist from Italy. This is the first message I write on the forum. First of all thanks a lot to you and the other guys for sharing your experience and the wonderful work. I am about to buy an equatorial mount - and the accessories - to do a series of film photographs of the sky at night, wide field shots. I intend to start with my Mamiya RZ67 equipped with a 140mm or a 75mm. Then I'd like to try some 4x5 shots, using a Sinar F2 equipped with a 150 mm or 210 mm. Since the Fuji Across 100 is not available anymore I guess I am going to use the Kodak T-Max 100.
In the last months I've been reading a lot of the problems that might occur along the process and especially your posts and the ones of Nightfly have been really useful. Thanks again. Fortunately I met a person here in Turin that is going to teach me the actual steps.
Among the several questions and doubts that I still have, one is the biggest and concerns the vacuum film holder you designed. It might be silly. Is the vaccum pump connected to the holder and on during the exposure? Or the silicone tube has a sort of valve that keeps the holder vacuum-sealed?
In the future I might ask some other questions but for the moment that's all =)
Thanks again and greetings from Italy.