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Smartphone Astrophotography

astrophotography beginner
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#1 ecauble

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 02:26 PM

I'm a little embarrassed to post this here, because the end-result won't be close to a single exposure from a cheap DSLR. 

 

Here's what I've managed so far with an iPhone 6s, digiscope adapter, and a 5" Newtonian reflector. 

M31 Andromeda - Stack

Andromeda (about 15 exposures stacked in DeepSky Stacker)

 

M57 Stack

Ring Nebula (30 exposures stacked)

 

M27 - stack

Dumbbell Nebula (Stacked and stretched like crazy!)

 

I use NightCap Pro to take afocal 15-second exposures.

 

If anyone else has taken any smartphone photos please post, and tell us what techniques/software you used. I'm really interested in what some of the newer Androids can do and what apps they have for low-light imaging.


Edited by ecauble, 22 September 2016 - 02:29 PM.

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#2 Thirteen

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 02:37 PM

Good considering the setup.   I was actually thinking about this the other day.   With the release of iOS10, Apple has allowed 3rd party camera apps to capture in RAW format.   By all means, you need to try this.   If you can capture uncompressed data (instead of JPG), your finished product will be leagues ahead of what you can get now. 


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#3 ChrisWhite

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 08:35 PM

Way to go!  Very cool. :waytogo:


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#4 17.5Dob

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 08:39 PM

I would not have guessed that DSO's were possible using a phone cam. Congrats ! You just need more subs and they would clean up even more.


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#5 tazyo

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 08:40 PM

Wow, I wouldnt be able to do that with my dslr  :blush: Way to go. You just inspired me to go ahead and take some shots. Thank you for sharing.


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#6 ecauble

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 10:35 PM

I would not have guessed that DSO's were possible using a phone cam. Congrats ! You just need more subs and they would clean up even more.

Thanks for the kind words! I've tried subs, and dark frames. I've been making artificial flat-fields and subtracting them from the stacked image. It's pretty tough when the camera slips in between exposures (it's really difficult to keep the phone balanced on the lens).

 

My Andromeda shot and M27 used artificial flat-fields.

 

Andromeda 09-07-2016 stack

^Here's the stack of Andromeda without the artificial flat-field or color adjustments

 

Andromeda 09-07-2016 AFF

^This is the artificial "flat-field" created by the guide in the link above.

 

 

It hides the noise a bit, but I do worry about the loss of information. Next time I shoot I'm going to give subs, dark frames, and flat-fields a real try. :)


Edited by ecauble, 22 September 2016 - 10:38 PM.


#7 ecauble

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 10:40 PM

Wow, I wouldnt be able to do that with my dslr  :blush: Way to go. You just inspired me to go ahead and take some shots. Thank you for sharing.

Hehe, you make me blush. :blush:  I don't think it could get any worse than what I've done. Get out there and start shooting!  :)



#8 iwannabswiss

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 10:47 PM

I have to say, those are actually pretty amazing.  But don't be embarrassed, we all had to start somewhere.  Now watch the money burn!


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#9 My 2 Stars

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 12:00 AM

Very nice. Amazing with M57!


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#10 ecauble

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 12:05 AM

Very nice. Amazing with M57!

You're all too kind! Here's a "time-lapse" of all the 15-second exposures with some ken-burns for the stack.



#11 Ron359

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 12:10 AM

The new iPhone 7 has an f/1.8 lens for low light and night photography.  With long exposures and stacking, astro images will only get better.


Edited by Ron359, 23 September 2016 - 12:10 AM.


#12 tazyo

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 01:26 AM

 

Wow, I wouldnt be able to do that with my dslr  :blush: Way to go. You just inspired me to go ahead and take some shots. Thank you for sharing.

Hehe, you make me blush. :blush:  I don't think it could get any worse than what I've done. Get out there and start shooting!  :)

 

Will sure do. This really inspired me :)



#13 lily4ever

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 04:07 PM

So cool! I tried getting my friend to use that app to take pics of the Milky Way when she was in the Caribbean for med school. She never got around to it so I had no idea what it could do. It's so awesome seeing DSO images taken by smartphones.

 

What did you use to process the stacks?

 

This is not exactly what you were asking, but I had this thread bookmarked. The OP took Milky Way photos using the standard camera app on his phone.

 

http://www.cloudynig...cell-phone-fun/


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#14 ecauble

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 05:11 PM

 

What did you use to process the stacks?

 

This is not exactly what you were asking, but I had this thread bookmarked. The OP took Milky Way photos using the standard camera app on his phone.

 

http://www.cloudynig...cell-phone-fun/

I use DeepSkyStacker. It's free I have it on Bootcamp, and a wineskin version for OS X. It works best on Windows though.

 

Also, that shot from that thread is amazing. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's tried. I'm amazed that the LG camera could get all the color of the Milky way.  


Edited by ecauble, 23 September 2016 - 05:13 PM.


#15 Thirteen

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 06:13 PM

Has anyone tried one of these iOS apps that allows for RAW capture? I need to try this.

#16 ecauble

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 07:24 PM

Has anyone tried one of these iOS apps that allows for RAW capture? I need to try this.

I haven't had a chance to try it, NightCap hasn't added the feature yet. It'll let you shoot in TIF. I should email the developer and see if they participate in Apple's beta TestFlight program. I have access to an iPhone 7, and I'm going to try and shoot tonight and do some comparisons against my 6s. I think the moon's going to be a problem. Stay tuned for the results early this morning!



#17 ecauble

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 03:15 AM

I stacked a set of Pleiades, DeepSkyStacker crashed at the very end. I'll re-stack it tomorrow. Needless to say, the iPhone 7's camera is much better at low-light.

DeepSkyStacker Crash


#18 lily4ever

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 10:56 AM

 

 

What did you use to process the stacks?

 

This is not exactly what you were asking, but I had this thread bookmarked. The OP took Milky Way photos using the standard camera app on his phone.

 

http://www.cloudynig...cell-phone-fun/

I use DeepSkyStacker. It's free I have it on Bootcamp, and a wineskin version for OS X. It works best on Windows though.

 

Also, that shot from that thread is amazing. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's tried. I'm amazed that the LG camera could get all the color of the Milky way.  

 

So when you say you stretched the image, you stretched in DSS? If so, I think you might be able to get more detail using a different program to process. Maybe not a ton more, but it'd be worth a shot. I think GIMP and Startools are the most popular free photo editing software.



#19 ecauble

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:24 AM

 

 

I actually use OSX's default preview app, sometimes I use Pixelmator, and for the dumbbell nebula I used Polarr. It's hard to stretch when there's not a lot of signal in the noise. I think I need to practice on one object and not jump around every 15 minutes while shooting.

 

Here's the stack of Pleiades from the iPhone 7. It came out kind of red tinted, and I wonder if that's from deepskystacker. I didn't move the sliders and I have it set not to apply but embed in the output TIF. I'd say it was white balance, but the light frames don't have the red tint. Probably user error  :undecided:

 

Pleiades iPhone 7 Stack


#20 ecauble

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:34 PM

I took my iPhone 7 and telescope to a dark site last night. The weather was perfect, and the moon didn't rise till 5:00AM.  I only stacked it, no stretching or synthetic flat-fields. I made real flat-fields and dark frames but DeepSkyStacker wouldn't stack.

M42 iPhone 7 stack

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#21 Thirteen

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 05:15 PM

Cool!

 

Are you stacking TIFs then? or did you figure out a way to get RAW files?  



#22 ecauble

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 05:22 PM

Cool!

 

Are you stacking TIFs then? or did you figure out a way to get RAW files?  

I am stacking and shooting in TIF. Some of my older images used the large JPEG format, but I TIF is clearly a better choice.  :)



#23 JawZziff

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:46 PM

Cygnus 11 29 16

Hi guys, I'll jump in here and share. This was the first image I've ever taken of the sky after realizing my LG G5 has a pretty good camera on it. I happened to take 4 images and decided to try stacking them with deepsky just to play with the program.

 

I have a 4.5" newt on an eq i'm hoping to motorize and then get a smartphone mount like you have. I'm excited to jump into this with minimal cost.


Edited by JawZziff, 17 January 2017 - 08:47 PM.

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#24 ecauble

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 01:29 AM

 

 

Hi guys, I'll jump in here and share. This was the first image I've ever taken of the sky after realizing my LG G5 has a pretty good camera on it. I happened to take 4 images and decided to try stacking them with deepsky just to play with the program.

 

I have a 4.5" newt on an eq i'm hoping to motorize and then get a smartphone mount like you have. I'm excited to jump into this with minimal cost.

 

That's amazing, I think you'll get much better results than I did with my iPhone. I hope you'll post them in here when your done. :)



#25 lil_eddie

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 09:27 AM

Anyone with an android phone, there is an app called 'Camera FV-5'

 

You can control the shutter speed and ISO as well as coming with an intervalometer - however not tested it, and it may not doing very long exposures. I can set it manually to 10s exposures, but the intervalometer doesn't seem to consider it and I cant test it right now at work. But it may mean you can mount it and leave it to take 200 10s exposures to get 32 minutes of exposure - if anyone has a dark site and an android phone it might be worth trying (I dont have a mount for mine so would struggle)


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