Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Astrophotography with 600mm lens

Equipment Astrophotography Beginner DSLR Mount Polar Alignment Tripod
  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 27 October 2021 - 05:45 AM

Hi, complete novice here, my interest is primarily wildlife but at end of milky way 'season' this year I got the bug for landscape milky way images but for something to try in Winter months I am looking to try more deep space astrophotography. I have a Sony 600 mm F4 lens, Sony A1 & Sony A9 & looking to buy the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer which I can use for my Milky way shots next year with wide lenses and has a payload of 5kg which I think should be ok for my camera, 600mm lens, & tripod head?........Does anyone use a similar set up to this and if so any tips on tripod head, general set up & use ?



#2 james7ca

james7ca

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,221
  • Joined: 21 May 2011
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 27 October 2021 - 06:00 AM

You're welcome to try but I don't think a Star Adventurer will work very well with a 600mm telephoto lens. Might be better with the Sony A9 given that camera's larger pixels which will make tracking less critical and also allow you to use shorter exposures. Remember to turn off the image stabilization before you use either camera for astrophotography.

 

If the 600mm lens doesn't work out (I'd be very surprised if it did unless you use very short exposure times, certainly less than 30 seconds, maybe 10 or 15) I'd try something in the 200mm and shorter range.


Edited by james7ca, 27 October 2021 - 06:00 AM.

  • Raginar, ks__observer, Ibuprofen200mg and 1 other like this

#3 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 27 October 2021 - 06:06 AM

You're welcome to try but I don't think a Star Adventurer will work very well with a 600mm telephoto lens. Might be better with the Sony A9 given that camera's larger pixels which will make tracking less critical and also allow you to use shorter exposures. Remember to turn off the image stabilization before you use either camera for astrophotography.

 

If the 600mm lens doesn't work out (I'd be very surprised if it did unless you use very short exposure times, certainly less than 30 seconds, maybe 10 or 15) I'd try something in the 200mm and shorter range.

Thankyou James, I think that is what I need to do.........just try it, either way I'll be getting the Star Adventurer for milky way so nothing to lose. I imagine the slightest breeze will be my biggest enemy at that focal length as it acts like a sail at times in the wind in normal use



#4 David Boulanger

David Boulanger

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 368
  • Joined: 25 Aug 2020
  • Loc: Naples, Florida

Posted 27 October 2021 - 06:34 AM

Go on YouTube and look up Peter Zelinka.  For years he used a Star Adventurer, DSLR, camera lens.  He has great how to videos.  In some of the later videos he added a guider.  Produced some nice results.


  • Rickycardo and jmurra31 like this

#5 OldManSky

OldManSky

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,764
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Valley Center, CA USA

Posted 27 October 2021 - 08:07 AM

Thankyou James, I think that is what I need to do.........just try it, either way I'll be getting the Star Adventurer for milky way so nothing to lose. I imagine the slightest breeze will be my biggest enemy at that focal length as it acts like a sail at times in the wind in normal use

I actually think your "biggest enemy" will be the periodic error in the tracking of the Star Adventurer.  It just doesn't track well enough for a 600mm focal length.

But it'll be great for milky way and slightly longer (135mm or so) focal lengths, so enjoy!


  • jonnybravo0311 and jmurra31 like this

#6 Raginar

Raginar

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,886
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Pensacola, FL

Posted 27 October 2021 - 08:53 AM

Thankyou James, I think that is what I need to do.........just try it, either way I'll be getting the Star Adventurer for milky way so nothing to lose. I imagine the slightest breeze will be my biggest enemy at that focal length as it acts like a sail at times in the wind in normal use

It'll be frustrating. Stick with a lower focal length like 180mm.  You'll probably need more counterweight than comes with the set (I used a ankle weight I found laying around my house).


  • OldManSky and jmurra31 like this

#7 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 27 October 2021 - 09:38 AM

It'll be frustrating. Stick with a lower focal length like 180mm.  You'll probably need more counterweight than comes with the set (I used a ankle weight I found laying around my house).

Thanks, I'll do as you suggest I think and get a fast 180mm or 200mm lens rather than get frustrated and give up trying to use a 600 mm 


  • Raginar likes this

#8 Raginar

Raginar

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,886
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Pensacola, FL

Posted 27 October 2021 - 11:39 AM

Thanks, I'll do as you suggest I think and get a fast 180mm or 200mm lens rather than get frustrated and give up trying to use a 600 mm 

It's really fun; the non-VR 180mm lenses are pretty light and they're fun for large objects like the Orion complex.  You'll like it!  I used to try my long focal length camera lenses on my little trackers... It can be done; but man you really need to dial it in.

 

Can't wait to see your pictures!


  • jmurra31 likes this

#9 jonnybravo0311

jonnybravo0311

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,951
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2020
  • Loc: NJ, US

Posted 27 October 2021 - 12:10 PM

Since you're getting the SA anyway... no harm in strapping that 600mm lens on and taking it out to see what happens. Just make sure you've got some glass with a focal length of less than or equal to 200mm handy :p. A lot of nice images are made with a DSLR/135mm lens and the SA.


  • Steve_M_M likes this

#10 DRK73

DRK73

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,092
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Maryland, United States

Posted 27 October 2021 - 01:11 PM

Go on YouTube and look up Peter Zelinka.  For years he used a Star Adventurer, DSLR, camera lens.  He has great how to videos.  In some of the later videos he added a guider.  Produced some nice results.

I had to read that a couple of times to be sure that you didn't say that he added a guitar


  • David Boulanger likes this

#11 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 27 October 2021 - 01:41 PM

Since you're getting the SA anyway... no harm in strapping that 600mm lens on and taking it out to see what happens. Just make sure you've got some glass with a focal length of less than or equal to 200mm handy tongue2.gif. A lot of nice images are made with a DSLR/135mm lens and the SA.

Thanks, yeh I might as well give it a go..............A whole new ball game this is to what I'm used to and I haven't even started on the processing side of it! but youtube etc is a great help. Only considering it because we have a caravan now in a darkish location so plan is I set up and leave camera to do it's thing whilst I watch some late night tv :)    


  • jonnybravo0311 likes this

#12 jonnybravo0311

jonnybravo0311

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,951
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2020
  • Loc: NJ, US

Posted 27 October 2021 - 02:28 PM

Thanks, yeh I might as well give it a go..............A whole new ball game this is to what I'm used to and I haven't even started on the processing side of it! but youtube etc is a great help. Only considering it because we have a caravan now in a darkish location so plan is I set up and leave camera to do it's thing whilst I watch some late night tv smile.gif    

It's not even the same sport :p

 

Pretty much scrap what you know about terrestrial photography :). Things like "crop factor" have no meaning here. A lens that provides you nice images during the day and comes with all kinds of praise may give you horribly shaped stars with terrible chromatic aberration when used at night. Electronic autofocus, vibration control, steady shot, electronic aperture are all really nice things to have during the day... completely meaningless at night - and can actually even be detrimental. You definitely don't want to leave lens (or camera for that matter) image stabilization enabled for example.

 

Anyway, it's definitely fun! I started with a Lumix G9 and some Panasonic-Leica glass on a Star Adventurer. I'd find my target (which ended up being its own adventure some times LOL), set the intervalometer to take some images and then go do other stuff for a couple of hours. Then, I'd go back out, change the battery in the camera, make sure I still had my target in frame... repeat as necessary. The longest I ever went was with my PL 50-200 lens at 200mm. Well... no... strike that... I tried it with my 2x teleconverter once... and you'll notice I wrote "tried it once". That's the key takeaway there :D



#13 niaz

niaz

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 45
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2010
  • Loc: Barbados

Posted 27 October 2021 - 04:24 PM

I use the Star Adventurer with my Canon R + adaptor + 100-400 ii lens + ballhead and I can get 2 min exposures without guiding. Balance was an issue so I removed the ballhead and I expect your A9+600mm to be a bit heavier so you may want to look at getting a second counterweight kit (and just use the weight only) to balance properly. 

So contrary to the others I expect you to easily get 1 min exposures at 600mm (majority of my shots are 1 min subs anyway) 



#14 fewayne

fewayne

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,542
  • Joined: 10 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Madison, WI, USA

Posted 27 October 2021 - 09:09 PM

I had to read that a couple of times to be sure that you didn't say that he added a guitar

Aha! NOW I know what's been holding me back all these years! OK, Stellarvue, ZWO, iOptron, and Gibson. Got it.

 

I've gone up to 500mm on a simple star tracker. But I had to toss a lot of the frames. Like JB says, may as well give it a shot.


Edited by fewayne, 27 October 2021 - 09:11 PM.


#15 Ryou

Ryou

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 419
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2020

Posted 27 October 2021 - 09:54 PM

Aha! NOW I know what's been holding me back all these years! OK, Stellarvue, ZWO, iOptron, and Gibson. Got it.

 

Hey, I could think of worse things than being at a dark site strumming a guitar by a fire.... so long as the fire was decently far away from the scopes of course!

 

 

More on subject, I'm going to second the "just do it" for the 600mm lens. Especially on a FF camera this isn't the deepest you could go. It's deep, but Field of View wise it's actually closer to the 183 (1" chip) with a 250mm FL scope. According to Stellarium I get (roughly) 3deg 1' by 2deg 1' FoV with a 183 and 250mm scope, while a FF sensor (Canon R6) gets 3deg 26' by 2deg 17' with the 600mm scope.

(The above is about the size of M32 btw and both nicely frame that)

 

Now I'm not sure how "deep" you can go with those Star Adventurer mounts, they are more for landscape but as stated can be used for deeper imaging. Additionally a lot of the more dedicated astro cameras are smaller chips the FoV being similar and people suggesting to start around 250mm FL really makes me think it won't hurt to try.

 

That said, if you do find that too deep, I'm actually going to suggest you NOT go with a wider lens (unless you want to pull double duty for daytime use) and instead look at something like the William Optic Cat51 (or 71 if they have it out when you swap) or thereabouts. Besides the FoV being more forgiving, the Cats focus like a camera lens so you could maybe use it for landscape/daytime use also, and as the best bonus you can place a guide scope on top of it VERY easily.

The last point there is really the key thing. Even with a Ra only mount like the Star Adventurer, adding in guiding is going to help up those exposure times a decent chunk AND get you experience with that side of things too for if you move further down this rabbit hole down the road.



#16 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 28 October 2021 - 12:31 AM

Many thanks to all who've answered and given plenty of advice for me to ponder over and thank you for treating a total newbie nicely :) All considered it seems 50/50 on opinions whether a 600 mm is a waste of time or worth a shot but seeing as I am getting the Adventurer anyway if I don't try I will never know. The additional counterweight sounds like it will be necessary so I will get that too. If results turn out that bad then I will consider a much short lens or a William Optic Cat51/71 as Ryou suggested. The weight using the 600mm & A9 I will be putting on the SA will be around 3.8kg. Am sure I will be back on here once I have tried a few things, thanks again.   



#17 Chrisofweden

Chrisofweden

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 12 Mar 2021
  • Loc: Stockholm Sweden

Posted 28 October 2021 - 12:44 AM

Joining a little late here, but just wanted to chip in that 600mm on the SA is doable but it needs to be very well balanced and with relatively short exposures of 30s or so.
Before going all in on dedicated Astro kit, I used the Sony 200 - 600mm zoom, at F6.3, on the front of an A7rIII and all on the SA. It was functional if not “great”.
Biggest challenge was actually finding and centering the target. Having a zoom, I was able to start “hunting” at around 300mm and then pull in. Finding small things that you can’t see at 600mm from the get-go will be a challenge, at least it was for me :)

All that said - go for it!
No harm done anyways and you will have fun!

/Chris


Edited by Chrisofweden, 28 October 2021 - 12:51 AM.

  • jmurra31 likes this

#18 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 28 October 2021 - 01:52 AM

Joining a little late here, but just wanted to chip in that 600mm on the SA is doable but it needs to be very well balanced and with relatively short exposures of 30s or so.
Before going all in on dedicated Astro kit, I used the Sony 200 - 600mm zoom, at F6.3, on the front of an A7rIII and all on the SA. It was functional if not “great”.
Biggest challenge was actually finding and centering the target. Having a zoom, I was able to start “hunting” at around 300mm and then pull in. Finding small things that you can’t see at 600mm from the get-go will be a challenge, at least it was for me smile.gif

All that said - go for it!
No harm done anyways and you will have fun!

/Chris

Thanks Chris, just sold the Sony 200-600 to fund the Sony 14mm............I did wonder at the time whether to keep it and try on the SA but found i was always opting for my 600 F4 for wildlife so it had to go, looking forward to trying the Sony 14mm though



#19 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 05 November 2021 - 09:27 AM

So I received my Star Adventurer & paired it with my 600 prime & Sony A9 & under Bortle 5/6 skies had my first go at Andromeda. SA produced around what I considered 60% acceptable round stars which left around 50 mins of lights. I also took some darks, flats & bias's & this was the result I am really pleased with. It is first edit so will have another go but if anyone has any comments or suggestions I'd love to hear them. Original file is around 50mb but can only post 500kb here. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Andromeda2.jpg

  • james7ca, Dren and TheBrochan like this

#20 james7ca

james7ca

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,221
  • Joined: 21 May 2011
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 05 November 2021 - 11:15 AM

Thanks for the followup and the image looks fine.

 

But, it's really small in width and height (509 x 323 pixels) and only 180KB in size so I don't know if you meant to post something that small or if CN resized the image because you tried to upload something larger than the 1600 x 1200 limit on CN (which must also be compressed to under 500KB). I'd actually like to see something that was closer to 1600 x 1200 so as to see how well the Star Adventurer did.



#21 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 09 November 2021 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the followup and the image looks fine.

 

But, it's really small in width and height (509 x 323 pixels) and only 180KB in size so I don't know if you meant to post something that small or if CN resized the image because you tried to upload something larger than the 1600 x 1200 limit on CN (which must also be compressed to under 500KB). I'd actually like to see something that was closer to 1600 x 1200 so as to see how well the Star Adventurer did.

Thanks James, Have attached a bigger one this time of same image but worked differently. To my eye SA worked fine BUT and it's a big but, the images after stacking with flats, bias's & darks when stretched and contrast curves applied suffered from 2 horrible thick vertical banding lines which i have found no easy way of fixing in photoshop. I wonder if my histogram seen below after DSS and converting to 16 bit & Exposure & Gamma is too far over to left so when I carry out multiple stretches?, I'll post a replicated example of the condition in another reply 

Attached Thumbnails

  • JM2021-509b.jpg
  • Screenshot 2021-11-09 160735.jpg


#22 jmurra31

jmurra31

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2021

Posted 09 November 2021 - 11:28 AM

Thanks James, Have attached a bigger one this time of same image but worked differently. To my eye SA worked fine BUT and it's a big but, the images after stacking with flats, bias's & darks when stretched and contrast curves applied suffered from 2 horrible thick vertical banding lines which i have found no easy way of fixing in photoshop. I wonder if my histogram seen below after DSS and converting to 16 bit & Exposure & Gamma is too far over to left so when I carry out multiple stretches?, I'll post a replicated example of the condition in another reply 

This is a screen shot of the issue I faced on this shot.................have you seen anything like it before? 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screenshot 2021-11-09 162412.jpg


#23 sharkmelley

sharkmelley

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,986
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2013
  • Loc: UK

Posted 10 November 2021 - 04:35 AM

This is a screen shot of the issue I faced on this shot.................have you seen anything like it before? 

Yes, these artefacts have been seen before. You're encountering the classic problems with Sony mirrorless cameras.  The circular banding is not exactly circular but polygonal and it's caused by lens corrections that are "baked" into the raw data.  Make sure you disable all lens corrections in the camera menu.  It might help but unfortunately some corrections are outside user control and cannot be disabled.

 

The central vertical band is caused by the fact that the full frame sensor actually works independently as two halves - the left half and the right half.  The camera firmware attempts to disguise the "join" between the two halves but operations such as stacking and stretching tend to reveal it.

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 10 November 2021 - 04:36 AM.

  • Ibuprofen200mg likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Equipment, Astrophotography, Beginner, DSLR, Mount, Polar Alignment, Tripod



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics