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So, what about print film?

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#1 Charlie Hein

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 10:37 PM

I had recently made a very feeble attempt to do some wide field shots on print film with my Canon Elan IIe and a 28-200 zoom lens piggybacked on my scope. None of the shots taken in full darkness turned out at all, although some of the long exposures of airplane lights I took in twilight worked out okay. I shot on print film because it's all I had - actually, it's all I've ever used.

I understand that slide film is the best way to go with this, but is it even possible to do wide-field shots on print film? If so, some tips on exposure and processing would be appreciated.

Charlie

#2 wilash

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 11:11 PM

Why is slide film "the way to go"? Print film has the advantage of having a wider exposure latitude. There is no mystery to exposing film. Start with normal exposures and development. Vary those with experience.

I like your avatar.

#3 Suk Lee

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 11:57 PM

I disagree about the advantage of wide exposure latitude of print film because there are other factors that are more important for astrophotography. There are very few print films out there with decent h-alpha response, currently the best films are E200 and Fuji Provia 400, both slide films.

Also, properly scanning a negative to get rid of the orange mask, and preserving the dynamic range necessary for astrophotography can be quite challenging.

Suk

#4 Charlie Hein

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 12:38 PM

Well, I had no idea the divisions on this are so wide! I had a somewhat unproductive first round at this using print film and wanted to try to figure out where I went wrong.

More to the point, I want to see if using my 35mm SLR for astrophotos works for me before plunking down a bunch of cash on how-to books that I might not really need.

Let's move forward in this way:

I do recognize that slide film is the standard for astrophotos. However, I've never used it. What would be useful to me would be to discuss some simple to follow ways for a guy like me to:

1) set up a camera and get something that's at least recognizable as a starfield on film. This means some advice on film selection, exposure and bracketing settings, strategies for figuring out what worked and what didn't and if applicable, setup of the camera on a mount (for my purposes this would likely be piggybacked on my Atlas).

2) get the exposed film to someone who can properly process it and possibly get an electronic copy so as to share progress or failure with the forum - I assume that you don't take slide film to your local drugstore anymore.

I'd also welcome any commentary on how to do Astrophotos on print film, but I don't really want to be the instigator of an argument, so any respondents should govern themselves accordingly. What would be useful in this case would be a discussion of the challenges involved, and. if applicable, any advantages to using print film over slide film in this application. That way, readers can decide for themselves if the benefits outweigh the challenges.

Any takers?

Charlie

#5 Suk Lee

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 01:10 PM

1) set up a camera and get something that's at least recognizable as a starfield on film. This means some advice on film selection, exposure and bracketing settings, strategies for figuring out what worked and what didn't and if applicable, setup of the camera on a mount (for my purposes this would likely be piggybacked on my Atlas).


You'll be able to get a pretty stunning photo very easily.
Make sure your atlas is pretty accurately polar aligned. It doesn't have to be EXACTLY on. If a star stays centered, at 100x, through your telescope, for 1 minute, then you're all set for widefield imaging.

I assume you have an SLR camera with a 50mm lens. Piggyback it and set it at f4 and expose for 2, 4, 10 minutes on E200. If you don't have too much skyglow near the horizon, Saggitarius is becoming viable for late night shooting. You'll be astonished...

2) get the exposed film to someone who can properly process it and possibly get an electronic copy so as to share progress or failure with the forum - I assume that you don't take slide film to your local drugstore anymore.


That's one of the major benefits of shooting slide film - the recipe is fixed so even the 1 hour lab can't screw it up. Just make sure you shoot several "regular" daytime shots at the beginning and end of the roll so they know where to cut the film for mounting. Alternatively you can ask them to leave the film uncut but I've never had a problem once I started adding the regular shots.

Suk

#6 Blueshark928

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 08:26 PM

One thing i can add. At least go to a place that will number the slides. I have lots of slides that are unmarked from a onehour place. I've since been taking it to a regular camera shop near me. They dont charge anymore than the one hour place and they number the slides. This is important for me since i like to keep track of shooting data in a log book.

#7 Suk Lee

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 09:17 PM

That's a really good point. You've got to know which exposure combo you used in order to learn...

#8 Charlie Hein

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 07:00 AM

Good tips, guys! I think that one thing that hosed me up on my last try was that the skies are pretty bright overall from my backyard. I didn't realize how bright they were until I got out to the local dark-sky site!

Now I need to get out there and do some shooting!

Charlie

#9 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 01:03 PM

What kind of one-hour places do process slide film? Are they able to do push processing as well if needed? Im doing some piggyback shots with E200 and will need to have it processed. A local camera & processing shop told me I they only knew of one place and it was some big company and it would cost alot to have it processed & scanned. Had no idea these one-hour places could do it. I'll have to check into this...

#10 Blueshark928

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 01:57 PM

None of them really. You can take it to a one-hour photo shop, but they'll probably tell you 24 hrs at the least. Even longer if you shoot Kodachrome. Only Kodak processes that stuff as far as i know. At least that has been my experience so far...

My local shop charges me less to develop a roll of 36exp e200 than the cost of the roll itself.

Scanning is another story. I do that myself.

#11 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 02:22 PM

24 hours is no problem :)

better than driving an hour to drop off at some company that is used to doing business in bulk.

ive looked at some slide scanners, wasn't sure if it'd be worth it to buy one at this point. :question:

#12 Blueshark928

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 02:51 PM

I would say yes. I bought the Nikon Coolscan V ED earlier this year. Its a nice little scanner for 35mm slides and negatives. Not to expensive at $599 US.

However if the budget is limited, you might be better off just getting a DSLR.

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 03:31 PM

That looks nice, especially the 4000dpi. :)

It may be worth it considering how much I'll be using it.

#14 Dennis

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 03:56 PM

I'll be trying astrophotos with my old OM-1 this weekend. I haven't used it for mabey 20 years, but it seems fine. Meter still works! (I know I don't need it) I'm wondering about using film, and asking for a photo cd during processing. How is the quality of astrophotos on this type of cd? I'll shoot a few widefields and try EP projection of the moon, jupiter, and mabey M13 for starters. I want to play around a bit before investing in slides. Any suggestions will be appreciated! Enjoy!

#15 Suk Lee

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 04:39 PM

Dennis:

There was a report on photo CD vs dedicated film scanners for astrophotos somewhere on the web, but I can't remember where. The gist was that it was surprisingly good, but not quite as good as you could do at home. Certainly a great way to test the waters.

Don't forget to stop down to f2.8 or f4 - your normal 50mm lens will have aberrations wide open (they all do).

Suk

#16 Charlie Hein

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 04:51 PM

Don't forget to stop down to f2.8 or f4 - your normal 50mm lens will have aberrations wide open (they all do).


That reminds me - I have the Tamron 28mm-200mm zoom, and no other lenses for my Canon Elan IIe. I assumed that I'd set the lens to the 50mm position, and otherwise use the settings and film you suggested earlier... right?

Charlie

#17 Suk Lee

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 04:54 PM

Yup

#18 rboe

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 08:35 PM

I bought an Epson 4870 Pro based on this review alone.

http://www.photo-i.c...4870/page_1.htm

I typically scan at 2400 dpi, waiting until I get a DVD burner before I go higher since the scans will quickly take over your hard drive. I've scanned 35mm slides and negative, 2-1/4" slides and 6x4.5 slides. Then I do 8x10's 4x6 printes on a C-84. Which I'm fairly happy with but I've seen the output of an Epson 2200 and I was floored.

The flower shot I did for the May contest over in the Camera forum is a scan from that unit of a 35mm.

I have nothing against the Nikon Coolscan but it can't do medium format and I think the Epson will equal it and do up to 6x9 or larger (it has a holder for the 6x9.

Highly recommended. I bought the Pro version but have yet to make much use of SilverFast. You could save your self some bucks and get the standard 4870.

#19 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 10:01 PM

Thanks for the tip on the Epson 4870, looking at one on ebay right now. :)

#20 Blueshark928

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 11:27 AM

I haven't used it for mabey 20 years, but it seems fine. Meter still works!


Probably not. The meter still registers, but its acuracy maybe suspect. Remove the battery to be sure it hasnt partially corroded. The OM-1 i bought off ebay 3 years ago had a little bit of corrosion in the batter compartment as i suspect it was original or close to it. The problem with the OM-1 is that you cant get the correct batteries for it the US anymore. There are no replacements and the newer batters dont have the correct voltage to run the meter accurately. There is a fix, but hardly worth it since you may only want to use it for astrophotography. In which case, just take the battery out if its messed up. You dont need it. I like OMs alot and aslo have an OM-2n i use for normal photography that works fine on modern batteries. My OM-1 is my exclusive film astrocamera. Now that makeing progress with my autoguider, I cant wait to shoot some widefield stuff with my new to me 300mm F4.5 Zuiko and 135mm F2.8 Zuiko.

If your inclined to do so, look on ebay for the Zuiko 50mm f1.4 lens. You can get them for about 50 bucks and they are much better than the standard f1.8.

#21 Dennis

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Posted 01 June 2004 - 10:10 AM

If your inclined to do so, look on ebay for the Zuiko 50mm f1.4 lens. You can get them for about 50 bucks and they are much better than the standard f1.8.

Funny Blue, I did just that a couple of weeks ago. Nice lense.

Fortunately, there was no corrosion in the battery compartment. I don't remember what the battery number was, but I did find one in a camera store. I'll check it tonight.

I did attempt a couple of EP projection shots of the moon, jupiter and M82, but was plagued by clouds before I could go further. With the cloudy weather we've been having, it's going to take a while to expose 24 frames! Will attempt a couple on the Venus transition next Tuesday. Man, I hope it's clear!

#22 Blueshark928

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Posted 01 June 2004 - 10:51 AM

I still have a roll of Fuji Provia 400 in my om-1 and a roll of Elitechrome 400 in my om-2 going on 6 weeks now. Since i got the Nikon D70 i havnt gone back to finish those rolls off.

Another lens you might want to consider is the Zuiko 300mm f4.5. I picked one up in March. I've only shot birds with it so far, but its a nice piece to have. They run about 300-400 dollars used.

#23 rboe

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Posted 01 June 2004 - 11:27 AM

keh.com is also a good source of used lenses. I've picked up a couple items from them.

#24 Rushwind

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 03:46 PM

Also, properly scanning a negative to get rid of the orange mask, and preserving the dynamic range necessary for astrophotography can be quite challenging.


To elaborate on this point, can you use a standard flatbed scanner to scan in your slides? I'm sure a dedicated slide scanner would be better, but my next $500 of astrophotography equipment is either going to be an autoguiding mount, an ST-4, or half of a 300D, or...

I'm trying to use what I've got to get *something* decent; in general, do you get better results from scanning in a slide, or from scanning in a print (assume that both were properly exposed and had decent color, etc.)?

How big of a digital image do you get from your scanned slides?

...they sell E200 at the corner Walgreens!

I'm currently shooting my way through some Kodak Max 800 print film; I found a couple of places online that suggested that you can get decent results (especially in the red response)... http://www.psiaz.com...sts/max800.html

Jimbo

#25 Suk Lee

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 06:09 PM

To elaborate on this point, can you use a standard flatbed scanner to scan in your slides?


There are two types of flatbed scanners, those designed just for reflective media, and those designed to also take transparencies, which typically have an illuminator in the scanner lid.

If your scanner is a purely reflective one, you'll get little to nothing from a slide scan because it doesn't reflect much.

Good news is that Epson has a line of "PHOTO" flatbed scanners that are very inexpensive and do a fine job with slides (they have illuminators built into the lid). I have an Epson Photo 3200 and it does a fine job.

in general, do you get better results from scanning in a slide, or from scanning in a print (assume that both were properly exposed and had decent color, etc.)?


IMHO it's easier with slides, plus slides have the added advantage that you can visually inspect the slide for density, exposure, etc. to make sure the scan is OK.

How big of a digital image do you get from your scanned slides?


I get something around 4000 x 3000, PLENTY big...

...they sell E200 at the corner Walgreens!


And, they can process it without screwing it up, too! If you do astro prints, the autoexposure system for the printer gets messed up by all the black and usually astro prints come out poorly from automated machines unless the operator specifically looks out for these prints.

Cheers,
Suk


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