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What do I need? - Beginner Moon Photography

Moon Beginner Equipment
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#1 Ghettogurke77

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 07:46 AM

Hey everyone! I'm happy to join this forum since I'm very excited about astrophotography - moon photography in particular - and feel a little overwhelmed by all the equipment that's needed (or not needed) for practicing this kind of photography.

 

I am very thankful for any information!

 

What do I want and what do I need help with?
I would like to start with taking good pictures of the moon. That's it basically. I would love to take a picture of the moon, big enough to fill the frame and with good detail.
Some images of different moon phases, which are more detailed and closer to the moon than the basic 600mm lens on my mirrorless camera.

So to make that possible, should I get a decent telescope to mount on my camera using an adapter? Should I get an automatic one like one of these Celestron SE telescopes?
Or should I use one of these astro cameras instead of using my mirrorless? There are many products on the market that offer and promise beautiful results and it's confusing me.

 

Maybe some of the things I already read about are not suited or totally overkill for "only" capturing the moon. I'd be happy if you guys could guide me a bit to find the piece of equipment I really need for producing decent results.
I would prefer using my mirrorless and avoid diving too deep into crazy stacking techniques or software use, but I am ready to learn that all if it's the way to go.

 

Thank you!

Best wishes
 



#2 RedLionNJ

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 07:56 AM

Moved to Lunar Observing & Imaging



#3 gstrumol

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 08:42 AM

Hi, and welcome to Cloudy Nights!

 

The moon provides endless opportunities for great observing and photography, and you don't need a lot of expensive equipment to start. As an example, here are two single-shot pics I took using just an iPhone 6's camera positioned over the EP:

 

pic2.JPG

 

full moon.jpg

 

The first shows a section of the terminator at 127x (serves as my lock screen on my iPhone), with a manual zoom on a portion of it to the left. The second was my (poor) attempt to make a 'mineral' shot of the nearly full moon with some GIMP postprocessing. Both were taken using just my Orion 90mm MCT! So you don't need a lot to begin. My signature below shows shots of Clavius and Copernicus taken with a C8 and a webcam. 

 

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what you need (and maybe don't need) just to begin. Gook luck!


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#4 ETtheExtraterrestrial

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:05 AM

Welcome! The moon was the first thing I ever photographed and still love doing after 5 years in the hobby.

Your questions is REALLY big and has many paths and rabbit holes. For example are you good with your current view but want more detail? Do you want more FL say 8-900 versus 600? Is your glass high quality? Are you using a tripod? As I mention below are you using a remote shutter release. Will you ever photograph beyond the moon, planets, DSO?

I’ll share my story.
First photographed the moon probably sixish years ago with a Nikon D750 and 600mm lens. Most likely similar to you. I played with settings, tripod etc.

First scope was a Celestron 8SE with a planetary ZWO cam and my D750. Not happy! But that was because my expectations weren’t realistic to what was possible. There was a lot I didn’t understand 😂

Second scope skywatcher esprit 80, 400mm, With my planetary camera I was like wow! So sharp! Now I wasn’t that happy when I cropped. I wanted more detail. Again conditions play a big part but I wasn’t there yet. I was learning though.

Second scope 132mm, 900mm FL. With new Astro cam. Loved the images, paying close attention to seeing conditions and atmospheric transparency.

11 inch celestron edge HD gives remarkable close shots under the right conditions.

I use all my scopes for deep sky photography as well.

You really don’t need much to photograph the moon. A small SCT or MAK maybe even a dob with your iPhone will work. It just depends on your expectations and what else if anything you want to photograph.

Edited by ETtheExtraterrestrial, 29 November 2022 - 09:10 AM.

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#5 Ghettogurke77

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:08 AM

Thank you very much, these look fantastic!
So I can put that telescope on my watch list for getting started.

I just saw some pictures on the internet and it seems the Celestron NexStar 6SE seems pretty decent as well if you mount a DSLR or mirrorless camera on it.
The automatic detection of sky objects could be a big plus for me as a beginner.


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#6 Ghettogurke77

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:12 AM

Welcome! The moon was the first thing I ever photographed and still love doing after 5 years in the hobby.

Your questions is REALLY big and has many paths and rabbit holes. For example are you good with your current view but want more detail? Do you want more FL say 8-900 versus 600? Is your glass high quality? Are you using a tripod? As I mention below are you using a remote shutter release. Will you ever photograph beyond the moon, planets, DSO?

I’ll share my story.
First photographed the moon probably sixish years ago with a Nikon D750 and 600mm lens. Most likely similar to you. I played with settings, tripod etc.

Are you using a remote shutter release? It makes a big difference.

First scope was a Celestron 8SE with a planetary ZWO cam and my D750. Not happy! I didn’t understand how hard learning AP on an 8 inch SCT was. I didn’t understand how atmospheric conditions play a role in AP. There was a lot I didn’t understand

Second scope skywatcher esprit 80, 400mm, With my planetary camera I was like wow! So sharp! Now I wasn’t that happy when I cropped. I wanted more detail. Again conditions play a big part but I wasn’t there yet. I was learning though.

Second scope 132mm, 900mm FL. With new Astro cam. Loved the images, paying close attention to seeing conditions and atmospheric transparency.

11 inch celestron edge HD gives remarkable close shots under the right conditions.

I use all my scopes for deep sky photography as well.

I share all this because first it depends on what you want. And second it’s a really slippery slope.

If you don’t want to photograph anything other than the moon I wouldn’t spend a lot. I’d imagine you could get a small dob and even use an iPhone or your existing camera.

I’m sure others with a lot more experience than I have can provide additional suggestions. I know I’m not really giving you much but beyond a camera and zoom lens it might not be worth acquiring additional gear for just the moon. That’ll be up to you of course.

Thank you for sharing your story and giving me an insight!
First of all I would be most happy with a decent telescope to mount on my mirrorless. I'd love to start with just using the camera I already have instead of getting into astro cameras.

For my current moon shots I always use remote shutter release and I am quite happy with the results 600mm can give me.. it's just that I wish to get some closer and some more detail without having to crop hard.
I's be already happy if I can fill the frame with the moon - no need to zoom 1000x into some of it's craters.



#7 ETtheExtraterrestrial

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 09:16 AM

The 6SE would be good and depending on your camera the 8 is an awesome telescope! I just didn’t understand enough to get the most out of it as a first scope but if your focus is moon you’ll be good.

You can play around on the FOV calculator here
https://astronomy.to.../field_of_view/

It’ll let you put in different scopes and cameras to see what an object, the moon, will look like.
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#8 Ghettogurke77

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 11:51 AM

Thank you, this link was really helpful and I played with quite a few settings and telescopes.
It seems the Celestron 90 SLT gives me exactly the field of view I want while being much less expensive. I have no clue if it's any good of course or optically good enough to deliver a detailed image.



#9 RMay

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 01:34 PM


You can play around on the FOV calculator here
https://astronomy.to.../field_of_view/


Very interesting tool, but I am surprised that it not only does not include the Questar 3.5 or Questar Seven in its telescope database, but it also does not allow for them to be added, unless I’m doing something wrong (a distinct possibility).

Ron

#10 ETtheExtraterrestrial

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 06:07 PM

Very interesting tool, but I am surprised that it not only does not include the Questar 3.5 or Questar Seven in its telescope database, but it also does not allow for them to be added, unless I’m doing something wrong (a distinct possibility).

Ron



You should be able to leave it on customer scope and enter the scope details to get the i do you need. Not adding to the database but let’s you see while on.

Edited by ETtheExtraterrestrial, 29 November 2022 - 06:08 PM.


#11 ETtheExtraterrestrial

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 06:09 PM

This is the full site
https://astronomy.tools/

Lots of awesome tools to play with

#12 Ghettogurke77

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Posted 30 November 2022 - 03:27 PM

Any comments about the Celestron 90 SLT? I read it has a 1250mm magnification, which would give me a pretty nice view of the moon coupled with my APS-C mirrorless. Is it any good or should I better avoid it?
Will it be possible to get barlows for it and still use my mirrorless if I ever feel the need to take some photos of planets like Jupiter?

Thanks!




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