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

Help with a lens!

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Astroguider

Astroguider

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2024

Posted 01 March 2024 - 11:37 PM

I have been taking pictures of the Milky Way with a camera and tripod for sometime now and I would like to do some deep space photography. Since I do not want to use a telescope and I already have a star tracker I would like to purchase another camera lens. Has anyone had any deep space photography experience with the Nikon 400mm F4.5 Z mount lens? If so, I would appreciate your thoughts, good or bad, and whether or not you wished you had bought a different lens. 



#2 Tapio

Tapio

    Cosmos

  • -----
  • Posts: 9,987
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Tampere, Finland

Posted 02 March 2024 - 01:00 AM

https://www.astropix...ent/n400mm.html

 

What is your star tracker?

You may need guiding setup for 400mm fl.



#3 james7ca

james7ca

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 12,741
  • Joined: 21 May 2011
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 02 March 2024 - 03:56 AM

At that focal length don't get a camera lens, use a similar focal length telescope. A telescope will likely be cheaper and give equal or better performance with astrophotography (and be more versatile for the latter). Of course, if you plan on extensive use of a 400mm telephoto lens for nature or sports photography then the lens would be a better choice for dual use (part time for astrophotography, but mostly for traditional photography).

 

That said, one thing you definitely want to avoid is any of Nikon's PF lenses as they don't perform very well on stars.



#4 Andy Lucy

Andy Lucy

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 216
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2019
  • Loc: East Yorkshire

Posted 02 March 2024 - 01:11 PM

I’d also say that it isn’t a good idea to buy a new, up-to-date, lens specifically for astrophotography:  the image quality and ease of use will be worse than a telescope.  However, if you buy a lens for terrestrial use, it’s good to know if it also works well for astrophotography.  

 

I’ve used the Nikon 300mm PF lens and this is flawed by halos on bright stars and a manual focus ring that is very hard to use (far too sensitive to very small adjustments). 

 

Recently I’ve tried out the Nikon 180-600mm Z lens which is extremely impressive for terrestrial work.  For astrophotography (using a Nikon Z50) it looks good at 180mm; at 600mm the centre is fine but the corners suffer from stars showing a flared shape.  Below is a corner crop at 100% of a star field taken with the Nikon 180-600 lens at 180mm on a Z50.  Normally zooms aren’t recommended for astrophotography but this lens is exceptional.

Nikon 180-600 corner crop at 180mm.jpg

 

For starting out with a tracker for DSO astrophotography I’d recommend using a short focal length (200mm or less) since it’s very much easier to get good results at short focal lengths.  The 180-600mm lens at 180mm is an option.  You might also consider a short focal length telescope such as the Askar fma135 (135mm focal length) which, when used with aps-c cameras, give good results.

 

Andy
 



#5 erictheastrojunkie

erictheastrojunkie

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,758
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2016
  • Loc: Salt Lake City

Posted 02 March 2024 - 01:41 PM

No lens over 250mm for a star tracker, it'll just lead to frustration, stick to something like a Redcat51, max. For a tracker level mount I'd highly recommend not going above a Rokinon 135mm, that'll save you from having to use a guiding setup and a computer or ASIAir. If you go above 250mm you will want an actual equatorial mount with go-to and guiding.

#6 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,468
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 02 March 2024 - 08:29 PM

No lens over 250mm for a star tracker, it'll just lead to frustration, stick to something like a Redcat51, max. For a tracker level mount I'd highly recommend not going above a Rokinon 135mm, that'll save you from having to use a guiding setup and a computer or ASIAir. If you go above 250mm you will want an actual equatorial mount with go-to and guiding.

https://www.youtube....Kfo_KMo&t=1404s

:)


Edited by vidrazor, 02 March 2024 - 09:02 PM.


#7 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,468
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 02 March 2024 - 08:53 PM

I have been taking pictures of the Milky Way with a camera and tripod for sometime now and I would like to do some deep space photography. Since I do not want to use a telescope and I already have a star tracker I would like to purchase another camera lens. Has anyone had any deep space photography experience with the Nikon 400mm F4.5 Z mount lens? If so, I would appreciate your thoughts, good or bad, and whether or not you wished you had bought a different lens. 

If you also want the lens for terrestrial use, then I can understand you wanting a photographic lens.

 

That's a pretty large chunk of change for that lens however. Again if you want to use it terrestrially, then knock yourself out. Otherwise you can get far better astrophotographic results with a quality telescope and matching field flattener for that price or less.

 

You're going to need a decent mount if you go for a scope of 80mm or longer however. What kind of tracker do you have now? For the price of the 400mm Nikkor, you can get a Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro equatorial mount and 480mm triplet telescope with matching 1x field flattener and guide scope, and still have change left over to get a high quality guide camera.
 



#8 erictheastrojunkie

erictheastrojunkie

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,758
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2016
  • Loc: Salt Lake City

Posted 03 March 2024 - 03:17 PM

https://www.youtube....Kfo_KMo&t=1404s

:)


Not sure what the point is, I myself have put a Sigma 150-600mm on my Sky Watcher Star Adventurer and guided it as well, imaging a number of targets over a winter or so. Right after doing that I bought an actual mount, HEQ5, and an AT65EDQ and my imaging got a lot better, not to mention my quality of life when setting up and imaging.

Just because you CAN put a giant lens on a star tracker doesn't mean you should. Things are much less frustrating and much less difficult when you can use something like a Rokinon 135mm without guiding and get fantastic results. A redcat is pretty much pushing the limits of those mounts and at that level will also require guiding.

#9 vidrazor

vidrazor

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,468
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2017
  • Loc: North Bergen, NJ

Posted 03 March 2024 - 05:18 PM

Not sure what the point is...

The point is, it's not that difficult to work with a longer lens on a mount like a SkyGuider Pro or Star Adventurer. I have regularly worked with a 360mm f/6 AT60ED scope on my SkyGuider Pro using and MFT camera with a 3.74 µm pixel pitch. I've even thrown a C5 on the SkyGuider Pro! While I don't necessarily recommend a C5 on these (grin.gif), a 600mm and under is readily usable on these mounts. They simply require good balancing, good polar alignment, and a sturdy tripod.

 

All that said, I agree it's best to have a better mount if it's within a budget, and considering the OP is looking at a $3000 lens, unless he also plans to use the optic terrestrially, for that money he can get an EQ6 mount, an 80mm triplet scope with matching flattener, a guide scope, and high quality guide camera and still have some pocket change left over.




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






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics