canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 17, 2012, 03:15:57 PM

Title: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 17, 2012, 03:15:57 PM
What is your favorite glass? I have increasing obbession with capturing foreground and the heavens. What's your go to? Thanks   :D
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 17, 2012, 05:23:06 PM
One of you out there has to enjoy this  :o
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: kubelik on December 17, 2012, 06:07:08 PM
I do indeed.  my go-to lens is the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, because it lets me get some of the landscape in as well.  I do wish I had a wide angle prime in the 16 to 35 range that let me go wider than f/2.8, which is still a little slow for me sometimes.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Niterider on December 17, 2012, 06:29:12 PM
Favorite would be a Rokinon 14mm F2.8 Lens. For the price, you cant beat it. If you do a lot of night photography, I would highly recommend looking into one
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: SDsc0rch on December 17, 2012, 06:54:52 PM
16-35/2.8ii  8)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: @!ex on December 17, 2012, 06:56:53 PM
My best current lens is the 14mm 2.8 L II.  it is wide enough that at 30sec exposure the star trail is very small, and the 2.8mm is pretty fast.  I've heard the 24mm 1.4 is the best of both worlds, as far as wide-angle and speed is concerned, and I have been drooling over it for a while now.  My other thought is to get a star tracker and then combine a foreground shot with a star shot in post for the ultimate in low noise and sharpness. 

Here are a few shots I've done with my 14L:

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8175/8031971482_67ae04fb08_b.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/8031971482/)
Light Pollution (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/8031971482/#) by @!ex (http://www.flickr.com/people/benison/), on Flickr

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8181/7966174396_0988720255_b.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/7966174396/)
Sitting With the Milky Way (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/7966174396/#) by @!ex (http://www.flickr.com/people/benison/), on Flickr

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8441/7825505822_bd76e14943_b.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/7825505822/)
Sitting on the Dock (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/7825505822/#) by @!ex (http://www.flickr.com/people/benison/), on Flickr

It's hard to sit still for 30 seconds...

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8432/7821062824_8732cdf34a_b.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/7821062824/)
Hold Still (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benison/7821062824/#) by @!ex (http://www.flickr.com/people/benison/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: ChilledXpress on December 17, 2012, 07:42:12 PM
Sigma 15mm Rectalinear... my copy is super sharp and produces great images. Both at night and during the day.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Imagination_landB on December 17, 2012, 07:55:56 PM
8-16 sigma, a lot of distortion in the corners at 8mm , but sooooooooooooooooooo wide so when taking pictures of shooting stars you can't miss one in the direction the lens is
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 17, 2012, 10:39:30 PM
My best current lens is the 14mm 2.8 L II.  it is wide enough that at 30sec exposure the star trail is very small, and the 2.8mm is pretty fast.  I've heard the 24mm 1.4 is the best of both worlds, as far as wide-angle and speed is concerned, and I have been drooling over it for a while now.  My other thought is to get a star tracker and then combine a foreground shot with a star shot in post for the ultimate in low noise and sharpness. 

I was hoping someone would reference that lens. I just rented it for three days, but unfortunately was unable to use it outdoors due to rain  :'( I could very well see why that would be an excellent lens for these types of shots, and yours are outstanding....I live in Raleigh, NC so I'd need to travel at least an hour or two to get away from all the light pollution. The 24mm 1.4 is pretty attractive, too...maybe even attractive enough to sell my 24-70mm and purchase this one since I haven't been doing many portraits this year. A "Star Tracker"? I've never heard of that. Is it software or a device?
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 17, 2012, 10:42:02 PM
I do indeed.  my go-to lens is the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, because it lets me get some of the landscape in as well.  I do wish I had a wide angle prime in the 16 to 35 range that let me go wider than f/2.8, which is still a little slow for me sometimes.

Im torn on this as well...The 14mm, 24mm, or 16-35mm...all good lenses. It will be difficult choosing one.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Hector1970 on December 18, 2012, 04:26:00 AM
I'm delighted to see this topic up here.
I've been using on an APS-C Camera the Rokinon (Samyang) 8mm Fisheye F3.5.
It was quite good.
On the 5D Mark III I can tolerate higher ISO's so I've been using the 17-40mm F4.
Maybe I should have gone for the 16-35mm 2.8 and the wider the better to reduce the time.
I now have the Rokinon 14mm 2.8
I hope I will get good shots from this and am waiting for the opportunity to try.
Any tips on focusing to infinity - I can't see anything on the screen at 10X at these wide angles (except maybe the moon - which I would focus on if it's out).
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Fleetie on December 18, 2012, 07:43:29 AM
A "Star Tracker"? I've never heard of that. Is it software or a device?

A device. You put it on top of a tripod, and it is kinda like a wedge whose angle must be set to an angle corresponding to your latitude. A motor on the wedge then drives the camera/telescope mounted to it at 1 rev per 24 hours, thereby "despinning" the Earth. Or to put it another way, it compensates for the rotation of the Earth when you take long exposures, so you don't get star trails. So you can expose for very long times.

Martin
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 18, 2012, 07:48:38 AM
A "Star Tracker"? I've never heard of that. Is it software or a device?

A device. You put it on top of a tripod, and it is kinda like a wedge whose angle must be set to an angle corresponding to your latitude. A motor on the wedge then drives the camera/telescope mounted to it at 1 rev per 24 hours, thereby "despinning" the Earth. Or to put it another way, it compensates for the rotation of the Earth when you take long exposures, so you don't get star trails. So you can expose for very long times.

Martin

Oh, wow, nice! I'd be very interested in this :)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 18, 2012, 07:51:14 AM
Do you all have to travel much in order to take these shots? I'm too close to a major city :( which is unfortunate..
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: SwissBear on December 18, 2012, 08:39:44 AM
i used the tokina 11-16 on a crop body - works quite fine, 30sec/f2.8/ISO400 gives decent images.
took some 400 shots (last half hour clouds came in :( ) and merged all together:

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8319/8027477460_d98459626c_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/)
Sternenhimmel über dem Zwüschbi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/#) by SwissBear85 (http://www.flickr.com/people/swissbear85/), on Flickr

On a crop, i would suggest the tokina 11-16 II - should have better flare-controll and other benefits ;)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 18, 2012, 09:41:46 AM
i used the tokina 11-16 on a crop body - works quite fine, 30sec/f2.8/ISO400 gives decent images.
took some 400 shots (last half hour clouds came in :( ) and merged all together:

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8319/8027477460_d98459626c_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/)
Sternenhimmel über dem Zwüschbi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/#) by SwissBear85 (http://www.flickr.com/people/swissbear85/), on Flickr

On a crop, i would suggest the tokina 11-16 II - should have better flare-controll and other benefits ;)

Great shot! Just out of curiosity, do you take one image with the lens cap on for canceling out noise?
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Axilrod on December 18, 2012, 09:45:33 AM
Oh, wow, nice! I'd be very interested in this :)

I just ordered this one:http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=1287-14905

Heard nothing but good things.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: GoodVendettaPhotography on December 18, 2012, 10:13:26 AM
Oh, wow, nice! I'd be very interested in this :)

I just ordered this one:http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=1287-14905

Heard nothing but good things.

I would love too see some of your test shots once you've familiarized yourself with it! I'm sure it'll be awesome!
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: SwissBear on December 18, 2012, 02:32:39 PM
i used the tokina 11-16 on a crop body - works quite fine, 30sec/f2.8/ISO400 gives decent images.
took some 400 shots (last half hour clouds came in :( ) and merged all together:

[...]

On a crop, i would suggest the tokina 11-16 II - should have better flare-controll and other benefits ;)

Great shot! Just out of curiosity, do you take one image with the lens cap on for canceling out noise?
Nope, i exposed a few hundred times 30sec and did some miraculous postproduction with GIOTTO ;)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Mr Bean on December 18, 2012, 04:36:46 PM
Any tips on focusing to infinity - I can't see anything on the screen at 10X at these wide angles (except maybe the moon - which I would focus on if it's out).
I have a 5D m3 and I use a laptop, connected via cable to the camera, to focus. The EOS Utility software that comes with the camera allows you to drive the camera via the computer. One of the options is Live View, which can zoom an image on the laptop screen. Much easier than doing it on the back of the camera :)   (hope that makes sense)

I hired a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 a few weeks back. It uses manual focus, and it does have an infinity stop, like lenses used to have before auto focus. So, that was an easy one to use for night shots. A beautiful lens for such work. I'd like to compare it with the Canon 24mm f1.4, which is a great lens from all accounts. However, I hear there is an element of coma (at the extreme edges) of the 24. The Zeiss had very little coma.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Don Haines on December 18, 2012, 06:24:45 PM
Oh, wow, nice! I'd be very interested in this :)

I just ordered this one:http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=1287-14905

Heard nothing but good things.

I use my telescope mount...Ask at any decent camera store or preferably, astronomy shop.... You are looking for a tracking or a "go to" mount... When I want to see something small I use a T-mount adaptor and shoot through the telescope.... great for things like Jupiter and Saturn... when I am after wider angles I mount the camera on the mount and can shoot time exposures with no motion trails.

BTW, as they come, a Canon shoots 30 sec max exposure... to get a longer exposure you can use a remote control and bulb mode..... you can use a rubber band and a stub of pencil over the shutter release, or you can go full hog and use ipods and apps to really get flexibility. You can also set the camera for "long exposure noise cancellation".
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: extremeinstability on December 18, 2012, 06:49:24 PM
Zeiss 21mm might be my fave now.  The Canon 24L II proved pretty pointless for night sky more open than F2.8 anyway.  Coma extends well into the photo, bad coma, so it tends to make it a little pointless for that added F1.4 to F2.8 range it would allow at night.  Unless one likes big ol wings off their stars I guess.  Samyang 24 F1.4 had less coma and might be interesting.  Canon 14L had plenty of that too. 
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Mr Bean on December 18, 2012, 07:15:00 PM
Zeiss 21mm might be my fave now.  The Canon 24L II proved pretty pointless for night sky more open than F2.8 anyway.  Coma extends well into the photo, bad coma, so it tends to make it a little pointless for that added F1.4 to F2.8 range it would allow at night.  Unless one likes big ol wings off their stars I guess.  Samyang 24 F1.4 had less coma and might be interesting.  Canon 14L had plenty of that too.
I noticed bad coma in my Canon 35mm f2, which I initially used for testing the 5D m3 with star shots. The 40mm pancake is better (less coma), but not wide enough. IMO, the ultimate test for a lens is to try it with star images, as they really show any flaws (stars should be points of light, not flared out, like coma). And to a large extent, stopping down will minimise coma, but not eliminate it.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: risc32 on December 18, 2012, 08:24:42 PM
please let us know how that tracking mount works out for you. I'd love to play with one, but if i bought one more photography related item, my wife..... it wouldn't be pretty.

 i had a 17-40mm that i used for many things including star shots. it was okay. then i replaced it with a 16-35mmv2. it was better only because of now i was at f2.8, and it was noticeably(just) wider. i've since sold it and now have a pro-optic 14mm. I haven't gotten a chance to do much of anything with it yet, but i'm hoping to give it a go with the night sky over the christmas holiday.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: @!ex on December 19, 2012, 12:56:56 AM
A "Star Tracker"? I've never heard of that. Is it software or a device?

A device. You put it on top of a tripod, and it is kinda like a wedge whose angle must be set to an angle corresponding to your latitude. A motor on the wedge then drives the camera/telescope mounted to it at 1 rev per 24 hours, thereby "despinning" the Earth. Or to put it another way, it compensates for the rotation of the Earth when you take long exposures, so you don't get star trails. So you can expose for very long times.

Martin

Oh, wow, nice! I'd be very interested in this :)

This is the star tracker I am drooling over right now.  I imagine it very portable so it wouldn't be a bitch to carry around.  I could take a long exposure with a low ISO of the foreground first, then turn this badboy on and take a long exposure of the stars (low ISO, relatively).  then blend the two images in post.  I know it would be awesome....

http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html (http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html)

Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: wickidwombat on December 19, 2012, 01:38:53 AM
A "Star Tracker"? I've never heard of that. Is it software or a device?

A device. You put it on top of a tripod, and it is kinda like a wedge whose angle must be set to an angle corresponding to your latitude. A motor on the wedge then drives the camera/telescope mounted to it at 1 rev per 24 hours, thereby "despinning" the Earth. Or to put it another way, it compensates for the rotation of the Earth when you take long exposures, so you don't get star trails. So you can expose for very long times.

Martin

Oh, wow, nice! I'd be very interested in this :)

This is the star tracker I am drooling over right now.  I imagine it very portable so it wouldn't be a bitch to carry around.  I could take a long exposure with a low ISO of the foreground first, then turn this badboy on and take a long exposure of the stars (low ISO, relatively).  then blend the two images in post.  I know it would be awesome....

http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html (http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html)

nice! do you know if that will work in the southern hemisphere? how do you align in the southern hemisphere anyway?
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: dswtan on December 19, 2012, 02:43:02 AM
[http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html (http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html)
nice! do you know if that will work in the southern hemisphere? how do you align in the southern hemisphere anyway?
Works in both hemispheres. To read more, the user manual is online: http://www.vixenoptics.com/PDF/POLARIE%20Manual.pdf (http://www.vixenoptics.com/PDF/POLARIE%20Manual.pdf)

The Polarie is an attractive device, but personally I needed more load-carrying capacity for the Venus transit earlier this year, so I have the AstroTrac TT320X AG as mentioned earlier from Optcorp and other dealers. (Optcorp is good.)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: dswtan on December 19, 2012, 02:49:34 AM
Zeiss 21mm might be my fave now.  The Canon 24L II proved pretty pointless for night sky more open than F2.8 anyway.  Coma extends well into the photo, bad coma, so it tends to make it a little pointless for that added F1.4 to F2.8 range it would allow at night.
I agree. Same experience with the 24L II, even though I call it my "astronomy lens", which was its original justification. The coma on stars is very disappointing, especially below f/2.8. My checkbook cries to hear the Zeiss is better! :'(
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: dswtan on December 19, 2012, 03:01:53 AM
People may be interested in another example of what the AstroTrac TT320X AG (or any decent tracker) can do once you have aligned it reasonably well, using regular DSLR equipment (ok, quite good equipment).

Here's an example on a 5D2 with 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II at 200mm, 30% crop -- the Andromeda galaxy.
http://500px.com/photo/13988281 (http://500px.com/photo/13988281)

The processing story for this is here: http://500px.com/dswtan/stories/63249/andromeda-story (http://500px.com/dswtan/stories/63249/andromeda-story)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: pedro on December 19, 2012, 03:07:11 AM

 i had a 17-40mm that i used for many things including star shots. it was okay. then i replaced it with a 16-35mmv2. it was better only because of now i was at f2.8, and it was noticeably(just) wider. i've since sold it and now have a pro-optic 14mm. I haven't gotten a chance to do much of anything with it yet, but i'm hoping to give it a go with the night sky over the christmas holiday.
@risc32: Thanks for sharing your experience with the 17-40. I am pondering on the Sigma 12-24 F/4.5-5.6. I know it is very slow but it seems attractive by its lenght (24mm, good for 500/600 rule photography 600:24 yields 25 seconds of exposure, and at the wide end you are at F/4.5). Can it compensate a 16-35 2.8 wide open? My current 28 F/2.8 does pretty well, although it is quite narrow. As I have never stopped it down to 4.5 I am asking a kinda silly question...Sorry. I'll try to test it out during christmas holidays to get to a better conclusion, but your comment would be welcome anyway. Thanks and cheers, Pedro.

Here's a sample of my Canon 28 F/2.8 with the 5D3 @ISO 10.000 F/3.2 25s exposure
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8051/8091631310_3315de7d2c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/guatitamasluz/8091631310/)
Z96A0762aALTxMasterKLEINDEF (http://www.flickr.com/photos/guatitamasluz/8091631310/#) by Peter Hauri (http://www.flickr.com/people/guatitamasluz/), on Flickr

Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Synomis192 on December 19, 2012, 05:30:35 AM
Quick question to the OP, or anyone really:

To capture those stars, constleations, and other space oddities do you need a special body like a 60Da or a modded sensor to capture all that stuff in space? I have a regular Canon 500d and I'm really interested in nighttime long exposure shots. I have all the required stuff to start (tripod, levels, remote trigger w/ timers, a UWA lens). Any tips for me?
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: pedro on December 19, 2012, 06:22:18 AM
Quick question to the OP, or anyone really:

To capture those stars, constleations, and other space oddities do you need a special body like a 60Da or a modded sensor to capture all that stuff in space? I have a regular Canon 500d and I'm really interested in nighttime long exposure shots. I have all the required stuff to start (tripod, levels, remote trigger w/ timers, a UWA lens). Any tips for me?

Well, your 17-35 lense is quite good to start with. You don't need an awful lot of camera, as long exposure star shots work well at iso 100, F/5.6 or even wide open. if you like a wider lens and will stay aps-c for a while try the 10-22 from canon. I did quite some stuff with my 30D before I went fullframe again.
(http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6082/6031643485_2b852a57ed.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/guatitamasluz/6031643485/)
"3286" color (http://www.flickr.com/photos/guatitamasluz/6031643485/#) by Peter Hauri (http://www.flickr.com/people/guatitamasluz/), on Flickr
for more stuff:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/guatitamasluz/sets/72157602075454706/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/guatitamasluz/sets/72157602075454706/)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: Mr Bean on December 19, 2012, 06:45:11 AM
Quick question to the OP, or anyone really:

To capture those stars, constleations, and other space oddities do you need a special body like a 60Da or a modded sensor to capture all that stuff in space? I have a regular Canon 500d and I'm really interested in nighttime long exposure shots. I have all the required stuff to start (tripod, levels, remote trigger w/ timers, a UWA lens). Any tips for me?
The short answer is, if you want to take star trails or 30 second snaps of the stars, then the 500D will probably be sufficient, but a 5D is really nice :)

The 60Da is better suited to a certain part of the wave length (more of the red) that is prominent with certain celestial objects, such as nebulae. The usage of the 60Da is best done on a mount that tracks the stars (which is being referred to in this thread), either looking through a telescope or using a telephoto, mounted on a telescope (with a tracking mount).

P.S. I used to make telescopes back in the 80's and did some astrophotography when we used hyper sensitive film - the good 'ol days  ;)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: pedro on December 19, 2012, 06:57:19 AM
The former poster is right. But if you just like to do nightsky/nightscapes without deep space pics, then here's another link. Lots of tips here from the outstanding nightshooters who came up with the whole thing on a broad scale. A classic page: http://www.thenocturnes.com/ (http://www.thenocturnes.com/)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: tron on December 19, 2012, 07:06:37 AM
Zeiss 21mm might be my fave now.  The Canon 24L II proved pretty pointless for night sky more open than F2.8 anyway.  Coma extends well into the photo, bad coma, so it tends to make it a little pointless for that added F1.4 to F2.8 range it would allow at night.  Unless one likes big ol wings off their stars I guess.  Samyang 24 F1.4 had less coma and might be interesting.  Canon 14L had plenty of that too.
+1 I use Zeiss 21mm 2.8 fully open. I had used a 16-35mm 2.8 fully open and the stars were ... seagulls at the edges! My 35mm 1.4L has coma too. Thanks for the coma information regarding 24L II and 14L.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: emag on December 19, 2012, 10:10:40 AM
For wide field I use the Tokina 11-16/2.8.  I have the Rokinon 8mm fisheye but have not been doing much night work with it.  A wide prime is on my medium list, other items are currently on my short list.  I primarily do time lapses with this setup.  For non-timelapse astro I'll use anything from a 300/f4L to a 2250/f10 telescope.

The 60Da is a niche camera and not necessary for what the OP wants.  In any case, it's cheaper to get a 60D and send it out for modification.  Even cheaper to get a T2i/T3i and have it modified.  I use a modified 40D and an unmodified 60D.

For a 'tracking mount' solution, I recommend this as a start, it's cost effective and it works:

http://www.telescope.com/Astrophotography/Astrophotography-Solutions/Orion-Adventures-in-Astrophotography-Bundle/pc/-1/c/4/sc/59/p/27154.uts (http://www.telescope.com/Astrophotography/Astrophotography-Solutions/Orion-Adventures-in-Astrophotography-Bundle/pc/-1/c/4/sc/59/p/27154.uts)

As for the Polarie, Astrotrac and other similar devices - they work, and work well, but the prices get up into the range of a used CG5 or SkyViewPro mount.  The CG5 and SVP come with solid tripods and are designed for greater stability than all but very high end photo tripods.  I use a CG5-ASGT for astrophotography with loads up to 20 lbs.  I would prefer an even beefier mount but portability is a big issue for me.

Be advised, astrophotography is not a hobby, it's a sickness.  It cannot be cured, only treated.......with ever more expensive 'medications'; i.e., cameras, lenses, telescopes, mounts, gizmos, etc.  The Affordable Care Act does NOT cover these prescriptions.

I have timelapses at youtube.com/emagowan

Stills including photos of an old telescope mount modified for just what you want to do are at pbase.com/emagowan/astrophotography
The modified mount is an old C8 telescope drive base.  Perfect for this application and not too hard to find.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: extremeinstability on December 19, 2012, 10:45:58 AM
I wonder if there is anything wider than 50 and probably really wider than 35mm too that is faster than F2.8 and doesn't have much coma full frame edges/corners. 

I'm tempted to try the Samyang 24 F1.4 for the night sky lens when stars are part of the subject. 

http://www.lenstip.com/245.7-Lens_review-Canon_EF_24_mm_f_1.4L_II_USM_Coma_and_astigmatism.html (http://www.lenstip.com/245.7-Lens_review-Canon_EF_24_mm_f_1.4L_II_USM_Coma_and_astigmatism.html)

http://www.lenstip.com/330.7-Lens_review-Samyang_24_mm_f_1.4_ED_AS_UMC_Coma__astigmatism_and_bokeh.html (http://www.lenstip.com/330.7-Lens_review-Samyang_24_mm_f_1.4_ED_AS_UMC_Coma__astigmatism_and_bokeh.html)

Sure otherwise the Canon is better but for stars I'd think the Samyang would be better even if wide open it  has less resolution.  If I ever have $600 laying around and a lens buying bug again I'd probably have to go with that.  I really missed the wide faster than F2.8 deal the other night on the meteor shower.  50mm worked ok enough full frame and well 35 F1.4 would have probably been ideal for just that.  But yeah big sky 24mm would be the end of the least wide.

The Samyang 14 really turned out to work well at night.  I had my doubts because of the large vignetting wide open, but really it turned out to be ok.  http://www.extremeinstability.com/2012-12-1.htm (http://www.extremeinstability.com/2012-12-1.htm)  Some night stuff on there with both the Zeiss and the Samyang but not star fields.  The fogbows would not have fit without the 14.  Brief trip with the 24L II at night before I swapped it for a Zeiss 21.  http://www.extremeinstability.com/2012-9-22.htm (http://www.extremeinstability.com/2012-9-22.htm)  Really was pointless to get that one for night over the Zeiss since even F2 coma was nasty anyway.  There was very little improvement.  Least F2.8 is fast enough for most things anyway.  But yeah the meteor deal, F2 felt like a huge improvement over F2.8.  Sure some was 50mm compared to 21mm on them too but it just felt larger than simply F2 to F2.8.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: rpt on December 19, 2012, 11:32:17 AM
Any tips on focusing to infinity - I can't see anything on the screen at 10X at these wide angles (except maybe the moon - which I would focus on if it's out).
I have a 5D m3 and I use a laptop, connected via cable to the camera, to focus. The EOS Utility software that comes with the camera allows you to drive the camera via the computer. One of the options is Live View, which can zoom an image on the laptop screen. Much easier than doing it on the back of the camera :)   (hope that makes sense)

I hired a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 a few weeks back. It uses manual focus, and it does have an infinity stop, like lenses used to have before auto focus. So, that was an easy one to use for night shots. A beautiful lens for such work. I'd like to compare it with the Canon 24mm f1.4, which is a great lens from all accounts. However, I hear there is an element of coma (at the extreme edges) of the 24. The Zeiss had very little coma.
Week before last when I used the 40mm to shoot the stars I used Jupiter to acquire infinity focus.
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: m8547 on December 19, 2012, 12:06:42 PM
i used the tokina 11-16 on a crop body - works quite fine, 30sec/f2.8/ISO400 gives decent images.
took some 400 shots (last half hour clouds came in :( ) and merged all together:

 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/)
Sternenhimmel über dem Zwüschbi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/#) by SwissBear85 (http://www.flickr.com/people/swissbear85/), on Flickr

On a crop, i would suggest the tokina 11-16 II - should have better flare-controll and other benefits ;)

After some searching, the only differences I can find in the II version are better coatings (better flare control and maybe slightly better transmission) and one more of the elements is SD (low dispersion) glass. There's also something about a GMR sensor for the front element to improve auto focus, but I can't tell if that's for Nikon, Canon, or both? Are there any good reviews of the II version? Is it worth the extra $150?


I've thought about getting a Samyang 35mm F/1.4 for star shots as it seems to do very well wide open, but it probably wouldn't be wide enough to be really useful on my crop body.

I plan to build a barn door tracker like this:
http://www.keteu.org/posts/a_smart_barn_door_drive.html (http://www.keteu.org/posts/a_smart_barn_door_drive.html)
It's probably the most cost effective way to improve my star photos, and I can build one for well under $100. There are simpler plans out there (even manual ones), but I like the approach of this one because I'm an electrical engineer.

Now I just need to find somewhere dark enough to get good photos!
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: SwissBear on December 19, 2012, 02:46:47 PM
i used the tokina 11-16 on a crop body - works quite fine, 30sec/f2.8/ISO400 gives decent images.
took some 400 shots (last half hour clouds came in :( ) and merged all together:

 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/)
Sternenhimmel über dem Zwüschbi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/swissbear85/8027477460/#) by SwissBear85 (http://www.flickr.com/people/swissbear85/), on Flickr

On a crop, i would suggest the tokina 11-16 II - should have better flare-controll and other benefits ;)

After some searching, the only differences I can find in the II version are better coatings (better flare control and maybe slightly better transmission) and one more of the elements is SD (low dispersion) glass. There's also something about a GMR sensor for the front element to improve auto focus, but I can't tell if that's for Nikon, Canon, or both? Are there any good reviews of the II version? Is it worth the extra $150?


I've thought about getting a Samyang 35mm F/1.4 for star shots as it seems to do very well wide open, but it probably wouldn't be wide enough to be really useful on my crop body.

I plan to build a barn door tracker like this:
http://www.keteu.org/posts/a_smart_barn_door_drive.html (http://www.keteu.org/posts/a_smart_barn_door_drive.html)
It's probably the most cost effective way to improve my star photos, and I can build one for well under $100. There are simpler plans out there (even manual ones), but I like the approach of this one because I'm an electrical engineer.

Now I just need to find somewhere dark enough to get good photos!

The flares of version I are pretty bad - in this shot you can actually see moonflares on the right side between the startrails - if you know where to look. the version II is on my shoppinglist - as the lens i used belongs to a friend of mine ;)

For location... i shot from a location 2100m AMSL where the next seasonally inhabitet hut (!) is 1.5hr walking distance, as is the end of a dirt track that is passable with a 4WD car. One of the more remote places in switzerland ;)
Title: Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
Post by: m8547 on December 19, 2012, 05:56:10 PM
I know version 1 is known for flare, but I'm not convinced that version II is much better. One of the only reviews I can find for the II is from Ken Rockwell, and the flare picture he has for that is just as bad or worse than the version I. I'd like to see a side-by-side comparison or hear from someone with first-hand experience before I spend the extra $150 on the new one. I'm sure it's better (or they wouldn't advertise it that way), but is it noticeable or significant?

If you get the 11-16 II, let me know how it works out for you! In the mean time, I'll keep waiting to see if a used version I becomes available.

This is my favorite website for finding dark places in the US:
http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ (http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/)

Green or darker is typically good, but it can take a lot of driving to get somewhere dark enough. Where I am right now, the nearest green zone is about 2 hours away, and that's not even spectacular. The nearest blue zone is about 3.5 hours away. Getting to light gray is 4.5 hours minimum, and there is no dark gray zone east of Nebraska!

Here's a shot of the Milky Way in a green light pollution zone on a very clear night. It  was taken with my 18-55 IS II at 18mm, 30s, ISO1600 on my T3i.
(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8223/8288507161_a99ace4b23.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/73902109@N06/8288507161/)
IMG_3113.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/73902109@N06/8288507161/#) by m8547 (http://www.flickr.com/people/73902109@N06/), on Flickr
I think it's not bad, though it is pushed to the limit in terms of ISO, noise, and exposure time (rotation of the earth). I think a barn door tracker is the way to go since I can't afford a full frame camera with better noise performance and because ultra wide lenses don't get much faster.

I did a series of shorter exposures that night hoping to stack them, but that didn't really work the way I expected. For some reason I was thinking they would add and make a brighter picture with less noise, but most of the faint detail in the shorter exposures was just lost in the noise. Maybe I'm just not doing the stacking right.