Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM

Vern

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 11, 2013
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candc said:
Vern said:
Nuthatch trilogy all with 600II + 1.4X III, 5DIII + fill flash w better beamer (-1 & 2/3 stops typically).
i really like how balanced the lighting is on these photos. i don't know much about flash photography. when you say -1 2/3 do you mean ettl with fec set to that? i have a better beamer and i have tried and liked how the flash brings out the contrast and the small details in the feathers but my shots look harsh compered to yours
Hi Candc,
Thanks to all for the kind words. I do use ETTL with the high-speed synch and set the flash exposure compensation to -1 and 1/3 to -1 and 2/3 stops. The amount needs to be adjusted based on backlighting and the general exposure conditions. I test fire a few on branches etc to get an idea of how harsh the flash will appear. Like you, I sometimes find it is overdone, but the flash adds so much 'pop' in the details and a nice 'catchlight' in the eye that usually brings everything to life. With the 600 + 1.4, I am using the flash mounted with the Canon off-camera flash cord extender placed closer to the end of the lens than the camera (front of better beamer just behind the end of the lens hood). All this is usually on a RRS full gimbal on a tripod, so it is easy to handle. Also, my best luck is near my feeders (sunflower and suet) shooting from a blind. These birds are so small, you really need to be close - even with 840mm. Good luck.
 

jrista

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Nice shot, LovePhoto! The 600 is great for the moon.


It's also great for other space stuff. Orion's Sword:





Canon EOS 5D III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Orion Atlas EQ-G (Rowan Belt Mod)
Really, really dark skies
Over 2h 20m total exposure time

 

Click

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 29, 2012
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Great shot Jon. You still have that problem with the small triangles appearing in some stars?
 

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
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jrista said:
Nice shot, LovePhoto! The 600 is great for the moon.


It's also great for other space stuff. Orion's Sword:





Canon EOS 5D III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Orion Atlas EQ-G (Rowan Belt Mod)
Really, really dark skies
Over 2h 20m total exposure time

That is amazing! Very cool capture!
 

mackguyver

Master of Pain
jrista said:
It's also great for other space stuff. Orion's Sword:

Over 2h 20m total exposure time
That is an awesome shot! It's pretty amazing that you can do that with camera equipment instead of a huge telescope. I can't imagine waiting over 2 hours for an exposure - I get impatient when I do 90s exposures! Also, do you do the second dark frame exposure as well with such a long exposure?
 

tron

EOS 5D SR
Nov 8, 2011
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mackguyver said:
jrista said:
It's also great for other space stuff. Orion's Sword:

Over 2h 20m total exposure time
That is an awesome shot! It's pretty amazing that you can do that with camera equipment instead of a huge telescope. I can't imagine waiting over 2 hours for an exposure - I get impatient when I do 90s exposures! Also, do you do the second dark frame exposure as well with such a long exposure?
Awesome indeed. I do not have complex equipment for tracking, just an older version of Astrotrac which when polar aligned (as much as possible with its mediocre system) can give me a 10 to 15 times tops increase in exposure time (without star trails).

So I was thinking despite my 500 f/4 to use a much wider lens like 135mm f/2 or a 85 1.2 and to crop.
 

Eldar

EOS 5D MK IV
Jan 14, 2013
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jrista said:
Canon EOS 5D III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Orion Atlas EQ-G (Rowan Belt Mod)
Really, really dark skies
Over 2h 20m total exposure time
Excellent shot Jon! I can certainly understand people getting hooked on capturing the sky above, when results like this is possible. I have never tried myself, but sure feel tempted.
 

rpt

EOS 5D MK IV
Mar 7, 2012
2,749
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jrista said:
Nice shot, LovePhoto! The 600 is great for the moon.


It's also great for other space stuff. Orion's Sword:





Canon EOS 5D III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Orion Atlas EQ-G (Rowan Belt Mod)
Really, really dark skies
Over 2h 20m total exposure time

Absolutely fabulous!
 

jrista

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Dec 3, 2011
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Thanks, guys! :)


For what it's worth, the Canon telephoto lenses basically ARE telescopes. :p They are actually along the lines of larger telescopes. A lot of really good imagers I know use $400-$1200 refracting telescopes that are a lot smaller, but regarded as quite high quality in the astro world. There are some top of the line scopes our there with tons of advanced features, like special cooling fans and airflow systems and the like (Officina Stellare HiperAPO, for example) that also cost $10,000 - $15,000. The big difference between a scope like that an a Canon great white is mainly the back end configurability...the ability to use robotic focusers, off-axis guiders, field rotators, etc. You need over 100mm of backfocus to use all that kind of stuff, and Canon lenses only have 56mm of backfocus.


Regarding the exposure. It is not one single exposure. It's actually a bunch of 240 second individual exposures, which are then calibrated (bias subtracted, dark subtracted, flat divided), registered (aligned so the stars match up), and stacked (combined with an averaging algorithm, usually one that also does sigma outlier rejection). The "total integration time" or "total exposure time" is the total exposure time across all those sub exposures. So the image above was created from 35 240 second long exposures.


Here is another one. Horse head and Flame nebulas:





Same equipment, same place, this time about 3h 30m exposure.
 

jrista

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mackguyver said:
Thanks for the explanation and it sounds like post-processing is a major task with these. That's a lot of work that goes into them! The second shot is also incredible! Your astro work keeps getting more and more amazing.

Thanks, Mac. ;)


Definitely a LOT of processing. Anyone who complains about spending a few minutes on their daytime photos should give astro a try. When you spend two or three weekends perfecting one image, the amount of time you have to spend on daytime photos starts to feel totally trivial. :p
 

jrista

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I do just about everything now in PixInsight. Sub exposure culling, calibration, registration, stacking, integration calibration (background extraction, color calibration, etc.), image processing, etc.


I sometimes bring images with too much banding into Photoshop for some debanding (have a great PS action that does that better than anything else), but mostly...everything is done in PixInsight, even stacking.
 

jrista

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Wow, the price went up on that... When I bought it, it was 190 euros, which came out to around $250. It was some of the best $250 I've ever spent, for sure. The only other more worth-while money I spent on astrophotography was my mount...but that is simply because, without it, I wouldn't need PixInsight. :p
 

StudentOfLight

I'm on a life-long journey of self-discovery
Nov 2, 2013
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jrista said:
Wow, the price went up on that... When I bought it, it was 190 euros, which came out to around $250. It was some of the best $250 I've ever spent, for sure. The only other more worth-while money I spent on astrophotography was my mount...but that is simply because, without it, I wouldn't need PixInsight. :p
Jon, I haven't seen you on the forum much these days, clearly you've been busy doing really amazing imaging.
I echo the sentiments of others here, truly awe inspiring stuff!

Regarding paid software... I guess in the greater scheme of things how much is $250. Considering how much one spends on a lens and body, and tracking mount, how much time, money and effort goes into the planning a trip and executing the shots, etc... If software makes your life easier and/or gives you results that you are happy with then it sounds like a solid investment.
 

rpt

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Mar 7, 2012
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StudentOfLight said:
jrista said:
Wow, the price went up on that... When I bought it, it was 190 euros, which came out to around $250. It was some of the best $250 I've ever spent, for sure. The only other more worth-while money I spent on astrophotography was my mount...but that is simply because, without it, I wouldn't need PixInsight. :p
Jon, I haven't seen you on the forum much these days, clearly you've been busy doing really amazing imaging.
I echo the sentiments of others here, truly awe inspiring stuff!

Regarding paid software... I guess in the greater scheme of things how much is $250. Considering how much one spends on a lens and body, and tracking mount, how much time, money and effort goes into the planning a trip and executing the shots, etc... If software makes your life easier and/or gives you results that you are happy with then it sounds like a solid investment.
You have a valid point there :)
 

jrista

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rpt said:
StudentOfLight said:
jrista said:
Wow, the price went up on that... When I bought it, it was 190 euros, which came out to around $250. It was some of the best $250 I've ever spent, for sure. The only other more worth-while money I spent on astrophotography was my mount...but that is simply because, without it, I wouldn't need PixInsight. :p
Jon, I haven't seen you on the forum much these days, clearly you've been busy doing really amazing imaging.
I echo the sentiments of others here, truly awe inspiring stuff!

Regarding paid software... I guess in the greater scheme of things how much is $250. Considering how much one spends on a lens and body, and tracking mount, how much time, money and effort goes into the planning a trip and executing the shots, etc... If software makes your life easier and/or gives you results that you are happy with then it sounds like a solid investment.
You have a valid point there :)

Aye. You probably couldn't find anything else in the astro world for as little as $250. Some scopes are as low as $400, but those are usually really short wide field refractors that work best with APS-C-sized sensors.


Most decent scopes are around a grand. Very good scopes are five grand or so. Top of the line scopes are over ten grand, and can be as high as thirty or fourty grand.


An entry-level mount is $1500, a midrange mount is $3000-$6000, and high end mounts are again ten grand and can be well over twenty grand (although a new breed of light weight/portable high end mounts has hit the market, like the Astro-Physics Mach1 or the Paramount MyT, which are about $7500...they don't have the 100lb plus capacities, but they are extremely good mounts).


Then you have your cameras. Aside from ILC cameras, you have your CCDs. Those range in price from around two grand for a "midrange" one from Atik, QHY, Starlite, to around five grand for one of the nice SBIG or QSI ones or a little more for an FLI Microline, to ten to fourty grand for one of the big chips (either FF size 36x24mm, or what they call large format in the astro world, which is 37x37mm or now, with FLI's latest new beast, the 49x37mm 50.1mp Microline 50100.)


So, yeah. Seriously, $250 is a drop in the bucket.
 

jrista

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StudentOfLight said:
jrista said:
Wow, the price went up on that... When I bought it, it was 190 euros, which came out to around $250. It was some of the best $250 I've ever spent, for sure. The only other more worth-while money I spent on astrophotography was my mount...but that is simply because, without it, I wouldn't need PixInsight. :p
Jon, I haven't seen you on the forum much these days, clearly you've been busy doing really amazing imaging.
I echo the sentiments of others here, truly awe inspiring stuff!

Regarding paid software... I guess in the greater scheme of things how much is $250. Considering how much one spends on a lens and body, and tracking mount, how much time, money and effort goes into the planning a trip and executing the shots, etc... If software makes your life easier and/or gives you results that you are happy with then it sounds like a solid investment.
Thanks. Glad you like the images. :)

Yeah, I don't spend much time here anymore. I realized that there is a group of members who have the capacity to be profoundly nasty, childish people. I realized that for a time, I was a part of that group, and after a couple incidents with a guy named Dean Agar, I decided I wanted to have nothing to do with those people, and that I no longer wanted to be one myself. Also, thanks to the astrophotography and renting some other brands cameras, I realized that many of the people I argued with so hard for a couple years there were actually right, and that I was wrong...Canon has a serious read noise issue and it's holding back their IQ. (Truly serious issues...Canon read noise, once you spend a year digging through it looking for every stray electron's worth of detail you can extract, is the nastiest stuff on the face of the planet when compared to the read noise of Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba sensors. Once you see what Canon read noise really looks like, and how it affects the signal...well, you can never un-see it... :\) Voicing those opinions basically made me a pariah here.

Eh, whatever. I get a hell of a lot more out of doing astrophotography, and talking about it on astro forums, than I ever got out of this place. The die-hard fanboys can have it, as far as I am concerned. :p I've lost too much faith in Canon to keep waiting for them to deliver a product I really want anyway...so I don't have much driving me back here. The 5Ds is interesting...but given the current rumors and official Canon rep statements, I'm quite skeptical of it actually offering any real improvements on the read noise front. I've been significantly more interested in Sony and Samsung products lately, especially after seeing some astro friends disassemble them and marvel at the quality of their construction (and openly voice their confusion at some of Canon's poorer quality innards.)