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Night shot including milky way. Any tricks?

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I have no doubt raw is the way to go for night time shots where I am likely to want to bring back detail from dark areas but I am not impressed by my camera's raw files.

I usually shoot 6mpx jpeg fine which was, way back, recommended as the best compromise for my camera. I just experimented with 12mpx .raf raw files and I don't like them much. There seems all sorts of sensor noise in the out of focus backgrounds. Oh well...
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I am playing around with my camera's raw files. I usually get 52, 6mpx jpegs per 256mb Smart Media card. 12mpx raws are 13mb each, so I only get 9 per card. I have 4 cards though so that should be enough for one nights worth of images.
 

editor

hiraethified
I am playing around with my camera's raw files. I usually get 52, 6mpx jpegs per 256mb Smart Media card. 12mpx raws are 13mb each, so I only get 9 per card. I have 4 cards though so that should be enough for one nights worth of images.
Why are you using such small capacity cards? Big capacity cards are as cheap as chips now (check out 7dayshop.com)
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Why are you using such small capacity cards? Big capacity cards are as cheap as chips now (check out 7dayshop.com)
TBF I forget what format my second card slot is. I have been using 256mb Smart Media cards since I got the camera. I will try and find out what format the other slot is.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
You need a new camera ;)

Seriously, high ISO/low noise/noise reduction has come so far even in the last few years that a camera from 2002 is going to leave you on the back foot from the start. If budget's an issue try MPB for used stuff.
 

editor

hiraethified
You need a new camera ;)

Seriously, high ISO/low noise/noise reduction has come so far even in the last few years that a camera from 2002 is going to leave you on the back foot from the start. If budget's an issue try MPB for used stuff.
Definitely. Despite the smaller sensor, the low light performance from my OM-D completely blew away my Nikon D300.
 

mauvais

change has become unavoidable
Even the D300 (still my camera) is passable at sky shots once processed, and costs about £200 used now. I was going to say it'll depend on what he wants to do with lenses but the old Fuji stuff is Nikon fit, right?
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
mauvais & editor I am at the moment saving my pennies for a new camera, well it will be a used one. Currently I am considering a 24mpx Nikon D610 or a 36mpx Nikon D800. Image files will be massive though so I will probably need also to upgrade my computer shortly afterwards. But either one of those should monster milky way pictures :)
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Even the D300 (still my camera) is passable at sky shots once processed, and costs about £200 used now. I was going to say it'll depend on what he wants to do with lenses but the old Fuji stuff is Nikon fit, right?
Yes my S2 Fuji is Nikon F-mount and I have 5 F-mount FX format lenses which I am hoping will still look good on my next camera.
 
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weltweit

Well-Known Member
On the new (to me) camera front, it seems Nikon may announce a replacement to the D810, in July, which could do interesting things to used prices of various models. I think I am going to hold my horses at least until then.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I got my card reader today so shot some pictures, I shot 12 mpx raw and 6mpx jpeg at ISO400, resized them to 900x600px and applied the same sharpening. Cant tell which is which. :(

eta, that probably isn't the best way to compare them. I will have a think.
 
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weltweit

Well-Known Member
I am seeing milky way photographs almost every visit to the internet these days, and quite a lot are very good. Didn't realise it was so common as a subject.

eta: and Nikon USA has just announced the D850 with a video of a couple of photographers out at night with the new camera taking pictures of the milky way.
 
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weltweit

Well-Known Member
Last Friday at about 11pm I suddenly thought, there were no clouds, tonight could be the night! but I hadn't things prepared so I decided to go to bed instead and try on Saturday night. Of course on Saturday night the clouds were back. The Friday night had a moon, but clear skies, could have been an opportunity missed! Grrrr
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
So, to update the thread. I now have a new FF camera (D800) which has great high ISOs and I just bought a cable release for bulb exposures, I toyed with night photos (see Severn Bridge in photo thread). Now I am going to try for star trails which need about a 1 hour exposure. I am going to try to shoot the Severn bridge again, with star trails which is tricky because the bridge is so brightly lit and I don't want massive brightness to spoil the scene.

I think to get good star trails I will need something like f5.6 ISO not sure, for 10 minutes (multiplied by 6) but the bridge looks best with ISO400 f8 and 20 seconds. So I am planning to try to make a composite image. The bridge from the 20s exposure and the star trails from 6 x 10 minute exposures. I have been learning about layers and layer masks for this which was fun. My son is amazed that I never learnt about layers before, but I just never had the need.
 
So, to update the thread. I now have a new FF camera (D800) which has great high ISOs and I just bought a cable release for bulb exposures, I toyed with night photos (see Severn Bridge in photo thread). Now I am going to try for star trails which need about a 1 hour exposure. I am going to try to shoot the Severn bridge again, with star trails which is tricky because the bridge is so brightly lit and I don't want massive brightness to spoil the scene.

I think to get good star trails I will need something like f5.6 ISO not sure, for 10 minutes (multiplied by 6) but the bridge looks best with ISO400 f8 and 20 seconds. So I am planning to try to make a composite image. The bridge from the 20s exposure and the star trails from 6 x 10 minute exposures. I have been learning about layers and layer masks for this which was fun. My son is amazed that I never learnt about layers before, but I just never had the need.
Can’t you just stop the lens right down to allow a longer exposure, or use a ND filter?
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Can’t you just stop the lens right down to allow a longer exposure, or use a ND filter?
What I think, and will become apparent more on the night, is that I need a wide aperture (and perhaps a higher ISO) to collect lots of stars for the trails. But that means the bridge blowing out big time.
 
What I think, and will become apparent more on the night, is that I need a wide aperture (and perhaps a higher ISO) to collect lots of stars for the trails. But that means the bridge blowing out big time.
Yeah the problem is the bridge being lit. Not sure how you get around that but an ND filter allows longer shutter speeds for wider apertures.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Yeah the problem is the bridge being lit. Not sure how you get around that but an ND filter allows longer shutter speeds for wider apertures.
If I will be able to paint out the over exposed bridge in the star trails shots using layer masks I could just leave the shorter f8 exposure for the bridge, what bothers me is how much the brightness of the bridge on the longer exposures might bleed into the rest of the image meaning I have to paint out a lot of the star trails near the bridge.

The f8 bridge shot I took did show some stars, but not many and I know there are a lot more up there if I can open my aperture and that way the trails will look more impressive. But I don't want to have to do too much experimenting at 10 minute exposures just because of the time it will take to decide on the right exposures.

As to filters, I only have grads and a polariser, I could use the polariser to slow things a bit but I don't think filters are going to solve the bright bridge issue.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
What I am bothered about is having a halo of no trails around the edges of the light given off by the bridge. I suppose I could move the bridge shot a little to the right and up to hide the halo :) Would that be cheating too much?
 
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