Astrophotography using standard lenses & Software

Dandy

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Hello Everyone, I realise similar questions have been asked on this. However I'm curious whether it make any difference to the type of camera I'm using, and what advice people have to give.

After significant research, and deciding, I really am keen to do night photography. I love the stars, and would love to capture my memories of them.

Currently I have a Nikon D90 with a standard 15-70mm lens and a tri-pod. This is about as far as my equipment stretches.

I understand the concept of exposure and shutter speed and what should be require and experimented with to get the good picture. My question is more directed toward post processing and what software is recommended for this process.

The environment I live around is very light polluted. My first step will be finding locations, etc.

Another question I have is, with that kind of lens, is it possible to capture the beauty of the stars with enough patience? I realise I cannot capture nebula and things like that without a really hi-tech zoom lens or astrophotography lens, but I was hoping to at least capture some beauty from the stars.
 

Danmunro_nz

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Hi. I don't know much about the Nikon D90, I shoot with Canon.

With the lens you mention it should be fine.

I'd suggest cranking up the ISO to 1600 or 3200, lens wide and aperture as large as it can go.

Go for exposures of 30 seconds, any longer you will start to see small star trails.

Until recently I was taking star shots with an entry level Canon and very basic lens, I still managed some nice shots, the biggest thing was finding somewhere with minimum light pollution, which is easy enough here in New Zealand luckily.

Good luck and have fun.
 

Edsport

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You can capture nebula without hi tech zoom lenses. These 2 shots was taken using a 350D camera and the 75-300mm cheapo lens but you will need something to counteract earths rotation. For that i used a telescope mount but i didn't use the telescope lens, just the lens on my camera.
For night photography you might find this link helpful...
http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/articles-interest/276016-shooting-night-pictures-stars-stuff.html

Andromeda galaxy.
Exposure 4 mins x 13 stacked and processed.
ISO 800.
F 5.0.
220mm.


Orion Nebula.
180 secs x 5 stacked and processed.
280mm
 

jmandell

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You can capture nebula without hi tech zoom lenses. These 2 shots was taken using a 350D camera and the 75-300mm cheapo lens but you will need something to counteract earths rotation. For that i used a telescope mount but i didn't use the telescope lens, just the lens on my camera.
For night photography you might find this link helpful...
http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/articles-interest/276016-shooting-night-pictures-stars-stuff.html

Andromeda galaxy.
Exposure 4 mins x 13 stacked and processed.
ISO 800.
F 5.0.
220mm.


Orion Nebula.
180 secs x 5 stacked and processed.
280mm
Is your 350D modded? It allows like you got some of the Ha region around M42.
 

jmandell

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What about post processing software? For stacking etc.?

For stacking Deep Sky Stacker is pretty good, but only does stacking, and free. Other, more advanced packages stack and allow for processing would be Maxim DL and Pixinsight, but these are geared more at CCD imaging.

No matter how good the stacking program, almost all images are cleaned up in photoshop.


Also I would recommend prime lenses for astrophotography. There is less glass in primes which leads to less light loss and distortion. My favorite lens for AP is a 40 year old 200mm f3.3 Vivitar series 1 lens!
 

orb9220

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Yep comes down to type deep sky objects? Moon or sky stars and star trails?
As use different focal lengths.

Handheld Moon shot. D90-Nikon 80-200 f2.8 AF-D with Tamron 1.4x.
Iso 200 f5 1/800th handheld. And max crop as at 200-300mm the moon is pretty small in the frame.


D90 with Sigma 10-20 Settings: 89 secƒ/4I SO 3200 10 mm on tripod.

Night Stars & Shooting Star 10mm 89secs. 3200iso - 3 of 3 by Orbmiser, on Flickr
October "Harvest Moon" 3 of 3 (Full Crop) by Orbmiser, on Flickr

Settings: 43 secƒ/4 ISO 3200 10 mm

Dark Woods & Stars by Orbmiser, on Flickr

To software not invested into astro-photography for just occasional shooting.
And use lightroom for WB and sharpening and adjusting curves.

Setting up your standard 15-70mm? you mean 18-55? 18-70? 17-70?
You can setup for 30 seconds kind of exposures on tripod without too much blurring of stars. Anything over 40 seconds or so and stars start to blur needing a telescope tracking mount type tripod. Or can do all night exposures for star trail effects.
.
 
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Edsport

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As jmandell said, deepsky stacker and nope my 350D isn't modded...
 

masquerad101

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Sorry to highjack your thread Dand, just a quick question for everyone related to the same subject! What about the D3200 kit lens will I get any decent star shots with it?
 

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