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mrstravis

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I am trying to get a photo of the moon, one that is really close up with lots if detail (done a million times, I know.) I have a nikon d3100 and I'm using a Tamron 70-300mm lens. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I have tried both auto and manual focus but to no avail. I'm positive that it can be done with this lens/camera but I'm not sure how. Can anyone help me? I also have a Nikon 50mm 1.8 and the 18-55mm kit lens if I need to try one of these. Thanks in advance.
 

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Let me know whta you find out. I use the D3100 too and would love to know the secret.
 
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mrstravis

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Hopefully a pro will help us out.
 

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You need a longer lens. At least 200mm 35mm equivalent. You also need to remember that the moon is lit by the sun and therefore your camera will meter for the rest of the sky and tell you that you need seconds rather than a fraction of a second. Use a single focus point and spot meter off the moon itself. Better still shoot manual at f/8 and try from 1/80 - 1/250 depending how clear the sky is and what quarter the moon is in. A large full moon is very bright.

Here's an example: This was shot with a Canon 7D with Tamron 200 - 500 at 500. Aperture was f/8, shooting speed was 1/250 and was a full moon.



home moon with 7D by singingsnapper, on Flickr
 

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Most likely you're over exposing. Change the metering mode to spot and adjust the exposure triangle manually. 300mm of focal length is not a lot for what you're trying to do. If you've seen great photos of the moon, they were probably taken using telescopes.
 

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I am trying to get a photo of the moon, one that is really close up with lots if detail (done a million times, I know.) I have a nikon d3100 and I'm using a Tamron 70-300mm lens. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I have tried both auto and manual focus but to no avail. I'm positive that it can be done with this lens/camera but I'm not sure how. Can anyone help me? I also have a Nikon 50mm 1.8 and the 18-55mm kit lens if I need to try one of these. Thanks in advance.
Shooting at 300mm will do. just don't overestimate the exposure. Shoot manual and start at f/8 and 1/250. You'll need to crop heavily in post as even at 300mm it will still be a small part of your frame. Mine above was cropped fairly heavily, but then I had 18 mp to play with so image quality fairly high still.
 

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As noted above, the moon is lit by the same light source as we are during the day - so use noon-time exposure values. Next, being far away, you don't need a high f/stop for depth of field, as the moon is effectively at infinity anyways. However, most lenses are not at their sharpest at either extreme of aperture, so pick an aperture that is maybe two stops away from wide-open. If you have live view, use it to focus (ie, no autofocus). Also, set your exposure manually, as the camera will be seeing a bright spot surrounded by darkness, and will try to get everything 18% grey. Even the histogram doesn't help here (much). So the drill is: camera on tripod to minimize movement and camera shake, ISO at native (100 for Canon, 200 for Nikon), focus manually using live-view if you have it, use the sunny 16 rule as a point of departure. So at ISO 100, that would be about 1/800sec at f/5.6. If the moon is too dark, reduce your shutter speed.
 
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mrstravis

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Your photo is amazing! My lens doubles as a macro, should it be in normal or macro mode? Also I saw on amazon.com that Opteka makes a 650-1300mm lens. Would that work? What would other uses for a lens that big? Photography is really just a hobby for me so I don't want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a lens that has primarily one use.
 
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mrstravis

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Rephargotohp said:
For the Current moon as it is

Camera on Steady Tripod 300mm, Ufocus at infinity

ISO 200 f8 1/15th

For other moon conditions

Moon exposure calculator | ADIDAP

Thanks, that link was extremely helpful! I would try again on the 31 when there will be a full moon!!
 
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mrstravis

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ph0enix said:
Most likely you're over exposing. Change the metering mode to spot and adjust the exposure triangle manually. 300mm of focal length is not a lot for what you're trying to do. If you've seen great photos of the moon, they were probably taken using telescopes.

I purchase the lens from amazon.com bc a guy had a photo of the moon that looked really good and he said that he took it with that lens on a d3100 so I thought that I would be able to accomplish the same thing.
 

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Don't forget, that when you shoot the full moon, you're getting very flat lighting. To get interesting detail, it's better to shoot the moon in a partial phase, and the line along the terminator will be showing lots of interesting detail in the craters.
 

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pgriz said:
ISO at native (100 for Canon, 200 for Nikon), [\QUOTE]

Why is the native ISO 200 for Nikons and not 100?
Just curious because I have seen this someplace else.
 

pgriz

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pgriz said:
ISO at native (100 for Canon, 200 for Nikon), [\QUOTE]

Why is the native ISO 200 for Nikons and not 100?
Just curious because I have seen this someplace else.

Just my observation. I don't know if the difference is rooted in history or accident. I'm sure someone will know the real reason.
 
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mrstravis

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pgriz said:
Don't forget, that when you shoot the full moon, you're getting very flat lighting. To get interesting detail, it's better to shoot the moon in a partial phase, and the line along the terminator will be showing lots of interesting detail in the craters.

What do you mean partial phase? Try to shoot a small portion of the moon or when the moon is not full? When I tried tonight, I would zoom in but it would just get blurry.
 

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