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Thread: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

  1. #1

    Default Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Hi all fellow clubsnappers, last week I was at marina barrage. The moon was round and beautiful, so I set up my tripod and start taking pictures of the moon. But I encounter a problem that I could not solve. I was using a 500D with a EF 85mm 1.8 lens when taking the moon picture. I am aware of the 1.6 ratio, therefore I was able to reach 135mm at 1.8. When focusing on the subject(moon) I could actually see the surface of the moon clear, but when I click the shutter, the picture came out totally different. Is there a way to counter it??

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Hi,
    What you mean by different?
    Can you link your Moon photo here will EXIF data so that we could hv a clearer idea of what you get.
    Enjoy your every moment with our nature and friends

  3. #3

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Did you make sure you used spot/centre-weighted metering on the moon?
    Alpha

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    do you mean the moon totally overexposed? that is totally normal, the moon is lit by the sun, so you just expose the moon like any objects under the direct sun light.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    It would be helpful if TS could post a picture here. Overexposure is a common issue, but it also could be something else. "The picture came out totally different" leaves lots of room for interpretations, assumptions ..
    EOS

  6. #6
    Senior Member luna_sea83's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Based on the earlier thread on "10 realization of a newbie"

    Rule no 1: 1. What you see is not what you get.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    by the way, you're still shooting at 85mm. it's just the crop factor that makes you think you're shooting at 135mm.

    like the others said, NPNT.

    looking at an OVF, what you see is what the surroundings are. to put it simply, when you're taking the picture, whether it turns out good or bad are all based on the settings that you set yourself on the camera.

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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    catchlights is right

    1. the moon is lit by the sun
    2. your exposure must be as if it is daylight

    switch your camera to M and try the sunny f16 rule as a starting point and +/- exposure from there

  9. #9

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    I don't think spot metering would give proper exposure on 85mm, still too wide. To get a decent shot that sees some features of the moon would require at least 200mm (before you multiply by 1.6). IIRC, live histogram is also pretty useless due to the tiny amount of space the moon takes up. Only manual with trial and error works. Start with something like ISO100, f/11 and 1/100sec.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    switch your camera to M and try the sunny f16 rule as a starting point and +/- exposure from there
    yup, Manual mode is easier to shoot then auto mode. in this case.

    I shoot this moon with a FF + 135mm lens. Then cropped.

    original photo
    (original resolution = 5616 x 3744 but resize to 700 x 467 for easy display here)

    cropped version


    Note: That's the wonder of a FF

    shutter speed - 1/160
    av - f11
    ISO 100

    manual focus
    Last edited by sinned79; 22nd August 2011 at 01:21 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Since the moon is moving, you need to shoot at a decent shutter speed. Shoot with your mirror-lock up, cable release or timer and manually focus using your live view.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Thks for your reply stanycjw. I will attempt to take a picture of the moon tonight plus a video on the focusing of moon of my camera tonight.
    Quote Originally Posted by stanycjw View Post
    Hi,
    What you mean by different?
    Can you link your Moon photo here will EXIF data so that we could hv a clearer idea of what you get.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Thks rashkae for replying. Yes i did.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Did you make sure you used spot/centre-weighted metering on the moon?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Thks for replying catchlights, i will attempt the shot again tonight then i will post the picture up.
    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    do you mean the moon totally overexposed? that is totally normal, the moon is lit by the sun, so you just expose the moon like any objects under the direct sun light.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    thks for replying 2evans & luna_sea83's, i did use manual focus on my live view mode. I can clearly see the surface of the moon with the manual focus but i just cannot get the shot right.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2evans View Post
    Since the moon is moving, you need to shoot at a decent shutter speed. Shoot with your mirror-lock up, cable release or timer and manually focus using your live view.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    thks for replying kei1309, i will take note of my setting. I will attempt the shot again later tonight will show u my result for your guidance
    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309 View Post
    by the way, you're still shooting at 85mm. it's just the crop factor that makes you think you're shooting at 135mm.

    like the others said, NPNT.

    looking at an OVF, what you see is what the surroundings are. to put it simply, when you're taking the picture, whether it turns out good or bad are all based on the settings that you set yourself on the camera.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    thks ortega for your pointers!! i will try it out later tonight!
    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    catchlights is right

    1. the moon is lit by the sun
    2. your exposure must be as if it is daylight

    switch your camera to M and try the sunny f16 rule as a starting point and +/- exposure from there

  18. #18

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    thks CamInit for your pointers. Will give it a try later tonight!
    Quote Originally Posted by CamInit View Post
    I don't think spot metering would give proper exposure on 85mm, still too wide. To get a decent shot that sees some features of the moon would require at least 200mm (before you multiply by 1.6). IIRC, live histogram is also pretty useless due to the tiny amount of space the moon takes up. Only manual with trial and error works. Start with something like ISO100, f/11 and 1/100sec.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    WOW, that is exactly what i wanted to achieve! i will give it a go tonight thks!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by sinned79 View Post
    yup, Manual mode is easier to shoot then auto mode. in this case.

    I shoot this moon with a FF + 135mm lens. Then cropped.

    original photo
    (original resolution = 5616 x 3744 but resize to 700 x 467 for easy display here)

    cropped version


    Note: That's the wonder of a FF

    shutter speed - 1/160
    av - f11
    ISO 100

    manual focus

  20. #20

    Default Re: Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr

    Just want to share exposure guide on lunar photography.

    thin crescent f8 1/8s ISO100
    wide crescent f8 1/30s ISO100
    quarter phase f8 1/60s ISO100
    gibbous f8 1/125s ISO100
    full f8 1/250s ISO100

    This is just the guideline, best exposure might be different.

    Reference:

    M. A. Covington, Astrophotography for the Amateur, 2nd Ed. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    For lunar photography, the Moon image size on camera sensor/film is based on actual focal length,
    the Moon image size is around 0.78mm for 85mm lens, on full frame or APS-C sensor.

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