Taking pictures of the moon with a dslr


Sep 28, 2009
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#1
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??
 

stanycjw

Senior Member
Dec 25, 2008
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#2
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.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#3
Did you make sure you used spot/centre-weighted metering on the moon?
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#4
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.
 

Octarine

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Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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#5
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 ..
 

luna_sea83

Senior Member
Jul 17, 2005
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#6
Based on the earlier thread on "10 realization of a newbie"

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

kei1309

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2010
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#7
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.
 

ortega

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 2, 2004
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#8
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
 

CamInit

New Member
Nov 3, 2009
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#9
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.
 

sinned79

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2009
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#10
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 :p

shutter speed - 1/160
av - f11
ISO 100

manual focus
 

Last edited:

2evans

New Member
Nov 8, 2007
1,862
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#11
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.
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#12
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.
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.
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#14
Thks for replying catchlights, i will attempt the shot again tonight then i will post the picture up.
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.
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#15
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.
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.
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#16
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:)
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.
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#17
thks ortega for your pointers!! i will try it out later tonight!
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
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#18
thks CamInit for your pointers. Will give it a try later tonight!
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.
 

Sep 28, 2009
154
0
16
#19
WOW, that is exactly what i wanted to achieve! i will give it a go tonight thks!!!
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 :p

shutter speed - 1/160
av - f11
ISO 100

manual focus
 

aquilaa

New Member
Oct 19, 2008
379
1
0
#20
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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