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Old 7th August 2018
birdboy birdboy is offline
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DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

I have seen several attempts of users with mega pixel cameras and telephoto lenses trying to image planets.

I don't want to degrade the efforts I have seen on here because they are pushing the limits to a few 10's of pixels but pose a serious question.

If you are are really keen what is realistically achievable?

Before you go to the trouble of setting up tripods and mounts and understanding all about atmospheric seeing conditions how about a view of what what your lens and camera are capable of framing.

For this I would recommend installing Stellarium a free software (http://stellarium.org/).

Set up your camera and lens in the top right menu.

Here is what Saturn would look like with a EM1 and 300mm F4 lens.



See any rings?
What about a 9 x magnification giving a 2700mm lens



If you had such a lens i.e a telescope you would be able to get some decent images but you would then need to spend money on a mount that would have to track the motion of the planet

Hope this helps what you need to image planets.
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Old 7th August 2018
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

I tried to make the same point in one of the threads but received somewhat negative feedback, so stopped trying to help.

The solution is to move to a smaller sensor as you know.
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Old 7th August 2018
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

Just to follow up on your comments guys. Do you mean that even using a telescope it would be better to use a compact camera or a phone attached to it rather than my EM1?
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

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Originally Posted by Phill D View Post
Just to follow up on your comments guys. Do you mean that even using a telescope it would be better to use a compact camera or a phone attached to it rather than my EM1?
Yes Phil it would. If you want to see the effect use Stellarium and set up the sensor of your compact camera / phone. Small sensors = greater magnification.
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Old 7th August 2018
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

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Originally Posted by Phill D View Post
Just to follow up on your comments guys. Do you mean that even using a telescope it would be better to use a compact camera or a phone attached to it rather than my EM1?
For planets the answer is yes. A web cam attached to your scope is ideal.

For galaxies and large nebula then the em1 is great.
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

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I tried to make the same point in one of the threads but received somewhat negative feedback, so stopped trying to help.

The solution is to move to a smaller sensor as you know.
I don't think it meant to be negative but when you have spent some time trying to photo something and someone says it can't be done the reaction can appear to shot messenger. Without thinking about the magnification issue I have tried planets and been disappointed as I am sure you have as well.
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

People may find this short article helpful.

http://www.astropix.com/wp/2011/03/0...nd-pixel-size/
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

Thanks guys really informative. That link was excellent. I'll need to read it a couple of times for it to sink in properly.
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Old 7th August 2018
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

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Originally Posted by birdboy View Post
..............Here is what Saturn would look like with a EM1 and 300mm F4 lens............See any rings?

I feel that you have been a little too discouraging - I can see the rings with either a 300 f/4 Nikon lens or a 100-400 Pan/Leica zoom on my E-M1.



No detail, I agree, but I think there's a real buzz from seeing those rings and knowing that no-one dreamt of their existence until Galileo turned a telescope onto them.



I do take the point that, to do better, you need something like a webcam on a telescope but, if you don't have that kit, it's still an extraordinary sight, even with an ordinary tele lens. Try it and see
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Old 8th August 2018
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

I did wonder myself if Stellarium was being a bit pessimistic when you could obviously see rings Mike. On the edge of what's possible I guess and a lot of the final view though is down to the atmospheric conditions at the time. Definitely worth persevering though as I agree with you there is a real buzz when you see the rings. Only snag then is you then want to get more detail Haven't managed to see the belts or red spot on Jupiter yet, even with my telescope.
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

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Originally Posted by MikeOxon View Post
I feel that you have been a little too discouraging - I can see the rings with either a 300 f/4 Nikon lens or a 100-400 Pan/Leica zoom on my E-M1.



No detail, I agree, but I think there's a real buzz from seeing those rings and knowing that no-one dreamt of their existence until Galileo turned a telescope onto them.



I do take the point that, to do better, you need something like a webcam on a telescope but, if you don't have that kit, it's still an extraordinary sight, even with an ordinary tele lens. Try it and see
Yes I agree with the points you make Mike and I did not mean to be discouraging, just wanted to let folks know what is realistic. I fell into the trap of looking at pictures of Saturn on the web and thinking could I get that with my camera. Taking pictures of stuff in the night sky is very exciting. There are a lot of other objects (deep sky objects) that are well within the focal length of DSLR cameras and lenses but you will need a tracker. You would increase the image quality a bit if you used a tracker on planets as well. What Stellarium does show are the moons of the planets which should be within the focal length of DSLR lenses.
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

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Originally Posted by Phill D View Post
I did wonder myself if Stellarium was being a bit pessimistic when you could obviously see rings Mike. On the edge of what's possible I guess and a lot of the final view though is down to the atmospheric conditions at the time. Definitely worth persevering though as I agree with you there is a real buzz when you see the rings. Only snag then is you then want to get more detail Haven't managed to see the belts or red spot on Jupiter yet, even with my telescope.
Stellarium does allow you to turn off the atmospheric seeing as if you are taking images from a perfect site. The reason why video gives good results is that it takes lots and lots of frames. Seeing can vary from one second to the next. Some of those frames will give really sharp images. The software selects only those sharp images and stacks them. If you get a buzz from taking still pictures it would really be worth trying to take video and stacking the result. This is the point Dave (Wornish) and myself are trying to make.
Some cameras allow you to crop the frame as you video giving you another x2 magnification.
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

John I did actually get a webcam thrown in with the additional bits and pieces when I got my telescope. The guy said he got it and had it modified (not sure what for?) but never got to use it. I've never tried it out as it wasn't obvious as to how it fitted. From what you say I ought to look to see if there are any clues in the paperwork he gave me.
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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

Here is a great short video on YouTube that shows you a good way to do planetary imaging with a DSLR. It only works if you have a scope though. This is how the best pictures are achieved.

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Re: DSLR & telephoto lens Imaging Planets how realistic?

See also my notes about Roger N Clark's website http://www.clarkvision.com/ on the Communal Night Sky Photos thread.
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