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Focusing the image

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Thread started 23 Jul 2012 (Monday) 10:16   
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VaiFanatic
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I've seen some amazingly clear/sharp images of the night sky, but I never seem to be able to focus right. Everything is slightly blurry.

I've been using my nifty-fifty with an f-stop of 1.8, mostly at around ISO 800, f/2.8, with 8 second exposures.

What's the best thing for me to do to focus the lens so it's crystal clear?

Post #1, Jul 23, 2012 10:16:46


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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B ­ Koo
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f/11

Post #2, Jul 23, 2012 10:20:15


Canon Rebel XS - 18-55mm IS - 75-300mm - 50mm f/1.8II

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armis
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B Koo wrote in post #14756681external link
f/11

Only if you really enjoy star trails. And even then, not really.

Live View, zoomed to the max if you have it. Otherwise, a bunch of test shots at various focus distance. You could maybe try auto-focusing on the moon if it's out, though I can't guarantee the results.

Post #3, Jul 23, 2012 10:29:41


Fuji X-E1, 18-55 and 55-200 zooms
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VaiFanatic
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armis wrote in post #14756728external link
Only if you really enjoy star trails. And even then, not really.

Live View, zoomed to the max if you have it. Otherwise, a bunch of test shots at various focus distance. You could maybe try auto-focusing on the moon if it's out, though I can't guarantee the results.

I've tried the auto focus approach with the moon before, images turn out OK, more or less. I've been using Live View zoomed to the max, and manually focusing, but I'm never quite sure of how well I'm focused.

I'll try again tonight.

Post #4, Jul 23, 2012 10:39:32


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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VaiFanatic
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Here are two jpgs stacked together. Couldn't use the raw files because I wasn't using the latest beta.

My processing skills aren't all that great at all either.

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE

Post #5, Jul 23, 2012 12:12:09


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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A.S.I.G.N. ­ Observatory
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armis wrote in post #14756728external link
Only if you really enjoy star trails. And even then, not really.

Live View, zoomed to the max if you have it. Otherwise, a bunch of test shots at various focus distance. You could maybe try auto-focusing on the moon if it's out, though I can't guarantee the results.

^^^^This.

If the moon is out the sky will not have the contrast you want. A bright star should do to focus on. Like the post above said, use live view zoomed in to the max. Use MANUAL focus, focus to infinity then back it off ever so slightly to find the sweet spot. Most lenses focus just past infinity so you have to fiddle with it slightly to get it right. Keep your aperture all the way open - you need all the light into the lens you can get.

Yes, your processing skills need work - that will come slowly as you practice more, but processing won't help you if you don't get the focus right and capture some decent photons!

I hope this helps.

Post #6, Jul 23, 2012 14:45:10


Australian Wildlife Photographer
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VaiFanatic
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A.S.I.G.N. Observatory wrote in post #14758055external link
^^^^This.

If the moon is out the sky will not have the contrast you want. A bright star should do to focus on. Like the post above said, use live view zoomed in to the max. Use MANUAL focus, focus to infinity then back it off ever so slightly to find the sweet spot. Most lenses focus just past infinity so you have to fiddle with it slightly to get it right. Keep your aperture all the way open - you need all the light into the lens you can get.

Yes, your processing skills need work - that will come slowly as you practice more, but processing won't help you if you don't get the focus right and capture some decent photons!

I hope this helps.

Thanks! I'll give it another shot tonight. The moon will be setting early for the next few days, so I don't have to worry about it. I've been practicing focusing on stars, but I can't ever tell if I've hit that sweet spot or not. It's times like these I wish some folks with similar interests lived near me that I could get together with.

Post #7, Jul 23, 2012 16:49:19


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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cyberon
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Usually the sharpest is when the bright star seems the smallest. Out of focus star at maximum magnification looks like a doughnut!

Post #8, Jul 24, 2012 08:44:15


500D, Speedlite 430EX II, Lens : 15-85mm; 50mm F1.8 II; 100mm F2.8L IS Macro; 70-200mm F4L; Samyang 8mm F3.5
U/W : G11, OEM Housing, Inon S2000, Inon D4 Tray, Inon UCL-165 Close up lens
Astro : Modded 1100D, ES 80ED, Skywatcher HEQ5 Mount, Astrotrac TT320X-AG, Astronomik CLS Clip in filter

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VaiFanatic
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Didn't get a chance to really try last night. I got incredibly tired, so I knocked out before midnight. Hopefully tonight I'll be awake long enough to try for some better results!

Post #9, Jul 24, 2012 15:17:58


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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VaiFanatic
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Another attempt has yielded no better results. I've used live view to focus, and I've used AF on a distant light, and nothing seems to be getting it just right. Stars around the center are somewhat clear, but off in the corner the really blur and even seem to have an oval halo around them.

I shot this at f/1.8, ISO 400 for 5 seconds. I took 1 others and stacked them, but the halos were only exaggerated further.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7252/7670119440_9d45e829e4_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com .../83315202@N03/76701​19440/]external link
IMG_2163external link by VaiFanaticexternal link, on Flickr

Post #10, Jul 29, 2012 12:41:40


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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Jim ­ Shaffer
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The corners of a star shot with my 50mm f1.8 are terrible. Supposedly it gets better if you stop it down, but then you end up needing a lot longer exposure than you would at 1.8.

Post #11, Jul 29, 2012 22:43:50




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VaiFanatic
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Hmm, I've been distracted by web development, so I haven't had a chance to go out tonight, but we shall see. I've taken a picture before with the 50 wide open and the corner stars were not that bad.

Post #12, Jul 30, 2012 01:03:09


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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lifeinpixels
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If there is enough light, stopping you lens down just a bit will improve overall sharpness and make it a tad easier to focus as well.

Post #13, Aug 04, 2012 01:31:17 as a reply to VaiFanatic's post 5 days earlier.


"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Mine are only worth one."
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VaiFanatic
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I'll give it a try tomorrow night.

Post #14, Aug 05, 2012 03:26:46


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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VaiFanatic
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I've figured it out, why all of my images on the tripod have been coming out so terribly. Well, it's an old tripod from the 70s, for a Minolta. It's more or less a portable option until my nice manfrotto gets here.

When the shutter goes off, it moves the causes the camera to jerk ever so slightly, causing motion blur.

I did my best to ground the tripod, and got a much better result, but couldn't repeat my efforts.

But now I now I know what my problem is.

Post #15, Aug 05, 2012 23:19:09


Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 2x III Extender | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty) | Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STF (sporty forty) | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 | MD-EOS Adapter | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 135mm f/3.5

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