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SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?

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Offline udo

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SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« on: 27 / January / 2014, 09:07:05 »
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Hello,

Later this year I plan to be in areas with lower light pollution than over here (Netherlands, Europe).
I intend do do some night sky photography using my Canon Powershot SX260HS and a small, flexible stand so I can do vibration free timed shots.

What are the optimal settings? What are useful tips? What exposure times, ISO settings will work without generating noise or star trails?

Please post or give pointers if such info is already present somewhere here.

Thanks,
Udo

Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

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Offline udo

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Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #2 on: 27 / January / 2014, 09:40:56 »
http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Meteor_Intervalometer_with_Dark_Frame_Management
Thanks, tat might be interesting and of use!
But I am also interested in simple single shots to capture some stars, star constellations, etc.
Got any tips for that?

Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #3 on: 27 / January / 2014, 10:42:08 »
Ideally the ISO will be set to a minimum to reduce noise, but that will cause star trails with a long exposure, which may be several minutes at least to see star constelations.

You might want to consider a star-tracker to reduce star trails, such as a cheap DIY barn-door tracker like this hand-turned one
http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-star-tracker-for-your-DSLR-and-make-your-o/

Or if you have a telescope mount that's even better of course.


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Offline udo

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Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #4 on: 27 / January / 2014, 12:20:37 »
Ideally the ISO will be set to a minimum to reduce noise, but that will cause star trails with a long exposure, which may be several minutes at least to see star constelations.
Hmm. So what would be the compromise to get acceptable pictures of  the brighter stars?
E.g. at ISO200 or maybe 400? Would 15 seconds be within bounds and give no trails but stars?

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You might want to consider a star-tracker to reduce star trails, such as a cheap DIY barn-door tracker like this hand-turned one
http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-star-tracker-for-your-DSLR-and-make-your-o/
Looks interesting! I should find a lightweight option as I'll lug this stuff around the globe...

Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #5 on: 27 / January / 2014, 12:46:56 »
Well here is one I took earlier as an example (I took it more for the trees than the stars though, and normally there isn't that much background light in the sky; the moon was full and there were some clouds). ISO was 100, and exposure was 2 minutes (with an aperture of 3.9). I'm not sure how much noise you would be ok with, but you may get away with an iso that high and shorter shutter speed. 15 seconds probably won't give any star trails unless you're zoomed in. But noise may be a problem.

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If you want to capture the night sky, capture multiple images and stack them (e.g. http://keithwiley.com/astroPhotography/imageStacking.shtml).
If you have time it may be worth a read.
« Last Edit: 27 / January / 2014, 12:49:51 by Recyclojunk64 »

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Offline blackhole

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Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #6 on: 27 / January / 2014, 13:01:00 »
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Would 15 seconds be within bounds and give no trails but stars?
Maximum exposure value depends on the focal length (zoom position) you want to use. On your camera maximum TV is approximately 17 seconds on the focal length of 35mm EFL.

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Offline udo

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Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #7 on: 28 / January / 2014, 09:13:47 »
Thanks.
Just tried override Tv (long exposure) 00:00:30 and that appears to work.
The exposure is about 30 seconds and the exif details show 30" as well.
What did I do wrong or misunderstand?

I can override Av to 3.56 (not lower?) and then expose at various lengths to see what picture I get.
Would that be a good approach?
« Last Edit: 29 / January / 2014, 02:16:04 by udo »


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Offline udo

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Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #8 on: 01 / February / 2014, 10:18:51 »
Do I need to force the focus to infinity?
If so: which of the Canon menu settings do I need to turn off to make the Subject Distance override work?
Turning Continuous AF off is not enough...

Re: SX260HS night sky photography: limits, do's, don'ts?
« Reply #9 on: 01 / February / 2014, 10:26:16 »
Do I need to force the focus to infinity?
If so: which of the Canon menu settings do I need to turn off to make the Subject Distance override work?
Turning Continuous AF off is not enough...
According to this : http://bit.ly/1a99LCe the sx260 should focus at infinity just using the set_focus(60000) command.
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

 

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