Earlier I mentioned that when you’re doing your initial camera settings, you could see how good your hardware was by looking at the maximum resolution of long exposures. If it crunches it to a much smaller size than your max resolution for normal shots, you’re kind of hosed for astrophotography. Like me.
But, sure, you can go into program mode. Max out your ISO, boost your duration to 10s or longer (too long and in theory you’ll get star trails), and BAM, a long exposure shot.
Here’s what I get when I set my camera for 10s @ ISO 1600 while looking at M003:
Isn’t that amazing? The depth, the colour, it feels like I could just touch it. A solid black image of nothingness. My sensor will pick up bright single stars (like Spica or something), but it will NOT register a DSO. Most of the time, it won’t even TAKE a picture — it basically gives an error that no picture was recorded. » Read the rest
If you don’t have very good control over your manual settings, or you can’t get a lot of images to stack, one solution that a lot of people use is to say “screw it” and just take a video. Usually, the power of the camera drops somewhat by going to video, but what you lack in initial power, you make up for when you take a video. For the ISO comparison, I shot the moon. Some of the manual controls in Camera FV-5 were overriding each other, but still, one way around a lot of short burst images is to do a video. Since Camera FV-5 doesn’t support video directly, I used the companion app, Cinema FV-5.
I shot one of the moon for 90s, and then ran it through the PIPP processor plus Auto-Stakkert. Here is the result, compared with the original single-shot earlier:
Video processed and stacked
Obviously, something went wrong in the stacking process somewhere, which is part of the challenge of using videos — you have to convert them essentially into frames and then stack them one on top of another to get an image. » Read the rest
For any good astrophotography, you need to get out of automatic mode and into more granular manual control. On my old camera, I hit a limit even on ISO control and duration of photos, so even showing ISO elements for the moon isn’t quite so obvious. The app compensates to some extent for the duration to still give me a decent shot, so while you don’t necessarily see the images getting completely washed out with ISO settings, you can see that you start to lose detail (as the app compensates) for the mountain range Montes Penninus about halfway up on the left and the crater collection on the bottom.
One nice feature that some people might like in the Camera FV-5 app is a built-in intervalometer. The setting is available from the Shooting Utilities menu on the main screen (looks like a histogram/landscape image of a mountain), and within that menu, is located as the second icon from the right (next to BRK). The symbol looks like the timer icon but says INT in small letters under it.
The shooting modes available let you choose:
a. Interval + total shots i.e. how often to take a pic and how many photos in total;
b. Interval + shooting duration;
c. Interval+ playback duration i.e. if you turn it into a GIF or video;
d. Shooting + playback duration i.e. if you want to essentially later create a slow-motion or compressed video;
e. Shooting duration + the total number of shots i.e. it will figure out how often to take pics.
For AP, you’re likely to stay in the first one…how far apart to take the shots (likely low number of 1 or 2 seconds) and how many photos in total (100+ is common). » Read the rest
Most of the people doing AP tend to say, use the RGB colour channels. Some go hard-core and sample different colour channels separately to give more definition in certain colour ranges, and if you were an expert, you also might want to turn on the visual histogram with each photo. More power to you, if you do.
For me, I am persuaded in part by the idea that shades of gray are not the same as shades of colour, and I would rather have RGB in the mix to make what I get in the image as close as possible to what I see with my eye in some respects. But I thought I would try and see if maybe it would do something on the white balance or other settings. The first is with RGB, the second is “luminance” aka B/W.
Hard to tell at the washed-out levels, but I would tend to go with the first all the time. » Read the rest