Touring the solar system - which 1 lens to take?

Started May 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Chris Dodkin
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Touring the solar system - which 1 lens to take?
May 20, 2011

I've built my own hyperdrive, and will be leaving for a test run, touring the solar system, next week.

Space and weight are a problem, so as well as the 5D2, I'd like to just take one lens with me to capture everything I see.

I figure there may be very low light conditions beyond Saturn, so I'm thinking I'll need some fast glass to be able to get a shot with a reasonable shutter speed to avoid speed blur (I'll be doing light-speed +8).

Should I be thinking of an f1.2 lens here, or will IS assist me when in orbit around a planet or smaller moon?

I'm paranoid about under exposing images of the dark side of the moon, as I know that boosting 8 or 10 stops to the shadows in post processing is bound to show up the terrible analogue read noise on my 5D2, right?

I'm thinking that a panoramic shot from the outer edge of the solar system would look great on my basement wall, so I'm drawn towards a wider angle lens to get the whole universe in - but I'm worried that CA and corner softness would ruin the distant stars - what do you think?

Then I'm thinking that there may be details that I should pick out, like sunspots for example, so maybe a zoom of some sort would be the way to go?

I like the idea of using an L lens, because I understand that the seals are better, and in a vacuum I think I'd better have everything sealed up tight - I wouldn't want any cosmic dust on my sensor, as I won't have any air to use my rocket blower in space - that's ironic, I can't use my rocket in space!

So should I buy L glass, or go cheap on a 3rd party lens, and keep my mission budget under $4B?

Finally, filters... I can't see why I would need a UV(0) in space, but what about meteorites hitting the front element of the lens and causing scratches? Does the Hubble telescope use a filter? If so, is it screw-on, or the big slide-in frame kind?

I'm thinking screw-on, as it would be hard to mess with the slot-in kind with a space suit on - should I just go for a CPL and be done with it?

Any help much appreciated - leaving in 3...2...1...weeks

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