X-Pro Long Exposure Star Trails

Started Nov 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Ross Kennedy
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X-Pro Long Exposure Star Trails
Nov 2, 2012

I've been working in Phoenix recently and attended a class on night photography in the mountains above the city. Shooting star trails is not usually on the agenda in Scotland due to the weather  It is much more difficult than I realised...setting up the camera, composing and focusing is quite a challenge in pitch darkness. The OVF/EVF were both pretty useless as the light was so low - my friends said their full-frame SLR's weren't much better. We had to rely on the instructor briefly scanning each scene with a torch to figure out what would be in the image and to get focus.

Metering was done by taking a "fast" exposure (~60sec) using 3200ISO and f2, then using that to calculate the actual shutter time with the aperture stopped down at 400ISO. We were recommended to use f5.6 but I think I would use f8-11 in future even though the exposure time would be much higher.

I had long exposure NR switched off as time was limited but I will have it switched on in future - there is very visible hot pixel type noise in any exposure above 5min which is pretty hard to get rid of in Lightroom. However, the Fuji was certainly no worse than my friend's D700 or 5DIII...and the final images looked better (to me anyway!).

I would highly recommend giving this a go...it really helps you to get to know your camera better and forces you to think a lot more about exposure settings than normal...and I got a real buzz out of seeing those first star trails appear in the LCD after 10mins of anticipation!

The location was a local arboretum which had plenty of strange plants and rocks...all taken with the 18mm.

6min (with some light painting):

8min

10min

This is 100% view from the OOC jpeg showing the noise from a 10min exposure (Long exposure NR off, NR at -2, so worst case):

Cheers,

Ross

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D700 Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5
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