FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt

Started Apr 3, 2012 | Discussions
Sasafrass452
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FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
Apr 3, 2012

I made another attempt to photograph the moon last night. I'd like to know what I can do(if anything) to improve, WITHOUT post processing. Here's the settings I used, no post processing:

2 MP
Manual Mode
F Number- 5.6
Exposure- 1/160
ISO- 80
Digital Zoom- 35.2x

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 (Lumix DMC-FZ38)
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Writerman
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 3, 2012

Improve!!!. That's fantastic for many cameras. Really, consider what Galileo would have given for that!!! Print it 5X7 and frame it.

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Skip
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 3, 2012

It isn't very bright. I know it's easy to overexpose the moon, but you aren't anywhere near that with this one. I downloaded it and opened it in PSE-3 and verified that the histo is way over to the left. With Levels, I could push the right slider from 255 down to 200 without touching any of the right end pixels. I don't know exactly how many f stops, or thirds of f stops, or whatever, that relates to, but the point is that you could have safely increased the exposure a tad. There are probably technicians here that could pin it down more precisely. I'm more oriented to trial and error. I find a safe starting point and then take a series of shots in+1/3 exposure steps until I'm sure I'm overexposed. Then I line them up and pick the one with the best histogram.

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Sasafrass452
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Skip, Apr 3, 2012

Yeah, I thought it could've been a bit brighter also. Is there anything else I could do differently, to make it better?

Skip wrote:

It isn't very bright. I know it's easy to overexpose the moon, but you aren't anywhere near that with this one. I downloaded it and opened it in PSE-3 and verified that the histo is way over to the left. With Levels, I could push the right slider from 255 down to 200 without touching any of the right end pixels. I don't know exactly how many f stops, or thirds of f stops, or whatever, that relates to, but the point is that you could have safely increased the exposure a tad. There are probably technicians here that could pin it down more precisely. I'm more oriented to trial and error. I find a safe starting point and then take a series of shots in+1/3 exposure steps until I'm sure I'm overexposed. Then I line them up and pick the one with the best histogram.

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Sasafrass452
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Writerman, Apr 3, 2012

Aw, thanx

Writerman wrote:

Improve!!!. That's fantastic for many cameras. Really, consider what Galileo would have given for that!!! Print it 5X7 and frame it.

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Skip
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 3, 2012

I'm not familiar with the '35. Are you zoom-limited at f/5.6? In other words, at 35.2x, is 5.6 the largest aperture available? If so, your main choices are a slightly slower shutter or a bit more ISO. I say slightly slower because the moon is a moving object and I have read some pretty convincing stuff that 1/125 is the absolute minimum to consider. I think I found your first moon shot and the shutter on that one was only 1/50. You also mentioned a UV filter. If it costs you any light, it wouldn't hurt to remove it for a moon shot - I'm not sure that it is doing anything to enhance the photo. It is probably just protecting the lens. Anyway, you said ISO 80 on both shots. I would be inclined to initially keep the shutter at 1/160 and bump up the ISO to increase the exposure. You want to move that histogram to the right.

Finally, you are probably using a tripod. Do you also use a remote shutter release? If not, does the '35 have the availability of 2 second shutter delay? It's a very good feature if you are not already taking advantage of it.

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morepix
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Why bother?
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 4, 2012

Creditable try, but why? What would it take to make a creative photo of the moon?
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Re: Why bother?
In reply to morepix, Apr 4, 2012

morepix wrote:

Creditable try, but why? What would it take to make a creative photo of the moon?

Dave, do you mean why try to improve? Isn't it true that if you want to "make a creative photo" of anything, you should start with the best image that you can and then go from there? How's the moon different from anything else?

Also, how about:

first - the moon is a challenging subject. Meaning the moon by itself as well as the moon as part of an overall scene. It's so bright. it wants to overexpose. All that stuff.

second - it is one of the few universal subjects out there. Anyone anywhere has an equal shot at it so to speak.

third - since it is so universal, it's a great way to compare cameras. I don't think I'm alone in that a moonshot is one of the first things I try with any new camera to see how the new unit comparers with previous equipment. Does the new model give red fringes or green fringes, more or less noise, or so on and so on.

Or, sorry, maybe I just missed your point.

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morepix
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Re: Why bother?
In reply to Skip, Apr 4, 2012

Skip wrote:

Dave, do you mean why try to improve? Isn't it true that if you want to "make a creative photo" of anything, you should start with the best image that you can and then go from there? ... Or, sorry, maybe I just missed your point.

I wouldn't argue with what you say. One could take a photo of the same subject for a long time and cultivate the differences, the change. I once contemplated doing that with a scene of some beautiful oak trees against the California coastal hills. Didn't follow through though.

So, you make good points. I guess I'm too restless to submit to that strict a discipline, but I wouldn't dismiss it. Thanks for the reminder.
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Tootsall
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Skip, Apr 4, 2012

In addition to Skip's comments I'd add a question about what your white balance was. You might try tweaking that around a bit to see if you can get a "whiter" picture. What you posted is dark but also has a colour hue to it that should be easy to eliminate.

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Re: Why bother?
In reply to morepix, Apr 4, 2012

You have a great set of galleries there at PBase:

http://www.pbase.com/morepix

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Sasafrass452
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Skip, Apr 4, 2012

No, the zoom isn't limited by the aperture. 35.2x(digital zoom) is the most I can zoom without the extended zoom(which allows more). Since digital zoom generally adds more noise to the picture, I try not to use it unless I really need to. Should I use a higher F number? 8.0 is the highest the camera will allow. I'll try it without the UV filter & see if that makes a difference.

I don't use a tripod or remote. For a shot like this, I just hold the lens against the window to keep it as still as possible. I wouldn't have much success with only my hands to prevent camera shake. I don't use the shutter delay, either. I like to keep it simple.... just point & shoot with as little adjustment as possible.

Skip wrote:

I'm not familiar with the '35. Are you zoom-limited at f/5.6? In other words, at 35.2x, is 5.6 the largest aperture available? If so, your main choices are a slightly slower shutter or a bit more ISO. I say slightly slower because the moon is a moving object and I have read some pretty convincing stuff that 1/125 is the absolute minimum to consider. I think I found your first moon shot and the shutter on that one was only 1/50. You also mentioned a UV filter. If it costs you any light, it wouldn't hurt to remove it for a moon shot - I'm not sure that it is doing anything to enhance the photo. It is probably just protecting the lens. Anyway, you said ISO 80 on both shots. I would be inclined to initially keep the shutter at 1/160 and bump up the ISO to increase the exposure. You want to move that histogram to the right.

Finally, you are probably using a tripod. Do you also use a remote shutter release? If not, does the '35 have the availability of 2 second shutter delay? It's a very good feature if you are not already taking advantage of it.

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Sasafrass452
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Tootsall, Apr 4, 2012

The white balance is set to daylight, since the moon is a bright subject. I thought my UV filter would also help in this case, but maybe not?

Tootsall wrote:

In addition to Skip's comments I'd add a question about what your white balance was. You might try tweaking that around a bit to see if you can get a "whiter" picture. What you posted is dark but also has a colour hue to it that should be easy to eliminate.

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twokatmew
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Skip, Apr 4, 2012

I recently watched a few YouTube clips on shooting the moon, and I gleaned the following: 1/15 sec = the absolute minimum shutter speed for moon shots; another video said set ISO 100 and 1/250 sec; one suggested using a polarizer and setting the camera for monochrome. I thought I'd try all of these as soon as I get around to it! And then I have to write down my settings so I'll know what actually works. Oh, one other thing I forgot. At least one video said that optimal settings change depending on how full the moon is. So I guess nothing's set in stone ... trial and error might be the best bed.

Regardless, I think the OP's moon shot is pretty good, all things considered.

Skip wrote:

I'm not familiar with the '35. Are you zoom-limited at f/5.6? In other words, at 35.2x, is 5.6 the largest aperture available? If so, your main choices are a slightly slower shutter or a bit more ISO. I say slightly slower because the moon is a moving object and I have read some pretty convincing stuff that 1/125 is the absolute minimum to consider. I think I found your first moon shot and the shutter on that one was only 1/50. You also mentioned a UV filter. If it costs you any light, it wouldn't hurt to remove it for a moon shot - I'm not sure that it is doing anything to enhance the photo. It is probably just protecting the lens. Anyway, you said ISO 80 on both shots. I would be inclined to initially keep the shutter at 1/160 and bump up the ISO to increase the exposure. You want to move that histogram to the right.

Finally, you are probably using a tripod. Do you also use a remote shutter release? If not, does the '35 have the availability of 2 second shutter delay? It's a very good feature if you are not already taking advantage of it.

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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to twokatmew, Apr 4, 2012

Interesting. There's a world of difference between 1/15 and 1/250. I guess that's part of what makes the moon such a challenging subject. Not to beat the shutter speed thing to death, but the moon's motion becomes more and more of a factor as magnification (zoom) increases. For instance, if you look at it through a telescope of reasonable power you can actually watch it move across your field of vision.

I know the OP was dead set against pp, but as an experiment I opened the image in PSE as perviously stated. After stretching the histo with Levels, I gave it a hit with the Shadows slider. If you try it, I think you might agree that the "pretty good" shot could easily become a very good shot. Illustrating that a little more in-camera exposure would have ben a good thing.

twokatmew wrote:

I recently watched a few YouTube clips on shooting the moon, and I gleaned the following: 1/15 sec = the absolute minimum shutter speed for moon shots; another video said set ISO 100 and 1/250 sec; one suggested using a polarizer and setting the camera for monochrome. I thought I'd try all of these as soon as I get around to it! And then I have to write down my settings so I'll know what actually works. Oh, one other thing I forgot. At least one video said that optimal settings change depending on how full the moon is. So I guess nothing's set in stone ... trial and error might be the best bed.

Regardless, I think the OP's moon shot is pretty good, all things considered.

http://twokatmew.me

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Sasafrass452
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to twokatmew, Apr 4, 2012

Thanks What would you have done differently? It does seem as though the settings needed will vary depending on the moon's brightness, air quality, etc.... Apparently, it's not a "one size fits all" situation Since the moon will be full thursday night, I might try again if it's a clear sky. But that's a rare thing around here lately....

twokatmew wrote:

I recently watched a few YouTube clips on shooting the moon, and I gleaned the following: 1/15 sec = the absolute minimum shutter speed for moon shots; another video said set ISO 100 and 1/250 sec; one suggested using a polarizer and setting the camera for monochrome. I thought I'd try all of these as soon as I get around to it! And then I have to write down my settings so I'll know what actually works. Oh, one other thing I forgot. At least one video said that optimal settings change depending on how full the moon is. So I guess nothing's set in stone ... trial and error might be the best bed.

Regardless, I think the OP's moon shot is pretty good, all things considered.

Skip wrote:

I'm not familiar with the '35. Are you zoom-limited at f/5.6? In other words, at 35.2x, is 5.6 the largest aperture available? If so, your main choices are a slightly slower shutter or a bit more ISO. I say slightly slower because the moon is a moving object and I have read some pretty convincing stuff that 1/125 is the absolute minimum to consider. I think I found your first moon shot and the shutter on that one was only 1/50. You also mentioned a UV filter. If it costs you any light, it wouldn't hurt to remove it for a moon shot - I'm not sure that it is doing anything to enhance the photo. It is probably just protecting the lens. Anyway, you said ISO 80 on both shots. I would be inclined to initially keep the shutter at 1/160 and bump up the ISO to increase the exposure. You want to move that histogram to the right.

Finally, you are probably using a tripod. Do you also use a remote shutter release? If not, does the '35 have the availability of 2 second shutter delay? It's a very good feature if you are not already taking advantage of it.

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Sasafrass452
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Skip, Apr 4, 2012

Other than the shutter speed, what else should I have done? Or could the result not be any better than that?

As for post processing, I don't want to use it for 2 reasons:

1- I have a Linux system, so I can't use the same program as in windows for photo editing.

2- If a picture needs any touch ups even when using the best possible settings, then the camera isn't doing its job!

Skip wrote:

Interesting. There's a world of difference between 1/15 and 1/250. I guess that's part of what makes the moon such a challenging subject. Not to beat the shutter speed thing to death, but the moon's motion becomes more and more of a factor as magnification (zoom) increases. For instance, if you look at it through a telescope of reasonable power you can actually watch it move across your field of vision.

I know the OP was dead set against pp, but as an experiment I opened the image in PSE as perviously stated. After stretching the histo with Levels, I gave it a hit with the Shadows slider. If you try it, I think you might agree that the "pretty good" shot could easily become a very good shot. Illustrating that a little more in-camera exposure would have ben a good thing.

twokatmew wrote:

I recently watched a few YouTube clips on shooting the moon, and I gleaned the following: 1/15 sec = the absolute minimum shutter speed for moon shots; another video said set ISO 100 and 1/250 sec; one suggested using a polarizer and setting the camera for monochrome. I thought I'd try all of these as soon as I get around to it! And then I have to write down my settings so I'll know what actually works. Oh, one other thing I forgot. At least one video said that optimal settings change depending on how full the moon is. So I guess nothing's set in stone ... trial and error might be the best bed.

Regardless, I think the OP's moon shot is pretty good, all things considered.

http://twokatmew.me

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twokatmew
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 4, 2012

And that reminds me.... I've also read that the most difficult moon to shoot successfully is a full moon, because of its increased brightness. I've seen recommendations that it's best to shoot the moon a day or so before or after a full moon. As my only moon shot thus far was at 6:15pm on April 2 while the sky was still blue, and I was just out for a walk with my camera and monopod, it's not a great shot. I was caught unawares (not expecting to see the moon), so I pointed my camera and took a few shots. All things considered though, it's not a bad shot, though sharpness could be much better. When I've time to prepare, I'll use my remote shutter release and a tripod, and it will be dark out!

Here's my impromptu shot:

Sasafrass452 wrote:

Thanks What would you have done differently? It does seem as though the settings needed will vary depending on the moon's brightness, air quality, etc.... Apparently, it's not a "one size fits all" situation Since the moon will be full thursday night, I might try again if it's a clear sky. But that's a rare thing around here lately....

twokatmew wrote:

I recently watched a few YouTube clips on shooting the moon, and I gleaned the following: 1/15 sec = the absolute minimum shutter speed for moon shots; another video said set ISO 100 and 1/250 sec; one suggested using a polarizer and setting the camera for monochrome. I thought I'd try all of these as soon as I get around to it! And then I have to write down my settings so I'll know what actually works. Oh, one other thing I forgot. At least one video said that optimal settings change depending on how full the moon is. So I guess nothing's set in stone ... trial and error might be the best bed.

Regardless, I think the OP's moon shot is pretty good, all things considered.

Skip wrote:

I'm not familiar with the '35. Are you zoom-limited at f/5.6? In other words, at 35.2x, is 5.6 the largest aperture available? If so, your main choices are a slightly slower shutter or a bit more ISO. I say slightly slower because the moon is a moving object and I have read some pretty convincing stuff that 1/125 is the absolute minimum to consider. I think I found your first moon shot and the shutter on that one was only 1/50. You also mentioned a UV filter. If it costs you any light, it wouldn't hurt to remove it for a moon shot - I'm not sure that it is doing anything to enhance the photo. It is probably just protecting the lens. Anyway, you said ISO 80 on both shots. I would be inclined to initially keep the shutter at 1/160 and bump up the ISO to increase the exposure. You want to move that histogram to the right.

Finally, you are probably using a tripod. Do you also use a remote shutter release? If not, does the '35 have the availability of 2 second shutter delay? It's a very good feature if you are not already taking advantage of it.

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twokatmew
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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 4, 2012

What about GIMP? Many Linux users rave about it.

And as far as the camera "not doing its job," I'd be more inclined to blame the photographer (no offense intended!). The moon is a very difficult subject. Pro photographers with very expensive setups struggle with it. How do you expect a camera with a tiny sensor that costs a few hundred dollars to do it? I've seen articles over the years where pro photographers use "trash" cameras and produce lovely photos. Just like us amateurs can use the best of cameras and get "trash" photos. It takes practice, at a minimum!

IMNSHO, there's no harm in in using PP to tweak a photo. It's not like you're using Photoshop to create a moon in the sky when you photographed blank sky -- and thus creating a fake.

Sasafrass452 wrote:

Other than the shutter speed, what else should I have done? Or could the result not be any better than that?

As for post processing, I don't want to use it for 2 reasons:

1- I have a Linux system, so I can't use the same program as in windows for photo editing.

2- If a picture needs any touch ups even when using the best possible settings, then the camera isn't doing its job!

Skip wrote:

Interesting. There's a world of difference between 1/15 and 1/250. I guess that's part of what makes the moon such a challenging subject. Not to beat the shutter speed thing to death, but the moon's motion becomes more and more of a factor as magnification (zoom) increases. For instance, if you look at it through a telescope of reasonable power you can actually watch it move across your field of vision.

I know the OP was dead set against pp, but as an experiment I opened the image in PSE as perviously stated. After stretching the histo with Levels, I gave it a hit with the Shadows slider. If you try it, I think you might agree that the "pretty good" shot could easily become a very good shot. Illustrating that a little more in-camera exposure would have ben a good thing.

twokatmew wrote:

I recently watched a few YouTube clips on shooting the moon, and I gleaned the following: 1/15 sec = the absolute minimum shutter speed for moon shots; another video said set ISO 100 and 1/250 sec; one suggested using a polarizer and setting the camera for monochrome. I thought I'd try all of these as soon as I get around to it! And then I have to write down my settings so I'll know what actually works. Oh, one other thing I forgot. At least one video said that optimal settings change depending on how full the moon is. So I guess nothing's set in stone ... trial and error might be the best bed.

Regardless, I think the OP's moon shot is pretty good, all things considered.

http://twokatmew.me

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Re: FZ35- The Moon- 2nd Attempt
In reply to Sasafrass452, Apr 4, 2012

Stay at 1/160. I would first open the aperture if the camera will let you at your desired zoom. But I'm guessing that it won't. Then I would start at ISO 80 and take a series of shots increasing the ISO by a 1/3 step up to say 200. Then review the series - check the histogram or blinkies or whatever your camera has. I know you are keen on keeping things simple, but does your camera have a burst mode? If so, it might be good to try it once you have zeroed in on a good combination of shutter, aperture, and ISO. I'm always amazed at the bit of variation I get in a burst series even though all of the settings are locked. Sometimes, but not always, one of the shots in a series is significantly better than the others.

Anyway, if conditions are really good and you are overexposed at maximum aperture and say ISO 160, then speed up the shutter a little and do it again. Like Margaret said - trial and error. We are supposed to be cloudy here on Friday. However, some people say that the moon's shadows are better the day before it's full.

Sasafrass452 wrote:

Other than the shutter speed, what else should I have done? Or could the result not be any better than that?

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