GH3 Astro Photography samples

Started Dec 14, 2012 | Discussions
mpgxsvcd
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GH3 Astro Photography samples
Dec 14, 2012

So I got the chance to test out my GH3 with my 8 inch 800mm F4.0 Astro Tech Telescope last night. Here is a video showing some of the images.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UehRwMBEQR4

I do a lot of outreach with kids trying to teach them about the mysteries of space. Therefore, I am not as concerned about getting the perfect Hubble image as I am about getting a short exposure image that looks good immediately on the camera's LCD screen.

I had been using a modified Full Spectrum GF1 at ISO 800-1600 before because my GH2 really has some issues with Read noise and its shutter durations are limited to 2 minutes and 8 seconds in Bulb mode.

Now I have the GH3 I can easily shoot AP at ISO 6400 which is the last real ISO in the GH3. I still have the option to go to ISO 12,800 while centering objects though. That helps a lot.

I bought a wireless controller for my Celestron CG-5 mount so I can completely control the telescope and monitor the GH3 through apps on my phone and iTouch. That helps a lot on those days when it is below freezing and I can observe from the comfort of my living room.

Last night we all went to our semi dark site to observe the meteor shower visually. In addition I also was trying to shoot as many deep space objects with my GH3 as I could. My initial intent was to try to compare the GH3 with the GH2 and GF1.

However, after one shot of Orion I realized that was pointless. The GH3 is so far ahead of the GH2 for this that the effort to switch the cameras out would be pointless. With the GH3 I could easily shoot things at ISO 6400 and with the reduced resolution of the LCD screen the noise was not visible at all.

Also the HDR mode proved to be invaluable with high dynamic range objects like Orion's Nebula. The core of the Nebula is several stops brighter than most of it and probably many stops brighter than the outer edges.

I also was shocked to see that it let in enough light to capture the horse Head Nebula in a single short exposure. I was able to see it in about 25 Seconds at ISO 25,000. Now there was a lot of noise at that ISO. However, that is territory that only a Mallincam could go to before.

Everyone else there was shocked at the images I could get in less than 2 minutes. They all struggled to get their scopes and computers to work right. Most of them gave up after a few hours of trying or when their batteries died.

The battery on the GH3 was showing 2 of 3 bars when I packed up after shooting for 8 hours straight. I even used the wifi to upload the pictures directly to facebook while I shot them and it still could have gone all night long and then some.

It was 29 degrees out when I left and all of the dew that had formed froze on the camera. I guess I realize why weather sealing is a good thing now.

Have a look at these pictures. They are all straight out of the camera jpgs reduced down so that I don't use up all of my upload space. I don't think any of these images took more than 2 minutes to produce. Even the HDR and Stacked ones took less than 2 minutes. Can you tell which ones those are?

I will try to do a video that demonstrates how to reproduce these results. However, I have a lot on my plate right now so I am not sure when that will get done.

GH3 Orion's Nebula





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number_6
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

These are simply fantastic! I'm starting vacation in a week and I'm really looking forward to trying my hand at some astrophotography, and now you've got me jazzed!

Thanks for sharing!

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number_6
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

I forgot to ask:

What telescope are you using here?

What software do you use to stack?

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mpgxsvcd
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to number_6, Dec 14, 2012

number_6 wrote:

I forgot to ask:

What telescope are you using here?

What software do you use to stack?

I am using an Astro Tech 8" 800mm F4.0 scope with a Celestron CG-5 GEQ mount. The whole Telescope package runs about $1300.

I didn't use any programs to stack. The GH3 has stacking capabilities in the camera itself. All of these images are straight out of the camera. This is the first challenger to Canon for Astro Photography with an interchangeable lens camera.

The GH3 really a step above everything else. The GH2 is a toy when compared to the GH3 for stills. For video not so much. They are both just about perfect.

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Adventsam
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

The long high iso exposure, how come they are so clean, the stacking is how many images? is that how its doing it? like the Sony?

Incredible stuff, for stacking can you shoot han-held, obviously not for this subject but others? the ipad visual is really cool, yes?

mpgxsvcd wrote:

So I got the chance to test out my GH3 with my 8 inch 800mm F4.0 Astro Tech Telescope last night. Here is a video showing some of the images.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UehRwMBEQR4

I do a lot of outreach with kids trying to teach them about the mysteries of space. Therefore, I am not as concerned about getting the perfect Hubble image as I am about getting a short exposure image that looks good immediately on the camera's LCD screen.

I had been using a modified Full Spectrum GF1 at ISO 800-1600 before because my GH2 really has some issues with Read noise and its shutter durations are limited to 2 minutes and 8 seconds in Bulb mode.

Now I have the GH3 I can easily shoot AP at ISO 6400 which is the last real ISO in the GH3. I still have the option to go to ISO 12,800 while centering objects though. That helps a lot.

I bought a wireless controller for my Celestron CG-5 mount so I can completely control the telescope and monitor the GH3 through apps on my phone and iTouch. That helps a lot on those days when it is below freezing and I can observe from the comfort of my living room.

Last night we all went to our semi dark site to observe the meteor shower visually. In addition I also was trying to shoot as many deep space objects with my GH3 as I could. My initial intent was to try to compare the GH3 with the GH2 and GF1.

However, after one shot of Orion I realized that was pointless. The GH3 is so far ahead of the GH2 for this that the effort to switch the cameras out would be pointless. With the GH3 I could easily shoot things at ISO 6400 and with the reduced resolution of the LCD screen the noise was not visible at all.

Also the HDR mode proved to be invaluable with high dynamic range objects like Orion's Nebula. The core of the Nebula is several stops brighter than most of it and probably many stops brighter than the outer edges.

I also was shocked to see that it let in enough light to capture the horse Head Nebula in a single short exposure. I was able to see it in about 25 Seconds at ISO 25,000. Now there was a lot of noise at that ISO. However, that is territory that only a Mallincam could go to before.

Everyone else there was shocked at the images I could get in less than 2 minutes. They all struggled to get their scopes and computers to work right. Most of them gave up after a few hours of trying or when their batteries died.

The battery on the GH3 was showing 2 of 3 bars when I packed up after shooting for 8 hours straight. I even used the wifi to upload the pictures directly to facebook while I shot them and it still could have gone all night long and then some.

It was 29 degrees out when I left and all of the dew that had formed froze on the camera. I guess I realize why weather sealing is a good thing now.

Have a look at these pictures. They are all straight out of the camera jpgs reduced down so that I don't use up all of my upload space. I don't think any of these images took more than 2 minutes to produce. Even the HDR and Stacked ones took less than 2 minutes. Can you tell which ones those are?

I will try to do a video that demonstrates how to reproduce these results. However, I have a lot on my plate right now so I am not sure when that will get done.

GH3 Orion's Nebula





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mpgxsvcd
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to Adventsam, Dec 14, 2012

A few of the High ISO images were just straight single exposure jpgs. I turn Noise reduction off completely. I don't even use the long shutter duration noise reduction. Really this Sony sensor is that good.

A lot of people talk about Dynamic Range when referring to pictures that have some dark shaded regions. That is not dynamic range. Dynamic range is really only important when the highlights clip.

Try shooting Orion's Nebula in a single frame where you show the outer edges and don't clip the Highlights of the core. That is dynamic range and the GH3 can do that with the HDR mode.

I love this camera for so many reasons.

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Sean Nelson
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

mpgxsvcd wrote:

The battery on the GH3 was showing 2 of 3 bars when I packed up after shooting for 8 hours straight. I even used the wifi to upload the pictures directly to facebook while I shot them and it still could have gone all night long and then some.

Incredible.  Those are spectacular pictures and a very much appreciated report, thanks!

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DjarumBlack
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to Sean Nelson, Dec 14, 2012

Very Nice. Even see the dark lane in Andromeda Galaxy. I have an 8" f/5 Orion reflector. Curious, did you add a barlow/powermate? On my telescope with my E-PL2 connected, I get slightly less than 2 degrees FOV, at 1000mm. This would be fine for andromeda, but not for the Orion Nebula.

Also, how many images stacked does the GH2 do in its HDR mode?

Thanks

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amtberg
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

Very nice!

How you don't mind, but I couldn't resist applying a post production to the first pic (just levels and light noise reduction):



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RicksAstro
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

Simply spectacular...things have really come so far!    The Orion and Running Man are both so noise-free with a great deal of info.   Assuming those are OOC JPGs, the color balance is also awesome, particularly with the Ha Nebula like the Horsehead, which sometimes looks magenta rather than deep red on most DSLRs.  Looks like you really nailed focus as well!

Looks perfect for the work you do!

This also shows me that the noise floor is really quite low, so stacking hundreds of relatively short RAW subs will really give pro level results.

I almost never used darkframes for stacking using the Sony Sensors (or even the Canon sensors.  I did a lot of experiments and found getting more exposure rather than using that same time taking dark frames at the same ambient conditions yielded better results, especially if you used a Kappa Sigma type of stacking.   And using dark frame libraries, unless they were about perfectly executed tended to show artifacts in stacking...imperfections were magnified.    I used Maxim DL and other software like Nebulosity that had a hot pixel mapping feature that I used to remove the hottest pixels and that gave great results when combined with Sigma stacking even without using dark frames.

Just saying, it looks like the GH3 meets your near real-time needs producing spectacular short exposure images and it'll be ready when/if you decide to go the truly deeper "pretty picture" route.

Do you use a Coma corrector?    My favorite scope was an 10" f5 Newt with a spectacular mirror, and a coma corrector made a huge difference in stars near the edges of the frame.    And collimating before each session also made a big difference.    I love the look of Newt imagers with the nice diffraction spikes.

Great work!

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jwg63
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

mpgxsvcd wrote:

I don't even use the long shutter duration noise reduction.

Ah, thanks, I was wondering about that.  I believe this does a form of dark frame subtraction.  I don't expect you'd see any effects of this on the LCD, anyway.  Did you try it at all to see if it might improve things at larger sizes?

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Joe

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Mike942
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

Very inspirational. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Great news about the GH3

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coffeeaddiction2012
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

Pretty cool

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Digital Parasite
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

mpgxsvcd wrote:

The battery on the GH3 was showing 2 of 3 bars when I packed up after shooting for 8 hours straight. I even used the wifi to upload the pictures directly to facebook while I shot them and it still could have gone all night long and then some.

I have been very impressed with the GH3's battery as well.  I think the rating Panasonic provides is like 500-ish photos on one charge.  I shot 200 the other day at least half using the flash and I still had full bars on the battery meter.

Those are great shots.  Now that people have started looking at the pics, can you post a legend of which ones where HDR JPG and which ones you stacked?   How many pictures did you end up stacking as well (did you just leave it at the max 4 or did you stack on a previously stacked image as well?)

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jim stirling
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

They are lovely looking images , but It was found that at very high ISO the D3s added processing to the RAW files which still resulted on beautiful images .However, the serious astrophotographers were not too happy as a consequence of removing the low level noise also meant less bright stars were also removed. Your image while aesthetically pleasing { which ,is my intention with astrophotography} do look  to be showing less stars than you would expect. Anyway you have me convinced to get out with the GH3 next clear night, I am lucky enough to have pretty dark skies nearby

Jim

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Detail Man
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

mpgxsvcd wrote:

... the HDR mode proved to be invaluable with high dynamic range objects like Orion's Nebula.

So, might the GH3 allow one to stack RAWs themselves - as opposed to being restricted to stacking RAWs which are then mandatorily converted by the in-camera JPG-engine into OOC JPGs only ?

As it seems to me that this stacking is very likely accomplished by adding each new recorded image-frame's RAW image-data to a calculated average of the sum of the previously recorded image-frames' RAW image-data, it has puzzled me as to why Panasonic (as far as I know) has not so far allowed for access to that (accumulated and averaged) RAW image-data in their RAW-recording camera models.

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BillHinge
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

mpgxsvcd wrote:

So I got the chance to test out my GH3 with my 8 inch 800mm F4.0 Astro Tech Telescope last night. Here is a video showing some of the images.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UehRwMBEQR4

I do a lot of outreach with kids trying to teach them about the mysteries of space. Therefore, I am not as concerned about getting the perfect Hubble image as I am about getting a short exposure image that looks good immediately on the camera's LCD screen.

I had been using a modified Full Spectrum GF1 at ISO 800-1600 before because my GH2 really has some issues with Read noise and its shutter durations are limited to 2 minutes and 8 seconds in Bulb mode.

Now I have the GH3 I can easily shoot AP at ISO 6400 which is the last real ISO in the GH3. I still have the option to go to ISO 12,800 while centering objects though. That helps a lot.

I bought a wireless controller for my Celestron CG-5 mount so I can completely control the telescope and monitor the GH3 through apps on my phone and iTouch. That helps a lot on those days when it is below freezing and I can observe from the comfort of my living room.

Last night we all went to our semi dark site to observe the meteor shower visually. In addition I also was trying to shoot as many deep space objects with my GH3 as I could. My initial intent was to try to compare the GH3 with the GH2 and GF1.

However, after one shot of Orion I realized that was pointless. The GH3 is so far ahead of the GH2 for this that the effort to switch the cameras out would be pointless. With the GH3 I could easily shoot things at ISO 6400 and with the reduced resolution of the LCD screen the noise was not visible at all.

Also the HDR mode proved to be invaluable with high dynamic range objects like Orion's Nebula. The core of the Nebula is several stops brighter than most of it and probably many stops brighter than the outer edges.

I also was shocked to see that it let in enough light to capture the horse Head Nebula in a single short exposure. I was able to see it in about 25 Seconds at ISO 25,000. Now there was a lot of noise at that ISO. However, that is territory that only a Mallincam could go to before.

Everyone else there was shocked at the images I could get in less than 2 minutes. They all struggled to get their scopes and computers to work right. Most of them gave up after a few hours of trying or when their batteries died.

The battery on the GH3 was showing 2 of 3 bars when I packed up after shooting for 8 hours straight. I even used the wifi to upload the pictures directly to facebook while I shot them and it still could have gone all night long and then some.

It was 29 degrees out when I left and all of the dew that had formed froze on the camera. I guess I realize why weather sealing is a good thing now.

Have a look at these pictures. They are all straight out of the camera jpgs reduced down so that I don't use up all of my upload space. I don't think any of these images took more than 2 minutes to produce. Even the HDR and Stacked ones took less than 2 minutes. Can you tell which ones those are?

I will try to do a video that demonstrates how to reproduce these results. However, I have a lot on my plate right now so I am not sure when that will get done.

GH3 Orion's Nebula





Some really great images there, GH3 is looking excellent

I really wish you would start stacking though  , hope you don't mind I had a play with your m42 and horsehead

I took your 3 images of each, realigned and stacked them, cropped, ( there was some slight misalignment between the 3) removed some the background noise and did a hdrwavelet transform on m42 followed by insharp mask and noise reduction

really good images for a short exposure



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venice
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 14, 2012

Such great results.

Very inspiring.

-Bill

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venice
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In reply to BillHinge, Dec 14, 2012

Whoa!

Okay. I clearly need a basic tutorial on this stuff.

-Bill

Fashion Meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

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Button Pusher
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Re: GH3 Astro Photography samples
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Dec 15, 2012

When are you going to learn that Panasonic m43 cameras are horrible still shooting cameras?

Really impressive pics!  I think there is far too much light in my neck of the woods to attempt such shots.

My GH3 may arrive tomorrow, can't wait!

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