Astrophotography with XTi and 50mm f/1.8

Started Sep 30, 2006 | Discussions thread
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jpstanley Regular Member • Posts: 227
Astrophotography with XTi and 50mm f/1.8

This morning around 5:00, I took my XTi and new 50mm f/1.8 II lens out under the stars to see what the fast lens could do.

Here's my first shot. Single JPG, straight out of the camera. (Click the link for larger size.)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/256410258/

This is a 5-second exposure at f/1.8 and ISO 1600.

I was amazed to see so many stars visible in a short exposure, so I took an impromptu trip a few miles west of the city to get a somewhat darker sky.

Here are my results. These consist of about twenty 5-second, f/1.8, ISO 1600 exposures stacked in DeepSkyStacker.

Orion's belt and sword. In the original size, the flame nebula is visible!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/256411617/

Andromeda Galaxy

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/256413093/

Hyades and Pleiades

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/256412398/

In the RAW frames from the last photo, there are faint squiggles near bright stars that I believe were caused by mirror slap. I was a little disconcerted to see that, since with MLU enabled I can't just lock the cable release and do something else while the camera clicks away. However, since the problem was not present in my other photos, I'm guessing my tripod frobnitzes weren't tightened sufficiently.

Overall, I'm impressed with what the little lens can capture in a relatively short exposure on a stationary tripod. I could eliminate a lot of edge distortion and vignetting by stopping down to f/4 or so, but then I'd need a tracking mount.

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