EOS-M + 22mm / 11-22mm lenses for Astrophotography... (PICS)

Started Aug 14, 2015 | Discussions thread
ForumParentFirstPrevious
Flat view
Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 7,134
EOS-M + 22mm / 11-22mm lenses for Astrophotography... (PICS)
17

EOS-M + 22mm lens
.
A question that people asked me fairly often since I bought the EOS-M was whether or not it could be used to photograph the night sky.  Specifically the Milky Way.  I was able to obtain reasonable images using a bright EF 24mm f/1.4L lens mounted to the EOS-M with an adapter but that seemed to disappoint a few people who were unlikely to want to spend big on such a lens.  I suspect they thought I was cheating or something.  The ultimate answer though is YES.  It can capture these things and more...
.
It's Winter here in Australia right now.  And the temperature ranged from 10C to 6C degrees last night where I was. So with the Perseid meteor shower taking place over the last few days, I decided to take the EOS-M out with me to see just what might be possible with the two native EF-M lenses that I had on hand:  The EF-M 22mm f/2 lens and the EF-M 11-22mm f/4+ lens.  To be honest, I didn't think I'd get anything useful at all from the 11-22mm lens so the first night I brought the EOS-M with the 22mm lens mounted.  I was shooting with the EOS 6D but I wanted to bring the EOS-M along with me as a secondary camera regardless.
.

Night worker on the road into the mountains shortly before midnight.
.
It was quite cold when I arrived to my first shooting location - which was a truckstop that I sometimes use because there's a clear view of the sky with no overhead powerlines.    I also picked a spot behind a concealed police car that was using radar about 10 meters away... but my presence seemed to annoy him and he packed up and left after a while.  I got bored looking for a better view from the region I was in and saw a shortcut to the mountains that would lead to hopefully brighter skies.  I drove for another hour until I reached the highest areas and parked by the side of the road to take some shots of the night sky there.
.

EOS-M + 22mm lens - The Galactic Center of the Milky Way
.
To my considerable disappointment, I could capture no shooting stars (meteorites) at all, in all the hundreds of pictures that I took.  I saw a few on the first night but they were brief and fairly faint... and always in the opposite direction to where the camera was pointed.
.
After 12:30am the Milky Way began to set in the East but the Andromeda Galaxy appeared from the horizon to the North.  It was just barely visible to my eyes but the EOS-M could see it clearly.  My settings for most of these shots were as follows:
.

  • Aperture: f/2
  • ISO: 1600 and 3200
  • White Balance: Tungsten (I like the blue hue it produces)
  • Shutter Speed: 15 or 20 seconds (on average)
  • Self Timer: ON (2 seconds)
  • Noise Reduction: Auto
  • FOCUS: Manual
  • Method Of Focus: (focus on a bright star using Magnify feature)

.

EOS-M + 22mm lens.  Andromeda Galaxy rising to the North
.
The second night I went out had me returning this morning at about 3am and this time I took the 11-22mm lens with me. With a maximum Aperture of f/4, I expected little from this camera.  But again, whilst I saw a couple of meteorites from the Perseid shower, I caught nothing on camera.  I took some shots from my favorite Truck Stop location and then moved on to find someplace more isolated that might offer something more interesting for a ground-based feature (eg rock formation or dead trees etc). Before I left the truck stop I thought I'd take a few shots of what I was doing with my DSLR so I placed the EOS-M on a mini-tripod and took some shots of both the sky and even myself with it.  Though the 11-22mm lens required a higher ISO be used, the LCD screen on the EOS-M showed that it was more than capable of capturing the Milky Way.
.

EOS-M + 11-22mm lens - Galactic Center of the Milky Way from the Truck Stop

EOS-M + 11-22mm lens - Small Magellanic Cloud (a local Dwarf Galaxy) rising

EOS-M + 11-22mm lens - View from the ground.

EOS 6D view of my EOS-M - resting on my car doing a long-exposure set of 10 shots.
.
Arriving at a bridge near a National Park, I left the main road and took my car to a nearby camping ground ...but found there were a couple of cars parked there in the dark, nestled in the long grass with people in them.  I had some expensive gear with me and wasn't in the mood to fight off a robbery so I left this location and found a private road nestled between hills and low mountains.  The pictures below were taken at this location.  As I pulled up, I wound down my window and looked outside to see where the Milky Way was oriented and the first thing I saw was a bright yellow ember of a shooting star... as a meteor fell slowly in the distance.  It was a brilliant spark that dropped quite slowly in the sky before winking out again.  I had high hopes at this point.
.
The only problems that I encountered were fast-dying EOS-M batteries due to the cold weather and the onset of a serious FROST that came suddenly and produced ICE on both of my camera lenses.  I've not had lenses freeze up on me like this before so I've never spent any time looking at a solution although there are lens heaters for Telescopes so perhaps a similar alternative exists for camera lenses.  The freezing of both lenses took place quite quickly... in under 10 minutes, possibly just 5.  I tried to thaw the 11-22mm lens with the heater in my car and took a picture when I was partway done (see below).  The Perseid Meteor Storm was due to reach a peak at 4:40am but my wife needed the car at 5am so I couldn't say out any later plus my lenses had both frosted up.  I left empty handed and returned home.
.
There's a little bit of editing on these images... mostly minor tweaks but nothing too dramatic.  The Milky Way looks grey and colorless to my eyes but it's quite visible in the night sky... including the darker Dust Lanes that mask the Galactic Center.  The Milky Way was so bright and colorful in the EOS-M pictures that I've left a few of the images on the camera just so I can show people when they ask what I was able to capture.
.
The lenses performed well for this sort of work.  The bright f/2 optics on the 22mm lens were obviously the best of the two used.  I got too much noise from the 11-22mm lens for my liking although the stars were sharper at f/4 than the 22mm lens offers at f/2.  I was disappointed (and surprised) not to capture any meteors over the last two nights but it was great fun working with the EOS-M and I got a few interesting pictures for the effort.
.

EOS 6D used for this shot - Walking back towards my car with the EOS-M on top of the roof taking sequenced shots.  The Milky Way is about to set over the horizon now.

EOS 6D - a shot of the EOS-M on a mini-tripod, resting on my car to take the shot below...

EOS-M + 11-22mm lens  - Glow from the City Lights - with the Milky Way and both the large and small Magellanic Clouds rising on the left.

11-22mm lens: Ice Crystals building up on the lens in under 10 minutes.  Eeew!

Canon G1X: After trying to thaw out the ice crystals using my car heater, I thought to take a picture of the 11-22mm lens on the EOS-M.  They're partially melted in this picture.
.

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon EOS M6 Canon EOS Ra Canon EOS R6 Canon EF-M 32mm F1.4 Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM +20 more
Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS M
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
ForumParentFirstPrevious
Flat view
ForumParentFirstPrevious
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow