Stellar astro-shots from the M6 + 22mm (PICS)

Started Jul 30, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 5,361
Stellar astro-shots from the M6 + 22mm (PICS)
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EOS M6 + EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens - on the road (but stopped).  Yes, the Mazda's still running.EOS M6 + 22mm - Fresh Apple Pie from the local Orchard at Pie In The Sky Roadhouse at Bilpin in the Blue Mountains.  I had 15 minutes to kill before sunset so Pie seemed like a good idea.
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We've had exceptionally clear skies for the last few days. I had a couple of free evenings to myself so I drove to two of my favorite locations to try and conduct tests with a new filter I'd recently purchased.   I made a last minute decision to arrive in the mountains before the sunset yesterday and caught the last few rays of light and a bite of fresh baked Apple Pie at a local roadhouse before setting up at the nearby lookout that I sometimes use.
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EOS 6D + 24mmL + NiSi Natural Night Filter - EOS M6 fitted with the 22mm f/2 STM lens.

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It seemed to take forever for the city lights in the distance to come on, even after it was quite dark. Since I was at a lookout, quite a few people stopped by to see the view and pulled up with their vehicle headlights trained on me, blinding me until they left.  The Astro-weather webpage I monitor promised exceptionally clear skies with no moon - so I was motivated to make a couple of trip out to this spot.  You could see the light-pollution down below where the suburbs are located and the hotspot of light in the distance was coming from the city of Sydney - almost 2 hours away.
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EOS 6D + 24mmL + NiSi Natural Night Filter ... arriving at the lookout.
The Steering Wheel is on the other side of the car here in Australia.

EOS 6D + 24mmL + NiSi Natural Night Filter... Waiting for the light to drop further.

EOS 6D +24mmL + Nisi Natural Night Filter - EOS M6 ready for duty...  still not dark enough.

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The Milky Way was bright enough and easy enough to see.  Even under the safety lamps at the lookout.  I knew that the EOS M was certainly capable of excellent results with the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens and I had wanted to try this same lens on the EOS M6.  An early test on my first weekend using the M6 was limited to the relatively dim Coalsack nebula since it was the only part of the Milky Way in view at the time.  Now that we're in July, the brighter Galactic Core is directly overhead each night so I really wanted to see if I could capture any details using this portable combination.  Aside from the tripod, the EOS M6 + 22mm is quite lightweight and ideal for this sort of subject.
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As you can see from the picture below, there was quite a lot of detailed captured in this single image with the blue hue.  I opted to shoot this in RAW to preserve the fainter stars.  I was able tease some of the details out during editing and the star-making nebulous regions received further color saturation.  Something I like about shooting with Tungsten WB is that the red-violet regions appear more pronounced.  When Auto WB is used, these areas appear to be lacking color.
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The planet Saturn was crossing the Milky Way's core at the time I took this picture so I added some diffraction spikes to make it stand out.  The Tungsten WB colors the stars a little more boldly so I simply enhanced the colors of key stars based on color sampling of the image.   I was VERY surprised to see the fine, filaments in the dark dust-lanes and spent a few extra hours teasing these details out during editing.  I was quite surprised to see the amount of detail captured.
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EOS M6 + EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens - Saturn Crossing the Milky Way - (diffraction spikes added)
22mm  |  20 seconds  |  f/2.2  |  ISO 2000  | Tungsten WB  |  RAW to JPEG
Edited in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4, Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6

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The 11-22mm lens was never ideal for this type of photography, even though it's such a wide lens.  At f/4 the aperture is just a little narrow and although sharp, I've always found it to be too dark for such a faint subject.  The results were better than I was able to capture with this lens on the original EOS M.  And I took this image in RAW instead of JPEG.  My first RAW shot with a camera since 2004.  It still required quite a bit of effort to adjust the image to the point where it was acceptable.  There was also color moire and mottling in the images taken in AWB that needed correction.  It was noisy at ISO 2500 but perhaps a higher ISO would be even worse at f/4. 
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EOS M6 + EF-M 11-22mm f/4 STM lens - Whilst better than the EOS M1, the M6 still produced a fairly muddy image with this lens at f/4.  It took a lot of work to bring any details out.
11mm  |  30 seconds  |  f/4  |  ISO 2500  |  RAW to JPEG
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Since I had the NiSi Night Filter (77mm) on my EF 24mm f/1.4L USM II lens, I thought it might offer me more detail by cutting out the light pollution in the sky... but I was high enough in the mountains that the skies were clear.  I saw no additional detail with the 24mmL lens and instead felt that the EF-M 22mm lens took a more interesting shot. 
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Re: NiSi Natural Night Filters: The purpose of the lilac-violet tint in the glass of this particular filter is to cut out on artificial light reflecting on particles in the air.... specifically yellow frequency light coming from Sodium type street lamps.  It keeps green foliage from turning amber/yellow under Auto White Balance - and makes editing easier... whilst architectural and city-scape shots should look more natural to the eye.  What I found with city shots is that if you don't stop down your lens a little with this filter, you end up with slightly more enhanced purple-fringing.  But the test shots I took gave me some interesting results and my favorite image was the Milky Way with just the Tungsten WB and no filter.
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iPhone 6s - Photographing the M6 with the 6D for the images above

EOS 6D + 24mmL + NiSi Natural Night Filter - first outdoor test with a full moon.

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Regards,
Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M +15 more
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS M6
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