Using Fuji lenses for astrophotography

Started Jan 14, 2020 | Discussions thread
01Ryan10 Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: Using Fuji lenses for astrophotography

Jerry-astro wrote:

01Ryan10 wrote:

I typically track from 2-4 minutes per exposure depending on the lens. The 21mm, which I no longer have, I would track for 2 minutes at F/2 and ISO 1600. My Fuji 16mm F/1.4 I will track for 3 minutes at F/2.8 and ISO 1600.

I used to track and stack 8 exposures, but honestly, I didn't find that much difference between 8 track and stacked exposures compared to what I track and stack now, 3 exposures. The reason I track and stack 3 exposures is to mitigate any airplane and satellite trails. The 3 stacked exposures provides some reduced "noise" as well.

In regards to Jupiter and its starburst...that's just the way it renders when the lens is stopped down two stops and there is very little moisture or humidity in the sky. If you have wispy clouds or high humidity, the stars will take on a more bloated look, even stopping the lens down.

I use the cheapest iOptron SkyTracker Pro, ($299 on Amazon when I bought it 3 years ago).

Those are just excellent, thanks for sharing. Just acquired a SkyGuider Pro and have been [not so] patiently waiting for clear skies here in sunny Oregon. I'll be working both with a 12mm (Zeiss) f2.8 for scapes and a Rokinon 85 for closer in work. Biggest challenge now will be figuring out how to properly align the tracker to allow for exposures of this length.

Any tips and tricks would be most welcome (either in the thread or via PM if you wish).

Thanks. Here are some tips...

1. Make sure your tripod is perfectly level, or what i do, get a tripod leveling base, (i use a cheap neewer $30 leveling base on my $1200 RRS sticks...LOL).

2. Use a strong tripod head, (ball or otherwise). Once you mount it to your tracker, you don't want it to "creep" with movement as the tracker rotates. I used to use a cheapo $150 chinese carbon fiber tirpod/head knockoff. I found that even with 30 second exposures, I was getting some star trailing. Once I went to my RRS ball head, the problem went away.

3. bring some 2x magnification reading glasses to the field with you. Helps with focussing the stars in live view.

4. If you're doing some imaging close to your car, put a beach umbrella in the trunk. Great for blocking any breeze during those long exposures.

5. Get in the habbit of aligning as best as you can. After several outings, you'll get good, and it will help with longer focal lengths. Some people say..."get it within the vicinity of Polaris and you're good". I don't know about that. I always align to near perfection.

6. Since you're tracking the sky and your ground will be blurry, may as well frame up 99% of the sky leaving a hint of ground/horizon in the sky exposures for reference. Since you have to blend, you'll have a lot of sky to work with. This will even allow you to create larger megapixel images since you may combine a 95% plus sky with a 95% plus ground image. If you're going to use an auto-blending program like Starry Landscape Stacker or such, then forget this advice. I use Photoshop to manually blend.

7. Speaking of blending, get very confident with luminosity masks if you're going to do the blending in Photoshop. I find it's really the only way to remove halos on blended edges, unless you use a thin layer of blurry stars from a static ground image and just match the exposure

8. For near perceived ISO noiseless images on the ground exposures, take them at blue hour when you can still shoot at ISOs 800 or lower. Merge with your sky imaging taken from the same spot later in the evening. Or...take your sky images, (Feb through May), then stick around for sunrise blue hour.

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Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8
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