Using Fuji lenses for astrophotography

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
tradesmith45 Senior Member • Posts: 1,923
Re: Capture Workflow Questions

01Ryan10 wrote:

Thanks much Ryan for the response!

tradesmith45 wrote:

01Ryan10 wrote:

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.

Hi Ryan, have a couple questions about your foreground capture workflow. Sharing your great experience would be really helpful. In the past I've shot my foregrounds in starlight. Been thinking of switching to getting the foreground in twilight as you do for the same IQ reasons.

1. In bright twilight, may be unable to find Polaris to align the tracker that will be used later in the night. What do you do about this? (I might even shot the foreground w/ a XT2 w/ its RAW NR & switch to the unfiltered XT100 for the stars - use the best of both cameras.)

2. What do you do to match the color/WB of the twilight/star light images? I've been thinking of shooting my Xrite Color Checker in both for use matching in post.

And have a couple equipment questions. Shooting MW panos w/ trackers (tracker aligned North & camera sweeping the south) means the camera load will shift from one side of the drive to the other. Backlash in the tracker drive can cause tracking to stop for a period until the slack in the gears is out. Has this been a problem for you? Do you use the counterweight kit to deal w/ this? I've had this happen once & didn't catch it in the field so got home w/ no images for part of my pano.

You mentioned selling a 21mm lens. Was this the Samyang/Rok 21mm f1.4? What did you think of that one? For me the biggest problem w/ the XF23 f1.4 is astigmatism that doesn't substantially improve until f4. Sure wish there was a lens w/ good astro edge IQ by f2 in the 23-35mm range. What 50mm are you using?

Thanks in advance!

hmmm...i'll try the best to answer the questions...

This tells me you use pretty deep twilight for imaging the landscape - that's what I was wondering.

1. I never had an issue finding polaris. Actually, I find it quite the opposite in regards to finding Polaris during blue hour or twilight. I find it easier to locate the star at those times. The Big Dipper and Polaris both begin to show at the blue hour. Since they are the only major stars showing in that region of the sky at those times, it's easy to locate. Because I do most of my nightscape imaging from Southern California bortle class 1 and 2 desert skies, Polaris becomes a little harder to find during normal night hours. There are many other stars that shine nearly as bright as Polaris in the desert night skies.

And this tells me something else I needed - you can eyeball the color match. Both these make life easier.

2. I "eyeball" the color balance when blending exposures. I generally decrease the saturation slider on the Terra Nova exposures about 20-40 points to simulate deep night. I'll also reduce contrast, lift the blacks and shadows a little to simulate a flatter lit scene. If there are some flowers in the scene, I may bring back the saturation a little selectively on those objects.

I was wondering if the long total exposure you are using is causing stitching problems due to setting/rising stars. Sounds like it doesn't GTK! I use shorter exposures & stack more of them.

Is the camera in landscape or portrait orientation?

3. I have done a couple of MW panos on a tracker. Getting multiple exposures of the sky is tough because of the way the MW will "bend" throughout a 30+ minute span. And...as you use a longer focal length to stitch the pano, it makes it that much tougher. With my Rokinon 12mm, I can get 4 camera positions with 3 exposures per position totaling 24 minutes of exposure time, (2 mins per exposure). When stitched, they create a natural looking arch. Several times I only used the 4 different tracked camera positions without stacking, and the pano came out great. This works well if you don't have a lot of airplane or satellite trails. With Starlink, it could get tougher to get away with single exposures per camera angle. I don't use a counterweight. Between my X-T2, 16mm F/1.4, and 12mm Rokinon, I have not had an issue. I now have an 8-16mm, and that is a different beast. It is heavy. I have not had the time to do some backyard test of bright stars at F/8 on the tracker just to see if I have issues with 2-4 minute exposures. I'll probably try that this week.

4. The Rokinon 21mm F/1.4 was fantastic for me.

That's really good to know. The Lenstip review looks pretty bad for both the 21 f1.4 & 35 f1.2. The XF23 f1.4 still shows lots of coma & astigmatism at f2. Have you used that one? Can you send me an image from the 21 @ f2 so I can compare?

I usually shot it at F/2 with near perfect corners. It also did not have any of the Rokinon/Samyang decenter issue. Optically, it was a great lens, but I got tired of the MW perspective, ( MW too large in the image for my taste). Even my 16mm is borderline too large in my images, but I'll give it another go this year. 12mm looks great, and I'm really interested in what I'll get from 8mm on my 8-16. Probably two shot panos of the full arch at 8mm. LOL.

Will be interested in seeing results from the 8-16.

Really appreciate you taking the time for this!

 tradesmith45's gear list:tradesmith45's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Olympus E-M1 II Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm X-T3 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro +12 more
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