Star photos

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Larry Rexley Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Star photos

I have a Canon M6 Mark II and also do astrophotography with just a tripod and regular telephoto lenses. In my case I use vintage Minolta lenses with a Fotasy Minolta to EOS M adapter.

A 135mm f2 lens is fast and is a great choice for the brightest deep sky objects like the Orion nebula (M42), the Andromeda galaxy (M31) and the Pleiades star cluster. I have gotten all three of those with a 135mm f2.8 lens. You can do some tests with your lens to see if if it is really sharp at f2.0, if not you may wish to stop down a half or full stop to get better deep sky photos.

I found with my setup that I can only use 0.8 second exposure for the Orion nebula before I get star trails, but my camera higher resolution (32 MP) you can probably get away with longer exposures, perhaps 1.2 seconds or so. With objects closer to the celestial pole you can go longer, maybe up to 2 seconds for Andromeda. Just take some test images at different shutter speeds and then look at them zoomed in, choose the longest speed that still gives pinpoint stars at the center of the frame (stars near the frame edges may appear elongated at wide apertures).

For the Moon and planets, a 400mm or longer lens is a good start. I've found 500 and higher to work very well. Note that EF-mount lenses can be used with a good EF teleconverter... I have a Kenko/Tamron MC7 I got for $40 from eBay that does not reduce the sharpness of the lenses it's used with, as long as they are good lenses. I use it with my Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS STM zoom lens, I had to cut off the back of that EF-S lens mount to convert it to an EF-mount lens, to work with the teleconverter (do this at your own risk!) but the results are excellent for the Moon and planets. In fact I use it with TWO stacked MC7 teleconverters on the Moon to get a 1000mm f22 lens, with great results.

Attached are some of my photos with my setup. All are using many exposures (100 to 200) stacked using the free software DeepSkyStacker. All were taken with ISO 2500 - 5000 at exposures of 0.8 to 2 seconds. All with 135mm f2.8 lens on a tripod. M42 Orion nebula, M31 Andromeda galaxy, and the Pleiades.

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