::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::

Started Jun 9, 2008 | Discussions
Todd Hargis Senior Member • Posts: 2,293
::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::

I just returned from the Texas Star Party (Fort Davis, TX) and we had a perfect week of clear skies...WOW! This was the first time for me to image the Milky Way with my D3 and it did a fabulous job. The shots were taken with the 20mm f/2.8 & 50mm f/1.4 at f/4 and the exposures were 4 minutes long (single exposures) at ISO 1250. The camera was guided on my Celestron CG-5 mount and the images were processed in Capture NX and Photosjhop. Please feel free to comment and I will answer your questions to the best of my ability.

The Milky Way and Jupiter

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D3 pusher Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: ::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::

Wow! Todd very good!

smhagger Senior Member • Posts: 1,425
Awesome Todd!

Great Work, thanks for sharing! Did you happen to have access to the 14-24 for the weekend to take in more of the Milky Way? I wonder how that would have worked for you...

Thanks for sharing. Please share more...


 smhagger's gear list:smhagger's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G +5 more
DigitalJay Senior Member • Posts: 1,509
Love them all, Todd....

...can you tell me what is the prominent star in pix # 1 and 3?

I really enjoy the astrophotography you post.


 DigitalJay's gear list:DigitalJay's gear list
Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Fujifilm X-T3 Nikon D700 +2 more
PLMSG New Member • Posts: 22
Re: Love them all, Todd....

Very nice. Well done.

GO Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Love them

Great Pict's do more. thanks

 GO's gear list:GO's gear list
Nikon D3
RomanJohnston Forum Pro • Posts: 18,865
That 3rd one....

Just became my current wallpaper.

Really like these Todd...

Great work.


'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who are we to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous.

Actually, who are we not to be?'

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JamesDean Regular Member • Posts: 367
Re: That 3rd one....


Great shots Todd!!!

I really want to learn more about this type of photography and I appreciate your posts.

Here is a couple of pics from a recent trip to Madagascar. Milky Way - Southern Cross & a several hundred year old mud wall. Not great, but a different kind of pic than you posted. A good pic a some great experiences that we had. I hope its o.k. to post these into your thread.




Any advice would be appreciated.

James Dean

bob123456 Forum Member • Posts: 82
Re: ::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::


These are truly wonderful. When I began my photographic curiosity of the heavens in the middle 1960's I mounted my Minolta SR-7 w/1.4 lens on my 8-inch reflector and attempted long exposures with Kodachrome 64. They came out fairly well but what you have presented has me wanting to go out and purchase a telescope and reclaim some of my childhood.

Did you experiment with anything other than ISO 1250? Did you decide that this was a nice compromise between noise and light-gathering ability?

I'm sure you are pumped with the results. I can't wait to do the same with my D3 and a dark sky. Thanks for the great work.


Morbius Contributing Member • Posts: 674
Re: ::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::

Todd Hargis wrote:

This would be perfect except a I think I see a few dust spots. Shame.

No, really fantastic images.

Devendra Veteran Member • Posts: 3,584
DAAMMMNNN.. wow. where is the milk?

its all the way..

impressive shots! great job.

 Devendra's gear list:Devendra's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-3N Nikon D800E Nikon D200 Nikon 1 J1
Zermelo Regular Member • Posts: 424
nice shots!


... is it field rotation or just some sort of spherical aberration what shows in the 1st picture?

Have you used and autoguider or just guided "by hand"? (...or not guided?)

Is a pity that those lenses have such strong chromatic aberration. Have you tried anyone else? Do you have any recommendation on Nikon-compatible glass for astrophotography?

Those look like very dark skies, the Pipe Nebula really "glows" (I know is not the best verb!!). Which was your limiting magnitude?

Seeing these results and all that "shy-looking" nebulas such as M8 and M20 doesn't make you wonder how good can this camera work with the IR filter removed?? Do you know if someone has already tried this?

Keep posting, very nice astrophotography!!



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ovrebekk Veteran Member • Posts: 4,872

Those shots are incredible.
You put the Hubble to shame!

OK, perhaps that was a slight exaggeration, but still the best astronomical shots i've ever seen taken with a normal camera

Wanderer23 Contributing Member • Posts: 968
Re: ::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::
TimT Senior Member • Posts: 2,643
Re: ::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::

Cool shots.
Thanks for sharing.


 TimT's gear list:TimT's gear list
Nikon D810 Tamron 15-30mm F2.8
Higuma Veteran Member • Posts: 4,418
Todd - Very Serious ? for you...

How do these D3 shots hold up when compared to the best your contemporaries have to offer from their set-ups ??

I am quite interested in how these stack up against the competition...

I would gush about your captures but suffice to say - I believe you are at the top of your game and doing a great service to Nikon for posting these shots on the web... I hope they can find some way to show their appreciation... 8-)


Georgi Veteran Member • Posts: 7,638

That is soo cool

jonthu Regular Member • Posts: 114

Those are some incredible shots - very cool!
Jonas Thun
Ystad, Sweden

buellit Contributing Member • Posts: 653
Todd, excellent as always!!

I always thoroughly enjoy, marvel at and appreciate these images that you share

Rod Laird
Rod Laird Regular Member • Posts: 416
Re: ::Nikon D3 shoots the Milky Way::

Terrific stuff - respect (and what a lovely dark sky!). Have not pulled out the scope this season but you give me new impetous! (If I can only get the counterbalancing to work with the huge D3...)

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Rod in Oz

 Rod Laird's gear list:Rod Laird's gear list
Sony a7R II Nikon D5 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +9 more
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