night sky with nikon p900

Started Aug 18, 2016 | Questions
rrabneyjr
rrabneyjr New Member • Posts: 1
night sky with nikon p900

I am new to photography. I bought a Nikon p900. My problem is: I am unable to see the stars in the monitor or the electronic viewfinder. The stars are quite clear to the naked eye. I have tried in my suburb, at the lake, and far out of town in pitch black. If I zoom in, I can sometimes find a star only with luck. I see beautiful pictures others took of the night sky and wonder why I am unable to see it. Perhaps a setting or a few settings? Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

Robert

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Nikon Coolpix P900
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Nikon Coolpix P900
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chris gunn
chris gunn Veteran Member • Posts: 9,098
Re: night sky with nikon p900

rrabneyjr wrote:

I am new to photography. I bought a Nikon p900. My problem is: I am unable to see the stars in the monitor or the electronic viewfinder. The stars are quite clear to the naked eye. I have tried in my suburb, at the lake, and far out of town in pitch black. If I zoom in, I can sometimes find a star only with luck. I see beautiful pictures others took of the night sky and wonder why I am unable to see it. Perhaps a setting or a few settings? Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

Robert

You need to aim at planets or the brightest stars to focus. Live view, and when you find the star use 10x view.

But you are actually asking about exposure. Manually set the exposure.

For example, with a wide angle lens, 25s ISO 3200 F2.8. Manually select Daylight white balance.

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cheers!
Gunn
-- Get a big lens and get closer™.

rnclark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,937
Re: night sky with nikon p900
2

rrabneyjr wrote:

I am new to photography. I bought a Nikon p900. My problem is: I am unable to see the stars in the monitor or the electronic viewfinder. The stars are quite clear to the naked eye. I have tried in my suburb, at the lake, and far out of town in pitch black. If I zoom in, I can sometimes find a star only with luck. I see beautiful pictures others took of the night sky and wonder why I am unable to see it. Perhaps a setting or a few settings? Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

Robert

A factor in your difficulty is the lens size. The camera is a 5.6x crop sensor with a 4.3-357 mm lens. Wide open, it is 24 mm equivalent field of view (of a full frame camera), but is actually only a 4.3 mm f/2.8 lens. That is an aperture diameter of 4.3/2.8 = 1.5 mm. You dark adapted eyes are about 7.5 mm (a little less with age). So wide open, wide angle, the lens collects (7.5/1.5) squared = 25 times less light, or much less than what you would see at night if wearing dark sunglasses!

The key to low light, and especially night sky photography, is lens collecting area (note, that is independent of sensor size and f-ratio is irrelevant (contrary to popular internet opinion of regular photographers; astrophotographers usually understand this). If you had a real 24 mm f/2.8 lens, it would have an aperture diameter of 24/2.8 = 8.6 mm, or larger than your dark adapted eyes. That would collect enough light to make some nice images.

If you really want to do night sky images, I suggest returning the P900 and getting a DSLR where you can choose the lens for the application.

This series may help: http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/nightscapes/

Roger

Saint Lucifer
Saint Lucifer New Member • Posts: 22
Re: night sky with nikon p900

rrabneyjr wrote:

I am new to photography. I bought a Nikon p900. My problem is: I am unable to see the stars in the monitor or the electronic viewfinder. The stars are quite clear to the naked eye. I have tried in my suburb, at the lake, and far out of town in pitch black. If I zoom in, I can sometimes find a star only with luck. I see beautiful pictures others took of the night sky and wonder why I am unable to see it. Perhaps a setting or a few settings? Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

Robert

This reply may be a year and three months late (lol) but I found a good article that may help you, if you haven't already solved your issue.

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/nightscapes/

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Sir Canon
Sir Canon Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: night sky with nikon p900
1

Saint Lucifer wrote:

rrabneyjr wrote:

I am new to photography. I bought a Nikon p900. My problem is: I am unable to see the stars in the monitor or the electronic viewfinder. The stars are quite clear to the naked eye. I have tried in my suburb, at the lake, and far out of town in pitch black. If I zoom in, I can sometimes find a star only with luck. I see beautiful pictures others took of the night sky and wonder why I am unable to see it. Perhaps a setting or a few settings? Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

Robert

This reply may be a year and three months late (lol) but I found a good article that may help you, if you haven't already solved your issue.

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/nightscapes/

hah thats roger clarks article he responded to this thread above you

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michaelm12 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: night sky with nikon p900

When the lens is zoomed I can see details I cannot possibly see with my naked eye, so when zoomed the apeture must be much larger perhaps the diameter of the lens itself. I have also seen pictures taken with the P900 of the stars of core of the andromeda galaxy which i cannot see with my naked eye.

W5JCK
W5JCK Veteran Member • Posts: 3,448
Re: night sky with nikon p900

michaelm12 wrote:

When the lens is zoomed I can see details I cannot possibly see with my naked eye, so when zoomed the apeture must be much larger perhaps the diameter of the lens itself. I have also seen pictures taken with the P900 of the stars of core of the andromeda galaxy which i cannot see with my naked eye.

No. The aperture is going to be proportional, and I think it will probably get smaller proportionally with the greater zoom.

Like was stated a long time ago, the P900 has a very small sensor at 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm). This camera will never produce very good night sky photos, at least not on the level of an APS-C sensor camera, much less a full frame camera.

Your best hope to see stars in Liveview mode on this camera, is to use the full Manual shooting mode, set the aperture wide open (smallest f number), set the ISO to at least 1600, and set the shutter to a long exposure (say 30 seconds). If you are really lucky, you might see stars in the LCD. But even then you first need to set the manual focus to Infinity then fine tune it. These cameras simply were not designed for astrophotography. Yes you can use them, but they will be more or less a PITA to use for AP and will never yield very good results.

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Best Regards,
Jack
Website: http://w5jck.com/nightscapes-gallery.html
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackswinden
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michaelm12 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: night sky with nikon p900

Thanks for your response. In my post I said that  the apeture might be bigger than the lens, however I meant the lens of the human eye, maybe this is wrong too. But the magnification of the P900 is pretty incredible, and I have already taken details pictures of the moon with its many craters clearly visible and jupiter with 4 moons clearly visible,  so I believe that the P900 is suitable for at least some astronmy. I have seen others take pictures of the core of stars in Andromeda and Venus as well. This is not a bad start.

Shaza K New Member • Posts: 4
Re: night sky with nikon p900

Hi all..I know  this thread is not a current one...but I am too very interested in what abilities the p900 does..actually have in capturing  stars ....I know the moon..is very simple to capture with these zoom cameras....so I tested out the smaller wider angle captures.....

In manual...with iso and apitature st opposite ends...a clear capture of stars on a very dark night are...definitely possible 😉😉

Shaza K New Member • Posts: 4
Re: night sky with nikon p900

Robert...did you have any luck with capturing more of the smaller night skies on your camera yet

EE-TV
EE-TV Senior Member • Posts: 1,483
Re: night sky with nikon p900

This is the infamous 'Flat Earther's go-to device (which is why I am keeping my eyes on the soon to be released P1000 next month ). My point is, if you look on YouTube there is a plethora of users using this camera to actually get pretty amazing visibly defined images of certain points of interest such as Saturn!

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EE-TV
EE-TV Senior Member • Posts: 1,483
Re: night sky with nikon p900

Here, "how to focus and expose when videoing Venus with a Nikon P900" https://youtu.be/dICIKYn5w4w

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Shaza K New Member • Posts: 4
Re: night sky with nikon p900

EE-TV

I agree ..this camera has great zoom to capture Mars...in quite a good light...

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