EOS R as a nightscape camera

Started Aug 11, 2019 | Discussions
Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,839
EOS R as a nightscape camera
27

I am liking my EOS R as a nightscape camera. I love the touch screen activated shutter and use that a lot. I also like the bulb timer where you can specify several exposures to be taken. Very handy.

Noise performance is only slightly worse than Sony A7riii and it tends to be cleaner in long exposure shadows where Sony suffers from a lot of colour speckle noise (red and blue dots everywhere in the shadows of long exposures).

EOS R Sigma Art 14mm tracked 6 panel mosaic each panel is 8 images stacked.

Greg.

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Joe Reynolds
Joe Reynolds Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Greg, could you describe your actual step by step process to produce the image.

OP Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,839
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera
12

Joe Reynolds wrote:

Greg, could you describe your actual step by step process to produce the image.

1. I setup my tripod and Fornax Lightrack ii tracker using smartphone apps. I use a free compass and set the phone next to the mount and adjust it until its pointing 180 degrees south. (I am in Australia). Northern Hemisphere you would adjust it until due north (actual north not magnetic north).

2. I set the angle of the tracker to my exact latitude in my case 34.5 degrees. I use a smartphone digital inclinometer laid on top of the mount and adjust it until its angled at 34.5 degrees. The tracker is set to south (southern hemisphere - it defaults to north on power up).

3. I set the camera:

RAW, FV mode, manual focus, touch shutter activated, single exposure, ISO3200, 30 seconds F1.8 to 2.2 (I think these were F1.8). Sigma Art 14mm F1.8 lens. I use a 2 second delay and electronic first curtain shutter to minimise vibrations.

4. I focus the lens. I set the evf/lcd to magnify 10X and pick a bright star. I look through the EVF or LCD (EVF is better as you can see the star more clearly) and rack the focus back and forth so I can see where the star is sharpest. Be careful not to touch the focus ring again.

I take a 30 second exposure and check using magnified view to see the stars are sharp and in focus.

5. I take a few shots to get the framing right. Its hard to see the scene beforehand so this is trial and error. I get it so its framing the scene well. Usually I would use an L angle and set the camera on its side (portrait mode) to get some landscape with every sky shot. Not always possible when the Milky Way is high up in the sky like it was in this image).

6. You can set the bulb timer up to take 6 x 30 second shots if you want. Otherwise I stand there and wait for it to take the shot then take the next etc. You could use an intervalometer also especially if you want to take longer than 30 seconds. Bulb timer allows you to do longer than 30 seconds - yeah Canon!.

7. I move the camera along and take the next series. I prefer to do 3  images across and 2 up with a 14mm lens. Make note of a star in the LCD image and move the camera watching where that star goes as a guide. You want about 1/3rd overlap as a minimum.

I have also used a panorama head and not sure if it helped or not I'll have to take more and see. They do tend to go off because the tracker is constantly moving.

I also use the electronic level to level the camera as its not that clear at night sometimes if the camera is unlevel and this helps to make sure the panorama does not have gaps in it.

8. I move across the sky and take the rest of the images.

9. Later I open them in LR. I process one to taste and then apply the settings to all. This works most of the time but some frames seem too bright so some judgement there.

10. I export and stack the 6-8 subexposures using the free pgm Sequator and check the freeze ground option and mask the sky areas. I export the stacked image and repeat for the other subexposures until all are processed.

11. I then use a panorama stitching program to stitch the 6 stacked images together.

I use either Photoshop (unreliable), Microsoft ICE (reliable) or PTGui (somewhat reliable but often more work).

12. Final colour and cropping in Photoshop.

You can take it further and take untracked long exposures of the landscape element with only a bit of sky and then the sky with only a bit of landscape. So tracked sky shots and untracked landscape shots and blend them together in Photoshop.

See lonelyspeck.com.au for tutorials on exactly how to do that plus much the same as above.

You really need a decent dark site and a mostly clear night. A bit of cloud adds interest though so it doesn't have to be totally clear but light polluted or a bright moon will suppress the results.

Greg.

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Joe Reynolds
Joe Reynolds Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Thank you.

PMUK
PMUK Senior Member • Posts: 1,094
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Inspirational shot, thanks for sharing

Phil

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OP Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,839
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

PMUK wrote:

Inspirational shot, thanks for sharing

Phil

Thanks Phil.

Greg.

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Rawpaul
Rawpaul Senior Member • Posts: 2,247
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I am liking my EOS R as a nightscape camera. I love the touch screen activated shutter and use that a lot. I also like the bulb timer where you can specify several exposures to be taken. Very handy.

Noise performance is only slightly worse than Sony A7riii and it tends to be cleaner in long exposure shadows where Sony suffers from a lot of colour speckle noise (red and blue dots everywhere in the shadows of long exposures).

EOS R Sigma Art 14mm tracked 6 panel mosaic each panel is 8 images stacked.

Greg.

Beautifull image Greg ….

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OP Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,839
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Rawpaul wrote:

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I am liking my EOS R as a nightscape camera. I love the touch screen activated shutter and use that a lot. I also like the bulb timer where you can specify several exposures to be taken. Very handy.

Noise performance is only slightly worse than Sony A7riii and it tends to be cleaner in long exposure shadows where Sony suffers from a lot of colour speckle noise (red and blue dots everywhere in the shadows of long exposures).

EOS R Sigma Art 14mm tracked 6 panel mosaic each panel is 8 images stacked.

Greg.

Beautifull image Greg ….

Thank you very much Rawpaul.

Greg.

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Viriato Junior Member • Posts: 41
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

I've a doubt.

Astrophotography at 3200 my files show already lots of noise in a EOS R.. os it normal?

OP Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,839
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Viriato wrote:

I've a doubt.

Astrophotography at 3200 my files show already lots of noise in a EOS R.. os it normal?

Each panel of the mosaic is a stack of 8 exposures and this stacking gets rid of the noise.

EOS R is not particularly noisy at ISO3200 but a Sony A7riii is a bit cleaner but it gets noise artifacts in the shadow areas that consists of red/blue speckles. The EOS R does not get that.

Also the star colours from the EOS R are very good and natural whereas the Sony tends to artificially create some greenish stars due to the RAW filtering Sony does.

Greg.

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Noogy
Noogy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,270
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I am liking my EOS R as a nightscape camera. I love the touch screen activated shutter and use that a lot. I also like the bulb timer where you can specify several exposures to be taken. Very handy.

Noise performance is only slightly worse than Sony A7riii and it tends to be cleaner in long exposure shadows where Sony suffers from a lot of colour speckle noise (red and blue dots everywhere in the shadows of long exposures).

EOS R Sigma Art 14mm tracked 6 panel mosaic each panel is 8 images stacked.

Greg.

With your talent Greg, looks like any camera can produce topnotch images!

Love the R too for lowlight long exposure.

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Hoka Hey
Hoka Hey Senior Member • Posts: 2,091
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Nice one Greg!

A friend shared an amazing $5.00 tool for focusing, and I’d like to pass it along:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000CAHCQS?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

You place it directly on the screen and you can see pixel level stars which you can then focus with amazing accuracy. Works great with your technique of focusing on stars closer to the edges of the frame to get Less coma on the Sigma 14 1.8.

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Joe

Hoka Hey
Hoka Hey Senior Member • Posts: 2,091
Re: EOS R as a nightscape camera

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

6. You can set the bulb timer up to take 6 x 30 second shots if you want. Otherwise I stand there and wait for it to take the shot then take the next etc. You could use an intervalometer also especially if you want to take longer than 30 seconds. Bulb timer allows you to do longer than 30 seconds - yeah Canon!.

Greg.

Great guide to shooting astro with the R.

How are you getting the bulb timer to take 6 shots? I would love to be able to do that, but thought Canon had left that function off.

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Joe

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