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First Astro/Nightscape shoot. Feedback please.

sapstar

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Hi all, New to the forum and just did my first Nightscape shoot today.
I used sony A7R II Camera for both the photos. First photo is shot with a Sony 24mm F/1.4 GM at 4sec, ISO 250, F/1.4. (Milkyway barely visible)
Second photo is shot with a Samyang 14mm F/2.8 at 15sec, ISO 800, F/2.8. (Milkyway not very pronounced, but visible)
I wasn't entirely sure how to adjust the white balance for astrophotography in post processing. I have seen many people having a blueish purple tint, so I tried getting something similar...
Please provide me feedback on what I got right/wrong in capturing and processing.

A7RII_1337_20200720 1.jpg

A7RII_1344_20200720 1.jpg
 
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sapstar

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Hi all, I am planning to go out for another milky way shoot this weekend. Can someone kindly look at the RAW files from my last shoot and provide some advise? Are my stars sharp? Do I have any issues with camera shake, coma, shutter speed or focus? One of the photos is shot with Sony 24mm and the other with Samyang 14mm.
 

Ozzie_Traveller

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G'day ss

As a 'newbie' here - may I offer a 'welcome' and look fwd to seeing more of your pics
As to astro stuff ... most successful astro pics seem to be shot using ISOs of 3200 or above along with apertures of F2,8 or thereabouts

Certainly the lens in use usually is the widest you have to cover the whole field of view -or- if you are after a specific area, then by all means you can use a longer lens ... BUT this will also magnify star movement which you may not want

There is a rule-of-thumb regarding length of shutter time before movement shows (maybe someone else here can bring it to light) but for myself, if I do not want movement, I keep exposures to 15 to 20 seconds

Personally I do like the star movement trails visible, so then take from 100 to 1000 images of 15 seconds or so and stack them using the 'startrails.de' software ~ an excellent product freely available to us
ps- all my astro stuff is shot as JPGs :)

Hope this helps
Phil
 

sapstar

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Thanks @Ozzie_Traveller. The day I was shooting, there was still some light in the sky and at 3200 the sky was completely washed out, so I had to stick with lower ISO. Next time I am there, I think will be a really dark night.

In terms of calculating the max shutter time, I am using the NPF rule in Photo pills app. For my 24mm at 1.4, this is 7sec and For my 14mm at 2.8 it is 15sec. So trying to keep within these shutter speeds. If I have to bump up ISO, I will probably take around 20 photos and stack them with sequator for noise reduction.

For star trails, can we use a long shutter speed and reduce the ISO and then stack multiple exposures?
 

Mj224

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Re the bluish tinge, I personally like a black background, as is at night. Just reduce saturation to zero if that appeals. As said above ISO 3200 or 6400 is good at night, unless you are photoing the moon. Noise can be reduced by stacking or software. Long exposures depend on Sapstar's notes. If you are keen and have £300 to spend, a star tracker works well. You can have veruy long exposures with that bit of kit. But generally, many shorter exposures and stacking works well/better. Photing planets is different. For instance Jupiter, you need very short exposures for the planet itself. that way you might get the rings of dust, but you need relatively long exposures to get the Jupiter moons....if you are clever, you can combine the two.. (being clever never suits me tho')...:D

Good luck, plenty of blurb on the web, you might even get a scope and attach the camera....:)
 

sapstar

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Thanks for your response @Mj224. For star trails I still can't visualise why we can't use very long shutter speeds like 2 to 3 mins which should create a reasonable trail and then take may be 30 of these shots over an hour and then stack them. This should create a good star trail right? Why do we need to go with multiple shots with 15sec and high iso?
 

Mj224

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Yes, if you want star trails, then a long exposure is what you want. With the later Olympus cameras, we can do "Live Comp". This makes the camera take many 20 second (variable) and stacks them as the time goes along. This stops very bright stars/street lights from just burning out, and polluting parts of the photo. Trial and error is the way forward...:))
 

Isac

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A good friend suggests:
1. Manual mode on a tripod.
2. 25 second exposure.
3. Aperture at 2.8 to 2.0.
4. ISO 3200.

From there play with the ISO to get what you need. I hope this helps.
Here's what I did with one of your images. I just opened in ACR and played with the settings.
A7RII_1344_20200720-E.jpg
SH_539.jpg
 

sapstar

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Thank you very much @Isac. I was really worried about bringing down the exposure as I thought that would lose some stars. But this brought a lot more detail in the milky way. I will try and reprocess mine :).
 

sapstar

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@Isac I really appreaciate your help with processing. I processed in Capture one with your guidance and was able to recover a lot more detail from this photo. Here is the final result.
A7RII_1344_20200720 2.jpg
 
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sapstar

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@Isac Just a related question. As you have seen my RAW files, do you think my stars are sharp?
 

Isac

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@Isac Just a related question. As you have seen my RAW files, do you think my stars are sharp?
They look OK to me but other, more knowledgeable folk, may be able to give you better feedback.
 

sapstar

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Recently got Topaz Denoise AI and was trying it on my Astro shot from July, so I was experimenting using Denoise via Capture One and Affinity. Finally I got this result.

Initial edit was in Affinity. I adjusted white balance, exposure, clarity, highlights, shadows and lens vignette. My initial thought was to not touch clarity as that would enhance the noise as well. But I realised that if I don't increase the clarity, I am losing some faint stars in the output from Denoise.

Once edited in Affinity, I used Denoise AI for noise reduction which I thought produced excellent noise reduction. Following this, I did the final adjustments to exposure, clarity, contrast, shadows, highlights, exposure, saturation and white balance.

PS: Which sky colour tone should I go with?

A7RII_1343_20200720_NC.jpgA7RII_1343_20200720_NC 1.jpg
 
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