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The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby sdhiker » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:39 am

As someone who is new to Milky Way Shots I am looking for some suggestions. I'm heading up to Mt Whitney In a week or two and was thinking of taking my Sony A7 ii up with me to try and do some milky way shots. Since I used a lot of my play money getting this new rig I don't have the extra money to run out and buy a wide angle lens or prime lens right away so I'm making due with the •28-70mm lens that came with it. Based off of that information does anyone have any suggestions on what settings would make the most out of this set up for taking Milky Way Shots ( assuming that I even get clear skys ).

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Brad
Last edited by ERIC on Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby fishmonger » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:53 am

sdhiker wrote:As someone who is new to Milky Way Shots I am looking for some suggestions. I'm heading up to Mt Whitney In a week or two and was thinking of taking my Sony A7 ii up with me to try and do some milky way shots. Since I used a lot of my play money getting this new rig I don't have the extra money to run out and buy a wide angle lens or prime lens right away so I'm making due with the •28-70mm lens that came with it. Based off of that information does anyone have any suggestions on what settings would make the most out of this set up for taking Milky Way Shots ( assuming that I even get clear skys ).

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Brad


calculator tells me:
Shutter Speed: 18 seconds
f/number: f/2.8
ISO: 3200


I suggest to just rent a Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 or the 24mm f/1.4 (or the equivalent "cine" lenses in case you don't have a Nikon or Canon adapter) - check lensrentals.com and weigh that against the cost of the whole trip. With the 14mm you should be able to expose twice as long as with the 28mm before getting blurred stars, while with the f/1.4 24mm you can really drop the ISO to something like 800 for a much cleaner image, because it collects so much more light.

But check the moon calendar first - even with clear skies, you don't want that bright ball of light in the sky when exposing for distant stars.

shooting with a zoom is a compromise - how sharp is that thing at f/2.8 - especially in the corners? 28mm isn't very wide either, but you probably will get something useful no matter what, as the sensor in that camera is very capable.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:34 pm

Hi Sdhiker,

Welcome to HST! The Samyang suggested by Fish is a good lens for star/astro, it is sharp, and it's coma is very good, even when compared to lens 4x the cost.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby sdhiker » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:12 pm

Thanks for the info guys. I was thinking about checking out that site LensRentals, what has been your experience renting from them before Fishmonger ? I checked out the moon calendar it doesn't look to bad, there still is some moon there but not a bright ball of light. The week after would even be better, but we can't all have what we want :tear: Eric if you would like me to throw a link onto my links page for the site, not a problem.

Thanks again.
Brad :)
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby fishmonger » Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:28 am

lensrentals.com is my go-to place for anything I can't afford. The Rokinon/Samyang glass I usually own (not the 24mm as it is almost $750), but I'd hate to pay shipping that almost equals the rental fee. I use them for the $10,000 lenses, as I shoot motorsports now and then, but not enough to take out a mortgage to get the best glass for it.

Renting for hiking trips makes little sense for me, because I am usually out there for a month or more, and at that time only the most expensive lenses are a good deal as a rental. For weekend trips, though, if you live close to these places, I'd be renting any lens over $500 before actually buying it, just to make sure the lens actually is worth the investment.

borrowlenses.com has some followers, too, but I never tried them. Similar prices and selection. It's just that the main tech guy for Lensrentals posts on my photo forum, so I use his outfit.

Also - any moon will mess with the star photos. Even if it's just a sliver, it's way brighter than the stars. You need it to be down, so check moon rise/moon set calendar for your dates. It may require getting up super early.

Here's a full moon night star sky from last year, below Bishop Pass - not much of the night sky visible other than that "super moon" that turned the night into day, at least for my camera

f/4.0 20 seconds ISO 1600 with the 16mm f/3.5 AI fisheye - about 3am in the morning

ImageMoonlight over Bishop Creek
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby ERIC » Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:40 am

@sdhiker - please, and thank you! :)
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby sdhiker » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:50 pm

Well I've now taken my first Milky Way shots on my trip up to Mt Whitney. It was a learning experience. I need to learn my camera a little better, and a nice wide angle lens would not hurt. Has anyone used the Rokinon 14mm ultra wide lens http://www.amazon.com/Rokinon-FE14M-E-U ... B00HAF167Y, and if so what was your impression of it, especially if using it on a Sony A7 series.

ImageMt Whitney Trail Camp with the Milky Way by Brad Spiess, on Flickr
My tent lit up while looking towards Mt Whitney and the Milky Way

ImageTrail Camp at Mt Whitney with the Milky Way by Brad Spiess, on Flickr
Milky Way Over Mt Whitney at the Trail Camp

Image1st milky way shot by Brad Spiess, on Flickr
Milky Way at the Alabama Hills near Mt Whitney
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby psykokid » Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:13 pm

Great shots everyone! I'm headed up to the Whites this weekend to do some hiking and car camping and I hope to get some good milky way shots once the moon sets on Saturday night. I should hopefully get some bonus meteors from the Delta-Aquarid meteor shower in the frame as well since that showers radiant is in the southern skies.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby fishmonger » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:22 pm

sdhiker wrote:Well I've now taken my first Milky Way shots on my trip up to Mt Whitney. It was a learning experience. I need to learn my camera a little better, and a nice wide angle lens would not hurt. Has anyone used the Rokinon 14mm ultra wide lens http://www.amazon.com/Rokinon-FE14M-E-U ... B00HAF167Y, and if so what was your impression of it, especially if using it on a Sony A7 series.


greatest value on a wide angle lens out there

outpost camp in April 2013 - no milky way, though. just lots of snow and moonlight. This is on a D600 and I really should process those files once more, as I have a better understanding how to do this now.

Image

note, Rokinon, Samyang, Bower and a few other brands are all the very same lens.


Image

see how it does in this comparison with far more expensive glass:

http://3d-kraft.com/index.php%3Foption% ... Itemid%3D2

and for astro photography in particular this review

http://www.lonelyspeck.com/rokinon-14mm-f2-8-review/

the same site also reviews the 24mm f/1.4, which may be one of the very best lenses for night skies, but it costs more than twice as much compared to the 14mm
http://www.lonelyspeck.com/rokinon-24mm ... mc-review/
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby sdhiker » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:09 pm

Thanks for the info fishmonger, the more I read the more I come to understand that its such a great value, you just have to have some patience and make sure you get a good copy of the lens. I'm excited to order this lens and give it a try. I would primarily would use it for landscapes while hiking and astrophotography and this lens seems like a perfect fit, especially for my small wallet.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby psykokid » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:47 pm

Just got back from a weekend up in the Whites. Weather was perfect, mid 40's where we camped in Cottonwood Valley near the Eva Belle mine. Only downside was there was a lot of moon. It wasn't going to set until after 1:00 AM or so I made due with what was there.

Image
Image

I woke up to water the foliage around three and the Milky Way was brilliant, but I didn't have the energy or desire to get the camera back out. I was getting up in 2 hours to break down camp and make the drive up to Barcroft station to make the trudge up to White Mountain Peak.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Postby cslaght » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:38 pm

My first attempt at night shots in the Sierra, not too bad. Of what I can remember with the details, I was using my stock 18-55mm Nikkor lens and the exposures ranged from 13 (darker) to 30 (much lighter) with the f/3.5 (I think) and the high setting with the ISO.

ImageDSC_0833 by Charles Slaght, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0837 by Charles Slaght, on Flickr

Both these shots are looking south over Moose Lake

ImageDSC_0830 by Charles Slaght, on Flickr

There's no geological features in this one, but it captured the galaxy great I do believe :)

If I remembered my spare battery ](*,) I think I would have played a little more with it. But I saved a couple of ounces, right? :^o :whistle:
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