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Photographing stars

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How to get started in photographing the night sky.

Comments

ANNIEKERR
ANNIEKERR  3 Ireland
15 Apr 2011 - 8:38 PM

Thanks alot for this tutorial - this subject is something I am very interested in. However one question, you mention putting the camera into manual focus - but what do you focus on?? I have a Canon DSLR. Have read somewhere on this subject that you are supposed to focus on 'infinity but not beyond' but how do you do that? Sorry I'm a novice so possibly a silly question Smile

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tomspearing23
26 Apr 2011 - 1:26 PM

@ ANNIEKERR: that's not a silly question at all. I've only recently started photographing the stars, and I quickly realised that whenever I set the camera focus to infinite, the pictures would always come out blurred. This is something that is often overlooked in tutorials.

I find that the best solution is to set the lens focus to manual as well (there should be a switch on the lens of your DSLR, or next to the lens housing which says "A/M" - switch it to "M" ). This way you can focus the image yourself using the "focus ring" at the end of the lens. You must do this in addition to setting the camera settings to manual (i.e. by twisting the circular dial on the camera housing to a manual setting that allows you to select shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings at will). Then, just before you take the photo, twist the focus ring at the end of your lens until it is at infinite, then twist it a millimeter or so back in the opposite direction (i.e. so that the focus is just off infinite). This should give you much better focus.

I recommend you experiment with varying focus until you find the best result. No doubt the results will be different on your camera than mine. I've been using a rather dated Nikon D50 with a 18-55mm lens, and have found that I get the best results with an exposure time of 30 seconds, an aperture of f/3.5, and an ISO setting of 800. Hope this has helped!

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