Camera setting for the moon

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by peter, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. peter

    peter Guest

    Years back, in goode olde dayz of 35mm, I recall getting good shots at
    1/60 (100 ISO film, not sure of the lens F# but wide open).

    With a Pentax K200D, manual mode, I have just got a good shot

    at 1/750, F5.6, ISO 100.

    Does this sound right? I could not believe I had to go to that kind of
    shutter speed; I thought (not knowing the camera intimately) that I
    had the ISO setting on "auto" ;) but no it wasn't, according to the
    EXIF data.
    peter, Jan 29, 2010
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  2. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Neither sound right to me.

    The moon is illuminated by the Sun so the exposures required would be
    the similar to, say, taking a picture of some sand dunes in full sun.

    Given that, your second exposure seems closer to what I would expect.
    Geoff Berrow, Jan 29, 2010
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  3. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Actually, just did a quick test

    1/800 @ f8 ISO 100

    It's a sunny day on the moon...
    Geoff Berrow, Jan 30, 2010
  4. peter

    Peter Guest

    Yes, now I agree. 1/750 is reasonable for some rocks in bright
    sunshine. Should have thought of that :) Many thanks!
    Peter, Jan 30, 2010
  5. peter

    A.Lee Guest

    It was a very bright full moon last night, hence more light.
    My garden looked like the security light was on next door - not
    completely illuminated, but you could see everything.

    Try it again tonight,(21:30-22:00hrs look pretty good) you'll get Mars
    directly above if you zoom out a bit, with the M44 (Beehive Cluster)
    galaxy to the right of Mars, but you'll probably only get the galaxy on
    a longer exposure.
    A.Lee, Jan 30, 2010
  6. peter

    Bruce Guest

    The moon is the same distance from the sun as the earth, give or take
    a relatively small orbit, so it gets effectively the same illumination
    as the earth.

    The moon's reflectivity is something close to that of a Kodak grey
    card, so you would need more or less the same exposure as you would
    when taking a picture of an average subject on earth at noon on a
    sunny day.

    Therefore you can use the good old "Sunny f/16" rule to select an
    approximate exposure. Sunny f/16 suggests that, at noon on a sunny
    summer's day, you should set your aperture to f/16 and your shutter
    speed to the ISO you are using.

    That would suggest exposing at 1/100 sec at f/16.

    Or 1/200 sec at f/11, or 1/400 sec at f/8, or 1/800 sec at f/5.6.

    1/800 sec at f/5.6 is remarkably close to your 1/750 sec at f/5.6.

    Ta-daa! I thank you. ;-)
    Bruce, Jan 30, 2010
  7. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Actually that should have been ISO 200, I tried to make it the same
    exposure as yours and my camera won't go below 200
    Geoff Berrow, Jan 30, 2010
  8. peter

    Peter Guest

    [email protected] (A.Lee) wrote
    Just tried it. Can see Mars easily with the eye but cannot capture it
    on the camera - it takes up only a few pixels. Obviously the eye
    "expands" pin-sized points of light, like stars...
    Peter, Jan 30, 2010
  9. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Yes, you are going to have to fake it if you want any detail in the
    moon. Lit by the sun it is /very/ bright. Conversely everything else
    is only lit by that reflected light which, though significant, will
    require a much longer exposure. Expose for that and the moon will be
    massively over exposed.

    So two separate shots are needed which then need to be recombined in
    the dark room. (or computer).

    And there is always flickr...
    Geoff Berrow, Feb 12, 2010
  10. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    The sun is 93 million miles away, the moon a mere quarter of a
    million. An extra quarter of a million miles is nothing and to all
    extents and purposes they are bathed in the same light. To expose for
    the detail on the moon is the same as exposing for brightly lit rocks
    on earth and the inverse square rule does not apply. At least two of
    us have done the test exposures which back this up. Here's mine:
    1/800 @ f8 ISO 200

    /Moonlight/, on the other hand, does follow the inverse square law.
    Light from the full moon on earth is similar to what you might get
    from a circular grey reflector of diameter 2000 miles in full sun
    positioned 250,000 miles away. For this, longer exposures would
    indeed be the order of the day. I've not done any tests but would not
    be surprised at the exposures you quote.

    If you want to capture a moonlit scene and capture detail on the
    surface of the moon, you can't do it with the same exposure. The moon
    would be massively over exposed, as I said earlier.

    Incidentally, if you have got a long lens and want to try taking some
    shots of the moon, crater detail is better when the moon is not full
    as the shadows make the craters stand out more.
    Geoff Berrow, Feb 13, 2010
  11. Idiot! I suppose sunlit landscapes require more exposure than sunlit
    portraits because they're further away?

    Michael J Davis
    Isn't it odd that people at the end of their life never say,
    " I regret not spending more time in the office. "
    Michael J Davis, Feb 13, 2010
  12. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Fine, I won't argue any more. Just get back to me with an apology
    once you have ruined a couple of rolls of film ok?
    Geoff Berrow, Feb 13, 2010
  13. peter

    spike1 Guest

    You refused to abide by OUR requests...
    Not the other way 'round.
    | |What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack|
    | |in the ground beneath a giant boulder, which you|
    | |can't move, with no hope of rescue. |
    | Andrew Halliwell BSc |Consider how lucky you are that life has been |
    | in |good to you so far... |
    | Computer Science | -The BOOK, Hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy.|
    spike1, Feb 13, 2010
  14. peter

    Bruce Guest

    I see Michael McGrath, Portraitist, is now busying himself changing
    the Laws of Physics.

    I'm happy with my lunar exposure calculations and believe they stand
    up to informed scrutiny. Uninformed scrutineers beware. ;-)
    Bruce, Feb 13, 2010
  15. Since you are convinced. I see no reason to argue. However, I *have*
    photographed the moon (and other sunlit objects) - and had visible
    details, not burned out ones.

    I won't bore you with my qualifications, since I'm only an amateur
    photographer, and can't be expected to understand these things... :-(

    Michael J Davis, Feb 13, 2010
  16. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Which ye cannae do. He should know better than to argue with a
    Geoff Berrow, Feb 13, 2010
  17. I had a little exposure calculator that showed clear sunlit objects
    should be 1/ISO and around f/11, so I have used around 1/250 at f/8
    (ISO100) - tends to over expose somewhat - and 1/500 at f/8 gives more
    details - but my lenses are not long enough for 'astronomical' type
    photos, so it's mostly fun. But a tripod is essential - even the
    slightest shake can so blur the details that it looks washed out.

    Make sure it's a clear night and about 2/3rds moon is best. Full moon is
    flat lighting.

    Hope it helps.

    Michael J Davis, Feb 13, 2010
  18. peter

    Bruce Guest

    The illumination of the lit surface of the moon is exactly the same.
    Whether some of it is obscured by the earth, or not, makes no
    difference whatsoever to the level of illumination of the part that is
    lit by the sun.

    Obviously, at New Moon it is hardly lit at all. ;-)
    Bruce, Feb 14, 2010
  19. peter

    Bruce Guest

    Then prove it.

    You obviously haven't ever photographed the moon, because you quite
    clearly haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about.
    Bruce, Feb 14, 2010
  20. peter

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    I'm not happy with my moon shots, no atmosphere...

    Joking aside, there is little you can do with a shot of the moon.
    Whichever phase you choose will always be lit the same and so the
    options for creativity are small.
    Geoff Berrow, Feb 15, 2010
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