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Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos? Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.
I haven't kept up with the P&S cameras in a long time so im not sure what many of them care capable of these days, but this info should help.Not all P&S cameras have good low light capability, meaning a few things, 1. the image will be very grainy, or 2. it cant focus/ lack of manual focus in low light situations.manual focus is preferred, but depending on the camera and its abilities, you can obtain auto focus, but its gonna be tricky.you need for the sensor to be able to have a good ISO noise handling at higher ISO's like 800+. the higher the ISO# the more sensitive it is to light, meaning you can do a short exposure and get the same image brightness as a longer exposure.Next is the f/ stops. many P&S cameras start out at f/3.2 and go to f/11. For star shots like the milky way you really need to have the lens OPEN, which means the iris in the lens is opened up REALLY big. f/1.4 is REALLY wide open, think of the pupils in your eyes opening up really wide when it gets dark, they do that to let in more light, but your focus plane gets smaller.the exposure you need to capture the stars will need to be about 20 to 25 seconds depending on the lens focal length. Many P&S cameras start out at 24 or 28mm, and on an APS-C size sensor (1.6 crop), thats equivalent to 38mm to 44mm in film or full frame sensors.you need to have a wide angle such as 18 to 20mm so you can use the longer exposures. the longer the lens (24mm and up) the more star travel you will see in the exposures.TJ has some very good night shots with the stars, but he also has an excellent full frame camera and a kick ass lens.I do some night time shots as well, but i usually mount my camera to a tracking Equatorial mount and do exposures up to about 8 minutes.to sum it up these are the features you should look for.manual focus, or really kick ass auto focus that can focus on the starshigh ISO such as 800+camera that has good low light performance (not so grainy at the higher ISO's)wide angle lens under 24mm (might be a long shot)f/ratio of 2.0 preferred, but don't think many P&S's go that low on the f/stops
Thanks for the advice. I'll look into that camera.Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos? Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.
Another article just appeared on star photography from a first timer's position. One key point from this is that wide angle is key for this kind of photography so don't ignore that aspect of your camera decision.http://www.mattk.com/2012/11/08/what-i-learned-on-my-first-star-photo-shoot/
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