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Thread: Star trail help

  1. #1
    Mongwopman's Avatar
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    Star trail help

    Hey guys,

    So next month im going to Cornwall in the countryside and i figured this will be the best time to test out my star trail technique. i say this because I will literally be in the middle of nowhere. So no noise pollution.

    So i been getting all the things I need ready, tripod, remote shutter etc.

    Just not so sure on all the settings to use on the Canon 400d. Anybody got any tips or steps they coudl help out with?

    I've been doing alot of reading on it and I think I favour several 30s exposures as apposed to one long one. Although i think I will probably do both and see the outcome.

    using 400d with a straight 18mm-58mm lens. Will auto focus or manual focus be better?

    Im kinda looking for a step by step top get me started.

    Thanks

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    Re: Star trail help

    I cannot speak for the Canon, but I would set it at f/11 (or whatever your sweet spot is for that lens) on manual focus at infinity. I got some decent results at 30sec but am planning this coming weekend to see if I can go a little longer.

  3. #3
    Nass's Avatar
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    Re: Star trail help

    I use 30s and continuous shooting mode because it gives me the smallest interruption between images to stitch together. I havent tried one long one myself because of an inbuilt limitation on my cam which means that a 1hr Bulb setting takes 1 further hr to process. If you do, let me know what settings you end up using? Some startrail tips here, pop me a mail if you have any specific questions? Btw, curious, do you have a specific location in mind for this?

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    Re: Star trail help

    Hi Mong,

    Auto-focus won't work - but you're pretty safe setting the lens manually to infinity if it's just stars.

    You'll want the aperture wide open - remember that it's NOT like a static night shot where the longer the exposure the brighter the exposure because with stars you're effectively shooting a moving object (infact you may even have to increase the ISO slightly).

    Be prepared to get agressive with the sliders in post-processing.

    In terms of shutterspeed etc, you can use multiple 30 second exposures, but it'll give you a lot of work in post processing; personally I normally just use bulb mode - but - you don't want to under-expose too much or you'll start getting visible noise.


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    Re: Star trail help

    Quote Originally Posted by Nass View Post
    I use 30s and continuous shooting mode because it gives me the smallest interruption between images to stitch together. I havent tried one long one myself because of an inbuilt limitation on my cam which means that a 1hr Bulb setting takes 1 further hr to process. If you do, let me know what settings you end up using? Some startrail tips here, pop me a mail if you have any specific questions? Btw, curious, do you have a specific location in mind for this?
    Nass,

    Unless I am mistaken, the extra 1 hr bulb exposure that you would get is due to a noise reduction process. Basically, what the camera does it takes a second exposure of equal time to the first, but does this with the shutter closed to get an all black exposure, thus the only thing that shows up is the noise from the sensor. It then uses this second black/noise exposure to remove the noise from the first exposure.

    You should be able to refer to your manual for how to turn off this feature if that noise removal is not necessary for your purposes.

    - Bill

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    Nass's Avatar
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    Re: Star trail help

    Bill,

    Thank you. You are quite correct, it is noise removal. I have read the manual, many many many moons ago. It is not in fact possible to switch this off on my camera above 30s. As I stated, it is an inbuilt limitation on my cam.

    - Nass

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    Re: Star trail help

    YOU MUST HAVE READ MY MIND - I'm spending Easter in the desert East of San Diego and since the desert is crystal clear at night, I was contemplating some star trail images. Thanks for the question and the astute answers...

    BTW: Happy Easter All!

  8. #8
    Mongwopman's Avatar
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    Re: Star trail help

    Quote Originally Posted by Nass View Post
    Btw, curious, do you have a specific location in mind for this?
    I am living in London, and am going out of London to Cornwall in the UK. To a very remote cottage, just my Mrs and I. So it will be an ideal time to get some star trailing done as i stated in my first post that the place is literally in the middle of nowhere.

    Thanks for the replies guys, do I need any special type of lens as I currently have an 18mm-55mm lens, pretty standard really. Has autofocus but as stated I wont be using that. I will be using the manual focus to infinity although i will need to work out where infinity is as my lens doesnt have a marking for it.

    I am buying an image stabilizing lens at the end of the month.

    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/...p5-5p6_is_c16/

    That one to be exact. Anybody had any experiance with it?

    Thanks for all the great helpfull replies.

  9. #9
    Nass's Avatar
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    Re: Star trail help

    Reason I asked is that I'm always down in Cornwall in August, and had considered using some of the monuments as a foreground for one, I'm sure there's a good shot waiting to happen along those lines =).

    You don't actually need a special lens although wide will show more stars; I personally typically use Sigma 10-20.

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    Re: Star trail help

    Ahhh I see. We not going to any villages or town.

    http://www.cornwallscottages.co.uk/c...stell-9223.htm

    thats where we going, as you can see by the map....middle-of-nowhere! HAHA!

  11. #11
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    Re: Star trail help

    Looks gorgeous =). We always stay down in Portloe as a family for a couple of weeks in August =)

  12. #12
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    Re: Star trail help

    Nice man! Hope you enjoy!

    The remote im getting is not a lcd programmable one, does that matter much? Do I have to manually press the shutter every say 30 seconds or how does it work?

  13. #13
    Nass's Avatar
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    Re: Star trail help

    Dunno, depends on how your cam works I guess. I use continuous mode for that reason, and just start and end the sequence with a remote. Might be an idea just to practise a bit at home first getting the settings to get those 30s exposures machinegunning one after the other.

  14. #14
    Mongwopman's Avatar
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    Re: Star trail help

    Is your remote programmable? Mine will have a lock function and the camera has continuous shoot options.

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    Re: Star trail help

    I have two, one which is and one which isn't. For star trails I don't need programmable myself since I use 30s which the camera can do for me. But for longer continuous stuff the programmable one is the one I use. It sounds like you'll be ok with continuous shoot and lock, but I'd do a test asap just to make sure. That way if it's not you might have time to order what you actually need?

    Actually, if you have continuous then can't you just set it on camera delayed timer if you have that and use that to start? the rest is just done through the continuous shooting anyway?

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    Re: Star trail help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mongwopman View Post
    The remote im getting is not a lcd programmable one, does that matter much? Do I have to manually press the shutter every say 30 seconds or how does it work?
    With some remotes, once you press the button you can slide a lock forward that keeps it depressed. If you can do that - and the camera is set to continuous drive mode - then it'll take shots right after each other so long as long-exposure noise reduction isn't turned on.

    Personally I just usually do the shot as a single frame; noise don't become a problem until you get into much longer exposures.


  17. #17
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    Re: Star trail help

    Thats a wicked photo Colin!

    How do i go about setting my MF to infinity if i dont have any infinity marker on the lens?

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    Re: Star trail help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mongwopman View Post
    Thats a wicked photo Colin!
    Thanks

    How do i go about setting my MF to infinity if i dont have any infinity marker on the lens?
    Are you sure if doesn't have an infinity mark? The vast majority do. What lens is it?

  19. #19
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    Re: Star trail help

    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 [II]

    I checked, no marking. Also did some searching online and reviews state it doesnt have markings!

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    Re: Star trail help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mongwopman View Post
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 [II]

    I checked, no marking. Also did some searching online and reviews state it doesnt have markings!
    In all honesty, I'd consider a better lens

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