Re: cameras and lens

Message posted by JB737 on November 29, 2007 at 23:43:33 PST:

The Janet photo that I posted in the photo section (click on text, clicking on thumbnail leads to wrong photo at the moment) was taken with a Celestron 750mm f/6 lens and one or two Nikon 2x tele-extenders on a Nikon D70. Manual exposure of the order 4-8 seconds at night from the Tropicana. The "tripod" was some clamps holding it to a bamboo coffee table standing on end. The "micrometer aiming adjustment" was fooling with a phone book holding up one edge of the coffee table.

I used the same setup (less the coffee table and phone book) from Tikaboo with 0, 1, or 2 extenders. Sorry, none posted yet, but they are similar to others' good telescopic photos.

I'm getting away from big, fast Nikon prime glass, as it is heavier and has less resolution in exchange for the speed (already sold 600 f/4, probably the 400 f/2.8 is next to go).

Similarly, an APO refractor telescope is best of all optically, but is heavier and hugely more expensive than a mirror lens like the Celestron. I like the Astro-Physics Traveler (105mm aperture, 600mm focal length) the best, followed by various others including the TeleVue 85 (85mm aperture, 600mm focal length).

I'd recommend the Celestron C5 1250mm f/10 over the 750mm for most Area 51 purposes, but I chose the faster/rarer 750mm for its versatility (with/without extenders etc). The Celestron C90, Meade ETX90, ETX125, and Questar are other solid choices in mirror lenses. I own all of the above mirror and APO scopes except the longer C5 and ETX125.

For a "real camera lens" of moderate cost, rather than an adapted telescope, I recommend the Tokina ATX 100-300mm zoom which is f/4 at all focal lengths, and is superbly sharp, especially the manual focus version of it. Extenders work so well with it, that you'd never know it is a zoom, from the photo quality. At the 100mm end, even on a digital SLR, it zooms out wide enough to be useful for nearby-aircraft photos, auto racing photos, etc.


In Reply to: cameras and lens posted by J356 on November 29, 2007 at 19:03:08 PST:


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