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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Hi,

    I am a new owner of Nikon D3500 two lenses kit. Since there is no D3500 group, here at D3400 group I post my newbie's questions:
    1. The kit came with 2 lenses: 18-55mm and 70-300mm. Which lense is better to use for shooting night sky (star sky)?
    2. When set M mode to shoot night sky, how do I focus to the stars? (how to use focus ring to make it "infinity"?)

    Thanks for answering and helping my newbie's questions.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    You probably will want a wide view for like the Milky way, so 18 mm is likely appropriate.

    Stars will require a long exposure (perhaps ISO 3200 wide open at f/3.5 for maybe 30 seconds. Experiment...

    So a problem is that such long exposures show the Earths rotation, leaving star trails instead of dots, but the wide 18 mm minimizes this, not to the very sharpest dot, but possibly very acceptable in a normal size viewing image.

    The longer lens would greatly magnify this rotation movement. The longest lens could be useful for zooming on a small object, like for example the Andromeda galaxy, but then rotation blur will be a huge problem. Then that motion really needs a tracking polar mount, like for telescopes.

    My site has a calculator for this rotation blur, at https://www.scantips.com/lights/stars.html

    The infinity mark on the lens is probably not precisely at infinity, lenses today often have a little intentional overshoot. You could focus it at infinity on some land object in the daylight, and leave it there for the night work, however any little touch would move it (so it does seem doomed).

    What I do is to use live view on the stars at the site. At first, you see nothing (too dim) but as you zoom in greatly (zoom in on the live view preview, definitely NOT meaning to zoom the wide lens), and as you move focus to be at infinity, the brightest stars begin to show, and of course, the moon is a good target too. You can find some bright star to focus on. All the stars are at infinity, there will be no focus difference. The smallest brightest focused star dot image seen in live view is the correct focus. Then of course put the camera in Manual focus mode so it won't change, but be careful not to touch it again.
    Thanks/Like blackstar, Jerry_ Thanks/liked this post
    Best Answers TwistedThrottle, Rick M voted best answer for this post
     
    Wayne

    Flash and Camera Fundamentals We Should Know

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Hi Wayne,

    Thanks so much for your reply with so helpful and valuable (to me) info. I see now the key is to choose one with wider aperture (f/3.5 instead of f/4.0) for collecting more light.

    As for focusing infinity, I am still in the cloud... I tried using (turning) the focus ring to focus some object with some success, but it (focus ring) seems have no end of turning. I assume it would be turned to an end point that would indicate "infinity". Probably this is not the way to focus infinity? According to the way you described, I need to study "zoom in on live view preview" first, then see if I can try and make it. Thank you so much. Oh, still another dumb question: which way to turn (counter clockwise or clockwise when you are behind camera to turn the ring) to focus farther? And according to your experience, about how many turns (focus ring) you can focus night stars?

    Appreciatively,

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Challenge Team
    cwgrizz's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Quote Originally Posted by blackstar View Post
    Hi Wayne,

    Thanks so much for your reply with so helpful and valuable (to me) info. I see now the key is to choose one with wider aperture (f/3.5 instead of f/4.0) for collecting more light.

    As for focusing infinity, I am still in the cloud... I tried using (turning) the focus ring to focus some object with some success, but it (focus ring) seems have no end of turning. I assume it would be turned to an end point that would indicate "infinity". Probably this is not the way to focus infinity? According to the way you described, I need to study "zoom in on live view preview" first, then see if I can try and make it. Thank you so much. Oh, still another dumb question: which way to turn (counter clockwise or clockwise when you are behind camera to turn the ring) to focus farther? And according to your experience, about how many turns (focus ring) you can focus night stars?

    Appreciatively,
    Wayne gave you some good advice. I don't have or have not seen the camera you are using, but I will try to clarify the focus for you. Turn your camera on to "Live View" Make sure you have the camera set to manual focus. Then hit the + to zoom in on the live view. As the larger white stars or moon come into view, turn the focus ring to see the clearest picture you can. Do it slow as live view is not always instant. When you have the clearest, most in focus view you are there. It is not a count of turns, etc on the focus ring, just moving it to the best focus as viewed in live view. Another thing I thought of is to set the camera shutter to timer mode to delay the shutter trip by 6-10 seconds or so. This avoids any chance of vibration from pushing the shutter button.
    Thanks/Like blackstar Thanks/liked this post
     
    Walt

    D750; D7100; D5300;
    18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G II VR; AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED; AF-S 85mm f1.8; Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 (IF) DX II; 200-500mm f5.6E ED VR; AF-S VR 24-120mm f/4G ED; TC14E II



  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    On getting focus.
    https://youtu.be/w860_WI4h1Q

    You also need a tripod and know how to adjust your ISO settings. Get some daytime practice in using your Live View, Shutter delay, etc. and then go out at night. You will be less frustrated.

    This video is a little chatty, but it is a demo with a similar camera.
    https://youtu.be/8uvW4HL3sso
    Thanks/Like blackstar Thanks/liked this post
     
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    mikew's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Just to say welcome to the forum, i have no idea about star photography, only ever done the Moon.
    Mike



    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Nikon Z50,Nikon16-50MM,Nikon50-250MM,FTZ Adapter
    Sigma 100-400, Sigma 105mm macro
    Nikon V2,10-30MM,30-110MM FT1 Adapter













  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    If you are really into astronomy and have an advanced telescope, you can mount the camera to the telescope in several different ways and use the telescope drive to track the heavens.

    1. You can piggyback the camera and lens on the telescope.
    2. You can get an adapter and mount the camera without a lens in place of the eyepiece. The telescope then becomes a large lens for the camera.
    3. With a different adapter, you can mount the camera behind the eyepiece and use the telescope, eyepiece combination for really high magnification.

    A good book on astrophotography would be your best first investment.
    Thanks/Like blackstar, TwistedThrottle, Rick M Thanks/liked this post
     
    Brent: Poway, CA
    D7200, D200, F100
    Tokina 12-24mm
    Nikon 18-200mm
    Tokina 28-70mm f2.6-2.8
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8
    Sigma 150-600mm
    Nikon 50 AF f1.8
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
    Nikon SB800

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    If you don't have the large D3500 Reference Manual, you should get it. It is free from Nikon at https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.c...471/D3500.html

    It is greatly larger and more complete than the "User Manual". Also the PDF is searchable. See bottom of page 32 for the Live Preview zoom. You can practice that zoom in your living room.

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Wow! Never thought I would get so much help, advice, hint and sharing info I need from so many wonderful people so quickly by joining this forum. You all gave me the light to start my new hobby with great excitement and hope in enjoyable shoot out. Now I need time to digest all the good info you all provided, verify with Manual, and do some practices. Pardon me for not feedback instantly, but will post back for my learning progress (hopefully) and possibly with more questions.

    Thank you guys,
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post
     

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    re: Newbie's (blackstar) Moon Shot questions and helps

    Stick around and post some images. This is a very helpful community, low in drama. Lots of experience. I am not quite a newb any longer, but I learn new things all the time here on Nikonites.
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100





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