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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    So what lens to shoot the moon?

    I'm always fascinated by pics of the moon I see people posting. The close up and clarity is just amazing. In reality what lens would I need to get these shots? I'm not talking about the most expensive lens but what kind of lens does one need for this kind of shot?


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    Most folks use a 300mm lens... and a tripod... the longer the lens, the more tripod you need... Although, some have very good results using a 300mm+ lens with image stabilization(VR) or Vibration Reduction...
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  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    300mm is a good minimum.
    Check out the moon thread here. Hover over the pictures and in most cases you can see the exif and see what camera and lens was used. Its a 7 year long thread, so jump around. You can probably find your camera with a 300mm.
    https://nikonites.com/low-light-and-...#axzz5JpOxJIp1

    Its important to get as sharp as possible so you can crop a bit to get closer. The moon is bright and moves fairly quickly, so no slow exposures.
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    I must have a really good camera.

  4. #4
    Staff
    Super Mod
    Marilynne's Avatar

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    Have a look at the Moon Shots thread (https://nikonites.com/low-light-and-...highlight=moon) and hover over the shots. You should see the EXIF info which some time includes the lens.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    So what lens to shoot the moon?
    I went through my old pics and found this taken with the Tamron 70-300 SP lens. Not my best but shows what you could expect with a 300.

    This is cropped and processed. Looking back, maybe too much.
    So what lens to shoot the moon?-d71_0463.jpg

    This is the untouched original:
    So what lens to shoot the moon?-d71_0463-2.jpg
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    I must have a really good camera.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    WayneF's Avatar

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    So what lens to shoot the moon?
    You can of course crop your moon image much more tightly, to eliminate the blank black space.

    There is a calculator at https://www.scantips.com/lights/stars.html

    It is for computing blur trail of longer stellar exposures on a fixed mount. The moon is lighted by direct sun, and needs only more normal daylight exposures, so that is not really applicable here, BUT the last lines of this calculator result is like:

    Angular dimension for this sensor and lens:
    4.1253 arcseconds per pixel, 873 pixels per degree (if < 10)

    The image dimension in degrees is valid for any exposure time, but varies with focal length and sensor size. But it does show what object size to expect with the focal length AND SENSOR SIZE (both mm and pixels). This text example above is a 200 mm lens and a 24 megapixel DX sensor. The image example below is a FX sensor.

    The moon size is 0.5 degrees, so in this text example result of 873 pixels per degree, the moon would be half that size in the image, which is a small image, but still perhaps suitable for video monitor viewing.

    This image is a 600 mm lens on D800 (36 megapixel FX): f/8, 1/200 second, ISO 320.
    The motion blur trail of 0.005 seconds is negligible (0.02 pixels in this case).
    The Moon's reflectivity (albedo) is 12%, so it should look middle gray dark, not white.

    Last edited by WayneF; 06-30-2018 at 09:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    I have two capable of zooming. The AF-S Nikkor 55-300 1:4.5-5.6G ED(VR) which I've never had much luck in using with moon shots but no doubt it's likely me. I've just started getting some advice from a pro so I can learn how to use my camera. I also just bought a Tamron 18-400 F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD but I have not tried it out yet and didn't believe this was even capable. I have a small valley behind my home in the Shenandoah Valley and the hawks and other large birds love to ride the thermals back here so the 300 was used for that. But of course when most all shots are auto I'm only doing so much.

  8. #8
    RIP :(
    Don Kuykendall's Avatar

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    I shoot with my Tamron 150-600 ll the time. I do it hand held . Remember that the moon is extremely bright since it is just a reflection of the sun.
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    ================================================== ============================
    D750***D7100***24-120 f/4 ***70-300***Tamron 150-600***Tokina 16-28 f2.8***50mm f/1.8***Photoshop/Lightroom CC

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    Either of those lenses should get you a decent moon shot. 600 would be nicer, but you have plenty to play with there. If you used auto, then that was the problem. Not that auto is bad, but a moon shot is one of those reasons not to use auto. The camera will never get it right, you'll likely get a washed out blurry moon with auto.
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    I must have a really good camera.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    Re: So what lens to shoot the moon?

    Yes, I also highly recommend you get out of auto as soon as possible. Auto is OK for snapshots of your family at thanksgiving or your kids or dogs running around the back yard, but for much else, forget auto, especially for moon shots (and even your bird shots).
    Thanks/Like EODK9Trainer 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





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