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Hi all newbie here with pentax me super question

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by Pennywise, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Hi ive bought an old pentax me super 35mm and i wanted to try some astro photography. I set the camera up in my garden on a tripod with a shutter cable release. I used 200 film and set it to 200 on the dial. 60mm lens focused to just under infinity and pointed it at orion constellation. On bulb i did various exposures from 10 secs to 1 min. When the photos where developed all i got where pale to grey photos nothing came out. What did i do wrong? I would be gratefull for any advice thanks all. Matt
  2. Wheelu

    Wheelu Well-Known Member

    Have you tried the camera with conventional subjects? Maybe there is a problem with the shutter. The ME Super, a lovely camera and indeed for sentimental reasons my personal favourite, does suffer from problems with what were, quite early electronics.

    I'm not into photographing the night sky but would have thought that a 60 mm lens would not be sufficiently powerful to show much anything meaningful. Do you mean a 600 mm lens?

    Finally, why did you focus before infinity? The night sky is about as near to infinity as I would expect to get.
  3. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Think you might need to try ten minutes up to to ten hours for exposure, not 10secs to 1 min. I assume you are after star trails. Also suggest stars are most likely to be at infinity or beyond. ;) Also suggest you get hold of & read book on astro-photography for beginners.
  4. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Hi wheelu yes ive tried it with conventional subjects and its fine. Yes 60mm lens. The reason for just under infinitty was recommended on a youtube video. I focused on a distant street light. 0lybacker the reason for 10-60secs is any longer and you get trails, wich is not what i want. Ive been on many websites and watched many youtube videos on this subject and it seems quite do able. My pictures looked like id taken a picture of a flat grey wall and some where alot paler. Any more ideas? Thanks all. Matt
  5. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but unless the camera is mounted on a motorised equatorial mount then all you can expect are trails. For star photography you need exposures of 1 minute or longer. Using ISO 400 filme might help little but its resolution isn't too good hence you might miss a lot of stars altogether.

    A long focus lens (such as the 600mm mentioned) will have a limited aperture and this will make an equatorial mount essential. 50/60 mm is a good starting point for 'whole sky' photos. I have used an elderly 35mm camera with a fixed 45mm lens in the past @ISO 200 and got good star trails. A tripod should be really firm, most portable tripods aren't firm enough for this type of photography and it should should also be well away from any roads as passing traffic will cause vibrations that will simply eliminate many stars. The nearest street lighting should be at least a mile away otherwise light pollution will blot out any real detail. And yes, there are suitable locations in the UK!
  6. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Hi bob, ok the tripod i have is not much good really and yes i think the faint hue of the street lights has been picked up instead. Im really keen to get a nice exposure of something in the night sky so even if there are trails it would be better than nowt. I think i should find somewhere away from the the city with a beefier tripod. What film would you recommend and iso setting? Thanks
  7. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    I would suggest you stick to ISO 200; use the lens almost wide open (i.e. close down one stop). I suggest you point the camera at the Pole Star then the trails will appear to move round that central point. Choose a night with no moon, moonlight is you worst enemy.

    I have stargazed in the Namib dessert. Total darkness and more stars visible than you could ever imaging, but even with a new moon, most disappear.

    You might not like the idea of star trails, but passing aircraft and satellites stand out. I usually use exposures of about 5 minutes. Yes, the brighter stars and planets are overexposed, but that doesn't matter as it is the trail that matters and washed out white against a black sky is ideal. But above all, experiment. A few experiments are worth many pages of 'advice' from someone like me! Unfortunately, film isn't ideal for a few quick experiments - digital does make it easy!
  8. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Thanks bob. When you say lens wide open, can you specify please im new
  9. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Were you shooting on negative film? And where are you photographing from? Seems like you got a lot of light pollution. And what time of night & weather conditions? Depending on time of year & conditions it can take a while for the light from sun below the horizon to disappear.

    As to lens, 60mm will give you an angle of view of about 40/45 degrees. That's almost the whole sky! Any stars will not even be mere pinpricks unless you make very large prints. Try 200 to 300mm instead.

    I've mostly photographed the moon from within London, choosing time of year & conditions carefully. That really needs a 400mm or longer, depending on what you plan to do with the result. It is quite bright, requiring relatively short exposures. I used transparency film. Stars are further away, producing their own light, not reflecting the sun.

    Try a search of the Forum. You may find some better 'how to' advice from the past.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  10. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    "Wide open" means the maximum lens aperture which is the smallest aperture number on the lens barrel. This admits the most light, but is not the best for quality, so I suggest you close it down by one or two 'clicks'.

    If you tripod isn't the most stable, it will be better if you use it without extending the legs (or the centre column). You might not be able to use the viewfinder, but for stars all you really need to do is to point it in the right direction!
  11. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Hi 0ly yes normal film if thats what you mean. Midnight i took the shots. Yeah light pollution has done me i think. If i was on a beach in cornwall i might have had better results
  12. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Yes bob i had the tripod as low as possible was quite stable. I was nearly lying down to look through view finder. As you say just need to point it in the right direction.ok thanks everyone for your advice. Might just give this another shot tonight. Matt
  13. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    We have just passed the Full Moon. The sky will be truly dark just after the New Year.

    Of course, it's bound to be cloudy then!!!!
  14. Pennywise

    Pennywise Member

    Haha yes too true.
  15. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forums.

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