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Archive 2012 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens
  
 
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #1 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


I am going to buy a new lens for Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way.

I have 7d and 5diii.

I have 17TS/f4, 85 1.2 v2 , 24-70f2.8 v1.

17ts/f4 is slow for aurora and meteorites. 30s exposure at iso3200.
85 is not really sharp at f1.2 until f2.8 and too zoomed. Okay for sometime.
24-70f2.8 is a comparible to 17/ts at 2.8 but still a little slow. My best compromise.

I am debating between:

Canon TSE/17 35s F4 @F4 30s [reference]
Zeiss 21 29s f2.8 @f2.8 15s marginally better than reference @
Canon 24 25s F1.4 II @2.8 15s marginally better than reference
Zeiss 25 24s F2.0 @2.0 7.5s marginally better than reference
Canon 16-35 38s F 2.8 II @F4 30s equal to reference
Canon TSE/24 25s F3.5 @F3.5 25s significantly better than reference
Canon 85 7s F1.2 II @2.8 15s equal to reference
Canon 24-70 25s f2.8 @2.8 15s equal to reference
The above table is my read of thedigitalpicture.com quality equivalency for
Camera, max time to star trails based on 600/mm, max fstop, fstop where IQ is comparable to TS17, and equivalent exposure based on 17tsf4.

I am leaning toward either 24 F1.4 II or Zeiss 25 2.0.

Obviously 24 F1.4 is capable of a much shorter exposure when IQ is sacrificed.

Any suggestions?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Scott

[woops -obviously tables don't work well copying and pasting. I will put in a jpg this evening.]






Edited on Aug 15, 2012 at 07:45 PM · View previous versions



Aug 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM
molson
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p.1 #2 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


I think the best lens from the standpoint of optical quality (sharp wide open, and doesn't create batwings towards the edges of the frame) may be the Zeiss 35mm f2, but you'll have to decide if it's wide enough to suit your needs.


Aug 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
longisland.km
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p.1 #3 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


I know you're asking for lens recommendations, but how about using what you have and picking up something like an AstroTrac instead?


Aug 15, 2012 at 07:53 PM
mMontag
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p.1 #4 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


The 24II TS-E is very good at 3.5 - the Zeiss 21 is/may be slightly better at 2.8 though most of the Zeiss lenses have strong vignetting wide open. Also the Zeiss 15/2.8 is looking real strong at 2.8 - comes with a co$t of course.

You might want to check with the Alt Forum - the Zeiss 25/2 has been thoroughly vetted - it's not a lens of interest for me, so I don't remember the concensous.

Check-in with LensRental - might be a good way to find the right lens without needing to purchase multiple times.



Aug 15, 2012 at 07:57 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #5 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


longisland.km wrote:
I know you're asking for lens recommendations, but how about using what you have and picking up something like an AstroTrac instead?


Second that consideration. I just did 5 minute subs this past weekend with a voigtlander 20mm lens at f3.5, iso 800 using the vixen polarie. Exposure was fine, stars sharp. A lot of fun. I was laughing at one of my photos that had a lot of clouds in it. Initially disappointed by weather on day one, but in the corner I saw the Andromeda galaxy. Not a calendar worthy photo, but impressive.

You already have some great lenses, if you bought something fast and wide, you would have two expensive wide angle lenses. Doubt you would want to sell the 17mm tse.



Aug 15, 2012 at 08:17 PM
molson
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p.1 #6 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


longisland.km wrote:
I know you're asking for lens recommendations, but how about using what you have and picking up something like an AstroTrac instead?


How does that work with aurorae?



Aug 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
David Baldwin
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p.1 #7 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


24L Mk2 has good star images in the corners on full frame by f2.8 IMHO:

http://www.nightfolio.co.uk/subpages/sm001.html

Samyang 14mm has a good rep for Milky Way work I believe but have never used one myself.



Aug 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #8 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


If you use the formula 650/FL to estimate the maximum exposure to avoid star trails, you'll see you want to use an UWA lens and preferably a fast one. This is where a 24 f/1.4 would come in handy, as you can get away with 25s exposures and as David says it's sharp by f/2.8 on the corners if that's important. I coud imagine the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 would also be a nice lens for this type of work and 14mm allows 45s exposures, giving you scope to stop down a bit and still not need super high ISO.


Aug 15, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #9 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


Scott -- You probably know, but wide open or close to wide open, you need a lens with a terrific standing regarding coma. This will have a really strong impact on your edges and corners.

Of the lenses you list, the best for corner to corner sharpness wide open is probably the 24 TSE II. But the other advice here is good to support the 24/1.4 shot at f/2.0 to 2.8.



Aug 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
splathrop
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p.1 #10 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


I think you have to take the 650/fl standard with caution and common sense. That implies 18 seconds or so for the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4, which I have used for stars. I definitely started to see small star trails before 10 seconds. Note that whether you get star trails depends in part on what part of the sky you are shooting. Celestial motion is fastest toward the ecliptic, and least toward the poles. Presumably 30 seconds might be fine if you are pointing north. I was shooting the ecliptic—a recent dawn conjunction of venus, jupiter, and the moon.

I cut it back to 4 seconds at f/2.8 at ISO 3200. Some of the shots disclosed three of jupiter's moons, just barely separated from the glare of the planet. The faintest stars I noted (before the sky lightened) were ~12th magnitude, so the ~6th magnitude moons should not be surprising, but I didn't expect it from a 35mm lens. My suburban skies are far from dark. The Milky Way can barely be discerned straight overhead on the clearest, darkest nights, but I was shooting out over the ocean, which probably helped.

One great convenience of Zeiss lenses for astrophotography, by the way, is that they have a hard focusing stop at infinity, so you don't have to struggle with that. I also used the 50mm f/2.0 Zeiss a bit with encouraging results at f/2.0, so a stop better than the 21mm you mentioned, but also more apparent motion to offset the advantage.



Aug 16, 2012 at 01:18 AM
 

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Scott Stoness
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p.1 #11 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


molson: Zeiss 35 f2 is fast enough but may be too long. 35 is likely good for aurora but not so good for milky way. Maybe i need both. Thanks for the suggestion. Scott




longisland.km: AstroTrac would help on milky way. I was going to master the shorter exposures before moving to long exposures with more technology. But good suggestion. Maybe I need to get two solutions. Thanks Scott



mMontag: I agree that Zeiss 21 2.8 is better but it seems expensive to only get one stop vs 25 2.0. I will check the alt forum. Much appreciated. Scott



dgdg: I don't want to sell the ts but having a faster lens might permit better aurora. I used the 85 1.2 this weekend and 5s seemed like a good exposure time at iso 3200. I think it would be good for aurora. But a bit soft wide open. Maybe a some technology for traking the sky as well. Thanks for the suggestion. Much appreciated. Scott





molson: I agree that aurora need fast - either 24 or 35 with low fstop. Otherwise they average away too much. Thanks Scott


David Baldwin: Thats what I concluded 24 1.4 is good at f2.8. But then why not 25 2.0 Zeiss for even better, if 24 is not that usable for below f2.8? I looked at the samyang 35 1.4 and it does well on thedigitialpicture but the 14 is a bit wide and does not do as well as either 24 1.4 at 2.8 or 25 or 21 Zeiss.



Pixel Perfect: 600/mm does show 24 pretty good but thedigitalpicture shows that below f2.8, the iq drops a lot. Mine you it autofocusses in the day time and f1.4 inside would be side benefit. Thanks for the thoughts. Scott




Gunzorro: That is what I noticed on 85 1.2. Really fast but pixel peaping yields lots of distortion at 1.2. But thedigitalpicture shows 25 2.0 being better than 24 1.4 at f2.8. Thus the dilemma. Thanks for the input. Scott





splathrop: That is my view too. 300/mm is more to my standard. Which implies not more than 10 s or so for 24 or 25mm. Which in turn requires f2.0 with high quality which implies zeiss 25 f2.0. And the hard focus stop at infinity is a big bonus.




Aug 16, 2012 at 03:53 AM
David Baldwin
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p.1 #12 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


"Thats what I concluded 24 1.4 is good at f2.8. But then why not 25 2.0 Zeiss for even better, if 24 is not that usable for below f2.8? "

Well, the f2.8 figure I quoted for good corners on a 24L Mk2 is subjective. You might be happy with the lens at at f2.2! I have never used the Zeiss you refer to, but you would need to find out how its corner performance compares with the Canon.

Big caveat, lots of lenses are not optimized for corner coma, and most lens reviews don't really address the issue. I have a nasty feeling you are going to have to rent a couple of lenses and shoot the sky with them to see. There are lenses that are wonderful wide open for terrestrial shooting, that are bloody awful anywhere near wide open for stars, the otherwise superb Canon 35mm f2 comes to mind here.

BTW, here is a shot using the 24L at f2.2.

http://www.nightfolio.co.uk/subpages/la23.html

Corners aren't too shabby IMHO at this aperture, its just that to me f2.8 is really good, its just a matter of subjective taste what is OK.



Aug 16, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Fr3d
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p.1 #13 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


Do NOT buy the 24mm 1.4 L II for astro, it has strong coma in the edges. Unless you
print only 5x8 " you are not going to like that. Go to lenstip.com and checkout their reviews,
they have a coma analysis of every lens tested (and there are many incl. Zeiss etc.).



Aug 16, 2012 at 09:18 AM
David Baldwin
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p.1 #14 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


"Do NOT buy the 24mm 1.4 L II for astro, it has strong coma in the edges"

Have to say that I have no axe to grind which lens the OP buys, its up to him. But your statement isn't helpful. All fast wideangle lenses have problems with coma until well stopped down. Personally I've owned the following:

Olympus 28mm f2
Nikkor 28mm f2
Nikkor 28mm f1.4
Canon 24L Mk 1 f1.4
Canon 24L Mk2 f1.4

ALL of these lenses had strong stellar coma in the corners wide open because all fast wide lenses do. Its a problem inherent in their design which can only be mitigated, not done away with. Now some lenses are going to be better than others in this respect which is why I recommended the OP rent a couple tor try them out which is the only way he can be sure he will be happy with the results.

If he is going to photograph pure astronomy on a driven mount he won't need a costly fast wide at all, any prime so mounted at (say) f8 with a long exposure should give wonderfully sharp star images in the corners.

The difficulty comes when a fixed camera is used because a fast aperture will be needed to "stop" star trails. Thats why we are talking about f1.4 and f2.

I do not believe there is a fast wide lens on the market, at any price, which has well controlled coma by f2 on full frame. I would gladly be shown wrong, because I would certainly buy such a lens.



Aug 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM
RCicala
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p.1 #15 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


I used an Astro Trac for the first time this weekend. I have zero astrphotography experience (bad enough that I had to use an iPhone app to make sure the star I thought was Polaris really was Polaris to line things up).

I was shocked that I actually could get it to work fairly well on the first try, getting exposures of 5 to 8 minutes with nice dot stars and no trails at 24mm, even a couple of minutes on a 135mm lens. I'm in no position to comment on lenses (I used the new 24 f/2.8 IS just on the thought that it seemed nice and evenly sharp across the frame at f/2.8) because I have nothing to compare it to.

Certainly seems a reasonable price to benefit ratio if someone is really getting into this (I don't think I have the patience), and rumor has it they'll be for rent pretty soon



Aug 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM
vsg28
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p.1 #16 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


I like the sound of that rumor, Roger


Aug 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Fr3d
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p.1 #17 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


David Baldwin wrote:
"Do NOT buy the 24mm 1.4 L II for astro, it has strong coma in the edges"
Have to say that I have no axe to grind which lens the OP buys, its up to him. But your statement isn't helpful. frame. I would gladly be shown wrong, because I would certainly buy such a lens.


David why would you say the statement to go to lenstip to find lenses with good coma isn't helpful?
Obviously you haven't done so yourself. I own the 24 L II and know how it performs. Also nobody needs
f1.2 or 2 lenses to photograph star trails. f/2.8 and even f4 lenses are fine for that, all that is needed is
little light pollution or higher ISO setting, which is little or no problem if you expose to the right. I've
captured star trails near light polluting citys at ISO 4000, 30sec exposures and f4.

For starters try the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 or a Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro or 135L @ f2, there are plenty
more lenses suited for astrophotography like that out there. The 16-35 II is also not that bad regarding coma.




Aug 16, 2012 at 01:05 PM
vsg28
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p.1 #18 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


The 100mm and 135mm? Won't they start to trail off real soon?


Aug 16, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Fr3d
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p.1 #19 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


vsg28 wrote:
The 100mm and 135mm? Won't they start to trail off real soon?


depends on your mount ...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/radicalretinoscopy/6968534292/in/photostream/



Aug 16, 2012 at 01:17 PM
David Baldwin
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p.1 #20 · Aurora/Meteorite/Milky Way Lens


Fr3d

Well, I don't fundamentally disagree with you on any material point, its just struck me as unfair apparently singling out the 24L for criticism concerning coma when all fast wide lenses sadly have this defect till well stopped down. Even Zeiss at the same apertures I strongly suspect.

In other words I felt it would have been fairer if you had said "don't get a fast wide lens for astronomy" rather than "don't get the 24L". Its the class of lenses that is the issue, not Canon's version of it. These lenses are not optimized for astronomy and must balance many competing optical pressures, its a miracle frankly that any of them do so well as they do, albeit at a massive price point!

Some photographers will go frothy at the mouth with any stellar coma in the corners. I wouldn't advise them to buy a fast wide at all, and to never shoot wider than f4 or f5.6 if they are that critical. Its these people who should use driven mounts (although aurora photography might well demand the short exposure times the fast wides permit).

Whether the coma of a particular lens is acceptable to a particular photographer is subjective, and is why the OP should rent, and try, before buying. I've seen lots of good night sky work on FM taken with a Canon 16-35 at f2.8, and the 24L would certainly totally smoke such a zoom at any wide aperture.

Incidentally I've often wondered at what focusing distance are the Lenstip coma tests done? Some lenses will be optimized for coma correction at infinity, some for closer distances, and unless the tests are always at infinity I wonder what they mean for astronomy?

Its rent and try time OP. This is a specialized kind of photography, and if you do need the very fastest apertures you need to understand what that does to IQ before you buy to avoid disappointment. Fast wide lenses are a category on their own, very hard to make, and requiring understanding when evaluating their results. Its dead easy to make a sharp fast 85mm lens, its horrifically hard designing a fast wide, with inevitable compromises in design and performance.

Rent and test.



Aug 16, 2012 at 01:24 PM
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