Wednesday (13-July-2011) — New Jersey

Backyard Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Waxing Gibbous Moon. DSLR Night Video + Telephoto Lens Testing.

After several days having problem with taking video images of the moon with the Nikon D3s, I finally figured out what the problem was. I was pointed to a reference on the net about an undocumented feature in Live View that impacts video capture (Thanks to Howard Ignatius). The secret sauce is “use the OK button

β€œ- There is some misinformation online stating that the camera does not allow true manual control over ISO, shutter speed, and aperture in video mode. That is absolutely not true. The feature is undocumented for some reason, but if you hit the OK button while in live view, a light meter will appear and it switches to whatever mode that you currently have set on the camera (manual, aperture priority, etc). That means if you’re on manual, then you can adjust all of your settings as you please. Push the INFO button to cycle through different display modes, including a live histogram, horizon level, grid, etc.”  http://www.davidbergman.net/blog/how-to-get-manual-exposure-video-mode-on-the-nikon-d3s/

Bottom line, I now have manual control of the camera when taking videos!!!!!

The following video contains 15 second segments of the moon with different telephoto lenses comparing with and without the lens “vibration reduction” being enabled. When on tripod there is a difference. Let me know if you see the difference. The telephoto lenses and telescope used include the 600 mm f/4 VR, 600 mm f/4 VR + TC-E III 20 (1200 mm), 500 mm f/4 VR, 500 mm f/4 + TC-E III 20 (1000 mm), 400 mm f/2.8, 400 mm f/2.8 + TC-E III 20 (800 mm), 300 mm f/2.8, 300 mm f/2.8 + TC-E III 20 (600 mm), and Questar 3.5″ telescope (~1500 mm). The video was put together using Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro.

I’ve also included a still image of the waxing gibbous moon (97%) taken with the Nikon D3s and Questar 3.5″ telescope (ISO 1600, ~1500 mm, f/16, 1/1000 sec).

Nearly Full Moon. Image taken with Nikon D3s and Questar 3.5 inch telescope (ISO 1600, ~1500 mm, f/16, 1/1000 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro and Photoshop CS5 (David J. Mathre)
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Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, sky, and seascapes, travel, and astrophotography. I look for unique ways of viewing the world and presenting my images. I have traveled to over 55 countries in six continents, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on home renovation and expansion of a wildflower garden/meadow.

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