First photos through an Orion 90mm Ø 1250mm Focal Length Maksutov Cassegrain

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by Steaphany, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    Having finally received my new Orion Apex 90mm Ø Maksutov Cassegrain with a focal length of 1250mm, the SD14 making this equivalent to 2125mm, here are a couple of my early shots:

    SDIM1096-DSS-s.jpg

    SDIM1101-DSS-s.jpg

    I was roughly 50 feet (15 meters) from the birds.

    Both were processed in DeepSkyStacker to compensate for vignetting from a separate flat frame exposure. Neither photo was cropped and the complete SD14 image frame is shown here.

    Both, obviously, were shot from a tripod.
     
  2. Guest .

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    Hi Steaphany,

    an impressive focal length we are talking about here! :)

    Since I do not know the Orion Apex-lens I would like to learn about it?!

    Are we talking about this telescope?!

    You must be logged in to see this link.

    Well, the pictures look a bit flat ... don't they? They would need more contrast for my opinion.

    All my mirror lenses behave similar. They lack contrast.

    See you with nice pictures

    Klaus
     
  3. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    That's the scope, though I purchased mine directly from the Orion web site.

    I would not say that the images are flat, I agree the contrast is not peaked, but as I said in the original post, these are some of my first photos through the scope and I am also working through the learning curve with DeepSkyStacker to compensate for scope vignetting with a flat frame. The post stacking adjustment tools in DeepSkyStacker are not the most intuitive.

    To get a better sense of how the 90mm Ø Maksutov Cassegrain performs with a SD14, here are JPGs processed with SPP from the original X3F's:

    SDIM1096-SPPss.jpg

    SDIM1101-SPPss.jpg

    See plenty of contrast and nicely clear.

    The issue with DeepSkyStacker is that it is software designed to process astronomical photographs, not wild birds. I'm using it in a manor which is undocumented and I will need to play with it to preserve the SD14 clarity while compensating for the scope limitations.
     
  4. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    Klaus,

    You inspired me to try some experiments and conduct some research.

    As you can see, the SD14 does capture a good image, but it still needs work.

    The output from SPP yielded a 4573 x 3048 pixel image and I wanted to preserve the resolution while also not performing any cropping.

    I found problems with the perched Cowbird on the branch due to camera shake from not shooting in mirror up mode. The Sparrow on the fence was fine and I decided to go with it.

    DeepSkyStacker outputted a Autosave.tif file with 96 bits per pixel and even photoshop choked on it, even if only 32M in size.

    I had to find a HDR image processor and decided to try FDRTools Basic. FDRTools was able to read DeepSkyStacker's Autosave.tif and I was able to reduce this down to a 16 bit per pixel PNG file, which turned out to be about 41M.

    This was within Photoshops comfort zone and I was able to adjust the levels for this resulting image:

    Autosave001.jpg

    I feel that this turned out to be a nice full frame image with the Orion Maksutov Cassegrain - SD14 combination.

    What do you think ?
     
  5. Guest .

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    Hi Steaphany,

    you obviously did vignetting very successfully! :)

    I think, you can optimize contrast a bit.

    Compare:

    Original ......................................................................................... More Contrast

    SDIM1101-DSS-s.jpg SDIM1101-DSS-s_1b.jpg

    I did not change the highlights ... just darkened the shadows slightly.

    I hope, you do not mind me to work on your shot? :) If so please feel free to complain .... I am going to delete it then.

    See you with nice shots

    Klaus
     
  6. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your work, that is a good improvement.

    We're both thinking along the same line with different methods.

    I also do not mind you experimenting. It helps everyone get an idea of what is possible when photographing through the Orion Telescope.
     
  7. Guest .

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    Hi Steaphany,

    I have two different mirror lenses at hands. A SOLIGOR 500mm / 8.0 and a HANIMEX 300mm / 6.3. Both are so-so ... sharp but not sahrp as knifes.

    Contrast behaviour seems very similar to your shots above.

    Most interesting to know would be, whether your telescope is "really" sharp for high quality photography?!

    Contrast and vignetting can be cured digitally ... sharpness cannot.

    Did you use mirror-lock with the shots above?! With such telephoto focal lengthes it is a clear must.

    Thanks for an answer

    Klaus
     
  8. Guest .

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    Me again,

    I am very much in shooting birds!

    I have quite a number of telephoto-lenses available. It is extremely difficult to find affordable, fast enough, high quality lenses. I am well equipped up to 500mm. I also have a SIGMA 80-400mm EX OS + a 2X-Extender.

    Image quality is quite well with the extender ... but it makes the lens comparatively slow.

    -die magische Kugel-.jpg -Rotkehlchen-.jpg

    -Grünspecht-.jpg -Entenküken-.JPG

    -Steinadler-.jpg

    If this IQ could be managed with an affordable telescope it would be quite an alternative.

    What does the manufacturere promise about the scope's open aperture?

    See you with nice pictures

    Klaus
     
  9. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    Hi Klaus,

    For the Cowbird on the branch, No, I did not use Mirror Lock Up Mode. I saw that the reflection of the Sun in the Bird's eye was a triangular jiggle.

    For the shot of the Sparrow on the fence, Yes, that used mirror lock up.

    If you look close at the Sparrow's eye, you can see the Sun's reflection as a nice small point and the brown of the iris clearly visible and distinguishable from the black round pupil.

    The tripod that I used for these was:

    You must be logged in to see this link.

    To photograph the birds, a traditional manual tripod is just too difficult to work with. The Orion Tele-Track can be used without aligning to the sky where it becomes an electronically controlled tripod with 10 speeds. For gross positioning I use speed 8 or 9, but to frame an image through the SD14, I use speed 1 or 2. For a sense of what this means, Speed setting 1 is twice the rate of stars moving across the sky, Speed 2 is 16X, and speeds 8 and 9 are 800X and 1000X. The Tele-Track mount is designed to work when aligned to the sky for astronomical use.

    The advantage of the SPP -> DSS -> FDR -> PS process flow is that it preserved the color intensity characteristic of the SD14.

    If you are interested in seeing and experimenting first hand with any of these files, the SD14's X3F, DSS's Autosave.tif, etc., let me know in a private message and I'll upload then to a site where you can easily download them.
     
  10. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    The aperture for the 90mm Ø Maksutov Cassegrain is f13.9

    Remember, I was shooting with an ISO of 100 at 1/80th, so there is room to get better shutter speeds.

    In the same family with Orion's 90mm scope, they offer two others offering:

    102mm Ø Maksutov Cassegrain 1300mm FL @ f 12.7

    and

    127mm Ø Maksutov Cassegrain 1540mm FL @ f 12.1

    and they do have even larger Ø Maksutov Cassegrains
     
  11. Guest .

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    Thanks a lot!:)

    See you with nice pictures

    Klaus
     
  12. laurence2

    laurence2 Well-Known Member

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    It's great to see this kind of experimentation and shooting to find the sweet spot for that big lens! This is very interesting, and I am impressed with your innovative style!

    Laurence
     
  13. short243

    short243 Member

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    I like birds too

    Hi, Since we don't have many large birds around here I like to intice some small cute ones into range (500mm lens).
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    To get the Birds to come to you, put up a Bird feeder.

    For the species that you want to photograph, find out what they eat and also look into what sort of nest box would entice them to raise a family in your yard.
    Another thing you can try is setting up a shallow garden pond, 1 to 2 inches ( 2 to 4 cm ) at it's deepest.

    Depending on how comfortable the Birds are, you may be able to get close enough with out a hide, or you can set up a hide in your yard. Then wait for the Birds to perch in an aesthetic pose and take your photos.

    Remember, you will have to take a lot of photos just to get a few good ones.

    The two disk DVD set, "Go Wild with your Camera" focuses on UK wild life photography, but the information they provide applies everywhere. For anyone with experience, these may be a bit on the basic side, but it's still has a lot of good "How to" information:

    You must be logged in to see this link.
     
  15. short243

    short243 Member

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    Hi, I use a couple feeders and suet too. I don't use a blind, actually I use the house. I set up a place for the birds with plenty of branches, a shallow sause pan (1 1/2 in depth) for water about 20ft from a window. I set up the camera just inside the house and open the window. I also like to use flash with the evening sun behind the birds for backlight, a nice effect.
     
  16. Guest .

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    Hi Short,

    very nice shots indeed! :z02_respekt:

    It is always difficult to assess .... only the photographer himself can do....

    Are the colours realistic this way? It looks like a little green cast to me?

    See you with nice pictures

    Klaus
     
  17. short243

    short243 Member

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    Hi, I'm not sure, I kinda have problem with colors, especially tints. I can say though the stalks they are on are from a patch of sunflowers about 5ft deep and 8-10ft long set up beside my feeders with backlight (evening sun) and flash. But then sometimes the SD14 can have a green cast as the SD10 had a yellow.
    Oh ... uh ... ....gee ... must be sunlight softly filtering though the sunflowers leaves that are gently swaying in a cool fall evening as birds sing about the summer that is oh so slowly fading in a blaze of magnificent fall colors and the long journey to come into a warmer climate.:proud:
    Sorry, sometimes I just can't help myself, I do so love a good chuckle .... I figure it's that I don't see colors so well and can't process correctly ......
     
  18. Steaphany

    Steaphany Well-Known Member

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    Short,

    If your color vision is different than what's considered the norm, then you simply see things differently. It has nothing to do with how well or a level of fitness.

    Have you looked into using a color reference card, such as the 24 patch color and grey scale cards produced by xrite.com ?

    Even if your interpretation of the card's hues are unique, you may be able to use it as a guide to bring your photographs to a more natural balance, where anyone looking at your photos would see an image close to how they would see the exact scene in real life with their own eyes.

    A useful feature of SPP is the eye dropper which sets the neutral grey or white point of an image. Just shoot an image with the color checker in the field of view. Then use the same light conditions to shoot your Bird photos. In SPP, open the image which includes the color checker and click the eye dropper on the white or grey color patches to set a white point. When you open later images, you can use this sampled white point to set the color balance.

    I hope this helps.
     
  19. foveonfan

    foveonfan Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Rick!

    I feel your pain! I also have some shortcomings when it comes to "seeing" colour. As Steaphaney suggests, sometimes a colour checker is the way to go. I use the one I received as part of my Microtek scanner kit years ago, made by Kodak.

    Sincere regards, Jim Roelofs
     

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