View Full Version here: : Vixen Polarie test shots with 5D Mk II
16-06-2012, 02:30 PM
I finally had a bit of spare time to head outside last night in the backyard to clear skies, and test the Vixen Polarie before I take it to the Kimberley's with me!
I was lucky enough to have a spare 484RC2 ball head and adapter plate, so I used this on the Polarie.
The adapter plate screwed to the bottom of the Polarie, and then sits on the normal ball head on my tripod. The second ball head screwed onto the 'camera bit' of the Polarie, and the camera has the usual adapter plate on the bottom of it.
I literally just put the tripod on the ground and pointed the Polarie roughly south. I didn't use a compass and didn't use any polar alignment techniques. I just based it off the Southern Cross.
I also just roughly set the latitude to between 30-35 - it's a pretty inaccurate scale so just set it to 'close enough'.
I then tested it with my Samyang 14mm f/2.8 and Canon 200mm f/2.8, both on the Canon 5D Mk II.
Focus was slightly off as I didn't take the time to set it properly for the test but you can't really tell at web resolution.
1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minute exposures @ ISO1600.
30s exposures @ ISO3200
Samyang 1 minute exposures.
Very quick and ugly processing of the full frame, and then a 1:1 crop of the raw image to show the stars.
Both exactly the same processing.
Not meant to be pretty pictures :)
1st: 1 minute no tracking
2nd: 1 minute tracking
3rd: crop no tracking
4th: crop tracking
Others coming in a sec.
16-06-2012, 02:40 PM
No processing, just raw files.
1st: 2 minute no tracking
2nd: 2 minute tracking
3rd: crop no tracking
4th: crop tracking
16-06-2012, 02:47 PM
3 minutes with Samyang 14mm:
No processing, just raw files.
1st: 3 minute no tracking
2nd: 3 minute tracking
3rd: 1:1 crop no tracking
4th: 1:1 crop tracking
16-06-2012, 03:02 PM
I didn't move the tripod at all, didn't do any alignment.
I tried to go for Crux at first, and I found one of the limitations of the Polarie.
Because of the position of the unit, and the ball mount, I couldn't tip the camera back far enough and still have the camera sitting over the middle with good balance.
I had to tip the camera around on one side which put a lot of weight on one side (5D Mk II + 200mm lens). That, combined with the direction (south, rather than the ecliptic) probably produced more trailing than expected.
With the 200mm lens, I kept the exposures to 30 seconds @ ISO3200.
For the second lot of shots, I pointed at Antares. It was much easier to balance the camera in the middle of the unit while it was pointing east.
1st: Crux no tracking
2nd: Crux tracking
3rd: Crux 1:1 crop no tracking
4th: Crux 1:1 crop tracking
5th: Antares no tracking
6th: Antares tracking
7th: Antares 1:1 crop no tracking
8th: Antares 1:1 crop tracking
Looks like there's a bit of camera shake on the Antares ones. I didn't use mirror lockup.
16-06-2012, 03:07 PM
Summary: I'm very impressed!
Keeping in mind I did literally no alignment, no compass, no inclinometer.
With the widefield Samyang 14mm lens, even at 3 minute exposures there's basically no trailing whatsoever.
That's where this unit is going to be brilliant - widefield nightscape shots, with or without a foreground scene.
With a foreground scene, I'd probably do one with tracking and one without, and combine them in post-processing.
Without alignment, I wasn't expecting much from the 200mm - it really was expected to push it to the limit with weight as well.
And pointed at Crux, I sort of got what I expected. 30s exposures is too much without proper alignment. But when I pointed it towards the East, there's only minimal trailing in the 1:1 crop, and isn't very evident at all in the full-frame. Would just need to get rid of the camera shake using mirror lockup.
It's extremely portable, easy to use, quick to setup. It's going to open up a new world of nightscape photography.
I can't wait to start using this out at the Kimberley!
16-06-2012, 03:13 PM
And just for fun, a quick process with levels and curves of the Antares 30s shot.
16-06-2012, 04:06 PM
I think I need one of those Polarie things.
Edit... and then I saw the price! :eyepop:
16-06-2012, 04:55 PM
Mike, carrying weight is the thing that concerns me. With a heavier camera and a longer lens can the Polarie cope? The rating is 4.4lb~2Kg which isn't that much, and the extra torque from a tele lens won't help.
Shame a StarLapse is a lot more expensive.
16-06-2012, 05:21 PM
the 5d MK2 + 200mm must be getting close to 2kg no?
16-06-2012, 05:42 PM
That's pretty good at 200mm for the time given.
16-06-2012, 06:53 PM
16-06-2012, 08:02 PM
You can get an app for the iphone that makes it an inclinometer. That would be handy.
There is also an app called Trigger trap and they also sell connecting plugs and it turns the iphone into a computer controller for time lapse and all sorts of similar applications even a lightning trigger.
Its not very expensive either.
16-06-2012, 08:45 PM
A 5dmk2+Canon 200mm f2.8 looks like it is about 1.6-1.7Kg, so the weight should be OK, but their probably needs to be some allowance for the camera/lens dimensions.
18-06-2012, 05:04 AM
It's about $500 posted. I didn't get the tripod or carry case etc. I'm just using my existing tripod and ball mounts.
Yeh I've got the inclinometer one. I had a look at Trigger Trap a few weeks ago, looks good. I might get it in a few months.
Yeh I haven't weighed the setup but it seemed to handle it ok. There's some limitations trying to point south because the camera body knocks against the polarie. There might be other ball mounts or swivel mounts that would be better.
It's a shame it can't support the weight of an ED80 but really, that's not what it's for. Obviously the AstroTrac or others is better for that sort of thing, whereas this is just for the camera and lens - a specific piece of kit for a specific purpose.
18-06-2012, 07:05 AM
Impressive Mike. It looks like you are going to have a lot of fun with that little unit. Should we prepare ourselves for a flood of widefields then :D
18-06-2012, 12:03 PM
Very impressive Mike! I'm going to try a similar thing with the astrotrac hopefully this week (i.e. rough alingment). Would love to compare the results with my 5D Mk II as well.
WoW! Even without aligning!
You're going to have a great time exploring!
Re what the Polarie can handle:
I've seen a Polarie setup (http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/133868-m45-using-the-new-vixen-polarie-travel-mount/page__st__20) (you'd need to log on to see the pics in post 22)
with a Canon550D, body only, (475 gr)
and a Mini Borg 45 ED (http://www.optcorp.com/product.aspx?pid=4178&tb=2) (380 gr)
Almost got this for myself as first scope/mount setup but couldn't find out how to order the mini borg from NZ.
Frankly, since I have had the EQ5 and 8" newt (in working order for a week now ), there were already 4 occasions where I couldn't be bothered with taking the mount out, balance, 3-star-align :prey: andwhatnot.
With the Polarie and MiniBorg I might have made use of 2 or 3 of those moments. Especially those after waking up at 4am and discovering clear sky.
:) Enjoy your trip :ship1:
your photos look great- thanks for sharing them.
I have a Manfrotto 496RC2 ball head and a manfrotto 728B tripod.
from your experience, would the normal pan/tilt head on the tripod be ok, with the 496RC2 between the polarie and the camera?
would you recommend two ball heads
- one between the tripod and the polarie; and
- one between the polarie and the camera
that is, do the fine adjustments available with a ball head on the tripod make much of a difference?
i can get a lighter ball head, say the 494RC2 for between the polarie and camera and use the 496RC2 between the tripod and polarie.
i will be in Leh (India) in a few weeks and was thinking about getting the polarie to use over there...should be able to find Polaris pretty easily up there...
total weight of the camera (D7000), lens (a few different ones) and ball head come in just under 2kg.
I only use the one ball head and use the pan head as a base for the Polarie like you just mentioned. It's perfectly acceptable as long as the pan head tilts on all axis'. Infact once locked into position you have a more secure feeling than using a ball head.
I can't speak of the 728b though, my tripod has a 3D pan head which allows movement every direction.
that is what I thought but good to get someone's confirmation.
saves me some money on another ball head...
31-08-2012, 04:33 PM
If you've got an Android phone or tab, and the correct usb cable, you can use an app called DSLRcontroller to do full control of Canon DSLRs through the phone/tab including liveview. I haven't taken my laptop out when shooting since I discovered it!
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