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Old 30-04-2012, 06:27 PM
mbaddah (Mohammed)
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What settings do you use for time-lapse star trails?

I want to attempt a shot at star trails and create a timelapse version of it as well. I was experimenting a little on the weekend. Using my Canon 40D + Tamron 17-50mm lens, hooked up to a laptop running EOS utility, my settings were:

- Aperture F5.6
- ISO 100
- Exposure time of 8 minutes.
- Focal length 17mm.

After a while I realised a few problems with this setup:

1) EOS utility does not allow you to set a shorter delay between shots then the exposure time using the self timer!? I.e. If I'm exposing the shot for 8minutes, the interval between the next shot must be at least 8minutes and 1 seconds!!! Not sure how one is meant to circumvent this ? If I press the shutter manually, I can kick off the next shot within 5 seconds of the previous shot finishing. Obviously I don't want to sit there waiting to press the next shot

2) 17mm does not seem wide enough on a crop frame, or is it just me ?

3) How many darks do you take at the end ?

4) How do you minimise the lag in between shots? By turning the noise reduction feature off, I managed to bring down the "BUSY" time from several minutes to several seconds! Just wondering if there's anything else I can do?

There were few other things nibbling at me... I'll post them up when i remember. I'd appreciate any tips, thanks
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  #2  
Old 30-04-2012, 08:13 PM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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My last star trails I did, using the 550d and the 18-55mm kit lens @ 18mm, ISO 200, F4, 10 min subs with 2 seconds between sub.
I captured in Lge Jpeg. I didn't take dark or use ICNR.
Assembled using Star Trails.de and tidied up in CS3 using a smidge of Dust and Scratches and some Curves.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Pilliga-Star-Trails-sml.jpg)
188.8 KB58 views
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  #3  
Old 30-04-2012, 08:41 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Mo,

EOS Utility does indeed allow you to shoot the next shot with the delay of your choice.

Set your exposure to 8 minutes and your interval to 8 minutes and 10 seconds. What this means is that after your exposure, the camera will wait 10 seconds until the next image. Ensure in-camera noise reduction is disabled.

Hope that helps.

H
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Old 30-04-2012, 09:02 PM
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CapturingTheNight (Greg)
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Hi Mohammed,
Settings for star trails and timelapse really depends on what effect you are after and what camera equipment you have. You mention that you want to do a star trail AND make a timelapse movie out of the images as well. If you want to do this, then you need to keep the individual images to an exposure length that does not produce a noticible trail. To do this, use the 600 rule to determine the maximum shutter speed before stars begin to noticibly trail. The 600 rule is 600 divided by the true focal length of the lens. You are running a canon crop sensor on the 40D so the true focal length of your 17mm lens, is 17 times 1.6 = 27.2mm true focal length (so yes it isn't really wide to answer another of your questions. You need a true focal length around 20mm to start getting 90 degree field of views) So 600/27.2= 22 seconds maximum shutter speed if you want to do timelapse movies and star trails like these couple of mine http://youtu.be/62G4RyGttVo and http://youtu.be/QBobahkww78. Once you know the shutter speed then you just need to work out what ISO and aperture you want. If you are doing timelapse then you generally want as much star light as possible, so high ISO's and wide open apertures. Don't worry too much about noise with high ISO's. It gets masked somewhat in the final vid. On that note. Turn off in camera noise reduction. It is why you are getting the gaps inbetween shots. The camera is taking a "dark frame" after every image if it is left on. For star trails you need seemless trails, so set the camera for continuous shooting and lock down the shutter button with a timer remote. I have no experience with using EOS utility to take the images. You should be able to pick up a timer remote for your camera for under $40 on ebay. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/LCD-Timer...item27bb2a991a <- for example (i use this exact one)
If however you just want a star trail image then you have a lot more flexibility in the camera settings. You can go longer exposures to reduce the overall image number. You can go lower iso's and higher apertures to reduce the number of stars picked up for a more subtle effect.
A couple more of my examples
http://obsidian2010.deviantart.com/a...ping-286876074 <- high iso for a star filled sky
http://obsidian2010.deviantart.com/a...Dusk-199733117 <- lower ISO for a more subtle effect
Other camera setting are detailed below the images. I have a number of other images on that site as well. If you go to my profile and then click on gallery you should be able to find all my star trails there somewhere. You will be able to see what settings I have used for different effects.

One last link: http://www.naturephotographers.net/a.../fv0509-1.html This is the best online article I have seen on capturing star trails. It tells you everything I have said and more.
Hope this helps.
Cheers
Greg
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Old 30-04-2012, 11:02 PM
mbaddah (Mohammed)
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Quote:
My last star trails I did, using the 550d and the 18-55mm kit lens @ 18mm, ISO 200, F4, 10 min subs with 2 seconds between sub.
I captured in Lge Jpeg. I didn't take dark or use ICNR.
Assembled using Star Trails.de and tidied up in CS3 using a smidge of Dust and Scratches and some Curves.
That's a stunning pic, well done

Quote:
Set your exposure to 8 minutes and your interval to 8 minutes and 10 seconds. What this means is that after your exposure, the camera will wait 10 seconds until the next image. Ensure in-camera noise reduction is disabled.
Thanks for the tip Humayun. I tried it and it worked perfectly as you describe

Quote:
Hi Mohammed,
Settings for star trails and timelapse really depends on what effect you are after and what camera equipment you have. You mention that you want to do a star trail AND make a timelapse movie out of the images as well. If you want to do this, then you need to keep the individual images to an exposure length that does not produce a noticible trail. To do this, use the 600 rule to determine the maximum shutter speed before stars begin to noticibly trail. The 600 rule is 600 divided by the true focal length of the lens. You are running a canon crop sensor on the 40D so the true focal length of your 17mm lens, is 17 times 1.6 = 27.2mm true focal length (so yes it isn't really wide to answer another of your questions. You need a true focal length around 20mm to start getting 90 degree field of views) So 600/27.2= 22 seconds maximum shutter speed if you want to do timelapse movies and star trails like these couple of mine http://youtu.be/62G4RyGttVo and http://youtu.be/QBobahkww78. Once you know the shutter speed then you just need to work out what ISO and aperture you want. If you are doing timelapse then you generally want as much star light as possible, so high ISO's and wide open apertures. Don't worry too much about noise with high ISO's. It gets masked somewhat in the final vid. On that note. Turn off in camera noise reduction. It is why you are getting the gaps inbetween shots. The camera is taking a "dark frame" after every image if it is left on. For star trails you need seemless trails, so set the camera for continuous shooting and lock down the shutter button with a timer remote. I have no experience with using EOS utility to take the images. You should be able to pick up a timer remote for your camera for under $40 on ebay. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/LCD-Timer...item27bb2a991a <- for example (i use this exact one)
If however you just want a star trail image then you have a lot more flexibility in the camera settings. You can go longer exposures to reduce the overall image number. You can go lower iso's and higher apertures to reduce the number of stars picked up for a more subtle effect.
A couple more of my examples
http://obsidian2010.deviantart.com/a...ping-286876074 <- high iso for a star filled sky
http://obsidian2010.deviantart.com/a...Dusk-199733117 <- lower ISO for a more subtle effect
Other camera setting are detailed below the images. I have a number of other images on that site as well. If you go to my profile and then click on gallery you should be able to find all my star trails there somewhere. You will be able to see what settings I have used for different effects.

One last link: http://www.naturephotographers.net/a.../fv0509-1.html This is the best online article I have seen on capturing star trails. It tells you everything I have said and more.
Hope this helps.
Cheers
Greg
Greg, that was extremely informative. Thank you for taking the time to write such a lengthy response. You're time lapses are amazing and it's just the effect I was after. I just bought a timer remote for my 40D last week (this type http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Timer-Rem...item335e39e0b0) after been fed up with my other no-name brand model. I'm hoping this works out better!

I'll give it another go as soon I get clear skies and no moon here. Thanks again all
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2012, 06:56 AM
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CapturingTheNight (Greg)
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My pleasure Mohammed. Good luck with the next trial. Don't discount shooting when the moon is up though. You can use it to naturally light up foreground elements.
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