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I would like to know whether it is possible to photograph moon without any flaws with a canon EOS 550d..

Also to get an image of the moon as close as the following image, what kind of equipment(lens,etc) is need to be used with the 550d Body

enter image description here

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

You can certainly take such an image with a 550D, but to get it that size without cropping will take a lens of about 600mm or so. The moon occupies about one degree of arc, and a 600mm lens on the 550D's sensor will yield a (short-side) field of view of just under one and a half degrees, which is just a little bit tighter than the framing here. A 400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter will yield almost exactly the same framing as this picture; a 300mm with a 2x teleconverter will be just a bit tighter.

If the image is for screen display or a small print, don't be afraid to shoot at 300mm and crop; you'll still wind up with an image that's about 1730x2600 pixels, which is bigger than most monitors and will print a reasonable-quality 8x10 or 8x12 (or a superb 6x9).

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Just thought I would back Stan up here. I am currently renting Canon's EF 300mm f/2.8 L II lens, attached to the EF 2x TC III. That makes the lens 600mm, which gives you a pretty large moon in the frame. If you stack on a 1.4x TC in addition to the 2x TC, you get 840mm, and that gives you an image like the sample in the question. – jrista Sep 1 '12 at 22:27
The moon occupies about 1/2º of arc, not 1º. Double all of the focal lengths in this answer. – Michael Clark Jun 15 '14 at 18:56

You found the image at Mansurov's How to Photograph the Moon, so I think that's a good place to look for answers. Since he suggests using a 300mm lens and 1.4x or 2x teleconverter, I would bet those were used. Additionally, he also mentions that regardless of focal length, you are likely going to want to crop to get a tight photo.

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See my answer over here... I explain in detail how to get this kind of shot. Basically a good quality long lens (NOT cheap nasty 75-300 type thing), with it in manual focus mode and Manual mode on the camera too.... Read the post for information.

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Ideally, if you want to get as close as possible with minimum noise, you should rent out a high-quality 600mm lens like the Canon 600mm f/4L IS, the kind wildlife photographers use (typical 2012 rate: $400 for 5 days). The moon occupies a very small angular range and the less cropping you have to do the better. However if you're willing to raise ISO a little bit you can use a 300mm with a 2x teleconverter, and this is cheaper.

Also remember that there's more to shooting the moon than filling the frame - you have to choose your time carefully to get good shadows, and meter correctly to get good exposure.

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Or just shoot Manual exposure and set it yourself. – Michael Clark Jun 15 '14 at 18:54

A correction: the Moon subtends 0.5 degrees, not "about 1".

I have taken good Moon shots using my Celestron C8 telescope OTA in conjunction with a focal reducer - equivalent to 1000mm / f/6.3 - using my Pentax K100D at prime focus. The image closely fills the 2/3 sensor, maximizing the use of the available pixels. Which is only 6M for the Pentax, but still a pleasing result.

see reduced resolution for web at:

Ask me for the full-resolution (3000x2000 with full EXIF info) version if you want to analyze the original.

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Here is an uncropped photo I had taken of the Moon about a year ago.


(Be forgiving of the softness)

As you can see, it fits cozily within the frame.

This was taken using a Canon EOS 600d, which is comparable to the 550d, and using a t-ring setup attached to the Celestron Nexstar 4se, which has a focal distance of 1325mm. I wouldn't want to get much closer than this, as the Moon moves quite quickly at this focal distance - camera shake can be a real problem and the Moon can move completely out of the frame within 10 seconds.

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protected by John Cavan Dec 8 '13 at 16:58

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