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I'm trying to improve my moon shots.

I'm currently shooting it with a Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM lens mounted either on a Canon 450D or a Canon 6D.

I realized that my Canon 6D gets me fantastic results but the moon is too small. I can crop nicely but it has its limits.

On the other hand, the 450D gives me less sharp results but the moon is bigger. Of course, I cannot crop much because it's quickly messy.

I've read about teleconverter and the fact they decrease sharpness. Buying a 2x is out of question because of the quality loss but I'm questioning myself on the 1.4x.

More specifically, the question I'm asking myself is :

What would be the better setup to get a nice shot of the moon ?

  • Canon 6D, Canon 100-400L, increase sharpness through Lightroom
  • Canon 4506D, Canon 100-400L, increase sharpness through Lightroom

  • Canon 6D, Canon 100-400L, image stack up

  • Canon 450D, Canon 100-400L, image stack up

  • Canon 6D, Canon 100-400L, 1.4x teleconverter, increase sharpness through Lightroom

  • Canon 450D, Canon 100-400L, 1.4x teleconverter, increase sharpness through Lightroom

  • Canon 6D, Canon 100-400L, 1.4x teleconverter, image stack up

  • Canon 450D, Canon 100-400L, 1.4x teleconverter, image stack up

Do you guys have experience in that field ? Have you already tried one or more of those combos ? Is there a much better way to improve my shots ?

P.s. I know shooting the moon with landscape would be better, my whole point here is only to get a moon as big and sharp as possible.

Samples (both processed with Lightroom only) :

Canon 6D : enter image description here https://500px.com/photo/116560719/madam-by-andy-m?from=user_library

Canon 450D : enter image description herehttps://500px.com/photo/117058521/orange-madam-by-andy-m?from=user_library

  • Air stability is your main concern here. Best practice here is to make raw pictures or a raw movie and process it using astro photography such as DSS (Digital Sky Stacker), RegiStax or (I think this is the best option for novices and moon stakcks): AutoStakkert2. Normally, you'd take 100's of pics and (automatically) merge the best 10 or 20 of them. – agtoever Aug 6 '15 at 19:58
  • @agtoever I'm already shooting raw. I've tried registax, pipp and autostakkert2. I didn't shoot that much photos tho, 50 at most... I'll try much more next time. Thank you! – Andy M Aug 6 '15 at 20:02
  • @mattdm yeah I meant that my starting point was at the focal given in parenthesis. It's like, out of the sensor, without cropping, my moon will be bigger with the 450D. – Andy M Aug 6 '15 at 20:10
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    Your photos are already quite good. With any more magnification you are going to need a tracking mount which can cost a pretty penny. – Jon Aug 6 '15 at 20:58
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    Jon (I guess it's him) made comparison in this thread on Canon rumors forum that is comparable to your situation (crop vs FF) Take a look! – null Aug 6 '15 at 22:24
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I'm not a moon photographer, but your examples are just about as impressive as I've seen taken with a DSLR and standard camera lens. Some of the things you're looking at may help, but I think they're just going to be incremental. Additional sharpening is only going to get you so much, and the teleconverter is only giving you a less-than-50% increase in each dimension, and stacking can give you more detail but ultimately not something anyone will notice from across the room.

To really take things to the next level — which I think is where you want to go, especially since you mention that you just want moon images, not landscapes-with-moon — I think what you want is a telescope. Mount your camera to that with a "t-ring adapter". See How do I choose a telescope for space and planets photography? and How to shoot images from a home telescope using a digital SLR? for your next steps.

  • yeah, a telescope would be awesome, but it's going to cost me a kidney :) – Andy M Aug 6 '15 at 20:03
  • @AndyM a reasonable telescope and mount is half the price of your 100-400mm lens: bhphotovideo.com/c/product/617026-REG/… . If you are willing to match the price of your current lens, you can get an even nicer telescope and mount: bhphotovideo.com/c/product/917578-REG/… – user13451 Aug 6 '15 at 22:02
  • @MichaelT Yeah, I've looked a bit for a Telescope and mount. It's not THAT expensive but, unlike my lens, it will serve me for a single purpose (well, let's say sky photography). So it is a bit of a big invest. I'd be interested in deep sky photography so, the telescope option seems to come more and more interesting :) Thanks for your comment ! – Andy M Aug 7 '15 at 8:04

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