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 image quality 
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 201
Location: Miles City, Montana
Post image quality
I've done a lot of slow time-lapse sequence (1 frame per 30 sec) typically indoors with mirror lockup with good results and great image quality (IQ). However, I started shooting landscapes in eastern Montana with a MILapse system at 8x (turns about 90degress per 40 minutes), 8 sec picture intervals, with windy conditions (factory tripod weighted), F2.8, RAW format, & fast shutter speeds. My t-l controller goes into the left of the camera and required that I push the camera to the front of the new L-brackets provided with the kit. I'm thinking of flipping it over (upside down L) and placing the camera on top so it sits more near the rear near the point of rotation. Seems limiting the movement of the front of the lens should help.

I'm planning to try some trials soon to isolate the effects of wind (inside vs. outside), shutter (mirror lockup vs. no lockup vs. a digicam), camera positioning (front vs. rear of bracket), and rotation speed to see if I can improve IQ. The obvious limit of the MILapse seems to be its current motion and potential impact on IQ. Overall, I'm impressed with its functionality but am frustrated with the IQ. In eastern Montana it is nearly always windy which may be the biggest factor... I have had pretty good success with landscape photography (solid tripod & shutter lockup). I'm not sure if others have noticied this or not.

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Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:18 am
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Post Re: image quality
I'd suggest you ditch the factory tripod and mate it to a very solid one. Weigh it down as much as possible as well. Depending on the exposure time 8x can be a little on the fast side especially if your getting into say the 1/2 second and up range. If IQ is your priority... slow the ratio down to 0.5 or so @ 8x... if your going for longer than 1 second exposures keep it at 2x and your ratio below 1.0

Now as far as the mount is concerned. Hopefully your working with the new bracket that comes with the head as it's looking very solid. Take the time to loosen the horizontal lock knob and find the balance point for your camera.


Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:31 am
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 201
Location: Miles City, Montana
Post Re: image quality
Thanks for your suggestions MILapse. I altered the ratio like you suggested. After a trial at home, the IQ was pretty good regardless of settings (mirror lock-up, camera position on the l-bracket, and even 8x vs. 16x) with no obvious effects. I'm beginning to think that the wind was moving the rig more than I thought and causing the soft pictures... It will probably take me awhile to figure out a tripod adaptation.

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Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:59 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:30 am
Posts: 824
Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: image quality
A tip to secure a tripod in strong winds is to( if your location has them) find a large/heavy rock or piece of wood.
Position it on the ground under the centre of your tripod and use some rope(that you have remembered to pack!) to tie down your tripod to the same rock. I have also used empty sandbags which I fill on location.
Another tip is to make a wind break out of a couple of lightweight tent poles hammered into the ground with some tough fabric stretched between them. This assumes the wind is blowing in a constant direction and not all over the place.
I'm sure Antz would be an expert on this subject.posting.php?mode=reply&f=25&t=403#


Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:30 pm
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Post Re: image quality
timematte wrote:
A tip to secure a tripod in strong winds is to( if your location has them) find a large/heavy rock or piece of wood.
Position it on the ground under the centre of your tripod and use some rope(that you have remembered to pack!) to tie down your tripod to the same rock. I have also used empty sandbags which I fill on location.
Another tip is to make a wind break out of a couple of lightweight tent poles hammered into the ground with some tough fabric stretched between them. This assumes the wind is blowing in a constant direction and not all over the place.
I'm sure Antz would be an expert on this subject.posting.php?mode=reply&f=25&t=403#


A lot of better tripods have a hook attached to the center shaft on the bottom for exactly this purpose. I keep a few bungee cords with me of different lengths, and a small plastic bag from a grocery store. If I'm shooting just a couple of shots, I loop the bungee and put my foot in it, and bring it down to the ground. Otherwise, I put sand, rocks, water, whatever in the bag. Just make sure it sits on the ground when attached (which is why bungees are great - they stretch for different heights =) -- if the weight is floating around in the air, it will be blown too.

!c


Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:23 am
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 201
Location: Miles City, Montana
Post Re: image quality
I've been hanging a bag with rocks from the legs to help hold it down. Guess I need more weight. In one case I attempted to shield the tripod for 40minutes from the wind with my body and jacket opened like batman jumping off a tower. It also had the bag with rocks. I sort of suspect that these conditions aren't ripe for t-l projects unless I use a concrete block in place of the tripod and mount the Meade head to it. :-) (I'm half serious)

I suspect a strong wind (6-10mph) is likely to make many rigs shutter and am now not that confident in the Meade tripod to resist movement. I did see that one astronomy person had filled the legs of his tripod with sand. That should add some heft but probably deter any long trips up hills. May give this a try since wind is typical on the more scenic of days with nice cloud formations.

Edit- Right now we're having 20mph winds and the light posts in the parking lot a moving around... Probably not a good time for a t-l...

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Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:24 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:44 pm
Posts: 69
Post Re: image quality
I wonder how much image stabilization would help? With Canon the widest lens with IS is the 24-105. But some of these newer cameras have it built in to the body.


Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:15 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:16 pm
Posts: 224
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post Re: image quality
Honestly, the only way to fix the wind problem (generally speaking, nothing to do with moco related problems) is with a really solid tripod. Appearances can be deceiving where tripods are concerned. Just because it's big or heavy or it looks solid doesn't really mean that it is. The Gitzo pictured below costs more than some digital cameras but it's worth every cent and I have never looked back since buying it.

Image

JJ

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Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:38 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:17 pm
Posts: 8
Post Re: image quality
I made an adaptor so the head fits on my Sachtler tripod with 100mm bowl. Then I got a corkscrew lawn anchor from a pet store which I screw into the ground and use a small ratchet strap to crank that puppy down. Works if your in the dirt anyway.


Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:30 pm
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