Timescapes - Digital Timelapse Discussion

D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainyness
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Author:  movingzachb [ Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainyness

Is this camera capable of taking a proper night sky photo without getting a grainy shot?
I was trying to do a night sky time lapse at the top of Glacier Point in Yosemite, its about 7000 ft elevation and the exposure was 15 seconds. The focus I think is off but I think this was really just a good experiment for me to learn from.

Pretty sure the settings were
15 Second exposure
25 second interval
1600 ISO
Tokina 11-16 at 2.8

I used the Nikon View NX2 free software to change this photo to look more like the actual color of the milky way, but I still see the pixels.
Is the elimination of the grainy pixels dependent upon the balance of the exposure time and the ISO?
IE: if i set the ISO to 800 instead of 1600 and extend my exposure time - will I capture more stars than I would at 1600 without the grainy look?
Or is it simply removed in some other kind of post processing regardless?

I was just wondering ultimately if I had higher end model DSLR would it have a sensor/processor capable of minimizing my need to do any post processing.

The photos I took of the milky way and other directions from this vantage point showed up on the camera preview with a orange tint, but the milky way had a white/blue shade to its dense areas, not orange. Why does it show up brownish/orange?

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5663/20626477472_1a5f75d484_h.jpg Original with brownish orange tint
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5765/20447585570_b152d38673_h.jpg Edited version

Author:  amongstmyselves [ Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainynes


There are several improvements you could make. Firstly go for a longer exposure. Most use a 30 second exposure on the stars especially with a wide angle lens like you have. You will not see any streaks from that lens due to star movement. One of the pit falls of the longer exposure though is you will get potentially more noise. Set your interval to nothing or 1 second if possible. Yes you would improve the quality of the image with a full frame sensor camera. Shoot using a RAW file. This will give you more colour depth to adjust when you create your JPEG. Sharper focus will also help. You do seem to have a reasonable amount of milky way glow coming though.

Your shot looks very similar to one of my first shots I did. My first camera was a Canon 1000D which appears similar to your D7000. I do now use a Canon 5D2 which is full frame. I also use a faster lens now which goes down to f1.2. All these elements add up to more light getting in with less noise.

As for the colour, what is you camera's colour set to ? Again, if you use a RAW format you can change the colour to whatever you like.

Atmospheric conditions play a huge role also. I don't know where you live but if you are in a city then forget about getting a lot of detail as there will be too much light pollution. The time of year can also affect your pictures. If you are shooting on a hot night then your camera heats up more, due to the sensor exposure, and creates more noise. I find that shooting in Winter gets the best results though I live in South Australia and often plan to shoot stars in Winter where it will not go much below 0 degrees Celsius. In the Outback where I live there is also less dust in the air during Winter and hence more light from the milky way gets through to the camera.

As far as a lens goes you should aim for a fixed focal length, not a zoom lens, and something with a smaller aperture. I know you are a Nikon user but I purchase a Canon 50mm plastic lens for $80 which did a great job. This lens goes down to f1.8.

Lots of things to try out here. Hope this helps.

Steve R.

Author:  movingzachb [ Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainynes

Thanks for the reply.

How do I determine what 'colour' my camera is set to? I did use RAW in this photo as well. All the research I've done points to a fast ultra wide angle lens although maybe you are referring to a wide angle lens at a 1.8 (fixed). I did try this in the desert where it was very cold and I got the same effect. Not sure why, I've taken photos with this camera before of the stars at this same elevation (7000 ft) with no light pollution and it looked exactly spot on. I wonder if my camera settings are off.

You are suggesting to set a 30 second exposure with 1 second intervals? Would you be meaning to suggest to make the interval as low as possible? I think I could do 1 sec or 5 sec on the sandisk extreme cards I'm using. I usually do try to do this at 25 second exposures on 10 second intervals. I don't know - lately its just come out all grainy and I can't remember what my settings were. Maybe its a D-lighting setting? A noise setting. I was thinking of buying a Nikon D7200 as it has a built in time lapse smoothing feature to automatically remove flicker. I was also thinking of going out and buying the D750 or the D610 (much cheaper) both full frame. I don't know what the D610 wouldn't have that I would rather want in the D750 though. Both have high ISO settings.

I was wondering if these camera's that can go to a higher ISO would help the grainy exposures to.

Author:  amongstmyselves [ Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainynes

The RAW data will still have a colour attached to it from the settings that you use but since you are using RAW you can change this to what you'd like it to be. I find that I will often warm the shot.

So the combination of the camera and the lens appear to do the job based on previous shots. So it must be your camera settings. The shot in your demo is quite out of focus which would make the milky way fuzzy.

Yes 30 seconds exposure with the minimum possible interval.

Noise settings are ignored with RAW files.

I shoot at 1600ASA with the 5Dmk2 when doing stars. The image here (hopefully it works) is at 1600ASA with a 50mm lens at f1.8 ? Sorry I didn't record the f-stop as it's a manual lens hence no data is stored in the CR2 file. It is isn't a great shot but shows that the noise level isn't over bad. Something else that I should do is shoot dark frames which will remove any hot pixels on the CCD.


Author:  movingzachb [ Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainynes

I was looking at the D750 and the D610. (I guess by default I look at Nikon because I am not versed in on the Canon models).

Both of these are a logical step up from the D7000 and are both FX (full frame). I read that full frame cameras will do better for night sky photos, and both of these models have much higher ISOs.

Very low noise at high ISO
D610 2,980 ISO $1500
D750 2,956 ISO $2000 or so

I might be just fine with the 610.

Author:  Kitwn [ Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainynes

There's a wealth of information on this thread...


Good luck


Author:  amongstmyselves [ Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: D7000 How to take Night Sky photos without the grainynes

Thanks Kit, I did book mark that page somewhere but couldn't find it.

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