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Thread: Film for Astrophotography

  1. #1
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Film for Astrophotography

    1. What's a good B&W film for guided astrophotography?

    2. Would Infrared film help to reduce the background "sky glow"?

    3. What about color film negative and chrome?

    After a too long a hiatus from astronomy I've 'dusted" off the scope and have resolved to get out with it more often. I was what could be classified as a "hard core" observer known to go to the top of the mountain with my scope at the slightest hint of decent observing conditions. Back then, though, I couldn't mount a camera on the top of the scope because I couldn't remove the screws from the top of the mount so I was confined to photographing with a 35mm mounted between the forks on the bottom of the OTA. Meade, bless their hearts, have since fixed that problem (and a couple of others!) for me and I can now mount 35mm, 6x7 and 4x5 - even 8x10! - on top on the mount.

    Thanks,

    Thomas

    I'm thinking of starting off with a piggybacked MF camera (cheaper to experiment with as you get 10 or 16 exposures/roll on my cameras) before moving to prime focus.

  2. #2

    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    TMax 400 is the best B&W film at present, though it looses 2 1/2 to 3 stops for long exposure. Hypered Tech Pan was the best, but I doubt that you'll find it.
    Several color films are good, though all had various problems. A couple of books would be good to review - Astrophotography for the Amateur and Wide Field Astrophotography.
    Just an aside, why film? You can get a good used digital SLR cheaply that will be easier to work with and give great results. Best regards.

    Mike

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    arca andy's Avatar
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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    Large format astrophotography?...Wow...any body done it? Better still anybody got any photos to show us?
    'Life is tough, but its tougher when you're stupid' John Wayne

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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    Just curious what size image circle you get with your scope. Can't wait to see some pics.

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    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    I would think that vibration would be a major problem with any camera using bellows. Would a Hobo or Fotoman be workable? Booth have regid bodies and rigid lens mounting . . .not much vibration there.

    I would think that about any DSLR would give great results compared to hypered anything.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    [QUOTE=Michael Heald;520122]TMax 400 is the best B&W film at present, though it looses 2 1/2 to 3 stops for long exposure. Hypered Tech Pan was the best, but I doubt that you'll find it.

    I sold some of my 4x5 tech pan earlier this year to a fell who was going to use it for astrophotography. He mentioned the "Hypered" part, what's that entail and how's it work?

  7. #7
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    He mentioned the "Hypered" part, what's that entail and how's it work?
    The film is "baked" at 40-50C in forming gas (nitrogen or argon with a few % hydrogen) or occasionally pure hydrogen (be careful) for several hours - days. It increases the speed and reduces reciprocity failure significantly (it also leads to a base fog of 0.3-0.7).

  8. #8
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I purchased my telescope (a 10" Meade SCT) back in the late 1990's from Lumicon in Livermore, Ca. - the original Lumicon before it was acquired by Parks. Back then Jack, the CEO, was advising everyone to start learning the basics of astrophotography with a film camera. He used a Hasselblad and had a door-sized color print he had made from one of his images on the door to his office. I vaguely recall that the image had won some type of award. It was a beautiful image. Back then I was just getting into photography and my only camera was a Pentax K1000 which I mounted between the forks under the OTA. I got a great image of Hale Bopp using a 50 to 250 zoom lens @250 and did a prime focus image of the comet which came out green. I didn't know it at the time (WalMart did all my developing) but if I still have that negative I can print it without the color cast. I recall really nice swirls visible in the comets head.

    After all these year I'm going to take Jack's advise and start with a Pentax 67II which incorporates a special power saving function that Pentax incorporated in the camera for astronomical photography so you don't burn-out those expensive lithium batteries. Probably start with wide field views of star fields with the camera and lens piggybacked on top of the mount and, once I get that down, switch to prime focus photography. Which reminds me: I need to get a T-adaptor for the 67.

    Fairly recently, maybe on this forum, I read where someone is doing LF astrophotography. I can't recall the details be think that he had to redesign his camera.

    According to my scope's manual, it's image scale is .57degree/inch.

    I wonder if shooting IR film with a #25 red filter would help keep the background dark? I have 2 rolls of Ilford 200 SFX.

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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by tgtaylor View Post
    I wonder if shooting IR film with a #25 red filter would help keep the background dark? I have 2 rolls of Ilford 200 SFX.
    Efke IR820c with Tiffen #87

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Film for Astrophotography

    Tech Pan was preferred by many because of its extended red sensitivity. There are
    web forums dedicated exclusively to amateur astrophotgraphy which go into these
    kind of questions in detail. I know a couple of telescope nuts who were anything but
    amused when TechPan was discontinued.

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