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Photographing the Lunar Eclipse with the Z6

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#1 ericbowles


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Posted 05 February 2019 - 01:45 PM

Like many of you, I photographed the lunar eclipse - in my case with a Nikon Z6 and a D850.  My lens was the Nikon 600 f/4 AFS VR - and for a few shots also with the TC14E III teleconverter.  For the Z6, I used the FTZ adapter.

I had a strong preference for the Z6 over the D850.  I used Pinpoint AF, and through the viewfinder found it was much easier to achieve sharp focus and check focus.  With the D850, the OVF was dim during totality and it was very hard to accurately focus without LiveView.  LiveView was a bit grainy and slow to focus.  In comparison, focusing with the Z6 and the EVF was fast, accurate, and easy.

Exposures were using Electronic Front Curtain Shutter and Exposure Delay Mode at 3 seconds.

One of the key questions for me was the point at which subject motion - the earth's rotation - caused blurring of the image.  The Z6 and D850 have remarkably low noise at high ISO levels, but when you start recovering shadows and cropping deeply, the noise is more pronounced.  With high resolution cameras, we can get sharp images and view them at 100%, so rotation of the earth is a factor.

I tested shutter speed down to 1/5 sec, and ISO levels up to 1600.  I could have gone a little higher with ISO, but ISO 1000 to ISO 1600 seemed to be the sweet spot.  With shutter speeds of 1/8 sec I had obvious motion issues turning stars into short lines.  I could get away with 1/8 sec. with modest cropping at 600mm, but with the teleconverter and effective 850mm, 1/8 sec had clear motion impact seen in stars.

Here was an eclipse image during totality.  This was with the Z6 at 1/8 sec, f/4, ISO 1250


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#2 Wheatsack


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Posted 05 February 2019 - 01:51 PM

Wow great shot Eric.

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#3 james23p


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Posted 05 February 2019 - 03:31 PM

Wow nicely done Eric!

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#4 Art


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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:35 AM

That is extremely well done, Eric! Bravo!


#5 LightMeter


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Posted 06 February 2019 - 06:21 AM

Nice. l had to work that night. So l got to see it when l would go out on a pizza delivery. Thought about taking the D7100, Tamron 150-600, and a tripod to work. And clock out for about an hour to photograph it. But l didn't .


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#6 Sailjunkie


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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:10 PM

Very nice shot, Eric.  :)


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#7 ericbowles


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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:36 PM

Thanks everyone.


I was quite surprised at how much easier it was to use the Z6.  I fully expected to use my D850 most of the time.  


The other surprise was the amount of star movement showing up at 600-850mm.  It has a major impact on exposure times when you need to maintain detail.

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