Shooting at the Moon

Vouliagmeni Full-Moon

Shooting at the moon with a Point and Shoot camera is not an easy task and the limits of the camera become quickly obvious. Yesterday I have taken some shots as a test for tonight’s full-moon night.

Full-moon in Vouliagmeni

This above is about as close as I got and I have tried out different settings.

How to take a picture of the Moon

Equipment used:

  • Tripod
  • Point and Shoot Camera

The canm used is a Leica V-Lux-20 with 12 MP on a 1/2.33 Sensor.

1. Automatic Settings

With automatic settings, the moon just came back as a white disc on a black background. The cam did not distinguish between the different shades and reliefs on the surface of the moon.

2. Zoom

The camera has optical and digital zoom systems as well as an extended optical zoom system.

The camera comes with a 12 x optical zoom and and extended optical zoom up to x 23.4. The extended optical zoom uses only a reduced part of the sensor to produce the picture. The photo can then be enlarged accordingly. The camera also uses an intelligent zoom system. This is a super resolution technology by which the zoom ratio can be increased by 1.3 times with about no deterioration of the picture quality.

Check out your camera menu, you may find iZoom or something similar there.

Make sure, when you shoot at the moon, that the macro zoom is switched off.

3. Manual Settings

In view of the limited zoom range and the small size of the sensor, I put the emphasis on settings where a maximum of quality (detail) is preserved, rather than on speed or zoom (size of the moon in the frame).

To achieve this and to prevent noise, I am a friend of low ISO numbers. Considering the use of a tripod, time is no problem, so if low ISO numbers trigger longer exposure, the tripod will prevent the shake effect.

The camera will consider the moon as a whole at infinite distance; blurs due to the spherical shape are not an issue with my material. However, too low F-stop numbers will increase exposure speed and from what my tests show, it’s preferable to compromise between aperture and speed.

I have started out with f/11 at 1/100 and I just got a white disc on black background.

The above shot shows a possible compromise:

– Aperture: f/4.9

– Exposure time: 1/250 s

– ISO speed: ISO-80

– Spot metering mode

– Focal length of 49 mm which is the equivalent of 399 mm in 35 mm format

– The program selector was on Aperture Priority.

The best advise is: start with some settings and then play with aperture and shutter speed moving them gradually and then select the best picture.

Blue Moon Vouliagmeni

The blue-moon has been achieved by tinting one of yesterday’s photos blue and by cleaning the whites.

Blue Moon Vouliagmeni

More tomorrow.