Thursday, August 2, 2007

Milky way project

In the early 20th century Astronomer EE Barnard composed a photographic atlas of the milky way, this work was done at the Lick observatory in California and was at the time a rather technical venture. However with the advances in film and camera technology it should be possible to take similar pictures today with amature level equipment.

With modern films such as Fuji Provia 400F it is possible to get quite a lot of milky way detail in as little as 15 seconds at F 2.0. With an equatorials mounted telescope and a camera mounted piggy back wide fields can be captured of much of the northern milky way, from Sagatarius up across to Cassiopea and down into the winter sky. This will take many sessions probably over a course of several years.

The first question is what type of camera to use:

The Options:

* 35mm (Pentax K-1000)

* Easy to use
* Easy to get lens for
* F2.0 Lens
* Light weight
* Film is reasonably cheap


* Small Negatives
* 50mm Lens leaves a pretty small plate scale

* 120 format, Rolleiflex F2.8 80mm

* Film is larger
* High quality optics, probably can be shot at F2.8 or F4.0
* Film is still not very expensive
* Not too heavy


* Camera is flakey and needs repair
* only one lens (but at least is a really good one)

* 120 Format Pentacon 6 or the like with 250 mm lens

* Same size film as the Rollei
* Long lens will bring out more small details,


* Unknown mechnical and optical quality
* Would have to buy camera (1200NIS or so)
* Weight?

* 4x5 format, Sinar F1

* High end 150mm APO lens
* 150mm Lens will bring many smaller details above the grain of the film
* 4x5 film is much bigger allowing for a lot of detail


* Provia 400F is not made in 4x5 would have to use Provia 100F
* Lens is only F5.6, so exposures would have to be in the 5-10min range
* Camera weight
* Camera flex could be a problem
* Film flatness could be an issue, with luck quickloads would fix this, or if not we can build a vacuum back

For now I plan to start trying with the Sinar, this may get swapped out for a flatbed camera, however if the project can be made to work with a LF camera the result will look amazing.

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