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  1. #1

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    Leica M's and Astrophotography

    Any possibility of using a Leica M for astrophotography? Are there connectors available?
    W.A. Crider

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    It's a huge mismatch to try to use a rangefinder for this. Get a used mechanical SLR with Mirror Lock up to do this. I have a Pentax Spotmatic with a busted meter that I'll sell you for $10 plus shipping. There are numerous other similar old mechanical SLR cameras that also cost next to nothing, and are FAR better suited to astrophotography than any rangefinder is.

  3. #3
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    I've seen (and own) a Leica screw mount to T adapter. I don't recall having seen a Leica M to T adapter, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. To focus a telescope using a Leica rangefinder, you'd need to use a Visoflex to turn it into an SLR, which is more bulky and expensive than many manual mechanical SLRs that are preferred for astrophotography. The common spec for astrophotography is an SLR that has mirror lock-up, not too much bulk, a bright finder, and a shutter that works without batteries on bulb or time exposure. LEDs in the finder can leak onto the image with time exposures, and batteries can die quickly with long exposures and cooler night time temps.

    If you're shooting wide field, like whole constellations, a Leica style rangefinder can work wonderfully for focal lengths up to 135mm. A brightline 1:1 hot shoe finder for 50mm and longer focal lengths allows you to see many more stars than a typical SLR, and makes composing much easier. One of the first things I did with a C/V 75mm f:2.5 was constellation photography, and I was astonished at how well it did on stars. Pinpoint light sources across the field tell you a lot about a lens.

    For more info, including camera choice, look for books on astrophotography by Covington or Reeves.

    http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/astro/index.html
    http://www.robertreeves.com/ (look for wide-field astrophotography)

    Both have books out on digital as well, so look for the books on analog methods if that's your interest.

    Lee

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    I suggest you pick up and read one of the popular Astronomy magazines to view the latest in scopes and cameras available to amatures. Film Astrophotogrphy has long since been supplanted by digital for very good reasons chiefly being sensitivity of the media and chilling of the detector plus instant results and analysis capabilities. In any event an M platform is the last thing i would use.
    Do what I do and tune into the various scientific websites and view thier results which are available and spectacular. -Dick

  5. #5

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    Well,, my thinking was more about the weight of the M camera being lighter and all and not so much about the real needs of focusing. Being I've got three mechanical cameras with mirror lockup I guess thats the way to go.

    I understand the digital possibilities and would rather buy a better scope then a scope and camera. So I'll look around online and in the magazines and read about whats in my price range; Unless someone makes a suggestion in the $400-$700 range.

    Whats the practical nature of using a telephoto lens like a 400mm with perhaps a 2x teleconverter?

    Thanks for the help. I'm determined to get setup this summer.
    Last edited by waynecrider; 06-10-2009 at 08:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    W.A. Crider

  6. #6
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynecrider View Post
    Well,, my thinking was more about the weight of the M camera being lighter and all and not so much about the real needs of focusing which I thought might be done independently or at least at infinity all the time.
    Telescopes can change focus with temperature, so even if you think you've configured a good mechanical stop at infinity, it will change when the temperature does. BTW, some SLR telephotos, and I believe many of the autofocus lenses can focus past infinity, so if you rack them all the way in to the "infinity stop", you may be out of focus past infinity.

    There's a new item around to help with visual focus, called a Bahtinov mask, which creates a set of diffraction spikes that can be used for fine visual focusing. Google it. You can purchase or you can make your own.

    Lee

  7. #7

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    Just from reading on the Jerry Lodriguss site, it looks as tho that I'll have to save for a decent mount as well as the telescope. I might have to sell the Leica to help finance things. :o
    W.A. Crider

  8. #8

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    [QUOTE=waynecrider;811115]Well,, my thinking was more about the weight of the M camera being lighter and all and not so much about the real needs of focusing. Being I've got three mechanical cameras with mirror lockup I guess thats the way to go.

    But an M3 is *Heavier* than an OM1 body (That's why we Leicafondlers love them so.... density, immovable masses which you don't get from Bessas :o)


    David

  9. #9

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    >Whats the practical nature of using a telephoto lens like a 400mm with perhaps a 2x teleconverter?

    That will double exposure times, the optical quality if the 2X converter may be questionable, and at that focal length [800mm] some kind of careful guiding will be essential or the images will show stars trailing [just like with a telescope].

    Over my years of reading Sky and Telescope in the years before CCDs, I do not recall recommendations to use teleconverters.

  10. #10
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry.Manuel View Post
    That will double exposure times
    Correction: a 2x convert quadruples required exposure time, it doubles linear size, spreading the same available light over 4x the area (even if you don't count loss from the extra glass).

    Lee

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