Panasonic GH-1 at 1400mm f/8 for close ups of the moon + HD video at 2800mm in 35mm terms!

Written by Gary on July 27th, 2009

After discovering that I couldn’t put OM mounts onto my Four Thirds to Micro Four Thirds adapter with the GH-1 (see my last post), I had to skip using my beautiful Olympus ZD EC-20 2x teleconverter for this little test.

I thus resorted to a weird combination of adapters and lenses in order:

  • Panasonic GH-1
  • Canon EOS to MFT adapter
  • Canon EF 1.4x tele-extender (NB. this would NOT work on a Canon body unless you covered up the contacts!)
  • Olympus OM to Canon EOS adapter
  • T2 to Olympus OM adapter
  • 500mm f/5.6 Maksutov-Cassegrain mirror lens – a relatively cheap one at that!

This combination gives me 1400mm focal length reach in 35mm terms at f/8, but in 2x digital zoom for HD video, I get 2800mm focal length reach at f/8! Just awesome!

GH-1 and maksutov

But how could such a compact, almost hand holdable combination like this allow good image quality?

Well, I decided to check it out, with the moon getting some breaks between the clouds I managed to capture a few quick shots on the tripod (albeit a little over-exposed – but surprisingly, no CA!):

GH-1 moon full image but resized for web

and a 100% crop of this image:

100% crop

and, now a very short video taken with 2x digital zoom on and at 1920x1080i in AVHCD mode converted and uploaded to YouTube using the supplied PhotoFunStudio software.

The motion of the moon is because I had the kit on a stationary tripod and as the earth rotates, it makes the moon appear to move – yep… that’s how fast it moves – this is why you get star trails on longer exposures.

Sharpness of such highly magnified images of the moon is not only dependent on the camera, lenses, focus accuracy and camera shake but also on the “atmospheric seeing” – how still the earth’s atmosphere is between you and the moon at that instant, and how much of it we have to get through – in this case quite a bit given the moon was perhaps 40deg above the horizon and not our preferred 90 deg (directly above our head) which has the least amount of atmosphere to get through.

This video is of MUCH lower quality on YouTube. It looks almost perfect on the original files though and these fill your whole computer or TV screen – not just a tiny YouTube frame as seen here! Imagine a video of the original image above but cropped in half with the 2x digital zoom.

Moon at 2800mm focal length on GH-1

You may wish to compare this images with previous images I have taken of the moon or check out other astro images:


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