The Milky Way with the Panasonic GH-1 and Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens

Written by Gary on August 27th, 2009

Last night whilst on a brief holiday to the countryside, I took advantage of the darkish skies (although contaminated by the nearby light of a 1st quarter moon).

So from the camping ground in a small town in country Victoria, using only my tripod (I did not bring my motor driven equatorial tracking telescope mount), my fun little Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera and the superb Panasonic Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 lens, here is what one could achieve – definitely not perfect but pretty good. Focus achieved my manual focus on Jupiter (not shown in this image).

Taken in 16:9 aspect ratio at 3200 ISO, f/1.4 for 15 secs RAW file with dark frame NR turned on, and processed in Panasonic’s SilkyPix RAW software with all noise reduction turned to zero, and gamma set to 0.80, and Black level set to 100 to give the background a black sky and remove the effects of the moonlight.

No other processing other than resize and compression for web via Photoshop.

Tail of Scorpius is towards the top of this image.

Milky Way

Now if one looks closely there is the usual “horizontal banding” sensor problem in the dark areas (it will be vertical here as the image has been rotated into vertical format) which increases as one goes from ISO 800 up to 3200. In addition there is some visible star trailing due to 15 sec exposure using a 50mm equivalent focal length lens (in 35mm terms) – so don’t look too closely – this is just a demo of what can be done, but which could be considerably improved upon with a tracking mount and on a night when there is no moonlight to interfere.


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