Improving your through-the-telescope photography
Following up on my first article on photography through a telescope I will share some more observations on how I have improved my skills at taking pictures on my mobile phone through the eye piece of a telescope. The telescope is a small spotting scope with a 65mm objective lens and a 20x to 60x zoom eye piece. My mobile phone is a Motorola Moto G (2nd generation) with a 8M pixel camera and a 1 -to-4x digital zoom.
The subject of this piece is a tree that is visible from my back garden, about 35m away. Here is the view, as captured by my mobile phone camera at 1x zoom. The red circle shows the subject of the shots through the telescope.
Here is an example of the top of the tree taken with the telescope on x40 zoom and the camera on x3 zoom. Although there are none in this shot, the magnification is such that it is possible to see flies buzzing around the leaves.
To compare, here is the same subject taken through a 400mm lens on a full frame sensor body.
And here is the grid of images taken with a variety of telescope and camera zoom settings.
From this experiment and other experience of taking pictures through the telescope, I have concluded that:
- There is significant vignetting when the phone zoom is set to x1.
- The phone camera still gives reasonable quality images at x2 or x3 zoom, and at this zoom the problem of vignetting goes away.
- It is rather hard to get the camera in exactly the right position to take a picture, and this is made worse the higher the telescope magnification is.
- For best results, I have opted for a telescope zoom of between x20 and x40 and a camera zoom between x2 and x3