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Astrophotography on 35mm film

BradleyStearn

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Mar 19, 2020
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I've been experimenting with some astrophotography on my digital rangefinder over the past couple of weeks, and have decided it would be time well spent experimenting with using 135 film too. I'm interested in hearing a variety of opinions on using black and white film for astro photography. I usually shoot with HP5 for my everyday film shooting, so I was thinking using HP5 pushed a couple of stops might be a good place to begin? I'm open to hear recommendations on other brands black and white stocks, and how they may work better for astrophotography.

I'm going to take a single roll of film, and experiment with a variety of bracketed exposures. So if there is anything anyone recommends I try, then please let me know. I'm not too worried about trailing stars as I go into the reciprocity failure territory of longer exposures. In fact, I wouldn't mind trying something like a 30 minute exposure as a test.
 

Ozzie_Traveller

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G'day Bradley

I had my intro to film-based astro photography back in the late 60s when I was still learning about stuff ~ and on a weekend away with mates, we all set up our tripods + cameras + whatever lens that was chosen. Back around the campfire we compared notes - and when I mentioned using aperture F5,6 they laughed at me telling me that I didn't need it for depth-of-field :) ... so the lens was quickly reset for F2,8 as maximum aperture

Exposure times and emulsions / ISO settings can vary and are probably determined by your image requirements. Although I always shot in colour there's no reason not to shoot mono if you choose to do so. ISO back then was in the 25 to 400 range and exposure times were anything from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Overall do not worry about reciprocity issues - not relevent for our purposes

I would suggest that you have a go with a series of 30-minute exposures to give yourself a 'standard' or baseline - and from the abount of curve for the stars, you can moderate future results from there. Any lens will do - the longer mm's will give less angular coverage but more detail of the stars, whereas a short lens will cover more sky space and show you sillhouettes of trees / windmills / whatever you place into the scene to enhance the end result

Hope this helps
Phil
 
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