Last night, as I noticed the full moon rising over my backyard, I figured I’d go ahead and try something fun. Fun as in crazy focal lengths. I’ve shot the moon before, so it’s not like I needed more photos of it. But I’d never shot it with the equivalent of a 2,268mm lens before…How did I get that much focal length? I have a Nikkor 600mm f/4 AFS G VRII lens. I also have a Nikon TC-14E teleconverter (1.4x). That’s 840mm of actual focal length, and it’s a combination that has served me well in the past. Next, I chose the Nikon 1 V1 camera, which has a 2.7x crop-factor (Nikon CX format) sensor. I was able to mount the lens to this camera with Nikon’s FT1 adapter. Multiplying everything together gives you the final value of 2,268mm (effective). Note that the focal length isn’t really that long, but the angle of view is the same as if I had an optical monstrosity on my 35mm (FX) format Nikon D3s.
With this much magnification, even tiny vibrations will degrade image quality. I mounted the whole thing on my Gitzo 5-series carbon tripod and Wimberley head. Because the moon is so bright, I set the V1 to aperture-priority exposure mode with spot metering. I metered the moon and used +2/3 EV compensation to properly expose it (remember that the meter renders objects neutral gray, and the moon is brighter than that). I selected the electronic shutter in the V1 to eliminate any camera shake from the shutter movement, locked the whole thing down and triggered the camera with the Nikon ML-L3 infrared remote. I manually pre-focused the camera and set the aperture at f/8 for maximum sharpness.
The only trouble I had with this shot is that the moon darn near fills the entire frame! At this magnification, the apparent movement of the moon was so fast that every ten seconds or so I had to reposition the camera to get proper framing. Nevertheless, the results were great and it was a fun experiment.
Just for fun, here’s a 100% crop of the craters at the 9 o’clock position from the original image: