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Astrophotography — Leica SL2 or Leica M10R


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Hello party people,

I have a Leica M10R and a Leica SL2 (with an M-lens adapter).

I rented a Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux M ASPH lens, and am heading off to Death Valley to try and get some photographs of the night sky, stars, and Milky Way (obviously using a tripod).

Do any of you have any suggestions on which camera would be best to use?

M10R recovers highlights better? However it has a smaller ‘live view’ screen in trying to focus and see the captured images. 
SL2 has larger screen, easier to view in the dark. I think I’ll need to turn ‘off noise reduction in camera.’ for any timed, quick shots between shots. Image Stabilization on, or off?

I’m planning on taking both and shooting with both, but I’m hoping to hear from you guys who are more experienced in this with suggestions and ideas.   
 

Thanks in advance, and I’ll post a picture or two when I get back.

PS. Moderator: I’m going to post this in the “M10” forum on here as well, in case they have suggestions.  If that seems like a double post, then please feel free to remove one.

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I wouldn’t use IBIS with a tripod. 

I wouldn’t shut off LENR unless you’re keeping exposures short or you’re confident you can remove the random noise effectively. I would test this thoroughly with both cameras before the trip. 

I’ve never shot the M10R so I can’t recommend one camera body over the other. 

I would consider a remote release (or tethering) and taking a laptop to review images on the spot so you can make adjustments. 

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in case you bring the m10r I would double check focus with life view.

I own both cameras but have not used it for such purpose so I can share any experience for your application.

I also vote vor IS/IBIS off. And make sure to have a stable tripod.

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many use a sky tracker head so that you get clear stars at 30sec exposure.

Multiple shot blending is always a good tip.

And the Milky Way is usually best in summer months.

Just keep in mind that a 15 min exposure require a 15 min noise reduction. I suggest using two cameras so you don't get to bored waiting for the 2nd exposure.

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The 21 summilux exhibits coma and is not a stellar astro lens.  If you crop the edges you could be okay.  Perhaps stopping the lens down would eliminate it.  The M10-R battery will drain quickly, iirc a few long exposures will diminish it's charge below 50%. 

The big advantage of the M for astro is the lens can be put at it's full infinity stop and it will be in focus.  Adapted to the SL the infinity stop may not be accurate or won't give the best focus.

Please post your findings and images.  

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1 minute ago, darylgo said:

The 21 summilux exhibits coma and is not a stellar astro lens.  If you crop the edges you could be okay.  Perhaps stopping the lens down would eliminate it.  The M10-R battery will drain quickly, iirc a few long exposures will diminish it's charge below 50%. 

The big advantage of the M for astro is the lens can be put at it's full infinity stop and it will be in focus.  Adapted to the SL the infinity stop may not be accurate or won't give the best focus.

Please post your findings and images.  

The infinity mark should work on an SL as well as it does on an M body given the adapter creates the same flange to sensor distance, unless the adapter tolerances are off of course. 

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23 minutes ago, lik said:

- At least at f/2.0 I haven’t seen coma - whereas I. e. the lux 28 has coma. 
- The full infinity stop is very reliable without controlling anything. 
- this doesn’t work properly with my Leica M-SL adapter on the SL.  

Thanks lik, good to know at f2 this lens is good.  

To the OP, I tested my 21 Summilux on an SL (original SL) with the Leica brand M-L adapter, correct infinity focus is at the 12 foot mark on the scale of the lens.  If the lens is set at infinity it is clearly out of focus.  

47 minutes ago, LD_50 said:

The infinity mark should work on an SL as well as it does on an M body given the adapter creates the same flange to sensor distance, unless the adapter tolerances are off of course. 

LD-50, there are discussion threads about the adapter manufactured to slightly less than correct infinity focus for most lenses, i.e. the M lens will focus past infinity.  I believe it is to allow for tolerance of the many lenses that will be adapted.  I recently tested a Leica 50 Summilux ver. 2 that had been calibrated twice by a well known repair person and it missed infinity focus by a half millimeter on the scale.  It was so slight as to be negligible but the lens likely had issues.  

Lethal Dose 50?  Is this correct?  Lol, if so.  

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4 hours ago, lik said:

I used my M10 for astro and next opportunity I will try my M10R. My lens for these things is the lux 21 as well. 
I also have the SL2 which I don’t use for Astro. My experience is:

- At least at f/2.0 I haven’t seen coma - whereas I. e. the lux 28 has coma. 
- The full infinity stop is very reliable without controlling anything. 
- this doesn’t work properly with my Leica M-SL adapter on the SL.  

To me an M with this Lux 21 is a wonderful easygoing combo for astrophotography.  
Example:

A lovely picture! The stars in the upper right corner appear to display the gull wing shape signature of coma. Were other corners cropped from the original exposure? 

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I have the S3 and SL2. The S3 is better with long exposure noise (which is a bit odd, as the SL2 is better at high ISOs). Since the M10R is based on the same sensor, I would guess that the sensor will do better than the SL2, but it is worth testing. I did find in my experience that SL2 photos with IBIS on can lead to slightly jerky star trails. Best to turn it off. In general, M lenses do better on M bodies...particularly wide angle lenses. So I suspect that your M10R is going to be the best tool for this particular job.

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vor 6 Stunden schrieb Alan Friedman:

A lovely picture! The stars in the upper right corner appear to display the gull wing shape signature of coma. Were other corners cropped from the original exposure? 

Thanks, Alan – and yes, you are right. I haven't seen that yesterday sending it from a mobile phone. Now I could check this on the computer. Astonishingly it wasn't cropped, I just corrected the level position of the sea a little bit. Checked the data: 15 sec at 1600 ISO. Aperture in this series was always between 1.4 and 2.0. So to me the coma seems to be so little, that it cannot spoil an astro photo. The Lux 21 was the first expensive lens I bought for my first Leica M9, one of the first lenses making me Leica addicted and still is one of my favourite lenses. 

By the way - the light in the lower middle is nothing astral. If it were the sun or even the moon, you couldn't have seen the Milky Way. While making the shot I was scared that it spoils the photo completely - because it was an aeroplane flying directly towards me. In the end of this series I found this was the lucky shot... 

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Posted (edited)

EddieCheddar,  My experience with the M10-R and S3, both using the same sensor architecture as mentioned by Stuart in his post #10, would make the M10-R a good camera to use for your trip.  My extensive experience doing night and landscape photography in Death Valley would suggest you need to consider the light pollution from Las Vegas.  If you have a Night Sky filter it would save you post processing time correcting for the light pollution.  Also shooting with the mountain range to your back is helpful.  A  good place such as Badwater is one idea.  Also, you might consider the moon phases, with no moon best for shooting the night sky.  I found over the years, photographing at the far north end of the park a good place for night sky.  If you get into night sky photography, Tonopah and Gold Felds, NV are great places for dark skies especially in winter.   Hope this helps. r/ Mark

PS Iik has some good tips for you too in his posts.

Edited by LeicaR10
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1 hour ago, lik said:

Thanks, Alan – and yes, you are right. I haven't seen that yesterday sending it from a mobile phone. Now I could check this on the computer. Astonishingly it wasn't cropped, I just corrected the level position of the sea a little bit. Checked the data: 15 sec at 1600 ISO. Aperture in this series was always between 1.4 and 2.0. So to me the coma seems to be so little, that it cannot spoil an astro photo. The Lux 21 was the first expensive lens I bought for my first Leica M9, one of the first lenses making me Leica addicted and still is one of my favourite lenses. 

By the way - the light in the lower middle is nothing astral. If it were the sun or even the moon, you couldn't have seen the Milky Way. While making the shot I was scared that it spoils the photo completely - because it was an aeroplane flying directly towards me. In the end of this series I found this was the lucky shot... 

WOW that’s a plane !!! 
awesome 🤩 

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vor einer Stunde schrieb LeicaR10:

My experience with the M10-R and S3, both using the same sensor architecture

Thanks for this remark. I expect the same. Since I’m also in the S-System for 10 years now exactly this will be my next experiment occasionally when finally more travel is allowed - the M10R with 21 Lux and the S3 with the S-24mm. 

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On 3/5/2021 at 8:33 PM, lik said:

I used my M10 for astro and next opportunity I will try my M10R. My lens for these things is the lux 21 as well. 
I also have the SL2 which I don’t use for Astro. My experience is:

- At least at f/2.0 I haven’t seen coma - whereas I. e. the lux 28 has coma. 
- The full infinity stop is very reliable without controlling anything. 
- this doesn’t work properly with my Leica M-SL adapter on the SL.  

To me an M with this Lux 21 is a wonderful easygoing combo for astrophotography.  
Example:

It's a great shot! - Would you mind sharing how exactly you did it? I am still trying to figure this out.

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Thanks John!
First of all I did the preparation with TPE and PhotoPills. I wanted to find a place where the Milky Way comes up in the middle of these two rocks – called Es Vedra and Es Vedranell on Ibiza Island. 

For the shot I used a very solid tripod and my M10 plus Lux 21mm with the L-Bracket from RRS. 

Since astrophotography is not my main subject and I do it only occasionally in case I find something which fits to a scenery or landscape I like, I’m not very experienced and more or less in a trial and error mode  

I decided to take series with aperture 1.4 and 2.0 - maybe also 1.7. In the end there was a visible but very little difference between 1.4 and 2.0 .

In terms of the earth rotation I just followed the 500-rule. 500/ focal length = max. shutter speed. But I prefer a stricter practice: 400 is mire safe. So - 400/21 = 19 sec. max. I would never buy a tracking device.

Since at that time the M10 was new to me I needed to experiment with the ISO tolerance of the sensor. 800 = too long shutter speed, more than 1600 I found too noisy. 

After some test shots I came to the conclusion that 1600 and 15 sec is a good compromise. I used automatic shutter speed with under exposure -1 until -2. 

Neither LV nor EVF was helpful for all these trials. I just did my first shots and had to wait until the end of the noise reduction process to adjust the camera on the tripod as well as shutter speed, ISO etc  

Very helpful to me is always the full infinity stop of the well adjusted M-lens. No trying, controlling, fiddling which you would have with any autofocus lens. Just don’t care - it fits. 

That was it. And it was fun. 

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