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Close ups of the moon

edited September 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I attempted to take close ups of the moon with a 70-300mm lens with various settings. All I get is a white blob. Does anyone have any suggestions for the settings I should try please?


  • edited September 2014
    The vast dark sky is making your camera meter the scene as if it's very dark, but the moon is actually quite bright. So you're probably over exposing. Try the shot at something like ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/200. You'll need to switch to Manual mode or under expose using exposure compensation.
    I took this shot recently at ISO 100, f/11, 1/200

    It's not exactly the best shot of the moon out there. I just shot it in the spur of the moment. I used a 70-200. In post, I cropped a lot and boosted the exposure.
    You'd be able to do a lot better with a 70-300. For best results, it's a good idea to bracket your exposure and then blend the results in post.

    Also do manual focus. It’s very difficult to do with the optical viewfinder because the moon is quite tiny even when zoomed all the way in. Use Liveview and enlarge the focus area to help with achieving sharp focus. A tripod makes this easier.
    Since the moon is almost a quarter of a million miles away, you probably just need to focus to infinity. But it doesn’t hurt to make sure your focus is spot on.
  • edited October 2014
    I have the 18-55mm lens. Should I even try to get a picture of the moon? I tried, but all I got is a blurry shiny dot.
  • edited October 2014
    I'd say don't even bother, but it doesn't hurt to try it. You'll still do much better than anyone shooting it with a phone camera. Just keep in mind that even if you do get the exposure and focus right, your lens is too short to really be able to resolve much detail from the moon.
  • edited October 2014
    I would not bother with the moon with such a short lens, although it's a good length for night shots in which the moon is somewhere in the sky.

    If you do shoot the moon, you probably should manually focus, and spot meter. With a short lens, even spot metering cover too much area and overexpose, but it's a start.

    Whether you can do this by focusing on infinity differs from one lens to another. Many, especially it seems recent plastic ones, will focus beyond infinity so as to compensate for thermal variation. Simply cranking the manual focus to infinity may go too far. Experiment in daylight on a very distant object to see whether this will be a problem.
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