First attempt at filming the Moon 23/08/10 your feedback pls

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Hey all, long time reader, just registered! :D

I wanted to share this with you all... first of all, my video:

That was my first attempt at filming the moon which I think I did well, but I want to explore it more. For example, I want to film the night sky with all of the stars, galaxy, etc. But all I get are noise.

I have fiddled with the shutter speed, the white balance but always never get it to work. Does it mean my camcorder is not good enough or have I missed some other settings? If it's any help, I'm using Canon Legria HF200 camcorder.

I have just re-started my interest with exploring the space/astronomy related so I want to get the best out of it and go from there. :D

Any help are welcome.



Hi tsutton, welcome to

I have moved this topic to the Astrophophy forum, as it's the most apprpriate place.

Camcorders just aren't sensitive enough to pick up all but the very brightest objects in the night sky. The moon, Venus Jupiter, and the ISS are bright enough, but everything else is just too faint. There are specialized CCD cameras for astronomy work that use much lower light levels.


Hi Wayne,

Thanks for moving it to the correct section - didn't see it!

Yes, I agree - a camcorder is not sensitive enough to pick them up but it is what I have at the moment and if I can get it captured, then I will try my best to success that. :D

What do you think of my Moon video at my first attempt?


Hi tsutton, and welcome on SDC!

If you want to improve the quality, wait for a cloudless evening, try using a tripod, disable 'Vibration Reduction' and avoid the full Moon, it's the worst time for nice pictures because it looks very 'flat'. Apart from that, a camcorder has not enough optical zoom to get decent views. The Moon is a difficult subject for which it was never designed in the first place.

If you just want to observe the sky, consider binoculars. The common 10x50 type is a good starting point, you can even see the satellites of Jupiter, some binary stars, star clusters and M31, the Andromeda galaxy!

And if you're serious about taking pictures of the universe, be ready to invest HUGE amounts of time and money. I own the absolute minimum in astrophotography equipment: a beginner's scope and a DSLR (about $1,500 in all). Here is an example of what you can expect from that: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=23777&start=20#p477427

For the 'real' thing, well, astrophotography is clearly more expensive than a Harley-Davidson ;)
Have a look here, the guy is an artist:
Lots of nice pictures, and details about the equipment and processing. Enjoy!


tsutton":7pme6iur said:
Yes, I agree - a camcorder is not sensitive enough to pick them up but it is what I have at the moment and if I can get it captured, then I will try my best to success that. :D

Orionrider is right, if you are going to be taking pictures of the sky your first, best investment will be a tripod. All things considered, not a bad shot of the moon. But heed orion's advice, I have a brother into photography. That is a very easy way to spend lotsa bucks!


Without a solid tripod, you've got bupkiss.

After getting a solid tripod, you could try doing the webcam method with your camcorder. That being what's called "stacking"

Basically you're taking your captured AVI, MPG, what-have-you, splitting out the individual frames, and combining them to save as many light pixels as you can. You should also shoot some "dark frames" (frames where you're holding up something black) and maybe some neutral frames, so you can subtract out any noise and skyglow.

Have a look here:

But no matter how much stacking you do, you're never going to get "all the night sky with all the stars and galaxies" with a camcorder. Not even one with a multi-thousand-dollar fourth generation image intensifier. Without interfacing it to a telescope, the best you can hope for is mediocre lunar images and , if you're lucky, general outlines of the brighter planets.

I canna change the laws of physics, Cap'n. And neither can you.
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