Nikon D810a astrophotography sample images

In this post I will be uploading sample images from the new Nikon D810a DSLR camera (see pre-order options):

Source: Nikon (the link includes additional information on the sample images)

Update: few more sample images can be found on flickr

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  • Patrick O’Connor

    No EXIF data available? I would love to try my hand at this sort of thing so knowing exposure and lens data would be useful.

    • Rob

      EXIF is not available on astro photos. They usually take multiple images and stack them so they aren’t available.

      • Patrick O’Connor

        Just showing my ignorance here but, if you’re going to take multiple images and stack them, what’s the purpose of including the ability to shoot up to 15 minutes? Since you can do that anyway, with various means, it seems like they expect you to be doing it often. Do they stack multiple photos taken at such long exposure times?

        • RMJ

          Depends what kind of photo you like to take, and what kind of setup you have.

          If you take one long continuous shot on tripod, all the stars will become star trails. Because Earth revolves around it’s axle, you know.

          Depending on focal length, the usable exposure time to make a shot where stars look like dots is something between 5 and 60 seconds. So to make very long exposures you need to stack up if you want to keep stars as sharp dots.

          Or… you will need a tripod/stand with a tracking motor which compensates the moving sky. With such a setup you can make hours long exposures if you wish.

          • Jed

            There is one more important thing here: noise. long exposures create sensor noise, as it becomes hot. no mattet how low your ISO setting is. So, stacking makes much less noisy final results, especially when combined with so called “dark frames”.

        • JohnM

          You also have to consider that these deep sky images are about capturing individual photons from a very remote light source. Exposure lengths less than a few minutes might not capture the light being emitted/reflected by a feature you are trying to capture at the moment the shutter is open. Stacking a bunch of short exposures doesn’t guarantee that you captured all the available light.

        • Spy Black

          Yeah. For instance, the bottom text on frame 6 on the Japanese page reads:
          “Exposure time per the number 300 seconds × 16 sheet composite”

          So that’s 16, 300 second exposures! Which also points out another thing, you need a clock drive mounted on a monster tripod, and a lot of patience. 🙂

          There are some nice refractor optics that I’ve seen that are relatively affordable and would be a good match for this kind of stuff from a Korean company called William Optics.

        • Rob

          When it comes to stacking images, 15 minutes is still not enough. People usually do around 10x 10 minute images to have a total of 150 minutes of data. Each image contains noise, but noise is reduced when stacked as it averages the pixels out of what the true color would be. To answer your last question, yes.

          • Patrick O’Connor

            Thank you, and everyone else, for the information. THIS is why I read the comments here at NR.

      • Spy Black

        I thought that was what the whole long exposure thing was all about?

  • Julian

    I wonder if this whole D810a project has come from the cooperation with Nasa?

    • Eledeuh

      Why ?
      They don’t need the NASA to develop that kind of product (which has nothing new in it) ; and AFAIK the NASA don’t need them for space imagery : they use Nikon gear in order to photograph Earth, not space, that’s the job of the (much much much) bigger guns, which have nothing in common with the D810a.

  • Spy Black

    I wonder how they differentiate between noise and interstellar gas.

    • peter w

      what kind of noise do you consider noise?

      (sorry for a wise crack comment ;). I guess you mean camera noise. One could solve this by a eigther longer exposure time, or by stacking. Which method depends on the heating, the noise that is created in the sensor. One could determine this level for different exposure times and ambient temperatures.)

    • Nimloth

      LENR or stacking with dark frames afterwards.

    • The camera can tell what we had for dinner. 😉

  • Eric Duminil

    Holy shit. That’s beautiful.

  • DB White

    I don’t get it. Nikon develops a special camera for a very small niche of photographers and still hasn’t released a mid-sized, rugged (think D300/D810 body) 24 MP camera with AF-on button for sports and photojournalism. I’d be very happy with a 24 MP sensor in a D800 body with a slight increase in continuous shooting rate and high iso performance over the D810. I HAVE used the D750: great photos, tiny toy-like body to my hands. I’m happy for the astrophotographers, but not pleased that Nikon ignores current Nikon users and wastes time and resources developing niche products like the Nikon Df.

    Please leave your negative responses below. 😉

    • Rob

      Not a negative response. For sure it’s a niche of a market, but it really doesn’t cost Nikon much for this camera. It’s literally a change to the IR filter (Which 3rd party can even do) and a few tweaks to the OS. Now they can say they are in the “astro” market.

  • Charles

    It might be no harm to let us know what the exact specifications of equipment was that took the above photographs, was it just a 1000mm lens coupled to the camera or was the camera mounted on a telescope

    • Wei-Hao Wang

      Nikon’s website does provide such details, and the link is provided in the above NR post. However, it’s in Japanese.

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