My camera has the shakes. It’s a combination of high magnification and my cheap lenses. I’ve been experimenting with higher and higher levels of magnification, and I believe I’ve hit a limit. Even using a rock-solid tripod won’t help me with this.
My Celestron C90 is listed as a f/11, 1000mm lens when used with a T-mount. Since my Nikon D50 has a 1.5X magnification level, the telescope has an effective focal length of 1500mm. I’ve been able to get some fairly sharp shots, albeit with considerable effort. In an attempt to push the lens and camera to its limits, I added a 2X teleconverter, giving the rig an effective focal length of 3000mm. That’s pretty extreme.
As I mentioned, even using a tripod doesn’t seem to help with this setup. Regardless of length of exposure, the action of the shutter mirror moving out of the way of the shutter introduces a slight vibration, and that’s enough to reduce the sharpness of the image. I even used a remote shutter release, but it didn’t help. I think using a longer exposure might be better, because the shake would occur at the beginning of the shot, but would then stabilize for the rest of the exposure. I’ll have to experiment.
The T-mount for my Celestron isn’t the steadiest of of connections, so I’m sure that’s what’s contributing to the vibration. Therefore, I decided to try the 2X extender with my 70-210mm Sigma zoom lens. At its fullest extent, and with the tele-extender, the lens has an effective focal length of 430mm. The images were sharper than with the Celestron. However, shooting wildlife was nigh impossible, especially if it was moving at all. I tried shooting the heron, several ducks, and a beaver on our lake in late afternoon with cloudy skies. The image below was shot with the Sigma setup using my tripod.
I think I’ll try again today with brighter skies.