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The Milky Way with a macro lens | by Juan-Carlos Munoz-Mateos
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The Milky Way with a macro lens

Can you do astrophotography with a macro lens? Macro lenses are designed to focus all the way from infinity to extremely close distances, in order to achieve a large magnification of small subjects like insects or flowers. These lenses tend to have decent apertures and excellent image quality, two essential traits for astrophotography. Does this work in practice though?


A few weeks ago I tested the astrophotographic potential of my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens from Paranal Observatory with my favourite subject: the Milky Way. The main complication was focusing. Macro lenses are designed to be able to focus just a few cm from the lens. The drawback is that nailing the focus at infinity is a delicate procedure, as even the tiniest turn of the focusing ring can completely defocus the stars.


I nevertheless managed to focus, and the results didn’t disappoint! What you see here is a stack of 20x5 secs untracked exposures at f/2.8 and ISO6400, with a Canon 6D. At f/2.8 this macro lens lets through plenty of light in just a few seconds, and the stars are tack sharp from corner to corner.


How many nebulas can you name in this picture?

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Taken on July 10, 2019